Thursday, October 30, 2014

why we skipped church today---

photo by anne arnould

the shadows of falling leaves
skitter across the grass like field mice
on the run from the cat
                                 or a hawk,

& the sweet, sweet smell
tells me someone on the street
is smoking up

this is autumn
& maybe they have glaucoma

i pick up fallen limbs

while my son cuts the grass
in my neighbor's yard,

he broke his hip a few months back
& we bartered
                       grapes for a couple jars of the jam
                       it makes & yard work
                       for use of the mower
there is not enough

for a fire,
             not tonight,
if the wind keeps up,

maybe next week.

they released the dam
before winter & a creek ripples
in the ditch at the base of our property

& my knees ache from crouching so long
on its new bank, baptizing hands

but the song
is so clean
                  & pure.

for dVerse Poets - where Claudia has us writing looking at things with fresh eyes

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


photo by lost in space

i collect the broken
        a stamp collection,
cleaned, framed, put in a book,
to shelve
             & amass dust
of our appreciation
& i don't pity them;
whatever heaven
               or hell
                         they came

i am
only a man,
myself; a patchwork
              of rough edges

that makes
tiny rainbows
                when the sun
at just
the right angle.

for PoetryJam

Monday, October 27, 2014

parcheesi to politicians

photo by r2hox

war is what we do for the illiterate,
          a DEA agent for every drug pusher,
          & a soldier,
                          an oppressor,
                                        an answer to struggling economy
how we fix poverty

what we do for lower gas prices,
          or our vices,
                 a buyer of choices,
                     a way of saying my country can beat your country
                     like an honor roll student

don't gimme          no mouth,
                                i have              a bumper sticker

& i know
                how to use it

war is the new peace,    (re-pack-aged)
                      without all the hippy mess

& controlling our borders
                     our women///our children

& jobs none of us want to work anyway,
                          but they are important, damn it
               for profit
what we make
                       against other religions
                       because we
                       stand for freedom

is a buy back program
in the walmart parking lot----turn in your weapons
                                            & we'll give you gift cards to grocery stores
is nationalism,
     is expansionism
          is an ism                   WAR-ism

is no longer in fox holes --- think bigger,
               i'll take your tank & raise you a joy stick
in the hands of an MIT graduate,
         is a video game
                   where you guide SMARTbombs
                    thru windows
                              to catch terrorist
                              in the bathroom
is collateral damage
            is rubble
                     is a broken toy that smells of cordite
                            & mushrooms
is reduced
to slogans for rivalry games in college football
                        "battle of the unbeatens!"
is a pacifier,
                 a parade as soldiers
                                                        but what of the returning
what we rub on our body like butter
to get rid of wrinkles,
                                is over
visitation rights,
                      take back the nights,
                                     equality in all things,
a big box office thriller,
a dream we can't wake up from
and if it comes to
                                      multiple choice
it's all the above
                         & then some,
is this poem
                is now done

Over @ dVerse on Tuesday, Gabriella has us writing WAR poems....

Sunday, October 26, 2014

i'll save the used tickets for a day i will need them

the sun is still in me,
squirming just beneath the skin,
like worms aerating turf, allowing water
& nutrients in, encouraging
deeper roots

it was warm between touchdowns
at the game, we sat in the grass
one quarter, where students usually sit
& being homecoming there were tens
of thousands, though most on the concrete

stands, the second half we joined them
& with 8 minutes to go, trailing by 6
my son asks,
                    "are you ready to walk?"

because we have left before,
though it takes little faith to walk away
when you have a big lead, when at the top
of your game & the moments we miss
don't seem so important

"i tell you what, if they score this drive
we'll go."

"uh, ok,"

which is one of his more profound
statements, at times, requiring contemplation
to grasp the full meaning
                                      but is quite clear

& he puts his hat on,
grabs the cup, because they are moving
the ball, like waves keep fishermen
in a boat

              when an interception
leads to a pass, a few more runs,
two more passes
& when our quarterback goes down,
his replacement---who's watched all game
from the sideline
                        throws the winning touchdown

i could call this---

many things, but my son has learned to grin
rather lopsided,
                       when he knows
he is wrong

& all this
has little to do with winning

for dVerse Poets - OpenLinkNight
and PU

Thursday, October 23, 2014

what's in your backpack?

composition books w/ ,marble covers
& stitched pages, one for science lab,
another as a journal for English,

where Wednesday you wrote
a brief scene in which---oh, wait,
a three ring binder, tabbed for each subject,
each a different color & behind them scrawled
notes & doodles in margins full of curly-Q
puddles that look remarkably like---

a hand-full of pencils, both dull & sharp, 2 pens,
one red to check your neighbors paper when the teacher
is just too damn lazy to do it themselves,
an eraser, 116 note cards

definition on one side//word on the other,
a chocolate bar wrapper, a couple paper
clips, lost notes written to friends crumpled
in the bottom & barely legible, safety scissors
& a BIOLOGY book, because that damn teacher
docks points each day you don't---

& i expect these things, cause no one wants
someone to tell them they don't---

a copy of letters by a long dead serial killer,
a map of teacher movements & locations by hour,
5 pages of loose leaf paper, bound as a letter
beginning Dear---& detailing what & why---
your weapon---
                       your weapon,
ready to be wielded

& it's not that my name is listed,
not once, not twice, but four times on your death
threats, nor is it the note i wrote to your parents
extolling your effort, even after or the look,
not fear, but fire, i find behind those two auburn eyes,
those windows to your soul---

this is nothing new,
but i had hope
                     for you
                     once---when not shaking my hand
                     became an elbow, became a fist bump
& you said i was the crazy one,

a small scrap of paper w/ your lunch number,
folder full of forgotten homework,
a stick of gum, unchewed,

Over @ dVerse, Tony has us writing list poems

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

but just bearly

photo by sergio martinez

she is meticulous in twisting their wrists,
&ankles into just the right angles
as if everything depended
on getting this

with tenderness//not the way
an angry god might smite a marionette
string, sending life into chaos

&there no angst
           no yelling when they don't cooperate

this is not a control issue

to keep her life sensible, so she can fit
all her rocks & sand into a fishbowl, balanced
precariously on a Franklin-Covey planner

she sits, legs neatly tucked
under herself, on the concrete stoop
showing wear along the edge of the step
from all the foot traffic
                                 one arm raised,
                                 hand up,
                                 fingers pinched
to give emphasis to what
she is saying
                   arranging her dolls,
as i would, Luke, Han, Leia
& the Hammerhead alien from the cantina
building stories
                       around her-self

oblivious to those of us that pass
on the sidewalk, without a thought
to stepping on the cracks.

written for PoetryJam

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

10 things to know for Tuesday

photo by Geraint Rowland

Obama builds a coalition to fight Ebola
in West Africa, as the US air-drops arms
to Kurdish in Syria & Colorado
                                 won't ban edible pot

(So does that mean, you can get the munchies
from munchies? )
sold $39.3 million in Ipods, third quarter & Pistorius
will finally figure out what's next

will never make the front page of the paper,
just kickflipped by the costume shop window,
2.6 miles from his mom's work & a good 20
from home and my lips can't contain a name
i have not said in two years
                                    & what seems another
life, too long &
all the wanna-be superheroes, princesses,
vampires & Ebola patients, in the aisles where
picking sides in a middle east conflict is easy
as the skin you slip in, even if only for a night,
like a bumper sticker decrying abortion is,
to slip the back off, stick & display til
it's your daughter & (insert a foreign
location, religion or ---)
                                     no one knows
all that is contained in two syllables, much less
the history between us---of late night calls
& hospital visits, or a summer spent at the park,
on the ramps & rails teaching him how to ride,
how to glide, his first board, or buying deodorant
as a boy began to stink, as a man was made
in a world he could not process most days,
crying in corners & cussing cause he can't

but by the time i make it by glue on dragon horns,
fake blood, scythes & third eyes, he's rounding
the corner, alone & further, on wheels that surely
smell like freedom
                          & i ache
                              to know,

not what Republicans promise to business owners
about cutting insurance to dead beat workers,
that the Royals & Giants are well rested for the Series
or Matthews will face yet another charge,

because bodies go missing daily, but the blond hair,
never combed right, for a cow lick & eyes
that droop just a bit & news, that he is alright,
but will settle for alive---
                                     until next time.

for dVerse, where Mary has us writing of news, both or either, personal, local, national.