She


And now I sit alone,
with reminders of her everywhere;
rocks and pictures and paintings.

And now I sit alone,
not lonely, but sad.
Sad at the loss of her,

who shared my life
and sang with me in the car.

She who shared my bed,
and my most intimate moments,
is gone now, forever.

She, who’s laugh made me laugh,
who’s tears made me cry,
is gone now, forever.
I don’t sing in the car, anymore.

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The First Time

There has never been anything
quite like a boy’s first slow dance
with a girl. The feeling of her breasts,
pressed against your chest.
The warmth of her body, held close.
Her breath, tickling the hairs on your neck.
And the lovely smell of her freshly washed hair
filling your teenaged senses
with indescribable feelings.
The song you danced to didn’t matter,
and it was over way too soon.
And the only thing you could
think at that moment was that
you wanted to do that again.
And again, and again.
No, there has never been a feeling
quite like that.
And there never will.

Nine Pelicans

Standing along the river bank,
dignified in their ungainly grace,
nine pelicans stand or sit and watch
like some prehistoric judges
as the river parades slowly past.

A little further along the bank
geese, flapping, fluttering, and
stomping in the mud, voice
their discontent, loudly, as if
the river is wholly unacceptable
in its proceeding and stance.

A deer, on the opposite bank,
lifts its head and observes
both groups, with measured
indifference, as it chews something
it found among the weeds.

One pelican raises its orange
bill in the direction of the deer
and then away, as if to say he’s
bored and determines this river
to be insufficient for his needs.

But he cannot align himself with the
unruly, peasant-like geese, he
being, after all, a pelican of
some standing, among his group.

The Fiddle Player And The Dancer

This poem was originally written two years ago. I have re-written it but I’m not sure if I like it this way or not.

As he packed up to leave, an old women approached.
“Can you play that thing?” she asked,
motioning toward the fiddle.
“I can, but I can’t make any money here,”
he said, showing her the empty cup.
“Put that fiddle under your chin, boy.
Play somethin’ gypsy, somethin’ that moves.
And as he played, she began to dance.
Bells appeared on her fingers
tinkling in the breeze.
Swaying and swirling to his rhythm
her ragged clothes suddenly seemed new.
Sequins and colors flashed brilliant in the sun.
The people came, and fell in love with her
that day. She twirled, and the sound flowed,
entwining together to become one thing.
Finally the music faltered, as if nothing
could compete with her beauty.
As she twirled her last,
he offered her the money from the cup, now full.
“You keep it boy,” she said with a smile.
“I only wanted to dance.”

Blue Moon

After sending her 2.3 children to play
with the neighbors down the street, the
housewife, in her new, crisp, pink pastel
dress, serves her husband ice tea on a
sunny, suburban, Sunday afternoon.

When yellow foam mixed with blood
ejects from his mouth, wetting his
gray trousers, and he falls from his
lawn chair in agony gasping for air,
she kneels beside him, grass staining
her new dress and asks him if his tea
is as spicy as his new secretary.

As her husband dies on the freshly mown
lawn, she calls her mother, to pick
up the children and then calls the police.
The children of course, will not
understand, for they are to young
to know that the blue moon, is not blue.

A Tip O’ The Hat

Madman on the street, recounting
His days with the queen.
“She was just a wee lass ye know.
Won’t ye give us a kiss on the cheek?”

“The dogs, they howl so mournfully
In the garden, for they have
but a scrap to eat.”

Chewing at his fingernail, he bends
His head to the cobblestones.
Music wafts from the pub,
The tune of his life.

“Oh, I do remember the time
She said, ‘Barnaby,’ ‘Barnaby
She said, won’t ye come in here
And talk wit me? Won’t ye now?’”

“An’ I said, Aye, I will. An’ she
gave me sweets ta eat,
an’ life was good.
She gave me sweets.”

And he went about his way,
a tip of the hat to some and
to others he paid no mind.

I Will See You In My Dreams

My days are longer now,
because you’re not there.

They are lonelier now,
without you to talk to.

My hands are more idle,
without yours to hold.

My thoughts have less meaning,
without you to tell them to.

I have no direction now,
without you to come home to.

But I will see you again.
I will see you in my dreams.

There we will laugh,
and dance, and love.

There we will hold hands.
There, we will be together.

I will go on,
I will make life worth living.

But it will not be the same.
Not without you.

And I will see you again.
I will see you in my dreams.

I Am

I am the son of a man
with calloused hands,
who had dirt and grease
permanently pressed
into the lines of
his knuckles.

I am the son of a women
who worked hard all
her life, raising me
and my brother. She
worked a switchboard
and helped college
students find their way.

I am the father of
of three great kids
who I helped find
their way.

I am many things
but these, I am
most proud of.

Watching Life

I cut my finger on the
dulled and stained
edge on the blade of my
pocket knife.
The blood runs quickly,
bright red as gravity
pulls it to the white sheet
of paper that lies on the
table, dark, almost black
as it is absorbed into
the carpet beneath my feet.

Thickly flowing from my
finger, I stand mesmerized
as drops splatter on my shoe,
the carpet, and the kitchen
floor as I finally move to
the sink to let the blood
drops mix with water on
the bottom of the sink fresh
from the tap that I ran
moments before cutting myself.

The blood joins water droplets
and begins to flow toward
the drain mimicking a river
who’s water finds the easiest
path. I stand and watch as
my life seeps out through
the hole I created at the end
of my finger. Platelets rush
through my blood stream and
work to stop the flow, keep
the life inside.

And I do nothing but watch.

Today

Today
the day
THE day
like any other, you suppose.
It should be memorable
it should be…

You stand in line at
the grocery store
waiting.

In front of you, a person
whose card won’t work.
The manager is called.
Behind you, impatient people.

Your car had ice
on the windows.
You scraped until your fingers
were frozen, and waited
in the house thinking,
someone could steal my car
running in the driveway.

The store was warm,
fogging your glasses.
Someone said hello.

The beat of your heart
in your temple as you
wonder if your card will work
as you watch the
frustration of those
in line,

with you,

My Dog, Insomnia

A large orange moon hangs
above the horizon,
like nothing else does.
At 1 o’clock in the morning
I walk my dog, insomnia.

Thoughts swirl, ebb and flow
as if my mind is a
great ocean and I
on a small raft, float
upon the surface
at it’s discretion.

My dog sees something
behind us and as I turn
I see a cat following.
Dead cat walking, I think,
if it gets too close.

Geese on the water make
small disturbed noises
as we move along the path.
No people walking at this hour,
only the occasional car.

The ocean’s depths are
filled with thoughts,
memories.
I can’t remember where
I put my keys but a hot
summer day when I was
six years old fills me
me with nostalgia.

Ghosts of memory jitter
and jump like little maniacs
in a bouncy castle and I,
at 2 o’clock in the morning
write these words.

On this first day of
September the air is cool,
summer having gone
without my noticing.

Changes have come, fast
and furious like a
high speed train, each
car bringing a life changing
event. I’m getting left behind.

So I walk my dog, Insomnia.
She sniffs everything,
enjoying this new experience
in the dark while I
stumble behind her, wondering
what the hell I’m doing here.

Zen In The Driveway

dead-leaf-on-water

There is a little puddle
in the driveway
from yesterday’s rain
that now has
a fringe of white
lacy ice around it’s edges,
as if it is trying to close
itself off from the
frigid air above.
And leaves roll
across the ground
with an old paper
sound, blown by a wind
that feels like it came
from the North Pole.
One leaf carried by the
wind lands in the puddle
and floats. A crazy
boat on a calm sea, it
bumps the icy edges
and fine shavings of
ice fall to the water
where they melt
and become the puddle.
And the water reflects
the clear blue sky
where yesterday dark
clouds rolled and heaved
rain and snow showers
down on us as we ran
for the door and safety
and warmth. And grabbed
by the wind the door
banged against the house
before I could pull
it closed.
An edge of the leaf
dips below the water’s
surface and the leaf
fills and like a boat
with a hole it sinks
as the air warms and melts
the ring of ice and the
surface of the water
ripples with the wind.

A Thought For Today

dark-tower
Thoughts come sometimes, like a little
dog yapping on the periphery of
consciousness, nagging, needling.
And sometimes like a handful
of sand tossed into a mechanism
of gears, grinding, insistent.
There is darkness on the horizon
brought on by madmen in laboratories
mixing potions of control,
of dominance.
Dark towers rise in the distance
as armies march against their own
people, black flags waving.
No more rubber bullets and mace.
The ammunition is copper and steel.
The dogs of war howl for blood
and people scream as their
rights and freedoms are taken
like an animal sucking
marrow from a bone.
Sometimes thoughts, brought
on by reality, are dark.

Autumn Storm

night-storm
Rolling thunder long and low, rattles
the glass pane in the old front door.
Tattered shingles run free with rain
as wind plays at their corners,
attempting to set them free.
Lightning casts stark shadows
throughout the old dark house.

A rap at the back door and she shuffles
with her light to reveal a stranger
standing in the Autumn storm.

In the warmth of her kitchen
his clothes steam like the hot coffee
she’s offered and drip onto the
bare hardwood floor bereft of
paint, these many long years.
His car he says, is broken down.

He, a salesman of children’s books
for which she has no need, tells
of his many years of travel alone
across the country while she
lived her entire life on this farm.

He asks to use her phone and calls
for a tow while enjoying another
cup of coffee. The truck arrives
and an offer of money is refused.
The company was nice she says.
He thanks her and heads back
into the dark night.

She dowses her light and readies
for bed, and dreams of traveling
the world in a broken down car.