mother reading me
“little red riding hood”
peter rabbit tales
first grade primer
dick jane spot
see the funny animal”
ted mike casey
kids finding sesame street
bert ernie bigbird
abcs counting to ten
now graybeard climbing cliffs
seeking rogue coyote
looking for wisdom
deep yellow eyes
Archive for April, 2010
mother reading me
mother and father
fleeing poor michigan farms
banker owned acres
like midwestern orphan train
‘placed out’ kids
raised in methodist “goodness”
white bread Americana
taught sex not delightful
sunday visits to cemetery
visiting relatives graves
dad always working
money buying new things
mom pushing culture
piano lessons high school band
rare summer family picnics
sandwiches and lemonade
pressed to get a job
move up ahead
finding my real self
what i was born for
suddenly old man
not believing in heaven
empty eulogy words
waiting morphine narrative
or .357 wisdom
wondering what happened
to ancient family album
faded brown photos
smith and anderson past blood
garage sale bargain
vanished in dumpster
dusty archive shelf
This is not a poem about romancing war
or a lament for dead soldiers.
I can’t speak for men and woman who die
for absolutely nothing
or fake sheiks and oil-slicked dreams
and secret mercenary hutches
and goofy governors swearing
allegiance to gods that kill.
This is not for smirking presidents
This is not about children in empty rooms
wives with no one to hold, credit card debt
Egyptian women who want to drive cars
Christ blow up dolls, the Indian trinket on your rearview mirror
or crying in your beer because you can’t afford
diapers for your parakeet or your mate.
This is not for poets who swoon possums in the night
and collect MacArthur Grants hooting, “Me myself said.”
This poem is not about Legislators wearing Exxon tampons
tacked to retirement packages.
This poem is not trying to clean the windshield that is you.
This is not a poem about driving cars you can’t afford
This is not about the cell phone
you can’t put down for fear of death or loneliness.
This is not about last year’s grief, or me or
lack of confusion, or kings, or queens
or cross–eyed donkeys that hold hands
with your life these days, or is it?
(This is about Sgt. John Mele, 25, from Bunnell, Florida, killed in Iraq
14 September 2007,who left a wife and six year old boy)
Thinnes reached into the canvas bag strapped across his chest and took out a small bottle wrapped with a pink ribbon and presented it to her.
“What’s this?” she asked, puzzled by the offer.
“Something from an admirer.”
Shyly he shook his head. “No, ma’am, I’m just the messenger.”
Her sliver of a mouth widened into a cryptic grin. “Well, thank you, young man,” she said, after accepting the bottle.
Moments later, back on his Italian racing bike, Thinnes swerved around the corner and headed north toward the river. The next delivery on his schedule was to the manager of a vintage clothing store on the edge of Chinatown. He had three more bottles to deliver then he would be through for the day and would not have earned a penny. Swift Spokes, the courier service he rode for, had volunteered its riders to participate in a fund-raising project, sponsored by the Children’s Hospital, to benefit heart disease research. The idea, according to a hospital spokesman, was to spread the message of love across the city. Specifically, people were encouraged to donate ten dollars for the opportunity to write a love note to someone and have the note placed inside a bottle and delivered to the person. When he arrived at the banquet room of the hospital this morning, he was startled to find two long cafeteria tables set up with manual typewriters at which people could write their love notes. He had never seen so many typewriters in his life, only the couple in the attic at his grandmother’s house. He was amazed how loud they were, making as much clatter as dancers on a hardwood floor.
Abruptly, a horn blared, and on his left a dented panel truck roared by, the driver blaring his horn twice more.
Bastard, he thought, pedaling hard as he strained to make it through the intersection before the light changed.
“Bastard!” he shouted once he got through, though he doubted if the guy could hear him above the buzz of traffic.
In another moment, weaving around a fuming station wagon, he spotted a clock on the side of an insurance building. It was almost three-thirty and he figured he should be at the vintage clothing store in a couple more minutes. Curiously he wondered if the manager would be as composed as the last recipient or would she squeal with laughter as two women did earlier this afternoon. One even embraced him as if he had been the person who sent her the note.
“I can barely make out a grocery list, let alone write something from my heart,” he admitted to her after explaining the purpose of the peculiar project.
“Whatever, sir, you’ve certainly made my day.”
“And I hope whoever receives a note from you is half as happy as I am.”
For a split instant, as he waited to collect his first batch of bottles this morning, he sat down at one of the typewriters and attempted to write something but was unable to put together a coherent sentence and got up and left in frustration. It was always difficult for him to articulate what was in his heart, the right words proving as hard to find as pebbles in a cloudy stream.
As he swept around the next corner, he spotted a green lantern gleaming above the front door of the vintage clothing store and immediately looked for somewhere to lock up his bike. There wasn’t a rack in sight so he figured he’d secure it to one of the many parking signs on the block and dismounted and walked his bike toward a bent sign right in front of the clothing store. Through the cluttered display window he noticed a young woman with frosted hair behind the counter and assumed she was the one who would be receiving the bottled note. Her smile was so lavish and infectious he was sure she had received many tokens of affection in her short life and doubted if she would be upset if she didn’t receive one today.
Impulsively he got back on his bike, turned around, and pedaled past the store toward Chinatown. There was a hostess at one of the restaurants there he was very fond of but was unable to convey his feelings to her so he decided to present her with the note intended for the clothing store manager. Maybe then she would realize how much he thought of her. It was worth a try, he decided, as he crouched over the handlebars and raced down the narrow street.
i’ve driven myself nearly mad
in the rain
staring at stacks of VHS
on a shelf next to
a can of bug-spray
and a small stack of books
someone once published
containing my early, angsty, poesies.
just the other day
a kid flipping burgers asked me how i do it
how i keep on living without working
with a wife
without a job
doing exactly what i want
and nothing else.
i had no real answer for him.
doesn’t he know
that i live in a tiny tin box
and that that’s all a man needs to be happy?
just a woman and a few cans of beans
everything else is just as useless as
the bug-spray and unmarked VHS
on the shelf
my bedroom wall.