Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 - the end

to mom and dad,
uncles and aunts
neighbors Phil and Rosey,
the kids i grew up with,

the women i've loved,
to my kids and theirs.
stack ‘em up,
all the way down.

to creeks jumped
and those fallen into.
bridges crossed,
those ducked under.

to all frogs and the fish,
the birds and the clouds,
rain in the forest,
over brambles, through fields,

and down long highways.
in sun, snow and heavy sea,
flowers, weeds and vegatebles - this is it:
a salute to the finish

of the first decade,
in this twenty-first Century.
for bygones well done,
the best to you from me.

Monday, December 27, 2010

postcard from Rome

postcard from Rome
also to Rome
if like say you live here and I’m
sending this to you. but don’t kid yourself.

i am sandwiched like peanut butter and whatever,
between languages and cultures,
an example of contradiction and/or combination,
that, more or less, function, even thrive

or seem to, in this chaotic basket of the active world.
not an angle, not a corner.
a catch-trapping thing,
like a basket.

a walk over the bridge Ponte Sisto before noon.
where one can see the Vatican.
or two can see the same thing.
ponte means bridge, none the less.

less is more? by the way,
whoever said that should go back to school.
perform penance by subtraction, and quit
making up esoteric sayings like that.

when i cross (the bridge again)
the Japanese accordion guy will be on the bridge.
i will drop un euro into his case,
then go straight ahead toward Fontana Trilusa

then on into Trastevere and lunch.
Chinese food with our friend Maria.
it’s our usual Sunday in Rome, or call it Roma
if you’re Italian or if like say you live here.

you know, they call this city Roma,
and the Roma are the people from Romania,
who are also called the Gypsies,
but are on the wrap-around periphery of this poem.

and did I ever tell you
the Chinese lady who runs the restaurant
is also called Maria, and she picked that name herself
because her Chinese name is unpronounceable for Italians.

oh, i never say an euro, it’s always un euro.
cause i’m not speaking English
when i’m talking euro. hai capito?
who can blame me?

well there you have it, now mark the bridge
with an X on the picture postcard,
and write – “we are here”
that pretty much tells the story and should do just fine.

Friday, December 24, 2010

hot ride

a can full of fish, this bus
all gray; water and oil nearly dripping off the walls.
sealed tight, standing,
packed for shipping, we are.

temperature rising, heater on.
not a window open.
must be sales on perfumes, colognes and smelly food,
or they’re rubbing it on people as they board.

jerky stops,
jerky starts
hold on tight,
it’s good training for pole dancers.

everyone on cell phones
talk it up, talk it down.
welcome aboard,
we’re going to town.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

we svelte

she claims it is a sign of getting old
when i mornings move myself mumbling
whether to wear a belt or suspenders.

yet, i never have to back up
at the check out counter
to reach into my front pants pockets.

it is a known fact of material mechanics,
pants often stretch
from repeated washings.

spiritly jaunting across the street,
my trousers sag,
legs flapping in the wind.

obviously, persons of girth
never have to suffer
what we svelte must endure.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

like old times

pizza, a slice for me, a short walk away,
just across the bridge; then looking,
almost shopping with M.
this is the holiday spirit, about that.

she went on, while back i went
for a white plastic plate and fork,
and steamy hot carbonara, 2.40 euro and tasty.
with the workers and locals in line, got mine ,

ate on the street outside,
propped up on a road thing,
that stuck up there as an indicator
and good like-for to lean on.

for every season
there is a reason
turn, turn, turn
onwards and upwards.

Monday, December 20, 2010

sixteen chimneys

sixteen chimneys
close together
like the wet slippery street cobblestones
close together on one small roof top

maybe there were more
lost count
street stones, gaps, spaces, irregular
wet and slippery.

thinning out for the holidays, traffic
light, so they go faster
amid patter of many feet
and the mutter of motorinos.

at Pasquali’s ordered pasta gregia – grey
eating it when
M. said it was
pomodori and zucchini

i had enough red pepperincino, hot peppers, on it
hadn’t noticed it was not grey
cause while i ate
i was still thinking about chimneys.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

papery thin

papery thin
that’s my skin,
physically, metaphorically
and that’s okay, it’s a fine day,

and i’m used to my skin,
been around with it a while.
just today we had coffee together,
even wear the same shoe size.

now watching sun pouring in.
first light, my favorite.
dawn’s early,
as it should be.

got me thinking, as the sky
blue poco loco shines from above
in this doggie dog world. i don’t know why.
must be the heat, or the lack thereof.

so, what’s new?
how’s you been in your skin?
staying well? getting enough rest?
do your best. i’m pullin’ for you.

savor the moments,
laminate these layers of time in your head.
and don’t worry when you go to bed, you can’t know
what to expect, ‘cept it keeps getting better.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

thunder and snow

a week before Christmas,
in cold enough Rome,
clack rattling hail and rolling boom thunder
shakes walls and smacks windows at home.

looking out, blurry blue snowgusts and
patches of ice, show by street lamp light,
now in dark, and still wind,
hard rain falls tonight.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

the unmarked bus

what is it? no number.
here comes chance.
an opportunity?
boarded it, to where it was going.

found a seat easily
because two uniformed
ticket checkers were aboard.
somehow arrived at the termini.

on the street a lad was selling colorful plastic,
blobs to throw on the sidewalk, where
it splatters like an egg. then, as if a sci-fi movie
it immediately forms into a ball.

talked to friends Rocco and Stefano
at the pizza box, then to Nicola, Cecelia,
Teressa and Corine at Sfizio, meaning whim,
where i enjoyed red yolk eggs for breakfast.

M. joined me for coffee, we walked to Piazza Vittorrio
and to Mas, which means more in Spanish.
four floors of store like a maze.
the basement alone winds on forever,

with at least twelve rooms
and connecting, elongated,
narrow, irregular levels
of corridor.

tried on pants in a dressing room
where behind a curtain the entire contents
of that room was one wooden knob,
mounted head high on the wall. no seat.

and then caught an old tram that ran on tracks,
circled Piazza Maggiore the magnificent, huge
stone Roman gate where centuries ago
you entered to get into the city.

switched to a bus,
got off near home.
it was one o’clock.
time for lunch.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

route change

a.

on to Pasqual’s for polenta,
something not on M.’s diet.
I ate knowing,
but she abstained.

i mentioned it Wednesday,
said i’d go Friday,
she said polenta is Thursday.
how’d she remember? i ate. it was good.

b.

opposite the restaurant is the building
where Samuel Morris lived around 1831,
eleven months. long enough to earn a
marble plaque on the exterior wall

that plaque says he invented
the electric telegraph magnetic writer.
which means, with different words,
about the same thing in English,

c.
then boarded the small electric bus
and rode into a student demonstration
with traffic stammering, then blocked.
we gyrated around as best we could, the driver did.

having just eaten and
had a few glasses of wine to boot,
the days was right to ride around
in that little electric charm.

there were four other passengers.
to help talk away the ride.
while the bus made a circuitous route
to get around blocked traffic.

warm and sunny,
he drove us well.
no one minded the
improvised route.

in the end he got us
nearly where we
all were going
in the first place, anyhow.

note

the unfortunate part
of not making note
is forgetting what it was
that i never wrote

Saturday, December 11, 2010

we have to love it

first it kicks me,
i nearly fall,
then with all nearly lost
it loves me.

office of immigration
twenty years of doing it legal.
now take metro and then bus
to fight the crowd.

of twenty-one service windows,
four are open.
several times we go there
to be treated like dirt.

at home, alberto’s gallery
is right around the corner.
then, Campo Dei Fiori
just another minute away.

see old friends
and meet new,
early evening,
a pause to chat.

a movie tomorrow,
minute walk, no more.
got wine at the shop
on the way home.

it is the city
outside our door.
when it loves us
we have to love it back.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

we were put here

we were put here
born, planted, however,
to do things over and over
until we get life right.

so we may as well
get on with it.
it’s our nature to struggle,
not to cause trouble.

be kind, do well, .
stack up good deeds,
move on the side of the light.
it’s quite a ride, hang on tight.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

gray dawn

gray dawn and hard to
get up cold mornings, no kidding.
zero centigrade, freezing like 32 F.
spells Rome winter.

have to get going now,
Alberto’s art show
at eleven. Sunday morning? something new.
friends to greet. nice time.

home for lunch and a while,
then bus 87 to Colle Albani,
that’s way out a ways, way.
directly we climbed into a pasticciera.

that means pastry place. write that down.
it’s a good word to learn. tasty.
stick around, no kidding.
i’ll help you squeak by.

plastic bag heaven

plastic bag heaven is being relocated,
it’ll have to move, no doubt.
“there is no going back”
said the Italian minster of the environment.

in January, Italy will be done with them.
not ministers,
only the bags this time.
a giant leap for mankind.

why just the other day
i threw out many bags and wondered,
a thought too large to form,
an idea whose time has come

or will soon, Merry Christmas
and then goodbye bags,
i mean it, at least someone does,
that’s for sure,

it’s the law.
will our world be the same?
what shall we do?
oh my, what'll we put stuff in?

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

outside in the rain

outside in the rain this morning.
walked over, enjoyed it.
thirty minutes early at the appointed place,
the witches bar, la strega.

closed, but known to locals
as if it were still there.
not waiting for James today,
it is Giacomo, his dad.

called him at nine thirty-three
to say i am American and he’s 3 minutes late.
he understood the humor. everyone waits for
Giacomo and we Americans live by the clock.

he arrived and drove off in heavy traffic
and rain. oh yes, i was riding with him.
i rode behind him. a refrigerator was in front
and in back with me also.

heading for the mountains
on the high road we saw
layers of solid fog
between the mountain peaks.

we got to the quacky little town
if you ask what that means,
let me call it a charming, quaint
very old stone village teaming

with only the sort of mountain villagers
you’d imagine could live remotely.
not bad quacky, good quacky,
all the way up, all the way down and sideways.

on our way back to Rome
we passed a flock of sheep on our left,
Giacomo surreptitiously waved to them.
i noticed this tiny gesture and commented.

he explained if you see
sheep on your left side
it brings you money.
although that did not explain to me his waving at them.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

giving thanks

the pilgrim’s Mayflower didn’t pass this way,
not Rome, Italy. an email from M. told me
she’s off to my brother’s for a family dinner.
that’s how i found out it is today.

went out this morning to bus away,
to the large strange market Esquilino.
first though, i wandered a bit, then decided
i already had enough vegetables for soup.

took coffee at one of the remaining old bars,
for old times sake, in celebration of the day.
this bar remains leftover from the Nineteenth Century,
while most places change, for the sake of change.

i passed into the piazza of Chiesa Nuova.
paused in a steam of golden sun, to think, to rest.
a familiar beggar quickly glanced, quietly went by.
evidently he remembered this time, i am a local.

then Campo dei Fiori. faces i know.
jokes, calls and small talk abound.
sat on the ledge at the base of the stature of Bruno
in the warm hold of morning sun glow.

Prospero, the veteran salesman, as of late
it's a plastic tool that cuts veggies into squiggles,
who says a few words of banter in many languages,
has a man working for him now. to sell to tourists.

Prospero came over to where i sat,
we’ve spoken many times. said he remembered,
waving, pointing, when i painted in the market everyday.
there and there. memories of the ebbing last century.

we talked of the old and current changing times,
of those come and gone, of this market now for tourists.
he is older and played these streets as a ragamuffin.
i'v known these waves of change a meager twenty years.

much of the old has been discarded, renewed modern.
he recalled the beauty of the faded unpainted stone exteriors.
i told him our building’s 400 year old worn smooth marble steps
have been replaced by sharp edged cheaper new ones.

then nearly home i saw my friend Franco, wood worker.
23 years in his unchanged ancient shop on our lane,
where more than four hundred years ago
it was named for the hat makers, via dei Cappellarri.

in these hard times Franco’s landlord has tripled the rent.
Franco is saddened to be leaving to an area farther out.
i will miss him and the picturesque shop that is sure to change,
a left over. as fewer and fewer of the old shops remain.

again another beggar passed, going the opposite way.
with sad face he called back to me, “Ho Fame.”
readers, that means i am hungry. what do you say?
and this morning i learned Thanksgiving's this day.

surely not only the poet has heart,
and feelings run deep as large fish in great rivers.
whether warm or icy, under clouds of rain or sunny skies,
we must accept life as it is given, and should give thanks in return.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

another rainy day

another rainy day.
the only people on the street
were selling umbrellas.
need a back up? or bigger?

from the corner where i stood
i could see seven or eight umbie salesmen.
like mushrooms in the spring
they pop out when it rains.

by the train terminal is our favorite breakfast spot,
for familiar friendly faces and good food.
Sfizio it is.
the name has reverted

to the real name on the sign
Sfizio. translates to – whim.
no longer Rocco’s, as we called it.
he’s two doors down, where he began.

at Sfizio i spoke to Teresa and Cecilia
Corine and Nicola. ordered and sat down,
just then – Corine had the radio turned up
to hear their horoscopes.

there were no other customers seated,
one or two for order and go,
came and went.
i like a quiet breakfast.

a man came in then,
set a suitcase down,
right in the middle of the floor
and then left.

didn’t hear what he said.
i knew the case wasn’t heavy
so i doubted it was a nuclear explosive,
but thought about it as i ate.

my eggs were already scrambled sufficiently,
so was i. then the man came back to eat,
then i drank my coffee,
then bid all a good day when i left.

a dead fish

a fish died in our pond today
the first to go in eight years or so
not a floater, lying on the bottom
on his side, all alone

i scooped him out
laid him in the garden
and said words of goodbye,
he was white, formerly orange

i call it him
instead of it or she
don’t know why
surely doesn’t matter

the next day he was gone
don’t think he resurrected
something recycled him for dinner
so some good came out of it




I happened on this in the archives. It was from a year ago. Now it's out again, for you.

Monday, November 22, 2010

went to the dentist

went to the dentist,
haven’t seen this one in five years
so i missed my bus stop.
had to walk back up the steep hill.

a delivery truck was there.
a man carried on his shoulder
a huge refrigerated something that
looked like a cold white leg of elephant .

at a small outside market
got two bananas, 6 tangerines,
a pound mixed vegetables for soup.
very low cost, it's out of the center.

on the upper street i asked directions.
the dentist was two steps further.
took the small elevator to the third floor,
couldn’t get out.

doors opened to a flat wall.
i read all the signs twice,
then found the other door
on the rear wall of the elevator.

at the only door the nice lady said
the dentist was one floor down.
i apologized to her.
although the sign outside said it was this floor.

in the dental waiting room a newspaper headline
said China invades the USA.
also front page story, the Harry Potter film
was blood and sex.

saw the dentist and remembered
why my last visit to him was five years ago.
i didn’t like him.
he gave me an estimate for 1,345 euros work.

the receptionist made three appointments.
first one way later this afternoon.
in less than an hour i was home.
called and cancelled my dental appointments.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

half a bag of butterflies

half a bag of butterflies,
that’s what i made
with green sauce
store bought.

i swear i didn’t
put it in my cart
it sort of floated there like butterflies do.
oh, i just tattered my poetic license.

for you rookie cookers, it's easy,
it's written on the bag.
all i had to do was count to twelve.
minutes, that is. presto.

now, pesto – that’s the sauce
i knew it would come to me.
like, when i saw it in the store
and it seemed a good idea.

ate half a bag
cause that’s what i cooked.
thought to save some for later.
saved the dishes to clean up instead.

here’s how it happened.
first i ate a third,
thought that might be enough.
then had seconds.

now there was only a third left,
hardly enough to heat up later,
and i didn’t plan eat a snack between meals,
so i downed it at onecet.

Oncet is an old Southern U.S. expression that I heard many times from a lady when I was growing up. Can't spell it, can't find it in the dictionary or google. Then again, perhaps also related, my dad used to say chimley.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

at San Silvestro

it was noon when
i stepped off the busy street
into the quiet courtyard
at the church of San Silvestro.

didn’t go in to see john the Baptist’s head again.
there are a few in Rome,
john’s head, that is.
i’ve seen a couple.

here the courtyard brick walls are adorned with
fragment marble pieces bearing inscriptions, some
carved graffiti, from posted public notices and grave
markers a few hundred,to more than a two thousand years ago.

blocked from wind by tall yellowed travertine walls,
in a streaming beam of sun i sat outside,
on an old, smooth worn white marble bench,
to tie my shoe and consider.

i didn’t plan on considering.
my intention to be there
was to tie my shoe.
but since i was here anyway . . .
.
it’s a fine old courtyard
if it were in my back yard
i’d be able to do nothing for a while and observe,
but that is difficult here

when i had a single purpose
for my pause in this place
and really should
be moving along.

it’s another spot where tourists
and the prayerful pass.
most without inclination to sit and consider.
even those who come to go inside to pray

have other things on their minds.
but i, with no intention for being there,
other than to tie my shoe,
took the moment to soak in beauty.

and that reminds me of something ,
this morning when i awaoke it occurred to me
how everyone is living their life
as fast as they can.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

to Esquilino - the huge farmers market

on the 70 near Santa Maria Maggiore
the large dark church on a hill in the city,
saw a young man in his twenties
dressed in two shiny dark grey trash bags,

seated back against the wall with stocking cap
and full beard, a faraway look in this eye.
a large decorated cardboard box in front of him,
presumably for you to throw money into.

the bus stopped close to the market.
i know the routine,
we'd done it many times.
gotta eat, today i go it alone.

first a coffee and a warm sweet roll for one fifty.
told the guy the coffee was good, i noticed.
smiling he said, he new it was good, cause he made it.
that’s what my Polish grandmother used to say, didn't tell him.

85 cents for three bananas,
gave 90 with the thought he can keep the change.
five and penny coins are ridiculously small and annoying.
he interrupted my thought to give me back twenty cents

don't think twice
it's all right,
Bob Dylan got that
the way it is.

got a huge, solid red work-of-art of a pepper - 47 cents.
a small pizza with red sauce to take home for an euro.
had breakfast, bacon two eggs, a hot roll,
coffee and orange juice for 5 euro.

said good byes and started off.
a woman on the bus
wore a tribal head wrap,
and an intriging red patterned dress. mysterious.

all in a days venture
into the dark heart of the city,
for a big trip to the famers market.
started raining, and hard, a minute after i got home.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday thin clouds

Sunday thin clouds,
seventy degrees,
air is still.
is it really mid November?

as is our Sunday custom, i walk to Trastevere.
on the ancient stone bridge over
i give a euro
to the accordion player from Japan.

soon i am seated at the back table,
under the awning,
opposite the church Santa Maria,
beyond the fountain in the center of the piazza.

first coffee and then a spremuta,
that’s fresh squeezed orange juice,
on this day quiet, yet alive with hushed chatter.
Luciana arrives with an amica from Firenze,

then my friend Maria shows up.
later she and i go to the Chinese restaurant
to partake in our Sunday usual.
the owner at the restaurant asks.

everyone had asked where is M.
yes, even the accordion player on the bridge.
two weeks, i tell them. i’m the advance man,
she’s fall cleanup raker.

walking back with my supper,
leftover lunch in a bag, i marvel at the beauty
as the last rays of today’s sun spill gleaming,
this Roman golden and so very still mid-November.

Friday, November 12, 2010

here now

here now, this is Roma, this time.
the Buddha said -
all life is suffering.
maybe he had been here.

from a downtown bus i saw
a disheveled old lady on the sidewalk
seated legs out, smoking, drinking a beer,
talking and no one listening.

passed an old coffee bar,
where we had many coffees.
transformed, now it’s called Bali Way,
selling the true meaning of tourist junk.

the two old ladies in their eighties
who lived twenty years with shopping carts
outside, on the corner, by the train station,
are gone with no trace.

a decade ago taxis numbered four thousand,
now there are eight thousand.
is this why there are so few buses?
i walked, not for health, merely to get me there.

stopped where a friend
will open an art show in January
the owner gave me a ficus leaf.
said it is for luck.

the weather in Roma is like Ohio
much of the time.
then, there are other things
that are different.

i could cry.

Sunday, November 07, 2010

i don't know these fish

though i see them everyday.
we’ve nothing to say
i don’t know these fish.
not personally.

the sight of them brings me joy.
enough to smile a hi.
to expect reply,
is not my wish.

they’re in my pond
where they were born.
here they live in relative safety.
for a fish, that’s living - big time.

this morning it was above freezing, barely.
they were drift floating
in sun- lit clear water,
low, by the stems of the water lilies,
taking the appearance of
orange and white ornaments
on the tranquil filaments
of an underwater holiday tree

no motion.
i don’t blame them.
a living still life
with nowhere to go.
a happy day for them?
would they know?

winter is a month away,
when it will be frozen Ohio cold.
yes, the fish will be fine.
it’s nice of you to ask.
and when water warms
they’ll wake to swim again.
i’ll see them in the spring.

Friday, November 05, 2010

Kindled Spirit

so long used book sale at the library
you won’t have me to kick around,
for i’ve a Kindle. i think that’s how they spell it,
i’ll check and let you know.

ok, so, now i’m all out head down walking,
cause i’m reading.
going along without wires
like the circus aerial performer without a net,

only it’s not glide-walking overhead,
it’s normal reading.
all right then, not exactly like the circus.
so never mind,

except it’s great.
now, step aside,
i’ve a Kindle,
and that is how to spell it, exactly.

so long now, I’ve got to sink into it.
oh, by the way, M. got it for me.
it was very nice of her
to belly flop me into the 21st Century.

Monday, November 01, 2010

i'd rather write of specifics

i’d rather write of specifics,
where i’ve been, what i’ve seen,
like places on Blue Mountain
where walking’s so serene.

have i ever mentioned Crystal Spring
where rushed the clearest water ever?
the cleanest taste, the greatest feel,
it made my ankles cold to play in.

my thoughts must hold for minutes there,
for every where’s distraction,
calling me, calling me
for just an hour’s action.

fix my shingle screams the one,
then i think i’ll fall over, sites another,
i’m sure i’m a good idea, calls a third
and you’d better plan for me, recites one more.

take a note: i’m sure i like four lines best,
they tuck neatly in the nest.
to right a line until it's tight, and then another.
sister sight, sister smell, and sound the brother.

to me alligators

to me alligators don’t slither
they bask, in sun sleepy tired.
i’ve seen that in round moats at the zoo.
them, being admired.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Frost

i figured something out, a little, i did.
my blog comments are out of order,
i think i didn’t reset something from Rome time.
don’t know what, or how to correct this.

so Annie’s second comment on that post
way back, that mentioned Tom, got ahead of mine.
either i’m slow, or she’s swift and nibble.
maybe both.

you got’a watch these little people.
and never trust a librarian anyway.
Oh, Annie, i was teasing you.
you know that, don’t you?

okay, now a story to tell.
i have a college professor friend, Rob Smith, who won
the Robert Frost poetry contest three years ago.
wait, i just remembered something . . .

Howdy Dowdy, the TV puppet –
his best friend was Buffalo Bob Smith,
no relation i suppose. anyway,
i’m sitting on a frost-like poem.

a poem more like Robert Frost than Robert Frost,
so if his mother read it she’d yell,
“Robert get home, supper’s on the table getting cold,
and wipe your feet a’fore you come in.”

well, this year, fifty years after i wrote it
i submitted my poem to the Frost Foundation contest.
unfortunately, there are no letters after my name.
so scratch me up simply as s.o.l.

now, the following is the poem.
it wasn't acknowledged in the contest,
but for me it’s a winner.
printed here for the first and maybe the last time.

Geeze, i wait a life time
and now here it is:

Knowledge: is what i call it


Since man’s meager time on earth
A period quite concise
We’ve sought to find our collective worth
And never are precise.

It seems that none who’ve suffered birth
Have been able to entice
Knowledge to enter at full girth
Or, to take one’s own advice.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

the sugar maple

the sugar maple
in lemon lime,
will change to gold,
pointing up leaf toes

to float away, away.
scattering and running,
skidding brittle rattles
on brisk wind in sun.

the season’s begun
an extravagant show all,
yielding full colors.
the wonder of fall.

Friday, October 22, 2010

plunder seekers

it was Squirrely Girl
eating nuts fast as she can.
packing on a little weight,
getting ready for winter.

reminds me of the way
my wife goes through
the sales table at the clothing store.
head down, no looking 'round, all business.

we give her peanuts now,
the squirrel i’m talking about,
she has a long winter ahead.
then, so do we all.

at least M. & i don’t live outside
with no soft blankies,
riding out blowing snow storms
somewhere high up in a tree.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

crosses on the side of the road

crosses on
the side of the road
mark the spot
where someone died.

as old as earth is,
if there was a cross
everywhere a death occurred
the world would be
packed with sticks.

you could hardly
walk or drive anywhere.
it’d be tough to get from
here to the bathroom.

so how are you
supposed to
have a nice day
?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

you are the winner

the biggest award i can imagine
is about sixteen feet long
shaped like and made entirely of ground hot dogs
you could put wheels on it

and roll it into a bonfire
and eat it with mustard
or wrap it up, stand on top, wave to all
and call it “have a nice day”

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

using Palin

they’re using Palin
to jump-start the GOP.
she’ll do whatever, for
cash, check or money order.

with new faces upcoming, the GOP
doesn’t want to be left on the outside,
the good old boys want business as usual,
cash check or money order.

money is the game & money breeds power.
jeeze i write this stuff and
it gives me the willies - i’d prefer
cash, check or money order.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

old stuff

some of my old stuff is special,
that’s why i keep it, plus -
i may need it someday.
that’s a possibility.

for sure, once i liked the objects,
enough to pile them around, pack ‘em in,
mixed with decoy common items.
that way my good stuff doesn’t stick out
and look obviously valuable.

it waits huddled in drawers.
including bells, knobs, hinges,
screws, levers, nuts and springs,
buttons, rope and wires,
wall hooks, unidentifiable gizmos and rulers,

in boxes, wooden, or cardboard.
on shelves, or piled in dark corners.
there’s chipped obsidian arrow heads,
beach shells, stones, bits of bones.
admittedly, some objects better than others,
all have been around the block.

souvenir pottery from Mexico,
old brushes that will be okay
if and when i clean ‘em some day.
worn shoes i may never wear again.
maps to locations i once thought to visit,
books, pamphlets from places no longer in business,
an old cowboy hat once treasured,
though i doubt i’ll ever have a horse
or be that young again.

yesterday i came upon two wooden coins,
one good for a beer at a bar burned down years ago.
on the other wooden coin is printed "one vote",
i know nothing more about it.
they are coins of equal non value.

the line between the good
and junky miscellaneous is fine,
a delicate distinction of subtle reason.

some objects that i hold
i’ll decide the fate of
some other season.

most things squirreled away,
though unimportant now,
evidently, upon a time,
once, had significance.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

someday

someday entertainment
will be a lifetime,
a multidimensional movie.
viewed from beginning to end,

the whole, walk-in, big screen enchilada.
from birth, through baby time,
holidays, family, school, playing,
growing up, dating, marriage.

family again, see 'em grow,
middle age rush,
old age creeping in,
and then the final curtain.

take it with a soft drink
and box of popcorn.
chew slowly,
digest a lifetime.

Friday, October 08, 2010

cell phone dilemma

major red alert,
cell phone is missing -
the pulse of my life line.
gone but not forgotten.

went back where i had coffee.
questioned everyone repeatedly.
most seemed honest in their replies.
evidently i didn’t leave my phone there.

staggered home dejected.
instead of crying right away,
dumped big trash can in the drive.
two cops driving by stopped to watch.

i put it all back,
took a half hour,
searching the sticky mess
a piece at a time.

then brilliant idea
struck like lightening. wow.
i asked the cops to call my cell number
and put it on speakers in their car.

if the rat face sleaze at the coffee place answers
i’ll recognize his wheezy voice.
from the squad car they let me dial,
misdialed my cell number several times.

chatted with interesting people,
talked longer with the nice ones
a few wrong numbers were angry,
cops were growing impatient.

i suggested, “Lend me a dollar, i’ll call
for a medium pizza, split it three ways,
if you drive us to pick it up.”
cops were unhappy.

head down, i kept dialing.
finally got the right number.
two seconds later
my pocket rang.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

one branch

one branch, some leaves
still green, connected
one trunk, some roots
unseen, inspected
by me, one day
still young, and aching
for answers, to questions
one moment, then nothing

why is there symmetry?
my eyes make it so
why is there hurry?
with no where to go
why not be nameless?
can there be formless?
sand grains all different
no snowflakes repeat
rain drops the same
each circle complete

in wood times - reprise

in wood times i've spent walking
gathering colors, tasting sounds
by ferns, tall grass, and animals
under the forest canopy, making rounds

flushing pheasants as i go
they streak off in a line
then to stop, a place i know
amid green berries on the vine

wild white rolling clouds above
reflect the light, contrast the blue
in nature's time i touch the love
and symmetry by which things grew

the wind plays light and sweet
with mint and closer scents
honeysuckle and wildflower complete
the multicolored firmament

at a small creek bank i pause to drink
and there, witness life within
a small plant reaches water's brink
the shoots are young and thin

where hours pass i cannot say
the sun marks shadows on the land
little voices beg me to stay
i promise trees, i'll come again

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

reprise

the writer's life, both of them

the little woman is telling me
a writer’s life’s too narrow
sighted only on what he can see
i see it like a winged sparrow

while the powerful princess whacks away
i’ve got to write my own, you see
let’s lift our hats to the writers work
without the Mcmurtrys where would we be

the saga ends all to soon
give me the great stories and actors to play
winter’s gone, it’s nearly June
be content writers know what to say

the words fly on like a wounded sparrow
as thought lines soar, rush and dart
nearly downed by the random arrow
coming to rest, so near the heart

i’ll labor on long as i am able
the ship goes down while runs the rat
i hear her say, “supper’s on the table”
now tell me, how’d she do that?


Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Sunday, September 26, 2010

just riding

M. driving, just riding i am.
only an hour.
feet up, back seat down time.

rain barks the glass. wipers beating,
sweeping water like sawdust chunks
and it takes me away,

under a dark arch of rain.
to the right a lonely fragment of blue sky.
behind us now. bye bye.

rolled into a service station. found:
a packed full, third- world construction zone,
where at the pumps the customer does the service.

major concrete cutting- saw noise
and white cement-dust clouds
blanket everyone and the dozen cars gassing up.

take me out,
lay me face up
toward the stars at night.

no wonder why i daydream
po box Wyoming, big sky country,
instead of living the reality.

to escape within the city.
tumbling along,
a little pretty, a little gritty.

it’s the kinda day makes me wanna
put my pen and notebook down,
buy a TV, fall into it, frown,

then close my eyes.
and hum my head off an on, in tune
with the background static.

Friday, September 24, 2010

1876

my first eighteen years
i lived in an old house across
from the old town hall, erected
the later part of the 19th Century.

the tall stone structure was planed,
erected and engraved with the year,
one hundred years after
the signing of the US Constitution.

along the line, i am sure,
people worked hard, even
fudged a bit with the timing,
and were pleased it came out that way.

1876 was carved in stone
for all to see, prominently
high on the face of the building,
just below the roof top towers.

from across the street i saw it
everyday i looked.
of course, it was there
even days i didn’t look.

though years have passed, and I’m sixty-five,
my feelings for that building haven’t changed.
i respected that old place.
they knew what they were doing.

now the house i lived in and that town hall,
along with the rest of downtown,
since, have been torn down.
urban renewal they called it,

and got new police fire and city quarters
a new post office out of it, and the old bank.
things like stores, several restaurants
many bars, two drugstores,

ice cream shops, news stand,
parking, the movie theater, the dairy,
public restroom and benches,
the old hotel, things for the little people

were taken away,
not to be returned.
now there’s space
in their place.

after my forty years away,
i’m back, one street over
and a few blocks down,
living in a home dating from 1838.

in 1876 a prominent citizen and minister
was half way through the
forty - one years
he had lived here.

the town hall was called the opera house
where shows and meetings were held.
i know the Reverend Samuel Marks,
co founder of the Mason’s Lodge,

buried under the tallest monument in
the old cemetery,
i know that Marks,
had visited that beloved hall.

thus giving new significance to me,
for a once prominent building
in this town,
that isn’t anywhere.

suddenly, i’m old,
and among the last
to remember the village,
and that beloved old building.

i will fondly remember
the old town hall and the life
the way it was; until i too, wash
into wherever memories go.

in what i've said there is nothing new.
it’s what old people always, have done and do -
holding dear to precious history,
bringing to mind how it used to be.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

same fields

same fields
different crops.
roads have grown,
they’re wider.
lots.

and lots
fewer stars at night,
so many cars
more trucks,
stacked double- deck trailors.

a freeway goes through now
the middle of where farms used to be.
where i knew green
so long ago

when my friends family
plowed long days.
where Indians lost arrow heads
right over there
and years later just walking along
we found them.
it was so easy
a kid could do it.

at dusk we helped
and closed the gate
when good dog
brought the cattle in from pasture.

we drank fresh cider
from great barrels
and slept between hay bales
in the barn

now in those same fields
the farm is gone
a golf course has come,
new houses have popped out of the ground
quick as mushrooms in the spring.

a neighbors’ dog
barks at night inside the house
to be let outside to pee.
if he’s a guard dog
he must be guarding the TV,

whatever you do -
Don’t touch that dial!
blink and you could miss
what is coming next
in these same fields.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

the electric company

spot lights on the site
of the twin towers in NYC
confused migrating birds.
had to turn the lights off
so birds would quit circling.

in these times
anything happens
my first question is
who’s making money on it?
cause what ever it is, in these times
the main objective is not the good of man.

easy into it

a few minutes talking
at the table
quiet Sunday morning
door open

as always, robin on urgent business
doves calmly sitting in the yard
air still, no breeze
autumn’s on the corner

night rain dampness lingers
inside our clocks tick away
gray Sunday morning beginnings
an easy start of another day

Friday, September 17, 2010

believe

if you don't smile
you don't believe
in flowers.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

party notice

headline in the paper,
read it over a guys shoulder.
43 million viewers watched Ken Burns
throw a baseball out at a game.

this is an opportunity.
if readership stays the same
i will have had 43 million
hits on my blog

in 21 thousand, five hundred
years, seven months
and three days.
that’s a Wednesday.

i’ll have to have
to have
the party that Friday.
BYOB




now in 21 thousand years
if i forget who Ken Burns is
remind me
remind me

Monday, September 13, 2010

test of endurance

cut my beard off - way.
left mustache mine,
trimmed like Hugh O’brien
as Wyatt Earp.

driving down the lane,
the city rescue truck
large as a wingless flying box car
pulls out in front of me
going 23 in a 35.
i exhaled slowly.

behind me, swoops to my bumper,
the milky white, lights on, Battle Star Galactica.
a sporty, bushy - bonde Klingon at the helm.
chewing either a wad of renegade rhino
or gum.
close as she was
i could hear her poppin’.

passing the golf course
the earthly remains of Euell Gibbons
in a large black late-model boat of a car
pulls out in front of everyone
going slow –w –w –l - y
obviously looking for flowers to eat.

thus i learned
why the marshal in the old west wanted everyone
to check their hardware,
instead of riding through town
packin’ loaded six-guns.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

September Eleven

sold our tv
years ago,
a few days after
we had seen enough.

got up late that morning.
as i entered the living room
m. had the TV on -
terrible news.

a newscaster on the street in Manhattan
a plane had hit . . .
that instant behind him we saw the second plane
soar into the tower

September Eleven
i recall the terrible day
planes excluded from the sky
after the event in Manhattan

i went outside to look
because there was one plane
unaccounted for
coming our way

and it was there, nearly overhead,
over Lake Erie,
the only thing in the sky.
halfway between Cleveland and Detroit.

i saw the large commercial jet turn.
that never happened before, never.
the only plane in the sky
and it looped completely,

made a circle
over the lake
and then headed back East
toward Pennsylvania.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

no dogs

no dogs, no friends, no air conditioning.
make a note: no friends this season.
they don’t know these closet poems exist,
it is no rhyme, for little reason.

let me cover what i’ve written
with my hand so no stranger sees.
pretending i am - doing this at the library
in air conditioned leather arm chair comfort.

no time for dogs.
no need explain,
had one before,
don’ need one again.

there is heat going on,
and one more thing:
also there is plenty
of no air conditioning.

our unit is down,
away mechanically, and electrically,
imploded, internally squat ,
no boom.

could have gone to air conditioner school
i’ll day dream about that
while i wait in line
to take out a loan for a service call.

now if i were writing this at the library
i’d be in absolute comfort - way!
and maybe that would make all the difference,
words would flow and not stick together either.

sweet corn is very good this year,
thought i’d tell you a good thing.
had more today with plenty of butter.
envy me,

and while your at it
do me a favor - envision me
eating warm fresh sweet corn lightly salted,
seated in cool conditioned air comfort.

Monday, September 06, 2010

another space between

another space between
on a bus way out again,
way up denial, 27 march,
one month into chronic birthday digestion

make a note
sound waves, light waves, ocean waves
slow waves, fast waves, wet waves
more stuff you don’t have to Google

on the bus with folks from Nigeria
the six year old kid was quiet and observant
obviously not a TV junky, make a note -
dots of sun light from a board with holes - do it

not thinking of you, like the two end to end
parking spaces open and a one car pulls in the middle
and essentially takes two
he was not thinking of you either

deep up denial again, but it’s all true
i could tell we were far out of the city
when we saw a guy leading two camels,
at least they were on the sidewalk

sometime notes i make on the bus
can’t be deciphered because of the jiggle
but i know what i saw
about the camels i mean, i do so verify

note: when Italians count on their fingers
unlike America where one is the index finger
here, one is the thumb
just thought i’d let you know

m. just read a news story online
about a man arrested for trying to revive
a road kill possum
with mouth to mouth resuscitation

then TomC writes to say
he couldn’t digest his cornflakes or something
cause i skipped a day
pshaw! maybe when i was ten

i could have skipped all day.
what i did was lose a day just like
Ray Miland in Lost Weekend, Billy Wilder, 1945,
in which he played an alcoholic

and i just saved you more Googling
maybe Google lost some money then
and/or will make it up
somewhere else

note - if i wrote this in paragraph form
and you printed it, it’d waste money
on ink for big letters and periods
or space there of


(reprise from march 2010)

Thursday, September 02, 2010

brushing teeth, mine

brushing teeth, mine
i fell asleep brushing my teeth
thinking how my grandmother used to like
Saturday TV with the midgets wrestling

"Your mother's mother?" she asked
"Yes," I said.
"That figures."

now what was that supposed to mean?
i gave her a sharp look, i did
you should have seen it.

anyway i didn't really fall asleep
zoned out into brushing land
more like it.

a mild trance state
perfectly normal
it happens, right?

(reprise from March '08)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

these are the Amish

neat and country clean,
shiny faces,
bowl cut blond hair boys,
girls heads white wrapped,

chin to ankle dresses.
hand made clothing
neatly pressed.
brains stilled of the noise.

save click brush sweeping of the brooms - whisk, whisk.
and heavy clip, clop stepping horses
pulling black carriages.
the family is a unit.

we turned in at the hand made sign
but they were fresh out of eggs.
notice also said donuts.
girl said they had ‘em.

gave the nod, she left her push mower,
to kitchen storage out back.
walked barefoot the length of the gravel drive
in her ankle length gray swaying dress.

returned with an assortment in a plastic bag,
seven or eight doughnuts for a stiff five bucks,
weighing in slightly less than near a pound apiece.
puffy fresh, sticky sweet, tasty mighty good.




why wasn't there a coma after tasty?
cause the rule is: you write 'em any way you like.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

simplify

occasionally friends tell me things
and i recognize the words
that i told that person
some years before.

now a good friend has told me
he remembers and benefits
from something i told him,
“Simplify”.

i thought a credit to his intelligence
for him to remember who told him.
then i had to look it up
to see where i read the thought.

It was Henry David Thoreau who wrote in Walden -
"Where I Lived and What I Lived For"
“Our life is frittered away by detail... Simplify, simplify, simplify! ... Simplicity of life and elevation of purpose.”

Walden Pond was on land owned by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Henry David Thoreau once wrote
to his friend and mentor, Emerson,
"Simplify, simplify, simplify."

Emerson wrote back,
"Don't you think
one 'simplify'
is enough?"

Thursday, August 19, 2010

my fortune cookie said

my fortune cookie said
well, it didn’t say
it read,
that is to say, i read.

should i start over?
that’s not what i in the cookie read,
but it seems a good idea,
starting over.

if we have a choice,
if we’re not rich enough, healthy enough,
or have loved enough,
food to eat, place to sleep.

let’s work on it.
make our own cookie fortune.
print it by hand,
send it to ourselves

with insufficient postage,
then act surprised when
the postman returns it to our door,
i mean, to my door.

it’s not our door
cause we don’t live together.
well, we may,
but not you and i together.

you may live with someone,
that is possible,
but, if you’re not M.
you and i don’t live together.

but then, i am me,
you are busy being you.
now give me
my fortune cookie.

you have to make out
as best you can.
make it up.
make it out.

and i know you will
because we all
are doing the best
we can.

i don't have
to read that
bit of truth
in a fortune cookie.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

ten o'clock in london

ten o'clock in London
BBC radio reports

fifty dead, suicide bomber in Bagdad,

Israeli soldier posed on Facebook
with blindfolded, handcuffed old Palestinian women,
under the caption life is good,
said she was doing no harm.

scientists estimate
four thousand elephants
left in the wild.

also, to keep you listening
a tease about the Beatles in Germany.

you know that’s not a recent event,
the beatles left germany fifty years ago.

that story would come at the end of the news
to keep you listening.
they’ll promote it several more times,
stay tuned.

Friday, August 13, 2010

our time

in the comfort of home
while reading a story of American Indians,
a scene where others watched
from an open tent flap,

a brave arrived in camp
left his tired horse
then laid prone at the stream
to drink clear water

in pure air
under heat of the sun
quiet all around
ripples of the stream.

it occurred to me
that now
is not like that anymore
and we each have our time.


I have reworked this many times, although still not entirely satisfied, the point of it was important enough that it superseded an attempt at art. We each have our time.

Honey, I'm trying to keep it simple and say it how it is.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

bee

What did I find, the Queen of Queens? This fat bee was large with a black rear end the size of a refrigerator light bulb, no kidding.

I see my account here doesn’t differ much from the poem, so there you have it - I’ll put a wraps on this so you can proceed to the real meat of the bee.



bee

from the porch
i see a bee
large and in the flowers
had to walk up close
to get a good look at

yellow body
a swollen back end like the hood
of a shiny old black Buick
jeeze o’pete
zip on, big buddy
zip on

Friday, August 06, 2010

nxt!, notes on heaven

First is nxt, a strange mechanical piece, I put on this site August '08. I was looking through my files, found it, and brought it back. Recycling is good.

Also back a second time is notes on heaven from November '08



nxt!
giraffes have the same number of neck bones as humans
nxt, yr nxt
sorry, machine I was just reading . . .
nxt!
make your selection and insert coins in slot
nxt!
give me a minute, i was reading the instructions
out of order!
wait, I put my money in
nxt!
you took my money
nxt!
what is the disturbance here?
oh, nothing, officer, but this machine just took my money
machines don’t make mistakes, come with me, civilian
don’t handcuff me, is that a taser, bro?
pick him up and drag him to the wagon
nxt


notes on heaven

notes on heaven
cobblestones are laid smooth
with grass growing between,
all rivers shall run clear,
here i noticed the Tevere yesterday
golden brown, like a shiny pie crust,

back to heaven,
if you have to park the meters will
give you money. all birds and animals
and people speak the same language,
sounds like Chinese but isn’t

Sunday, August 01, 2010

house at isn't der

I’m working to enter poetically into the sound and rhythm of the 21st Century, for that I’ll sacrifice conventional grammar.
Face it – “down to da ground” and "do dee dark" have poetical swing.



house at isn't der

when a haunted house
gets torn down,
down to da ground,
where do dee dark night spirits go?

would dey stay up der somewhere
in thin air,
ones formerly of creaky stairs
dat wandered upper floors by night,

dose dat whisper talked,
den easily walked
through solid walls,
like dey weren’t der? or were dey?

an tell me, can ghosts be
able to see
to remain in a house
dat isn’t der?

as light
by night
as a whiff
of scented candles.

poof!

Friday, July 30, 2010

driverless cars

With the latest technology, engineers are taking a journey from Italy to China in driverless vehicles! The 8,000 mile trip will take about 3 months!

They are making the trek with two orange vans, and each is equipped with an actual person for when instances arise that the automobiles can’t handle.




latest technology
driverless cars
give me a blue one baby,
send it to the drive through

call ahead, roll down the window,
have the attendant throw in a loaf of bread
toss in a cold beer, put it on the tab
then honk me goodbye, baby, i’m going to China.

Monday, July 26, 2010

uses the computer

uses the computer
to play solitaire.
i ask what web sites he looks at
and he puts a silly look on his face,

guessing it appropriately condescending,
arrogantly feigning intelligence,
to cover ignorance and indifference,
then puts black eight on red seven.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

barbeque in the country

picked up Darrel at his farm,
first saw work he’d done,
talked a bit, checked the time
then hit the road.

off out there we drove,
a country parcel north o’ the village,
parked in grass at the part tin clubhouse
for a Sunday good eatin’ chicken barbeque

the American Legion put it on,
country eatin’ fun, for all’d come,
at the intersection of parched long fields,
on a rise by rail road tracks.

men fired slow baked glazed golden chicken,
cole slaw, barbeque beans the ladies made,
plus chocolate sheet cake frosted,
with as you please coffee and lemonade.

under yellow sun, very still this hot July noon,
doors and windows were slung open a mile,
an electric fan hummed a welcome summer breeze
in our rural, out of the way, little town Ohio.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

not always the hero

ok, so, just to show I’m not
making myself always the hero,
i got off the crowded bus smiling,
saw a flash of white

flapping large as a napkin
right on the front of me.
my zipper half way down,
my shirt was sticking out.

Friday, July 23, 2010

oh, darling you'd think i hardly hear you

for me
no mail for decades.
nary a post in the box,
only cobwebs on my cobwebs.

no need for an in box.
that space by my door
could be permanent no peddler signs
for every holiday occasion.

and now this,
my sixty-fifth birthday year,
i have already received
more than sixty-five solicitations,

not from a chick
to walk me across the street
down to the corner bar
and whisper “watch both ways” into my ear.

what arrives is another offer
for an inexpensive hearing aide.
i’m sixty-five - they’ve got my number
and must be selling it door to door.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Bee Gone



You best bee learning . What’s a bee for? Bee's wax. What do I call this poem? Is it Bee gone or just Gone. I’ll work that out later. The next part concerns you.

Because you're dead doesn’t mean you have nothing more to learn. Let's start there.

You don’t just die and get angel food cake with ice cream and a gold beanie. No, seems there’d be a school for the dead to teach what they didn’t learn on earth.

Straighten ‘em out, work ‘em a bit to make saints out of them; or do you think they just get sent back to earth, recycled stupid. I suppose it could be. Let ‘em stumble along again on their own, and see if they can do any better. I don’t know how it works.



Bee Gone


sitting on the back porch
smoking, having morning coffee
a small bee came zipping around
persistent, wouldn’t go away.

i thought perhaps it could be the spirit
of my dear friend, or my uncle
coming back this warm summer day
checking out how things are going.

staying near
making circles
all alone
going fast.

i blew smoke on him,
brushed him on his way,
not to be disrespectful,
but, he’s got to learn.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The BP oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico began late May or early June.
I guess I may be stuck there.



tough time

tooling down the road
a wild turkey on the right,
standing where you’d be
if you were thumbing a lift.

i blew past him doing fifty plus.
geeze, he was big. big as a dog.
had he heard of the oil spill, do any of them know?
is that why he was out walking? was he stunned?

this is a tough time
appalling, unequaled.
great damage has been done
to the waters, to the life, to the earth.

and we are the caretakers.
oh, what we have we have left for our children,
this legacy we’ve created,
all for pieces of silver.

i thought to continue to write here, to divert attention
away from thoughts of great sadness - disaster.
let me tell you - it isn’t easy, it is sad.
nothing is easy now. so sad.

Friday, July 16, 2010

time machine

standing on the corner
watching all the girls go by
listening to Dean Martin sing that
in 2010 Ohio.

i’m in a chair,
93 degrees outside,
M. in the kitchen,
Dean on the programmable radio station.

a 1908 Saturday Evening Post short story on my lap
that’s takes me back to the old West.
and I’m in a chair in 2010 Ohio, M.’s in the kitchen,
Dean is on the radio singing for us.

you want a time machine?
pick up a book,
turn on the radio,
92.8 degrees outside - so says the Internet.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

the son also sleeps

it’s a doggie dog world
look it up.
that cracked me up when I read it,
you know it has the clang of truth.

it’s a doggie dog world,
that’s why my son is having therapy
for a shoulder he took on a bad job of rock climbing
and that doctors sewed upon.

taking naps is safer.
his daughter sees summer slipping away.
he denies the truth,
however, being father makes one old

and consequently forgetful.
i don’t think he hit his head.
hope the old fart remembers
to brush his teeth and change his shorts.

daughter is right,
summer is slipping along at high speed.

m. is locked in at high speed warp factor,
and worries too much.
i worry if she is too tired
to make something good for dinner.

last week she picked blue berries
while i waited,
sat on a bench, read,
and between customers talked to Pseudo Farmer

who lives in Ohio two months each year
in a house built in 1822, fantastic, huh?
and the rest of the time is in Montanna,
no relation to Hannah.

Ohio is 90 degrees,
has been for a month
and will continue warm.
sweet corn is good.

i am too.
half as good as her blue berry pie,
i ate it.
these are words to live by.

Monday, July 12, 2010

solar eclipse

beneath tall ancient sculptured stone monuments
a half hour past noon, waiting.
excited anticipation from crowds gathered on Easter Island,
for scientists proclaimed that Pacific island on the path.

then murmurs hushed, eyes opened skyward
as a moon blanket covered sun, brought five minutes
of daytime solemn darkness and stars.
earth’s seventh full solar eclipse of the 21st Century.

i am old and have yet to witness a total eclipse.
that it good, for it means
there is an event ahead, both moving and spectacular
for me to look forward to.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

paper in my pocket

paper in my pocket
making note
preparation for doing
like setting the table

dad did it.
inadvertently, he taught me,
jot thoughts down
afore they get away.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

time ticks quicker

notice what’s going on?
mowed the lawn two days in a row.
usually it’s right to wait a week.
we're moving in quick time.

tell someone please
turn down the gas
on the time machine,
obviously it’s running too fast.

many flowers blew into bloom
within a pair a days.
now don't be thinking this is paradise,
life is more like a rolling pair of dice.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

blowin' across the highway

political division of the sexes
an obstacle in long standing tradition
the world may someday surmount
or complacently continue to avoid.

like a garbage can
blowing across a highway,
you better stay alert.
try not to cross paths.

continue to not think about it,
most times you may be lucky,
or do right and change your ways
before one has your number.

teeth is all

brush my teeth is all
she asked me what i was doin’
teeth is all i'm doin’
teeth is all

then seven-thirty and we were driving.
she wanted to pick blue berries early
before it got 90 plus humid degrees.
many, many, a record many pickers had the same idea.

through a heavily wooded area on the way,
the guard rail ahead at the crossing came down.
oh no, a train, i moaned, then zip - like that
a locomotive and one train car flashed by.

forty feet ahead of us a buck deer crossed the road
from woods on one side to woods on the other.
two small young deer came out undecided on the road.
we waited 'til the adult female rushed them across to the woods.

at another bend in the road
was a large wild turkey in the brush.
right at the side of the road's where he sat.
a big guy, geeze he was fat.

back home after berries, a blue jay had hit our kitchen widow.
looked open, too clean? don't think so, more than likely
he was thinking distracted and flying too fast.
was lying dead when we arrived. m. got the shovel, buried it.

and the day began
with m. waiting in the car.
only needed a minute to brush my
teeth is all.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

mocking bird hill

came out of a song, the name did.
skipped in on the wind, stuck like discarded paper
beyond the fence where Hoppy lived in a shack
at the town dump, on a knoll above Mud Brook.

he was resident care taker, barroom dart baller,
and sometime crossing guard downtown.
a tiny fellow in second hand clothes, worn seaman’s cap,
one leg way shorter than the other.

we’d examine approachable edges when we went dumpin',
finding some old wood piece, or metal gadget,
antiquated discards, to pick up, cart off,
recycle and transform into inventive service.

a busted end table or a bicycle,
an unbroken bit of colorful depression glass,
an original period lamp in need of rewiring,
a long, long time before anyone spoke of toxins.

today not a trace is left of that place on that knoll,
plowed and replanted clean. the dump's been moved,
gone with Hoppy, as are most of those who remember,
the rise over the creek called Mocking Bird Hill.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

train 28

that’s the date in June 2010.
i want to differentiate
cause see i’ve talked of trains before.
in absolute way quiet three a.m.
that’s when they come, you know.

with first a subtle vibration in the tracks
from twelve to fifteen states away.
then i got up ate, slept and ate and drank and slept again.
three days later Goliath Machine approaches town,

of course total darkness.
not a star out tonight,
they only come like that, at night you know.
steam rolling vibrational thunder.

with a whistle
a warning
hear it

You
You there
I mean you
Take warning - Watch yourself,
I am coming.

shakes ducks eggs in the marsh
corn kernels rattle off cobs in the fields
and homes from their basements trough foundations vi-
vi-vi-vib—vib-vibrate.
god o’ mighty it’s Heavy Metal son of a bitch
clobbering everything.

i’m three blocks away from the tracks
and total down to dust destruction,
every home, bird’s nest and dog house
tween here and there destroyed
by the merciless rattling shakathon.

yet, like a mystery,
somehow
sleep comes,
deep mellowing sleep.

and then magically
when first bird tweets,
all is rebuilt by dawn,
everything, up and down the streets,

including fillings, crowns and molars replaced
and neighborhood groundhogs back in their burrows,
robins eggs return to their nests,
no cracks in the sidewalks, no more.

all is well again, healed by sight
of first morning light
when i awake and go to the window
and look out that way
to see what happened.

Monday, June 28, 2010

summer storm

summer humid, you can't believe.
oven hot and closet still.
something brewing west,
thick heavy sky darkness rolling.

rain races, beating, hail, high wind - boom,
lightning cracks a quarter mile away.
what’s hit’s on fire
or gone blown to hell now, i’d say.

half hour later, all’s still again,
a bit cooler, lone wren cries loud,
accounting for it's family.
with that we’ll end the day, show’s over.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

talking to oneself

talking to oneself,
i did it today,
and know when i say
that’s not what it is at all.

it is speaking to the spirit
of friend or loved one,
absent for the moment
by a nick in time.

Friday, June 18, 2010

they've cut down the big tree

they’ve cut down the big tree today,
bet it’s two hundred years old.
was old fifty years ago
when i was a kid.

before i ever thought of old
i saw it when i rode past
heading for the beach
on my bicycle.

recognized it then as a giant,
the largest trunk in town.
maybe old as the town. course fifty years ago,
they tore the town down too.

called it urban renewal
when they leveled the town.
promises were made,
but they never rebuilt it.

not the town, only city offices
police and fire department
had one police car then
have seventeen now.

urban renewal was for the city
officials and city workers,
not the down town, where the people
walked, shopped and gathered.

now this tree taken down.
makes way, it’s the future.
i’m telling you now,
they’ll never rebuild that tree.



Save some of the world as we know it for the children.

news out of Africa - they are talking of planting trees east to west, coast to coast to rebuff the encroaching Sahara desert.

Friday, June 11, 2010

strange how we've made God

strange how we've made God
into our image and likeness,
when we were definitely taught
it was the other way around.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

tough time

tooling down the road
a wild turkey on the right,
standing where you’d be
if you were thumbing a lift.

i blew past him doing fifty plus.
geeze, he was big. big as a dog.
had he heard of the oil spill, do any of them know?
is that why he was out walking? was he stunned?

this is a tough time
appalling, unequaled.
great damage has been done
to the waters, to the life, to the earth.

and we are the caretakers.
oh, what we have we have left for our children,
this legacy we’ve created,
all for pieces of silver.

i thought to continue to write here, to divert attention
away from thoughts of great sadness - disaster.
let me tell you - it isn’t easy, it is sad.
nothing is easy now. so sad.

Friday, June 04, 2010

first squirrel time

out on the back porch
saw the mother squirrel
for the first time this year.
didn’t recognize her, they look the same.

in the center of the back yard
her back to me,
sitting up, chewing something.
i went way around right so as not to disturb.

around the pond,
then saw the frog.
the big one, on a lily pad,
watching me.

i said he was there
to meri on the other side,
who saw the red squirrel,
and went inside to get some nuts.

was soon feeding the squirrel
who i noticed was very pregnant
but stayed one foot near.
remembered us evidently.

both returnees from last year season.
as we fed nuts to the squirrel,
big frog made his noise,
wanting a little attention also.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

the frogs use a good calendar

the frogs use a good calendar,
cause right on time they’ve begun.
all last night the big one did a low “earp”
on the average of once every thirty seconds it sung.

at 24 to 36 second intervals
average 30 seconds between each “earp”.
window open, while lying in bed,
three a.m. i was counting it off.

it is temperature with crickets that
determine the number of chirps per minute.
cricket chirps in 14 seconds plus 40
equal the exact temperature in Fahrenheit

with no external ears frogs either hear well
or the subsonic particles of their call travels far.
the nearest other pond is a quarter mile,
and when it rains they come and go a hopping.

number of cricket chirps in 8 seconds
plus 3 determine temperature in Celsius,and that's it.
frog croaks per minute change with temperature, however,
Celsius or Fahrenheit formulas can't determine jack shit.

Friday, May 28, 2010

at times i wonder - Reprise

I've over a thousand poems on line now, a thousand was my goal since I was a kid,
so I'll be slowing the out put now, and will concentrate on some other creative endeavors.

Thanks to everyone who has stopped to read a few and offered support.

Here's something I put on the web Wednesday, October 15, 2008, It's lyrics to a song I wrote in the late 70s, but never did anything with, but have played it for my friends. The words still hold water.

To all, continued best wishes, Jack Sender



at times i wonder how the old boys are doing
and the ladies i met along the way
we had our moments and our pleasures
seems like it was just the other day

there were some good times that i thought were never ending
sometimes i think just like a child
they say the nights are colder when you’re older
i guess we’ll find out in just a while

take good care of your self you’re a lot like me
take good care of yourself you’ve been good company
and when i thought it wouldn’t end
there’s nothing now like there was then

once in a while when a cold wind is blowing
i’ll ride off on some memory
i may visit you when you're sleeping
don’t mind it’s just a fantasy

the gears of time are always shifting
there’s nights i wake in dreams so real
like the tide i keep on drifting
just telling you now so you know how i feel

take good care of yourself you’re a lot like me
take good care of yourself you’ve been like family
if my life was a book too torn to mend
i’d flip back to see how it would end
and if i never see your face again
here’s wishing you only good luck 'til the end

Monday, May 24, 2010

THIS IS BIG POND

What d’ya got?

Read ‘em an weep,
four frogs up, partner.

Tell M. to get inside.
‘N somebody git the sheriff,
tell’m they’ve holed up in da pond yonder.

I seen that big’en before,

Big frog looks like an outlaw.
A renegade.
Holding steady, hands set to draw.
Easy – easy – keep your hands where I can see ‘em mister.

Tell M. to get inside.

Ah, I did already.

Tell her again.

Hell, look at that, all four sit hunched like gunmen.

And women!

Women?

Hell yes. They don’t hold no count to who’s what’s men and who’s what’s women
cept’n during courtin’, then all bets off!

look - They all dress the same.

It’s a gang.

murmer, murmur, murmur.

The medium aren’t as threatening, and the widdle widdle
tiny one is . . . well, cute.

Back in the house, M.

Earp!
Last night I heard ‘ that big one
was callin’ Wyatt out, all night.
Earp!

quick, Wilbur. what month do you have?

eh. Month is May.

May?

S’ what I said.

Was just repeating . . . May ? . . .
We gots us a month and a half a’fore a courtin’s over.

appears they’re a fixin’ fer a hullabaloo!

anyone ever call you Sherlock!

To be convoluted. . .

Friday, May 21, 2010

a rural ohio spin

like slippin’ into old shoes,
i know the feeling, know the place;
for sure a different pace
in the spin of the entire human race.

take this sunny weekend afternoon, for instance –
a drive, only two cars, me and another
out there in the wide open rolling way-back.
window down, country wind in my hair,
and this guy's ahead of me.

i tell ya, out there is where you find
those who drive like . . .
like penguins waltz.
hang on, baby, it is the Nutcracker.

for as speed marked fifty-five,
plain as day on the sun lit sign,
the guy in front of me thinks thirty-five is doin’ fine.
that’s what i was talking about - a real Nutcracker.

umpteen miles later, we came finally
to a welcome v in the road,
thank god and pumpkins he goes the other way.
adios and Umgawa, may the force be with you Farmer Who.

oh, and road sign now says reduce speed to thirty-five.
ok then, i’m used to it, been warmed up doing that
for quite a while now; only now
there’s another guy in front of me, a new one.
he is doing twenty, i kid you not.
evidently thinks that’s plenty.
sakes alive. stayin’ alive, stayin’ alive.

divert him, that’s my wish.
someone please - throw him a fish.
just pass him by and lob one out the window.
when he sees it bounce on the road
i know he’ll stop and go for it,
at least for a Smell Check -
that's what critters do.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

this reality

this reality
as i see it
is ours
to gently mold.

each piece
a part of the whole.
remember to walk easy
as our lives develop.

you and i decode
the day,
whether wet
or cold

or ray of sun,
softly caressing our cheek
and behold -
the whole human race

taking parts
like flower petals
unfolding to become,
as wishes truly are our horses.

Friday, May 14, 2010

misdirected

I.

the seasons are variable.
don’t know if it is warmer before colder,
or colder before hotter.
close the window anyway.

hah, and you think this is a diary?
it is: of disinformation and the like;
with possibility to forecast severe weather, predict
elections and ball scores. still working on horse race results.

wait a minute, the window sticks.
i know it is the weather;
any weather will do, or won’t
– as in: window won’t open.

II.

the aggregate outlook remains unpredictable,
as churning beach sand under pounding waves,
turning clouds belly up, masking out the stars.
so dark now i have to count on my fingers.

III.

hah, and you think this is a dairy; nearly so.
we drive by a field with sheep each day
where the new ones are a plenty now.
we saw a mother lick off a tiny lamb just arrived.

good for the farmers and the 4H club.
they still have a hand on the soil, thank goodness.
rains are good for them
in reasonable measure.

IV.

you think maybe I just pull these poems out of a box
ha – a thousand times ha!
i grind this stuff out
the way someone grinds bones

okay, so i don’t know who grinds bones
but i’m sure where there’s money to be made
someone is doing it. so in warning:
watch your bones.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

going, going

while taking the whistling graffiti marked train
the grey way across town, clack clack,
the exasperated bald headed man ten rows ahead angrily barks,
i hear every word of his cell phone conversation.

then from someone beyond,
through the door open to the train car behind,
paint peeling blaring terrible mechanical music
the kind of Steven King’s mad amusement park

got my attention;
redirected it inward, whir, clack, clack,
recalling bygone days when civil people
respected others space and tranquility.

what am i telling you for?
you don’t appear unaware to me,
you must have a modicom of sensitivity
hell, you’re even reading poetry.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

robins - a lesson

I.

May isn’t easy.
not for all
as i saw
from the kitchen window.

chill wind blew as
wet slicked mother and father robin
work diligently in hard late afternoon rain
taking turns, to and from

the partially sheltered nest
to keep the kids protected,
parents fly off in turn, and then return.
dad just gave a worm to the young .

i watched as it
grew darker and cooler.
the rains slackened,
the robins didn’t.

II.

i would guess the two birds met recently.
i have no idea when or where.
maybe they were having a drink somewhere
or pulling on opposite ends of the same worm

they aren’t related, though maybe with robins it
doesn’t matter. genetically they aren't going anywhere.
from their dedication to each other
you would think they are star crossed lovers.

they have no religious ceremony, in fact,
no known religion, art or music.
only small nothings to each other,
and the humming of the earth.

no games or TV, can’t read. their apparent entertainment
is activity. seeing what is around, and the work they do.
they are here for the complete apparent purpose of
finding food and caring for their young.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

salt and bar - my song

mr. safety town i am
but let her drive anyway,
and put my arm out for additional signal.
it rained well this May morn.

contractors said it must be done to code ,
electrical outlets every 2 ½ feet,
enough room heating ducts to fry bacon
cooling sufficient for a polar bear circus.

notes on life start with a B flat.
my times and observations,
write that down, some are joys
and, yes, aggravations. stay with me.

reviewing a few of my league deep of poems,
(that’s six feet in terms of water depth)
surprised myself, there are more than i recall
but the stuff is me, and i like water by the way.

make a note: sometime when i was a kid
i told myself i’d write a thousand,
figured it’d be about the number and it is.
so if the kid was a wiz – well, what the hell happened?

then the cell phone rings and they’re telling me
i win free digital hook up that is going to be required by law,
and M. is telling me to hang up cause it's costing money
on the cell phone; but they said we won something.

i guess i shouldn't trust telephoning strangers.
did they have my number
or was it a just lucky chance call that they got to me?
where was i? about here, i’d say:

you can find pieces and make more
but a thousand poems is a fair guess
at the total number, more or less,
overall, i did my best, so did i pass the test?

note: i like the funny
always have
and the running like the river ones
makes me glad. oh, there’s water again.

i thank my mom and dad for not stoppin’ me,
and all the blood generations for centuries down;
and if i had another choice i think i might’a
been a red nose, funny hair, big shoes clown.

oh pshaw not really, forget the clown thing.
that didn’t last long.
to paraphrase my friend old Lonesome -
what i say you better divide by two.

and whatever time you put into reading this
is your business, i think mostly monkey business,
but i’m grateful and other things , etc. etc.
okay, now let’s go sip something refreshing

say, did i ever tell you
you remind me . . .
oh, never mind. M. would say hang up now
cause it could cost us both money.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

age of technology

could get a new TV
sit for hours
take popcorn showers,
go dizzy spinning channels.

or in this era of inquisitive technology
forget about watching TV
go about my day
and let the box view me.

may and it's cold out.

may and it’s cold out.
winds and stormy rains i expect,
but the lawn and the flowers and the frogs
. . . waiting for the warm, so are we. we are.

yeah, they’’re years like this.
mark this down, one o ‘em;
not as what we want; nothing we’ll remember fondly.
don't plant til end of may is what they say.

so i drove her to the store.
waiting at the red light, waitin’.
they won’t turn on red.
i wait three lights to get on with it.

in the parking lot see phil,
tell her go on i’ll be in a minute.
caught up with phil, we talked, yeah;
good to see the old man.

heard about neighbors from back then,,
jus' caught up sayin’ nothing.
n ‘our heads we ‘valuate, and it’s'all fine.
old guys saying hi.

so, we went to the store
and we went home.
still cold.
saw Phil.

Saturday, May 08, 2010

the all new plan

whatever it is,my wife finds anything out of line,
anything at all, she’ll be pissed
doesn’t matter what it is.
hope there’s nothing i’ve missed.

i’ve got to anticipate, that means
clean up after myself, not make a mess
and keep her kissed . . . well, at least amused.
no one gets a free ride round here,

not even the frogs. not these days,
and make them damn robins pay
for all the worms they’re taking;
those dirty dirt peckers.

and i’m turning myself a new leaf, sure enough,
starting first thing tomorrow if i can,
well, tomorrow afternoon at the latest,
you can bank on it, cause that’s the plan.

so you may not recognize me,
cause i’ll be the one all the time head down an working, an I’m not
jerking you around, that’s for certain, well, that is the plan.
i’m the new man til they pull the final curtain, practically.
wa ya'think?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

pilgrims cry

was a file
kept with my others.
title looked intriguing,
opened it,

nothing inside,
only a title.
i thought it would grow
from that small beginning

it didn’t; so what does that tell me?
writing beginnings can sit for a long time
unlike buds in spring or leaves in the fall that let go.
i made a sandwich to stall and consider.

had a model of the mayflower when i was a kid,
from the bar in a restaurant my folks took me to.
don’t remember ever playing with that ship
but i had it for a while, or at least i think i did.

now, pilgrims,
you're not usually thought about in May,
you are a story, seems from forever so long ago,
and should be remembered more, 's what i say.

you were before trains, TV, traffic,and airplanes,
when our country was land full of trees,
a lot of rolling earth, Indians and lightening bugs,
and many down sloping clean, fresh running streams.

good night kisses and motherly hugs,
that’s how it was done. now don’t you cry, pilgrims,
you did yours starting out and getting us here. thanks
from the generations that followed in the Mayflower's wake.

there’s still trouble with religion, war, and government,
the same old woes do go on; and like others in their time,
you know, we too did both our job and made a bit of mess.
patching, between accomplishments, an living with the stress.

guy problems

icebergs are melting,
great globs of trash are floating in the oceans,
the universe is expanding or shrinking ;
scientists have conflicting notions.

is it hotter
or colder,
what’s going on;
and what about the economy?

more than i can handle sometimes.
though i can squeak by knowing two things:
is what i have on okay?
and, what’s for dinner?

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

i thought chili peppers were hot

i thought chili peppers were hot,
that was the story, just hot.
then i ate a few,
okay, maybe more than a thousand.

not all at once, you know,
only if you add them up. a lot of them
in my lifetime, you see;
and what i got was an understanding

and an appreciation
for peppers in general.
sounds like a civil war commander
General Pepper,

and i did work for an old Pepper too.
Bill, he was from Kentucky.
Waddy, Kentucky to be exact.
How would i possibly remember that;

except that he wrote a song and
wanted me to help make it a hit, no kidding.
he called it - Move your Body to the Waddy.
and i thought i was making this up.

well, maybe with the Internet
and who know what all,
Bills words will live long, on into dark nights,
down rolling hills and by bushes where animals call;

but i swear it is true as clear water
gushing out of a mountain stream;
tasteless yet refreshing,
but no way a hit, you know what i mean?

all this takes us back to peppers
or at least me, where i began, it does.
i’ll sprinkle red hot ones on my food
cause it gives my mouth that happy buzz.

they were eating pepper five thousand years ago
in the Americas, that’s a fact;
and they stayed cause they are good,
but i don’t have to tell you that.

come on Bill, let’s make a song of it,
for the mountains and the trees and the birds
and the new people who came over and started
this up, along with and especially for, the Indians.

Monday, May 03, 2010

on Pasquali's family business

daughter.
good cooking daughter
satisfied to be there,
smiles when she sees us,
serves us well and plenty.

son.
son seems content in his labor
finding his own self,
following his father’s way;
stays on task throughout the day.

husband.
Pasquali is the quintessential good guy,
out there, friendly and happy,
he’ll stop and talk;
sits down with us if it’s slow.

wife.
don’t rush to pay if you see her,
now here’s the real score,
when old wifey takes the cash
it always costs a little more.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

as a measure of time

as a measure of time,
tables - use old wood to build them,
or poems that i scratch out;
the tables aren’t much.

just made a small one
to hold my keyboard nicely,
the computer keyboard,
not the piano.

the piano sits well enough already
on the floor in the other room
where it ought to be,
like you, like me,

in place where we ought to be.
can i measure time building tables,
make a clock of it? there are pictures
to paint, engravings to do, things to write.

all comes from within like breathing country air
and i let it out as it happens to me.
need i direct it more, control
and make a neat scene

or continue to write poems at random,
then build something,
paint something,
read or write when it happens?

at least, at most,
i am happy about it,
like life in the city
and many people to talk with;

what they do is their affair.
i keep head down with what i do,
although she has mentioned that
we don’t need another table.

rising early in the morning
in stillness, alone,
far trains passing
clocks ticking, tripping silence.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

folly of spring

I
here i am, there are no geese.
must i go looking
in the usual places
where they congregate,

i don’t think so;
they can wait
and better they do,
a lesson for them all.

they know only their own reflection in the lake.
if they can recall other than their own image,
let them vent their wings and
see if they can find me.

a walk on the pier will show me many fish,
occasional mouth open bobbers and long swelling floaters,
but i don’t want to encounter any geese;
not that way, not today, not yet anyway.


II
wretched clean up
after a winter of winds blowing sticks,
knocking things about and new spring growing,
making a mess that we will reassemble into order;

it has to be done,
our part of the bargain
for being people living in this community.
have you noticed, the lucky nonliving don’t do shit.

they lie still in the recently frozen soil
watch the stars, wait for visitors,
or walkabout, return to favorite haunts in cover of darkness
or in thin air, thinking thoughts they didn’t know they could in life.

so i gave a kid relative of a neighbor
five bucks to cut our long front lawn.
when he finished tipped him a dollar for immediate service.
his two minutes would take forty-five from my life.

the kid is a tall, well built,long hair seventeen.
at that age i could have sliced weeds and then run the gauntlet,
now a wobbly sixty-five, can use the help
and kids always need money. good for both of us.

earlier i asked the school teacher next door how much
should i offer the lad to mow, he said five or ten.
this neighbor cuts it for us for free when we’re away.
teaches fifth grade math but not economics.


III
Frank the bluegill is gone from our pond
should i cast along the bottom with a net
dragging for skeletal remnants, traces
or did an invader, man or egret, go fishing.

no frogs yet, not this first of May.
they’ll come home in due time,
when it’s warm, humid, still and bugs are about.
scratch that last; there is one out there barking now.


IV
old friend LeeH. wrote to tell me of poet Wallace Stevens;
said my stuff was reminiscent. thought he joked
until i kept reading; it's a stretch, but now with a thousand
poems down i learn something new. that’s how life goes,

especially when you tire
of your own reflection in the water
and then pick your head up and look around.
there are nearly seven billion of us in this pond.