Saturday, March 20, 2010

on and off again

at each bus stop
the middle door is for exit only
on-getting people have no sense
there are off-going people

although they have done this exchange
a thousand times or more,
it is all new, unveiled to them
as if they’ve never been at the door before

this somehow lead me to think in times like these
when things are tight
for a simple thing like a cup of coffee
some places raise prices

maybe it’s time to cut some slack
readjust and take it easy,
now we ought to step back,
these are new times

consider how we can
get back on track,
new times need new tactics,
for now the old times aren’t coming back

Friday, March 19, 2010

get ready for summer

get ready for summer
when wind blow
stirs crickets,
no one has to train them

like training the foolish
to do something foolish
isn't necessary,
no lessons to be learned

and summer all -
rushes toward us
tumbling, unfolding in leaves,
happens naturally,

the moon shines bright,
nearly white light,
behind racing clouds
over long fields, fences

lakes and lanes,
cities, rooftops
and trees in green
for miles

and kids and dirt
you need them
have to have them
and ice cream trucks

then nights bring
lonesome train whistles
fish jump
practically hanging in the air

thistles rattle
insects snicker
it’s the wind blow itself
that stirs crickets

no doubt about it.
mark that down
lest you forget,
now you know, how it go,

and it do go on
in dew
for you,
and for me, and forever

Thursday, March 18, 2010

the string is out

my grandmother
was Polish and spoke English so-so
she used to have the radio on
or grandpa did, as she ironed

she told my mom that she felt bad
for the baseball player called “string”
because she always heard the announcer
say “the string is out”, “the string is out”

this is what announcers said
during the game when it was
a 3 ball, 2 strike full count on a batter,
one pitch remaining for him

my cousins son is in his fifties
his grandfather was my dad’s brother
i knew his grandfather and his great grandfather
also that little old woman who was his

great. great grandmother, oh my . . .
time passes like a soaring bird,
sailing overhead deep,
like a long fly ball heading over the wall

somewhere it’s the bottom of the ninth,
the big game nearing completion,
tap the bat against your shoes,
knock the mud off your cleats

tuck the bill of your hat down to cover the sun,
two out, bases loaded, the full count is on,
one pitch remaining,
the string is out

when it comes down the pipe
go for it,
knock that puppy
over the wall

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

i am x

i am an x-patriot
living in Roma
in need another letter for this term
not so hopeless, infinite, outcast

something positive,
uplifting, outgoing, optimistic
was thinking this thought
on the way to an appointment

when i realized i had gotten into
the slowest taxi in the free world,
new world, old world,
another planet, any planet

in agonizing minutes Pokey the Driver
had torpedoed my good attitude,
a direct hit into my inner workings
had whipped my mental machinery to jelly

i quivered, i sank, went down
nose first like a rocket pointed to hell.
cross me out, x me out, go ahead x-me good.
i was and am no more, move over, i'll drive

The driver was a nice old man. he just couldn’t push the gas pedal.
Even after I left the cab, usually they’re gone before I can turn my head, he sat there a while before he pulled out into traffic. I was wondering if I was going to have to call a cab for him.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

woodbine twines

woodbine twines climb higher
where white fragrant flowers go
one after the other,
we shall follow in our time

franco worked for the flower venders,
a woman or two, maybe three of them
covered head to foot in coats
and scarves and inane chatter

would be partners with who knows,
always changing faces,
girasole toward the sun,
now fond franco hasn’t reappeared

he the simple helper schlepper
down on luck, getting by in fancy time
when he wasn’t drinking and falling down
eye trouble, though money never a factor

not when there is none
comes and goes as he wished, as others wished,
then went home, somewhere south,
i heard the name of the village last year

have forgotten the village but not Franco,
thought he’d return
but winter’s over
and he remains gone as the snow

city life is seasons,
that visit, then change,
while woodbine is curling
life does rearrange

Monday, March 15, 2010

the line

mindless repetition
is not really,
for it takes mind and attention
to repeat exactly

repetition then is practice,
to learn a skill
to do it unerringly,
completion of an action beyond fault

next, alteration
and experimentation
lead to discovery
and invention

artistic expression
is on the path
toward improvement
of an idea

Sunday, March 14, 2010

be prepared

on a narrow city street
our large city bus stops
behind another,
two, three, four others

our bus driver
says nothing,
gets out, walks away,
doesn’t look back

we get out and get into the front bus
it goes away
with us aboard
we’ll see where it goes

then on another jammed narrow street
all cars are parallel parked
except the one that’s nose in first
and blocks our buses passage

bus honks, a man comes, waves apologies
and moves his little car
hey, this is Roma, we expect chaos,
receive it routinely, good naturedly, warmly

they must put kryptonite in the water
cause we’re all supermen for being here
and then it dulls us enough
to put up with this mess and love it

the bus moves on past new old stores
apartments, flowers on sills, kitties watching,
new kids playing in the streets, a chained yapping dog,
new old folks walking or talking in small groups

we get out to walk in Trastevere
buy pizza slices and ricotta cheese for later
we’re right below Giacomo’s apartment
i call, he invites us up for coffee

he and Virginia with two other couples
had just finished red pasta and green salad lunch,
desserts on the table, we chat over coffee,
meet new people, a good time for all

you never know where the next step leads
when you take to the streets in Roma.
so when you venture out keep a clear head, stay alert,
and like the boy scout motto - be prepared