Monthly Archives: November 2010

Why did you eat my homework?

It’s hard to explain
My reasoning to a kid
Who leaves his best friend
Locked up in the house all day.
Let’s just say that I was bored.

Against the grain

(a sonnet)

To those around the little farming town
The newly-married couple weren’t the same
As they had been before the summons came
To wrap them in a missionary’s gown,
And after blessings at the church rained down,
Departed, as their parents tried to tame
Their mix of grief and pride – and called their name,
Reminding them they were their joy and crown.
A hundred dusty years have come and gone
And separation is much harder now
Than when my mother’s parents took that train.
I put aside the chance to lean upon
The siren Holy Call, and make my vow
Instead to stay – and grow against the grain.

We grow together as we grow apart

(a villanelle)

The restless yearning of the heart
Finds truest freedom in this paradox:
We grow together as we grow apart.

It is not wise to think that Cupid’s dart
Can tranquilize and lock within a box
The restless yearning of the heart,

For though we fuse together at the start
We must acknowledge lest we hit the rocks
We grow together as we grow apart.

The taste of love can turn from sweet to tart
When forced conformity cannot outfox
The restless yearning of the heart.

Much better to acknowledge, and then chart
How as each partner’s calling comes and knocks,
We grow together as we grow apart.

This wisdom long experience imparts:
It is our trust which at the last unlocks
The restless yearning of the heart –
We grow together as we grow apart.

Are we there yet?

Come on
Come on
Step on it
Are we there yet?

Hang on
Hang on
Edge of town
Are we there yet?

Shut up
Shut up
Quit yelling
Are we there yet?

Breathe out
Breathe out
Don’t bear down
Are we there yet?

Fourth floor
Fourth floor
Are they nuts?
Are we there yet?

Eight nine ten
Are we there yet?

Right here
Right now
Don’t care
Don’t care
Don’t care
Oh my good lord…

We’re there.

It’s easier to shop than practice

Long-haired Dave calls me from the music store
To see how I’m getting on with the amp
I bought from him – his over-friendly tone
Annoying me because he calls me “Dude,”
But even more because I recognize
That on Tuesday I once again succumbed
To the illusion that my lack of skill
As a guitarist could be swept away
By the purchase of one more piece of gear.
Sadly, I am still not Eric Clapton.
“It’s easier to shop than practice, Dude,”
I tell him. “I’ll be returning the amp.”

On Hampstead Heath

(A rondeau)

On Hampstead Heath, we watched the golden light
Bewitch and then seduce the coming night.
A space like this no lover wants to leave,
When there is so much magic yet to weave,
And so we walked home slowly, holding tight

And laughing, as we tried to write
The story of our future, just to fight
For one last memory we could retrieve
On Hampstead Heath.

That was the place, in black and white,
We promised it would be all right
To let each other go, and grieve
While many miles apart – and yet believe
That we would one day reunite
On Hampstead Heath.


(a cascade poem)

After dark on Halloween
She stiffly gave to all the kids
A tract about the fires of Hell
Thinking grape juice would make them Baptists.

Perhaps I’m just naïve
But it would not occur to me
To hand out day-glo propaganda
After dark on Halloween.

So when she opened up her door
And smiled at us invitingly
I just assumed that it was candy that
She stiffly gave to all the kids.

But no – more absurd than any
Costume made of scarves and silly hats
She took the chance to threaten them with
A tract about the fires of Hell.

At evening’s end, what caught my heart
Was how the children laughed about this saint:
Her Christianity was just a joke –
Thinking grape juice would make them Baptists!

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