Monthly Archives: October 2011

The hand you are dealt

A good friend will cause you pain today. She
will not see why even if you try to
explain. You will think you are going mad.

You will wish to kill someone. Try not to.
Your other children will suffer enough
without you compounding things. Suck it up.

Try to avoid awards ceremonies.
Jealousy is ugly. Schadenfreude
is also to be frowned upon. Mostly.

Church will become the worst hour of your week.
You will spend the whole time praying no one
turns around. God will appear not to care.

There are no trophies for surviving.
You will not sleep well tonight, or ever.
You would not trade places with anyone.

(a fortune-cookie poem, originally written for a prompt from Robert Lee Brewer over at Poetic Asides)

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England’s great tradition of painting

They were an hour late,
three likely lads in white shirts
with five cans of paint,
three drop cloths, brushes, rollers,
and, of course, a tea kettle.

Don’t mind us, Missus,
the blue-eyed leader declared,
patting my mum’s arm.
We’ll make ourselves right at home.
You won’t even know we’re here.

I watched from a chair
as they brewed a pot of tea
and surveyed their task.
“Looks a bit dodgy, dunnit?”
one said, and they all nodded.

That decided it.
“Back in the morning, sunshine!”
the oldest one winked,
and quietly handed me
the cards from the tea packet.

Hope Barn

(a rhyme royal)
A hundred Chinese lanterns cross the sky
with whimsy as the sun melts in the west.
Here in the field, our hostess wipes an eye
then throws her arms around each welcome guest
to whisper secrets she has cherished lest
they disappear like mist.  She is alive
tonight, amazed to see such crowds arrive.
(for the beautiful Hope Barn, who holds her history with grace and dignity)

Nuns and bacon

I’ve got shaving cream stuck on my

earlobe and a strand of dental floss
clinging to my right shoe.  That faint
smell of bacon comes from my briefcase,
where I absent-mindedly stashed what
I was supposed to give the dog when the
phone rang with a reminder of the doctor’s
appointment which I seem to have
forgotten in my confusion following the
unfortunate incident with the street sweeper
and the crocodile formation of
pre-schoolers crossing the divided highway.
CD seven of my new box set from the
library was playing at the time, something
about accepting life as it comes, so I
didn’t lay on the horn and instead smiled
at the gigantic nun waving her hands in the
central reservation.  The word “wimple”
got stuck in my mind and I spent the rest of my
drive thinking about rhymes for it, of which
there are precious few, which may partly
explain the paucity of decent nun poetry,
and also attempting to undress her in my
imagination, only to be thwarted at every turn

by a gleaming steel under-habit with a
big sign saying “For God’s sake, keep out!”
Felt a little better by the time I got to work,
especially when the receptionist winked
at me, but then I couldn’t stop imagining her
as a nun.  Weird.  Maybe if I’d gone to
Catholic school this wouldn’t be a problem,
which actually might just be the best reason
I have heard so far for supporting school vouchers.
I wonder if Jesus was ever late for work,
probably not while carrying bacon, and if Mary
Magdalene ever let him look under her robe.

A bit of stream-of-consciousness insanity to share with friends at the fabulous dVerse Poets Pub.

To have and to hold

To have and to hold, from this day forward,
for better, for worse… Glowing words uttered
haltingly, like lines from a high school play,
learned by heart, yet still alien. Today
is a necessary burden, offered

to assuage the desires of well-mannered
society. A photo-op prepared
with eight-by-tens for all to take away
     to have and to hold

forever. But in truth, what just occurred
in this place, the flowers, lace, high-collared
dress, unity flame, champagne toast, DJ,
first dance, are but the entrance toll they pay
for life to which they have not yet matured,
     to have and to hold.

Senior day

Today was Senior Day in town.
Everywhere I went was awash
in blue rinse and that thin brown whiz
they offer up as free coffee.

At the Goodwill, the checkout girl
said without looking up, “Do you get a
discount?” Then flicked her weary lashes
towards me before saying, “I guess not.”

At the grocery, an elderly acquaintance
bellowed across three aisles that I was
looking far too thin. And the line was clogged
with hearing aids unable to read the self-serve screens.

Out in the parking lot, my way was blocked
by a perfectly-preserved 1980s Buick
straddling two spaces while its near-sighted
owner struggled with the gear shift.

Strangely reassuring, then, to arrive in the plumbing
aisle of the hardware store, and have a grey-haired
woman stop pushing a giant ladder just long enough
to yell, “There’s some young man here who needs help!”

Do not use this product

Do not use this product
if you have heart disease,
liver problems, high blood pressure,
persistent cough or chronic
breathing problems.

Also not a good idea if you
are pregnant or breast-feeding,
taking drugs for depression,
psychiatric or emotional conditions,
if you have Parkinson’s disease,
or if you just want your kids to go to sleep.

If you do decide to take this
product, do not drink alcohol,
drive, or operate heavy machinery.
Try to avoid people with whom
you may be tempted to get into a
fight, as you will be darn irritable.

Keep out of the reach of children,
both you and these pills. Do not
take more than directed. If you do,
contact the Poison Control Center
right away, at the number unfortunately
obscured by the price tag on the right.

Then again, if you have managed
to read this far, you’re probably
going to pull through.

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