Monthly Archives: February 2012

Apology


Some days I really fret about karma,

afraid that I have totally screwed up
my chance to bring peace to those around me.

I feel guilty for taking advantage
of your love for crunchy peanut butter,
and shame for the ways I schemed against you.

Each time I picture you, lying spread out
in the kitchen, stiff as a tiny board,
I wince, and hope it didn’t hurt too much.

Next time around the wheel, if you come back
as something bigger and fiercer than me,
please, please, know it was nothing personal.

To share with friends at the dVerse Poets Pub.

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Sandcastle

Lying in the moon
we listen to our breathing
as your fingers trace
the graceful curve of my breast
rising and falling – for you.

At the dance

He likes her, but not like
that, you know what I mean?
Only, she doesn’t get
it, and he hasn’t found
a way to tell her yet.

He likes her, but not like
he would like a girlfriend.
His teenage heart beats loud
for one of her friends, who
can’t see him in the crowd.

He likes her, but not like
he should, the idiot.
It just wouldn’t occur
to his hair-gelled brain that
if he ever tells her

he likes her, but not like
that, he will be breaking
both their hearts. She won’t wait
for him, and when he comes
back, it will be too late.

19-12

He wasn’t so complicated, really,
this overgrown kid playing in the barn.
Once when he grew weary of listening
to my sophomoric agonizing,
he challenged me to a game of ping pong.
Who would have thought that this sly old fox had
so much game, as teenagers say today?
He was leading me, nineteen points to twelve,
when suddenly his forehand fell apart.
Taking advantage, I reeled off nine points
in a row and stormed back to victory.
Funny how beating him raised my spirits.
It never occurred to me that a man
of God might be willing to throw a game,
sacrifice himself, so to speak, for me.
When he cleared out his office, he gave me
a small wooden sculpture of a farmer
sowing seed, crouched like a ping pong player,
ready to throw away all that he has.
He wasn’t so complicated, really.

In loving memory of  Herbert Eugene (Gene) Herr, May 11, 1932 – Jan 1, 2012

My old man

To be honest, it’s not clear how you got this job.
Maybe you applied, maybe it just happened
to you like a piano falling out of a third story
window, jingling down black keys of destiny
on your incipient male-pattern baldness.

You try and learn how to love. For a guy that’s not
easy. Mostly all you have known is movies with
explosions and lots of cleavage. And now, all of a
sudden, you’re watching a tiny chest rising and falling,
speechless before one of the wonders of the world.

Over the years, you walk the wire like you own dad did.
Sternly setting your deckchair at strategic points on the
beach, sometimes for well-considered reasons, sometimes
just to prove that you are still bigger and wiser, and
that you do in fact exist and matter somehow in the universe.

But meanwhile there’s the constant undertow. The cloud
of unknowing pierced by unforgiving questions. The realization
that maybe you don’t understand at all. That all you have
succeeded in becoming is a carbon copy of your own father.
And in a way, you don’t mind. As long as the kid is okay.

But then comes the night. And you’re lying awake, listening.
Listening for the front door to open and close. Listening
for voices to tell you that actually nothing is wrong. Listening
to the vast silence. Listening to your baby crying, because
his whole body hurts and he doesn’t understand why.

Written for a prompt over at the wonderful Poetic Bloomings site.

To the plastic king we found upside-down in the tree outside our house this morning

Were you exhausted from the journeying,
tired of the idle kingly chatter
or in your golden cups from a night out
a every inn in which they made room
for you and the boys to let your hair down?

Perhaps you just shut your eyes and let go.
Maybe that is what this whole gig was about,
finding yourself, as they say around here.
The star, the baby, the makeshift presents,
all that was just a happy accident.

Tomorrow you must turn the horses west,
sit straight, and begin the long return to
the steel cage of responsibility.
But just for now, sleep well your majesty,
for you may never get the chance again.

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