Category Archives: friends

Sidewalk days

 

Sidewalk days

In downtown Goshen,
we mix business with pleasure.
My favorite sign reads:
“Become our friend on Facebook
for the chance to win a gun.”

 

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Echo Taps

Today is Memorial Day here in the USA.  For the past couple of years, a local group has taken  part in an effort called EchoTaps – making a line of bugle players across town, from one cemetery to another, playing a chain of “taps” one after the next.  They do it in November for Veterans Day, but to me it would be just as appropriate for Memorial Day, remembering all those who have died in war, and all the families and friends who have a hole left in their lives.  It is always a moving experience to stand out on our street and listen.  I tried to catch a little of last year’s event in this poem (the form is a bop).  Here it is, for all who remember today…

Echo Taps

All the way to school, we see the small flags
stuck in the ground, each with its own number,
planted with dignity in stony soil,
anonymous integers adding up
the cost of sacrifice – a mother’s tears,
an empty room, a raft of nights wide-eyed

each one unique in this unbroken line.

Flag number thirty-nine is on our block.
I clutch my arms around me in the breeze
and watch a kid dressed in his Sunday best
hold his horn, fingering it nervously.
From some distant point, taps is echoing
towards us, from one player to the next.
A car pulls up, and the driver gets out.
We all listen, heads bowed, to the bugles,

each one unique in this unbroken line.

At his appointed time, our young man plays
the aching beauty of an elegy,
gone far too soon, swallowed up in the wind.
This singular loss is enough for me,
a tiny glimpse into the greater pain,
and pride, of every family that serves

each one unique in this unbroken line.

 

What no one can understand

We must not keep doing
this. The words spill slowly,
with my hand in your hair,
in some lost restaurant
sixty miles from nowhere.

We must not keep doing
such damage to ourselves,
and those we love. The lift
our souls gained at the start
has turned into a gift

we must not keep. Doing
anything together
now holds our life in thrall
to fear, muscles clenched for
the axe we know will fall.

We must not keep doing
this, dear friend. For freedom’s
found not in what we choose,
but rather in the good
we at the last refuse.

A monchielle, written for a friend in a long-distant cafe.
To share with friends at the dVerse Poet’s Pub.

Old Gasoline

Old gasoline smells nasty when it spills
All bungee cords aren’t created equal
It is possible to have too much string
Chipboard doesn’t make a very strong ramp
Teenagers love to prove how strong they are
Especially to other teenagers
Truck rental places lie – get over it.
Leftover rolls and coffee taste like dust
When you’re standing in an empty garage
Watching one of your best friends drive away.

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