And I don’t even care…

PHOT0-sistineGiving up takes so much effort
but as true Adams, we find a way,
like Gelo spent years on his back
painting his shame on a ceiling
to capture the limp reach of a man
opposite Almighty in eager repose
after spending his days of creativity,
for supremacy he’s worked harder
and this is all that’s left to do right,
with aides awed, curious with art
while the man already looks tired,
careless apathy for anything else,
too ignorant to be awed, he shrugs
and I see my own finger there,
without care for philanthropy,
I’m as tired and naked as Adam.

The Apple

bite-out-of-an-appleTwo men sit together in the unfortunate

chill of a late April afternoon;

they’re waiting for a bus; one younger,

the other older, and they talk

like they may be grown son and father,

listening while the other speaks,

no humoring or distractions of strangers,

the older man holds an apple,

it has just one bite taken out of its flesh

and it’s been a while, because

the white of the apple is brown from sugar

and air and something more important;

he’s gesturing with it, explaining with it,

as he turns his hand up to heaven

in a plea, he wants to be understood,

the younger wants to understand;

there’s no sign of shame though it looks

like he’s being scolded and upbraided

but about things that aren’t his fault,

he’s listening to hear every word said

because they’re for him alone,

as if nothing matters more, as if

the words are air for his choking lungs,

as if he’s been waiting for this a lifetime,

as if he is a debtor being forgiven,

and the older man stops at his end,

takes a bite of the apple, and the bus

arrives; when it pulls away it leaves

the younger man sitting on the bench,

alone, looking down at his hand,

holding the apple with two bites taken.

I’m comfortable with awkwardness… I think…

awkward-1Awkwardness is not the same thing as being uncomfortable; I know both – you know both – we all know both, and living out-of-step (awkwardness) is more subtle than dis-ease (being uncomfortable).

Yes, ‘That was awkward,” is a snobbish opinion of superiority ( or ‘weirded out’ as in aaawwwwwwk-wwwaaaard), as if no one – especially me – should ever feel this way, and everyone and everything exists to make me comfortable and happy. And just about every dictionary lists ‘awkward’ and ‘uncomfortable’ as synonyms. But they don’t have to be.

Being or feeling uncomfortable is a response – how we interpret what can be experienced, but it doesn’t have to be seen that way or treated that way. It’s up to you, and I can’t help you with that. ‘Awkward’ is what makes us uncomfortable, or not, but it’s still awkward. We don’t have to react with shunning, creating an unfriendly distance, or self-preserving alienation when experiencing what is obviously awkward. Instead, we may be attracted to it, embrace and befriend and comfort with unassuming familiarity. Loving awkward is what love means after all.

But this is not a philosophical tract on the subject; I do not pretend to divert attention with innumerable circles-within-circles of self-absorption. I only pretend to believe that while awkwardness will always be with us, uncomfortable is curable.

Feeling Religious

There are times, quite often to be honest,
when the incurable need for the incurable
is all that satisfied; when the smoke
of incense spins in the dusty air of a shaft
of light pouring through stained glass,
that muskiness passively in the nose;
cicadas singing on a hot summer day
as mourners mumble Psalm 23 together,
heads bowed sadly in awkwardness;
the bristle of a wool school sweater
against an arm aching for the air of recess,
ready to throw off what must be worn;
hurried steps to the horizon of the tunnel
and first glimpse of the crisscross cut
of the outfield grass, smell of stale beer,
as peanut shells crunching underfoot;
and being near enough and still welcome,
not ignored when walking together,
satisfied with not remembering time before
except through the we of every day, and
what it is about you that won’t wash off.


Chili on a Fine Day

Today a man wearing a brown coat
on a fine day sat at the counter
and ordered chili
even though the server
recommended he shouldn’t;
any one of the regulars could have told him
not to order it here,
for while there were several fine menu items,
like the BLT, meat loaf and even
a good tuna melt,
chili, here, has never been a good choice;
yet he wouldn’t have listened anyway
because he seemed like the kind of person
who was looking for something
to help ruin
what was a fine day for everyone else
but troubled for him,
and the chili helped.

Real fiction and fictional life…

It’s hard to know the difference – and that’s the point.

What is real, what is fictional and what the difference might be – all are the passionate questions of those afraid of losing control.

I Am But A Fictional Character

Make no mistake,
I am not real, I am
but a fictional character,
and any resemblance
to actual persons,
living in real places,
doing true and
meaningful things,
whether living or dead,
is entirely coincidental;
for I am a work of
creative imagination
for whom words,
locales, events such as
expressions of affection,
comforting words,
apologies, and even
are the products
of literary prose
for the purpose of
and resemblances
to real live
are to be construed

I only drive through Indiana…

indiana_with_torch_star_logo.svgChicago to anywhere east leads through Indiana. And because I’m always on my way to anywhere else, I’ve never given Indiana much thought. Its state motto isn’t much different it turns out: The Crossroads of America; so I don’t feel bad.

Driving east from Indianapolis and winding through the backwoods toward southwest Ohio there is a little place that slows you down. Right there in the middle of nowhere is a sign for a church with a name I never forgot.

The Fourth Church of the Defector

With a population of just 203 according to the road sign,
a number from long before the U.S. Census started to
officially ignore what folk’s around here call Harold’s Creek,
where Indiana State Road 44 crosses County Road 260E,
past Salem Road at the only hollow in the earth for miles,
with six dusty, empty stores too close to the two-lane
and everyone blames Walmart for that, but the truth is
they’ve been vacant so long no one can really remember,
yet they know who to blame so they can sleep at night,
there’s no religion here with two abandoned churches,
one was a Methodist clapboard and looks so Americana,
the other a brick Presbyterian looking so Presbyterian,
and they sit on opposite corners of the four-way stop
now ignored as obviously as these churches once were,
but it’s easy to imagine the booming voices of preachers
out-sermonizing one another through open windows
on steamy mornings while their faithful flocks nodded off,
and there’s a big, old sign with an arrow pointing nowhere
to The Fourth Church of the Defector, founded in 1892,
a church started when no other church could be right,
and it took at least four iterations to get this one right,
which makes one wonder, how bad could it have been,
back in 1892 that is, but then you recall a bit of wisdom,
that when there’s nothing to fight about people give up,
and sometimes they just give up anyway, like here
at Harold’s Creek near State Road 44 and County 260E.