Hunting and lies…

Duck Blind

Hiding in the cold,
disguised by the blind,
I shuffled my boots quietly
hoping they’d appear
on a cold Saturday morning;
there’s too much time
to think about everything
waiting like this,
so I try to forget all that
and complain about
their delay –
the reverse psychology
of anit-Karma
I’ve made up while waiting
and it works;
out of the sky
they chatter and call,
then circle, hopefully
to me, and my waiting is over,
I check my safety,
rub my weary eyes
and raise my Mossberg
as they set their wings
and descend,
nothing holding them,
softly and calmly
toward the water
and their trust
mesmerizes me,
the flutter of air
against pin tails
is close enough to see
mocking my amateurish
gullibility; a real hunter
would have emptied and
reloaded by now,
but I will say
I saw nothing today
and it will be my lie.

When God blesses you…

My Friend on the Corner

I have no idea what his name might be,
not one idea at all,
my children mocking me when I called him,
simply, my friend on the corner,
giggling that it sounds seedy to say it that way,
but he had to have a name
and it would be an insult to suppose it was
Bob or Steve or Gary
when it wasn’t; his mother named him once
but she couldn’t have
imagined he’d be like this, begging silently
on Chicago’s streets,
borrowing a cup from the garbage, shuffling
from car to car to curb
as the light turned green and we sped away
leaving my friend alone again
grinding his toothless grin, shaking the cup to see
if there was enough for food;
he never spoke, never a word, not even the
‘God bless’ others said
obliged to acknowledge God’s greatness as
they starved through life
just to make their philanthropists happy
so the named are blessed
by the nameless man they blessed;
until he wasn’t there
one day and then another and then another,
and I worried I’d never
learn what his given name might have been
as if that was the problem.

Selling something to a rich man…

Sell Me Something

The man pulled up slowly in a new Jaguar,
the more expensive one, which was obvious,
and I greeted him and his young son,
pointing out the table
of twenty-five cent items
and the other with dollar items;
he smiled and said,
sell me something; so I asked,
do you fish;
yes, a little;
and I showed him a plastic
device shaped like the body of a fish,
to grip an unruly catch;
you may not mind baiting the hook,
but who likes the lingering smell of fish
when you’ve landed your lunch;
I pay someone to do that for me,
I have that kind of money;
well, besides the argument that
that might not be true fishing,
does your son here have
that kind of money, or are you
going to let him go through life
never knowing what he’s glad
to have enough money to pay
someone else to do for him;
sold, he said; and
paid his twenty-five cents,
handing the device to his son who
threw me a disgusted look, he called out;
thanks for selling me something
worth more than twenty-five cents
my friend, you’re a good salesman.

Can’t eat it on the cob like I used to…

Corn Off the Cob

Before she moved into the home,
before she couldn’t dress herself anymore,
before she stopped writing out prayers
for her children and grandchildren on slips
of paper she tucked into her Bible from
1944 with those colorful plates of Abraham,
Moses, Elijah and Jesus doing amazing
things, and before she stopped eating
altogether, we would bring her dinner
to her in her room – all cut-up in small
bites, except the corn on the cob
she loved most of all, she always said,
and then she said she just couldn’t
and asked me to cut the rows off the cob
for her and I asked if it was now
corn off the cob, and she said it was.

Everyone else gives how-to advice, so here’s mine…


The way to live, in just a few words,
will include gratitude,
ignoring the din of reprisal, the choral
complaint that life
shouldn’t send our way the inelegance
and inconvenience,
that is tantamount to living itself;
following which we
might give consideration to joy,
as in, elation,
which is, of course, a difficult plan
to plan, but that’s
the challenge to living a how-to life;
and then simply add
tears, laughter, frowns and grins,
that is, have children,
your own or someone else’s will do,
for they’ll add all
that’s needed, if we’re appreciative
in the first place.