I love the blank page…

It happens quite often, and I hope it never stops,
that pang of jealously that I want to feel
when I’m reading someone else’s work,
someone else’s words,
someone else’s words that I didn’t write,
and I catch myself wondering if I could,
if I could do something like that, somehow,
because I love the way these words go
and I need that on my page – the page I write;

there’s a theory, a bad theory that lies,
that it’s something that I just need to find,
or let out, or is inside me somewhere,
and no jealously is needed, no jealousy is
called for, because this is no competition
and we are all players in a bigger story
where all words are borrowed, all pages already
filled, and creativity is the lie;

but when I turn the page there’s nothing there,
until a small child bends to pluck a dandelion,
building a priceless bouquet, and
the dog keeps chasing the squirrel but never catches it,
and you start calling your children’s names into empty rooms,
sometimes at night when you sleep less than you should but
not for lack of trying, and try to remember when you
finished the things you started – like life,
and the page fills up, and then another, and another
where there was nothing there moments ago, no thoughts,
no stories, no words, and you wish to remember
the jealously that made you love the page.

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Frank has a story…

Everybody Needs a Story

Frank said that the young boy
that he used as a guide was too easily distracted
and got bored quickly, leaving the sightless Frank
all alone, stranded in shops or sitting in the park,
and that bothered him;
but he was a tough guy, it seems, with a story, and
as any grandfather would say, interesting people
always have a story and that explains so much;

Frank lost an eye in an accident when
he was just a child, and then he lost the use of the other
in a boxing match as a teenager,
and I can’t imagine what he was doing
in a boxing match with one eye, but he could, and did,
and that’s Frank, I guess;

he heard that somewhere in Europe
dogs were being trained as guides for WW I veterans
blinded by mustard gas, so
Frank sent word that he’d really love
one of those dogs, and they sent him Buddy
who was the first one of its kind in this country,
all because Frank knew to ask, and
Buddy became so famous that when he died
newspapers ran an obituary for him
because even Frank’s Buddy had a good story,
and I decided I’d better get working on mine.

I might try praying… again…

Let’s Try it Again

Now I lay me down to sleep
I pray the Lord that’s what I’ll be able to do,
sleep, because that would probably do wonders
for my soul, my health, my marriage even,
I hope; and a kept soul sounds nice,
so I’ll have one of those too,
they’re so slippery, souls that is, and
hard to keep track of or even imagine,
thus (that sounds like a ‘soul’ kind of word,
doesn’t it, ‘thus’), if the good Lord
would keep mine, I’m guessing that
I’d prefer that to having to track the
untrackableness of said soul;
now what comes next about mortality while
asleep, seems heavy-handed
don’t you think, and I wonder if any
child can appreciate the funereal muse
as they kneel bedside
dressed in warm pajamas, hair
still wet from a bath and bubbles
lingering in their ears
reciting the plea that a God who is good
would stoop to take their soul,
but as vague as that sounds,
having your soul taken seems the
best option at this point, so tonight
I might take a bubble bath
and kneel bedside like a child and
try praying again because
I’m concerned with my soul
and it would be nice to sleep well too.

Then and now are so much different…

– The Hair I Found –

When I opened the jar of hair gel in the bathroom
cabinet that we share I found a hair, and it’s
obviously yours – jet black with a broadness my thinning,
blonde locks lost long ago and I can’t help but imagine
that someday, if I outlive you
by some mistake and start again all alone
I’ll have the same routine every day for every task,
buying smaller packages of the food we both liked
but it will lack flavor to me
because the secret spice that made it good
is no longer available,
and my pant waist will inch ever higher
as the rest of me inches ever lower,
and I’ll start watching the early evening news,
maybe leaving the television on for company
but it really makes me lonelier,
and leave your favorite cardigan hanging on
the hook inside the closet door,
the gray one that went with everything
you said, and your two bottles of perfume
will still be in their place on our dresser
which I haven’t dusted in so long because
I never did that, I don’t think,
and I shower only occasionally these days
and when I’m finishing my grooming
I’ll open the jar of hair gel
in the bathroom cabinet we shared
and find a hair that’s
obviously yours – jet black and broad,
and I’ll probably start to cry, standing there
all alone, but that’s then,
and today all I can do is complain
because your hair is everywhere.

It’s normal not to be normal…

Maladaptive Adaptive

We don’t understand normal anymore,
don’t understand what’s happened, before
we’ve became the new black, the new average,
and maladaptive became all one could salvage.

Making-do and not expecting too much,
a reasonable way to cope – a sacred crutch;
lest any be forced to act out of compulsion,
a violation of will leading to convulsion.

The mushroom cloud of the family,
looms large on the horizon of the latchkey;
and any invocation of is dripping with guilt,
a poor rendering of the intricate human quilt.

This was not always our social affinity,
but an industrial product of economic viability;
accommodative adaptivity in a pragmatic vein,
we collect round the character campaign.

From Ozzie and Harriet, Ward and June,
to the village it takes to raise this tune;
we’re better off not asking too much of any
for disappointment weighs upon all heavy.

What’s that stuff called…

Dew

Unnoticed she’s carried, innocently drawn
settling in deep, preceding the dawn,
sleepy and sallow against a facade
damply pausing as first lights applaud,
teased without malice, heartless yet alive
sensing and waiting, careless to survive,
still she dawdles, no promise of morrow
fading each day but without sorrow;
when will he learn, when will he know
she’s come and gone and he’s no beau.

It isn’t always what it is…

It Is What It Is

Starting a new religion usually takes effort,
not necessarily consistency, proof or fact,
just data and anecdotes, which means
listening and creating at the same time;
it’s an interpretive exercise most ignore
because of the difficulty of thinking anew,
and we’re really driven by insecurity and
the need for followers, but not this one;
it won’t matter if a single soul converts,
nothing will change if everyone changes,
because whatever happens will happen
in the new religion of it is what it is.

An old man’s arm…

His Arm

The skin thinned as I grew older
and veins were easy to trace
my small finger along as if following
the invisible stream of blood
that must be coursing through them,
bruises and scrapes from
his weekend gardening lingered in
earthy hues of purple fading
into tanned greens into the sun
baked crust remembering
burns and deep cuts from times
before I was me and sitting
close to him mesmerized by the way
something so strong could
become so frail and fragile, and I
wondered at the perfect
plumpness and muscle of my own
so ready to remain young.