There Will Be a Tomorrow

Tonight there’s a soft, cool breeze
from the north;
it’s the only consolation
of this day, this week, this year;
to the north is where
the tracks run across our street,
through this city
that punishes anonymity;
freight horns blow
their passing every night at
half-past twelve,
and a factory makes
candy – that’s what is carried
along on the breeze,
the scent of chocolate,
and that means there will be
a tomorrow, there will be
another day.

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Signed, the Management

ManagementIt has come to our attention
that you are dissatisfied
with the general experience
of living, or so it would seem;
your constant complaints,
derogatory remarks, groans,
sour grimaces and typical
passive-aggressiveness
leave us with no other option
than to conclude that you
would be happier with
some other company;
therefore, please be advised
that effective in the immediate
future, possibly within as few
as six months, your employment
will be terminated and
a severance package will
be negotiated at the
discretion of the management
based upon your history
of contributions made
during your time with us.

Signed, the Management

A Good Neighbor…

They say a neighbor
should be one; not borrowing,
gossiping, coveting
what’s seen through the window,
lusting for greener grass;
we sit in our windows and look
out at our world,
wondering if he will curb his dog,
hiding from her,
overhearing raised voices, again,
the widow’s window
with Christmas decorations in June
because she’s still
remembering, but this is not all
there is to the world,
it just can’t be all there is to it;
once upon a time
the rabbi asked who became
a neighbor, not who lived
close enough to be like us already,
and who stops, and who helps
even though they are so different
as to be hated without reason,
and who will pay the price
to become what the world needs,
and that is the good neighbor
we’re all still looking for.

Just Another Day…

Days are just days
and they don’t care,
they don’t have memories
they aren’t really they’s are they,
they don’t know it’s been
eleven years since anything
important happened
or even what important is
but this all still bothers me
because without remembering
I want today to matter
so I invest too much in it
watching it approach
and promising to return
deciding to be pouty,
making it possible to cry
because today there’s a reason.

 

All for Naught…

Alone, still and solitary
this beetle clinging effortlessly
to the brick of my garage
on a hot summer’s night;
you don’t move, even
when I wave a finger close,
no response. Nothing.
Where do you find others,
a mate, a friend even
(maybe beetles don’t
need friends, but that
would be too sad). Where
are the others beetle?
Jet black back, sleek
and fast looking but
for naught; you haven’t
budged a bit as I revisit
you hours later for no
reason but to see if
you’re still there beetle.

Where Children Go to Die

Just up my street
a bit, far enough
but too close,
children are taken
for miracles in misery,
last tries before they
live and die, all
wheeled in and
out with charts longer
than their years
and time enough to be
cried over after another
and another
and another diagnosis
before the final one;
it’s a place with a big
empty parking lot
for the few visitors,
where parents hate
with hope, and
children read
Charlotte’s Web
and play the hero.

On the Termination of Professor

All the tenured others have a name,
but he had transcended delimiters
and his surname became what was
for others simply a title – Professor.

Such was his reputation, amassed
over years of walks across the quad,
tattered tweed and unkempt, thinning
hair, never so proud so as to style.

His flair was the attentive mind
of the absentminded academic, but
he knew where every scrap of paper,
book, idea, and every word rested.

The office was never neat, swept,
untouched by time even dust shunned,
a couch for naps, chairs for stacks
of papers begun and undone.

Diplomas, awards hung on a wall
hidden behind tassels, programs of
graduations long ago, and three walls
shelve-covered and book burdened.

Office hours maintained sacredly
but scarcely attended but for a few;
puzzling and time passed to most,
sought and honored by only some.

Matter of fact questions earned the
reply of a tale, legend, story to explain
the unexplainable why ; every plea for
a story earned a who-what-when-where.

His time had passed, but he stood still
convinced that learning was progress
granted the guarantee of title his battle
was now one of perceived value.

Once freshman seminar his load,
now only electives and covering
for sabbaticals of the young, restless
who used post- in journal submissions.

Post-tenure review was the remedy
from a utilitarian board in the know,
failing to manage an unsustainable shift
from Professor to professionals.

Disclaimer

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;
I am a work of
creative imagination
for whom words,
locales, events such as
expressions of affection,
comforting phrases,
apologies, and even
promises,
are the products
literary prose
for the purpose of
entertainment and
resemblances to
real life are to be
construed
fictiously.

A Mother’s Son

When I was a boy, I was a boy
and this exasperated everyone
but my mother,
for she understood the ways of boys
and I was her third, with her own three
older brothers; her patience
was limitless,
or so I thought until I tried to become a man,
failed, but refused to admit failure
and discovered we were both navigating and
negotiating a new way together; for each
boy is alike, but boys become men differently.

Ketchum

Every writer wishes,
wishes they would have
known Hemingway, at
least for a day, sometime
after Old Man and the
Sea and before the Clinic,
between young, pure
desire and the paranoid
cynic; but not in Africa
for when that story’s
told the pain of failed
flights get’s old and
undoes the personality
of liquor, staccato and
brevity; oh Ernest, what
had become that was
undone at Ketchum.