No more children here…

The trash was obvious as stroller and crib and

bassinet were piled for the world to see, and it was

obvious some cleaning had made room where

there wasn’t for some time – the kind of room

no one sees until it’s too late to pause and enjoy;

it was all well worn and stained and disassembled

without much care because all of it was well worn

and beyond use by even the most desperate family

with age and use by child after child after child

this all was new too long ago to remember or care;

of course some stopped to discover a treasure

but there was nothing acquired after several days

and the only thing new to appear was a sign

posted in a unusable crib reading, Careful, none

of this is safe to use any longer – it’s trash because

there are no more children here… sorry to say.

Early winter…

I hear the pain of tires

running hard on frozen streets,

the crackle of limbs aching,

the bursting howl of

an incessant chill wind,

the absence of songbirds’

singing at discovering seed,

and I wonder how anyone

would live here, like me.


Across a hardening field a tractor plods

solitary against the horizon of soft hills

and open sky on this late October day;


a tree line marks the parched creek bed,

fence rows are cleared bare; the field corn

has been met and siloed after teasing

declination and drydown’s senescence

bested the round of blister to dented,

a balance of planning without control;


and green machinery has just survived

another season’s toil with more

enervation this year than the last; and

he wonders if he can do it again and

again next season for that’s what he’s

always done, and that’s what makes

him who he is;


invisible and heavy is

the chill of late day so discouraging in

town but bracing the resolve of him

who wears gloves every season, and

another turn will weaken that which

has served its purpose;


there’s more

to do to sweeten the soil before it’s

blanketed beneath wintery a quilt

of sleet and snow, tucked away to

rest, to pause until resurrected in the

easter of spring;


some hold on because

this is all they know and don’t know

how to be soured, others hang on

until the hope of better quotes turn

in their favor and they’ve forgotten how

to be satisfied, but this one has chosen

to die doing what’s work to others but

life to him alone and earns him a

name he’s respected above his own.

Limited time offer…

Are we to be praised or pitied?

Creatures starring at stars

dreaming of loves dear lost

hoping as death takes us

every day as we sip our coffee

and wonder about whether our

child is lonely, looking out into

a nothing we pray is something

and wonder about how our feet

once so fleet are betraying us

but that new ointment might

really make a difference if

we order in the next ten minutes

because everything about

life is limited time offer.

Life used to be…

Life used to be

a magazine

before it was too


for glossy pages

and monthly delivery.


Love used to be

the word

before it became


for all things

and nothing special.


Last used to be

the first

before it became


for us to admit

we’re nothing special.


Snowflakes used to be


before we knew about


for this rareness

and how we’re alike.


Time used to be

a friend

before it became a


for more than money

and our self-importance.


Hope used to be

a way

before we lost


in something larger

and more important.

Free coffee

Conferences are a blessed hell unto themselves,

a joyful working no work day that offers hope

that I am not alone after all, and everything

I’m hearing doesn’t directly apply to my work

but I’ll have to do that for myself sometime,

and that magical way of learning who you envy

for their larger than lifeness doing what you do

but without seeming frustration – all on PowerPoint

for all 12 of us in Mezzanine Carolina Room 126 to see,

and I’m happily surprised that the free coffee is pretty good.

Where the beautiful people live…

The young woman in line runs her fingers and manicured nails through her long, highlighted hair with the flair of a movie star capturing our attention (and she does for anyone within eyeshot) even as stray hairs float aimlessly through the sun-streaked air they dare not move unattractively, while a just tall-enough square jaw with a well-tanned man attached is shown unusual deference from un-shy women except, of course, from the finger-through-her-hair star who isn’t bothered by anyone else, and the rest of the world shift uncomfortably in place, unwilling to draw attention to our flaws and ordinariness and untamed looks – we are the wild beauties of lives filled with caring for parents, feeding and loving children while cajoling simple things like ‘Thank yous’ and empathy from untrained beings and the only consolation is the beautiful people still have to stand in lines just like us in ordinary places.

Some of us just aren’t special…

There are just so many, so alike,

so unheralded, unknown; the

unwashed are great in number

and fame, in volume; there

are more than many who are

ugly, ignored and broken, hidden

and lost; once a Mama’s joy or

sorrow, loved before the heartache

of life overcame innocence,

breaking into unmatched parts

of lives sung off-key, falling

flat from low elevation of

uninspired and undistinguished

mortality politely ignored.