When things go away…

Object permanence is my greatest enemy;
it teases with the hope that what I once had
remains, lingering somewhere behind
the back of time past, sleepless nights, empty
days, memories dancing across a screen in my
heart; hiding from troubles doesn’t make
them disappear, but the love lost fades
and the only remedy worth remembering is
I refuse to remember.

Obituary for someone named Paul…

The link was obviously incorrect;
I was looking for an update about
Kim and Kanye’s engagement,
but wound up reading the obituary
of a man who wore over-sized
glasses, tinted, his smiling face
thick with wrinkles from too many
smiles or worries, dressed in a
wide-wale corduroy jacket, long
collared shirt and thick tie – all in

earth tones and probably a photo
from the last decade, his name is
(I don’t like to say ‘was’ for some
reason), Paul Edward; he died in

Ohio but wasn’t born there – maybe
marriage or work took him there
from Indiana (it’s next door after all),
but at the end he was alone in Ohio
because Agnes preceded him in
death by fifteen years, as had all his
siblings, Mary and John and
especially his baby sister Judith
who died in 1932 and that must

have been terrible; they had just
one child that survived to write
this obituary but he lives in Chicago;
I wonder how many friends he had
at the end of 92 years because he
had many at one time it seems – he

was high school football captain,
and during the war he was drafted
into the Army and stationed in the
Philippines, his post in hospitals
and recovery wards, and the obituary
said many wounded soldiers kept in
touch with him over the years, but

they’re all gone now too; he ran a
chicken farm for a while after the
war, then a hardware store and he
looks like the guy you could ask
anything and he’d quietly talk you
through the nuts and bolts of

repairing what needed repairing
(and I can imagine him complaining
that folks don’t repair things any
more, they just replace
them – as a commentary about
his generation, the one that

saved the world and was being
replaced now); they said he
was a well-traveled man, but
besides the Philippines all it
mentioned was Akron, Cleveland
and Toledo (and I’ve been to these
places, and they’re nice, but I don’t
think of that as well-traveled),

his story quickly added he made friends
wherever he went and that might
make all the difference in the
world; oh, and he was a Methodist
and sang in a choir for more than
50 years, some of them with his
wife before she passed, and that’s

where he met Agnes and I guess
there’s no better reason to have
a choir, besides praising the Lord,
of course; and if you care about
Paul Edward please don’t send

flowers, just give some money to
a church choir instead because
music was his passion; that’s when
I remembered what I was searching
for in the first place but I don’t
care as much about that now.

Driving to my daughter…

Tonight I am driving alone
on a highway in Indiana;
there are no stars to view,
no moon to light my way,
only the headlights stretching
into darkness beyond the
road’s bend, showing nothing
directly ahead and I’m glad
to be going elsewhere;
this could easily be the most
solitary place I’ve ever been,
lonely and friendless on a road
from home to my daughter
grown well but hours away,
I’ve driven this path before,
this highway before, this
road to her and that is all
the consolation needed.

I took no map…

I went for a walk
In the midday clear
Without a care
I started here
First I stepped
Down the way
Looking to turn
And go astray
Few set out such
Finding one lost
Choosing to remain
Found at all cost
Views first cleared
Then went belief
Next conviction
This path a thief
I trust no thought
That comes at rest
And make no vow
Without a test
No crumbs to trace
No map to cheat
This losing way
Made by my feet
I recall that once
It was très fictional
To banter such
And be equivocal
For keeping all
Enslaved in race
Made wars of life
With power in place
Until such time
As walks unrare
Became a fashion
And tactless aware
Question a question
Doubt a doubt
Avoiding tenure
Enjoying the route
Power is race,
Race is war,
Art is tactic
And strategy ignore
Limping along
There are ways
For undoing control
And refusing praise
Ignoring so much
Of important voice
Searching out stories
Learning to rejoice
Enjoying the noise
And lacking cares
Following slaves
Attending affairs
There is no way
No map to home
No loss of joy
And so I roam

I’m dying…

I’m dying, you too;
we’re all dying
(that’s what makes us
biologic, real, living);
and that’s what makes
me ordinary – nothing
special at all (and, you
too, by the way).

It’s the snowflake
thing; the ‘every single
one is unique’ (which is
not true – repeating
patterns and possibilities
– just not enough time
or data to prove the one
and/or the many).

Since we’re all
unique, and uniqueness
is what each and every one
has in common, then
no one of us – you, me,
him, her, us, them – is (are?)
unique (adjective; one
of its, her, his kind).

Moral ethicists wish
to motivate the
Bourgeois, hoi polio
to aspire, to rise above
the status quo, keeping-up
all dying but not all living
claptrap that sells
books and seminars.

No matter how
many times we’re told,
how much consolation
we gain from being consoled
by such dreams, we all
are the same in that;
all together, altogether,
all are all alike.

All die because
all live, all are alive because
all die; we all all
face the same doubt
of dignity, of compassion;
because, not in spite of
our biology.

Not from a book…

When all’s good and all is fair,
she is close and love’s a dare,
season’s all but winter least
fondness lingers, cares ceased,
songless tune, birdless song,
edging shade and time is long,
I’ll find a way, a way to be
as close to you as you to me,
and when we’re called we’ll answer not
hearts be filed with heedless thought,
learning ways and teasing look
all such is not learnt from a book.

Harder and easier…

So, poetry is harder than writing
like kissing is harder than biting,
cooking is harder than eating
or learning harder than cheating;
but lying is obviously deceiving
like youth is so fast and fleeting
as winners are won in competing,
failures a mastery of retreating;
and in these harder and easier ways
is bound up all we wish to praise
ignoring the bland, ordinary days
in search of things that amaze.

Lovers forgotten…

There’s a wonderful novel on my shelf
which once slept bedside when read daily,
over and over again as if new, old pages
still surprising, reluctant in my progress
through the confused lives of Owen and Stevie,

how Kate loved Owen but Stevie loved Kate
and nobody loved the janitor, Mr. O
which they called him because no one
could pronounce his European surname;
how I cried every time I read about
the disappointments of their sad lives

and wondered at my own insignificant ways
until another lover came to bed with me
and the pages of Owen, Stevie, Kate and Mr. O.
gathered dust, then hid in a stack
until finally becoming lost on my shelf
next to the other lovers I’ve forgotten.

Simply an accessory…

I feel famous on days like today,
plucky and serene, unhurried by
a schedule everyone else rushes
to keep, naturally pausing to look
into a mirror, chin raised and
finger tips guiding aside a wisp
of hair that falls back lazily,
attractively; exiting into a calm
day to match just me, stepping
onto the bus without a pause or
breaking stride, smiling in response
as strangers try to get my attention,
nodding and turning toward the
window as the sun itself brightens
while other squint uncomfortably;
my uniform hiding behind my
overcoat and scarf which is so soft
and flimsy it’s simply an accessory.