glass-resized

Face Value

John Wayne hated horses. Took a truck whenever he could.
Esther Williams hated water. Couldn’t wait to dry off
after every shot.
Dr. Seuss was annoyed by children, their unpredictability.
Beiber probably hates his own music.

Whatever you think is true about anyone
turn it on its head then flip it again.
You’ll be closer.

Next I’ll be telling you Marilyn Monroe hated sex.
But I bet you a year of Hollywood’s grosses
she did.

It gets worse:
The flawless model: photo shopped.
The philanthropist cheats on his taxes.
The environmentalist cannot live without A/C.
No one throws it back like the prohibitionist.
The priest,
I hate to say it, the priest’s no saint either.

Assume everyone you meet is revealed to you
Through a prism,
Leaving you one option: to tease out
the viewing angle with the least distortion.
And even then.

resized bronze child

Friendly Fire

 

 

He would sit under the kitchen table
About an hour before each mid-week transfer.
Clockwork.
Just sit, wrapped up in himself.
Quietly, not even petulantly.
Resignation in the set of his shoulders,
A look in his eyes
Not of sadness, but worse,
Surrender.

little girl

Forget Everything.

Today’s prompt from my writer’s group “Forget everything” prompted this… assisted – ably – by three cups of coffee.

 

The Deceptively Simple

Forget everything you’ll never know about
Quantum physics
And oil futures.
What constitutes prime.
Leave string theory
For the committed.

Focus on the knowables
One at a time. Small bites.
Start with the deceptively simple.
This:
How to Talk to a Small Child at a Party.

Just like you would anyone else.
No special voices. They hate that.
No crouching down like you’re best friends.
Share casual observations.
Recommend the artichoke dip.

Do it right.
Before long
She’ll end up beside you on the couch
Asking your name
And your opinion of the latest Star Wars.

angel statue

Hard Evidence

There are so many gods. I like to believe there is one just for small children.

 

Hard Evidence

Ahead of me in line
I catch a glimpse of two tiny white feet
sticking out from a baby seat,
uncovered on this October morning,
the soles black.
Around each of the frail ankles
lies a ring of grime.

When the baby’s face bobs into view
I see that she’s captivated
by the jeweled butterfly on my lapel
and smiles wanly.

Shall I pin the treasure to her stained sweater
Spirit her away
Teach her the names of all the creatures that fly.
Shall I wash her sooty feet with the finest velvet
And dry them with my hair?

hearts2

Maybe

Maybe

 

It was a Wednesday,

A normal middle of the week day.

Or was it a Sunday, all the more

Portentous.

Did I wear green

After debating the monochromes.

Weren’t you in that gray bespoke suit

The one you got for a song on 81st.

 

I remember a scent.

Sweet, apple blossoms perhaps.

Isn’t that our favorite song playing suddenly,

Somewhere.

Did you lean over to stroke my cheek

For no reason whatsoever.

I might have put my arms around your neck

Surprising you from behind.

Was it a long time we stood there

Just like that.

 

Are we unfazed by the long wait for a table,

The sudden downpour,

The lineup for a cab.

Is that you mimicking Walter Raleigh,

Until I, the winsome damsel,

Protests no.

 

Do I imagine

Such enrapture,

Such fervency.

Or has time and yearning

Simply made it so.

thimble

The Sadness of Her Sewing

A poem for your birthday, Mom. I miss you like it was a thousand years.

 

The Sadness of Her Sewing

 

There she remains,

In the folds of her nightgown

Tucked deeply in her bedside drawer,

Releasing the scent of her Chantilly.

In her favorite clip-on earrings

Of aurora borealis rhinestones,

All  the colors of the northern lights,

She explained,

And here, perhaps most,

Up on the closet shelf,

Her worn wicker sewing basket,

A frayed tapestry on the lid of

a young woman’s face.

Inside, among the bobbins,

Mother’s tarnished metal thimble,

Its tiny nubs smoothed glossy from use.

Remembering now whenever she mended

I would hear her sigh deeply,

As the steel cap clicked

Against her flying needle,

Her impatience palpable,

Desperate to be done.

Knowing now it reminded her of

Being pulled from school at the age of nine

To do piecework for a gruff Glasgow furrier,

Stitching together overcoats in dingy rooms

From towers of animal pelts,

Never to return to school

Or childhood

Again.