Long Unspoken Fury

How was it my fault,

Dad,

When those dime store Wallabees

Melted through the furnace grate?

How you always chided me

When I said I was afraid,

“Don’t be such a fraidy cat.”

Now you stand and seethe, enraged

Learning what I always know.

Floor grates lead to misery

And premature, stinky, deaths

For green plastic army men

And your cheap-ass knock-off shoes!

Friends, Family, and Loved Ones.

As we prepare for this Memorial Day; a time to honor and thank all of those who sacrificed their lives to assure that our American society could continue, I would like to take a few minutes to propose a little thought experiment.

My purpose is to cast neither blame nor judgement but rather to inspire contemplation and encourage conscious choice in our celebratory behavior.

Many of us will gather in groups, Monday, to pay tribute to our fallen ancestors. Imagine you are there, in that gathering now, well before you actually arrive. Think about this example, and let your conscience be the guide to your personal behavior.

Picture in your mind, the celebratory environment you plan. Imagine the size of the crowd. Think about the personalities of the people with whom you will be gathering. Consider their occupations and the number of people they must interact with daily and the closeness of those interactions. Contemplate, based on those factors, how many of the people gathered will be wearing masks and how many will not. Honestly and fearlessly reflect on whether you or your immediate family will be masked or unmasked. Do you have that image firmly in your mind?

Now comes the hard part- please read the remainder with an open mind and do not assume any prejudice!

Imagine that at the culmination of the celebration, a time comes for everyone in the crowd to draw a handgun and fire all rounds straight up, into the air- kind of a all guns salute to the fallen. Appropriate, since we are honoring those who fell in battle to assure our freedom.

Thinking back of the image you formed earlier of your holiday crowd, imagine that all those wearing masks are firing blanks and all those without are firing live rounds.

Ask yourselves, in all honesty, would you wish that you and your family, friends, and loved ones were also wearing military helmets or had, even, chosen to celebrate somewhere else?

For the Farmer and the Fisherman

Today I walked alone,

Silently, among the fallen.

Snowy cold, standing stones

Basking ‘neath the setting sun

Stretching to eternity.

Here among these Legions,

I came across the one

Bearing my mother’s maiden name.

One of many, stretching back

To our very founding;

Fathers, grandfathers and greats.

Not all of whom retired here

To this, once, grand old estate.

Another found, I know, his rest

In a distant mountain stream,

The place he lived his later life,

The place he loved, by far, the best.

I honor them, those grand old men,

My few, among the many,

Not only for their sacrifice;

I honor them, out of love,

And, I suppose, that must suffice.

Evensong

Shrill

Inarticulate warbles

Muted in passage through walls

And woods.

Anger

Understood by tone

And cadence long before

Any sound clarifies to coherent

Words

Heat

Beat

hasty

Retreat

Words

Pulse

Thrumming temples

Dread descends with every step

Upward to that door

Where home fires burn

Doorknob

Chill beneath palm

Hand lingers

Warming brass

As crass language

And rage harass

His tired dragging ass

Inhalation

Exhalation

Knob turning

Welcome

Home

A Poet’s Lament

After running in place

for what seems like an age,

can’t I just lessen the pace

and scribble a word on this page?

Why must there always be work,

some urgently pressing demand,

a duty too vital to shirk

requiring my guiding hand?

Surely I will find some way

to invite my pen out to play

even if ending the day

I struggle for something to say!

In fact, it seems I’ve found time

to doodle this trivial rhyme.

Old Road, New Vista

This path is so well worn,

strolling here no longer holds  

neither longing nor regret. 

It has been trod by many shoes

in every weather, all times of day.

Marched in company, trudged alone. 

And yet, though seen repeatedly,

Through every conceivable lens,

A hidden gem will still turn up

Every now, and yet again.

It has become a favored shirt, 

too tattered now, to wear about, 

too memory laden to cast away.

So I’ll fold it up and stash with care

to wander down some other day.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

*with thanks to Paul Nichol and an MGB!

An Unexpected Face of Christmas

It’s freezing +1 and a driving rain
Peppered with shotgun blasts of sleet.
As I linger at a light, up beside me pulls
A mask of misery in dire need of heat.
Soaking on the running board,
Clad in saturated yellow,
Behind the garbage truck,
Shivers a most frigid fellow.
His visage drawn and tight
And muscles tensed against the cold,
I am suddenly quite certain
His tale of duty must be told!

He, like many others, labor away in misery
Struggling to meet the needs of their family.