Two Recent Poems

Fetch, the Chain

I don’t think it happens

to younger people

at six I go to fetch

tomorrow’s work

but on my way

I remember my pills:

Two of one, one of another,

two more and another,

mornings are different

I replace one with half

a vitamin D.

But I had the day off

as it was our youngest’s

fourteenth birthday.

my wife worked

so, she took him shopping

after work.

I intended to load the dishes

so, I set the pills on the counter,

unload the machine,

reload it and wipe the counters

and remember the clothes

need to be moved to the dryer

take my pills and finally fetch.

I should be writing my literary

column as I often do,

I don’t know what I am

writing about

that never stops me

only I had to stop

and write this poem.


Three Silver Bowls


spin slowly as I search

for the blue cheese,

things I wonder now:

why did captains eat

those sort of wafers?

does anyone still

serve dressing that way?

how come we never ate

at a steak house

except Pell City, 1968?

When we stayed

at the Lee Motel

for twelve dollars:

window unit chilling the room,

dripping on the sidewalk

green sixty-six Belair, nosed over

under the low red brick building

except for their anniversary

when we had an adjoining room,

not connected,

though I always wanted

a connected room,

never got one.

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The Hand Wash

I used to think

it was an exercise in mutuality

as the saying goes,

“one hand washes the other.”


But no, I notice the left hand

busy taking charge

flipping the lever turning on warm water

grabbing the soap

with the flick of the thumb

rotating the bar, a time or two,

to get some softer soap

off into the hand.


The right hand washes the left

thoroughly, the left,

giving a bit of attention back,

but as a master would clean a servant,

sufficient and perfunctory.


While the left turns off the water

the right grabs the towel

carefully, completely dries the left,

the left passes at wiping off

the right an rehangs

towel on hook.


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All my Clients Are Liars

All my clients are children,

their dogs all have bones

they chew on.


Truthfully, so do we all.


All my clients are old folks,

they all have children

who long ago left home.


And have not returned.


All my clients are lawyers,

they all have bones

that left long ago.


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What John Ate for Supper

Boondoggle dragons play poker

with napkins and public transit

while new yorkers eat

hot dogs and each other.


Frank gets his watch fixed

and dies in the dark

on the beach

and John mourns him for fifty years

while they build

and blow up so many buildings,

sometimes with airplanes.


On the off chance

you have a half dollar

can I buy a token for skee ball

on the boardwalk

or for the bus to get there?


I do not have to go to – New York-

to Smell it

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Where am I going (Suzanne’s Poem)

to find the peace

and quiet to write my poetry?


That’s what I need,

not my teenaged son’s bedroom

not my couching with a boney

whining dog pressed against my leg.


So, I could just toss them

out, like that:

one, two, three.


Throw-away poems

you call them,

and I don’t even have one

I wish I had three,

I could throw

one away.


(Suzanne’s poem transcribed as she spoke)

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This Sunday

bookended by two long

weeks of rain, dreary

green leaves hang past

the water glazed screening


A Sunday morning, maybe

the happiest of all

times: most are not

working, a pure leisure.


Reading, cooking, even laundry

goes at casual speed.

Where would I go

in this green muck?


Sunday morning stillness except

for gentle to gusting

bands of rain dancing

on the metal roof.

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Never Trust a Poet

They lie.

They tell stories.

They hide behind words.

When all else fails

they make stuff up!


I have known poets –

a lot of them –

not a one of them

are to be believed

they mean to say

what you read

no more

no less

pretty boxy

metered rhymes,

scrawly, scraggly

lines bending and jumping

but in the end,

a poet is not to be trusted

the most

because, with all their lies,

they tell the truth.


You can never, ever,

trust the truth!

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