Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Her birthday

Today was her birthday.
Her eyes dart around the table,
down to her menu, over to my menu,
resting briefly on my left hand,
noting perhaps my empty ring finger,
or the absence of nail polish,
or perhaps how much my hand
now looks like my mother's
as she often points out, then back
to her menu, and then over
to her man's face, on which only
an attractive nose and pleasant lips
are visible under the shiny cobalt blue
sun glasses and battered baseball cap.

When the menu absorbs her,
I stare at her disheveled hair
tied into a crown atop her head
and flash on the little girl she was,
the stunning beauty born into her
and for a jolt of sorrow pricks me,
seeing how it is fading so fast
in the street life she shares
with this nice man.

It seems nothing more will become of her.
This is her life, a life no one could envision
until she began living it.
I can see she doesn't mind it.
She has what she wants:
A man who cares, a mother who
buys her lunch and cigarettes,
and crystal meth.

The News at 6

All day every day the cries
invade my house,
so shrill they burst the glass
from souls of souls they come
from all directions
screamers sniped, gassed,
buried in their homes,
blown into walls, thrown
into holes, every day I hear
wailings--sick, hungry,
despised for some singularity,
some disparity at birth and then
the other mourners too
whose soldiers left.
What can we do
after the postcards to Congress,
after the marches,
the all-night benders?
Crying deep rivers soothe,
somehow a gray river of tears
holds one steady,
and so does chanting
and so does rocking,
and so does cursing,
though no one beyond the lamp post
will hear or give a damn
but we keep testing.



Don't trust them
none of them,
not one tiny bit.

All liars, clowns, thieves,
making believe, misleading.

Why, even when I leap in joy,
that fear pops up,
Ha! Another blunder, Fool!

Fear, joy--they don't last
and that's my point:

Weak or strong,
you always wonder,
will love grow or smolder?

Either way, the feeling flees
with all its thunder
and in its place, another.

What I never expected...

What I never expected
was to get this old this fast
(and feel so young so long)
and see myself so average!

Had I known how really
boilerplate I am
I would have hidden less
and done much more

to stand out.

Oh well, it's good to know
I'm not a freak at all.
That disabling fear, to be unlike,
is cured.

Now a quiet rises
higher every day
and swells my old
average heart,

To move in a world
I’m meant for but never
expected to be.