Sky Blue Pudding

It always looked so smooth and soft
when I watched others enjoying it,
that sky blue pudding with whipped cream clouds.
I would stare at it up there on the tall counter,
my arms never long enough to find if it
was as sweet as it looked.
I climbed on chairs, scaled open cabinet drawers,
dipped my finger into bowls, sampled them,
found nothing sweeter…and always fell hard to the floor.
Even when I finally got a bowl, I lost my grasp,
dropping it to shatter all over creation.
I had gotten lost in it, cloud-bound, blind,
bumping into shards of Oreo mountaintops and
jagged pieces of others’ skinned-over sky blue pudding.

Why did mine become so hard, separated
into runny messes of azure bark and spoiled whey?
Didn’t I deserve the good stuff?
Then you came along, inviting me to your kitchen,
offering your recipe for my longed-for prize.
Now I feast on it, sneak into your fridge at night
and steal some (even though you said
I could have it anytime I wished), and
get all sticky lipped and happy.
You’ve even let me lick the spoon and bowl
while we make our own batch every day,
with whipped cream clouds but no Oreos.
It really is smooth, soft, sweet and sky blue.
It’s heaven, don’t you agree?

I sure wish I knew where this poem and its motif came from. Because I don’t. But I’m pretty sure I know where it went. I hooked it up with dVerse Poets open link night.

Right About Now

You’ll never touch tomorrow,
never glimpse it or even smell
the banana bread cooling on the counter
in its house of possibilities.
You’ve already tossed yesterday aside,
used, no-deposit/no-return.
But today, right now, this moment,
is here for the taking.
Pick it up. Run your fingers across
its soft warm belly, it’s cool slickness,
its moist freshness. Smell it, even lick it.
Or, better yet, give it a kiss.
Hold it like a precious gem, a helpful tool,
or, more to the point, a child.
That tiny one with all the potential
to be something great…or something less.
You’re the caretaker of this moment.
So take care of it. But if you don’t,
that’s okay, too. There’s another’s one
just as new and important right behind it.
See, Life is a fecund and promiscuous bitch.
That’s why I love it.

In Touch

Tablet use 2

Tablet use 2 (Photo credit: ebayink)

This third-degree spotlight with which I’ve played
the staring game for so long has compelled me
to blink out my truths, my lies, even most of my secrets.
And the poetic latest…
I hate it here. In this place, in this spot,
wherever I’m situated, and you’re not.

Forgive the rhyme. It’s not what I do,
but I’m squirming like a four-year-old at a funeral
parked as I am in front of any glowing cyclops
—PCs, tablets, laptops (did it again)—
my eyes turning rectangular as round real feelings collide
in left and right dimension, never palpable forward and back.

I guess so much real world feels near unreachably
distant as that place behind the glaze through which we
legally expose ourselves each day. Is THIS line true,
or a virtuality of what I mean? I like to whisper it to you,
but the closeness it requires might only further fog
what passes for truth. Unless we touch. Ohhh, we’d like that.

Written in response to the prompt Where in the World am I? – Meeting the bar @dVersepoets hosted by my friend and colleague Victoria C. Slotto.

Cancro Fra Diavolo

Italiano: Galleria Umberto I (Napoli). Mosaici...

Italiano: Galleria Umberto I (Napoli). Mosaici sul pavimento. Cancro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As he sits alone in the dark,
the fireworks glow of the TV on his weathered face,
Tony watches the 2:00 AM programma
on the Italian language cable channel,
just as Big Nancy hated. He preferred watching
this way instead of setting the DVR
like Little Nancy showed him.
Big Nancy never learned Italian and never,
ever considered cacio, soccer, a sport, even though Tony
fought to learn English and about gladiatorial
American football for her.

Just before dawn he thinks for the thousandth time
of his Mama’s visit and how the ancient
pensionata stayed up all night to play cards
with Big Nancy, even though neither had any idea
what the other was saying.
Tony remembers smiling at how their loud
and pained attempts at communicating
woke him and how once they became so quiet
he groggily looked in on them as his Mama
tried explaining something about a recipe
for shellfish: “Si, yes, cancro fra Diavolo,”
Big Nancy nodded and repeated.

Tony turns off the cooking show and heads to
the empty bed he avoids until dawn:
Cancro fra diavolo, Devil’s crayfish.
He’s almost too tired to wonder why she couldn’t
tell him in English?

Carry On

"Please report any unattended luggage."

“Please report any unattended luggage.” (Photo credit: ToastyKen)

As the traveler sat waiting and waiting for his flight out of there,
he heard over and over that recorded statement
from the Feds by the guy whose authoritative voice
they want to sound like God. You know,
to scare you straight. He thought by the tenth time,
the voice actually sounded like a game show announcer.
Everyone knows God sounds like Johnny Cash, he mused.
He must have heard that stentorian spiel
twenty or thirty times more telling him
to leave untouched any baggage he might come across.
And never, ever carry anything for another person.
No problem, he thought. He already left behind
so much of everyone else’s baggage, even his own,
months ago. It all just became too heavy to carry.
Now he traveled light and kept everything he really needed
in that small bag against his chest. Inside his chest.
He was only too happy to declare that with a smile
when he finally arrived at his destination.


You dodge the death machines to get to the ramp
to dodge more to get to the parking lot. Why?
Swing up the third rank and make sure to park
facing the exit. Now your focus tightens
from the landscape and roadway
(as well as those daydream visions
of her and there)
to the front seat,
steering wheel,
keys, briefcase.

Step out and lock up. Walk toward the building,
that mausoleum of youthful hopes.
You don’t see it though. Like the rest,
you’ve got your head down. Instead
you perceive right foot, left foot,
right arm swinging,
peripheral grass
and birdsongs. Listen!

Push through the door, look at your chest
to insure your ID badge with its
20-years younger You (even though
it’s only been 10) faces this barren world’s
uniformed Cerebrus.
Shiny black floors,
institutional atmosphere,
the escalator
with its electric train smell,
its sides roll behind you,
its steps don’t. Stop!
Turn at the top and walk down the dark hallway
to the empty darker office. Fire up the computer
for one more day closer to any escape. Write…

You dodged death machines to get to this place
Don’t let it kill you.

Flowers for the Diva

The ghost bike sits on the corner
where the angel flew away
with the diva beneath her wing.
It wasn’t a peaceful departure.
It was harsh and abrupt in its sweep
and finality,
not like when an angel waits by a bedside
for weeks. This time it came with
the crash of a minivan into a bicycle,
leaving behind a story for cops to write
in white on black.
That’s how I read it the next day
and for weeks thereafter.
Even after the snows came and went,
I could still see where the angel left her halo,
coming and going as fast as she did.
And I still could see the shadow of
of her life there within that halo,
not shiny and dark like on that June morning,
but just as dark in my heart, there next to
the white bicycle and the flowers for the diva.

On June 6, 2007 Diva De Loayza died in a tragic accident near my home. Mollie and I passed the police accident investigation lines on our morning walk the day after and every day for months. Those lines, and the young woman’s blood on the blacktop, affected me for years.

Today, on the anniversary of her death, I “wrote it out”

Over and Out

Running Man

Running Man (Photo credit: Image Zen)

There’s that door. Please, let me pass, I want over,
on its other side. Taking this heat only serves
to make me colder, harder, more isolated.
I can do that easily.
I’ve been serving in solitary many years
on this craggy Elba of slate blue Alone.

So please back up, move over,
let me out before I use this hardness
to break things that should remain pretty
on the shelves of memory lining these walls with
but this one door. One that swings out, I discovered,
when finally I lifted my eyes from the floor.

D’you know stepping out from one side of a door
is stepping into something new on the other?