You Can Observe a Lot Just by Watching

From where I sit in the parking lot,
I can’t tell if there’s a driver
in that black Mercedes over there
with the black-shaded windows, so
I’ve no way of knowing if he
noticed the broken glass he’s parked atop.
It’s tinted a bluish hue,somewhere
just south of cerulean, like a March baby’s
aquamarine,if you turn your head just so.

If that’s the case, he more than likely
isn’t noticing the brown-on-brown wren
over there picking seeds from the ironweed
ringing the flaked yellow painted
concrete block walls of this garage.
Chances are then, he missed the tossed
baby diaper, wrapped tight as
a chimichanga con mierda,
that’s bisected by sun and shadow.

He’s not sitting out here
humming to the harmonious whoosh
of the cars on their way west out of Albany,
or those few headed into town,
on this hot July Saturday at noon.
Oh, here he…no, she…comes from the back
of the tailor shop, big sunglasses
perched on her perfect and pert nose,
dark and secretive as her car windows.

And now there she goes, whooshing
away in a spray of blue glass,
grey gravel,
a frightened wren,
tiny seeds and a sun-faded,
smiling Elmo, Sesame Street diaper.
She’ll never know what she missed.

On this enshrinement day at the Baseball Hall of Fame, just a little ways west of here in Cooperstown, I’m put in mind of old Yogi, the great Yankee Hall of Famer and blue-collar philosopher Lawrence Peter Berra. He’s quoted as saying, “You can observe a lot by just watching.” I guess I kind of proved that yesterday.

Queen Anne’s Lace



Out back, the Queen Anne’s Lace
grows unabated these days.
Looking down from my window,
each cluster of tiny snowflake petals
floats lacy and dense,
each a frothy stepping stone
you might walk upon across
this green-daubed array of goldenrod,
ragweed and someday maples
that cascades down the hill.
When I walk outside for a closer look,
they look down upon me on the slope,
waving in the wind like clouds
blowing around the sky.
Here, they mask the setting sun,
showering speckled shadows
upon my eyes.

Funny how the same bit of life
can appear sturdy or soft,
inviting or invasive,
lovely or loathsome, if you’re
too close to it or too far away.
I was that flower once,
buoyant upon a verdant wave of hope,
who then became something
requiring extraction from view,
when I draped darkness upon
the true vision of who we were.
I guess there’s something to be said
about knowing how to keep
just the right distance.
Oh, and killing winter.
Spring, too, I guess.

Photo by Joseph Hesch.


imagePhoto by Joseph Hesch

Hawk dropped by for breakfast this morning.
I had my Saturday pancakes. He had chipmunk.
I finished mine before he took off with his.
A to-go order of striped rodent, sticky too,
but not with syrup. Why does he looked so angry?
He can sit there at rest like some boulevardier
watching the groundlings circle his table.
No critter, including this one, would dare interrupt
his wriggling repast, lest we become a second course.
I don’t soar much anymore, the limited spring
of human flight now just memory, fallen away
like the grey hairs I find on my pillow each morning.
I can only spread my wings when I sit here,
as I drop with talons sharp on memory, on fantasy,
on fuzzy imagination, and carry them to my nest
to try feeding ever-unseen, hopefully open mouths.