Between 145 and 56

One more failing, another fall,
again a wet gray splush and masking
of his red-burnished face in the mud,
then drawing himself back up
to his diminutive height, the burn
as real as ever but not so severe
as the first time, the first 1,000 times.
Even a vase falls if someone bats it
off the shelf, and no vase even once
got up again after it met gravity’s
ultimate plane. When you’ve crashed
so many times, what’s one more?

Lately, though, the falls take so long
to consummate, then require
so much effort to climb back,
he just wanted them to end.
It would be so easy. Just lie there
in shards of failure, let them tread upon
them until you’re the forgotten dust
within the empty center of
the welcome mat’s O. Maybe
next time. You think of these things
as once more you pass between
Floors 145 and 56.


Never Asked Why

3-28 FWF

When all crashes down, when the light turns its lunar backside toward you, when someone never wants to see you again, when you fail and fail and fail, and you stand there amid the debris of this portion of your life, or even the whole sloppy enchilada, do you ask Why? I’ve always been the searching under the hood, the diligently dissecting, the scour the gummy memory questioner of How. How did this happen? How can I make it better? How can I clean up this mess of a Mexican meal I’ve come to rest in? Perhaps I miss that most prominent point, not seeking the answer of that fifth W of the reporter’s game, but more likely I don’t wish to see the bad, the mad look upon your face when you sadly tell me I’m a cad. If I can just walk away from this latest crash-and-burn, coldly replay the flaming, falling Hindenburg film of my own disaster minus all the “Oh, the humanity,” I might learn something about me and about you.  I’d learn something perhaps not so new. Just another guilt-gilded answer to the Why question you never heard me ask. One that I never knew How.

Free Write prose poem (I hope) that rolled like a raindrop down my window. Guess I saw this reflected in it.

Just Thought I’d Ask


Do you wonder?
I mean do you wonder, too?
Do you ponder if you ever
cross the mind of those
you’ve left an emotional scratch on?
Or even a bruise of the heart?
I wonder about some of the girls
whose lives I’ve crossed, maybe
barely macroscopically
like on a lower case T, or even
a full-sail ship-of-the-line
running perpendicular to their
gentle prows with its guns blazing.
That’s not necessarily this
small man’s ego run mad,
thinking it’s so tall and all
only because it stands upon
a hill of memories that occasionally
rises above the fog of time.
I just thought I’d ask, only to see
if I’m alone in my wondering
here on my hill of wonders.
Do you ever?
Even about me?

A swift free-write brought on by Daylight Saving Time hangover and an out-of-the-past Daylight Wasting Time inspiration.

Who Is She?


Street Conversations (Woman walking down the street.)
1946 Photo by Stanley Kubrick

Who is she, whose heels click by
and I just have to look up to see?
Who is she, who rustles by
in a fragrant cloud that stops
my tracks with a stroke of heat
not felt in years?

Who is she, whose curve of calf
and confident buh-bump bounce
stirs my heart and blushes my cheeks
with summer sunshine glow?
Who is she, who made me look without trying
and left me wondering who and why and…

I guess she’s someone’s other,
or sister, or mother, someone
I do not know, yet confidently
knows herself. Yeah, that woman.

A ten-minute lunchtime free-write that came to me when I recalled what day it was. Please don’t label me sexist. I’m the father of two daughters, the guy who coached girls basketball for 30 years, whose physician is a woman. I’m a sensitive guy who appreciates just about everything about women. I still can’t claim understand them, but at least I always try.

The Smiling Shadow at Your Door

The beast returned,
sneaky but blatant,
silent but like a train.
It wreaks a physical toll
from the inside out,
binds and confines,
tells you lies you
can’t help but believe,
then utters truth you
won’t hear.
I drove away once,
the beast in my rear view,
standing, waving after I
tried running it over.
I’d murder the beast.
It’s killed me and mine
so many times I’d barely blink
as I squeezed its neck.
But I haven’t.
The beast returns,
cunning as a sledgehammer,
hard like a pillow
over your face,
friendly as the smiling shadow
at your door.

Like Robins’ Songs


That herd of robins is back,
grazing on what passes
for open plains in the suburbs.
Today, they fill the big circle
of dormant grass
in the middle of the cul-de-sac.
The March sun catches
their orangey red just-so,
making their breasts look like
they’re afire.
Spring used to touch off the tinder
in my heart, spawning fire to a desire
I never fed with the kindling
of heroic feelings.
Those days are over,
only recalled when I read
the charcoal sketches you left
upon my heart’s stone walls
that whistle in spring wind
like robins’ songs.

Supposed to Be

It was never supposed to be this way, I heard her say amid the din of Starbucks. And that was all I heard. There was silence among the voices for a second after that. I glanced over my shoulder and saw the 20-something girl with her brown hair cinched into a ponytail I thought might be metronomically fun to run behind touch the glass face of her phone. I saw the joining of two minds, maybe even two hearts, glare from the morning sun and then fade to black, only to be replaced by little figures, icons with no religious meaning, save for the worship of celebrity and people she called friends who she’d never met before. I felt sad for the girl, as I waited for my overpriced cup of joe with “Joe” written on the side. I guess her It grew into something she had not expected and didn’t desire, a wish unfulfilled, a hope crushed, a lesson hard-learned. I’ve had my share of “never supposed’s,” hard times and bad choices, go-away lines and harsh voices. They’re a matter of thinking ahead into a too bright sun and behind at smiles bathed in a dimming twilight with a myopic eye behind rose-colored glasses. The coffee fogged my specs, clouding my position in the now, but I knew it would pass. All I had to do was let it cool a bit before I gulped it down. You see, life’s built upon a foundation of scars and you learn such things after a few scaldings.