Ms. Dawn Again

She entered the lobby around 5:00,
the first flirty filaments of her
wafting above the trees, and I,
like a downwind dog,
inhaled them with my eyes.
They twitched like Mollie’s nose
would when she’d sense something
coming before it even arrived.
She crawled from her bed into mine,
stealing the covers and pushing me
out of the ever capricious arms
of rapturous repose.
Oh, how she does conspire to tire
me even before she sprawls
her sparkling robe upon the lawn
and signs the guestbook under the alias
June Twenty-six Two-thousand Seventeen.
But she’s really Dawn Again.

The Uninvited Guest

This morning Sun rapped
not too gently on the doors
of my eyes. I knew who was there
immediately, but nonetheless
cracked the lids open
to his blaring reveille.
Sun barged in like an uninvited wind
and made himself home while I
still entertained Sleep and
her low humming songs.
In an awkward scene, she begged
my leave, for her quiet ways and
uninvited Sun’s beaming personality
almost never share a room—
let alone a bed.
I bade her a sad farewell,
as Sun tousled my hair,
pulled back the covers and
called in his friend, Morning.
Last I looked, they were still
bouncing upon my bed.
I phoned Evening, inviting her
back for another visit.
She’s yet to return my call.

It’s Complicated

I wondered if you’d ever ask if,
in these cryptic columns of words,
I’ve drawn portraits of you.
No, I’d say, adding some gibberish
about craft and imagination,
sounding as pretentious as me
in a Bond St. suit and silk cravat.
But I pulled out some of these
heart-stained Rorschach blots,
turning each 360 degrees,
like scanning the whole horizon,
squinting to muddy the bloody,
searching for an expression of you.
Failing, I tossed each to scatter
in an array of wounds, of joys,
of so many of my life’s
moments I’d all but forgotten.
In a momentary glance across
the topography of them upon my desk,
one overlapping another, piles of
disparate drops coagulating into one,
I saw your face in a moment of grace,
and each time I blinked, I saw another.
Once, even my own. So, in answer
to your question, I can only say…
No…
Yes…
Maybe…
It’s complicated.
So goddamn complicated I can only
do it with my eyes closed and
consciousness tied behind my back.

Baby On Board

Out on the highway,
the drivers think
of There as much
as they do of Here.
They can picture it
as easily as you do
that BMW which just
cut you off trying
to make it to Exit 8A
from the outside lane.
They know the destination
carries more weight
than the journey.
That’s just how the world
ticks when you’re
rolling along at 79 mph.
Sometimes even when
you’re driving that fast.

They probably don’t
care too much to realize
if they were to slow down,
even a little,
they might notice how
things closer to you
take on a sharper focus.
Like a BMW blindly
zipping left to right
might on its journey
toward a destination
more important than
that of the Honda
it just cut off. The one
with the Baby On Board
sticker in its back window.

Let’s see how many of these bits I can crank out in the 20-minute gaps I have in Father’s Day duties today.

To Do: Now What?

Wednesday, May 24 ~ The Last Day

1.  6:00 AM ~ Wake, shower, shave, kiss Pat goodbye, start commute.

2. Stop at Starbuck’s for Grande Pike Place. Tell barista Alyssa this will be last time I stop by at 7:30 in foreseeable future. Leave $10 tip.

3. Park in Lot C for last time. Try not bouncing like 5th grader too much as you show ID to guard for last time.

4. Pack up the office ~ one box only. Say goodbye to friends

5. Hand in parking permit and ID.

6. Officially retired ~ Check rearview mirror and enjoy the view shrinking.

7. Turn up car stereo to 10 ~ Play “Road Mix”

8. Laugh at commuters cursing on way home.

9. Daydream about what I should have said to He Who Shall Not Be Named boss on way out but didn’t.
Note to self: Fuck him. He’s there for another ten years, if he’s not murdered first. Hah!

10. Instead of gloating, watch out for cops south of Twin Bridges (Now’s no time for first ticket in 30 years).

11. Don’t miss Exit 9 making plans for future.

12. Park car, empty last two week’s Starbuck’s cups from floor behind front seat.

13. Leave box containing 30-year career in garage next to bags of manure, peat moss and other decomposing materials.

14. Take Pat out to dinner to celebrate freedom.

15. Go to bed and dream of all the things you can finally do now that you’re not anchored to The Job.

Thursday, May 25 ~ First Day of Retirement

1. 6:00 AM ~ Wake, shower, shave. Run to Starbuck’s for Venti Pike Place. Leave $1.00 tip.

2. Sit in kitchen, stare at Pat doing housework. Offer to help. Get sent out of room.

3. Take banishment to backyard and wonder about your Plain Language Project and what HWSNBN’s doing about it without you.

4. Resist urge to call work.

5. Wonder when feeling of stepping off cliff, blindfolded, without a net ends.

6. Ask Pat again if there’s anything you can do for her.

7.  Go to Starbuck’s and see what afternoon crowd looks like. (Too many old guys. Can’t relate to Off Track Betting crowd. Remember to bring iPad next time to look artsy.)

8. ? ? ?

9. ! ! !

10. ….

For Day 23 of my Story-a-Day May challenge, I was charged with writing a story in the form of a list. I was dubious if I could make something happen in that format, but I remembered my last day of work before my retirement. Polished with hyperbole and a twist of imagination and here you have a story…I hope.

Waited Too Long

There was a smell of Time in the air tonight …
what does Time smell like? ~ Ray Bradbury

As I passed her on the street,
it hit me like a flash of light,
blinding me for a second like
headlights in my face on a dark night,
numbing my body and deafening me
to where all I could sense was
that aroma for the life of me I couldn’t place,
but stopped me cold like when you can’t
match a name to a face.
Then I recalled it was the perfume
you wore back then,
the one that filled my head with
the drop and the spin
a certain someone can make a boy feel
where he comes undone,
losing all sense of time and place.
Except I remembered the moment,
felt the heat of your body,
saw your face
and heard your breathing with ears
that no longer hear.
I turned and looked but, of course
you weren’t there.
Just a ghost that floated by on this
warm night’s air, like that night
where we stopped time, capturing it
like fireflies in a jar,
only to lose them all when you left
me in that bar.
One more deep breath and I moved along,
because, like Time, you waited for no man
and I waited too long.

A second poem in response to Annie Fuller’s latest Writing Outside the Lines double-header of prompts. This one is using that Ray Bradbury quote. Now onto the stories that go with these poems.

Memory Warm Like a Summer Wind

I remember a few,
my memory more frayed
and threadbare each day.
Some of those nights in
their embrace tend to stick
to a man’s weft like
my best old denims’ warp.
But you remain the one
who’ll ever stay on these
empty shelves when all
their histories are dust.
It’ll be your blue eyes
(or were they brown?)
I’ll always see seeking
something I’’d never think
to find in my own.
I still hold the memory
of your warm body and
I dream of how I breathed
you in like a summer wind.
You temper these evenings when
I fall like an autumn leaf
from our sweet near-sleep
into a lonely old man’s
dreamless night.

Poem  based on this week’s prompt from Annie Fuller’s Writing Outside the Lines Challenge. It’s to use this quote–“… I breathed you in like a summer wind …”–in your poem or story. Here you go, Annie.