Wednesday, October 06, 2021

A Picnic

Abandoned wheelhouse,

hot humid day.

Captain of the ship (a boat with a shade awning) is on the shore of the lake

smoking a cigarette.

The crew of two (the wife and the daughter) are lugging the lemonade and the beer and bag of sandwiches and snacks through knee deep muddy water

to ankle-deep

to wet sandy feet

to the blanket he laid down on somewhat soppy Bermuda grass.


The flies on alert,

the mosquitoes’ flight-pitch elevating,

a puff of smoke disorients them

but only momentarily.

“You shouldn’t smoke!”

comes the call from just up-shore,

from a kid with a stick poking holes in the mud.

“It scares away the bugs,” says the captain with a stain-toothed smile.


The picnic is ready.

The cigarette is stubbed out.

The eating commences.

The ants began marching

when the blanket went down.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Treetops and Rooftops

Out my kitchen window is a lovely eastern golden morning view of treetops and rooftops
that sometimes actually glisten.
and then, of course, as I knew when I made the decision to live there,
the inevitable relationship with the alley.
It’s an alley; people use it as a bypass or a hiding place.
This morning I saw a young man walking slowly up the alley,
dressed for a Sunday afternoon on a Monday morning.
I adjusted the blind so he wouldn’t see me looking
and plugged in the coffee pot.
Was he calm or lost in thought?
Out of a driveway a car crept up the center of the alley behind him, super slowly.
I turned to put the bread in the toaster and set the butter beside it.
I went back to the window. The car had stopped.
He had stepped in front of it like Superman. But I couldn’t read the mood—
he walked around to the driver’s open window
and leaned his hips full contact with the door to talk.
I got the milk for the coffee.
I looked again. Now a woman was out of the car, embracing him.
She was dressed for work.
Did I hear crying? Murmurs.
Consoling? Arguing?
Pleas? Admonishments?
It all just sounded so watery, distant.
But then she sobbed pain and hurt or was it anger?
I looked down to butter the toast
and when I looked again she was back in the car,
and there was some kind of continuing exchange…
“Don’t drag it out,” I said to no one but me, “Just drive away.”
It really was none of my business so I ate my breakfast.
I don’t know what she did.
But when I brought my empty dishes to the sink,
there was no sign of either of them,
just the view of the treetops and the rooftops,
colors sharpening in the day’s advancing light,
and the alley of course.
JO'S/ 2016

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Walking to the Store


Waiting at the red light to cross the big street,
I always step back from the curb to be visible, as I am vulnerable.
Across the several lanes of traffic
a silver car slows to make a right (it has the light).
I catch sight of the woman driving with smooth confidence,
steady agency,
and it occurs to me,
(perspective: historically)
fearlessness reigns
with the car as the apparatus,
as there and there and here and there they go,
finally, the commoners have attained knighthood status
each and all
(ostensibly so)
clad in a suit of armor.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Gift from the Gray


Toward the window:
what is that funny sound
crackling against the pane
it taps in rapid staccato
what phenomenon? It's the rain!
It seems that I forget it happens
between dry lengths of day to days
and even as the clouds gather
habitual thinking says
expect nothing. So joy ensues
when the song begins--
clapping introduction to a hymn
of falling, refreshing
rain.
Let the
soothing
soak
in.
rain on window pane

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Looking Up

Tonight I looked up

And zeroed in on one star

Missing the wonder I used to feel about stars,

Not even the internal dialogue about

How the light I see tonight emanated long ago.

That conversation wasn’t there.

There was no magic

Just a feeling that the stars,

Well there they just are—

At least the ones we can still see

In our light bleached night sky

And they might be all gone to us eventually

And what if we get used to it?

Once, one spoke to me, offering good sense and comfort as my heart was being broken

But I dismissed it and ran headlong into the night of trying to unravel, undo the reality that was presenting itself; that actually he was gone to me already.

Tonight this star with its clear blue sear 

Said ha, you wonder why you are not wondering.

This time I said thank you.