Author Archives: bobmcheffey

About bobmcheffey

A writer and a thinker.

Marilee (#339)

I was there when he brought you
Blue morning glories
Fresh lover
Confident in his kisses

I wanted to tell him
Of your fear of the sky on cloudless days
How you rub your hands religiously in the cold
To keep your fingertips pink
And how he needs to sing to you
In the language of yellows and greens

But I knew you loved him
And would forgive him
And would never tell him
About your perpetual sadness

As you thanked him
For those beautiful flowers
I quietly lowered my blue, blue eyes
As a gift to you

Leave a comment

Posted by on April 5, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Reading my poems on Instagram (#338)

My mother doesn’t like hearing my poetry.
She is afraid of the darkness in them.
She is afraid of the darkness in me.

I have told her that
The doubt and the fear and the pain
In my poems aren’t always real.
I am just presenting that these things exist.
But for her, words are not metaphoric or symbolic–
They are truth.
Words do not imply–
They tell what you think and feel.

She still listens to my poems.
After all, I am her baby boy
Even if I am in my 50s.
But she doesn’t like hearing little Bobby
Contemplating mortality
Or sorrow
Or secret desires that should stay secret.

She has not shared those things with me
My entire life.
But because I know these things exist,
I know she has felt them.
But she has never allowed herself the words
To express them.

This week I read a happier poem, just for her.
She didn’t respond.
I don’t think she believes it.

I will not read my mother this poem.
She would not like it.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 30, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

The proper way of playing in the rain (middle-aged edition) (#337)

No jacket
(c’mon, that was obvious)
Sprinkles don’t count
It’s got to be a real rain
Stop short of severe tropical storm, though

Listen for the sound first
When it hits the roof (porch, car, church)
In one continuous wave
That’s when you open the door

Don’t ease your way out
One big stride
Pause for at least 30 seconds
Let the water soak in
Don’t shake your hair
Feel it drip
If you wear glasses
Now you can take them off
Blurriness is perfectly acceptable

Turn and look at the people
Who are watching you and judging you
Invite them out
The one who accepts, kiss them (him/her)

Look at the sky
With your eyes closed
Opening your mouth is optional

Grab your partner’s hand
Walk farther out
When you run into a puddle
Skirt around it
(kids would jump in)
When you run into the next puddle
Look at your partner
Squeeze and agree
And splash in
(remember, kids would jump in)

Begin to dance
In that way we all know
Arms out wide
Head tilted back

Because….you know….

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 29, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Following Billy Collins’ advice (#336)

–Invite your readers into the poem before you close the door behind them.

Nice to see you.
Come in and sit. Sit.
Please get comfortable.
There are pillows on the floor, if you would like.
The couch is really soft.
Excuse me, I need to go close the door.
Now you’re in here with me.
We can do this together.

Normally I wander this room alone–
Look out the window,
Pick up a random book,
Put it back down in a different spot,
Move the pillows.
I never dust–who does that anymore?
I know I’m looking for something
But I have never figured out what.

It’s not usually lonely in here.
Sometimes I play music
Or I have imaginary conversations in my head.
I like it in here.
But I’m glad you’ve joined me.
Maybe your mute eyes will find what I’m missing.
Maybe showing you my hideout
Will open secret passageways or hidden drawers.
Maybe to impress you
I might even dust.

Stay as long as you can.
We’ll find the secret some time.
It may take awhile but at least we’ll be together.
There’s a cot over in the corner.
I’ll get some extra blankets.

Rest. Rest.

We can talk all night.

I’d like that.

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: ,

invisible she (#335)

she wonders
is she firefly
or cigarette ash?
flower or weed?

is she the first bite of sorrow?
the aftertaste of sleep?

she can feel the universe expanding
and herself getting smaller.
ocean waves die before reaching her toes.

the trees in her forest
can’t seem to hear her
but the harsh cries of ravens
sound like her name
(she always turns to face their black eyes).

this poem does not tell her story.
(this poem does not tell her story
the way she wants it to.)

how can a poem tell the truth
of an invisible she?

Leave a comment

Posted by on February 4, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , ,

My father’s lightning (#334)

My dad convinced me
When I was young
I should try to catch lightning

He had done it as a kid
And kept it in his room at night

He showed me a small scar on his hand
Where the lightning burned him
When he finally let it go

He would remind me
Of the lightning on the rare occasions
When he was the one
Who turned off the lights before bed
Leaving me in the dark

One day during the summer
When I was six or seven
I heard thunder in the middle of a rain storm

I went into my room
Grabbed an empty coke bottle
And my rain hat
To go make my dad proud

My mom stopped me at the door

When I told her about the lightning
She took off my rain hat
Kissed me on the forehead
And told me not this storm

I wondered for a couple of years
If my failure was why
My dad stopped telling me stories
Before turning off the lights
And leaving me in the dark
And then was eventually gone altogether

But now I understand
How my mother chose me

1 Comment

Posted by on February 3, 2020 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , , ,

Tea Cups (#333)

Facing death is like riding any
spinning ride. You are flung out from
the center toward the edge. Death is waiting
for you in that void.
Then there is the centripetal pause
when you are no longer
spinning and you can make eye contact with
people waiting in line
until you are spun back to the middle
to life as you knew it.

Some people love this.
They yell to spin faster
to go farther into the void
before returning. Always faster.
Always farther.
Me? I just throw up.

Leave a comment

Posted by on November 5, 2019 in new poetry


Tags: , , ,

Negative Capability (#332)

“I don’t have all the answers, but I’m learning to ask good questions.”
–Pamela Consear

I am searching for the non-answer
For the I don’t know
For the mystery I will die with

When I was younger I was a good boy
Paid attention in school
Mostly listened to my parents
Generally likable
Even witty and cute at times

But I got there because
I was good at answers
Followed the advice
Took down notes
Turned in assignments on time
Knew when to talk
And when to be quiet

But now I am looking for
The white space
The crooked margins
The fog that gradually creeps in
The sound or color or emotion
That no one can quite define

I am looking for a God that is a possibility
Not for a God that is an answer

I will search and search
And hopefully
Never find

Leave a comment

Posted by on September 11, 2019 in new poetry


Tags: , ,

Solus (#331)

She starts by explaining
The difference between
Loneliness and Alone

She is crying

I don’t know what to do
With my hands

When she trails off
Lost in her own contradictions
I want to add
Something about serendipity
And purpose
But the air is too heavy
With my nerves
And her denial

I have known her loneliness
And I have been alone
And neither helps me now

I, too, am crying
And I still don’t know what to do
With my hands

She sips her coffee
I sip my tea
We do not make eye contact

But I feel less alone

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 26, 2019 in new poetry


Tags: , ,

“I don’t normally remember…” (#330)

I don’t normally remember my dreams
Fleeting images that fade
Before my legs swing to the floor
But last night I danced
In the rain
And I woke up proud

Leave a comment

Posted by on August 21, 2019 in new poetry, Uncategorized


Tags: , ,