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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

Finally
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

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

 

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“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
Naked
In the rain
And I woke up proud

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

 

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Biography written by a bystander (#329)

His clothes don’t quite fit him right.
He is waiting until he loses weight
Before updating his wardrobe.
That’s been the plan for the last 15 months.

He changes his name when ordering his coffee.
He goes in alphabetical order.
Today he is Gloria.
Tomorrow he will be Hieronymus.
The baristas know him and usually just write Bob.

He actually likes clowns and spiders.

His father taught him to never lie about facts.
Only about feelings.

He drops pennies from his pockets
Hoping little kids will find them
And believe in luck.
He used to believe in luck.
Now he believes in foggy days.

His mother no longer understands him.

He prays most days,
Creaky knees bent and hands together,
But he spends the entire time
Apologizing to God
For not believing in Him.

Yet he still believes in foggy days.

When he sings in the park
On his daily walks
He hopes a random stranger
Will join in and write his biography.

Today’s song is Seasons of Love.

 
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Posted by on May 2, 2019 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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An argument between friends (#313)

My hands are traitors to my feet
My feet want to be moving
–here to there–
–purpose to objective–
My hands want to grasp things
–to hold on–
–to slow me down–
My days are an argument between the two

My feet try to move out of the way
Avoid puddles
Don’t trip
Keep me standing
They know their job

My hands try to catch things
Raindrops and frisbees
More to have
More to give
My hands like the air
My feet are annoyed

But on some days
At some hours
My feet do dance
Circles and taps
Not moving to get somewhere
Just loving the ground
Sharing the joys with my hips
And my shoulders
And even happily with my hands

And on some days
At some hours
My hands do let go
Release
Empty themselves
They understand mortality
And loneliness
And find solace in prayer

My feet allow them
Their sadness and peace

 
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Posted by on January 23, 2017 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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Saturday, driving to grandparents (#302)

half-awake Saturdays
driving to my grandparents’ house
my mind gives me
voices and visions of what should be
instead of us

intellectual llamas
contemplating Camus
conversations that cover
love and other lost civilizations

talk radio
heater on high
occasional glances in rear view mirror
checking on my mood

gravity
like elephants
sitting on the telephone wires
birds flying backwards
giving us the illusion of speed

poetic wanderings
safer than talking
that just leads to questions
I don’t want to answer

God’s breath
looming outside closed windows
warnings of storms only I can hear
the silence of lightning
waiting to strike

I close my eyes

they hope I’m asleep

I’m not

this is my only answer

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2016 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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What really matters (#296)

 

“A man knows where he is from when he knows where he would like to be buried.”
–Colum McCann

You can bury me wherever you want:
Garden, ocean, cemetery plot.
It doesn’t matter to me.
The body will be done.

But I do know where I want to be a ghost–
A bench somewhere
Overlooking a lake, pond, mountain trail.
Anywhere someone would sit and think.
I want to haunt them with whispers,
Reflective ideas they would think came
From the gentle breeze,
Recite some poetry
They could sense but not hear
So they looked out from that bench
With a poet’s eye,
Maybe sing gently just beyond their reach.

When I die
I want to stay in the conversation
Of beauty and ideas and connections.

You can do what you want with my body.
Just leave me the words.

 
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Posted by on August 12, 2015 in new poetry, Uncategorized

 

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#291

Tastes like chicken

chicken
rabbit
venison
swordfish
frog legs
kangaroo tail
human flesh
corduroy chairs
velcro
trench coats
wooden tennis rackets
yield signs
the color tan
macroeconomics
dentist office music
Topeka
speed bumps
telethon
Elvis impersonators
mini-vans
4:37 p.m.
Ringo Starr
self help books
phone company commercials
email spam
words that end in -ing

 
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Posted by on August 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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#286

you get a different sound depending
on where you hit a broken thing

A cloudy day
A dog growls
A puddle blocks her path

She turns the other way
She turns to me
I am warmth

She knows the geography of my body
My ugliness
And my beauty

I am no secret
I am no exhilaration
I am warmth

But not today
Today, I am cloudy, too
A dog growling
And not interested in her path

I know
What she needs
What she thinks she needs

But my ugliness
Is to walk away
Knowing her pain

Feeling beautiful

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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#284

thin-veined soul…

thin veined soul
            dry leaf
    brittle
        left in the sun
            brown now at the edges
    crinkly
soon to crumble into nothingness

his soul used to be
                            wet and vibrant
the colors of Spring
            bud into bloom
lush
    a lush soul

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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#283

then you’ll know

he’s got the forehead of a friend

cut out his face
paste it in silhouette on the page

send it to your friend
to tell him you’ve missed him

wait for a reply

maybe he’ll send you
a picture of your lips

 
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Posted by on April 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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