Stand by Me

We wanted to follow
railroad tracks and sleep
under stars, maybe cook
up hot dogs without
a strict parent seeing
us wipe the grease
on our jeans. This
was 1986 when Polo
shirts were everything, not
following dreams or watching
morning deer, or thinking
about writing, or what
friendship could mean. But
Stand by Me let
in a little light
so we could remember
who we really are.

Our Family Dogs

Sam was short for Samurai,
a lion like Akita, let me eat
from his bowl when no one
else was looking. He killed
neighborhood cats, then
one night a car killed him.

There was Popcorn, named
by my sister, part husky
she loved to run away,
nose against screen door, then
escaped on down the road.
We’d yell Popcorn like circus
vendors, until she came back home.

Ginger was part sheltie, but
thought she was a cat,
never more happy than
sitting on our lap. She
loved us, and we loved her
back, there was no other way.

Kentucky Fireflies

All is stillness in Kentucky woods
where fireflies flicker, earthen stars,
one, then another and another.
With my son, we get to sit and stare
together into glowing darkness,
watch floating journeys. He clicks our
flashlight to say hello, then asks me
to stay close before summer slumber.
Breathing softens, he falls asleep.
I lie next to him for many minutes,
let life be at ease. With dawn there
will be another day, but for now this
is all, this is everything.

Music of Bearded Angels

he always wanted to
tell people how obsessed
he was with music
piano like mozart endless
dreams before sleep, he
heard his mother in
this sound night after
night, and the doo
wop voices on street
corners like his father
snapping fingers in a
tight white t-shirt, could
have been the fonz

it all surrounds him
these memories of morrissey
sweetness, he was only
joking, gosh that was
poetry when poetry was
supposed to be just
robert frost, maybe dickinson
and these memories are
just his, his ventura
highway in the seventies
summer of bushy hair
and bee gee bearded
angels, like endless youth
living in the air

Playing Left Field

Standing as if a sundial, my hand, a glove shadowing time.
Waiting for the ball I blink, wink, chew gum, itch my rear,
because nobody is watching me out in the wilderness where
gnats and sun, smell of cut grass envelop me, make me
a tall insect wearing stripes, socks hiked up high. I pace, shuffle
cleats, shout “Hey Batter, Batter,” as if my distant voice matters.

Take away white lines, the small crowd, he’s just a bushy haired
boy in a quiet meadow, looks like he might be talking to himself.
Or god knows who he is or what he is doing out there alone, a 
quiet king with monarchs that flutter by. Until wooden bat breaks 
daydreams, interrupts his nature, baseball soars over his head.

Of Time and the Kite

when my daughter was young we flew a kite
from her wooden deck, bedroom balcony
she held the string, I watched wind
invisible thing
nearby leaves rustling, flapping
nylon snapping, waiting for release
to soar or sink, ever the question
on a day such as this
the two of us standing there wondering
what does it mean to fly away?
I let go, her twine wriggled through fingers
up and up it went
sun stopped for seconds
our fabric patch covering time

Writing in Bed

exhaling visible emotion
ink onto page
alive each night if
only for these moments
toes touch sheets happy

the hours before are done
no more plodding through city
streets in laced up leather
free naked now
words moving across the page

composition notebook
indenting with cursive letters
pressing down, scribbled lines
fragments of thought
searching for truth night after night

sometimes finding things
like an old Hot Wheels car in
the sandbox, pull it out
examine chipped paint
try to recall when it was lost

describe what it looks like
loose front tire, red Camaro
“this is it,” I think
to reclaim, touch memory
unearth myself, the buried parts