Flamenco At Home

wooden guitar, Paco de Lucia flat on a screen
the bitten apple underneath his frozen image
Iberian music partially fills the house

without speakers he is far from me
sitting at the center of our victorian
the dining room table, my desk where words appear
between my son belting out songs he learns from
tv, while my daughter talks about the dog
we’ve decided to have join our chaos
our domestic bliss

before baths and bedtime
they swirl and nip like moths chewing sweaters
devouring dusky light
energy wanes, finally they take the stairs up

I stand barefoot, wooden floorboards warm my toes
in Sloane’s room, above the oven
where the chocolate chip cookies were
just baking

I stare at her snow globe collection
Capri, Virginia, Asheville, The Nutcracker
Alexa playing songs that I don’t know

almost 30 years ago it was
TWA, me on a plane to Madrid from JFK
before I knew his name, before the Moors
and Hemingway, before phones in pockets

his voice, his Algeciras
dead 4 years now, wikipedia tells me

the cassette I bought that summer
a rectangle of non-compostable plastic
sitting in landfill somewhere

the house is quiet now
only black where he once was
sleeping children, the wind outside blowing leaves
like memories trying to take flight

Old House In Virginia

Maybe you want to take photos of the paintings to show Liz, see if she might like them, my mom says, as we walk on worn wooden floorboards. The house smells old, slightly musty from the never opened windows, old like the Chickering grand piano that sits in the living room. We can’t even give it away, my mom says. It is from 1910 and apparently has an affliction that no piano doctor can cure, age.

I go into the basement where I used to play Ping-Pong, lift weights, hit the heavy bag. Only the netless table remains, labeled boxes piled on top. I see my name on some, peer inside to find yearbooks, faded inscriptions urging me to have a great summer, get laid, get psyched for high school. I look through old photo albums, take out my iPhone, snap shots of me with bangs, wearing polo shirts, my dad on a Honda motorcycle, send them to my wife. Cute, she texts back.

At night I tuck my son into bed, where he sleeps in my old room. My desk is gone, the mirror where I adjusted ties, gone, the wallpaper where I scribbled a girlfriend’s name, stripped off long ago.

Outside I amble along with the robins, squirrels, and chipmunks, everything so green and quiet compared to San Francisco’s flamboyant tech-savvy noise. Anonymous, I walk like an old man past young families, past houses where I used to eat ice cream, where I watched the Redskins on TVs with antennas, where I threw water balloons. Summer sun, the light is the same, the humidity, nothing has changed, I’m strolling through 1986.

Then I look across the street, stare at Howard and Dorothy’s former house where I used to rake leaves, both dead for years, my parents tell me. Back inside, my son is excited, shows me the time machine that he is building. I give him a kiss, I love it, I say.