The Kids in the Neighborhood at Play

The people in the neighborhood live in retirement to scour their yards, lawns, flower beds moving back and forth carefully, stopping when seeing a weed and bending, trowel or weed remover in hand to extricate the invader.

Hour after hour, day after day,
for my neighbors weeding is their play.
But what do they do on a rainy day
when they can’t play?
In the house they will stay,
looking out the window
for signs of alien, green invaders
who into their yards do stray,
and marking the spots, cleaning
the weed remover, rubbing
hands together and with a
devilish grin
pray for a sunny day to
begin and once again,
they can go out and play.

Do Me The Favor — “The Simple Question” set to rhyme and meter

Nervous and hoping to say something
profound to my fraternity brother friend,
who sat two seats over in the darkened
movie theater, I leaned and did bend

past my date hoping she would hear
and be impressed with words so wise,
but mid-sentence, I thought, oh, dear
right out of my mouth the life saver did fly.

Hoping it fell to the floor noticed never,
I finished saying what it was I hoped
would be thought quite clever,
chuckled but felt just like a dope.

In a minute, my date, the first but destined
to be the last, offered me the life saver,
which had dropped right into her open hand,
with the exclamation, “Please do me the favor;
take your life saver.”

Enough Said

It has been said that children one to ten
worshiped all their parents’ said
and then later on many occasions,
wished their parents dead,
but it does seem that time heals wounds
accompanied with good intent,
and with silent, serious listening
and quiet words, it’s time well spent,
for as those years fly by, it is said
children have children of their own
and children worship the parents’ words
then parents eventually hear words of dread
and so, the cycle begins again
and of all this, enough said.

The Simple Question

Nervous, hoping to say something
profound to my friend, a fraternity

brother, two seats over in the
darkened movie theater, so my

date, first date, will hear and
be impressed, I leaned over her

and the life saver dropped out
of my mouth half way through

the first thought. Hoping it fell
to the floor unnoticed, I finished

saying what it was I hoped would
be thought quite clever, chuckled

and sat back. After a minute, my
date, the first and then destined

to be the last, offered me the
life saver, which had dropped

into her hand, with the simple
question, “Is this yours brand?”

Coffee With Poets and Theologians

One daily poem is accompanied by
a photo of the artist and the
artist’s commentary on the poem.

One other poem directs me to a
biography and a photo and dates
of the poet’s life and commentary
on the poet and other poems by
the poet.

If I click on the poet’s name of
the third poem, it directs me to
other poems that have appeared
at that site.

Still curious, I copy and paste
poets’ names, hit send and find
myself in internet heaven for
poets — photos, websites, blogs,
tweets, more poems — a veritable
panoply of insight into the lives
of the poets.

So, the next time a poem shows
up in my inbox, I say, “Hi, Jack
or Jill or Jim or Jane, welcome;
what wonderful gift do you have
for me today?”

And it is as if I am entertain-
ing esteemed artists in my house
in the morning, often while I am
still in my underwear.

Being esteemed artists, they,
of course, are fully clothed
while out and about but don’t
seem to mind my informality,
especially not the San Francisco
Beats like Ginsberg or Ferling-
hetti. Jim Harrison doesn’t
really give a rip, either.

I do the same entertaining of
two theologians each morning,
except I’m not sure they are as
comfortable with my attire as
are the poets, being theologians
and all.

The freshly brewed, gourmet
blend of coffee I offer seems
to help. I’m told theologians
drink a lot of coffee. Must
help keep them alert while
thinking deep thoughts about
the meaning of existence,
dogma and eternal truth.

Dreams Did Commence

Stephen King wrote, “Fifty-one
was too old for dreams of the
future. At fifty-one you had to
keep running just to escape the
avalanche of your own past.

The reader agreed with the second sentence,
but having married his love at fifty,
for him sweet dreams certainly did commence.

What Credentials Do You Have To Do That?

When he was offered a job
as a therapist, someone asked,
“What credentials do you have
to do that?”

Even though he holds a bachelor’s,
master’s and doctorate, they still
asked of him, “Sure, but what
credentials do you have to do THAT?”

When he started writing poetry
a friend asked, “What credentials
do you have to do that?”

When she started making artistic
sculptures, people asked, “What
credentials do you have to do that?”

When people started overlooking
(literally) her sculptures in shows,
she wondered if the pieces could
be placed on higher stands.

When people kept overlooking
her now-placed-higher sculptures
in shows because they were used
to looking at walls, she just
shook her head.

Then one day, she was awarded
an award and, voila, she was an
overnight success and she still
just shakes her head.

People still ask her for her
credentials, but now she just
takes pride in feeling like
a female version of the ball
player in The Natural.

She’s a natural they now say
but she works her tail off
each and every day.

He has self-published two
books after twenty-five years
of jumping through hoops and
getting twenty-five articles
published, but people still
ask who his publisher is as
if to ask, “What credentials
do you have to do that?”

He now just says, “A highly
selective, small press
’boutique’ poetry book
publishing company in
Phoenix, Arizona.”

Self-publication was good
enough to get Walt Whitman
and Ezra Pound going.

He wonders if anyone
ever asked them, “What
credentials do you have to
do that?”

Maybe they were granted
certificates in being naturals
but only after receiving
some good reviews.

The Futility of Defining the Difference Between Oranges and Apples

Is poetry without irony simply prose?
Is prose with irony really poetry? Who knows?
If all words are metaphors,
what are metaphors for?
It’s like saying if such and such is all
then it is nothing at all,
because there is no comparison to
so to make a comparison, differences
are needed, for heaven’s sake.
It’s like comparing oranges and apples;
They’re both fruit examples,
but they are very different fruit samples.
So, it is with prose and poetry comparisons.
They are both forms of writing done by Ralph Waldo Emerson
who might say to defining the difference
between poetry and prose,
“Who knows?
For me, it’s like comparing oranges and apples.
I think that’s a pretty good metaphorical sample,
without needing any further example.”

Why Did I Start?

Why did I start? I don’t know,
but I don’t want to stop. I
wasn’t very good; in fact, I
was a really bad long distance
runner in high school. I was
a sprinter — hundred yards,
two-twenty at most. We had
to run cross-country if we
wanted to try out for the
basketball team. Then, at
twenty-five, I just started.
I think I loved the look of
the shoes, running shoes.
If I put them on, I could
fly. I loved the feeling of
the shoes on my feet. Were
they like the red ballet
slippers? She danced to
death. I didn’t want to die;
I just wanted to fly, at
least it seemed like flying
in my mind for about 40,000
miles with feet on the
ground in forty-six years,
now just slow trail jogging
several times a week. Counting
distance is now finished for a
timeless thirty minutes — but
still flying through the sky in
a new pair of running shoes.

We Want Warrior Kings

We want warrior kings —
giants with big egos
to show
everyone else how it goes —
authoritarian populists lifting
all the fears
gathered for years
throwing all the fears into a fiery
shouting, “See!!! Trust me.”
Crying out like an erupting
“I am the one
to save you, you know,”
destroying all that would cross
the giant’s path
and freeze it in molten ash —
this enemy and that.
Phoenix, rising from the
charred embers, this a bird
of prey.
He will do it, those who crave
authoritarianism, say.
Evangelicals, who say
they follow the lamb,
fold their hands in
irony and pray
for the warrior king
to save the day.
Give us Thor,
give us Ares,
not enough, give us more,
give us Donald J.
And in light of that yearning,
searching, fearful folly
that promises heaven but
only leads astray,
we all must pray.