He Knew He Was Through

“Interested in an interim?” the caller

asked out of the blue.

He thinks he could be an interim again,

a pretty good one, too,

but at this moment he’s camping,

relaxing by the creek with Chris

and Buddy Baloo

and knows he’s through,

oh, so through.

He gave his all for years

numbering forty-two.

“Thank you. You have a good

day, too”

The Food Writer Asked

The food writer asked readers

for the recipes they wanted most.

Top of list? Shrimp and Tequila

Skewers. She added chicken to

the mix without being asked and

when introducing the recipe,

stated that the skewers were

delicious with or without the

booze. Discussing the marinade,

she didn’t just say soak the

shrimp and/or chicken for two

hours, she noted that during

the two hours, she had been at

church. Makes one wonder –

shrimp by itself, shrimp with

chicken, chicken by itself –

are her readers kosher? With

or without tequila – AA?

Marinade while at church –

Southern Baptist?

Perhaps she already had the

Catholics, Episcopalians and

Presbyterians in the back

pocket of her recipe book?



Burning Coals of Poetry

Proudly, he sent a note to

the neighbors that he

had a book on the way.

A neighbor thought that

quite cheeky and did so say

to everyone she could

think of along the way.

When the books

arrived, he gave her a

slim volume anyway.

He honked at her hus-

band one day

but didn’t stop to say,

“Hey, hope you liked

the book, neighbor, and

have a great day.”

The husband did wave

but with a scowl, not

a smile did he labor.

Well, in a paraphrase,

the saying goes, “Heap

burning coals of poetry

on the head of thy


Realizing Mortality

Standing in his kitchen,

emptying the dishwasher,

holding a spoon,

feeling the smooth, concave


the long, slender


he realized the spoon would

be there for his survivors

to wash and put in the flatware


He didn’t think they would

look, really look at

or feel the spoon

as he just had.

Editing One’s Own Writing

Editing one’s own writing

is  oxymoronic – irreconcilable,

contradictory exercises

it seems….

Writing then correcting one’s

impeccable pages?

It’s so much easier seeing the

sliver of a misplaced

comma in someone

else’s work

than the whole

plank of a misplaced

paragraph in

one’s own.


A Man Stood

The Indian mystic Ramakrishna used to say: God laughs when he sees two brothers divide their land by means of a boundary line saying, “This side belongs to me and the other side to you.”  God says, “The universe belongs to me and they claim two portions of it!” and the Buddha said, “A man says, ‘This land is mine….’ Such are the words of the fool who does not understand that even he is not his.”

A man stood in front of his newly

remodeled home in a very nice

homeowners’ association in the


dunes along a big lake. Speaking

in growing agitation, in a low, growly

voice, “When I bought this house,”


he said stabbing the air rapidly as

he pointed in the direction of the

house, “and sank a ton of money


into it to have it fit into this neigh-

borhood, I, at least, thought I was

getting a private beach!” Much to


his chagrin, he has to share the beach

with summer vacationers who rent

on the next street where renting


is permitted. Apparently, when he

bought, he was not aware of the co-

nnection with the neighbors. He was


not a happy man, but his unhappi-

ness started long before he bought

the house, sank a ton of money into


it so that it fit into the nice home-

owners’ association and thought

he was buying private access to


his very own private beach. His

unhappiness started when he be-

gan thinking of himself as the


owner of a little, red wagon and

he wouldn’t give rides in it to

the neighbor kids. Funny thing;


that way, he never got to ride,

either. He just pulled looking

back at the wagon…longingly.


Without Invitation, Always Without Invitation

Without invitation,

but with the

full expectation

that hubris

just assumes,

she assumed

her critique

would be gratefully

received and believed

(the conclusion

being forgone)

because, after all,

she had once

studied at the


Well, she let her

opinions fly.

The recipient not

knowing why,

but irritated

as high as the sky,


“Sorry, did you say

you have a sore bun?”

hoping this

surely soon

would pass,

really wanted to ask,

Can you

spell assume,

you royal pain

in the ass?

He Heard

He heard the Salem witch trials

mentioned on T.V. and

he thought about the college prod-

uction of The Crucible in which

he portrayed Judge Danforth. At the

time, he had no idea who Arthur

Miller was and how Miller was using

the trials as a vehicle to expose

Joe McCarthy and American fascism.

He didn’t know anything about

those things either. What he knew was

how he hoped the makeup would

make him look a hundred and ten years

old while keeping his hair intact.

And so, ignorantly, he played the role

and the college news editor and

art critic, a fraternity brother, mercifully

omitted any reference to Judge

Danforth in the review, even though Judge

Danforth was a major character in

the play. He was hurt for a time, but in

retrospect, even while he had

been ignobly ignored, he went, mercifully,

unscathed. In old age, he has

learned to give thanks for small favors.


The Resident Music Critic

He doesn’t know if his Chocolate

Lab is a music critic.

He doesn’t think the dog ever took a

course in music appreciation,

but he has only had the dog for a year,

and the dog isn’t talking about

his previous life. It could be that the

five year old, an estimate by

the vet, which translates to forty-five

in human years, an age by

which most seeking a Ph.D. attain it,

obtained his Doggie of Phil-

osophy degree in music appreciation

before they ever met. All the

man knows is that when he pulls out

his guitar to strum and sing

some old Peter, Paul and Mary or

Kingston Trio tunes, the dog

quietly, but resolutely and rather

quickly rises, lowers his ears

and leaves the room. When his child-

ren were young, they did the

same thing, including a metaphorical

lowering of the ears. What

was disquieting for the man was that

they were in elementary

school at the time – a long way from

obtaining any degree in

music appreciation let alone a Ph.D.