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When I read poetry, which is often,
I think to myself that the poets are
really pulling a fast one over on the
rest of us because they never learned
to put coherent sentences and para-
graphs together and to follow a
thought through to it’s logical con-
clusion in a rational argument but
opted for nonsense line breaks and
word breaks in places other than
grammatically accepted syllables,
obscure images and language that
just pop into their heads or, in
fact, they know all about the ess-
entials of grammar and spelling
and coherent, meaningful, logical
writing growing out of critical
thinking but are called by a
different muse, an ancient one,
one that precedes all modern
grammar and therefore is the
language of the gods or demi-
gods or something or other in

The Pied Piper Plays Happy Holiday

The powers that be went to work
and added “54 words to a tax and
spending bill of more than 2,000
pages that temporarily preserved
a loophole sought by the hotel,
restaurant and gambling industries,
and billionaire Wall Street investors.”

Happy Holiday is played on the
pipe by The Donald, Pied Piper to
angry, old, working class, white
people, as he strolls to the vault
to deposit gifts to himself while
promising a pleasant trip over the
edge to his fearful, feckless follow-
ers who get the shaft and the gift
of all the charcoal while he gets
the mine, mine, mine.

Watching Fish

Often his muscles freeze
into knots under a warm

blanket like fear creep-
ing and seizing during

a serene evening’s sleep,
both dispelled by moving

about the cold morning’s
light, stretching, basking

in the new day. Taking
the dog for a walk among

pines, listening to the
waterfall, watching fish.

She Towered Over Us

She stood, no towered over all of us, a massive torso under house dresses down to her ankles where her dress brushed against her formidable brogans and half glasses on a chain resting on her bulbous nose below her big bun, brown hair laced with silver.

She addressed us as mister and miss as she walked around her desk and in front of the front row, a wooden, foot long ruler in hand, slapping against her thigh and palm of the other hand.

Intimidation, no abject fear, is what she invoked as she said, “Open your books to page seventeen. Mister,” she hesitated and all the boys prayed they wouldn’t hear their name pronounced with the authority of a great punishing goddess.

“…Mr. Allen, please begin reading where we left off yesterday.” Same name, no relation, thank God, Mr. Allen had said on numerous occasions on the playground during recess and out of ear shot of Mrs. Allen.

Left off? Yesterday? It might just as well have been a year ago in fourth grade. Russell Allen simply stared at the book on his desk.

Anna Mae Winstrom leaned forward and whispered in his ear, “Second paragraph.” And then the booming voice, “Miss Winstrom!” Anna Mae sat back duly chastened. Russell stood and read haltingly.

Then over the top of her reading glasses, her eyes zeroed in on me sitting at the back of the class, where she put me for talking repeatedly out of turn. Oh, no. I knew I was next to read.

And so, the year went like that, except I had entered at the bottom of the class and left for sixth grade having moved up the ranks significantly.

Somewhere along that year, I fell in love with Mrs. Allen and on the day of graduation from grade school to high school, I saw her in the hall and without reservation, I approached her and said, “Mrs. Allen, Thank you so much for helping me through fifth grade. And I’m sorry for having talked out of turn so much. You were a wonderful teacher.”

I saw her eyes warm over her spectacles and a smile came to her face. “Thank you. You know I expect great things from you, William.” She didn’t call me mister. She turned on her brogans and as she walked away I saw a bit of a sway in her old house dress.

it’s the most wonderful time of the year

he read an article where the author
wrote that she doesn’t do christmas
anymore. a contradiction summing up
the season: obligatory gift giving.
a feeding frenzy of torn paper, torn
boxes, torn hearts, too much booze,
too many fights into the night, sad,
sad songs that tug at heartstrings
stretched to the limit, some even
pop, pop, pop like the festive bubbly
sung about in the hyper-happy holiday
song and afterward? sometime after
the new year amid all the broken
resolutions, the most important day
of the year, the day of a spike or
drop in the market depending on
whether or not holiday sales met
corporate expectations, and then
the bills and all those january

The Palatable Way

At the core of every human
creature there is a profound
solipsism, the writer said in
an interview. He wants to
write something pointing
that out in a palatable way
that the audience would
actually love and perhaps
all the selfish stuff about
human nature would seep
in along the entertainingly
palatable way. Would they
then get it? He is not sure,
but, at least, he is having
fun along that palatably
solipsistic or that
solipsistically palatable

The Snow Blows

The snow blows east to west
toward the big water, swirls

through the top branches of
the oaks now leafless; a

cardinal, bright red against
the gold dune grass and

brown bark, nestles in the
green bush waiting the arrival

of its mate. He balances
on the swaying branches.

He has done this before.

Explaining Poetry

In explaining one of her poems,
the poet said that one of her goals
was to dispel the idea that poetry
is hard to understand and therefore
mainly for the intellectual elite
and highly educated. Perhaps one of
the reasons she explained her poem
was that it was hard to understand
and presumably took a highly educated
person to understand it without
said explanation.

What it Seems and What it Is

Someone said that in heaven
we are all thirty-five and gorgeous.
Well, short of heaven, aren’t we
all thirty-five and gorgeous
in our dreams?
That is as it seems
in my dreams.
Until the next morning,
when I look in the mirror
and experience abject fear.
I’ll look forward to heaven
when I’m about ninety-seven
and then thirty-five and
gorgeous again.