Letting Go

His profane, covenant child mother
once quipped that all vaginas look
the same. Well, it’s basic equipment
with the same function but he’s seen
a few and they are as different from
each other as penises are. What’s the
point, mother? He wondered if she was
saying something about his dad’s infidel-
ity. As an adult, he saw her nakedness
(Lord, have mercy.) once when the
nurses were trying to move her broken
hip body from one place to another
and she was giving them holy hell.
She was a little spit fire of a woman
with a little womb and he just thought,
after a moment’s discomfort at the
view, Perhaps I could zoom down
and try to see the forest for the trees
and say, “Behold, I, a good Druid, stand
at the tree and knock,”
but he
recalled that Nicodemus had once asked
about going home again so he stood tall
and thought, I came out of there and she did
all the right things for me for at
least the first five years, those,
of course, being the most important
in child psychological development
and so, mom, I thank you because I’m
mostly okay and now I can let you go
your way,
although, in all reality, that
was a premature thought because it
took many more years for him to let
go of the good, the bad and the ugly.

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Designations

They got the e-mail about the
beach cleanup and annual
meeting where the new ex-
clusionary by-laws will be
discussed only to be exclusiv-
ely affirmed as inclusive
(100% of attending members)
by faces masquerading as faux
profundity. Back in the day,
they had fun at the beach clean
up and the annual meeting was
about where to put the fire
pit. Today it’s about keeping
people out. “Well,” he says,
“count me out. I don’t fit with
such a serious bunch with
faux smiles plastered on their
plastic faces. He wonders if
the smiles will melt into frowns
in the summer heat at the beach
designated: Keep Out! Plastic
Personas Only.

Happy Now!

The nurse said he did as well as he did
because he is in such good shape. The
surgeon said, “Wait till tomorrow.”

Feeling his oats and no pain he insisted
on stopping for breakfast. Tomorrow
arrived and while the compliment was

a nice shot in the ego — words from his
past that he had a high pain threshold
just evaporated away. Now he just feels

like he’s been shot in the gut with Dirty
Harry’s magnum something or other. They
used to say the third day was the toughest,

but that was when they knocked you out
before just about having to slap you
upside the head and back to earth and

the anesthetic loved getting all cozy with
a warm body. Now you just about carry
on a conversation with the surgeon and

anesthesiologist about how hope springs
eternal in the spring for the Cubs, so it’s
the second day and the anesthetic is yes-

terday’s ball on Sheffield Ave. He’s read-
ing a mystery novel where the protagonist
takes a nine-millimeter to the groin, climbs

out on the wing of the plane, saves the day
and nine days later gets the bullet pulled
before climbing into bed with Miss Universe

and the first runner-up for an all night
ménage a trois. Yesterday, he had a teensy-
weensy umbilical hernia; today he feels

like he has a hole the size of his head
and he still has two hours to go before
he can take another pain pill having been

warned about the prescription pain medicine
abuse epidemic and how he better do exactly
as it says on the bottle or else. He just

hates it when surgeons have that diabolical
smirk on their face and you just know they
really want to say, “Go ahead. Make my day.”

Well, he guesses he did — the next day.
He would call the surgeon with “Happy Now!”
except that it’s Saturday.

He Has a Ballpoint Pen

He has a ballpoint pen attached
to a feather. It’s not like the
real feathered pens that you have
to dip in ink. Those get messy
and are scratchy on vellum parch-
ment. This is like the modern
technology of feathered pens,
when in reality it’s just a
fake, but he enjoys thinking
he is Benjamin Franklin writing
the Poor Man’s Almanac or
Thomas Jefferson penning the
Declaration of Independence
or John Hancock putting his
John Hancock on that Dec-
laration. Sometimes he
tickles his nose with the
feather imagining that his
secret lover is playing coy
or when there aren’t any
birds flying by outside, he
flutters the pen back and forth
in front of him and makes a
poor attempt at a cardinal’s
love call. On occasion the
feathered pen is a Pterodactyl
carrying him back in time or
a Peacock feathered rocket ship
ushering him into a new front-
ier. He is Walter Mitty with
a fake, feathered ballpoint pen
in hand.

On Shutting Off the T.V.

I can’t take the ridiculous nomination process anymore,
all the time, media obsessed and Citizens United money unleashed.
Who would think it all would become such a huge bore?
I’d opt for Canada’s process; they have something to teach
all the U.S. media frenzied fans of this candidate or that.
When will we learn our democracy is really a plutocracy and oligarchy
created to serve the desires of this or that fat cat?
Of books there is no end, so I’ll just read and read and shut off the T.V.

A Homeowner’s Burden

People who are guests in his home,
eventually toward the balcony do roam,
and with an admiring glance
remark on the pond, waterfall and
all the beautiful plants.
He would like to do that very thing,
but every time there is this emotional sting.
Instead of seeing the tranquil setting
as others do along with the beauty of birds
that flew through,
he wonders when the pump and hose
will separate as they always eventually do,
giving him a twinge of anxiety
instead of a soul full of natural piety —
ah, a homeowner’s burden borne quietly.

One Day and Then Twenty-Three Years

One day in utter despair, or per-
haps just feeling extraordinarily
sorry for himself not that that
would be so terrible, but it might
put it in a little less dramatic or
melodramatic or schmaltzy poetic
terms, he drank an especially large
quantity of bottom shelf bourbon
(or was it the good stuff purchased
for him by his sister as medicine
to help him heal or at least numb
him from the sudden, irrevocable
loss?), made his way from the
kitchen to the garage, climbed in
the car, started the engine and
fell asleep. Upon waking, he said
to himself, that didn’t work and
went to bed. The next morning
he went back to the task of caring
for the flock. Twenty-three years,
(found love, lost sentimentality,
discovered gratitude, appreciated
friends, did therapy, acknowledged
the real despair that was there) later,
he still aches some, but who doesn’t,
and in that moment looked out the
window and saw the robin looking
furtively for his mate and seeing
her went to her so they might
fly away together and he thought,
that sounds kind of schmaltzy
poetic, so how about “we won’t
fly away but at least we will go
visit the kids in distant cities”
which gives them an excuse to
travel with their chocolate lab.

There Are Those…

There are those who are completely porous beings,
so porous, in fact, that that which enters
passes right through. This is the type that
just doesn’t get it and asks, “What the hell?”

There are those who are semi-porous beings;
all goes in and some stays and most
passes right through. This is the type
that gets some of it and says, “That was swell.”

There are those who are sort of semi-porous beings;
all goes in and most stays around for the
better or worse. This type forms strong opinions
and is quick to say flatly, “Go To Hell.”

There are those who have been porous and
semi-porous beings and who now just
spit back most of the stuff that does get in.
This type has been around the block and to hell.

There are those who are semi-impervious beings
having been there, done that. They know what
to let in and what to let bounce off the shell
and are surprised sometimes and say, “Do tell!”

Then there are those who are now completely
impervious beings having been there, done
that and when it all hits the shell, they just
smile and say haplessly, “Oh, well.”

A Once Popular Governor

He was popular so they
asked the big, burly, former
truck driver to run for
president. Surprisingly,
he said he would with
this one caveat: “If elected,
I would work to dismantle
the entire military apparatus
and dissolve the defense
budget and, well, that’s
enough for now. What do
you think? Still want me
for your president?” Of
course, they furrowed their
brows and turned on their
heels and walked away with-
out even saying goodbye.
They murmured among them-
selves, “How could such a
macho guy be a such a wuss?”
They had thought it was just
political window dressing to
touch the hearts of the heart-
landers when he said he was
a follower of Jesus. After
that, the heartlanders just
thought he was a little
touched.

Distracted

“Too much news,” the preacher said.
“We’re all distracted by distractions,”
he went on, “We need to breathe
deeply. Let’s do that for a moment.”
The writer remembered and thought
to himself that the preacher simply
had had a rough drive in from the
big city. The writer sat at his desk
and read a poem that had been featured
on Bill Moyers’ PBS program. Seeing
that, the writer must have known what
was coming; being Moyers’ program, he
should have known he would be distracted,
but he had seen the face of the poet
and he was simply distracted by a
pretty face…so he read the poem on
a Sunday morning while the emotion-
ally sensitive preacher might once
again be nervously preaching about dis-
tractions. The writer sat at his desk
becoming distracted, now in a different
way. He forgot about the pretty face.
After finishing the poem which was about
George W. Bush and the Iraq War, a poem
which brought back all the horror of
“Shock and Awe” –ful in the sense of
being terrible, horrible not filled with
awe at all, the writer looked up the
etymology of “to distract” already having
a guess at “dis” and “tract”: distract:
mid-14c., “to draw asunder or apart, to
turn aside” (literal and figurative),
from Latin distractus, past participle
of distrahere “draw in different
directions,” from dis- “away”
+ trahere “to draw.” Sense of “to
throw into a state of mind in which
one knows not how to act” is from
1580s.
Yeah, that was how he
felt sitting at his desk looking out
on the newly cut dune grass sending
green shoots skyward, cardinals
cavorting in the bush outside
the window, sun rising beautifully
casting long shadows on the dune
and two weekend warriors riding
past on their very light racing cycles
while he was thinking about bones
broken and limbs blown off and almost
smelling stinking burning flesh
rolling off boys’ and girls’ little
Iraqi bodies. Yes, he was really dis-
tracted and he just knew that darn
Bill Moyers, journalistic conscience
of a country, would approve.