We Saw The Strawberry Moon

We saw the strawberry moon
at eleven-fifteen
on the summer solstice shining
brighter than any full-moon
we had ever seen.
The dog was not by our side;
he’d gone to bed an hour
too soon;
he was not real keen
on staying up and howling
at the brightest strawberry
moon ever seen.
We held hands as we looked up
and thought the sad moon
smiled on us and our chocolate pup
who snored through
that summer solstice’s
biggest, brightest
strawberry moon.

Don’t Ever Doubt A Mother’s Love

The buffalo calf couldn’t cross
the river and the mother tried

her best to get him across but
the current took him away. He

landed trapped on a rock island
and slept the cold night without

his mother — surviving the cold
only to be attacked by a young

wolf. Out of nowhere the call
came — mama was there, having

left the herd at great personal
risk. With mama in sight, the

calf bravely fought the young
wolf and then suckled like crazy.

Don’t ever doubt a mother’s love.

In A Book of Years

In a book of years, Rimbaud
No one’s serious at seventeen
When lindens line the promenade.

The reader remembered being
seventeen the year his father died
by the father’s own hand and for
the first time in seventeen
years knew life to be
a very dangerous place.

In the same book of years,
Shakespeare’s Kent said, “I
have years on my back forty-
eight.” The reader was forty-
eight when his wife died in
a day and on that day aged
ten more years in life he
knew to be an ever so
dangerous place.

In that book of years, Philip
Roth wrote, “I was learning
at seventy-one what it is to
be deranged.”
The reader, seventy-one, sees
the world as a very lovely
place in the midst of all
the “very real and present

Perhaps, he is a tad deranged,
but if so, he wouldn’t re-
arrange it as he hears his
wife ask him if he would
like to accompany her
to the store and later
they would look for
the strawberry moon
on this summer solstice
with the chocolate lab
by their side.

This Father’s Day, It’s Better Than Anything Else

He’s seventy-one and wonders
about dying. He read a novel
about a man whose wife died
and he kept trying and failing
to kill himself and then he be-
came kind of a hero in spite
of being a curmudgeon. And
he thinks that he’s kind of a
curmudgeon but a really heal-
thy one because he exercises
regularly, jogs like he has for
forty-thousand miles, bikes
like he has for an amount
not kept track of, works his
core, uses stretch bands for
his upper body and has a
knee saved by stem cells. He
thinks about dying of a heart
attack or something else fast
but then he plans the next day’s
run and the following day’s
ride on his forty-one year old
ten-speed which he has ridden
all those thousands of uncounted
miles and then he smiles and
says to himself, “Better than
anything else.”

He Was A Dapper Dresser

He was a dapper dresser; he enjoyed
shopping for suits and top coats,
hats and shoes with leather soles.
He would take the new hat and crease
it down the middle, put it on over
his thick, wavy, gray hair and play
awhile with the brim, getting it just
right while looking in the mirror —
maybe a bit like Cagney or Bogie.
He left the purchase of white shirts
and ties for his birthday and Father’s
Day to his son and daughter — shirts
and ties every birthday and Father’s
Day. He came to count on it because
those were always the presents —
shirts and ties always.

He Diabolizes The Process

He diabolizes the process
and millions of people
cheer and vent so much
anger at losing
a grip and thinking he,
Beelzebub, will babble his
way into the White House
and return it and the country
to white people the way
the framers of the constitution
meant it to be,
and if they didn’t,
should have, as he continues
to swat at flies and bees
and says, “Shush, be quiet
move over, and leave
everything to me.”
“Wild insolence,” a poet
wrote and that just about
sums it up for what should be
the Sweet Land of Liberty.
Such toxicity!

Someone Declared It Father’s Day

Someone declared it Father’s Day to be
celebrated for me, for I am a father, you see.
My children started — one, then two, now three;
the third came with a second marriage for me.
I’m proud of all three for different reasons that be,
because each is unique in his or her own story.
The three have married which brings my
children to six,
three that came along and three
that were the first three’s picks.
And grandchildren have a way of coming along too
and making fathers of three —
a son, a step-son and a son-in-law to me.
The step-son has four, the son-in-law two
and the son has three,
making nine grandchildren for me to see.
I’m actually hoping the counting stops
for awhile for an ever-expanding family tree,
because nine is the perfect number for a baseball team
which if they got together and practiced real hard,
could probably beat the Cubs to a World Series victory.

He Sits Surrounded By Black and White

He sits surrounded by black and white
photos and all shades of gray in a
screaming loud Technicolor age —
rugged roots on a Finland hike, iri-
descent tulips, an overcast, foggy
morning with fishers in a boat on a
lake, a blustery, high seas day slapping
against the pier in South Haven, still,
aged pilings standing tall and silent
in the waters of Macatawa, an abandoned
church in rural Texas, sunset along White
Lake, an arched brocade in shades of black
and white, a dark library with light of
the eastern morning sky entering through
panes of glass and filtering though the
dust. He is surrounded with black and
white in a noisy, Technicolor age and
more than happy to be there in the quiet
and the stillness without the silent,
deafening roar of social media surround-
ed by photographic art in a beautiful
black and white world of peace and quiet
and, yes, the blessed silence of gray.

He Breathes A Sigh Of Relief

He breathes a sigh of relief for
having conducted himself with in-
tegrity even though he may have
apologized too often and then he
thinks he can’t be faulted for not
having apologized adequately and
so, he is satisfied and hopes he
doesn’t pop another hive overnight
with concern over the relationship
and there are some who would caution
him about being overly concerned
and he will consider their advice
before he climbs into bed, slips
between the sheets, reads a few
pages of a real page turner before
turning off the light and sighing
his last sigh for the day.

My Way Or The Highway

He lives at the Hotel California
where, I’m told, you can check

out but never leave. It’s on a
one-way street called My Way

Or The Highway. I had known
him a long time but didn’t

know where he lived until one
day he told me, in no un-

certain terms, where he lived
and asked me to check it out

but that I had to get there
his way. He said it’s My Way

Or The Highway, and preferr-
ing to travel on two-way streets

of coming and going, I decided
to take the highway and not

the one-way street, My Way Or
The Highway even if it meant

never checking into the Hotel