He Took Off His Tie

He took off his tie,
after taking off
his suit coat. With
an open collar on
his starched, white
shirt which always
smelled of tobacco
smoke, he would mow
the lawn. I would see
him as I walked home
from the school bus.
He said he would be
with me in a jiff in the
lot behind our house,
a small, wood trailer
for the backstop. He
pitched with a cigarette
dangling from his lips.
Then he would take the
cigarette out of his
mouth and tell me to
keep my eye on the ball.
Later, sitting at the
kitchen table, cup of
coffee in front of him,
he would take a long,
loving drag on a cigar-
ette and tell me to
never, ever start such
a filthy habit. The only
time I saw him without
the starched, white
shirt that smelled of
tobacco smoke was
in the evening with the
drapes closed and he
sat in the living room
with a lit cigarette
in the ash tray as I got
ready for bed. Then I
saw his armless, white
undershirt tucked into
his dress pants. The
undershirt smelled of
tobacco smoke as he
gave me a hug goodnight.

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Don’t Scrunch Up Your Underwear

He was told, “Don’t get your
underwear all scrunched up.
They aren’t thinking about
you all that much, if at all,”

but it has taken so many more
years to hear that again in
a meditation on brevity,
vapor, the world, the cosmos

and creation. “So soon old,
so late wise,” similar to “Let
us know how few days we
have and so gain wisdom

of heart.” But that was taught
in Sunday School and someone
thought nine-year-olds would
understand anything about the

brevity of life? Shakespeare
wrote about bit parts in a
play being played out on stage
but that was read in college

when all he thought about
was how to cover a zit before
going on a date. Getting ahead
seemed so important in the

early years and stupid arguments
with a spouse were okay because
he was right anyway and besides
there would be so many days to

make up. And the years flew by.
And then again, he did scrunch
up his shorts in a moment of self-
revelatory stupidity and it was

only then, in utter humiliation,
that he understood the wisdom
of the words, “When the student
is ready, the teacher will be

there.” Little did he know the
teacher was his nemesis, Hard
Knocks, who greeted him with,
“Well, hello again, old buddy.”

Following A Fool

At the end
Jesus didn’t have a friend.
In between
miraculous deeds were seen.
He had no money
to buy bread and honey.
He was seen a fool
in the genetic pool,
He died in disgrace
but had God’s loving face.
Three days in the grave;
but love was destined to save.
The world worships the jewel
and says Jesus was a fool,
but greed is infernal
and God’s love is eternal
Such fools, let us be
dancing with Jesus for justice,
peace, compassion and mercy.

Mail

He watches through
the bedroom window
the female mailman,
the opposite of a male mailwoman —
that person who stops in the little white
motor vehicle
to
drop
off
mostly advertisements

and sometimes big,
thick investment documents,
which he tells himself, as
he sits at the desk in the
bedroom looking out the
window, that he needs to
inform the investment
people that he wants to
go paperless, which then
would be…

thin-less lines on-line,
which
are what he is looking (:-) at right (this way) now (here).

Back in the Late Nineties

It was back in the late nineties
but husband and wife wore
gold bracelets, gold, dangling
necklaces and many gold rings
like it was the early seventies
and they were a white Sly and
the Family Stone. They were
widowed and married and they
were really gay in the old sense
of the word, nary a care, nary
a mention of dead spouses, nary
a hint of the sadness that chills
to the marrow of the bones. No,
just giggling and jiggling gold
chains. He, widowed, too, felt
he was standing in an alternate
reality, a Cone Head world on
Saturday Night Live. Where were
the eternal wounds? The scars
on the hands, feet and side?
He couldn’t reach out and
embrace the couple as fellow
members of the club to which
no one wishes to belong and
he didn’t want the Midas
touch of fools’ gold.

On the Prowl

Somewhere around seven-fifteen
a.m. the Lab wakes, shakes and gets
up to go for his morning adventure,
which translates to tinkle and poop.

Halfway through the pine grove,
he stops, lifts a leg and balances
somewhat precariously because
he has three bad legs out of four.

Moving on to the edge of the
little shallow depression which
doesn’t qualify as a true sink
hole, he hesitates, nostrils flar-

ing. Normally, he wanders down
among the dune grass for privacy
to do his business, but he hesitates
on the precipice alert to danger —

deer, coyote, fox, raccoon, squirrel,
chipmunk, bunny rabbit, cat, mouse,
robin rustling in the grass? Arching
his back he lets loose, right there

before God and country and hightails
it back to the house for breakfast
following the hunt, tail wagging —
proud to have been on the prowl.

Around the Three-Ring Circus

He flipped to a station he tries not
to watch because of the blatant bias,
but he did anyway after the presidential
debate to see how they would spin the
preceding ninety minutes. Well, they
didn’t disappoint. They criticized the
moderator for interrupting their candidate
much more often than the other but failed
to mention that the candidate he interrupted
went on and on beyond his allotted time,
thus playing to their audience who happen
to be the candidate’s base. He and his
wife, watching the debate, actually wanted
the moderator to stop the barrage of blather
of that candidate and were upset that he
didn’t do more to keep things even, and
so we have the dividing line in America
and the driving force of those lines, the
media, which wants desperately to keep
it going for more and more money in the
coffers of the owners of the media. And we,
the viewers, are the suckers born every
minute while huckster P.T. Barnum laughs
his way around the celestial three-ring
circus.

His Frame of Reference

His frame of reference
is simply the frame.
He gets everything from
within the shell.
Eyes look inward at
the darkness, which
is all light
to his blind eyes.
Eyes, not used to the
light, look outward
blindly, wildly.
The body twists
in the wind —
up and down
and all around
like the giant Balloon Man
at the used car dealership —
arms flailing,
words castigating,
berating, humiliating.
What fun.
The blind guide is there
for the blind looking for
The Guide.

Where is the mystery?
Where is the wisdom?
Where is the humility?
Where is the modesty?
Where is the holy?
Where is the I and Thou?

There are only shells
in hell —
it is “a tale told
by an idiot,
full of sound and fury,
signifying nothing.”

Crown Him With Many Crowns

“Insurance card, please.
It has to be found.”
Zzzzzz goes the drill;
bzzzzz goes the drill;
here’s to a root canal;
there’s to a root canal;
here’s to a crown;
there’s to a crown;
he’s gettin’ crowns
all around where
his teeth are found,
but the insurance limit
was reached after just
one crown.
“Could you reuse one
of my crowns?”
They just laughed
saying, “He’s such a clown.”
“But we can keep on
drillin’, ’cause
more gold, in that
there mine shaft,
is sure to be found,”
said both the dentist
and the insurance
company in perfect
harmony.
“Bank account balance,
please, you silly clown.”