The Joys of Living Life as an Improv Skit
It’s a snow day and our kids are outside,
every single tyke, toddler and teenager,
toting a sled over their heads, like a shield into battle.
And if not a sled, then a snowboard.
And if not a sled or a snowboard,
then cigarette billboard snagged from liquor store parking lots.
There is Marla on Marlboro and an unused non-menthol
Newport reds, The ones that everyone loves said no one ever.
That sign says five fifty-five, death is six-sixty nine now.
Back in the day we sled with whatever,
from trash can lids to our back sides
padded with long johns, long johns, long johns.
Does my heart good though, to know that kids,
witless, whimsical, the ostentatious object
of every adult’s secret envy, are doing
it as big as we did, still improvised like we had.
My lungs are a different story.
You take another swig, I take another drag.
Times like these, aging doesn’t feel so gory,
until our eye meets the bottom of our flasks.
Excuse My French
After a long absence,
at last we meet again.
I’m decoding your new accent.
There are new lexemes,
fresh as legumes, in your slang.
You drink orange zinger tea now,
stirred with sugar you wouldn’t have taken.
Your lock screen is a wedding gown.
After a long silence,
I am stuttering under the table
and my hands are sweating against my corduroys,
the burgundy pair you bought me from Paris.
"Un petite cafe’", you say, "si’l vous plait, aves du soy?"
I say your french is getting better.
"His name is Henri," you say, "I am having his boy."
I Learned Where To Find You in Astronomy Class
I am forgetting you are gone
as amnesiacs forget the coordinates of car keys.
On nights when the vacant mattress is hard
and unwelcoming, I step out on the front porch.
You are skinny dipping in the sky tonight.
Not unlike the scenes when stepping
out of the shower, steeping tea in you bathrobe,
your wet hair dripping stars, gustations of heaven.
One falls into my mouth;
I am weak, I am drowsy,
your fingernails in my head
Like those nights you needed arms to hold you,
but you held me in your instead.
The Witching Hour
The clock, dumb as jocks on the wall is right again.
Twelve on the dot.
The face on my watch says it’s the the witching hour
and I’m taking a broom to the kitchen floor.
There’s a loud itchin’ at the front door in my head
I know it’s not death so I don’t answer.
My hair ends up in the dust pan,
along with those words I wanna say to you
that aren’t tangled in that fur ball, clogging my esophagus.
There’s no chemo, no therapy toxic enough exorcise
the cancer that memories of you are committed have tea with,
at this hour every night, when that dumb clock is right.
But as long as I am alone, I am the coolest cat in the room.
The Way Ex-lovers Swoon
You are coming to woo me
but not like as of yore;
we aren’t those tomfools we were before.
Could out happy wight hearts perchance
preempted these estrang’ed glares askance?
What untaught eyes, soft as scant hair upon you brow
could have overlooked the way our future shook
in the distance, the hurricanes, the thunderclouds,
over the horizons arc, beyond the voile, beyond the shroud.
Not so naive, still helpless at your skin.
You the one woman that coos me,
I am falling in love again.
cheering on the fat cats
that prey on gazelles.
On a damp night’s branch,
the sleeping caterpillar
cocoons by sunrise.
you haven’t been out in weeks!
A can of soda falls.
Your old john Hancock
scribbled on divorce papers,
drying beside mine.
My soul, in the glass
shrinks into a pair of eyes.
They weigh more than us.
In a photo of me as a child in Africa,
my cousins hold a lamb down
with a hatchet over their head.
There is red blood on the clay sand.
There is a bright gold ring in it’s left ear,
and if it were a little bigger, I’d marry you with it.
A Drunk Cat’s Landing Gear
Stay, stray cat, strut under my awning
beside me, watch the silver rain subside in the fog.
my life feels so obtuse compared to your days
of fur licking and thick purring counterpoised
by the airs whistle tonight. The hair you shed
on mine, your tongue thick as bristles.
Water trickles down like tinsels.
The wetness of our holiday,
your purr, my pencil.
Another glass of Chardonnay.
I promise, I will get you some tuna
if you promise to stay.
the kids are not alright,
but they play in it.
I remember when I was that small.
Those teeth tiny as thimbles
aren’t in this face anymore.
I was so nimble to forgive.
I was so nimble to adore.
I miss Saturday morning cartoons.
Not so much the shows themselves,
as the politics around remote passing,
the unanimous singing of opening themes,
the tinkle of cereal at the bottom of plastic bowls
and young me, aloof, forgetting to put the milk away.
By noontime though, it’s all over,
real people reclaim the screen and it’s downhill from there.
Golf, money news, or the 700 club comes on
or something else just as painfully lame,
and all of a sudden it’s time for homework or video games.
Those, indeed, were golden days
recalled as if it were a war outlived,
recollected in a daydream in an old hearts window.
As and late, I feel such a foreign contentment
with watching tennis, credit score obsession,
frantic checking up on the dying infant
that is my bank accounts, my possessions.
But If I were once again that star of morning,
climbing the sky on the shoulder blades of clouds
as a child’s fingers climb the rusty wrings of jungle gyms,
We’d tarry around the breakfast table until Jerry Springer aired,
play rock, paper, scissor for the comfy chair,
and I’d exchange my puberty for a Playstation 3.
I’d no longer put myself through the ringer
over milk spilled or milk spoiled.
Haplessly, we’d stroll to buy new milk to chill,
with two dollars in quarters and a torn dollar bill.
My feet in your footprints for a long as they linger,
my hand in your hand, my fingers in your fingers.