I began writing poems when first I came to North Carolina in 2014 and joined a creative writing group here at Fearrington. Since, I have learned a lot about the craft and about myself. Here is but a smattering of my journey.
I’m not a braggart, not a poet.
I’m a man.
I see things as others don’t.
And say things that others won’t.
I synthesize the moment
and blurt out what’s on my mind.
Some say, “He’ll evolve.”
But all that flowery folderol
is just musak
to my ears.
I am a simple guy. With simple thoughts.
I am an observer of the ironies of life,
poking fun at the conventions of our time,
with a sharp stick and a judicious eye.
God has a plan
God has a plan for me.
I’m glad for that, you see,
’cause I ain’t got one, that’s for sure.
I’m all messed up. I need a cure.
People say that God’s elation,
will lead me to a real salvation.
A blessed savior’s what I lack.
Someone kind who’s got my back.
Hail Mary’s, Rosaries and more;
I’d kneel right down and hug the floor.
But I can’t fathom I’d be safe
if I came ’round and got the faith.
I’d like to think I’d have his ear
if I were somehow more sincere.
But I can’t get my brain to windup
if I can’t even make my mind up.
Is you is? Or is you ain’t?
What’s the gender of this Saint?
But what’s the difference who Da Man,
As long as someone’s got a plan.
That’s how they say ‘hello’ down here.
‘Hey’ Sally-Jeanne; ‘Hey’! Billy-Joe.
‘What’s shakin’? That’s another.
‘How’re ya doin’ some folks say.
‘What’s goin’ down? or ‘Wa’s up’?
Or just plain ‘Hi’.
There are scads of ways
to say ‘good bye’ here.
‘Y’all come back’. And ‘see ya ’round, dear’
‘Toodle-oo’. And ‘Later’.
‘Don’t take any wooden nickles’
shows your age.
And ‘No problem’ means ‘thank you’.
‘No problem’ with what, I wonder.
But what bugs me most –
what frosts my hide
Is when people want to wish you well,
they say, ‘Have a good one.’
Skipper has a third sense.
He knows what time it is.
I glance up at my watch to see.
Yes, it’s four o’clock.
He knows what time it is
and pokes me in the ass
to send a signal,
with his long Collie nose.
I’d rather be poked in the ass
than the other way around.
Skipper doesn’t distinguish the difference,
you see, when he’s hungry.
He just wants his dinner.
His four o’clock dinner.
Luna is a magnet
for people drawn
to pet her silken fur.
And talk of Collies they once knew.
Resplendent in her brindle coat,
the markings of a special girl,
she holds herself in staid reserve
as if to say ‘I’m here for you.’
Luna wants to be your friend;
a friend who’s want it is to please.
A gentle dog. A little shy.
Whose countenance belies her youth.
A puppy still,
but wise in deed.
Luna waits. Waits to learn.
Yearns to love. Needs to serve.
Well, here we go. The game is on.
Two rivals matched. The game plans hatched.
Hail Mary’s ghost. Forget tomorrow.
On earth, as it is in Foxboro.
But from the start, the offense stalled.
The linemen, they were mauled.
It was a game. It was a tussle.
Their team had all the muscle.
They scored once. They scored again.
There was no doubt. This was a rout.
But we clawed back.
And got a sack.
The crowd went wild,
their team reviled.
Only Hoodie kept his calm.
He wasn’t gonna crack.
The score crept closer; the troops were bolstered.
The Pats went on attack.
Six seconds left. No time to spare.
In football, it’s eternity.
We’re down by five; we’re still alive.
But the outcome is a certainty.
The center hikes.
The crowd awaits,
spread the field.
It’s us or them. Who’ll take the fall?
Nothing could be plainer.
There are no ifs, there’s only when,
Tom Brady’s thrown the ball.
I came down here from Beantown.
Actually, nobody says Beantown anymore.
Its an anachronism.
The way people talk
when they’ve never really lived there;
like Philly or New Yawk,
The people here are friendly,
that’s for sure.
They’ve got a Southern accent
and they’re gracious and demure.
I’m sure I’ll get the lingo,
the more I get the drawl.
But there’s one thing you can count on.
I’ll never say “y’all.”
The risk not taken
We are all fallible.
We all live in loneliness.
We all seek the solace of the companionship
In the end, too few of us achieve that dignity.
But it is a truth
the greatest risk of all is not taking one.
Ode to Mollie, Getting to when
There are no words.
We treat her silently.
There is no cure.
But there is dignity.
There’s no complaining,
She eats her food,
with strained ability.
Curls on her mat
with calm serenity.
Her walk is stiff,
She does it patiently.
We are afraid
she’s lost her memory.
She is the sweetness
of our family.
And through her love
we’ve learned humility.
We wait her signal
For our rosary.
We know it isn’t “if”.
We know it’s only “when”.
Her time has come.
She leaves us gracefully.
There is nothing so saturnine
as sitting by the fire,
The New York Times, a cup of joe
and no one to talk to.
The Good Times
these are the good times
not the need-to’s
but the aspire-to’s
too short lived in the mirror of our minds
we are but specks on this planet; ants on a hill
precious moments not to squander
lest we fail to leave our mark
on the cave of our existence.
Too late to say Goodbye
You always think you have more time.
But who’s time is it? And who dispenses it?
Is it some guy on a mike at a disaster?
Or maybe at a nursing home.
We live our lives with expectations.
But never with an end in sight.
Never at the business end of an oxygen tube.
Because it always happens to someone else.
But never to ourselves.
Until it’s too late.
Too late to turn back time.
Too late to make amends.
Too late for the cure that never comes.
Too late to say goodbye.