Coming back different
They found him behind the drapes in the living room hiding from the commies--
We follow the nurse down the long corridor at the VA Hospital. My shoes squeak on the white-tile floor. As we enter the visitor’s area the nurse locks the doors behind us. I wonder if she will remember to let us out.
so many colors
Uncle Herb is staying with us for the weekend. I start to laugh when he sings White Christmas. He sounds just like Bing Crosby. I think he forgot to take his medicine though because he’s talking non-stop again about his perpetual-motion machine. Dad tells him it won’t work but Uncle Herb won’t listen. He just keeps talking and they keep going round and round.
he checks his pocket
for another nickel
The music is loud at Lois’s wedding reception. The DJ is playing Devo and we are all dancing. The Cousins pull Uncle Herb out on the floor. He has that smile on his face again as he starts to dance. On a good day he does a pretty mean Freddie.
rapid fire of machine guns
in a distant field
It would have been enough that you survived Korea, the psychiatrists, all the Thorazine they pumped into you, the weekend passes, the group homes, and us. But those awards—the ones they found in your room—for the thousands of hours you spent volunteering at the VA. We thought you were just drinking coffee at McDonald’s with your friends. Seems you had a little bit more in mind. Oohrah!
the old lot
between the cracks
you whipped it, you whipped it good
Originally Published, Cattails April 2018
Published, Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review Winter 2019
“Can I help you?”
My back hurts as I lean over
crates of albums,
cardboard covered art.
He shows me
the perfect ones
shrink wrapped and
stacked between the originals.
Newly remastered vinyl--
“Really?” I look at him suspiciously,
“don’t need a turntable for that.”
I want the real thing
that scratchy hiss
and that voice…
She stares at me
from the bin,
I reach for the album.
“I’m not ready for perfection yet,” I say.
I turn and walk away
a couple of bucks
in my hand.
the road to utopia paved with dinosaurs’ bones
Previously Published Fredericksburg Literary and Art Review Winter 2019
I've been living in haikuville
for three long years you see,
But I'm closing-up my little hut
its way past time to leave!
I book a train to Kathmandu
and settle in my seat,
I try to write a Sonnet, Alas,
a haiku most concrete.
is stuck inside my head, and so I lodge my finger in,
Three perfect lines, five / seven / five,
spill on my page instead.
The train is swaying forth and back
upon the snowy mountain,
I see a snail beside the track, climbing very slow,
I think about Mt. Fuji, another haiku poem!
My eyes are getting heavy
I fall asleep and dream,
cherry blossoms in my soup
& tea with clotted cream.
"Oh No! Basho! What can I do?
I fall asleep, instead of sheep, I dream about haiku!"
The train is on the mountaintop
in a six-foot drift of snow,
I look outside my window
three-thousand feet below,
"I'd like to say that I escaped, but even in Kathmandu,
I wake and sleep and think and speak and drink and eat haiku!"
the snail didn't make it