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Category: Oak Street

POEM: for E.B.


for E.B.

couch, cats
collecting words
putting them in the best order

Rejection: doctor’s office, or

nail polish
big sunglasses, sometimes
filtered, sometimes knot

Rejection: grading papers, or

steaming cups of __________
leftist gnomes
Georgia countryside

Rejection: this rebellious body, or

1 white
1 black
:thousand-mile stares, the both of them

Rejection: your advances, or

driver’s seat, side mirror
cold beach
walking, sitting, writing

Rejection: a dull life, or

desk menagerie
selfie, inscrutable
or maybe not

Rejection: the unexamined self, or

/ / /

2 March 2014
Oak Street

(Photo source)


POEM: last night’s dishes


last night’s dishes

little bits of garlic on a dinner plate
from the naan that came warm and pliable
out of the toaster oven atop the fridge
(eaten following the oldest question)

in this bowl, crusted remnants of refried beans
served on blue corn chips with “fake cheese”
while the cats prowled the living room
and we talked about old lovers

two bottles of Pennsylvania rootbeer
over which we discussed the future
before realizing there was no percentage in it
decided instead to focus on the present

I feel them in my hands, smooth and wet
the delicious hint of pain from the hot water
I hold them up in fading light to check they’re clean
then place each one carefully on the rack to dry

/ / /

28 February 2014
Oak Street

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POEM: pages



I opened the file
it contained two pages
of quotes from journalists
gushing about you
but not one from me

I have been neatly
edited out of your biography
struck from the record
of your accomplishments
left behind by the parade
of your admirers

where once you eagerly
sought my counsel
now your people
send group messages
on which my name
is one among many

it’s only fair
I’ve excised you as well
opened up my biography
removed the pages
on which you’re mentioned
leaving a slight fraying
on the binding, nothing more

/ / /

25 February 2014
Oak Street

[Photo source]

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POEM: morning poem


morning poem

I awoke with your name
on my lips;
these days being awake
goes hand in hand
with thinking of you.

/ / /

14 February 2014
Oak Street

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POEM: on listening to Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello


on listening to Bach’s six suites for unaccompanied cello

out in the living room
Rostropovich is playing
Bach’s cello suites
he takes the first
at breakneck tempo
the familiar intervals
whipping by as if heard
from the window
of a passing automobile
while in the bedroom
two bodies entwine
smiling laughing sighing
heat pours off the radiator
onto already sweaty skin
as the cello comes
to the climactic end
of the 1st suite
in the silence her yes
slips out softly
his low note of passion
as they begin again
masked by the climbing vine
growing from the cello
at the start of the 2nd suite

/ / /

11 February 2014
Oak Street

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POEM: weather report


weather report

yesterday it was fifty degrees
today there is snow on the ground

yesterday we stepped wide around mud puddles
today I’ll step gingerly around ice

yesterday in the quiet I could hear rain drops
today the world is muffled in its white blanket

yesterday we walked without jackets
today I’ll walk with a scarf

yesterday I moved with the easy bounce of spring
today I’m reminded of the slower pace of winter

yesterday it was fifty degrees
today there is snow on the ground

yesterday I loved you
today I do, too

/ / /

3 February 2014
Oak Street

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POEM: biology



I will never write
a more beautiful poem
than the one created
by your DNA

/ / /

29 January 2014
Oak Street

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POEM: late-day sun

late-day sun

I’m at my desk as a long Monday crawls to a close. Ahead of me is a walk down unshoveled sidewalks through rapidly falling mercury. Paul Simon is singing about distant trains. Suddenly, the late-day sun bursts through the front door. It fills the room, makes every surface sparkle like a gem stone. The sight of it takes my breath away. I feel the heat rise to my cheeks then spread through my chest, down my arms to the tips of my fingers. Even though I’m at work, wearing an unwanted uniform, this moment is perfect. I smile wide, thankful for this most beautiful star and the way it sets my world alight.

/ / /

27 January 2014
Oak Street

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POEM: Sunday rain


Sunday rain

awoke to the sound
of the rain on the roof
I turned to put my arm
around you
but you aren’t here

29 December 2013
Oak Street

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POEM: Christmas Eve, 2013


Christmas Eve, 2013

I’m sitting in my apartment, one lamp on,
watching old episodes of Doctor Who, from
the first year they made it in color. There’s
nobody here but me, because the boys are
at their grandmother’s house, and I’m not
allowed past the front door. And not even
that far, if she has her druthers. They’ll be
here soon, though, to take me to their house,
where we’ll play some games and wait
for the arrival of Santa Claus, in whom one
believes and one doesn’t. If you’d told me ten,
or even five, years ago that this year I’d be
cut off from my entire family (except for my
sister) and living alone in my least favorite place
on Earth, I’d have hoped you weren’t clairvoyant.
And although I’m much better at staying
in the moment than I used to be, there are some
moments you hope pass quickly. Still,
later tonight I’ll get to tuck my sons in,
pet their dog, lay my head down on a real bed.
And in the morning they’ll open their gifts,
we’ll laugh and we’ll hug. That’s what I’m waiting for,
as the clock ticks away the minutes on Christmas Eve.

24 December 2013
Oak Street

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POEM: tengu



it sits quietly waiting for a new sound
the six lights that make up its closed lips
pressed together in anticipation
its eyes slowly pulsating as it listens

this odd little creation is meant to be
an interface between sound and vision
intended to express visually
what its mechanical ear takes in; it’s easy

to forget when its mouth is synced with speech
that it is nothing more than an ear, a sensor,
a series of facial expressions, but then again:
which of us is any different?

22 December 2013
Oak Street

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POEM: American Fool


American Fool

It was the summer that John Cougar’s “Hurts So Good”
owned the airwaves. I remember it was playing
in Todd’s room when I got there. Plymouth, Massachusetts.
Our family’s last stand in our home state before
the final dissolution. Before we spread across the country
like dandelion seeds scattered by a strong wind.

It was also the summer of the Kinks’ “Lola,” introduced
to me by a Doctor Demento parody called “Yoda.”
“Y-O-D-A Yo-Da.” All three of those songs are bound up
in my memory like the sight of the sword Todd laid
on his bed, a gift from the grandfather we didn’t share.
The one who’d been an officer in the Knights of Columbus.

It was the last summer of trips to see Plymouth Rock
or the replica of the Mayflower. (“April showers bring
May flowers. What do May flowers bring? Pilgrims!”)
After that, seeing Todd meant a trip to Wisconsin.
It wasn’t the same. Even later when I moved to Arizona
where he lived, things had changed. Too much time.

It was the summer I came home from my grandparents’ place
round as a beach ball from all the Ring Dings I’d eaten,
sitting in front of the little TV in their den watching Star Blazers.
My parents made me run a mile a night until I was less round.
One of many clues I didn’t notice until three decades later.
By then the bullet had hit and passed through, leaving a scar.

21 December 2013
Oak Street

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