Published on: 5/18/2010
Banned From The Playground
We get dizzy on the merry-go-round,
rock up and down on the seesaw,
rise and fall -- fast and slow -- in the swings.
The teeter-totter is all push and receive,
I am surprised by her strength and stamina.
I help her climb the tallest slide in the park,
at the top there is hesitation, a little fear.
Her legs quiver, I sense when she is ready
and give the right amount of touch.
She glides down with exhilaration.
Birdlike sounds I have never heard
escape her throat, float like feathers
and land on the tan of my back.
Just like that she is finished playing,
whispers, in a distant voice, that she knows
the kind of boy I am, one that always breaks
the rules, a naughty one who kisses, touches,
nibbles and licks when playtime is over.
She cups a hand over her jungle gym,
lays an arm across her sandcastles
and tells me to get away.
Published on: 2/3/2010
Advice to Parents
I have the tree everyone on my street hates.
The same tree the builder planted in every yard,
but mine is wild and gangly, a shock of twigs
and branches, with acorns that dangle freely.
The problem is that my tree resides in an area
that seeks conformity, where every plant must
be pruned and trimmed. Branches must be high,
so folks who don't watch where they're walking
won't get poked in the forehead or eye. My tree is not
a pretty tree with its thrust and parry beyond boundaries
of acceptability. It gropes into spaces that interfere
with UPS or FEDEX trucks with drivers in conforming
uniforms delivering conforming packages to tan homes.
My tree dares to poke leaves into spaces which defy
the sheer madness of conformity. Its gathering of Spanish
and ball moss has choked the life out of smaller branches,
in a place where death is not allowed. If my tree could talk
it would not be in a shameful whisper. Nor would it bore us
in some cloned monotone. It would shout and scream:
"Look at me, with my gnarly bark and scraggly tentacles,
my unkempt beard! Gaze upon the glory of my wildness."
Published on: 4/1/2016
Eavesdropping along I-70
I have a hankering to go to Goodland, Kansas,
sit near the tracks and absorb the rattle and clank
of grain cars as they waddle past dusty elevators.
Then, head to Hank's and grab a fried bologna
sandwich on whole wheat bread, with mustard
thinly spread and checker-thick dill pickle chips.
From behind steaming coffee I'll eavesdrop against
wheezy old-timers, slurping through cups of soup
and yakking about cattle and corn and wheat.
Topics will change. Football, seasons now rusted
and others yet to be forged, will burn like habanero
juice on the tongues of some. Then, an explosion.
The youngest. a man of fifty, maybe sixty, lights
the fuse on a stick of dynamite and throws it
into the middle of the room with his deep voice,
Fellas, I sure hope we see some rain. Soon.
It is enough to blast a hush over western Kansas;
wheezer minds were blown back to the Dust Bowl.