because joy helps you to swallow

roses.jpg

each day my resolve
weakens
under a burden of years
with one truth to be
self-evident
that we did not think
everything through

in these hours
I sweep fetid memory
under his favourite chair
each moment of hell
relegated to the pantry
behind the oatmeal
no one will eat

it is best to leave way
for new sweet minutes
when I am kinder
and remember smiles
like that time
he left his tea
atop the car
and we laughed

Caught

The screen door is open and I walk in. Jeremy likes it open so I don’t nag anymore. I smell spaghetti. He cooked? I hear his voice and call out to him. He walks out of the den as if he has not heard me, his hand resting at the small of the back of a blonde who looks familiar. Is she Jack’s teacher? I duck around the corner. I want to catch him in the act. I am furious when I see my favourite red pumps dangling from her fingers, as they walk through the kitchen and out the door. He closes and locks it and I run out the side way to watch from around the garage. They take off in -presumably-<em> her</em> burgundy BMW and I grab my bike and hop on, hurrying to keep abreast of where they are headed. They don’t go far, turning off the side entrance of the old arboretum where we used to walk. I am crushed. Why would Jeremy cheat on me?

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Spring Picnic

They sat together and talked while the clouds couldn’t decide whether to be dark or white, changing and dancing in their indecision of midday. She would say, ‘I think it will rain,’ and look for her umbrella in the bag though she knew damn well she did not pack it. He would lean back and watch her shoulders move with her emotions, straight and soldier’d when content, shaking, when she laughed at his jokes,  then later, sagging under the knowledge of what was taking place. The day was heavy for her, but not to him, because she had not told him in advance. It was a picnic. It was sandwiches cut into rooftops with potato chips and red grapes in zip-lock baggies. It was a checkered tablecloth on the grass, still damp with May when one leaned with an elbow, feeling the earth depress.

He sat up and crossed his legs, looking at his hands. They were soft from pushing a pen and typing for thirty-five years. One arm bent to go around her shoulders, his hand hanging relaxed. “My mom asked if you could come to dinner on Thursday,” he said, and coughed, reaching for a pack of cigarettes. With a little shake, one flew up vertically and he took it between his lips. He replaced the pack with a lighter, and sparked the tip, inhaling deeply. He lounged again, exhaling the other way from her. She did not answer. Those shoulders stayed very still. Scary still. “Can I give her an answer tonight? We’ve been together a year and she wants to meet you.” He cocked his head to read her face, but the sun got into his eyes.

“We can’t make it.”

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I made mine coffee

I made you tea with lemon
honey
because I heard you cough
in the shower, and
that is what we do

the honey
an unexpected sweetness
after clouds of humid
yesterdays
it is so hard to see you

sleep interrupted twice
barking dogs
and twice as nice
an early morning garbage
hauler

paring knife, and
melon ball-er cutting
through the heat
with the precision
of one who knows
what is needed

Puddles

Can you hear me?
My voice is quieter
after the storm
the windows shut tight
to keep the rain out

When the blue gets in
in spite of my weather-proof house
I pull up the memory of a day
when the rain felt good

We splashed and danced
and thumbed our noses
at the soaking wet
knowing we could take it

wearing our
falling-in-love-again macs

What’s it gonna be



The images have all but faded
from my body of work
the proverbial sex buffet
they call life, that smorgasbord
of longings, dreams, and
anticipations

You were born out of September
like a newborn baby dinosaur
all hands and teeth and craving
wind chimes outside the window
apologizing for the weather
small insistent cymbals

Let it not be said
I cannot forgive-haven’t I
lived on this bed of nails
for years-cycling ’round
Lenore and Jane
save me once more

Like weekenders-we put life up
in the garage-on blocks
every day is Monday now
and no break in sight
in the eye of the twister
in this alien land

On the horse, endlessly spinning

loosen-tie

Over a lifetime of thrill rides
men find their way onto the carousel
sometimes tossed clear, of the
mechanizations and the infernal map

Some men alone-early morning respite
from wifely nags and to-do lists
others in booming baritone, sure-footed
and laced with bravado and beer

Men in worn sweat pants and hoods
in their early Saturday morning slouch
a man scratching, paces behind his woman
her soft voice heard-summoning

Men who walk head and shoulders first
those who build bridges and empires
men strangled by neckties
their shoes reflecting their dreams

Spinning, a few content to stay aboard
others ready to leap-holding fast to a friend
who will likely fall into the same dumpster
or whichever new world lies beyond

Do we have an accord?

I am in the kitchen writing out my life.
Chopin is in the living room, urging me not to quit.
The sadness (over breakfast) and a hurried car ride-
heavy and burdensome.

I don’t care (I said) because of course
I care more than life itself-
but if I have to give up my life
in the process (I don’t care) .

Then what is the purpose of living
this strangling, overarching plot
that no one would buy
is poking at my last nerve.

So it is like this. That you will
treat me kindly in the future
and I will continue to write my life.
This is the contract I bid you sign.

let’s talk about

 

they don’t like
when we whisper
another name in bed
when we are far away
and they cannot be sure
just where

they don’t like
when we disappear
during a conversation
it hurts their feelings
if we do not listen
or pretend to have
listened

wearing a new cologne
after so many years
raises a flag
an angry red warning
that the ground beneath
he and me
may be made of sand

my confidence
coming back after the wreck
mentally-physically-emotionally
being so long
there
then suddenly
here

brings relief
but more than a little
doubt