Parvez, sitting in the park,
A conversation ranges wide;
I ask him questions, wondering.
Here’s some of what he said —

“Give your money and your blood,
But do not justify yourself;
For your family has no need,
And enemies will not believe.”

“Many come to celebrate,
But few will stay to clean.”

“Arrogance and conceit are like weeds
That grow on dunghills.”

“Age survives only because
Youth dies.”

“Write your insults on the sand;
Carve compliments in stone.”

“Of three things there is no end:
Sand in the desert,
Tears in the night,
And friends when you are prospering.”

“Luck is another word
For ignorance,
And most of us
Are very lucky, I think.”

“Behind each thing you speak
Are one hundred things you think
But never say.”

“When the wind blows hardest,
Ride it.”

“If you can make her safer,
She will make you better.”


She’s lovable, and many do:
Her sunny curiosity,
Her wry and skewed verbosity,
Her smile insecure —
She’s lovable, for sure.

She’s lovable, and has a clue:
Sometimes, unwanted overtones,
And others, ringed with safety cones,
One step above a waif —
For lovable’s not safe.

But she has risen from the worst,
The pangs of hunger, and of thirst
Are still there in her memory;
And fresh as any pains can be,
And snug as any shoe —

She’s lovable, it’s clear and true:
But she would give it all away
For one more hour, one more day
With him; the one who she preferred,
And who was lovable

To her

both always sides

she tends to see both
always sides and
likes to argue soft
and long

and there encircles
hair and eyes that will
at once be here
and gone

for somewhat sadness hides
her smile behind
the brown that
signals love

and every heart is hers
to hold and
everyone she knows
she’s of


At just eighteen, her shoulders start to droop:
The drudgery of sub shop artistry’s
Been rubbing off some of her natural shine,
But hasn’t punctured all her buoyancy.

I look, and wonder, at her haunted eyes,
The father in me, I guess, coming out
In wanting to be kind to her, some way:
Some type of gentle affirmation. Sure
As night turns into day, time into time,
We gain connections we might make, or not,
And feelings, deep as any we might find,
O’er people barely known, and who don’t know
We’ve ever given them ten seconds thought.
Or even who may not connect with us,
And to whom we may be as furniture:
Mere objects they pass by, no more, no less.

Elizabeth’s her name (she wears a tag)
I cannot dawdle, for the line is long,
And sometimes all that we can really do
For anyone is not to make it worse.

I take my sandwich, pay my bill and go,
I may see her again, or maybe not.

But if good feelings could build paradise,
She would be on the beach, and not back here.
And I would not be with her, but I’d be
The owner of more kindness agency.

Photo credit : ID 35550926 © Brett Critchley |  under an editorial license

Unremitting, Askance

She looked at me askance and said
That I was unremitting
In trying to bring back the dead
Which, to her, seemed quite fitting

In that my singularity
Was my macabre mind:
A case for prolotherapy
A corpse beneath the rind


I still remember Stephanie,
The music of her hands —
The lyric autumn reverie,
The eyes apart from coterie,
That far horizons scanned

In Stephanie, the day stood still.
The seasons passed beyond her will,
And life was brief, but sweet —
The short years she was here with us:
One up- and one downbeat

Then Stephanie, my sober friend –
She let go of the fragile cord
That kept her holy essence penned,
And found her Springtime, in the end.
Her loving life restored —
Her aching spirit