This Isn’t My Neighborhood Anymore

This isn’t my neighborhood anymore;
This isn’t the place where I start each day –
Habitual turn to come up this street
I lost awhile back when we moved away

But we raised our kids in a house back there,
And what seemed important then now seems small:
The hopes that we had, and the agonies –
They, none of them now, seem to matter at all

And as I drive by, I feel shuddering,
As though the last ghost just passed through my door:
It, all of it now, has just flown away —
This isn’t my neighborhood
Anymore

Giants

I was the young one,
They were the giants;
Laughing across dinner tables,
Looking down at me through
Glowing wrinkled faces;
I was a marvel to them, they said,
And I believed them,
All my superpowers on display,
As off I went on still
Another adventure.

Now I am
The old one,
Looking out at them:
They are marvels to me, I say,
And I mean it:
All their magic powers on display,
But it’s I who, too soon,
Must be off on another

Adventure

Waiting Room

I’m sitting in a waiting room
And choose to write this verse;
The snow is blowing hard outside
The wind keeps getting worse —

Winter once was magical
With castles made of snow;
But now the world is blank, and I
Can’t see which way to go —

The wait is over, and my child
Is here, so we depart;
We speak of senseless nothings as
We head into the heart

Of this relentless blizzard
Where we’re greeted by a blast:
Just two more people cold and lost
In problems
Way too
Vast


 

(“Waiting Room” – 1-26-2015)

Wayward

“I’m sorry,” – I heard that,
But then the rest was hard to hear –
“I should have told you months ago,” –
And my mind raced with fear

“Bye,” her sad voice said,
And then the voicemail ended there
To leave me hanging on
And questioning exactly where

My stepdaughter was now,
And what had happened, knowing she
Had once again resurfaced
From her life of misery

Her drug addiction demons
Having driven her away
And us not knowing where she was
From day to fear-filled day

And now this message. Broken-hearted,
Aching for my girl
Who, cast away, unhappy
Languished somewhere in the world

When softly, gently I heard knocking
On my study door
And opened it to find her there,
Much as she was before

As she threw arms around me,
And as many tears were shed

“I’m home now, daddy,”

“Welcome back.”

Like my heart –

From
The
Dead


 

(“Wayward” – 11-9-2014)

I Tried To Dance

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I tried to dance,
And hoped that you would notice me;
I tried to sing,
But you had left the room

Tried to excel,
And hoped you would approve of me –
I learned some tricks
You never stopped to view

I wanted you to see me and
To like me;
To talk to you, accepted
Without qualms

I just wished that you noticed
And you loved me –
I wish that you were more like
Other moms


 

(“I Tried To Dance” – 10-17-2014)

To See My Mom

[This picture is actually my mom in 1955. – Owen]

I do not know which is further
The seventeen hundred miles to see my mom
Or the sixty years since this photo was taken

Each needs the aid of human technology to be crossed:
Plane rides today, for my wife and me
Or this photo, snapped by my dad in Japan
And loaded by my brother-in-law onto the Internet

There, my mom, but twenty-four years old
Is sitting across the world, in Japan
Today, my mom is eighty-four years old
With Parkinson’s, heart troubles, macular degeneration
Recently moved into an Assisted Living facility

The stylish young woman of the photo
Now, having seen so many lives,
And dreamed so many dreams,
Still does —

This is my mom
Who I have always known
And who I do not know

As the farthest distances to travel
Are still those

Between two people

Trying to really

Communicate


 

(“To See My Mom” – 3-3-2015)

Arizona

I drive here as I drove long years ago
When my old father chatted by my side;
He spoke of hist’ry, mining and the flow
Of his thoughts, ever brimming long and wide.

But now I ride alone in silent thought.
My father loved this land, and understood
That life is cruel, and time is precious bought —
And things that
Make you smile
Surely
Good


 

(“Arizona” – 11-8-2014)

The Ghost of Christmas Failed

There’s clamor in the house tonight
And tempers running high;
With people disappointed
In the year that’s just gone by –

We hurt each other so,
But we just will not change our ways;
I wish that I could fix us
And could lift off this malaise –

There’s fire in my belly, and
There’s aching in my head;
The Christmas lights are up
But all they symbolize seems dead –

I want to run away from here
And don’t care where I roam:
From this family, with its secrets,
And this house that’s not
A home


(Originally posted 12-25-2013)

Texas December

The cold bites hard this afternoon
The sun does little good
And I’ve not been out here before
I never thought I would

Out on this country road there sits
A chapel, by a lea:
Where my parents got married back
In Nineteen Fifty-Three

I have seen it in photos
Worn and aging, as time goes
And stand here in the frigid air
With light frost on my nose

And think back to a boy and girl
Much younger than my “old”:
And how the stream of life still flows
Despite
The bitter
Cold