Recoiled

He thought they’d had, for them,
A quite good day.
He took the garbage out
Before she asked, complimented
Her on the new hair style, and
Listened for some time after
Inquiring as to her day

He tried to make eye contact as
She was taking unusable things out
If the refrigerator and moving them
To the garbage can, smiling on
Occasion to show his sympathy with
The vicissitudes of that day’s battle

He commented on how selfless she
Always was, and how people took
Advantage, sometimes; as she finished
Drying her hands after washing them,
He lightly placed his hands on her shoulders

Whereupon she recoiled, turning at
Once to pass that off as a gesture of
Busy procedure on to the next task, while he
Realized with the first dim realization of
A new forever that
What used to be good enough for her

Wasn’t good enough any more

Her Name Was Paige

He was a superhero then,
At nine years old (in his own mind)
And she sat in the front of class
And stood by him in lunchroom line,

He’d see her on her bike sometimes
In Spring, a pink and purple blur;
Her name was Paige, and when he thought
At all of girls, he thought of her.

She was the smartest kid in class,
And ran as fast as anyone;
And sometimes down at Ander’s Field
They’d play until the setting sun.

A dozen kids, or more, there’d be,
And games they’d play for sport, or whim;
Her name was Paige, and when she thought
At all of boys, it wasn’t him.

This tale has no great denouement:
He crushed on her, she didn’t know.
At nine years old, you feel some things,
Then ride your bike and let it go.

That pink and purple bike, some nights,
Will pop into his dreams -— it does —-
Her name was Paige, and he liked her.
And that is all that story
Was

Generations

“No one remembers the former generations, and even those yet to come will not be remembered by those who follow them.”

Part 1

Cruel laughter rings
Around a five-year-old boy

Look at the little baby!
He carries a teddy bear!

And tears appear in the eyes
Of the young, confused boy

And the toy bear

Part 2

She was a lithesome seventeeen
Wanting to leave girlhood behind;
He was so handsome, quiet, forceful
He filled her soul, her heart, her mind

Giving herself to adult pleasure
Finding too late the price of lust;
Violence breaking out in ruin
Having a baby, broken trust

Young single mom setting up a nursery
Worn teddy bear for the baby’s bed;
The only gift that his father left him
So many things must stay
Unsaid

Part 3

His mother died when he was only six
He had no father that he’d ever known
He set off with his grandmother to live
Some other place, with everything unknown

His only friend, a tattered sewn-up toy
The house smelled funny, all his tears were spent;
He hugged his only friend up to face
Just trying to recall
His mother’s scent

(..)

The Day of Her Departure

She heard the wind across the way;
Her chest grew tight, the sky turned gray,
And all she knew just fell away,
The day of her departure

She wanted more, she needed more;
She didn’t know what was in store
But wanted time – a leisure tour –
A world both ripe and larger

It wasn’t that she didn’t care
For those behind; it was that there
Were dreams that she had yet to dare –
To dance, to be a marcher —

Then one last time, the weather vane,
Perhaps a flush – a hint – of pain,
For she would not be back again,
Of doubts, no one could charge her —
No, she would not be back again:
The day of her
Departure

Beside the Frozen Lake

He walked beside the frozen lake
Remembering when she was here,
The days of love and happiness
That gave way to the night of fear,

And loneliness, and jealousy,
With all their ruination —
And yet, it’s like she’s back again
Just seeing this

Location

Folded In December

Along a path within the snow
He makes his nervous way;
He has a little way to go,
So thinks of what he’ll say —

There is a hope he knows is small,
A chance to really feel —
But folded in December, he
Cannot see what is real.

He walks up to her shining door,
And rings the welcome chime,
She and another man are there,
As they are, most the time —

He looks at them and mumbles
Something barely understood
They take as “Merry Christmas –
I was in the neighborhood –”

They ask him in, but he says no,
And back out in the white
He leaves his rose out on bench
Where it can spend the night

It is one more rejection,
To have no one as his own —
‘Cause folded in December means
Just one more month

Alone

substitute

they stood beside the frozen lake;
bare winter was at hand —
he’d always felt her reticence,
but didn’t understand

she looked at him with so much love,
then drew herself a breath,
and though a tear was in her eye,
she looked a bit like death —

but she was honest to the core,
and would not there mislead him;
she had to tell her simple truth,
however it might grieve him —

i’m grateful for the kindness, but
i’ll brook no synonym —
there cannot be a substitute:
for you cannot

be him