{ humble. }

One.

The mist and rain, a gray wet towel
Upon the earth. The trees in layers,
Steeples, traffic lights – and one,
A straggling car, drives slowly down
A hidden byway, fire hydrant lost,
A wood fence rotting in the damp,
Along a pitted driveway where
A bent mailbox sits rusting.
Pulling in.

= = = = =

Two.

The fire crackles; plaid and coffee,
Outside, inside,
Feet stretched out and music,
Mellower than mocha, looking
Over at the rain upon the window.
Lights reflected warm,
The cold fall mist highlights
The swing of headlights
Into the dull gray yard beyond
Her thoughts.

= = = = =

Three.

Borders of a shared aluminum
Shell, the edge of that small town;
A year apart, and everywhere else
Together. Humble Oil
And Burger Chef nearby.
An era lost, or never found:
And from that place
They each emerged – she married,
He enlisted – and both determined
To get away from all that stained
Their pillows: decades torn
And skin shed wrinkled,
Only Holiday letters, then
His car arrives.

= = = = =

Four.

The mist runs now inside, the gray
Is shared, the once-young faltering;
But love is never really old,
It’s only shivering unspoken,
Cold and rain, that
Brother, sister
Bringing once again the sound
And scent of once
A trailer park
And humble that became
Their long escape.
Too late, it never is,
To do what’s right.

Reroutes (3)

He worked a farm in summer
To save and pay for college,
Just sun and soil and sweat
He traded in for knowledge,

And though things didn’t go
Exactly as he’d planned,
He told his son that one day
He would understand.

The jobs were hard and varied,
His effort though, unflagging,
His son could never see.
Why work when pay is lagging?

And when the son was old enough,
He wanted his own brand —
Because he’d seen the toil
And didn’t understand.

In time he gained a family:
A daughter by his wife —
He knew there were no limits.
He would give those two his life —

And driving to the farm
His father’s buried on, he stood,
And said, “I understand, now, Dad.
And all of it is good.”

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