An English Instructor’s Confession

Doubt the amount of debt to past poetic lives I owe, doubt a preening, narcistic ego,
Doubt that I may be a self-conscious liar, exaggerating stories that never did transpire,
Doubt that I may long for fame, craving the recognition a great novelist or poet gains.
Doubt that I have the intellectual skills, the depth of passion, or the imagery that thrills.
But never doubt whatever transpires, I can teach rhet.-comp. students all skills required.
Never doubt the hours spent marking pronoun disagreement and student discontent,
For I will not exaggerate, nightly I’m always home grading stacks of papers by 7:30 or 8.

Ode to Breakfast

It’s almost dawn with bills paid, assignments answered, and six poems just accrued.
So I’m feeling rather peckish for some tasty, yet admittedly caloric, sustaining food.
Just right now, I’m feeling famished, longing for a kolache or perhaps a little Danish.
Waffles, some scrambled eggs, a bit of ham; oh, that I might top a croissant with jam!
But rummaging through the refrigerator, a healthy meal I might justifiably forsake
Since I now see a leftover pepperoni pizza, a bag of taco chips, and chocolate cake.
I’m a gourmand I must confess, for I’ve been known to gorge myself on less than best.
But should I load my plate with what I please if I can into my pair of jeans barely squeeze?

My Mother’s Clothes: An Elegy

My mother’s clothes sit in her closet five years after her death
Except for an occasional borrowing to fulfill a timely, special need.
I yet cannot bear to give away that special presence she has left,
Although a fur coat hangs tucked away (looking slightly bereft).
So each evening, I frugally put on night gowns that she once wore,
Wrapping myself in soft, cotton comfort, now extensively darned.
Never mind that I look like an older Orphan Annie slightly forlorn.
No need to spend on robes and dainty nighties no one else ever sees:
I wear Mom’s old socks on winter nights and into her shoes squeeze.
Of course, it’s more than selfish to keep what the needy can use.
But for now, l have tangible reminders of her from which to choose.

A Revised Doxology

Praise now for Heaven’s almighty, ever-present, omnipotent, three-in-one host—
For Christ’s sacrificial cleansing power from sin, the Holy Spirit’s steadfast support,
And the everlasting “I am’s” (dare one attempt to repeat the name aloud) boast—
Known each Sunday, or Shabbat, singularly or as a cast of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
For Elohim (that’s plural, by the way) acts singularly for what’s best for human kind.
Not what each petitioner prays for, but always keeping his or her greater good in mind.
So from God may all blessings flow, eventually from above, but now on Earth below.

Scheduling Thoughts

Hectic semi-retirement–striding still to win the race;
Cramming schedules and projects into every busy day,
No chance to sit, rock, or dream, whiling time away.
Not teaching during the summer, I set a steady pace.
I’ve 12 poems to write, bills to pay, course work to finish,
As of yet, “dumb things I have to do” have yet to diminish.
The grass needs cutting; the flower beds drastic weeding;
Have I schedule a monthly hair cut? My tea’s now brewing.
My i-phone timer is set, five minutes to contemplate
A poem about random thoughts that just won’t wait.

Eternity Now, Again

Eternity now—not tomorrow
Like Schrodinger’s cat—half in
And out of a box—a paradox.
All at once all joy and sorrow.
For eternity is endless time,
A concept that is ill-defined.
The universe goes on forever,
The Big Bang theory disproved,
Beginnings and ends removed.
So time’s now for any endeavor.

Hyperbole

Hyperbole, exaggeration, amplification, or Texas brag,
Aggrandizement and fabrication sometimes hits a snag.
Marveling we have world enough and time, Je t’adore;
Lest love and respect strides right out and slams the door.
As for the claim Lytton’s pen is mightier than the sword,
Political correctness marches in, tossing truth on the floor.
Climate does change, It’s Apocalypse now; the end is near;
Else taxpayers pay through their noses, the choice is clear.
Rid the world of farting cows, politicos are now chastising.
But invest in oil leases, financial managers are still advising.
Conspiracy, collusion, treason–both sides of the aisle exclaim
But each side could look directly in the mirror to fix the blame.
Meanwhile diets and exercise regimes promise eternal youth;
Alas, one look in the mirror reveals a harsher than harsh truth.

Love’s Location

Around the corner, across the way,
Over the mountains, by the bay,
Above our heads, beyond the sea,
Out on the prairie, away from me,
Behind the door, off to the side,
Below the floor, and more before.
In any location our love abides
Evidenced outward; felt inside.

Dementia

 

Sun downing, reaching for so simple words,

Forgetting faces and places where I did go—

Is that my daughter? Do I dare eat a peach?

My buttons—my thoughts—are just out of reach.

Now I wear Depends and can’t cut with a knife,

Don’t recognize my grandkids and slip-out of life.

Could I have stopped madness before my decline

Or remedied with diet, vitamins, and cardio-exercise,

Working cross-word puzzles enjoyed in my prime?

As you are now I was; as I am now, you will be—

Unable to walk, sit, without wit, memory, teeth.

So You Want to Major in English

 

Red wheel barrows, ice-cream emperors

And Lucy half-hidden by a mossy stone—

English majors don’t live by bread alone.

Engineering pays more than half our rate,

But Humanities more than compensate.

Overlook those part-time jobs adjuncts fill.

Our imaginations are rich as well as our will.

But I digress—try justifying a federal loan

With a Ph. D’s salary in English to live upon.