Eye of the Tiger Marathon

Eye of the tiger
nose of the elephant;
the whole thing is just a circus,

and I the 17th clown out of the car
with pockets full of balloons in wait
and shoes too big to crawl out of the looking glass
you threw me through
when the show began 24 hours ago

only to close now,
though surely not forever more.
But no more now.

Show’s over.
Sleep calls.
any louder and I’ll never
get there.

So there you go,
and I go.

The end.

skimming the surface

I.
Bronx baby
switched at birth
not really but so it seemed
and so she wished
as father said she’d never been happy from the day I was born

II.
Long braids
and onion rye
and the teacher who never
should have been leaning against the
gym wall.
I wasn’t aiming for her head.
No…really.
I wasn’t!

III
I made four
which dropped to three
then back to four…
then back to three.
Forever after, I’d say.
But she might tell another story

hollow doors really are hollow
and objects in motion
tend to stay in motion
and when it doubt, keep your head
down, pillow up, shutters ready,
and wait for the light of day.

IV
Ma nom est MADAME GERRRRRRR Ton
the voice said it, but the bulging red veins
served as punctuation.
So I skipped along…
and French and gym and science and all things that weren’t taught
by the teacher who thought i wasn’t good enough for her son.
I showed her.
Balance has never been my strong suit.
1980 may have provided the best early clues

V
we moved to Mars, perhaps in the nick of time
but the travel has hard on 16 year old who just couldn’t
understand why half needed to carry their saucers in their
back pockets and spit in a bucket they were allowed to keep under their desks,
while the other half wore little skirts and love standing on the sidelines.
Mysterious place. Though my 16 year old self would probably use a different adjective.

Now what is it you know about me, really, that you didn’t know before –
before you had 5 stanzas about my childhood. What is it you think you know or thought you’d know if you asked me the question and obliged with a response? or was this really a gift for me?

Just a thought (19)

A single thought
lingers
unattached
and then it floats away

A thread
weaves words
and people
until no one remembers to water it.
Then it quietly fades away

A train of thought
whistles,
calls you aboard,
then swoops you off and on
to a new adventure.

I’m off to buy a ticket!

end in sight (H22)

In the home stretch
I stretch
and pull a muscle
that does not want to relax
now that it’s learned the joy
of being in tents.

Should I worry?

Home (H21)

This is where I belong.
Here.
In these woods.

The screen door told me so,
Then the bears and the deer
and the birds.

The mice tried to tell me otherwise,
but after much discussion, we came to an arrangement.

This is where I belong
at least for now
and for as long
as the forest creatures
will have me.

For the first time in my life,
I want to be Snow White –
I want to walk through these woods
and have all the forest creatures
walk along beside me.
And while not a deal breaker,
I wouldn’t mind 7 men with tools
to lend 14 hands!

A Prompt Struggle (H20)

I don’t wish to do what you ask
though I’m happy to do otherwise

I do not like to follow rules
even ones I make myself

Leave the door ajar and let me know I may enter
and long we’ll sit and talk or sit in silence – as you like.
But tell me to come in or ask to set a date
and surely I’ll be late if I come at all.

If you tell me what to write,
I won’t be able to write at all
If you invite me to explore,
I’ll run out of time before I run out of words.

Don’t Look Now (H18)

Heavy handed and overly sentimental
I cringe at my own words,
and, I’ll admit, some of yours.

I love the idea, but struggle with the form
If only I’d not notice what made it to the page

“Write with blinders on,” she told me.
Just before she told me she couldn’t help me,
that my demons were on steroids
which in fact did not help me…at all.
Is it too late to cancel th echeck?
Or to get back the $5
I gave to the turbaned and bejeweled woman at the County Fair back in ’85
the one who took my hand, held it in hers,
turned it short of over
while nodding her head and making that contemplative noise people make when they’re about to share some just found answer to a question you adked, or didn’t but they thought you’d want to know

Maybe it’s not such a good idea for anyone to tell us what’s coming next,
or just before they do, maybe we need one last to change our minds and choose not to hear whatever it is they think they know or think they ought to tell us – to warn us, or inspire us, or just to get us to come back with another fist of green and more questions with answers we’re probably best off not to know.

What is this noise in the woods behind me
that make the hairs on my neck reach for their rifles
knowing it’s in their best interest to protect me.

And how I can keep writing about anything other than Goldilocks
while I wonder what it is.
It’s a good think I don’t have to look at the keyboard
how hard that would be – what with the darkness and the smoke and my involuntary oscillation of my head like the search lights on the prison roof.

But I was asking you whether you thought it best not to know what’s coming next
and now that I mentioned the bear alert
I can’t help but wonder whether she saw a light brown muzzle in my hand
at the tail end of the long lonely life.

No Free Ride (H17a)

sticky feet
tap out the beat
of the box that someone left
behind

who’d driving this bus?

precious cargo
on laps
the rest on floors
between feet that help them stand
up straight.

who’s driving this buy?

you pay your fare
pull the chord
and exit to the rear of the bus
but not before it comes to a full stop.

Full Stop.

Did you remember to drive the bus?

The Fare (H17)

Checklist
Tucked inside
Yesterday’s folded news.
I spy.
A kneeler
A Crossing
And watch him drive the bus.

You pay your fare
and pull the chord
And exit to the rear (which isn’t the rear as much as the side)
but only after we comes to a full stop.

Full stop.

Do you know, who’s driving the bus?

Overdrive (H16)

the light’s too bright
and the sound’s too loud
and the ink is frozen in place

if i’d turned down the chance
i’d have missed the moment
that swept me up and
dropped me off and
left me here
one monkey short
or maybe just a hand

so throw me a rope
or hand me a line
and I’ll write my way back
to where the light illuminates
and sound talks sweetly in my ear

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