Sister Patricia

Sister Patricia

 

She had never run a marathon

until she received word from

her sister that her cancer was

malignant. That changed her

phone-call greeting from “Hi, Pat.

What’s happening?” to “Hi, Pat.

Is there anything I can do for you?

How about lunch?” Pat always

replied, “Yes!” When they exited

the car to go to the luncheonette

Pat lagged a bit behind, bent over

like a scalene triangle, but

remained game, despite her lack

of appetite. Food smelled like

shit and tasted like copper.

“How ‘bout we split that check?”

she said, pulling out her purse,

smiling.

Living Color

Living Color

Which color will you choose to paint your bathroom?
Harbor gray? Egg-shell white? Paled turquoise?
Is its color so important?

What color is your skin?
Ghost white? Baby powder? Linen?
Is its color so important?

What about her skin?
Amber? Beaver? Buff?
Is its color so important?

What about your soul? What color is it?
Teal? Chartreuse? Amethyst?
Is its color so important?

When is color so important?
When you can choose it?
Or when you cannot?

Spiderman

Spiderman

web crawl
data crawl
search
search
search
never stop
be the robot
locate
index
browse

A Place Where

A Place Where

I often reminisce about my red-brick row home
on pencil-thin Sylvester Street where there still is
a nearby concrete alley where all the
neighborhood children used to gather, a place
of seemingly-infinite security where
we played in peace few of us fully appreciated when
we were young, a place in time I am sure you
would like, a place where even today you’d have
fun playing catch while listening to
rock n’ roll music on the radio. I go
there annually to relive my past. One year, there
were some childhood friends I met there. They
shared their fond memories with me. Have
you such a place in your past, a place to
return to when you need to wax nostalgic? Take
mental inventory of the places you
lived as a child, places where you knew you fit in.

Long-Lasting Laundry

Long-Lasting Laundry

On Saturdays, I do laundry.
But before I put T- Shirts,
socks, and underwear in the clothes
washer, I turn them inside out.
I’m told that that’s how I can make
them last longer: the colors will
remain more vibrant.

On other days, I write poetry.
But before I save my thoughts, words
and phrases on the computer,
I turn them inside out.
I’ve learned that that’s how I can make
them last longer, too.

I grab each word by its collar,
I spin each phrase around,
I flip each idea over and over,
to ensure my poems, like my
laundry, will come out much cleaner,
brighter and well folded.

The Poet’s Island Produce

The Poet’s Island Produce

In island solitude
the poet waits for inspiration
like her backyard fig tree waits for rain,
especially during a summertime drought.

She knows that insight,
that small ripe fruit from trees,
is often tough to produce,
especially during late lazy August.
But after a soaking shower arrives,
all produce: the tree, the insight, the poet.

The poet’s now ready to share her figs
with her readers who pick each fruit
one by one, savor, and then devour,
making sure no morsel goes to waste.

Like vacationers on tropical atolls
readers smile, satisfied as they return home.

The Alley

The Alley

We remember well the white concrete urban driveway we called “The Alley” with pairs of tall cedar telephone poles with thick black wires strewn across two parallel blocks of two-story row homes. We boys wore our high-top Keds and Chuck Taylors proudly; we boys who seldom (ever?) played games with girls, games called half-ball, wall-ball, and wire ball; we boys who, all summer long, flipped Topps baseball cards and watched them fall to the ground like helicopters landing on tarmacs; we boys who wrestled on small patches of grass; we boys who fought over “safes” and “outs” and “fouls” as we ran bases made of discarded rags, and shot basketballs at painted plywood backboards and orange rims that our dads constructed to “keep us busy” all day long; we boys who laughed until our stomachs hurt and our eyes watered.

social media
virtual reality—
girls no longer left out

Gumbo

Gumbo

I like my gumbo chickened
not pigged
not alligatored
not shrimped:
not what-evered

I like my gumbo chickened
morninged
nooned
or nighted:
when-evered

I like my gumbo chickened
stewed
not fried or poached
not sautéed or barbecued:
not how-evered

I like my gumbo chickened
in New Orleans
Nashville
or Charleston:
where-evered

The Sand Surfers

The Sand Surfers

Little boys and girls wear slick black wet suits
as they practice surfing on soggy sand.
With arms outstretched, they pretend to balance
themselves on un-waxed surfboards, as parents
dutifully watch them from beneath their yellow
beach umbrellas. Older children who ocean
surf wonder when these young fledglings will leave
the safety of the unwavering sand
and venture into the sea, to experience
firsthand the thrilling thrust of undulant
waves and sea-born independence.

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