When I swung forward, I leaned back so far that the trees were upside down. I enjoyed the giddy feeling in my stomach, but eventually the rope burned my hands and I got off the swing and swayed, slightly dizzy, on the ground. The rope was tied to a tree limb at the top and to an old tire at the bottom. I looked down the gentle hill at the carpet of brown and yellow leaves which gave way to grass and then our house and then more grass and then Freeport Drive and then the hill where I rode my bike and the freedom of being 10 years old in Burlington Massachusetts circa 1980. Continue reading Freeport Drive
I used to walk with the dog, but her broken foot won’t permit that any more. It feels selfish to be glad about that — no more stopping to sniff every ten feet, to circle and ruminate on the rotation of bowels until I finally lose patience and give the leash a tug. I just want to walk, hands in pockets, podcast in ears, legs in steady rhythm. Continue reading Night Walks
I was a good kid. Never made any trouble. Mostly I sat with my forehead against the school bus window feeling the rumble of the engine transfer to my brain box.
My friend Mike was more of a troublemaker. He got into an argument one morning and punched another kid on the arm. It was not much of a punch, but the kid wailed and the harried bus driver stopped the bus. Her hair was like a cloud of angry bees. At least that’s how I remember it. When we got to school, Mike was sent to the principal, his face in a resigned grimace that showed his experience in this kind of situation. Continue reading Good Kid
My daughter Kathryn sat on the toilet, her face red with frustration. She had been yelling “Mama” at the top of her lungs, but Mama hadn’t come. Papa had come instead, and this wasn’t acceptable to her 3-year-old mind. She tottered on the edge of the toilet, her pink cotton dress pulled up, her short hair encircling her miserable face. I knew I would get nowhere with her–she is not to be reasoned with in such a mood–and I left to get her mother. Continue reading Oweanka
We stopped on a face of sheer rock overlooking the valley. The late fall foliage scorched the base of Mount Monadnock, and a mist filled the gaps. A storm was coming, and the wind was beginning to show its teeth. It would be bitter cold at the top. We sat down to eat our lunch before continuing up, my father and I. Continue reading The Summit
my pitiful heartache.
I looked up at the end to see
my reading had emptied the joint.
I’m through with this city.
Or it with me.
[A mirror cinquain, inspired by Yeah Write’s March poetry slam. I cheated a little by having three syllables on the first and last lines.]
After dinner today my daughter remarked about how much alcohol I drink. “No offence,” she said. This elicited from me a dissertation on the health benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, which transitioned into a history of fermented beverages, upon which civilization as we know it depends. She immediately saw this as the elaborate rationalization it was. Man, I miss the days when my kids were easy to bullshit.
“Great news!” Salem sat down and leaned forward eagerly. He held a piece of paper in his hands. “We can pay you $1000 for your nice car!” He formed his mouth in the shape of a smile and set his frozen gaze on my wife. Continue reading Great News!