Friday, July 27, 2007

Through the Rabbit Hole

I take a walk
through throw-away woods today,
swatting mosquitos
in the underbrush
and sticker bushes and flowers.

Magic of the world;
when I enter
the portal of the trees
it unlatches a door
in my real mind.

I am expecting

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

If St. Peter Were a Butler

Listen Mr.,
are you a fully
qualified guest?
May you meander
into the room
looking the part,
chat with us
holding your head
straight and high,
or do you move away
try to hide
look everywhere
for instructions?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The Next Bed

He said the doctors wanted to give Susan
some information about...
about dying.

It was an information session.
He spoke clearly and loudly to the woman
who lay silent except for the pinging of warnings.
Her family stood around her. They had heard this already.

We are asking for your decision.
(I listen to what I am not meant to hear.
The word "you" stands up and bows,
flits out of the room like a butterfly.)

We want to put a tube through to your stomach
to give you nutrition and liquid. Without nutrition
you will die, but there are certain risks, risk of
airborne infection and... We would try the tube for
three months then ask for your decision again. It's your decision.

(Again the butterfly "you" hovers in the room.)

Now as to what will happen, without the tube
there will be the torture of hunger pangs
which you can avoid by withdrawing water as well.
Without fluids the brain immediately excretes
endorphins which eliminate pain.
Your liver will fail and the poisons will let
you to slip quickly into terminal lastitude and.

Speaking to her and allowing the woman to respond
with a signal which reaches over the great gap between
what she hears and what she can say, he extracts
Susan's wishes. I want the tube inserted, the stomach tube.

(The word "I"glows like a tiny laser light which breaks the air into
dots of red plasma.)

The representative of healing speaks the words Susan sends him,
so Susan would be. She wants to be. The package of Susan
will try to create a miracle and the family standing around all sigh,
hope for a miracle.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Visit to the Border

At the border of OK
she seems to want to look beyond
even though I want her to turn back.

I bring the things we love
and entice her with tales of now and yesterday
but I talk, not about her.

She diminishes the world
in spite of my reminders, my pictures and
my smiling airs.

I maintain courtesy
as if it were a picnic in the sun,
a visit for tea on a Summer afternoon

and my host is quiet and slowly
closes her eyes and slips
into sleep.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Parallel Lines

Lately I've been
in places where lots of people talk
but not to me.
And as I sit
glancing into my
lunch, coffee, newspaper or hands
I hear daughter and
cottage and
next year,
Dodge Caravan,
the money
and I think yes.
It is not yet death.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

A Poem by a Friend

The poem
stands by the window at dawn
and mutters the things
that have to be said in private,
the eloquence of something
cut from bonds of skin and circumstance,
safe from prying eyes.
It's the equivalent of a prayer
but even God isn't listening.

The poem
goes for a walk in the woods down the lane
in the sweet morning after the night rain.
It counts and musters,
taking things out of their cases,
brushing away the road stains.
Then the poem sighs, finishes,
raises its brown eyes.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

The Goodness of the Flowers

The flowers lilt on sunny days,
healthy dances obey the rules of Summer.

I am not as good as the flowers,
as I invade the meadow.

The color
makes them good.

And they brush me
with their gentle hands.

Saturday, July 07, 2007


It has no location
since it moves
along the buzzing and hissing
lifeline of now,
made of a clot of time.

It invades from outside,
gets past cracks in your castle walls
and moves with you as you pass
along the strips of the present.
But it talks to you and dances,
moving up and down in a space
stretched like a web of time.

Oh the dances can be sweeter than sighs,
can quake your human sinew,
webbed over the bones of time,
can gesture gently as if you had eyes
that could envision the thin wires of time.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Eighteen Speeds

When my wife went into the hospital for a while,
I bought myself a bicycle thinking
now I can ride it to visit her.
But I know that my old age
went down one notch and hers went up.

We have been racing
for the last 43 years
and it's not always fair.

I'm not used to strutting;
but with my new classy helmet
and my big back pack and the little velcro piece
I attach around the right leg of my jeans,
I feel like a football hero.
Perhaps now I am the one
she should have married.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Fast Food Luncheon

Where I live
there are people
who call their partners
honey. Love, all through long life,
common and solid.

For one whose endearments are rare,
it would be like bathing
in a pool of roses, intoxicated with the scent.
And their children grow up strong and graceful
braced by warm hands.

The Hospital

It's all about
saying hello isn't it,
all the celebrations.

But for those
gently saying goodbye,
facing dark doors with their backs to the light,

there is only disappearence.
We don't honor that well.
There is no escapist balm that eases that.