Another time, perhaps

We couldn’t have done different
every misstep, every haltingly spoken word
when I think of the past, sometimes,
eyes water

Out back, this western scrub-jay luxuriates
splashing in and out of the water, bathing, trilling
nearly the same time everyday, no matter the weather
bath water

We too are creatures of habit
and so what if our habits have led us here
splashing in our baths, feeling out
the water

And now I’m thinking of that Alice
who drank and grew and shrank
and floated away on her own tears
salt water

Yes, I want to say, so many yes
and yet the yes doesn’t seem enough
two boats drifting away across
wide water

Maybe at some far time
when the fog of war collapses
our warm hands will clasp
bridge water

It’s all fun and games until someone pokes their eye out

Words and words and words all piled up in a row standing end on end, leaning, ready to snap or fall over a studious mishmash of logical nonsense I mean, all the words make sense one at a time or maybe three at a time but strung all together, laced up against the brick? Well, let’s just say, it’s not happening.

I suppose there’s some occasional punctuation in there a tidy comma or a lumbering semicolon keeping the whole train from completely coming off the tracks. But it all sort of feels like the periods are just thrown in willy-nilly when there’s no where else for the words to go.

Damn, so much time spent noodling about with words as though they’d ever made much sense or difference. Maybe in aggregate. Like, all together, all those words slurching back and forth, a vasty sea of em. Best not go swimming, there aren’t any lifeguards about.

So many years of things

When I think of my own small bucket of years (compared to the vasty sea of them) it’s humbling, I suppose. Not so many years and days, really, when I think of it. There’s a sea of time out there, past there, flowing out (or maybe ebbing back), so big it’s hard to remember that it’s there. Not even the ticking of clocks helps remind (not that there are so many of those around anymore). There are some trees out my window that have been around easily twice or thrice times my own time, just patiently growing in time, just patiently have been growing in time.

There were small trees planted when we moved in, not so long ago, that were my height, now grown to touch the lines. Our small plum tree now needs a ladder to reach the fruit at its highest height. My own small son now looms as he shuffles by. See all this evidence of times slow roil, that drip drop that fills the bucket. Hey now, where’s all that time go when I’m not looking? I’m reminded of that game of statues. All the kids can only move (or grow) when you’re not looking. Soon, one will tap you on the shoulder, saying, I’m here, you’re it.

How much of the folly of the world is baked into this denial that time rolls ever, ever on? That this game has an end for me, but carries on regardless?

Only a kitten

Feel those tiny teeth nibble, those tiny teeth scratch
Is it a duck with teeth? no! It is only a kitten
Are there claws there? oh yeah, so tiny, so small
Hidden in tufts of fur, yeah, they’re always there
Attack! Pounce! Crawl! Leap! Strike!
We all know no harm is meant, kisses come next

Oh, my best beloved, we see you with your tiny teeth
Aching to lash out, to strike and lash, full-throated
Yeah, you yawp with the best of the them, chin jutting
I see the kitten in you, pal, see through the harm
Crash! Smash! Bash! Shout! Troll! Leap!
When you’re done, we’re still here, arms still wide

The Balloon Strongman

Once there was a strongman who was made out of a balloon. He was pretty intimidating. His muscles bulged out all over the place. He squeaked ominously. After he showed up at Floyd’s Gym, he strutted around like he owned the place. People thought he would never leave. No one ever seemed to see him exercise, even though his bulging pecs and glutes and whathaveyou always seemed to get bigger and bigger, until he just seemed to fill up the room. The strongman, with his greasy curled mustache, loomed over the gym, casting his bulbous shadow over all the hard-working gym rats (they weren’t literally rats). The strongman would leave his messes all over the place: puddles of strangely colored energy drinks, piles of muscle growing shake powder, and just endless protein bar wrappers. The guy was a slob! Whenever anyone tried to call him on it, he would squeak and bulge even more ominously, sort of bobbing back and forth in what people assumed was a boxer’s fighting stance. People would sort of cower and cringe away. Finally (it was a Saturday) the people of the gym had had enough. Brenda (a pretty intimidating weightlifter if I do say so myself) stood up to the strongman and pushed him back a little with her strong right arm. To her surprise (and everyone’s) the strongman just floated all the way to the other side of the gym. “Hey!” someone yelled, “this guy’s just a balloon!” So they shoved him out the door and he floated away. Some time later (it was a Tuesday), a stray dog dragged a bedraggled pink rubber mess out of the gutter.

Moral: Sometimes the guy who’s throwing his weight around is only filled with hot air.

The Endless Car Ride, or, My Hat Looks Better on You

Driving feels like always having been driving
Every car ride more of the endless car ride
Especially when the rain turns sight into a grey muddy mess
Or nighttime with the lights shining sliding away across the glass
And me reflecting or not thinking about anything at all

You’re wearing my hat
But I wouldn’t know it from all the glances spinning your way
It’s a fine hat that went for a ride one day and never came back.
Everyone’s saying so.