Auto Shop Coffee

November 18, 2017

such a fool’s errand…

we patiently sip auto shop coffee and read People magazine

unaware it is our mind that is most in need of repair

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The Ignorance of Youth

November 17, 2017

when you start catching glimpses of your father’s face

reflected in the mucky shop windows you pass each day downtown

— and if you haven’t yet, you will —

Mortality is suddenly that annoying frat brother from college

not so long ago

getting his ever-pubescent jollies

by razzing you about the ignorance of Youth

unaware that

if nothing more

Youth was your one true friend

The Table

November 15, 2017

“This old table has got to go,” my wife declared today

Old, indeed

And, admittedly, not very attractive

Well, really not at all

A hand me down from my wife’s father when we were married long ago

It bows a little in the middle

And wobbles a little more

The leaves slowly push themselves apart

Aging lovers tiring of each other’s charm

I sit silently in my weary, matching chair

Looking hard

Looking deep

The maple has darkened over time

The protective shine has worn away in many places

Allowing exposed grain to suck life in

Dust

Dirt

Greasy fingerprints of childhood ghosts

Flecks of cheap paint used for rainy-day art projects

And tiny, crushed-in cake crumbs from birthdays long forgotten

This is where we were

When life seemed like it would last forever

Of course we’ve since learned it doesn’t

This wooden slab served best friends

Close family

Neighborhood children

But, most days, just us

That was probably our preference

We ate big country breakfasts

Strange casseroles that were barely touched

Great-grandma’s homemade spaghetti recipe

Hotdogs and beans when times were tough

Grilled steak on summer Sundays

And carry out pizza for Friday fun

God, Fridays were fun

Game night

We just played Risk, I swear

Eating meals around the board for three days straight

So cautious not to disturb our patient armies

My wife was pissed, until she ended up winning

This is where we did homework together

Wrote letters to far-away people

Assembled toys on Christmas morning

Paid bills, and bills, and bills

Pieced together jigsaw puzzles in the dead of winter

And made important family decisions

I drank coffee here every Saturday morning

While loved ones faintly snored upstairs

The feeling of true contentment

This is where my babies sat

Being fed with little spoons

As they grew we only cut their food

Made them eat their vegetables

And finish their milk

When it wasn’t spilt

No use crying, but we sometimes shed a tear

Still, laughter was heard daily

And even an occasional prayer

Looking back now I realize many prayers were answered

Right here in our favorite spot.

The kids still come by every now and then

Though not too often, these days

Missed sorely, but never forgotten

“Suppose you’re right,” I finally reply

Running my wrinkled hand across our kitchen table.

Memory From a Past Life

November 12, 2017


In some past life I vividly recall sprinting in fear through a field of land mines just before dawn.

I came to a sudden halt when the light crested over the horizon, and through the smoky mist, a stunning orange sky began to slowly win the battle against the blackness that had been surrounding me.

Tiny pieces of sun flickered off the dewey amber grass, revealing the many bodies of fresh young troops lying near — damp and dead — frozen in time. 

Looking around I saw things you would never want to see. 

Things you don’t want to know. 

Things I refuse to tell. 

I ached with guilt for finding such peaceful beauty in this devastating scene. I sobbed hard, forever changed, as no man should ever have to be. 

No longer noticing the stench of decay, I inhaled deep cleansing wafts of the country air. I wiped the sweat and tears from my filthy face, feeling a bewildering sense of hope. 

A defiant step forward was misplaced, and my arms and legs were suddenly gone. I remember enjoying the sunrise a few short moments longer. 

Despite everything then and since, somewhere — hidden deep away– I still manage to carry some hope today. 

Darkness is Pleasing

November 10, 2017

The electricity was shut off again today

But light isn’t needed

When darkness is pleasing 

I’ll read made up adventure novels 

Shelved in my head

And imagine being some other place 

Until one day

Someday

You and I will leave here

In real life

The Leaves 

November 8, 2017


the green leaves 

play hide and seek between branches

dance in spring winds

and lounge the dog days away

enjoying each other’s shade…

clinging together in cold rain

they find close friends 

and take a lover — 

content in their little tree…

so quickly they age

turning brittle and gray 

they begin to fall 

until only one remains

alone for the first time

he nervously waits

grasping with all his might —

though he can’t quite say why

soon a gentle breeze 

forces his fate 

no one left to tell goodbye

Sweet Nothings 

November 7, 2017


Take my hand, Love, let’s escape —

we can leap off this world

and go hurtling through space

’til we find a cozy black hole

to crush us to nothing 

and swallow our souls.