He That Giveth (Written March 30)

He That Giveth

 

In the late afternoon

When the sun is still strong

In the southern sky

 

Above the little town

And the wind begins to die

Over the hills and the streets

 

Become clogged with traffic

And the promise of spring meets

Winter’s lingering freeze

 

I want to come out

Under the shade of the trees

That line the path by the river

 

And climb the high bridge

And bow to the giver

Of life and give of myself

Desperate State of Mind (Written March 29)

Desperate State of Mind

 

Rarely was I able to glimpse

The desperate state of mind

That he kept so well hidden

 

Most of the time. Every day

He seemed more doubt ridden,

More prone to long pauses

 

Between words, as if each

New thought were the cause

Of a new anxiety. He lost

 

Confidence in himself. Always

Before, no matter what the cost,

He’d been able to overcome

 

His demons, and so I thought

This time too, he would come

Out all right. From an early age

 

He’d had bouts of depression

And outbursts of rage,

But he’d always bounced back.

 

He’ll get over it, I said to myself.

And so it was a shock,

One evening, when I heard the news.

Sweet Again (Written March 28)

Sweet Again

 

I don’t mean for her to get soft.

She has to stand on her own two feet,

And she knows that. She has to say

 

What’s on her mind. She has to find

Her own way in life, and not play

By somebody else’s rules.

 

But sometimes she gets so angry

She can’t see straight. She’s cruel

And says things she doesn’t mean.

 

She wants to destroy for the sake

Of destruction. If I lean

One way, she leans the other.

 

She’s unapproachable. It’s

As if I’d never known her,

And she’d never known me.

 

But then, out of this darkness,

She’ll whisper, “Make me sweet

Again.” Not soft, not easy, sweet.

The New Technology (Written March 27)

The New Technology

 

If you keep on at the same job,

And don’t make the necessary

Adjustments, you’ll lose everything.

 

Twenty years ago you could get by

With hard work and something

Called location. But no longer.

 

The new technology has changed

The nature of the game, radically.

You’d have to be blind not to see it.

 

It doesn’t matter if you can trace

The job back to your father, and his

Father before him, it will never be

 

What it used to be. The line of work

You’re in is coming to an end.

To put it bluntly, it will be

 

Extinct within your lifetime. The longer

You deny it and drag it out, the more

Painful it will be. Is that what you want?

Mixed Reviews (Written March 26)

Mixed Reviews

 

She smiled and looked away as the people

Around her began a discussion of the merits

Of the film they’d just watched. She didn’t

 

Want to offend or anger anyone, but to her

It was the most boring, long-winded

Film she’d seen in a long time.

 

The attempt to present itself as a film

Within a film fell flat as a dime.

The couple from Santa Fe, friends

 

Of friends, were the most vocal in their

Praise. They liked the way the film ended,

as well as the way the theme was handled.

 

The beauty and quiet of the garden they found

Enchanting. Anne, on the other hand,

Said the garden was too well ordered, too neat.

 

She liked the scene of the parrots squabbling,

And the crows in flight above the trees.

Only then did she feel at ease.

Stranded (Written March 25)

Stranded

 

Her insides, at least, were alive.

Her eye, so huge and so naked,

Looked at me. She could not move.

 

Her skin was very dry and cracked

Along the spine, from the sun. The groove

in which she lay held her tight

 

To the mud. Men and women  from their houses

Came down to help and do what is right.

She had come in with the tide

 

During the night. Her long, toothy mouth

Hung open, and there was blood inside.

We rubbed her up and down with rags

 

Soaked in sea water. Someone

Brought several big black bags

of bonefish but she refused.

 

To prove she was alive, she blinked.

We looked at one another, and smiled.

We cared for her until the tide came in.

Time Table (Written March 24)

Time Table

 

Leftovers for supper most nights,

With beer, pumpernickel, and liver paté.

Tea with a piece of toast for breakfast.

 

The big meal at noontime,

Followed by an hour-long rest.

Coffee and cake mid-afternoon.

 

The hardest work was saved

For late afternoon – the mowing,

Raking, and gathering up the leaves.

 

Some afternoons, depending on the season,

Fruit trees to be climbed and picked,

Or vegetables to be harvested.

 

Everything according to a strict time

Table, regimented, which I liked,

For the most part. To get any writing

 

Done, however, I had to get up early,

In the dark, before anyone else,

And set up a make-shift desk

 

In the attic. Creative work, in this

Milieu, had something grotesque

About it, best kept tucked away.

Waiting Room (Written March 23)

Waiting Room

 

As he paces in cramped circles,

Over and over, in the little room

On the fifth floor, as he hears

 

The nurses at their station, talking,

Soothing someone else’s fears,

As he sees the snow,

 

As light as confetti, falling

Softly in the window,

And the hills across

 

The white, frozen lake,

As he waits for his wife

To return, or not to return,

 

He knows that his life

Is changed and fate, stern

Fate, is his to accept, or not.

Lost Child (Written March 22)

Lost Child

 

For the first time in years

He began to talk with his daughter

By telephone. When she left home,

 

She broke off almost all contact,

Except for a postcard once from Rome,

Her favorite city, and another from Wales,

 

Where she lived for a few years.

She learned the art of very short emails,

But took offence at something he said

 

And never sent another. He was glad,

At least, to know she wasn’t dead.

Not a word about what she did

 

To pay the rent. He thought she

Probably worked on a farm, and hid

From the world, as was her wont.

 

She was his lost child, who spent

Ten years of her life in a hunt

For what had always been hers.

A Great Sadness (Written March 21)

A Great Sadness

 

I suddenly had to put my hand

Over my face, I was crying

So hard. I knew she had not

 

Been well, but I had no idea

She was so sick. She’d fallen

In the tub and hit her head.

 

An ambulance came. It was

A blood clot to the brain.

I learned this after the fact.

 

No one thought to call me

Until it was too late. She

Was already dead.

 

No one thought I might

Still have some feeling

For her, after fourteen

 

Years of marriage. I wish

I had made more of an effort

To stay in touch, but

 

She had her life, and I

Had mine, equally demanding.

It is a great sadness.