Bad Habit (Written January 1, 2014)

Bad Habit


I had developed a habit

of only half-listening

When he talked.


If it had been just the two of us,

I might have walked

The extra mile with him.


I might have asked him

About his days in Bimini,

Sailing the blue seas.


I might have liked to know more

About his fondness for soft cheese,

The riper the better.


I might have wanted to pet

His prized Irish Setter

and take him for a run.


I might have enjoyed

Sitting in the sun,

With his friend Bloom,


Shooting the breeze.

But in that room,

Surrounded by folks


Who hung on his every

Word as if it were gold,

Something flared


In me, and I didn’t

Want to know. Spare

me the boring details,


I said to myself.

It totally fails

As far as I’m concerned.


His reality, for me,

Was like a play turned

Inside out. It lacked


The sense of a beginning

And an ending, packed

With cheap tricks.

Two Old Men (Written December 31)

Two Old Men


They stood holding on to each other

As in combat, two old men,

Equally tall, equally thin,


Brothers perhaps, with the same nose,

The same receding chin,

Though one seemed a little older


Than the other, with graying hair,

A deep frown, and a boldness

In his stance and in his look


That was quite his own.

He held the other’s neck in the crook

Of his arm and would not let go.


The other had his fist tucked

Into the stomach of his foe,

As if he had intended to hit


Him there, hard, but held back

At the last moment. A split

had sundered them, there on the fine


Parquet floor, while behind, at a table,

People talked and drank wine.

There was movement, laughter.


He struggled to break free.

What he wanted was what comes after

The anger and the tears.