Anatomy 101

 

Before Ginny’s legs

All I craved was baseball

Drama, triumph, tragedy

Between perfect white lines

On fields of trimmed grass

 

Seventh grade science

She sat next to me

Firm, round legs

Emanated from a yellow miniskirt

Black nylon stockings with peace signs

Ran ankles to thighs

 

Without reason

The symbol for peace

Raged a war in my fevered brain

I was sure there was truce

Beyond the front line

Of her skirt

 

Every Monday

Ginny wore the stockings

I waited for her

The class bell rang

Mind howled in

Pavlov dog anticipation

My ears burned

 

Baseball cards lost their attraction

I found my brother’s magazine stash

A light switch in a dark room

Everything revealed

Mysteries exposed

The sweet, disturbing

Clouded pleasure of lust

 

Girls

A different ballgame

Similar dynamics

Measurements matter

Length of homers

Bra and waist size

Speed of fastballs

Rounding the bases

Trying to score

 

 

Competing on

Infinitive playing fields

Games can last forever

Fever blooms in spring

Boys blossom from innocence

 

Flaming seeds

Nudged through virgin soil

Ginny’s legs,

All those flowering girls since,

Produced a crop

No groundskeeper

Can control

Watermelon

 

Plucked from the garden

Heavier than its size

My father got the big knife

Pierced the dense rind

Surgically slicing even portions

Laid them on a large platter

On the heavy picnic table

 

We fought over slices

The ghost scent of burgers and hot dogs,

Chicken or kielbasa wafted warm

From the old grill built in the stone wall

 

I was small

The slice was long and hefty in my grasp

I took the one with the most seeds

It was the only time spitting was permitted

 

Kids competed who could spit the farthest

Shooting seeds into thick grass

My mom warned not to swallow the seeds

Said they would grow in your stomach

I swallowed one to see if it were true

 

The sweetness ran everywhere

Trickling off chins, soaking t-shirts

Tacky hands and cheeks

I burrowed deep, munched, and sucked

In syrupy summer heat sunset

 

 

Nibbling the last of red pulp

Gnawing to sour green rind

Mom said, don’t eat the rind

It will make you sick

Flung bitterness over the wall

 

All too soon

The days of watermelon

And barbeques were gone

Flavor peaks

When the long days

Do their sad parade out of town

 

Mom and dad did their best

To make it last

As crickets chirped

And fireflies flickered

Dad stirred the embers

One last time before bed

 

We scavenged for sticks

Peeled and shaved the bark skin

Mom brought out marshmallows

We sphered and toasted

Those white, sugar clouds

Tanned perfection confection

Some caught fire, some blackened

Sweet all the same

 

Now sixty-five

My stomach protrudes

I wonder if a swallowed seed

Can grow in the dark

Of one’s inner self

Just the way

Watermelon juice

Sticks to skin

As do memories

Of our summer days

from the upcoming fifth book of poetry

Classic

To Nobody

 

You may be nobody

And I may be less

In the word crawl

From the nest of my mind

A slow procession of ants

In search of a crumb

 

You may be an ant

And I the crumb,

Miserable, discarded

Broken off from something

Bigger than myself

That you discover

Share with friends

In your underground city

 

Pitiful ant

Insignificant crumb

Singular, assembled

As words in a dictionary

One of many

Meaningful only

In arranged volume

 

Antennae feeler

Communication, we touch

We drag a crumb

A drop of water

Back to the lair

A morsel to satiate

A parched, hungry world

Consumed by liars

Cheaters

And corporate kings

from the upcoming fifth book of poetry

The Solstice of Flight

 

I find a cloud of feathers

Nestled near a garden wall

Grey, white, a shock of black

A chunk of angry winter sky

Come to roost upon earth

Feathers absent of body

Warmth and flight

Discarded in duress

Its lightly weighted life

Caught in cat claw and jaw

One bright drop of blood

Evidence of prey or play

 

This ball of flight lived

Delicate as evaporative love

Now stirs with my breath

Clings to course earth

Futile herding, trapped

In bristles of the brush

Tremulous remains reject the dustpan

 

All that was, clings

Collective clouds, reminisced flight

Avoids the nudge to debris

Lingering storms refute death

Airborne memories survive days

That stretched long when wings

Basked in the suns’ grace

 

All recalled

In days of curtailed light

A Body consumed,

The clipped wings of a soul,

A flock of feelings

Marooned on earth

Hollow beak and talon,

The deceit of the nest

Blown by one breath

In winter chill

from Love and Chaos

Folk song

 

Every night

We made love

In her Yonkers apartment

The tenant above sang

“Where have all the flowers gone?”

 

She would laugh

I would a little although

I was well versed

In loneliness by then

The all too familiar

Polar vortex of emotions

Gone to seed

 

Every night

We loved and laughed

He sang himself to sleep

The three of us holding on

In the random accumulation

Of apartment lives

Like dandelion seeds

Cling to its head

Before the wind

Pries them away

 

I was a winter stray

Stayed to see the melt

Of exhaust blackened snow

The unveiling of candy wrappers

Rustling down avenues

Empty beer cans rolling

Tinny hollow echoes

Bottles not busted, whistled

A tune of absence

Soldiers without a war

Folksingers without a cause

 

Come dirty spring

I was a juror in White Plains

Listening to wire taps

Scratchy recordings

Of a mob attorney lying

Reading Yeats on lunch breaks

Retreating at day’s end to the

Transitory home of a young girl

That gave me all she had:

 

Her cramped city apartment

Nervous laughter

Sweet, purging love

Lullabies of protest

Between paper thin walls

Amid rentals, vacancies and perjuries

Where we once lived

And sang

from The Adventurers and other poems

Status Quo

 

I appear content

To you,

I am satisfying as tepid milk

On a summer day

You ask what do I want?

I have no answer

 

I have no answer

To me and you,

About the choices on the menu

Dropped at our table

I choose the first dish I see

The way I picked you

 

And here we are

On a restaurant patio

By a babbling brook

Near a village green

Where an old cannon sits

That children hang and leap from

 

Wars seem far away

But one is right here

Raging within

It is a cold war

With entrenching tools

We are dug in

Trench footed and starving

 

Through this interminable war

Peace only comes at Christmas

Climb from our holes

Cross battlelines

To smoke cigarettes

Play a harmonica

Dream of the home we left behind

 

Then the waiter comes

Asks if we decided

You answer quick

Warm milk on a summer day

I am clueless

Here

 

Rain is a big deal

It arrived this morning

Hesitant and shy

Barely audible

Taps on the shoulder of

this red desert dusted land

Streaking the massive saguaro

Where generations of cactus wren

Carved out their homes

 

They and wandering quail

Make the rain a reason

To huddle and shelter

Just like the doused sun

Which is too often the guest

That stays after the party is over

Laughing at nothing

Burning his drunken presence

On your tired head

 

I make a second cup of coffee

Take in the sepia air

Earth and sky

Blend as one

As do my thoughts and breathing

Not caring about clocks or calendars

Taking in subdued nature

Caressing a hot cup

A moment of grace

Can seem eternal  

 

This rain

Will do nothing to sooth

Withered brush

Fill the Colorado river

But it is rain

With its’ bashful peace

That transforms

Makes obsidian mountains shine

Makes the second cup

Taste all the better

Day Life

 

Birthing sun

Dispels dead of night

Pre-school morning

Children temperatures’ taken

Hug teacher’s knees

They scratch and peck

Like hatchlings from Easter eggs

Striped legging girl

Dark curls and eyes

Hops on one foot

Sees her little blue-eyed beau

She will draw

Crayon hearts for him

 

Mid-life day

No cover, no shade

Power lunch martini’s

Sharp attire professionals

At the five-star restaurant

But under tables

Matchbooks balance uneven legs

Band Aid bleeding heel of the Stiletto lady

The executive’s Italian leather shoes

Scuffed, the shine gone, soles worn thin

 

Old man sundown

Walks scruffy mini poodle

Crosses the intersection

Traffic paused red light

Breeze picks up

Billows light white jacket

He is a wrinkled sail

To the dog’s undercurrent pull

The tightwire taut leash

 

White beard stubble

Knotted brow

Senses the umbilical cord snap

Into indifferent night

Knows he could fall

No safety nets

With a dog at the helm

Sniffing for god