Friday, December 13, 2013

New Shoes

Wearing new shoes,
Hoping for a good foot day.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Closing Gates

I take care to close the pasture gate securely;
It keeps the sheep in and the pigs and dogs out.
Each day, I loop the wire over the two ends
And double check, give it a shake, look back and see
If it is fastened.
It’s my responsibility.
You never know, you know?
I may be the last one through for some time
It may be the last time I am through.
Who knows when the last time will be?
The last time you see your children
The last time you catch a snowflake on your tongue?
I didn’t use to think this way
About the small and ordinary
Along the course
The daily actions that are now my ritual and sacrament
I do them for you and for me
As we add to the whole.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

The Moment

Who put us on our way?
Who or what
And when was the moment
In a cavalcade of time and days
That we took that first unknown
Decisive, or hesitant perilous step
Determining our direction?
Was it across a well paved life
Or the slippery slope of pain
And why did we continue?
Where did we feel it,
In our heart out of love or fear
In our bodies out of need?
Did someone reach out to us
With a push or a slap or a helping hand
With a good book or a harsh word
Perhaps a gentle touch?
And how did we react
Did we shy or defy?
Did we blossom or whither?
Who might be the master
Of such consequences,
And when is the time to try…
And why?


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

People Take Notice

In a small town
People take notice.


He had a job at a nearby auto parts store
You’d see him at the counter when you stopped in for spark plugs or a fan belt,
Work shirt-ed with the embroidered “Al” on the left
Tire gauge and pen in the opposite pocket.
He always shook my hand…
And many evenings
In the summer when the grass was emerald or
And in the winter when sneaker’s-squeak echoed through the gym
He was Coach Al
The ball games were fun, everyone on his teams played,
And the practices even more so, everyone had a nickname.
And even long after his wisp of a shortstop-daughter had grown
Had gone on to have infielders of her own
He still held the clipboard
He still cheered “good hustle.”
I last saw him
As I passed through my old home town.
He was mowing center field at  Little League Park,
Grey hair riding above the green.
It was the last time.


At the end of the school year
When second grade kids gathered on the bus and found out the verdict,
The answer to the question, “Who’d ya get next year?”
Her name was not the most favored.
Sometimes second, often the third and last choice.
Kids knew who they wanted,
They learn from stories told by older brothers or sisters,
Tales and tears,
Or they saw on their own first hand
In the lunch room or at recess.
 They knew that her smile
Was really just painted over a deep etched grimace.
And at reading time,
The Tigers knew she favored them
A lot more than the Turtles.
The calendar on her desk blotter
Started the count down to the last day of school
At 100,
Which she once jokingly referred to the “countdown to ecstasy!”
School vacations were circled in clownish red smiley faces.
Some wondered how she could work closely with children
And yet come to work so manicured and coiffed
Tailored and in heals?
Some wondered, some knew.
Coach Al passed away some years back
My son “Strike Zone” sadly informed.
“The Sports complex was renamed in his honor.”
Strike Zone and my youngest son “Bull”
Shared memories of their teams and of
Coach Al for many minutes…
Passing back and forth game balls
Awarded by him 20 years ago
For a good catch
Or hustling out an infield out.
And she
With a blister pack of Xanax in her purse
With a retirement home in Florida
Already purchased,
She is all but dead in her tracks.
Counting down the days.

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Cat, The Sheep and I

The cat, black and white, paces a few yards ahead
He dismissed himself from our morning coffee and kibble ritual
And now sits at a seemingly random spot, looking, waiting
And so I stop too, and wait and watch the watcher
But having less discipline or comparative desire
I walk on, thinking that I know what this cat is doing.

The sheep, now in the higher pasture, are along my way
And so I stop and visit from a distance that they determine safe
(Something deep within has told them that my kind is dangerous
Or at least something less than trustworthy)
They eat with gusto the grain that the shepherd brings
Pushing and shoving.
Bleating…are they saying something to me?

I walk on, and look at my breakfast, hoping to find
A bowl of words, offered by some kind shepherd
As the grass in my pasture has withered some;
There has been a drought.
Still I am challenged, nay burdened to find the meaning of things
Perhaps also to find the meaning of my search for meaning.
The best I can do for now is walk a bit and wait for it to come.