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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ON MONDAY NIGHTS IN MILLTOWN


ladies start the week leafing through
King James Bibles, talking about Jesus
at the dirty tables of a Dunkin’ Donuts.
With an arsenal of scriptures and pink
highlighters, they’ll study the sermon.

Down the street, the Reformed Church’s
5 story spire glows in the floodlights and
flags whip in the cool winds of early spring,
Worries are a terrible substitute for prayer
and A Call to Worship fill up the sign board.

But I don’t go to church, I just sit here on
Monday nights with a butternut doughnut
and a coffee, absorbing the enthusiasm for
John 3:16, their newly found insights into
the apostle Paul and the Book of Revelations.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

GONE DOG

I hear paws clicking across the linoleum floor,
she continues to sweep crumbs from the table,
our son still thinks he has to put the gate up.
She swore she heard barking in the back yard
and yelled, Can somebody please let him in?

Opening the door each afternoon, she expects
him there, waiting to welcome us home again.
Today I went down the Pet Food aisle, reached
for a bag of the healthy food, a habit for years

Even Cat knows he’s gone, he stares at the
corner where the little round bed used to be
He’s not stupid, you say to us, but we all know
he’ll never care to learn how to respond to life’s
most important words- biscuit, bed, outside, food.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

MESSENGERS


Sister wears a dragonfly necklace and
sometimes speaks with the butterflies.
Cherokees called them messengers of
the dead, she explains with calmness
and describes her visit with a medium,
who told her things no one could guess.
She hesitates to continue with her story.

I tell her how lately dragonflies land
nearby when eating a meal outside,
as I stop to rest with a bottle of beer
in my backyard after mowing the lawn,
at a ball game on a seat in front of us.
Too many to count hovered above the
dunes as I walked down to the beach.

Others say butterflies come to them in
places you wouldn’t expect, city streets,
the middle of the night, in a rainstorm,
on the tip of a finger as you begin a hike.
Suddenly images of these insects appear
on coffee mugs, labels of wine bottles,
neckties, on front of some baby’s shirt.

Must’ve been there all along or maybe
I’m seeing them after hearing the medium’s
words to me from our father- “Don’t feel bad,
let it go, stop feeling remorse”. How could she
know of my regrets since his death or the last
time we spoke? I told no one of my feelings.
I think of dragonflies now as my pen runs dry.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

CONFLUENCE



“When you're travelling, the best advice is
 likely to come from a local person.”-F.Mawer

In Pittsburgh, even the bridges are yellow.
Should’ve painted a few green or blue.
If you end up getting on the wrong bridge,
you’ll probably end up being lost for hours.

In Pittsburgh, they roll with the black and gold.
And things come in threes like Pitt’s flag with
three castles, three rivers, that I always misspell,
and three stars on one side of a Steelers helmet.

In Pittsburgh, be sure to ride the inclines,
they’ll take you up to another neighborhood
make you think how beautiful it must look
at night- the city, the bridges, the confluence.

In Pittsburgh, you must have Iron City beer,
get a Primanti Brothers sandwich, hamburger
drenched in Heinz ketchup on thick, soft bread.
They put the cole slaw and fries on the inside.

In Pittsburgh, you should try to visit Oakland,
stop at the Cathedral of Learning, get a key
to see the classrooms from around the world.
Take a picture with a statue of the panther.

In Pittburgh, you have to go to a ball game,
monuments for Clemente, Stargell, Mazerawski.
The old fans still sing, “We Are Family” and they’ll
tell you all about living in the City of Champions.

In Pittsburgh, get to the Southside, tattoo parlors
and bars line Carson Street- but don’t stay too long
or have too many beers, or you’ll begin to think of
how perfect a yellow P would look on your forearm.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

THE BROKEN HOME



The fuse box was flickering, it needed updating.
The faucet came off the sink, it needed changing.
The light switch snapped, it needed doctoring.
The cord of the fan came out, it needed rewiring.
The kitchen window cracked, it needed replacing.
The heater stopped working, it needed refurbishing.
The water meter was inaccurate, it needed correcting.
The cable was always pix-elating, it needed upgrading.
The slop sink had a crack in it, it needed mending.
The hot water heater was leaking, it needed patching.
The sewer line was clogged again, it needed snaking.
The wiring wasn't up to code, it needed revamping.
The cabinets were stained, they needed refacing.
The closets were cluttered, they needed reorganizing.
The hinges came off the gate, they needed tightening.
The living room was uninviting, it needed redecorating.
The dining room was full of ants, it needed spraying.
The wood floors were scratched, they needed polishing.
The furnace was the original, it needed removing.
The fence slats began to rot, they needed mending.
The landscaping looked messy, it needed revitalizing.
The mailbox fell off the rail, it needed re-affixing.
The lawn was full of bare spots, it needed reseeding.
The weeds grew in the patio's cracks,they needed pulling.
The driveway was cracking, it needed resealing.
The front porch was gray and aging, it needed painting.
The storm door was sagging, it needed adjusting.
The siding was moss covered, it needed power washing.
The shingles were aged and worn, it needed re-roofing.
The costs rose and the bills piled up, it was never ending.
The family’s bank account emptied, they needed lending.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

SHARP

Nothing like
a 52 inch
flat screen to
bring us all
together each night to watch
games, movies, our shows.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

I AM THE NEIGHBORHOOD


I am chain link fences, above ground pools, metal sheds from Sears.
I’m the place where homes don’t have garages or wide driveways
and where cars cut through to avoid the traffic out on Route 18.
You’ll see for sale signs on many lawns for well over a year.
It’s a buyer’s market, but no one want to buy these. They came here
decades ago from Newark and Jersey City, now they want to leave.

I am the neighborhood that used to be called Circle Manor.

I’m where the magnolias grow and drop their blossoms too soon.
I’m where squirrels build nests in mighty oaks and gorge on acorns.
I’m a place where cats climb into yards and make themselves at home.
I’m where Statues of the Virgin Mary sit alongside Slomin’s Sheilds,
and where you find Smiley’s Laundromat next to the Halal Meat Shop.
In the cold winter air, smells from Hong Kong Express travel quickly.
At night the neighbors drag their green robo-trash cans to the street.
and sometimes you hear a train whistles up by Bordentown Avenue.

I am the neighborhood that used to be called Circle Manor.

I am the old forgotten neighborhood in this suburban town.
Others are having curbs and sidewalks replaced, I never had them.
In the center of it all is Jersey Pride, a place where middle aged men
line up nightly with cash and a quarter to begin scratching off cards
labeled Double Down, Big Money, Diamond Spectacular, Win for Life.
Either you stay here a few years or you’ll never leave, is what they say.

I am the neighborhood that used to be called Circle Manor.