Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Greedy Leaf



He said it was a bad leaf,
shooting out from her brothers and sisters
to catch a ray of sunshine.

She had no business on this tree ——
greedy, not a "team player"
and obviously exploiting the others
who so diligently grew up
so that the greedy
leaf had only inches to go
to reach the warm sunlight.

But lo and behold,
inadvertently the
greedy one gave back
energy to the tree, and ergo,
to her brothers and sisters.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Early Bird



I look out the window
early in the fall morning
and see only darkness.
I imagine the sun still as bright
as yesterday when I groped
for my sun glasses.
I'm in a shadow, so vast
I can't tell where she ends.

In time, though, my eyes adjust
and I see first the moon,
then the stars,
only to be briefly interrupted
by the headlights of an early bird
driving down the street.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Spotty Shadows



The leaves begin to fall,
as the sun shoots through the trees,

casting spotty shadows
on the wood pile,
where each log waits
for another winter
to find out if they will
be carried inside
to face the burning embers.

At the bottom of the pile
the logs are safe from the fire,
and termites and rot
will chart its destiny,

unless, or course, it is
an unusually cold winter.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Halloween



Trick or treat:
it gets dark early
and the evening is cold.

Gangs of kids move down the street
with a parent often in tow.

It is a fashion show
of sorts, of the latest
monster costumes,

with the oddball kid in each gang,
either too lazy or too poor
for a costume of her own.

Trick or treat, they say,
as the door is opened, and
ah, shucks, we don't want apples,
a moment later.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Autumn Poem Activity



Autumn is such an overused
subject for a poem.

Who wants to hear
once again about
leaves that change colors
and whither and die
or how the weather
alternates between cold and rainy?

Next election, I'm
voting for the candidate
who proposes making
autumn poems a crime.

That will
surely regenerate quite a flurry
of autumn poem activity.

Friday, October 26, 2007

1000 Miles Per Hour



No wonder we need to sleep at night.
Each day we breathe 20000+ breaths
and then we are expected
to remain upright

on this vast planet that spins
on its axis
at 1000 miles per hour.

Each day we see changes from darkness
to light and back again to darkness.

We are but on a rocket
exploding into an expanding space
and then we wonder why

sanity is
something we need to work at
breath after breath.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Dogs



I often wonder what
a dog thinks about
when she sees humans

get into an iron horse
and turn a key and zoom
off into the distance.

Or when she sees
mom and dad kissing
each other.

I wonder what the various
barks and growls say,
but most of all,

what that thought is
when she comes to me
to be petted.

COMMENT: ABOUT WHAT DO DOGS THINK? A PRIZE FOR THE BEST ANSWER! CLICK ON COMMENT BELOW TO LEAVE YOUR ANSWER.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Stop and Look



We rush around,
looking for peace.
The faster we go,

the greater the distance
between us and stillness.
Our MP4 earphones

take a break from our cellphone
and our cellphone
takes a break for an old friend

coming down the platform.
The train comes, but from the other direction.
We sit down to wait.

Our batteries die from overuse.
We notice the clouds
gently nudging one another.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

How Much are Kids Worth?



I'm reading a book
that says it is stupid
that plumbers get paid more

than childcare workers
because kids are worth
more than pipes.

My wife thinks
it is good that plumbers
are well-paid

because they have lots of kids.
If childcare workers had
as many kids as plumbers

they'd have to stay at home
and wouldn't be able
to work. This would,

of course, decrease
the supply of the childcare
workers, so the facilities

would have to pay
them more, which probably
means that people wouldn't

use paid childcare,
or wouldn't have children,
or wouldn't buy big screen TVs.

The big question,
as I see it,
is not what is unfair,

but rather what measures
should be taken
to correct

all the world's injustices,
and what the costs are
of these measures?

Next time you pay a
child care worker,
please add a substantial tip,

and next time you pay
a plumber, ask her if
she'll take less.

Just tell the plumber
it is all
in the name of fairness,

and watch the steam
erupt
from her pipe!

Monday, October 22, 2007

The 5 am Alarm Clock



When you visit
loved ones, there
is always the last

day of a visit,
when you make sure
you've said what

you have to say,
and you try to remember
to pack all the little things

you had brought
with the intention
of not leaving behind.

Being there
becomes so habitual
you believe

you'll be wakened
each morning of your life
with the pidder patter

of a toddler's feet above you,
and then
"it's time to leave"

and you hop on
some mode of transportation
and arrive home

and wake up
the next morning
to realize what had become

a 5 am alarm clock
has been turned off
until the next visit.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Play at Work, Work at Play



Sometimes we
mistakenly believe
that kids play and adults work,

but one just needs
to watch a toddler
and see how

dedicated they are
to the task at hand
to realize

they are learning
about their universe
in record time

and will not
be led astray
by any distractions.

Adults, on the other hand,
with their great understanding
of the world,

seem to have lots of time
for play, sports, movies,
and candlelight dinners.

QUESTION: AT WHAT AGE DO HUMANS PLAY? WHY?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Shaving



How did it happen
that we obsessively
want to shave

certain parts
of our body?
We wake up

in the morning and
feel the sandpaper
on our face,

rushing
to the bathroom
to smooth it out.

We go to the barber
frequently to make
ourselves clean cut.

Woman eradicate the
hair under their arms
and on their legs.

Smooth
becomes the norm,
and rough

the sign
that we've been negligent
in our care.

COMMENT: IS OUR OBSESSION WITH BEING CLEAN-SHAVEN AKIN TO OUR OBSESSION WITH THE "NEW?"

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Plane



A cow's hide found
her way to be a
seat on an airplane

comforting the bodies
of humans flying
to and fro

for pleasure, profit
or grief.
From cows' heaven

moo moo watches
the big sky machine
carrying its karma

to exotic places
where grass has
been eaten by

little lawn machines
or turned to concrete
for cars and

even cattle
trucks going to
the slaughter house.

COMMENT: DO YOU BELIEVE IN COW HEAVEN? IS THE GRASS GREENER?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Hypochondriac Goes to the Doctor



I go
to the doctor today
to inquire

about a obscure condition
that I've probably always had,
but have just noticed.

I suspect he'll tell me
about the 38 million
who have the same problem,

and that one just has
to live with it.
Unless, of course,

I want to try
some medicines
and surgical procedures

and trade one symptom
for another.
So he gets a pretty penny

for a few minutes with me,
and I get the satisfaction
of discovering that I'm mortal

and I can choose to
live with my body
the way it is,

or go to extreme measures
to turn it in for
another body

whose owner
will surely
have equally minute complaints.

PLEASE COMMENT: WHOSE BODY IS YOURS?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Study



The fly swishes
in my hair as I
wait to begin.

He hovers here
and there after
a full week of toil.

The man on
the other side
of the table

tries to understand
"the deepest wisdom
we've ever read."

The fly knows the taste
of the words
but is too busy to learn to read.

PLEASE COMMENT BELOW: WHY DO WE NOT REVERE THE COMMON HOUSE FLY WHO ALWAYS IS AUTHENTIC AND SPONTANEOUS?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Mouse



He called
to tell me
he had caught a mouse

and wondered what he
should do with it.
Where was it?

By the fireplace.
How big was it?
About two inches.

What should he do with it?
Is it a baby?
I don't know.

You could flush it
down the toilet,
but how about

letting it out
a block from your house.
Okay, thanks.

PLEASE COMMENT BELOW: WAS HE SHOWING COMPASSION BY SEPARATING THE MOUSE FROM IT'S MOTHER? WAS IT NICE TO THE FOLKS WHO LIVED A BLOCK AWAY TO LET IT GO BY THEIR HOUSES?

Friday, October 12, 2007

The Colony



As I step
off my porch,
I see a colony

of ants scurrying
around, with no
time to spare.

We wonder
if humanoids
are too busy,

until we
study these ants——
fine creatures,

as serious as could be,
working as if their
lives depended on it.

We take vacations,
sleep, and retire.
The ants only nap
sixteen minutes a day,


and for the rest of the time,
work, work, and work,

preparing their next
meal for themselves,
and their nieces and nephews.

PLEASE COMMENT BELOW: WHEN DO WE CALL THESE CREATURES OUR FRIENDS, AND WHEN DO WE PUT OUT THE ANT TRAPS?

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Soup Kitchen



Classical music,
of the finest quality.
But afterwards,

a gluttonous reception.
Food galore,
with lines forming

at each table.
Are we that hungry
or that greedy

for sweets and
high fat treats
that lead us

to the grave like
the sirens on the
the rocks?

Are we products
of the great depression,
or the unholy holocaust,

never knowing
where our next meal
might come from,

or whether
it will be
at all?

PLEASE COMMENT, ANSWERING THIS QUESTION: AM I BEING TOO SENSITIVE ABOUT THE WAY EVERYONE EATS. IS THIS MY OBSESSION?

Monday, October 8, 2007

That Mighty Villian



How oft are
we frustrated?
When we are late and

the light won't turn green,
or we go to the gas pump
and wait for that woman

talking on her cell
to move her car
Or or or.

We expect better,
that life will go
like clockwork,

swiss clockwork,
that is, keeping
time so precisely

a second is not
lost. Yet we get sick
and injured, and we die,

always with a
surprise on
our face saying

"how could this
happen to me."
Perhaps

all these
seemingly catastrophic
events are not

that mighty villain,
but actually
the stuff of life.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

The Runaway Book



How many times
in one day
do we lose

a good friend
only to find her
moments later?

We set down a book
and can't remember where.
We search and search all

the obvious places
and she is not
to be found.

We nervously zoom
though the house,
in a somewhat frenzy,

wondering if the runaway book
might have walked off
on her own.

We hold our breathe,
not wanting to waste time
as we run up the stairs

to check the bed stand.
And then back downstairs
to check the living room, the dining room, the basement.

And even the dog bed.
"Where is that book,"
we wonder.

Just before giving up
and calling it a cruddy day,
we catch a glimse

of her frayed cover
under a magazine.

Is that the book?
We say a prayer,
lift the magazine,

adjust our focus,
and once again we take another breath.
She's back!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Dad's Golf Bag


The old canvas golf bag
collected dust bunnies
in our summer cottage

waiting for my father
to return from the
hot Chicago summer.

From time to time
I'd take out the
putter and

dig a hole in the backyard
and try to bear down
on the grip

focusing hard to sink
the one worn ball
that we had.

Each summer I'd ask my dad
if he had ever used
those clubs.

He'd say that he did
and that one summer
he'd go out again

with his archaic canvas bag
and that one single ball.
I never quite

believed him
but thought,
maybe someday,

I'd take the bag out myself
to those neatly trimmed
rolling hills.

The cottage and the clubs
are now only a faint memory.
My dad's ashes wait

for next summer
when it will be
just the right day

for his attempt at
that elusive
hole-in-one.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Is Anything Passive?



I look out
at an old chair
on our patio.

It has not
been moved
for a month, and

even through rain and wind storms,
it is stoic
and immobile.

Yet when I glance at her feet,
I see her holding on
for dear life,

to an earth
revolving around the sun,
a sun moving in a galaxy,

and a galaxy
floating in an expanding
universe.

Hummingbirds dart so quickly
that they perceive humans
as statutes.

I suspect they are moving
just a minuscule faster than my chair
or even a stone Buddha.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Relativity


Sometimes it takes
a lot more time
than we think.

Like getting the oil changed,
or saying goodbye
to a friend.

And sometimes
it takes exactly
the time we think,

like a sixty minute massage,
a fifty minute class.
or even a half-second tooth x ray.

Someone asked me
if the night
seemed longer than the day,

and I said no,
for me
it was the other way around.

Our lives seem long
when we meet an insect
that will only live for a day,

and short compared to how long
there has been
life on earth.

And a mere flash in the pan
compared to
the age of the universe,

or even how long ago
was that special moment
when Adam and Eve

took that delicious bite
from the
apple of life.

Monday, October 1, 2007

The Nonmask


I wear a mask.
My being, hidden from you,
is also hidden from me.

You see a
thin exterior,
and I see

you looking at
the me
that we both

know is not really me
and not you,
but a stranger to both of us.

I smile, or laugh,
or frown,
or so you say,

but is that me or
the multitude of my faces
seducing me into thinking that is me?

I don’t need another mask
to hide this mask
that is so very hard to remove.