Friday, April 24, 2015

Weekly Worded

       What the Dead Say

People say, after you’re dead
you don’t care about the details
that piled up while you were living
but I wonder how they know,

how anyone can be so certain
that worry turns off its light
and slams the door. 
And I wonder if by saying

the dead don’t care
the living reveal how much
they do care but wish they didn’t.
What if after death all we do is care,

care that while alive we didn’t care
enough, that we spent our anxiety
on trivial news and gossip.
If the dead ever stop caring

then there’s no hope for the living.
Leave your house unlocked,
your dog unleashed,
your heart open to happenstance.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Weekly Worded

        Board

    A man drove to the lumberyard to return a board.  He had to stop at the gate to check in with the gatekeeper. 
    “The board in the back of the truck, I want to return it” the man said. 
    The gatekeeper sighed.  He knew what kind of day it was going to be. 
    “Why do you want to return the board?” the gatekeeper asked.
    “Do I need a reason?” the man replied. 
    The challenge hovered in the air between them.  
    “Well, yes,” the gatekeeper said,  “At least I’d like to know if the board was somehow unsatisfactory, and if so, how it failed to meet whatever demands you place on your boards.”    
    “I’m not excited by this board anymore,” the man said. 
    “Were you excited by it when you left the lumberyard yesterday?” the gatekeeper inquired.
    “Yes, very excited!” the man replied.  “In fact, I was willing to pay twice the price
that I did pay for any board like the one in the back of my truck.” 
    Anyone who might have been close enough to overhear the conversation at the check-in gate would have heard the excitement in the customer’s voice.   It was genuine.  Clearly, he wasn’t lying about the excitement. 
    “Did something happen to the board between then and now?” the gatekeeper asked. 
    “I unloaded it” said the man, “and put it straight into the garage when I got home, but this morning it just wasn’t the same board.” 
    “Then what do you think happened to it?” the gatekeeper wanted to know. 
    “I don’t know.” 
    A brief pause filled the space between them. 
    The gatekeeper glanced down at his clipboard, not really looking for anything in particular, partly hoping when he looked back up the man would have driven away.  He looked back up.      
    “Do you think a different board just like the one in the back of your truck will bring the excitement back?” the gatekeeper proposed. 
    “It might.” 
    “Alright, drive all the way to the end of the yard and park on the left.  Somebody will be there to help you exchange the board.” 
    The man nodded and put his truck into gear.  He drove away from the gate very slowly but halfway through the yard the gatekeeper thought he heard a burst of acceleration.  It could have been the forklift starting up.  Who knows.     
    It was a graveyard of lumber the gatekeeper had to deal with five days a week, and it had lost all of its excitement years ago.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Weekly Worded

        Planetary Abacus
            http://www.wisdomportal.com/PlanetaryAlignment.html

At dusk I step outside to see planets
lined up above the western horizon.
In my head I add my years to the thirty-eight
it will take before they’ll be clustered
like this once more.

I spot the first at the edge of its orbit
struggling against gravity. 
Then another a little above the first
where anyone who knows the magnitude
of love could have predicted it would go.

The largest looks no bigger
than any other and despite the likelihood
I may never stand here
counting planets in the north-
northwest sky again,

I see the one that against all odds
wobbled but continued spinning.
Naked eye astronomy this crisp
April evening, trying to put my finger on
what adds up to a life.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Weekly Worded

                                   Tapestry by P. Smith
       Persephone Moves On

Had I noticed her — that goddess
who walks the earth
with flowers circling her head,

Miracle Grow oozing like pheromones —
maybe I’d have called after her,
urged her to slow down,

or, better yet, stared deep
into the thaw of her pond-like eyes
and asked if she would perhaps

show me around the garden,
introduce me to her friends,
commit in a primal way to one of those

on-and-off again type relationships
so calculated to attract both
the birds and the bees.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Weekly Worded

        A Good Question

     The NRA called during dinner last night to ask if I might donate some money.
    “Bullets I would donate” I told the caller “but not money.” 
    “Sir, the NRA appreciates your support, but a credit card contribution would go a long way in defeating anti-gun legislation.” 
    “I’ve got a box of .30 caliber cartridges that will also go a long way, especially if you use a sniper rifle.  Where should I send them?” 
     The caller cleared his throat and took a deep breath. 
    “Sir, it’s against the law to ship live ammunition.” 
    “Well then, Mr. NRA, how do the stores that sell bullets manage to get them?” 
     When no answer was forthcoming, I hung up.  A person never knows who’s monitoring these conversations for quality assurance.

Friday, March 20, 2015

Weekly Worded


        Portrait in Feather

Still standing on dinosaur legs,
    staring across shallow water,
        the crane does not notice

its own reflection wavering
    like an ancient constellation
        transposed on a liquid sky.

Its long neck straightens then
    suddenly crooks, becoming
        the handle of a walking cane.
       
The bird steps forward, eye bent
    on an approachable shadow
        at the bottom of this murky universe.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekly Worded

          Company
   (for Terry Pratchett)
              --April 28, 1948-March 12, 2015

As you can see
I am occupied with Death,
so there’s no time left
to answer you with a novel.

When I first arrived
in the world
I thought there would be
more time;

I was mistaken;
so are we all.