Friday, August 31, 2012

Weekly Worded

 Still Life Without Lightning

    This morning last night’s storm
    clouds stuck to the ragged

    edges of cliffs outside
    my motel window.

    How funny they looked, like
    unspoken cartoon thoughts

    hovering over a
    landscape bathed in relief.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Weekly Worded

Bookshelf Conspiracy

All night Tolstoy whispers
with Steinbeck about socialism.
I have to be to work early
but they won’t shut up,

their hushed voices like the passing out
of pamphlets in my sleep.
I hear tumblers clinking, a gurgle of vodka
through the neck of an hourglass.

If I get out of bed to complain
it will just be wind
or a sudden squall of rain
against the roof.

Shelve them farther apart
and they would shout,
rouse those other controversies
I’ve forgotten about.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Weekly Worded

Olympic Gold*

I had been paging through a magazine, 
the cat purring on my lap.  With one eye
I glimpsed the electric bill I had placed
on the entryway table so I wouldn’t
forget to put it in the morning mail. 
With my other eye I saw the mail truck
one house away.  I jumped up, the cat went
flying.  I grabbed the envelope, sprinted
to the mailbox, slammed it away, flipping
the flag to an upright position with
my free hand.  I stood aside, panting, as
the mail truck pulled in.  The carrier reached
out her window but instead of picking
my mail up, she dropped a satin ribbon
with a golden medal over my neck. 
“Congratulations” she said, “Best time for
shuffling bills from a home to the point
of delivery, an Olympic record!” 
She politely applauded, my one
woman cheering section, then collected
the mail and sped away, waving as she left. 
I waved back, stunned really, to know I had
the right stuff at my age not only to
qualify for such an event but to
win the gold.  I ambled back to the house,
the sun glinting off the medal’s surface,
catching my neighbor’s eye.  He stepped out to
his porch and flashed me a big thumbs up.  
I think the cat had even forgiven me
for my abrupt departure as I sat
back down, still feeling a little winded
but the glow from such an adrenaline
rush still radiated.  Later on I
picked up a quart of milk at the QuickMart. 
The store manager followed me out to
the parking lot.  “Impressive aisle speed,
the best I’ve seen” he said, and he draped
another gold medal over my neck. 
By the end of the day I’d picked up four
more medals, though I was disappointed
by the silver awarded at the drive-up. 
I should have known better than to super-
size.  Back at home that evening I realized
I’d been training for this day my whole life.

*(thanks to where this first appeared)

Friday, August 10, 2012

Weekly Worded

Goethe’s Storm Glass

The barometer knows
about change,
pressure fluctuating

like a foot
against the accelerator,
but the animals

also know
and the arthritic ache
in the old farmer’s elbow

and the trees
with their leaves astir
as if to whisper

the weather
from the bottom
of the earth’s teacup.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Weekly Worded

The Involuntary Housing Market

  “Congratulations, we’ve had a very good offer on your house!”
  “You must be mistaken, my house isn’t for sale.”
  “It wasn’t when we listed it.”
  “You put my home on the market without my permission?”
  “Don’t you want to hear the offer?”
  “Absolutely not!”
  “You’re not even curious?”
  “I should be furious.  My house is none of your business.”
  “Actually, our business -- Reluctant Real Estate -- specializes in properties like yours.”
  “Have you gone mad?”
  “Careful, you’re crossing that fine line between reluctant and belligerent.”
  “Why should I care about the difference?”
  “The buyer often doubles the offer when the seller is reluctant, but belligerence tends to be a deal breaker.”
  “Doubles the offer?”
  “Doubles the offer.”
  “Well, I don’t really want to sell.”
  “That’s much better.”
  “Where would I live?”
  “Now you’re talking.  The buyer must accommodate these concerns.”
  “Are you saying I’d be rich if I sold this house?”
  “Possibly, possibly, we mustn’t look anxious.”
  “I can’t believe I’m still talking to you.  This must be a scam.”
  “Skepticism is the ugly stepsister of reluctance.”
  “Stepsister?  No way, I live here alone.”
  “And loneliness is a lien that must be paid.”