He wakes from slumber
his bed only feet from mine,
and cries, whimpers, a monkey
or puppy sound. If I do
not go to him he will full on cry
out to communicate displeasure.
I pick him up and he quiets.
In my hands he calms,
rests, smiles—in my hands.
One day he will hate me,
loath the sight, fear these hands,
shame them, embarrassed at their limits,
their only one finitude.
But for now he is happiest,
happy only in my hands.
My life is a bowl of cherries
atop a farmer’s family
tablecloth, at an orchard
in Michigan, first grown
in Washington, packed
in plastic, foam, foil,
and wood, gasoline,
spark plug combustion engine
exhaust pipe emitting
carbon monoxide and
Mmm. Pure Michigan.
Delicious. All natural.
Fresh. Septic refuse.
Certified organic without
mentioning how I am
a petroleum product:
the pipe, the pipeline
the cancer hole in lung,
in ozone, in your family’s empty
armchair built by your forefathers’
hands. The pacific coast, the great
lake shore, the wild rushing pollutant,
bacterial microbe, protozoa, faucet
piping to households, to farmyards,
like this one in Michigan. I am
the bowl and its cherries, the freckled red-
headed little girl, her checkered dress―I am
in her hands―Shirley Temple drinking
a “Shirley Temple.” All smiles and lips stained
pink cherry mustache unaware, her early
onset diabetes, the insulin syringe. I am
delicious, our unsated appetite for
everything out of season, all of it
right now, without asking
at whose expense.
–for the great comedian Stephen F. on his birthday
The good old days depend
on how old you are and
where the endorphins
are stored in your memory bank.
Kenny Loggins, Phil Collins,
Ghost Busters, and the movie Rad—
details scribes might do without,
but you remember, and surprised,
all the skin creases and nodding
his face affirms—you are not the only one,
which takes both of you in and out-
side yourselves, on a tour
made up of your own
milestones, Rolling Stones, and Flintstones
somehow breaking through the clouds
of stress, strain, and complaint
to instead create—make up something
all together new, to approach the risk,
voice your invitation
to the game—volleying comedy,
to shoot so much breeze
that all goes clean, mind swept,
for a sea of thought to be explored
by open sail or submarine. Most
of those you’ve loved and laughed
with are gone—out of sight, not mind.
But you’ve found a friend today
who mentions many good old days
the same as those you can replay,
and find in him a truth:
to have a friend
the experience of any moment
the same as you do,
makes life—all of it—