Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holding My Hand

Hold my hand
When we cross
The street

We do it
For safety
And security

And we do
It for comfort
And affection

As children grow
Hands begin
To stay busy
Or in pockets

“I’m big now”
No need to hold
Hands to cross
The street

But old habits
Are slow to die

I remember still
That time and place
When my daughter
Elizabeth last reached
Spontaneously for
My hand

It is a moment
I treasure

The last time
She held my hand

Tears of Joy

I entered
Her dressing room,
Hugged her
And burst into
Don’t be sad
She said

I’m not
Sad, I mumbled
My sobs

They are
Rare, these
Tears of joy

Those few
Times in a
Life when
The magic
Of love and wonder
Bring a flood
Of emotion

I had surprised
Her back stage
After a cross
Country trip

To watch
Her perform
The lead in
Swan Lake

She was the
Transfixing and

And she was
My little girl
Now grown up and
A star

The Edge

You stand on the edge
Thinking for a moment
Do I go forward?

Knowing in some way
That your life will change
Inalterably if you
Take that step

Knowing that
Whether you move
Or not your life
Will change

Knowing that the
Edge is not a cliff
But a knife
That slices your life
Into before and after

Monday, November 12, 2007


The word spread
rapidly through
the small rural

She was not
doing well

After years
of failing health
she was now passing

It was a blessing
but nonetheless
it was difficult
and a time for
family and friends
to gather around

They sat silently in the
front room
and puttered in
the kitchen
waiting for the

There were three

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


“We found a body but
we caught the most amazing
fish though.”[1]

Yeah, we were walking through
The woods to get to this really
Cool fishing hole. It is really deep and
Has the eddies that move back against the
Cliff on the far side.

I had my old bamboo rod and that spinning reel
That my Grandpa gave me

There was this leg sticking out of the leaves
On the trail.

I caught a bunch of grasshoppers yesterday
Evening and dug up some nightcrawlers from
The worm farm by the back door.

It looked really gnarly like it had been there a
Long time

I had a fresh set of Eagleclaw No.10 hooks
And some new leader and I rigged up a bobber
So I could drift in with about eight feet of line
And let the bait move back into the eddy with
Three small lead BB weights on the line

Gawd it was amazing. When it hit it was like
A freight train.

Billy ran back to call the cops.

It grabbed that bait and took the hook and almost
Jerked the pole right out of my hand. Jesus did it
Pull that line.

But I kept working it and working it and just kept
Breathing like my Grandpa said until my arms were

It was unbelievable. It was 18 inches long. A big
Fat rainbow. I think I hooked it last summer and lost it.
I’m gonna take it home and bread it and fry it.
It was so amazing.

Yeah, really!

[1] From the movie, Jindabyne, a loose adaptation of Raymond Carver’s short story “So Much Water So Close to Home.”

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Collective Grief

Small slights
Each imperceptible
Occur day by day

Events of our lives
At home, at work
And in the world
At large

Things that
Upset but not
So much as to
Rise to the level
Of conscious reaction

I call them the small
Grief or the little grief

We accumulate them
Over time in some
Reservoir of emotion
About which we
Have no awareness

Then, one day a big
Event occurs and a flood
Flows from that
Reservoir out of
Proportion to the event

When the event is public
As with the death of
A revered icon
The flood includes
Not only our accumulated
Grief but also
That collective grief we
All share which has
Accumulated silently
Beside our own.

Friday, August 3, 2007

P. O. V.

It hurt my
Head to think
About the universe
Expanding out
Forever without end

I was six years
Old and struggled
With that
Perplexing notion

Until, one day walking
In my backyard
To climb my
Favorite apple tree

It occurred to me
That if I were
Small boy
On Mars
It might hurt my
Head to think
Of a universe that
Had an end

And it might
Seem normal for
The universe to
Go on forever

Nearly sixty years
Have passed since
That day and I
Still find comfort
In the idea

That you can
Imagine a different
Point of view
And it will stop
The hurt in
Your head.