The Day We Lost Pluto
Seems the biggest news these days
is Pluto’s not going to be a planet anymore.
Seems Pluto is finally leaving
the comfortable structure of planets
we’ve known since our birth.
And not everyone is happy about it.
While you astronomers argue logistics,
we schoolchildren are beside ourselves;
it’s hard to let go of our favorite planet,
the only one with uncommon orbit and tilt.
We are sentimental creatures of habit
and the science of leaving our solar system
will not bend itself to our childish wants and needs.
Seems Pluto is where it is, moving as it does,
in control of its own free-floating path,
no matter if we beg him to stay in our orbit.
I remember the dress, red and white
and swollen with expectant child.
I remember the bench, ordinary
meaningless bench, but I remember
its rough nothingness like yesterday
and how I kicked at the stones, afraid
to look into the eyes of goodbye.
I remember the river, sad
twinkling past in easy rhythm
always leaving someone behind.
In between hello and goodbye
were words, few, and they have
mostly floated from me now, carried
away on a river of tears I was sure
would never dry.
Three words are what I took from
that sunny afternoon and tucked
them away in my pocket of wishes.
I pull them out when I am alone
with this sacred, secret memory;
I stare into the glow of their truth
and I am healed.
Bjoin Park And Beyond
Though it looks so different it still feels
like home to me
where you and I used to play, getting lost
in our imaginationday after
day while mother worried.
And John there with us, talking of friends
getting shot in the leg,
the marsh fire (claiming he wasn't there that day),
and the old railroad tie fort built near Our
Pond a generation ago,
all traces of which have long since sunk to
The insulators are made of rubber now, and
there's a nice wooden bridge
where the culvert used to be. Our children
running ahead, lagging behind,
gathering many a gathered flower, tossing many
a tossed rock
off the railroad bridge, oblivious to the
reminiscence of mothers and fathers.
(I never worried as a child that a train would come.)
And in watching them I feel the us of long ago
like it was yesterday,
and I wrap the old feelings around me like a
warm against this new world.
This place is ours, where you and I were we long
before we ever became you and me.
And there is where it remains forever unchanged.
- all poems previously published at Red River Review
On The Edge Of Childhood
It was the 70's.
Americans were still dying in Vietnam
when my brother and I stood in tandem
on the outer edge of childhood.
Crazy TV Lenny was giving away bikes
with purchases from his semi-famous
football field sized television and appliance store.
A huge and curious success was Lenny in the 70's -
everyone I knew had a bike from his place.
Mine was Baby Blue.
On Saturday nights in summer
at precisely midnight on the late night horror show
he hollered out his low-low deals
from a fuzzy 19 inch set
while gamma men stalked the perimeters of our porch
and the mummy slumped in wait behind a door
that never latched quite right.
We hunched beneath our blanket, my brother and me,
vulnerable and frightened and riveted,
mechanically feeding our mouths popcorn
with fingers that dripped innocence.
Several years after Lenny’s late night horror stint
Lenny's wife divorced him.
She demanded a bike in the settlement.
My brother and I had ridden off by then,
our child selves left behind on the porch
staring out the window at figures
getting smaller and blacker in the shadows -
one headed in this direction, the other in that,
still vulnerable and frightened and riveted.
Country Boy Meets City Girl
She was completely uptown cosmopolitan.
He wasn’t even G, let alone Q.
He let his introvert sleep one morning
while she did a curvaceous finger walk
along the spine of his conscience with
the soft touch of her x- chromosomes
massaging his dinosaur shyness to ruins.
And she looked good in his flannel shirt.
-both poems previously published in Red Booth Review