I’m not Superman

Teeter and totter,
Mxyzpltk scratches, scribbles.
I reach into a fifth plane
unwind the riddle

I’m not Superman
don’t want to be
earning and angling to be
seen for what I

already see
Satisfied in solving
a puzzle, and proud enough
to cover my own news

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Sunder

She knew that she wasn’t there to be herself. She was playing a role. Perhaps she just helped in some way. Perhaps she was the home base for journeys on which she was not invited. Perhaps she was only small. Perhaps she was the coffee table, sentient and dreaming. Something was off, just enough incongruity in the dialog and timing.

She’d argue, because she knew she was substantial, tangible. She knew. But there were solid terms of her appointment. Her words possessed a gravity that was made of hope and ideas of what could be, but were weak against the absolutes, the larger forces. When she’d break out, occasionally, she’d breathe, but eventually find her way back to that horrible equilibrium that was dancing delicately on pins of hunger and abstinence. Back to the same stage. So much for rearranging the furniture, rewriting the dialog in the next scene.

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No dogs with tutus

No dogs with tutus, but
madris shorts and sleeveless plaids
are okay.
Anything black, just like dad,
and pink is okay, too.
Just no dogs with
tutus.


To him

it was a date

a childish hope

a slow and serious thing

a window beyond lovers,

not past, beyond, 

a chance, a calm yes

into a vital her


Play

Brothers on the mountain
Grey and blue play shivers
At dusk, to get it out before
Curfew and the scolding
Of the moon

Sisters in the field,
Green and gold play tremors
At dawn, tiring themselves before
Breakfast and the swaddling
Of the sun

Lovers under the waves,
Pink and red play tangles
At midnight, grooming one another after
Mass and the awakening
Of the tide


GPS

We loaded the car at 8:30 and headed toward the valley.  We formed a mini caravan of two cars, driving down state highways, me in front trying to time the lights so I wouldn’t lose my parents behind me.  My two were in the backseat, my daughter playing the roll of emcee for MadLibs. 

We rolled into the small Shenandoah town around 11:15.  Driving down the narrow cemetery paths, my father, now in front, stopped and stepped out.  Dad helped Mom out, who walks with the help of a cane. 

My kids quickly found the stone indicating where my grandfather and grandmother are burried.  They never knew them, having passed well before I was married.  I never knew my grandfather, and my grandmother was a caricature of someone from my childhood.  Here, my mom began to recall, aloud, bits of her own childhood, and the relationships between the names on the various markers.

A cousin arrived, one who lives nearby. Her father was my mom’s brother, and she was here to bury some of his ashes next to his parents.  A small, square hole had been prepared.  Polite and fun conversation returned to relationships and memories.  This church and that cabin.

My great grandmother was born in a cabin that is now maintained by the PATC and rented to vacationers.  This mountain and that road all had names that were shared by branches on my family tree.

We drove about ten miles up the road, where we found my great grandparents graves in a small churchyard.  Casual conversations with a few people coming from the service turned into a half hour of connections and hazy memories.

My kids were getting antsy, and so was I.  After our goodbyes, my parents left on their return to the midwest.  I drove my kids to show them a piece of land I had been interested in buying.  After a long winding ascent up a gravel road, we found the property, which was as I had remembered: more like the side of a mountain than a residential site, a steep and tree covered 5 acre plot: beautiful, but not able to be built on, even for a small cabin. 

We went to the nearby town and found a little river rafting outfit, and spent the next hour floating and laughing our way down the river.

On the way home, after ice cream and drying off, we took a scenic route through the hills.  We saw a few deer, some goat farms, and Cooter’s Dukes of Hazard annual festival.  There must have been 300 orange cars parked there.  

Arriving home, we were exhausted and happy.  Hot dogs on the grill and then to bed, quickly snoozing before the sun had fully set.


It follows

It follows,
the hollow hope
and knotted rope,
shot from starlight shafts,
a moving tide, air and breath
slips down the beam.

While ship’s width holds,
by the gravity of
its hulking apparition,
light reflecting on the
fog, this silver beard worn
upon a shadow,
the knot loosens.

Under the ring of bell,
the low horn folds the water,
though we exit on solid timber,
it follows
from heads to pillows,
it escapes, smoke from fires
lit deeper and
left untended to roam


Night Heat

Heat chokes the region.  My lawn is essentially a field of brown weeds, as I cannot justify watering it, save to keep my property value up.  I mow it, and the relative eveness keeps it presentable.  

A ritual and sweaty lunch walk.  An amble with my dog down near the stream along the biking trail.  This weekend, a difficult ascent up a Blue Ridge mountain peak. Outside, feeling alive in the push through the low haze of late July.

The sun fuels me, recharging a body that is frequently tired, exhausted, and fatigued.  It bookends my days in the summer, when the hours of sunlight are favorable and long. Going to bed just after sunset and rising as the sky starts to lighten has me, on most days, missing out on the darkness of night outside.  Waking up during the night, my room has been starkly transformed to blue and grey.  I often step out onto my deck.

Around my home, night isn’t silent, but rather, a noisy orchestra of foxes, birds, cicadas, crickets, and cats.  The heat remains, though tempered and dulled, while inside, a ceiling fan provides a measure of relief as I return. Night noises penetrate the walls. Outside my room, the nocturnal respite from blazing sunshine has the wildlife riled to a peak summer frenzy, it appears.

My dog stirs when he senses I am awake, sitting up or walking over the edge of the bed to pant in my face, as if to let me know he’s also ready for some night air. On nights when I opt to stay in bed, I’ll pat his head and roll over. Moments after ignoring him, he’ll shuffle off, turn, and set himself down hard, expelling a “harumph”. Minutes later, his breathing turns to snoring.

I’ll roll and contort, unable to sleep without a sheet, but alternatively sweating beneath it.  Eventually, sounds will melt into dreams, warmth will transform to slumber.


Daughter

She laughs and we make up songs along with the radio “fresh hits”, usually about the dog or some other silliness.    She’s clever, almost as clever as her dad at finding a dumb rhyme to work in the words “Zeus” or “poop”.

She’s trying to make me laugh, and that is the whole point.  She says, “I love you, Daddy” three or four times during an hour long trip.

She’s tougher than she used to be, able to change her mood from self-pity to resolve by refocusing and moving onto the next thing. She’s way more adaptive.

She’s so much like me. She’s nutty creative. She’s a cuddler.

She is on the cusp of change, and I see her genuinely facing it.


Easy Crazy

I will plant myself at the end of my driveway.

Like an old friend, the chatter of a suburban world just past bedtime will hold me in conversation, like it had when I whispered, knowing my kids were dozing just above the garage, two in the same bed, there because the other one was.

My crazy will flutter under the beam of the lamp, dissolve into an old comfort.  This spot, where I pulled my knees up inside my arms, believing that newness in the world was an old letter finally finding its way to my home, will be different.  My crazy will attach itself to the moths and crickets dancing outside of me.

Thoughts will be of a friend whom I will soon visit, and what I will say.  No wisdom to impart, just a punched ticket and a lot of miles. He’s five years behind, and has no idea what the end of a driveway brings.

Thoughts of someone else.  Easy thoughts.

I will watch for shooting stars and feel at ease with my crazy.  The planning, the parting, and simpler things, like smiles and painting and dancing, will come easier here.  Being with me comes easier.  Sleep comes easier.

And I will wait for my crazy to return in a fox’s whine or the hum of the freeway.  I will wrap it up in humid summer air and see it to bed.