Category Archives: story

Coach

Even my son called me “Coach” when we were on the field.  I suppose it was easier for both of us.  I could correct, teach, and praise with the roles defined and accepted. He could play, develop, and be part of the team. Player and Coach.  We were on the same team, but with clearly different responsibilities. 

I was still Dad on the way to the game and the ride home.  Talking about video games, the weekend plans, and school.

Coaching is now over for me in the sense it was for tee-ball, baseball, soccer, wrestling, basketball, lacrosse, and football.  My office at home is decorated by plaques and photos, signed by my players and fellow coaches.  With my kids moving into upper school, the rec league years are in the past. And I did not miss out of them.  I am thankful.

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Finally and More

Two ticks, so far,
in a forest of black fur,
still hungry, searching,
and not yet settled
into his skin.

Exhausted, he lets me comb
through his mass, a massage he thinks,
tongue a slab of deli ham,
my dog smiles with his eyes
and ears; surely this must be his
post-hike reward.

He swims through a bowl
of water, everywhere spashing,
then gobbles up his kibble,
perhaps thinking between breaths
that this day wasn’t his typical
lazy day.

Hills, mud, rocks and up, up, up.
More likely, he is thinking,
now that the air is just between
cool and warm and full of
critter scents and bird songs,
“Finally!” and “More!”


Celtic Punk

My new kick: Celtic Punk.

More “full” than my childhood punk music, but coursing with the same angst. More than a nod to traditional music and boiling over with modern story. As a consumer of punk rock for over 30 years, I know that the genre’s rivers run much deeper than the extremes of silliness and nihilism that are the sharp outlines of the cartoon. But even this seems different – an older cousin who buys you cigarettes and reads the political editorials, and later, the one whose forearm is wrapped tight around your shoulder while singing pub songs. The rolling lyrics and mandolin are there; the fiddle and the dumpity-dum-a-dum drums as well, all backed by a heavy guitar and voices simultaneously growling, slurring, and singing about the “da devil” and dear “mudder and fadder” over the choruses and breaks. And the pipes, of course.

Hailing from the Isle, Scotland, Boston, Chicago, New York, New Orleans, and even San Francisco, the sounds draw from musical traditions of rebellion, tough living, hope, camaraderie, and lost love. Perfect punk themes. Folk as well.

The Dropkick Murphys, The Pogues, Street Dogs, and Flogging Molly were already on my iPod playlists.  Put Sticky Little Fingers in that mix for a more UK punk vibe. Pandora radio opened me up to the Real McKenzies, Young Dubliners, The Bollox, The Tossers, Blaggards, and two-dozen more.


The tornado

The whirlwind wouldn’t relent, so I swallowed that twister whole,

And as twisted muscles were wrung out,
spun dry, and stretched on the fence,

my spine split down the middle,
shot down each leg, and out my heels.

My teeth caromed off one another,
until I spit a fountain of polished marbles.

Fingers pretzeled, and toes folded back
to touch my shins, when my ribs collapsed like a waterfall,

Popping my lungs, freeing the tornado,
which threw up stories of dust and detritus

on its way home


This Old Life (Live)

This program is broadcast live, un-scripted and un-rehearsed.

Building. Demolishing. Rennovating. 

The choas is captured along with the rising structure.

Construction never pauses, even during the commercials for spray starch and the local ambulance chaser.

Keep the cameras rolling. Let post-production chop it up and splice it together for the re-runs.

The cranes move behind the scenes, backdrop to the hosts’ argument caught in cam 1 and cam 2 over removing water from that hole, patching that piece of pavement, and who is going to make the lunch run.

Jeans, boots, and safety goggles. Gold and orange vests. The night crews are setting the work lights while the stage crews are moving the spot lights.

During the foreman’s spontaneous monologue, the cranes are engaged in movent from the laydown area to the pick zone, setting trusses, christmas-treeing joists, and preparing for the topping-out.

Drama makes the show compelling, but the bricks, the driven nails and the planted cherry trees will be here years after the show is cancelled and the contracts have expired.

Closing shot under the credits and theme music: expanding frame, exterior – the family sits down at the table,  laughing as the last one entering the room draws the curtains. 


Telephony

That device that my son uses to text me cryptic, yet extraordinarily complicated logistical, immediate, and preferential information requiring my action, could use an enhancement.

If there was only some way the developers could add some sort of 2-way, real time, voice-based communication; some tele-phonic feature that could work directly with my own device. That would be great.


The devils’ dance

Turn and return, lines heave
then collapse, syncronized stomp,
the hive twists and crosses,
finding hands to clasp,
twarting the casting of
spells, teeth bared in smiles,
jaws tight against a counter curse to the chanting,
round the corner, slide away,
and in empty seconds,
swing and tap an oath
to this hissing fiddle’s rhythm,
and the neighbor’s screws,
under and over to dance with
a devil new.