Something stirs me to steal
The succulents of strangers
No idle urge
I yearn to snip clippings
Where’s the fun in asking?
My compulsion is restrained
Plush plants near the sidewalk
That sort of thing
Are succulents a gateway?
Cacti beckon, but no cuttings
I’d have to have the whole
Before long, shrubbery
And then things get serious
It’s said into each life some rain must fall,
This year the April showers came too soon,
Heart heavy skies are massing over all,
We hide inside and hope we’re out in June.
We venture outdoors only when we must,
We keep our distances, wash hands, and spray,
We learn of strangers slipping into dust,
And wonder when…who else will slip away.
Not him, not her, not them, dear God, not me!
I’m not too old, I do want something more,
I’ve yet to hold a grandchild on my knee,
I’ve too much more to say to yield the floor.
The day they find the magic pills and charms,
I’ll wade wide seas to hold you in my arms.
lurching in old lady gait
class to class
on ice slick hills of Ithaca
straight-jacketing my gaze
their glances off of me
refusing to acknowledge those
whose fingers neatly prised
their Ray-Banned fortunes free
with me here holding
no satisfaction guarantee
doctors didn’t know
my dendrites danced
like go-go girls
you’d be surprised
what weak appeal
mysteries hold for medicos
aspirin four times daily
of Casey yin
and yang Kildaire,
and Welby cozy-wise
all noise, white noise
capsules stuffed with sucralose
but then one night
in death-wished sleep
Hawkeye Pierce appeared
as on a piece of toast
to my faith laid limp
in a kidney-shaped receptacle
speaking without speaking
This time into which I have come alone,
Shall in its suff’ring sorrow make me strong,
As deep within my heart’s revived a tone,
Of blue, yet brave and brightly better song.
It’s You; my anxious hope dares to expect.
Will dash out death and dreadful dreams destroy,
And You, hope knows, whose mighty will projects,
He who in time shall have my hand in joy.
Yet still, at times when silent suff’ring swells,
The ringless brother to the willful right,
Resentment then within my chamber dwells,
In anxious, aching-etched eternal night.
When blessed patience blooms from out this pain,
Acceptance will in taking place remain.
Go ask Alice what it was to be a soldier
At the one time in American history
When "soldier" was a dirty word
Go ask Alice about the times
She changed out of uniform in the ladies room
To avoid being spit upon
Go ask Alice
I think she’ll know
There are those
Who don’t understand
Why someone like her
Who’d served drinks to celebs in Saratoga
Who’d met Picasso
Who’d ridden on the back of Keith Richards' motorcycle
Would put on Army green and beige
And cross the line from cool to whatever that was
But maybe they don’t know
About her father in a POW camp
Far longer than any human should endure
Maybe they don’t know
That he survived
Coming home to raise a large and loving family
Maybe they don’t know Alice
But, if they ask her
I think she’ll know
You’re not a gazing ball,
or the Virgin Mary in an upended bathtub grotto, painted blue.
You’re not a windmill or a birdhouse.
You’re not the wind.
You’re not a bird.
You’re just a bit of clay-built whimsey,
A splash of color in the yard,
Whose job it is to jolly up the place.
Get on with it.