PAINTING THE STOOP

featured in the poetry forum October 3, 2018  :: 0 comments

1. 2003

He had been known to paint over pine needles,
Gooey globs of soft pitch, even rotten boards:
One coat covers all!
At first it looks great,
Then little flecks of different shades of gray
Peek through: He decides it’s good enough,
A forbearance he would like to think a trait
That comes, for want of a better term, from God;
Or it may be what makes space ships fall from the sky.

2. 2018

I have stopped looking for metaphors
In things like this.
There will be a time
That will be the last time
That I paint the stoops,
But I don’t want to hear about it.
Instead I concentrate
On the smooth flow of the brush
Over pine, over the layered years
Of other shades of gray.
An ant wanders into a pool
Of acrylic latex, becomes mired
Then relieved of his suffering.
What must he have thought,
What did the dinosaurs think,
What will we think?
But then here comes his brother,
Unaware of danger.
Something to be said for being an ant.
If you were a Buddhist,
You wouldn’t paint the stoop at all.

editors note: Or, you could make your mantra, “Om Mane Paint My Stoop.” – mh clay

REQUIEM FOR A DEAD COMPUTER

featured in the poetry forum July 29, 2018  :: 0 comments

Our desktop, age 12, expired quietly
Last night, after a long illness,
Surrounded by loved ones.
Win32k.sys
Address BF801276…

In its declining years
It was still able, slowly and with
Great difficulty, to find
The best price on gas,
The route to Nova Scotia.
But twelve is pretty old, even in doggy years,
So when we saw the dire language
On the blue screen,
We despaired of heroic cures
And entrusted it to the Cyberhospice
Who thought they could save
My e-mail list, some files;
Other things gone,
Like certain memories, irretrievable.

I used the library’s computer today—
New operating system—
And saw a list of files
Not meant for my eyes:
Resumé update,
Draft for Mom’s obituary.

If our new computer should last twelve years…
Better not to speculate.
I do hope they’ll return the
Old hard drive.
I plan to keep it
In an urn
On the mantle.

editors note: Alas, this digital demise. RIP. DOS, DVR, RAM... LOL. (We welcome Robert to our crazy congress of Contributing Poets with this submission. Read more of his madness on his new page – check it out.) - mh clay

SIGNAGE

featured in the poetry forum May 25, 2018  :: 0 comments

The mainline downtown parishes
Think it undignified
But you see along the road to Durham
Small churches with signs out front,
Some electronic these days
But most where you put up letters
One at a time
Like a 1940s theater marquee.
You wonder about the sources,
Magazines, newsletters, I guess,
The internet these days,
Some bromide
(God will accept broken hearts
But he must have all the pieces
Or Gossip is the Devil’s radio—
R U his DJ?)

Or to announce the next revival.
I noticed one near Mebane,
Just after New Year’s:
Pray hard for Lucas, it said.
But then they took it down.

editors note: What would your sign say? For whom do you pray? - mh clay

EARLY TIMES

featured in the poetry forum March 23, 2018  :: 0 comments

If you can arrange for adolescence
To coincide with your mother’s change of life,
That will yield a certain result.
Further, if you can arrange to be
An only child, that will heighten the effect.
I’m fairly sure she did not mean things
Exactly the way they sounded:
Well, he talks a good game
To my counselor, depositing me at sports camp;
Who calls that music
Of my Stan Getz LP.
Late in life, she complained about a concert
At the nursing home we’d found:
They were terrible, she said,
And I was in it.

Love is more complicated than you think.

Once or twice we smuggled in a little bourbon,
And she’d smile and click the ice cubes in her glass,
As she had done on Daisy Sanders’ porch
On Rust Pond in June of ’64,
And we would joke about
Those days, those bittersweet
Days of home.

editors note: Young look forward and old look back; somewhere to meet in now. - mh clay