School of Dad

Manometer by stefanolmo

published here

I think my Dad invented Thursday Night School so he could avoid reading the notes my mother left taped to the fridge.

Dad made Thursday nights out to be a big deal, the weekly seminar at our house; he prepared for it all week, looking statistics up on line and checking newspapers, but I’m the one who had to haul the empty brown bottles to the driveway, Fridays, and sweep up all the cigarette butts and left over pizza crusts. Once in a while, I had to wash out a waste can laced with curds of old puke and napkins.

He was teaching the course: Inebriate Verticology. He had a sign, too, on his office door in the boiler room of John Russell Middle School: “Dept. of Inebriate Verticology.” He’s head janitor. Continue reading

Married Love, July

c/o shadesshuttersblinds.com

Binnacle Ultrashort H.M.

Sticky warm, he left work at the crack of the last whip.

She stuck the paintbrush in the freezer in plastic like a lollipop for use tomorrow.

Wide flung doors and windows admitted a bit of cooling air. They stretched their paycheck on the rug for a picnic.

A little chicken, pasta salad, thank you. They talked about the news of job cuts and her long days. They each ate half a watermelon.

Out of the smoke of hills on fire, the full moon climbed the trellis emitting pure catlight.

During the night their stomachs talked like foghorns. In the morning, they met in the middle of the wiggle room before work.

There was still time to walk the dog.

Hummingbird

pubbed here

I had to make it easier to whip out Wishes and show I was up to the next level. Up to the Miracle Corps light-before-the-end-of-the-tunnel standards. I don’t have to be another Jenny; just good enough to set up a trip to a waterfall with wheelchairs, or some other midsize Wish Fulfillment.
Jenny’s great, no doubt. Except for that one parent that one time. She can set up families of ten coming from eleven states arriving at twelve different times with thirteen different food allergies and all sleeping over with Mickey and Minnie in Sleeping Beauty’s castle.
What do I get? Look at this old folder:
“I want to go surfing.” What’s the big challenge? With a six-month window, I had to get a fourteen year old from Boulder to Huntington Beach.
Or: “I want to see snow.” In eight or nine months, a second-grader from Louisiana to the Rockies.
“I want to ride a bike.” Oh this was a good one…six or seven months, an eleven year old with no use of legs. Easy actually…hand cranks instead of pedals.
See what I mean? So basic.
So during my last review with my supervisor, Randy Lawson, I asked for tougher stuff. Some measurable way to prove that I was ready for five-wheelchairs-on-a-plane-change-at-O’Hare level logistics. What did I get from good old Mr. Lawson? Check this out:
“I want a hummingbird to kiss me”; 3 months.
Balboa Park, San Diego, Bird House. Ka-ching. Continue reading

Maybe a Shift

c/o ccom/jhc/unh/images/seamount

pubbed here

Are we island tips of cowering seamounts?

On the surface, we contest the submarine facts, decline to plumb the depths.

Our closeness is tourism: umbrella drinks, a lie on the beach, a taste of shrimp.

What if friction means moving toward, like tectons shoving obstacles aside?

Maybe we can archipelago.

Rare Book

pubbed here

White gloves and no sudden moves. Limited access. Conditions. Steady breathing. Filtered light. Slight buzz of humidity. Careful spine. Paging your butterfly fragility.

Your illuminations are remarkable: crisp and bright as back light. Too clean to laugh; too cool to cry. Your value is vaulted. Innocence preserved.

Jump in my gym bag, dog-ears and all. Pickup-and-gun-racks, girl, lets dance the silverfish, stumble and fall sloppy drunk, write in the margins muddy.

Naked in my garden, contagiously foxing. High as tigers. Cuddly as lambs. Discharged. Worthless. Experience preferred.

Through Lisa’s Eyes

pubbed here

You’re five now and you can help me with Lisa. Mommy made me take care of her since I was five, so now it’s your turn to help. I’m six so I’m going to have to go to big girl school soon.
They can’t fix Lisa’s eye until she’s older, like nine. Then maybe the doctors can make her see better. I know why. It’s too bulgy. And she already has one gone. They want to save the left one, later. The light hurts her. She screams. You know; she has to. That’s why we keep the shades down.
Don’t open the closet door that blocks the light from her Daytime Nest. Keep the towel scooted up to the bottom of the door and pretend the light might get under it like water, so do it right. If you want to go in there to give her carrot sticks or cheerios in a baggie, knock first so she can stick her head in a corner. Continue reading