Maybe a Shift

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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

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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

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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

Keeping Time

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It was close to 9 A.M. when he hoisted his case and stepped outside. He felt late. The day had started badly. Green Bay was out of Super Bowl contention already. Shake it off. The street was filled with black grit and slush and snow lay like old manna on strips and patches of grass. Up the street, pitch and run. Sell. Tune in. Make it.
“Look, just bear with me a minute,” he told the short, shiny man wiping the snow from a parked car. “How many ways do you know to boil an egg? One. How many ways to chew it? One. You sleep, you wake up, you chew your eggs the same way every time. Do you want to just hang around till you die of old age?”
The little man was listening. He was buying, Diskus knew. Continue reading

A Little Help?

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Hey, is anyone out there a chiropractor?

I think I’m going to need you to come over.  My shoulder is so bad I can’t even tuck in my shirt, anymore.  Well, I can, but it hurts like bulldozers and that scares me.  Don’t ask me to reach the Wheaties.  In fact, if I don’t get better soon, we’ll have to move everything down a notch:  the coffee cups, the Frosted Flakes, the juice glasses; you know.

And we don’t drive.

I started needing a doctor when the roof leaked.  Mid-morning, Wednesday, my mom was cleaning up the water from the leak in the kitchen, where what looks like a tiny orange freckle in the ceiling feeds the Great Lake, she calls it, right in front of the fridge.

She bent down to wipe it, when her feet started going out and she sat down hard, just missing one of the cats.  Momma’s built for town, you might say, so I thought somebody had thrown a boulder against the house.  When I found her I was on my way to yell at the neighbor kids again.  She was clutching her robe shut and missing a slipper, where four little toe robins were begging from a big hooky-beak momma toe.  Her eyes were still big with pain, while she accidentally did fat lady yoga.

Continue reading

Life Off the Cliff

Lessons that we all have learned from Pete:

Be blunt: rip the Band-Aid off the truth.

Share: it makes your ownership complete.

And laugh: some days refined, some days uncouth.

Bad news? Scream ugly once, then turn the page,

You are the writer at this theater, not the show.

No bragging rights unless you scar with age;

Drive off the cliff, if what you want’s below.

During the blink of light, the gasp of breath, that’s life,

Some brothers lock their doors, seat belts secured.

Back from the edge, to stay unhurt, to just survive,

They never climb the railing, jump the curb.

But some things aren’t revealed at a distance.

Fledgling egrets or nursing otter pups,

Cliffside terns or parading pelicans,

Fluttering monarchs or rhythmic waves of kelp.

Each day’s unique and sunrise is the proof.

One buffets the beach, like storms attack a boat.

Another fades to gray, with sun aloof.

Then, clouds and sea in stained glass seem to float.

Pete, the image of you that is going to last:

You let each and every morning have its day.

You take the good from all you see go past.

You love, and are loved, more than words can say.

aired on:  KZSC radio 6-8-2010