Meltdown

                        We can stop gun violence when more people have guns…Wayne LaPierre

                        Texans should have open carry permits…Rick Perry

Saturday movie night in

a Texas theater

“Star Wars”

I hear a shot, see a man

in the aisle, aiming a Glock

take him down with mine

feel a bullet slap my shoulder

another shatters the wall beside me

gunshots flare like popcorn

muzzles flash like fireworks

then it stops

nineteen killed, thirty injured

only one knows

who fired the first shot

Debts

I am far behind
on my opportunities to use
those three words
so often thought, infrequently heard

I find myself wishing
for one more hour
with my parents

wishing I could go back with
my kids back to a younger age
to make up the deficit there

to listen a few moments to a friend
when I didn’t have the time

and my wife to whom
I can never say enough
I love you

Thankful

The yard looked stunning yesterday.

When I finished mowing,

I trimmed round the roses,

headed the geraniums,

and walked to the street to look back on my work.

The house, as grey as

springtime fog,

with sage green shutters

was trimmed in gold by the brush of afternoon sun;

all now just a memory.

My yard is there, somewhere

beneath a pile of

cars, shingles, fence posts,

the house an open dance floor,

no orchestra in sight.

Perched like a giant bird

in the stub of a tree,

my refrigerator still holds yesterday’s leftovers

and eggs for today’s breakfast,

forever scrambled.

From a shredded branch of a magnolia tree

a mockingbird sings his joy:

for the bright sunshine,

for living another day.

I nod and sigh,

and a hesitant smile swells from deep within me

as I must,

in spite of everything,

join his celebration.

Infamy

For our fallen military – Veterans Day

Fair Sunday morning

port of pearls

a child draped within mother’s arms—

battleship quays strung and fastened

swarms of flies disturb        awaken

a sleeping force gathers itself

to swat them away

fighter planes perched tip to tip

flightless, fall easy prey

Arizona, hit by piercing flare

ripped, gutted by stowed magazine

settles to her watery bed

as hundreds float stillborn within

Desperate dancers

search for space between bullets

a twisting, arching ballet

to tympani fortissimo, staccato snare

hot bite of shrapnel in treble screams

between oil and flames

a human log jam crowds the sea

with glass eyes and waxy fingers

wayward toe

torn lip that last kissed mother goodbye

others lie on stretchers

awaiting trial by triage

Uncle Roy’s dreams                Billy’s future             generations dissolved

suspended by marriage of powder and steel

in frothy, bleeding brine

Hyphen

Carl Shakey married Becky Tree

became my parents

so I was

Chuck Shakey-Tree

a few months ago I married

the beautiful daughter of

George Dull and Brenda Axe

my new bride, Charly

told me today of our pending child

but what a burdensome name for a child

learning to spell

Carl or Carla

Shakey-Tree-Dull-Axe

Fishin’ Hole

I see the images as clear

as if yesterday

though I don’t remember much

from yesterday

My granddad took us

my brother and me

to a little fishing hole he knew

where there were sure to be fish

Our tackle – a cane pole

silk line, small hook

and a box or two of

tasty-looking worms

I saw the chuckle in

my brother’s eye

and was ready to learn

the science of the game

how to thread the worm

just so – to keep it on the hook

right away I felt a tug

and pulled to set the barb

my brother, excited,

wrapped his line around

an overhead branch, fish attached

we soon retrieved the three inch beauty

we filled a stringer with hand-sized

blue-green-gold bream

they flavored our afternoon

with pride

few afternoons since have

been spent so well

sharing fun and love

and a banquet of fish

Poor Choices

O, let America be America again –

The land that never has been yet –

And yet must be—          Langston Hughes

 

Children are foolish

to be born of parents

with no parenting skills

or the temerity

to be sick or malnourished

or to have nothing

and come to a land of plenty

or commit the crime

of darker skin, different tongue

as a nation proclaiming God

and rejecting His will

can we provide

for the least of these?


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