In Between Place

You know me
but you don’t
At least not
as I know myself

I know you
but I don’t
At least not
as you know yourself

Somewhere in between us
there is an intersection
we create to discover, and
get to know each other

And, somewhere beyond
this place we know
there is another place
taking us past ourselves

That place is where
real knowing occurs
and where the boundary
between us disappears

Walk Away with Me

Every time I see you
Reminds me…
I don’t wanna walk alone
Reach out, take my hand
Walk away with me

Can’t get past you…
No matter how hard I try
You tie my heart in knots
Impossible to untie
You linger in my thoughts
Sometimes you make me cry
Can’t shake you from my dreams
Don’t even wanna try

Just give us one more chance
To be what we can be
Let the magic of the moment
Paint our hearts, set us free
Don’t wanna walk alone
Reach out, take my hand
Walk away with me

Don’t wanna walk alone
Reach out, take my hand
Walk away with me

You got it…another early 1970s love poem
that wanted to be a love song.

Grandma’s Ball of String

old and new, tied together
like the large ball of string
grandma saved and added to
for more than fifty years

a grandmotherly thing to do
not just save string, but
string together family
otherwise lacking connection

without strings attached
her love brought us together
nurtured and helped us grow
like tender young flowers in her garden

each expression of her love
a thread of hope
spun out to us
just when we needed it

even her unassuming smile
unraveled us, bringing laughter
at times tears
always helping us find ourselves

even after all these years
grandma’s ball of string is still working
sustaining us
connecting us to what matters most

For Sale By Owner (Revised)

The house down the street is for sale–
the house with the family we hardly know.
We’ve never really connected with them.
Maybe everybody is just too busy.

It’s embarassing-
this family is still a mystery to us after three years.
There’s an awkwardness when you go so long
without connecting with folks you see everyday,
but don’t really know.

They stay to themselves, and we do too,
and so does everyone else in the neighborhood.
The detached faceless society is not what I want, but
it seems a way of life for many of us today.
What can we do about it?
Walk up and give a stranger a hug? Maybe.

We gave the family a bouquet of flowers
when they first moved in,
hoping they’d feel welcome.
The mother waves and smiles sometimes
when we drive by, and we wave and smile back.
Other times, she looks the other way,
and so do we.
The father never looks our way.
Not sure why, but
he always finds something else more interesting:
his shoes, the dog, or his cigarette,
which glows orange in the dark
when he smokes outside at night.

The kids are teenagers, seemingly preoccupied
with their boyfriends and girlfriends.
Nice-looking kids.
They pull in and out of the driveway a hundred times a day,
which is typical for hormoned teens.
I have a hunch that the girl graduated high school this year.
I wonder if she’s going to college.

It’s strange, but there seems to be a point,
beyond which it is too late to get to know people.
Three years is that point in this case.
We don’t know why the family is moving.
We hope it’s for a good reason, and not
because something terrible has happened.

The family’s large fluffy white dog used to love
to stroll up and down the street.
The brooding father used to bellow at the dog
when it wandered too far.
The family never walks the dog,
which seems a little odd to us.
Haven’t seen much of the dog lately.
Maybe he gave up on the neighborhood too.
I wonder if he knows his family is moving.

I stopped last night
and took one of the marketing brochures
from the tube under the For Sale by Owner sign.
The big house is very pleasant-looking inside and out.
Lots of rooms for just four people.
Perhaps that’s why they’re moving.
Asking price for the house: $585,000.00.
Does that include the benefit of living
in a neighborhood without a sense of community?

Older Men and Younger Women

A friend sought my counsel just today
about what younger women think
about older men.
He was insistent; even emphatic,
that I share my thoughts,
and I reluctantly did.

I told him he shouldn’t be stupid, and think
that the years made no difference.
After all, a man in his mid-fifties
and a woman in her late twenties
is like comparing a 1980 Datsun 240Z
to a 2007 Porsche 911 Turbo Coupe.
He reminded me that the Z model held its own
for over thirty years, and
I conceded he had a point there, but
I asked him how old
he would be in 30 years,
and how old a 27-year old woman
would be 30 years from now.
The smile slipped, like a loose glove,
off my friend’s distinguished, but tired face.

My friend sighed and shook his head,
like a boxer taking a hard punch to the gut.
I didn’t mean to be cruel, but
I didn’t want my friend to be hurt.
Recovering more quickly
than I would have ever guessed,
he threw one back at me:
It doesn’t matter to me
if it lasts only a year, a month,
or even one amazing steamy hot night.
Just as long as our bodies are glued together
in seamless embrace,
swimming in each other’s wetness.

I tried to duck, but
his last punch lifted me off my feet
and onto the hard floor.
Trying my best,
I couldn’t get back up.

click here to hear me read this poem.

Dad and His Words

Dad always loved words–
long ones, short ones,
tall ones, and fat ones.
He especially adored unique words
ringing in your ears like musical notes.

He minced words every chance he got,
and he still does at eighty-five.
Good-spirited verbal volleyball was his sport.
No crossword puzzle was safe for long
when Dad had a sharp pencil in his left hand.
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary was his best friend,
and Roget’s Thesaurus was a close runner up.

Dad loved writing poetry.
Not something most millwrights do
in their spare time.
Every morning the muse danced for him, and
there were poems about nature, the Holy Spirit,
and anything else lending itself to rhyme.
Yes, Dad liked rhyming poems best–
those sounding like harps, guitars and pianos.

Each poem, when finished, was always printed
ever so neatly in Dad’s best handwriting
with a blue ballpoint pen.
Much later, of course, he turned
to the old black Royal typewriter
that went clackety clack,
when its silver keys were pressed into action.

Yes, my Dad had a love affairs with words,
and everyone who knew him
knew of his passion for morphemes, collocations, idioms,
phrases, colloquialisms, and euphemisms.
And everyone was surprised
that a man turning wrenches for a living
could turn heads and hearts with his words.

Most of all,
Dad was a man of his word.
His word was never idle chatter
nor meaningless fill for empty spaces
on a page or in a conversation.
Like most men of their word,
Dad opted for silence
over promises he could never keep.

Thanks Dad for teaching me to love words
and for insisting that I live up to my word.

Click here to hear me read this poem.
(Takes a few minutes to download.)