Thanksgiving Memories of Martins Ferry

So much, maybe everything, is lost in translation–
those tiny steps we take between heartbeats
Like the steps I’ve taken backward and forward on holidays
in those worn out shoes I wear on special occasions only–
trying to remember myself, and Martins Ferry–
that place this life remembers as its beginning, and
that place I loath and love like some hopelessly confused clown
dancing in the headlights of strangers’ cars–
cars running over my dreams
which know no way to die on their own

We forget it’s all an illusion–
every last blink of experience
flowing into and out of us
like some forgotten river–
maybe the Ohio, and
then again maybe not

Martins Ferry clings to me–
some terribly worn, out of style suit of clothes–
in synch with my special shoes, but painfully dull and empty
like the now abandoned house on Indiana Street
where my winter dreams began in the warm family room
where a short-needled Christmas tree stood every year–
the same corner where I cried in quiet desperation
hoping a dream would some day carry me far away

Now I want to go back–
this time by choice to wear those shoes and that suit
Something tugs at my heart on Thanksgiving and Christmas
Making even the sadness and loneliness look good
Just one more time to sit on the family room floor
and play with my toys
while Mom and Dad argue in the kitchen about money, relatives
and so many other empty things filling life–
things that are also part of love

Ode to a Snow Storm

Whispy flakes of snow dart about
just outside my office window
Their helter skelter determination impresses me
Though I can’t but wonder why
in this world, obsessed with management and control
there are no snow architects to guide the flakes
in their building of monotonously white mountains
that will invariably snarl, strangle and suffocate our poor cars
as they endeavor to take us homeward
Hopefully before the price of gas hits 4 bucks a gallon

Attitude most certainly makes a difference in life
and it does when it comes to dealing with snow jobs
including those inflicted by passive-aggressive co-workers
and Mother Nature herself, who claims her right
under some dubious 28th Amendment found in the small print
of THE Divine Universal Constitution–
a book yet to be published in a language I comprehend

I’ll do my best not to question the Divine Right
or Left for that matter
What are politics but nasty boils on our behinds
that no matter how we sit, we feel their pain
So we stand, waiting for the snow to end
while the fools, fruitcakes, and boil-butted lunatic drivers clog up
the exits, intersections, and interstate entrance ramps
For what reason I ask?
Perhaps to see the evening news, reporting what we already know–
a nasty snowstorm has hit Cleveland
making the evening commute home miserable, and
if you missed the weather at 6
you can catch the talking heads on Facebook 24-7-365

Needless to say, I have kicked off my shoes
and let the fools honk and curse each other
while I sip a flavored coffee, nibbling the last of almost stale Christmas cookies
And who knows, maybe I’ll nap till 7
and dream of cities with winning football teams
and places where the sun always shines

Note: Thanks to Jennifer Dillinger at the Cleveland Clinic for the idea for this poem

People in the World

Have you noticed
there are some people
who invariably live
to steal your joy?

How they siphon off your freedom
Your innate endowments
Those things defining who you are
and nobody else could possibly be

Have you noticed
there are some people
who believe their life
is infinitely more important than yours?

I’ve noticed there are
two types of people in the world:
Those living to serve something higher, and
those living at others’ expense

Taking Us Home

This time we’re going back
To move forward
This time less will be more
Not more and more

This move will simplify
Clarify us inside out
Bring us into focus
Help us back home

We were getting painfully close
To losing what’s most important
Not money, what it buys
But what’s deep in our hearts

Hard times remind us
With some pain, what’s most precious
Certainly life itself
All it dreams