After dropping out of school in the 1920s

After dropping out of school in the 1920s, Cecil Smith, 94, of Westlake Village becomes the oldest known recipient of the GED. [An essay question was] what have you learned since leaving school?

                        – from a 2002 article by Steve Chawkins, LA Times

You learn to answer questions with more questions,
because you honestly don’t know.
You go to school while young,
but all you learn then
is how answers will fit on a page.

Continue reading “After dropping out of school in the 1920s”

Where I Live

I am disoriented,
waking up on the literal wrong side
spending half my life in a city
I am in transition to.

Stocking two shelves
Between two stools
Two of everything,

Which has been a theme in my life,
owning spares, looking for certain promises,
a better city, but winding up trying to decide

which place gets the best of me,
which one gets the back numbers,
the ragged couch.

Close Call with COVID

Around the end of last year, someone I know went somewhere with me and sort of overlooked the fact that he and his wife had respiratory symptoms. One day later he called me to say he had tested positive, his wife negative.

I spent the next 2 weeks as quarantined as possible. I work remotely, so that was pretty – quarantined. I did not go anywhere in public. There were a couple of occasions where I had to enter a building briefly, but I stayed well away from people. My wife had been to a doctor’s office (routine visit) the morning of the day we got the news, so I told her to call them. Their reaction was pretty blasé.

Continue reading “Close Call with COVID”

Iambic

The beauty of the evening shade is what
we make of it; the sound of water flowing
down a stream that we cannot see, even
though we peer into a night that has

a moon; a full and round thing shining in
the distance over water towers that we
saw with younger eyes; we told each other
that the cold would never reach our love.

The Lights

The search for lights
takes me down suburban streets
both similar and literally the same
as my childhood; the strange thought
in the shadows surrounding the people
inside, the progression of lives
as they keep turning along the solstice.

Real Life Update (and last Twitter auto-update)

In which I make the usual excuses and focus on the collective, veering slightly to the personal

Very early in the Trump administration, I posted something that began with my favorite one-line poem-within-a-poem. Reynolds Price attributed it to Robert E. Lee, but I strongly suspect Price wrote it himself:

A country emptied by the fear of war.
from The Dream of Lee, Reynolds Price

Continue reading “Real Life Update (and last Twitter auto-update)”

Realism

I’m welling up at the worst times:
years of scales falling off my eyes.

Someone I love
said they didn’t believe any more.
Another two or three or ten
gone to glory, adding to the cloud
of witnesses, pressing on me.

“Go up and join this chariot,” over and over.
Sometimes I’m tired of running, sometimes
their lips aren’t moving when I get there,
sometimes it’s fireworks, but never

according to the way I ran.

Begun March 2019 and found in drafts in this strangely neglected blog

Photo by Paul Summers on Unsplash

Raymond Chandler

several times I read each novel
by Raymond Chandler
enough times that I noticed
something about

why Raymond Chandler
failed in business once.
something about
why Philip Marlowe

failed in business once,
letting clients and lovers push him around
then Philip Marlowe
grew weary and wise about

letting clients and lovers push him around
enough times that I noticed
he grew weary and wise in the
several times I read each novel

 

 

 

Photo by Craig Whitehead on Unsplash

One Nation

A country emptied by the fear of war.
from The Dream of Lee, Reynolds Price

WE sat together in a coffee bar,
sheltered from the gentle autumn wind,
streaming the speech of Russian subterfuge
an out-of-style wartime
dream, a shadow war played out
on social networks filled up by the fear
of truth.

Create a website or blog at WordPress.com

Up ↑