Shadow

From the collection published in 2018, Pink Chalk.

Shadow

The humidity
the wet thick air
The heat dragging down
at legs trying to walk off torpor
The growing season for wheezing lungs
straining at their breathing
The mist cut through by the glaring morning sun.
The rotting green plants uprooted
washed over and pulled out
by muddy creek waters
roiled up in last night’s thunderstorm.
The smell of crushed stalks
drying out and dense in the air.
The honeysuckle on its way out
decaying petals and new blooms mixing scents
the sweet and the putrefying intertwined.
The puddles still as a mirror
reflecting tree leaves drying out in the sun
Wade through it
Wade through it
Summer in a ruinous mood.

6/21/18

Country Club Lunch in the Summer

From Clean Canvas, the collection published in 2018.

Country Club Lunch in the Summer

The lardy bloat
the ooze of blab
the egos that billow
in the small-talk heat
Here good sense wilts
or escapes
Either way
the slippery air full of laughter
no one really means
brittle red fingernails that tap
the white-painted metal
patio tabletop
The fringed umbrella
shades every single word
while the cubes melt
in glasses of iced tea

3/1/18
3/7/18

Summer So Long Ago

From Clean Canvas, 2018.

This poem comes from many childhood memories of hot summers and wandering around just to see what we might see, out in the country where we lived.

Summer So Long Ago

Summer and
it’s too hot to walk
but we are
Gravel road
our steps slipping and rolling
feet in thin-soled shoes

stone bruises
pain in the making
The limestone
dusty heat
rises from the road. In hope
we walk toward shade

(shadorma chain)
2/1/18

Weighing Up

From Redirection, 2017.

Weighing Up

Before long.
Exhausted trees
waiting for relief
branches overloaded
thick crowding leaves hanging limp.
Heavy dense air deceptive
so still
summer afternoon thunderstorm

coming

Thunderstorm afternoon.
Summer still so deceptive
air dense
heavy
limp.
Hanging leaves crowding
thick overloaded branches
relief for waiting trees
exhausted long before.

8/17/17
(palindrome poem)

Nor Their Memory

From Redirection, 2017.

Nor Their Memory

Hot breeze thick
sluggish
staggers its way across the asphalt
parking lot where
last week
a row of half-dead trees
might have attempted
feeble resistance
This week
cut down
gone
they make no difference
to the hot
thick
breeze.

7/14/17

Swayed

From the collection published in 2017, Redirection.

Swayed

Spewing its demented jingly music
the ice-cream truck speeds by our house
too fast no kid could flag it down
but no kids outside
so who cares
just the guy mowing the grass
over at the high school
he didn’t hear it
and me
I did
Always gave me the creeps
to hear that music
I never was the kid chasing the truck
but the kid
hanging back
scared
somehow. Now
Let me turn on the vacuum
let the pleasant screech soothe me
let the fist of that everyday hard-working motor
overtake and smash
that jingly
demented
ice cream truck
summons

8/3/17

Summer Ghost

From Redirection, published in 2017.

Summer Ghost

End of summer.
The promise of a hot day
breathing out from building skins
still warm from yesterday
the concrete humid
the plate glass windows misted
the sidewalk in damp shadow.
A ghost in a seersucker suit
crossing the sunny street
across waves of baked asphalt smell
Striding past the department store windows
reflecting forty years of summers
only the ghost and I can see.
Turns the corner. I run to catch up
the sound of heels tapping light on the pavement
leather briefcase in hand
summer-weight suit bagged out in the seat
I follow the ghost
around the corner
and disappear.

8/17/17

Note: this poem was inspired by this man wearing a seersucker suit in Center City Philadelphia in August, 2017 – I took the photo on Market Street just east of City Hall (you see it in the background). When I started to work for a local bank in 1980, many men had seersucker suits (remember, at that time, every man working in an office wore a suit to work), most in a thin blue/white stripe pattern, to beat the summer heat. To me, this apparel is quintessential summer.

The Thought Surfaces

From Enough For a Book, 2016.

The Thought Surfaces

Get out of the pool
the lifeguard says
but I’ve only done six lengths.
Thunder has been heard
and so
we must clear the pool
despite
the clear blue sky overhead.
I stand in the water next to the wall
considering the look of my new bathing suit
bought for this season that’s just started
it having less than fifty lengths in it so far
I estimate
and I just got here from work
and now it thunders. Somehow it seems
an opinion
has been
expressed.

6/22/16

Scenery

From Enough For a Book, 2016.

Scenery

The swimming pool behind the house.
The train passing by and I
alone of all the riders who could
I look out the window at
the swimming pool
behind the house whose yard backs up to the tracks
the water gray and cold
reflecting the
overcast sky full of rain about to fall.
Utterly distasteful.
It is too early
in the year
to swim
anyway.

6/21/16