Sunday, June 28, 2015

Little Things

Little Things

Safety pins and buttons,
paper clips and strings,
nuts and bolts, nails and staples,
and other little things.

You might not even notice them
because they are so small,
but little things hold the world together.
They matter most of all.

Smiles and kind words,
and other gestures of good will
don't take much effort;
don't require a lot of skill.

But others will take note of them
and be quick to recall
the kindness that was shown to them--
it makes a difference to us all.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

With One Finger

With One Finger

Have you ever thought 
about the things you can do 
with just one finger, just one,
not three or two?

You can ring a doorbell,
or hail a cab.
With the help of a calculator,
you can tally a tab.

You can slowly stroke
a soft, warm kitten,
or poke a hole
through an old, tattered mitten.

You can call up some friends,
or text them on your phone,
to invite them over,
so you won't be alone.

You can summon an elevator,
and send it up or down.
You can put makeup on your face
like a circus clown.

You can point to a doughnut
in the bakery case,
or wipe a glistening tear
from a sad child's face.

You can point the way
for someone to go,
or trace a heart
in a dusting of snow.

You can call the waiter over
to ask for your check.
You can slide an ace
off the bottom of the deck.

Librarians use one 
to shush the noise.
A mother wags one
at misbehaving boys.

A swipe across the furniture
reveals the dust.
You can stir the pot,
but I wouldn't advise it--it's probably hot!

One pointed in the air,
and you're poised in the stance
of John Travolta
doing a disco dance!

You can play the piano
note by note,
or push a button
to cast a vote.

You can sneak a fingerful of frosting
from a birthday cake.
You can rub the sleep from your eyes
when you're first awake.

You can give a musician
his cue to start.
You can make a promise
and cross your heart.

You can finger paint
a masterpiece.
You can fold some paper
and form a crease.

You can surf the web
by clicking a mouse,
or flip the light switches
in your house.

You can test the water.
You can test the wind.
Slide it across your throat and say,
"CUT!... That's the end!"

Monday, June 8, 2015

Tinkering with the Divine Design

Tinkering with the Divine Design

Hinges creak 
on the heavy shed door.
Shadows sleep in the corners
of the planked wooden floor.

Inside it smells earthy:
a mix of leaves and potting soil,
dried roots, old wood,
and pungent lawn mower oil.

I've come to gather my tools
to tinker with the Divine design:
to create and plant a flower bed
with sparkling jewels on stem and vine.

Blossoms will grow
when given sun, rain, and time.
Then the flowers will inspire
another poem, another rhyme.

I don't pull bouquets from my sleeve
while waving a wand and chanting, "Alacazip, alacazan,"
but I can make magic with a few seeds; a rake; 
God's blessings; and a watering can.

Below are a few current blooms in my flower bed: miniature roses, a lily, and two colors of  clematis.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

At the BMV

At the BMV*

Take a number.
Have a seat.
You're going to be here a while.

It's a crowded room
of impatient strangers.
No one shares a smile.

Numbers are called.
People shuffle forward.
Still, you sit and wait.

You're glad that after this,
you have nowhere to be,
because if you did,
you know you'd be late.

The guy on your left
has an odd, cloying smell.
On the right,
a frustrated mother with a crying child.

She has two more
 running about on the floor.
(They act as if they were raised in the wild.)

You watch the numbers click by,
waiting for your turn,
with your documents clutched in your hand.

The young man behind you
is drumming on his chair
like he thinks he's in a rock band.

At last, at last, your number is called.
You jump up...
but the clerk gives you a frown.

"I'm sorry, ma'am.
We can't help you today.
Our computer just went down."

*Bureau of Motor Vehicles

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Today You Turn Twenty-One

Today You Turn Twenty-One

Today you turn twenty-one.
That's it. You're legal. I guess I'm done.
Happy birthday to you.
Happy birthday my son.
You were my second born and my last.
Oh my. You've grown up so fast.
From a small bundle cradled in my arms
to a young man with twinkling eyes and beguiling charms.
You were my collector of things:
rocks, shells, cards, and strings.
You caught Pokemon and wanted to be a Power Ranger.
You had tons of friends; you didn't know a stranger.
Baseball, football, wrestling, track.
You played sports from here to there and back.
You brought music and rhythm to my ears;
my in-house bass player for years and years.
Lucky me with a ring-side seat!
Cheering you on with each successful feat.
You were and are my sweet ginger lad.
So much love to give. What fun we've had! 
Now in college with a pretty girl by your side.
In demand and on the move. I'm so full of pride!
Today you turn twenty-one.
That's it. You're legal. I guess I'm done.
No, no, not done. You will ALWAYS be my little one.
Happy birthday! Happy birthday to you, my son.
Today you turn twenty-one.

For my son's birthday: May 22, 2015.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Ditch Those Digital Devices

Ditch Those Digital Devices

Log in. Sign on. Charge up.
Get connected.
Follow, comment,
link, like, tweet, share.
Post. Update. Upload.
Wait. No, stop! That's TMI!
You don't want THAT
in the cloud or on the air!

Why not embrace being face to face?
Do you remember doing that?
Body language said so much.
A twinkling eye, a devilish grin.
Subtle nuanced inflection.
A glance, a touch, a lingering kiss,
a nod, a shrug, a playful smile.
A simple hello-- friendships begin.

Machines become the middlemen:
the cell phones, tablets, and laptop screens.
Sometimes it's nice to ditch those digital devices
and make a personal connection.
Put the phone down. Look up and look around. 
Communicate one on one:
make a friend, make a point, 
win a heart, and stir affection.

Thursday, April 9, 2015



Counting the train cars.
One, two, three, four.
Queen Anne's Lace tiaras
are woven into our hair.

Pick a number, pick a color.
Five, six, seven, eight.
Cootie catchers: paper folded in triangles
will tell your fortune...if you dare!

Jacks and marbles played in the dirt.
Onesies, twosies, threes, and fours.
An ant invades the playing field,
carrying a crumb, taking it---who knows where?

Hide-and-seek played after dark
quickly becomes Ghosts in the Graveyard.
"I've got the best hiding spot.
I'm not telling you where."

Moths flutter around the back porch light.
Edges of the yard are deep in shadow.
"I see you hiding behind that tree."
"Hey, you peeked! That's not fair!"

How lucky am I to have had that childhood?
Who knew such happiness could be found
in making felt clothes and Popsicle® stick furniture
for pig-nosed trolls with purple hair?