One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 7

Another installment of poems still waiting in the archives to be heard. Finishing up loose ends.

If you want more details, here’s the Big Long Explanation. Otherwise, just read as many or few of these poems as you’d like. And thank you, as always!

These poems are all from Rearrange, published 2018.

It’s Sort of a Good Thing

It’s sort of a good thing
when you break your foot
and you miss the walk signal at the corner
and it keeps you from crossing the street
and getting hit by a bus
veering down the street
out of control because the driver
had a heart attack at the wheel
which was in no way
sort of a good thing
for the driver
or the bus
with its front end stove in something dramatic
as you stand on the corner
mouth agape
walking boot on your broken foot
snugging up that little metatarsal
with the crack in it that kept you
which is
a one-hundred-percent good thing
which is how you will explain to your friends
your broken foot
is sort of a good thing, isn’t it?



The librarian refused to smile
the books on the shelves glared
the lights flickered
the air-conditioner hissed out annoyance
I wanted to speak but
the words declined to come to me



It’s getting to be winter and
the sun seems to be finding us less and less worth the trouble
playing favorites with us not the favorite
It hunches its shoulders
turns its face away
buys a ticket for the next train to anywhere
scurries off
Skipping town.
Not up to it today
is that what you’re saying?
I shout
The blank gray sky staring at me
daring me
but all of a sudden
I’m not that brave just right now.



Hunched shoulders
A polished bald head
Potbelly and spindly legs
The old guy ran another lap around the track.


Take Note

Coming from the opposite direction
than you expected
I catch you picking up a penny from the sidewalk
Excuse me I think that’s mine
I say
You turn

face red
frown squeezing up your whole face
eyes narrowed
you draw breath
angry words lined up

I step back.
Hands up.
I say
It’s just a joke.
Just a penny on the sidewalk.

You say
Don’t sneak up on me like that again.


Did Chapter One
Capture Your Interest or Not?

early twenties
wearing a tank top
written across the front.
Carrying a leather tote bag
maybe it’s plastic
punched-out circles along its scalloped edge.
Packed into a pair of ultra-short denim shorts
that ran out of material before they
covered the real estate
or would have fit a smaller butt a lot better
you decide.
Draping over all of this
a heavy sweater in pseudo-wool
asymmetrical hem
or stretched-out drooping
you take your choice
tangling up a pair of arms
agitating a load of clanking bracelets.
There is nothing about this person
that says she has any idea
about anything

scuffing flip-flops
across the tasteful puce carpet
going somewhere. Well, who isn’t?



Ironing clothes in the basement
the heater kicks on every so often
to keep me company
if the rumble of the dryer isn’t enough
to hold my interest
or the washer’s spurts of expression
as it drains out the rinse water
don’t appeal to me
the cat inspects his food bowl
just what it was an hour ago
is not what he hoped to find
nibbles a bite or two
to show me he doesn’t care
stalks out the door. The iron
just gets on with things
hissing out wrinkles and ruthless about it
shirts pants napkins submit and pass through in line
say a couple of words each
if that
before they lie down to fold up or jump on to hangers
oh my goodness how can anyone feel lonely
ironing clothes in the basement
with all this racket going on
the flow of emotions
so many personalities flitting through?


Clean Teeth

Clean teeth, I think,
leaving the dentist’s office
banging that door shut behind me
you can’t ever get clean teeth like this
at home no matter how hard you try
not a cavity in sight, the dentist said
a bonus thrown in for nothing
the bill will come in the mail
for my clean teeth
but for right now
my clean teeth are obligation-free
they are perfect.
I run my tongue over my
clean teeth
feel virtuous for taking care of
my teeth now so clean
step onto the sidewalk
in a great mood
Dentist visit over
Clean teeth.


Office Coffee

Have a cup of coffee
from this pot
sitting here on the burner
all day long
bad overcooked coffee
office coffee the old-fashioned way
You develop a taste for it
You have to have it
this burned-out glass pot-tasting kind of coffee
Keep your fancy modern one-serving coffee machine
what really does the job is
what keeps you doing the job is
coffee with a crust on it
from this pot sitting on a burner
all day long
and you get it here
in our office
Come on, fill up your mug
take it black no sugar no cream
knock back a good big swallow
Now tell me
you don’t feel that caffeine
fingers to toes
in a whole new way?


Settle the Matter

Only the moon in the sky
wondering whether to tell
the face looking out from a window
in the apartment on the third floor
the bad dream that woke her
will never come true
will never come again
or to leave her uncertain
believing in a premonition
arriving at three o’clock in the morning



I am
I can be
Snapped. How can I
ever take my mind off
look away
from the possibility of
I ask for safe from Broken
I live in the worry of
exploded into
one hundred percent Ruined
I fear
the oncoming
though as of yet unformed
Catastrophe that will take me down
what I can’t even imagine how I would
Broken Ruined Snapped
I am
Please. I ask again for


Excess Possessions

A mini-storage facility
in a back part of my head
Low-profile and bland
I go there
not often
A certain set of memories
These memories treated very well
nicer than they deserve given their quality
I packed them up neatly. I don’t know why
I hold on to them and pay the rent.
I keep all the better ones
The memories I like
where I can get to them
right behind my eyes.
These ones I’m talking about
warehouse policy says
knock yourself out
help yourself
to your own thoughts any time
you want to dig them out
and the facility is open.
I have been considering
the possibility
of calling in a clean-out service.


4 thoughts on “One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 7

    • Well, maybe in comparison with getting in a bus wreck, I would say yes! But as a veteran of a couple of broken feet, they are painful and take a long time to heal, so I agree that they are not to be sought out!

  1. Another fabulous selection. The opening poem really encapsulates and conveys that thing about life that you and I have discussed before: that we can choose to embrace even the bad things that have happened to us in life as they are all part of the pathways that have brought us to our present state. In that way, we can almost create our own fate.

    • Yes. Life has taught me that most of what happens, you can direct it, no matter how bad, by how you chose to think of it. I try to practice this in all that I do. Reminding myself that I can’t control the world but I can come up with a way to present it to myself.

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