One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 11

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 Repairs, published 2017.

Every One of Us

Dangerous lives
on the fifth floor
They eat bad food at their desks
consider it nothing
to spend an hour
or more
each day
placating a person with a made-up mind
who has a dozen good reasons
one of them always right
every last one of them.
They fix things
clean up payroll files
hand you a business card
follow the regulations
attend seminars on big-picture thinking.
They can’t leave the job
when it has no end
Just call it a draw
and start again tomorrow


Not at Step One

They had red plastic cups but you
You drank straight from the bottle.
Next thing you know you have
spilled all over the dress
your credit card
had to go lie down and rest
after you paid for it.
A lot of howling
that you realize it’s coming from you
doesn’t fix the mess.
a lot of dry cleaning
and maybe
slow down drinking
straight from bottles
and maybe
oh maybe nothing
it’s going to happen again and again
one way or another.


Sent In to Find

I peeled the apple
ate it
reached the core
filled with seeds
packed tight with information
like boxes in a file room
containing the plans for future trees
and more apples
and I knew just what to do


Hospital Case

Greenstick fracture of your reputation
required surgery. Notorious
the doctor noted on your chart.
You can wriggle out of this one
the voice of your survival instinct
told you
in the feeble glow of the nightlight
after the nurse went off
leaving the sheets on the bed
all bunched up.
No one likes you anymore but
cheer up they’ll put you back together
because they have to before they
throw you out the door into the parking lot
I’m an honest man
you told the doctor
in the emergency room
and she said
You display no symptoms of it that I can see.


Times Have Changed

See you later, cupcake
I knew you’d get a laugh out of it
it’s the shoes that give it away every time
or maybe the eyeglasses in that fashionable style
limited edition. High school isn’t ever over
is it? Not deep down. Come on, just laugh


Long Suffering

crying all afternoon
standing in a puddle of tears
by dinner
knee-deep at bedtime
swimming the next morning
it’s time to send out a rescue boat
I guess
or we’re all going to drown.



wearing black-rimmed glasses
and a dark suit
stunned by the music
it will be a big money-maker
this song
it hypnotizes everyone who hears it
and when the dust settles
everyone’s got new friends
and going out to dinner with them
staying out late
loosen that tie and sing!


Job Skills

driving a bus could be
among other things
though you probably need a sense of humor to enjoy it
and that,
you haven’t used it for years.


Fire Ants

Two million ants in the basement and
you leave me sitting on the sofa
and writing a list
it’s not poetry on the page
it’s just me and three counts of
so sorry for your sake
but I burned the house down
I couldn’t think of what else to do.


Coming Right Up At You

The best coffee this side of town
sold right here
slaps you right in the head
Apologies for that little bit of attitude
aren’t forthcoming
Normally people are grateful.


Start It Off

The alarm didn’t go off
The morning
it was a nightmare a stinking nightmare
I can’t afford to be late to work
Twenty-one stories up
the shattered window
the glass raining down on the sill
shinny down the drainpipe
I go
belting away down the sidewalk
swinging up into the bus
the door shutting on the two inches of air
I brought in behind me



The dead tree
standing in its silver underskin
upright and tall
knotted and scarred
spattered with
insect holes dark and
from the ground up
through its twig tips
on borrowed time
waiting for the day
when the call comes
but for now
plenty of room to stretch
here in the sun
host a hawk along one
reached out


11 thoughts on “One Dozen or So From the Archives: Episode 11

    • Thank you. Ever since I was little and my grandmother explained that the seeds inside an apple could become a tree with apples on it, I have just thought the whole thing was amazing. I think this poem kind of gets that across, but really, I can’t convey the sense of wonder I had when I first heard about this whole process.

    • The hawk scene is from a trail I have gone to for decades now and so often I see hawks in the dead trees in the flood plain. I would like to be a hawk in a future life. And the job thing, this poem is a kind of s shout-out to my office mates and me way back when. You gotta just keep on going, don’t you.

  1. All of these poems are great but I found “Not at Step One” especially poignant, I loved the wit and the structure of “Hospital Case” and the hope of “Sent In to Find”. “Long Suffering” made me think of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

    • Thank you. I remember my grandmother explaining about the seeds in an apple could grow into trees and then more apples, when I was very little, and I still remember how amazing and magical that whole idea seemed to me.

  2. Fire Ants! Oh I’ve been tempted when there was an invasion of spiders… fortunately Sparky employed weapons of mass destruction so I didn’t have to resort to arson!!

    • We had an invasion of what I think were sugar ants? Anyway, they came up through the vent into the Livingroom, from the basement. 3 trips from the exterminator. Ugh.

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