He put the car in drive,
Out the driveway towards Albert Lane,
It would be a new 12 days to pass
Before seeing his daughter again.
He left the window open a crack;
Perhaps she’d forget something and would call?
No, he didn’t like dropping her at Fablehaven;
No, not really, not actually much at all.
His role snap-changed to just an aging man
When moments before he was in a family.
So what if it was only a family in two—
It was all he had here so far west of St. Tammany.
The tears dried absent just as expected,
With old long practice at things not being as one wanted.
Some would exalt giddy at this free, single life,
But he didn’t think that this kind of alone was all that vaunted.
Turning back to home on Glencrest Drive
As another Sunday evening purpled into dark,
He allowed a thought that it was perhaps okay—
And put the car in park.
The candle sputtered
Then guttered out
The wick a speck in the wax
The old poet looked
And suffered to stand up
The last present wrapped was Jack’s
A fresh Christmas candle
Striped Santa red and holly green
With its new flame warmed the room
Placing presents about
A tree to shame Charlie Brown
The shards of wrapping left with the broom
The cat’s tail flicked serene
The poet reached for his quill
As words soft filled a new page
A chance Winter memory
Spurred the poet on
Thoughts neither steep nor very sage
She bought him skis for a gift
Though “cross” country would mean something else
Tears of laughter with every tumble and spill
He wondered where she was now
A score of years have long passed
When meeting on Concourse B was such the piquant thrill
Chinese Five Spices
Floated upon the solemn merlot
The poet paused to let the tightness pass
Tomorrow the two-state drive
Back to his beloved Crescent City
Though this year without his own wee lass
Daughter would be skiing
Off out with her Mother and half family
Cross country over in the mountain West
He’d be with swiftly aging brother
And a Christmas with the family Creole
But things always work out for the best
A meow and a sigh
The poet let Jack out the door
A cat in search of secret nocturnal meetings
The candle blew out neat
The cold front had as promised arrived
As the rain pelted out its Season’s Greetings
Waxing and waning here came Christmas Number Sixty-two
But he yet looked ahead brightly through this Yuletide in Blue
Spilt coins on the carpet
Spices caressing the air
James’ shaking disease commands
We ought to dance like we don’t care
Oui, another pinot, merci
Bacchus masks an old shadow
What, we care not what you forgot
Another Substantia nigra shrinks to narrow
Senora sweetly dozes
As the tears slowly marshal
Daughter brushes back an errant hair
Yes, to a funeral mass she was partial
Two years on hospice
A prognosis most errant
Dementia promises times’ ever length
Tell you when? We shouldn’t…we can’t
Returned coins nestle in a purse
Plates back to the scullery
Love your loved one with Parkinson’s
Keep to today, tomorrow stays a mystery
We conquered mighty castles
Together, in blanquette or in the sand
Flew great heights on swings
Soared up Austin hills hand-in-hand
We shared in many battles:
Mastery in the great tragedy of Trigonometry,
Consumed Texas History and First Violin,
And developed a healthy skepticism of Allah and Deuteronomy
Some wars were personal:
The treachery of childhood friends;
While learning great truths—
That the means don’t always justify some ends
But today my princess walks ahead
Out of my guidance and out of my reach
No more to cavort on trampoline
Or harry stubborn castles on a beach
Her fresh adventure awaits—
Arm-in arm with her new young prince,
A meeting of Love and Good Sense;
She hasn’t been my princess since
But our regard hasn’t been stronger
Even if she is my princess no longer
There was once that tear that refused to fall
It lingered long but turned deaf to gravity’s call
A hospice someone had thanked and departed
Seems the end can be a long time before it is started
Instructions passed calmly for our nurse erstwhile
Morphine administered to salve a torment febrile
Half, then, quarter, then, tenth of breaths short taken
The daughter was only too aware though rudely shaken
Why did God allow such stupid pain to tartly linger?
Cannot God wave it all away with a half-crooked finger?
The line is that it is not ever ours to even wonder
At the lithe petal that can mock the mighty thunder
Mother then at long last breathed her living last
And son and daughter became bereaved newly-cast
And that tear that just would not suffer to fall
Was joined in torrents heeding mourning’s pall
A history written and rewritten for the to-be-departed
Seems the end can be a long time before it’s even started
Stupid Austin drivers
Stupid Austin traffic
Stupid Austin traffic where this morning’s 5 minute drive is now AN HOUR! [rounding down!]
Stupid Austin with pretty green medians where lanes SHOULD HAVE BEEN ADDED YEARS AGO!
Stupid Austin drivers
Pin head drivers
“Awe, COMEON!” drivers
Change lanes and then signal drivers
Drivers on their cellphones and not MOVING UP
Light turns green and the citizen puts it in reverse drivers
Flaming traffic and drivers so I cannot get home to
Get ready for my turn with the heiress cuz it’s my weekend
And I can’t begin~
Papa come play;
Papa put down your cares today.
Are you really so sad as that?
Did all those days leave you cold and flat?
Papa, tell me no more of that war;
Papa, yes, there are better things in store.
Try not to leave me with your weeping back;
Yes, I see you cry, I see the tears’ crisscross track.
Papa, were they all your friends?
Papa, not all met very bad ends;
Some of you did at last come home—
Some happy, though others are still lost, and roam…
Papa come play;
Papa, look what I drew for you today:
With crayon, a horsie of orange and blue.
O Papa, Mommy and I really love you.
Little Isabelle cradled in her tired Papa’s lap, and one good arm;
Papa pushed out a smile: Father and daughter were now safe and warm.
For Our Veterans: thank you isn’t nearly enough! Bless You!
Insinuating bubbles emanated from the scuppered dragon
A fool’s bargain of untendered origin led us to just here
A poet’s lazily pulled rhymes flailed aloof on page one
A new path was desired, that much was perfectly clear
Could you loan me your smile since you’re not using it
Since my mood is lost in translation or nixed in transit
The meme of my distant daughter swears I haven’t Alzheimer’s
My phytonutrients seek softened skins and perplexity
Slices of hard orange sweet potato seek out boiling waters
But speeling is an acquired taste, marble at my dyslexity
Would you loan me your arms since you’re not using them
I’ve this tightness that rattles along with this morning’s phlegm
Heading happy back eastward on a defogged highway 71
Pralines and tourist cup delivered recorded on every tablet mile
But the aimless poet still cannot get off the floor of page one
Freezing rain means we’ll all meet here for quite a while
Could you loan me your eyes since you insist on not seeing
My arms and smile reaching for my most favorite human being