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Look Away, Time

Once she was so pretty—
Now she tries to look not so old.
Can you still see her eyes sparkle
Beneath her hair of store-bought gold?
Have you found your one and only?
Hold on with all you’ve got,
Or like those who end up so lonely,
You may forget the grace you were taught.
He used to know so much—
Now he thinks he’s lost his place.
He still loves his son and family
Even though he’s not sure about my face.
Study as hard as you can
And master the skills you need,
But keep a hard eye on Time
Which flies by at a freight train’s speed.
I still think she’s a beauty,
Even with her store-bought hair.
And despite the wrinkles and the crinkles,
I love her; and the rest? I no longer much care.

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A Gifting

A breeze freshened, then turned cold,
Another old story now to be retold:
Of seasonal wishes and hopes reborn,
Chances taken even if burnished by scorn.
Crossing the tracks, he walked into Tiny Tim’s store
Sunlight followed him in just like the weeks before
The shopkeeper smiled to see the young man arrive
Another payment to place, was it number four or five?
Four payments left and then soon Christmas comes,
That time of roasted chestnuts and puddings with plums.
Back to Cross Grocery and shelves to stack and refill
Earning his money for rent, food, and that toy store bill.
Twas a sudden quirk storm that roared into town:
Rain, billowing snow, then sleet rocketed down.
An SUV late for choir practice risked running the ringing gate,
But the Autotrain was faster, STOP!
…but, too late.
The clerk flew across the tracks to help if he could;
He pulled out the shopkeeper, nice old Josiah Wood,
And a couple of customers getting their purchases done;
Then, stayed with that car driver, trapped and sore alone.
Car and train had finished their dance at the toy store back door;
All happily survived, but that prepaid toy was of course no more.
Christmas Eve, and the clerk had just walked back home
To start his Ursa chili with his Woolworth’s pots of chrome.
A knock on the door, and oh my goodness, there on his stoop stood
That railroad councilwoman, and on crutches, Mister Josiah Wood!
Beckoning them to come in and get out of the cold,
Our clerk blushed in worry about what could be told.
Mister Wood then handed our clerk a box as he brushed away a tear:
The Lionel Train Set the clerk had been paying for over the past half year.
Pop-eyed, our clerk struggled to make good on giving proper appreciation,
The councilwoman said it’s they who wished to reward his aid and application.
The clerk still said thank you, for this most important gift, was meant for another—
A gentleman at the Ashland Nursing Home, a railroad friend of his departed mother.
The wind slowed to a pause for this, a new holiday silent night.
Twinkling merrily did the Christmas lights make for a sweet sight.
And, for our good neighbors who may forget old holiday rhymes,
It’s nice to remember: “For it is good to be children sometimes.”

Toymaker! Toymaker!

Toymaker! Toymaker!
Please make me a car!
Make it go fast!
Make it go far!
Paint it hot red
With racing stripes of blue;
Yes, Mr Toymaker,
All the kids love you!

Toymaker! Toymaker!
Please make me a dolly!
Something to take to granny’s
When we go on the trolley!
Make her with a pretty dress,
Something in silver and gold;
Yes, Mr Toymaker,
I ALWAYS do as I’m told!

Toymaker! Toymaker!
Make me a kite!
Make it fly high,
Clean out of sight!
Can it have a long tail?
Will it spin in the sky?
Yes, Mr Toymaker,
I’ll let sister have a try.

Toymaker! Toymaker!
Please tell us true—
What is your favorite toy:
Izit a horsey or a cow that goes moo?
What do you make
When freeing your wiles?
Yes, Mr Toymaker,
I do see all those kids smiles!

Progression

Now she’s gone
And it’s just me left here.
No, I don’t really think
I’d like another beer.
It’s a progression
In the park where
We used to walk over,
Is now all covered up
In a new spray of clover.
It’s a progression
And memories of us
Are now hard to hold onto;
The doctor says perhaps four months
Then I’ll be gone too.
It’s a progression
All the happy turns sad
About the time of sunset.
You wouldn’t like it here;
That I had agreed now I regret.
It’s a progression
Our kids are good;
I think we did pretty well;
Now nurses and lawyers—
All grown up from Farmer in the Dell.
It’s a progression
Yes, it’s time to rest
And for you to go.
I love you for coming,
I just wanted you to know.
It’s a progression

Proceeding

It was two glasses in
And the curling memory of brunette hair,
But she has erewhile gone
And Sonoma Merlot just doesn’t care.
The rhymes won’t come—
Here I am inside this couplet mess.
I guess it takes more than mere Love
To complete this synapsing poetic process.
Meld two roughs into one,
Balance the scan and mind the rhyme,
Maybe I’ll get some ‘Likes’;
I manage to do so from time to time.
Fear floods in;
I managed to lose my job.
Now with gray hairs and beard
Who now would care to hobnob.
Today next-door neighbor
Pleasantly responded to my hi and hello.
There’s no ‘there’ there
And it’s so past time for me to go.
Brother turned sixty—
Who knows about sixty-one.
Wish we were better friends;
A brother would be nice on this long end run.
We need a finishing couplet to release our tortured reader;
It’s all good, love from your poet, another forgotten bottom feeder.

Bumblebee and Sally

Sally Gossamer Wingstep heard a most curious sound,
It came from beyond the wilderness copse, over, about, and around;
When Sally flew around the last tree a wonder she could see
A greying Fablehaven hound softly baying at a prone bumblebee.
Sally risked to go closer to inspect this quite usual sight—
Instantly she flew for Johnny H. Beekeeper in a quite frenzied flight.
Can he find the resolution for a bee brought down so low?
If he lacks the right solution, where then could she ever go?
Johnny was tending keen to the so new garden green—
Petite pois on the trellis, coifed and coiled like you’ve never seen,
Tomates on the vine, carrots long and tall, blueberries arching high;
And Johnny’s prized honeycombs, so grand as to make a master bumble bee sigh,
And cousin-once-removed baby Amber Grace with the prettiest wee fairy face
Was flutter-skurrying in and out of plants and was just all over the place!
“Johnny, O Johnny”, Sally cried to her family friend with sure pride
“Come quick with me to see this poor poor bee, laid low and curled to one side.”
Finding hard-working Katje to attend their baby Amber Grace
Sally and Johnny flew straight off to the far away wooded place
With simple mind and quiet grace, John approached the curled up bee
But twas nothing more could be done, was plain and simple to see.
“Let’s take him home” offered John to Sally’s slow honoring tears,
Nodding, Sally looked for brambles to build a sled as for one’s peers.
A far off buzz grew nearer, the Wild Hive had come to find their brother;
A rippling peace reigned as Bumble Bee and Fairy regarded one another.
John and Sally backed away bowing as the Bumble Bees took up the reins
The bees would long remember how those aloof fairies had taken such pains.
The old Fablehaven hound bayed again as the sled disappeared around the wooded copse;
Sally and John made their long slow way back to home and the fairy-grown crops.
Sally made her thank you’s and kissed wee Amber Grace
Quite a wonder to see how Honor and Love forever bless this place.

In Drive In Park

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.

Number 62 In Blue

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

My Princess No Longer

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

His Own Way

Begging your pardon
I’ve not a blessed thing to say
Could you look into these eyes—
I watched my Papa die today

He went pretty easy
He went how he wanted
No extra measures called for
No one’s gonna be haunted

Asking your blessing
But what can I do for you?
You share your smile with the angels
Can you tell me what I’m supposed to do?

Papa died clean
Papa died in his own bed
Hospice got their dnr
But Papa went his own way instead

Families walk over the worst when at their best
Your heroic work is done, son, now take you rest