Category Archives: Verse

When a car pulls into that blue handicap spot in the grocery parking lot, what do you do?  Do you watch and wait and evaluate whether the party who emerges from that car has sufficient woes to justify his or her decision to park so close?

May I venture that, for most people who park in handicap spots, they are not happy about their status.  They do what they need to do, and it matters — more than you know, more than they admit — what you think of them.  So ignore their apparatus and summon up your kindest, most generous thoughts, lest you be the one who needs that handicap spot.

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Never Had a Dog

Never had a dog
(never wanted a dog
as you will see)
but that is not to say
that dogs did not have me.

A very early memory
I must have been three or four
I was laying flat on the sidewalk
in front of Susie McKee’s place
my shoulders pinned down
by the huge dog
its big black muzzle
ready to bite my face

The older kids, all standing around
as I screamed, terrified…
why weren’t they rescuing me?

I obviously survived
as this memory attests.
So whoever you were
and whoever your big dog was
you’re all forgiven
none of you knew what to do
and your big dog too

A few years later, I met Barney
the dark and stormy
cocker spaniel
He lived across the street
and barked at me relentlessly
and chased my bicycle
and every other kid’s bicycle
and all the passing cars
until one day he was run over
and I was relieved.

Of course I grew up
and coped with dogs
and avoided dogs
and even petted dogs
and spoke to them
so patronizingly.

I pretended to like them
always trying to figure out
how to forge some uneasy truce
before there could be
any misunderstandings
because you never know.

For every nine houses on the block
four have dogs and five do not
and those who do
are likely to have two.
Furious furry forces of nature
waiting for you
when you knock at the door
programmed to pounce
ready to chew.

Sure, the pup who claws
its way to your heart
is just a cute ball
of muscular fuzz
with four paws
and two jaws
but he doesn’t bite
he never does
says the owner
holding the leash tight.

Here I must pen
the inevitable end
of this poetical blog:
you and I may be friends
but my hand does not extend
to your obnoxious dog.

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If I don't tell you what I'm doing,
I have my doubts you would ever find out.
 Am I your mystery worth pursuing
or just some rhyme for twenty-nine? 
If I could climb upon the framework
 you build around you, as if it were your soul,
 and looked inside, what would I find?
 Some somethingness or only twenty-nine?
There are times I see the present
 but so rarely am I there, then barely.
 Maybe I'll open that wine you sent:
 a fine wine, not some cheap twenty-nine.
God help me if there were a God
looking down to assess this terrible mess --
He would dispatch His thunder as His sign
how displeased He is with twenty-nine.
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