Second Guessing

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Second Guessing

"Build it up there," roared the King, with a 
grand sweep of his arm toward a soufflé 
shaped outcropping upon the sea.

"Brilliant," said his Lieutenant.

"Perfect," murmured his sergeant.

"Idiots," muttered his private.

"Bloody hell," thought his serfs.

Life and Death

Life and Death
The poinsettia has died—
I tried.
 
As best I could—
Anyone would.
 
Bathed in natural light—
Warm and bright.
 
Watered now and then—
Just say when.
 
More Christmas joy brought—
I thought.
 
Auld Lang Syne and table set—
“A cup of kindness yet.”
 
Cupid launched his missile—
Made lovers smile.
 
Easter’s promise. He cleansed our sins—
Everybody wins!
 
Saint Patrick listens to March say—
“Corned beef okay?”
 
Mother’s Day we all know—
Miss her so!
 
Memorial Day, too high a cost—
Brave lives lost.

July 4th’s quiet celebration—
Little enthusiasm in a wounded nation.

 The poinsettia has died—
I tried.
 
As for me—
What will be, will be.
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A Morgue Experience

A Morgue Experience
There is a most primitive wailing sound -
a stricken keening of utter despair - 

a mother's awful symphony

of savage tongue,

throbbing throat,

and ruined heart.

Identity must be determined.

A son? Handsome youth cut down?

A daughter? Blooming beauty snuffed?

Father, steeped in rage, refuses to go,
preferring to drink himself numb,
and lay blame
at a careless God's doorstep.

There lurks a hidden cavity,
a storage packet of sudden death,
murky beneath 
dark, wet streets.

An officer of Laws for the Living

escorts Mother down a dim hallway
to a large viewing window where a
teenage boy lies in state
under bright lights and

hideous shroud of white sheet.

The blanched face revealed - 

Sightless eyes cannot see Mother;
Stopped arms cannot hug Mother;
Silent voice cannot greet Mother;
Sealed lips cannot kiss Mother farewell.

Comes the keening.
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Watercraft

Watercraft

A wallowing, heavy laden
steamer

is not a slender
canoe,

nor is it a lonely
kayak,

nor,
a sturdy skiff,

nor an unsinkable
Boston Whaler,

nor a sails billowing
schooner,

but all slide through
dark water,

leaving naught but a

     ripple,,,,,,,,,.......

then gone.
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God’s Blueprint

God's Blueprint
To be certain our species
would flourish,

God

constructed a magnetic
attraction within us so

Powerful

that when young 

Men

were stopped by a
deep and rushing

flow of icy

Water,

or a gaping, precipitous
chasm rent in the earth,

these self-same Men
peered forth

and saw comely young

Women

on the far side
(picking wild flowers).

And then

God

could be certain
bridges would be built. 
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Overheard At The Derby

Overheard At The Derby
I do like your hat.

Really?

Yes. It reminds me of 
a lampshade I once knew.

Really?

Yes. Like you, the lamp 
wore it slightly askew.

You mean crooked?

Aye. Awry.
Cocked just so over one eye.

Really?

Yes. It's a fabulous look.

Thank you. Is your 
horse running today?

Horse? I came 
but to see the hats.
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Masks

Masks

It's a long way down
when despair grips aching heart.

It's a long way down
when life slams final door,

and rips family apart.

It's a long way down
when nurses offer prayers,

meaning kindness to impart.

It's a long way down
when despair grips aching heart.

Architect

Architect
I tend my garden with memories - 

Gramma, soft, shuffling,
sweatered against the morning air,

mutters thin lipped sounds
of disapproval,
scolding reluctant carrots and beans,

and with 
critical eyes, surveys
hesitant blooms of zucchini.

Keeping bent fingers busy with
slender sticks, stabbed,
and drooping strings, frayed,

she tugs impatiently at
a childish tomato.

Later, she mimics a 
nodding sentry from the porch,
shawled shoulders,

cat, lapped, 

her teeth foundering
in a glass beside her,

she wonders aloud,

"Where is that worthless boy?"

Life Before

Life Before
On the golf course, alone at dusk,
sand traps beckon like Homer's Sirens,
greens slick and tilted - 
playing with the ghosts 
of Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead.
All three balls split the fairway,
mine out front by twenty yards.
"Shot!" they call out;

On the hardwood court, sweaty bright,
bringing the ball up, surveying the options,
ball kisses fingertips, ready to share,
calculating, pass, pass, swish, get back -
sneakers squeaking, "Switch,"
the ball,
 a constant drum beat, 
rips the netting;

On the gridiron, Friday night, October chill,
crowd leaning in along the sidelines,
pom pom pretties, she's there,
the whistle blows, ball soars, heart pounding race -
quarterback barks like a San Francisco seal,
darting toward an instant of daylight,
through a sliver of open, then a crowd of thud,
and a face full of turf;

Oh, the games boys play to get ready for the rest.

Lady Coetzee’s Travels

Lady Coetzee's Travels
  
At the checkpoint, Doortje Coetzee, a native geranium, 
pottered along until she reached the front of the line.   
 
The officer glanced through her South Africa passport, 
then squeezed out a cordial greeting. 
 
“Good morning, Ms. Coetzee. Where are you off to this fine day?”
 
Doortje offered up a hopeful smile.
“I have an auntie living in America. A small corner called Seattle. 
Time I got round to seeing her.”
 
A pink blush flooded her petals.
“I’ll turn seven come spring.” She sighed. “Life is much too short.”
 
“Will Seattle be your final destination then?”
 
“No. Auntie winters in Arizona. We’ll fly there with her keeper in October.”
 
“I’ve heard Seattle is a bit rainy, but a lovely place,” the man said. 
“Never been.”
 
“Love the rain,” Doortje replied. "If I avoid the frost I’ll be safe enough.”
 
The officer studied the document. “I take it you’re a perennial?”
 
Doortje giggled. “Depends. We’re all perennials at birth, of course. 
Crane Bill cuttings on Mother’s side. My auntie is almost forty years old.”
 
“How nice,” he said. “Mine never last more than a season.
Suicidal little buggers.”
 
Dortje frowned. A tinge of anger crept into her voice.
 
“We can only live our life according to the affection we are given. 
We need to avoid a chill at all costs. It murders us straightaway.
 Intense summer sun is difficult too. We crave afternoon shade.” 
 
He handed her document back. “Sorry. Meant no harm.”
 
“None taken. If you’ll love those buggers of yours, they’ll love you back. 
Fare-thee-well, she called, "I've a plane to catch.”
 
“Next,” he said.
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