A Military Pilot’s Dilemma

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A Military Pilot's Dilemma

What you aim at,
Sir,

is not an
empty barracks,
the enemy fled,

nor is it a 
 camouflaged 
munition's dump,
a  hidden reservoir of 
chaotic destruction.

Rather, 

your hand steady,
your eye focused,
your finger gentle

on the trigger,

the landscape
roaring by, 

you plot 

to create bloody rubble 
of a  merciful hospital 

and end the lives of

pregnant women,
unborn children,
and those who tend them

lest they

live another
hour.

From the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j



No Wrist Slaps

No Wrist Slaps

We  outraged poets demand
governments around the world
install the most excruciating
sanctions possible against the
dictator and his power hungry
henchmen. The Russian people
are innocent of this crime 
against humanity. We stand with
them against tyranny. 

John E. Irby

Oral Hygiene

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Oral Hygiene

If the only
compliment

his daughter 
could share about his life

for the obituary 

was

“He still had most of his teeth,” 

we can be quite certain 
he had wronged 

at least one woman,

neglected his children, 

and didn’t much like dogs.

But still, 

some credit is due because,

apparently, 

he managed to brush 

three times a day.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Shopping Trip

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Shopping Trip

Little baby bunting
Mother's gone a hunting
for broccoli
and garlic
and onions
and wine
and cheese
and bread
and eggplant
and ground beef
and pasta
and evoo.

evoo, Mama?

pay attention, Child.
extra virgin olive oil.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Unmerited Finery

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Unmerited Finery

She said, "Open wide."
I did.
She said, “Close down.”
I did.

Even though I'm barely
a commoner,

much more the 
peasant
or serf,

she treated me as

Royalty,

placing a crown on
an exhausted molar.

"Thank you," I said, 

and hurried home
toward

Buckinghorse Palace

lest

I be found out.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Rosemary

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Rosemary

Toward the end of 6th grade,
on a school field trip, 

Rosemary, 
much larger than I, 

grabbed me hard by the throat 
and kissed me full on the lips. 

I recoiled in horror 
and wiped my mouth of it. 

She's gone now, 
and she never gave me another.

Some nights, 
late and alone in the dark,

I long for one more,

but, it was a once in a lifetime event.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Anything Helps

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Anything Helps

He stood in the deserted island 
formed at the intersection 
of Kolb and 22nd Street. 

Sleepy-eyed commuters 
glanced
 at his cardboard declarations:

Poem
Free

He clutched 

sheets of white paper 
flapping like seagull wings 
on the stirred currents 
of whizzing cars.

The light turned 
the color of autumn leaves. 
Cars slowed and rested.

Windows slid down. 
Elbows protruded.
Voices sang out.

“Any of those 
old-school 
rhymes today?”

“Hey, man. 
Make me giggle. 
Need one 
terrible like.”

“Loved yesterday’s. 
Read it to my kids 
at the dinner table.”

“Touch my heart, Poet. 
It’s hurtin’ 
bad sore.”

“I got a feeling 
you’re gonna 
make me cry.”

He walked the line. 
Handed ‘em out.
Touched skin. 
Stretched his grin.

“Morning,” he said. 
“Feelin’ good today?”  

“Thinkin’ ‘bout yuh,” 
he said.

“Hope this helps,” 
he said.

The light changed color, 
golf course green.

Traffic edged away, 
a soothed tide 
going out.

Some waved 
the words 
out the window 
in a nice, 
see yuh later kinda way—

and his ribs ached 
from the banging 
goin’ on inside.

from the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection
. . . j 

Under Repair

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Under Repair

She had dreams
as big as yours— 

of college—
fine clothes—
a useful career—

but,

someone
grabbed her heart,
that junior year.

He said, 
 
“I Love You,” 

and she was 

trusting 

enough 
to believe his
thinly sliced 

Promises,
Kisses
and Caresses.

The upshot, 

(surprise, surprise)

a baby girl
came along,
perfect in every way.

The boy soon drifted away,
a small boat, unmoored.

So, there was no 
high school graduation

strut across the stage,
or cartwheels 
with diploma in hand, 
or proud parents beaming.

Home alone that 
celebratory evening, 
her daughter fussy 
and running a fever, 

bottle bubbling, 
angry on the stove,

and later, when the baby 
finally fell asleep, 

she, our dropout,

stood before the mirror,
imagining a glorious 
satin cap and gown,

tassel flipped to one side, 

It was then she saw herself, 

at fifteen bucks an hour

standing beside a dusty road,
dressed in sloppy jeans,
hard hat,
and fluorescent vest
holding a 

SLOW, 

sign

that she wished she had 

noticed 

way back when.

from the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection

. . . j