Anything Helps

Photo by Josh Hild on
Anything Helps

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

Sleepy-eyed commuters 
 at his cardboard declarations:


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 
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

Photo by Pixabay on
Under Repair

She had dreams
as big as yours— 

of college—
fine clothes—
a useful career—


grabbed her heart,
that junior year.

He said, 
“I Love You,” 

and she was 


to believe his
thinly sliced 

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 



that she wished she had 


way back when.

from the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection

. . . j

A Soldier’s Dilemma

Photo by Pixabay on
A Soldier's Dilemma

What you aim at,
is not an
empty can
perched atop a 
snowy fence post,

nor is it a 
shadowy deer
gliding through 
your autumn forest.

your hand steady,
your eye focused,
your finger gentle

on the trigger, 

you plot 

to end the life of a 
brother human being,
lest he

end yours.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

God’s Blueprint

Photo by Pixabay on
God's Blueprint

To be certain our species
would flourish, 


constructed a magnetic 
force within us

so powerful

that when young Men,

stopped by a deep
and rushing flow 

of icy water,

or a gaping, precipitous


rent in the earth,
peered forth

and saw 
comely young Women

on the far side
(picking wildflowers)


could be certain,

bridges would be built.

From the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

A Morgue Experience

Photo by Meruyert Gonullu on
A Morgue Experience

There is a primitive wailing sound— 
a stricken keening of utter despair—

a mother’s awful symphony 

of savage tongue,
throbbing throat, 
and ruined heart.

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
teenager 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.

From the Childhood Remedy and Other Such collection

. . . j

An Octave Below

Photo by Download a pic Donate a buck! ^ on
An Octave Below

Blessed are those
who live near the sea,

and hear the tiger's complaint
roll deep in his throat—

a sound
the rest of us
can only


as an impatient Ferrari 

passing by.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

Overheard At The Coffee Shop

Photo by Ksenia Chernaya on
Overheard At The Coffee Shop

I do like your hat.
yes. it reminds me of a lampshade 
i once knew.
yes. like you, the lamp wore it slightly askew. 
you mean crooked?
aye. awry. cocked just so over one eye.
yes. it's a fabulous look.
thank you. do you come here often?
here? only to see the hats.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j

A Modest Request

Photo by Jill Wellington on
A Modest Request

When I grow old and weary, 
legs all atremble,
unable to walk far, 

and my garden—


the delightful colors, 
the delicate shapes, 
the delicious scents—

when my garden— 

with eyes weak and bleary,
is too far to see,

then please, 

if you will, 

bring my garden to me.

from the Wonderments and Such collection

. . . j