Sunday, December 17, 2006

Team Poetry: Arts Police

There once was said at the Tiki:
"Come on let's get freaky freaky"
But it wasn't so nice
When Frank slipped on some ice
And yelled for another beer weakly.


There once was a very old hermit
Whose skin was a fuzzy as kermit's
He drank from a pan
And would only eat flan
And he said, "Here's a flag; let's burn it!"


Doc and Flannery

Sunday, December 10, 2006

If For Moment...

I’ve been jockeying the counter at the bakery of a local store for a few months now, and there is this lull, at about the same time every evening for me. It falls at suppertime. Most folks are eating, and the things I need to do, I can’t start until later.

So I stand at the counter and watch, as the people go by. I have the opportunity to help each one find what their looking for, and move on to the rest of their shopping with little or no fuss. I stand, with a smile, like a circus barker and hawk my wares as they come past.

I know the ones I can tempt. I’ve been selling the white stuff for a while now. (Sugar)

I can tell by the contents of their cart where they have been. The beer drinkers want doughnuts and the wine drinkers want cheesecake or tiramisu.

A lady came by this evening. She was small, dark haired and dark eyed, sweater and slacks, mid forties, with no cart or basket. She had nothing in her hands.

“What can I get you?” I asked.

And in one quick flush of honesty she said, ”A new life.”

“Well,” I responded, “we don’t sell that back in the bakery.”

“Oh come on,” she kidded, “you could put my head in the oven.”

I didn’t know how to respond. To be honest, I was in such shock, that I don’t remember what I said next. It was something calm and friendly. I gave it a reassuring tone. Something to the effect of “There must be something here I can offer you to cheer you up?”

I wish, in my heart of hearts, that I could remember what I said.

I don’t.

“Well, I’m going to be good and only get one thing,” and to add emphasis, she gestured with her index finger, like she was laying down the law.

“What about one of these tea cookies?” she asked.

I started to reach for a bag behind me, but stopped and spun on my heel. I couldn't charge her.

I smiled, and grabbed a tissue and pulled the cookie from the case. The ones with the chocolate and sprinkles, not the cheap ones we give out to the kids.

“We give these to good girls, and thank them for coming to {Store Name}”. I smiled.

She took the cookie from my hands slowly. She nodded her head and curtseyed. She stood for a split second and looked at the cookie.

“I feel like I should buy something now,” she said.

“No,” I said firmly, “just smile, and remember that tomorrow is going to be a better day”.

She stood stock-still and thought about it, then rounded the dairy case and was gone, smiling.

The whole exchange lasted less time than it takes to recover from two good, healthy sneezes.

There is no way of knowing if this was all a joke to her, or she genuinely was considering taking her own life. In the sixty odd seconds that our lives crossed paths, I felt like she was reaching out to me, grasping at the slim straw of vague human kindness.

I gave her a cookie, and in some very small way, touched a life, when maybe it needed it the most.

At least I'd like to think so.

I’d like to think that perhaps I was doing the Lord’s work and helped someone, but regardless of what happens, I’ll be looking for that lady, and wherever she is tonight, I hope she enjoyed that cookie and is still smiling, ‘cause I still am, and I will never forget her, as long as I live.


Saturday, December 09, 2006


I pulled back the sheet from the bed
and tossed it into the wash

I suddenly remembered back
to our 6 months in a leaking boat
living with my in-laws
and how they HAD to have our bed made
every day
and how much I HATE making beds.

MY parents were the same way
as if a neat, made bed was the only thing
holding Western Civilization together.
...had they lived until 2006
they might have said:
"if you don't make your bed,
you're letting the terrorists win!!"

I'm all grown up now,
I DON'T make my goddamned bed!
I also don't fold my underwear or match my socks.

I take long, hot showers and empty the water heater,
I sleep in the nude
I sometimes drink beer for breakfast
and eat French toast for dinner

I turn out the lights and watch TV in the dark
and sometimes I leave lights on in rooms
where no one is.

I eat Corn Pops and Honeycomb and Sugar Smacks
and sometimes I eat Cool-Whip right out of the tub
with a spoon
and declare THAT a meal worth having

I go outside in the cold without shoes
and wear holes in my socks
and don't replace my shoddy tennis shoes
when the sole begins to come off

I swear sometimes, too, and curse
and take guilty pleasure in crying out
"well, goddamn!"
"Oh, Jesus Pumpkin Pie Christ!"
which I first learned from a Stephen King novel

On the whole, being a grownup
ain't all that damned bad.