Posts Tagged ‘childhood’

one-act play

Wednesday, November 4th, 2009

Could a poem be
a one-act play?

it seems to me
there is a way

to take a plot
and weave it through,

its all I’ve got
let’s make it do.

The curtain ascends
with a man that’s coughin’.

and abruptly ends
with him in his coffin.

The audience applauds
this writer’s grovel,

a one act play
from a two-word novel.

to my cousins

Monday, July 20th, 2009

I can’t think of a group of people
whom I may have less in common with
than my twenty-some cousins
just because

My maternal grandparents had six children
(my father was an only child)
and those aunts and uncles had from two to six
of their own, my cousins

We’ve all gone very separate ways
as our parents have
just because

One family were loggers another
in manufacturing and ice cream
and one in the military while mine
was varied from photography to physical therapy
while two others worked in newspapers

We’ve never all been in the same place at once
though we’ve come close on Christmas eves
and our grandma’s ninetieth

So what would a meeting of all be like
with our most common thread being genetic
surely there are other similarities
that will be interesting if not inspiring
and offer some insights we all can profit from
in our own individual ways

Let’s get together and see the full range
of our experiences and lives’ paths
before our eyes and validate the connection
we all have to one another in our differences
just because

We may wonder at our relation to some
while feeling more than akin to others
and that I think will be the beauty
that will provide us with inspiration and insight
as we see the differences in our common bond.

So I will take it on myself to initiate this invitation
and seek from our midst others to share in this effort
to bring us all together somewhere soon
just because

Just be, cuz.

90 pound weakling

Thursday, July 16th, 2009

When I was a kid
no one ever chose me for baseball
or football or basketball

I was lousy at sports
and hated having my shortcomings
displayed and derided regularly

I was the skinny weakling
who was embarrassed
to remove my shirt at the beach

I didn’t learn to swim
and even put off learning
to ride a bike until I was eleven

In high school I watched with envy
as the jocks got all the cool girls
and I hardly had a clue why

I had plans and dreams
that were vague and never came to be
but I was happy in their pursuit

In later years those jocks
got fat and inconsiderate
leaving me to shine with their wives

who found me warm and listening
thoughtful and fulfilling while
I enjoyed the spoils of my folly

all the while ignoring
my own blindness and weakness
that lead to so much pain

I’m still the skinny weakling
and I still don’t care for sports
while the fire of passion burns on

Maybe someday I’ll figure it out
but for now I can just live
moment to moment in wonder.

Guess nothing has really changed.

just be cuz

Sunday, July 12th, 2009

Yesterday I spent some time with some cousins
whom I hadn’t seen in years and it was on the occasion
of their dear mother’s death – someone else I hadn’t seen enough
and wish I had since she was so very very sweet and warm

love never fails to amaze me with its power to transcend
just about everything – make that everything.

I can see my aunt and uncle’s love in my cousins
and want to get to know all of them better – I have
sixteen or seventeen of them all totaled – from my mother’s
five siblings and wonder why I feel so compelled

Maybe its curiosity about what we have in common
and what our differences are and what might we have done
if living in a more tribal culture where we might be
more interdependent and what part of the larger
tribal milieu we might have filled with our talents

or maybe what we might yet do in some fashion
to enhance each other’s dreams and aspirations
before its too late

Our culture and upbringing has made us independent
and that has been a real asset and also perhaps
a limitation in its division as we have moved on
figuratively and geographically to separate lives
from our siblings and friends that leaves a cloudy hole

Might there be a missing piece we’ve yet to discover?

In the last ten years I’ve reconnected with several other cousins
and it feels good to just now they are there living their lives
in so many different ways

Yesterday on discussing a cousin’s reunion involving us all
my long lost (to me anyway) cousin Sandra replied ” Just be cuz”
and it hit a chord with me since word play is something
I love and often obsess over for fun – just because –

justBcuz – I love it!

A pun, a name for a movement, a rallying cry to our clan
Let’s reunite just for fun and see what we learn of life and love
and what we’ve missed of each other over these years
since we once ran around on Christmas eve’s and thanksgivings past
with our Grandma and Grandpa Stiles looking on.

We’ve spread far and wide and our means may vary
but I think we can find a place and time to meet that will work for us all
where we might blow off the dust of time and circumstance
to discover who we are and what our commons bonds have
to offer

Just because.

51 buick

Monday, May 25th, 2009

t was 1951 and Grandpa Hansen
had gotten a brand new Buick.
A Roadmaster sedan in two-tone
Light Blue and White.

Two-tone cars were a new thing
and this one was glossy since he had ordered
the Porcelanized version, it glistened
both paint and heavy chrome

It has an antenna that was above
the broad one-piece windshield with
a handle inside to turn it up over the roof
or down over the windshield.

Inside were special seat covers to preserve
the new upholstery underneath, all blue
and the dashboard was full of chrome
grill-work and knobs and gauges and

a radio on which we would hear Jack Benny
and Amos & Andy on Sunday drives
while Grandpa enjoyed a cigar, with Dad and I
in front, mom, Carolyn and Grandmother in back

my brother and me

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

my bro was born when I was first a teen, my sister ten.
had always wanted a brother, since I was six

his first years for me were a blur of babiness and wonder
my mom was aglow with renewed love and care

our first words of course were from me to him, in the car
naming passing models, plymouths and fords

when babysitting I would read him Hot Rod and Custom Cars
his rapt attention would portend his life’s obsession

by the time my bro was old enough to want a brother
I was gone to find my world and make my way

his childhood past six was a distant scene relayed in thin pieces
by my parents and my brief visits

he in his little life, me in my big young adult one, worlds apart
neither of us really HAD a brother but by token

his youth was different than mine, his siblings older and gone
our parents had only him to focus all that love on

after I married, returned from new york, chicago and ‘frisco
we reconnected with some acid and harvey wallbangers

our main connection these years has been around cars,
he had mastered engineering and crafting in steel

we can talk philosophically about the differences in motive design
from the physics to the aesthetics and more

We see each other once a year at a picnic and talk like
“how’s it goin'” and “what’cha been up to?”

he’s hard to reach not answering his cell, nor returning messages
I know not why, will never know I suppose

I hear from him when he is in need, I suppose its the same
for me until of late

when I was six I’d pictured a brother as closer in every way,
someone to pal around with every day.

it seems that the reality is different, that we’ve each gone our way
with tracks rarely crossing if at all

now in the rusting stage of our lives I’d like again to talk
at length about what we share across a gap

to find how two disparate lives have been lived and guided
through the filter of family that bonds us so loosely.

I always wanted a brother and now at sixty-six I need to reconnect
with my bro and his important others. hey, pete, gimme a buzz.


Saturday, March 28th, 2009

The Shaz of Portency is blowing green leaves and airplanes
attack golden vibrator hawks into final positions to dream
the only way for haze on the loaf of queen’s bread to fold.

Pluck, pluck, zeee, zeee, poe, poe, poe, phoo-oo.

Calm now and silent flowing thoughts of pianistic revery
climb carelessly placed ephemeral lattice while phosphenes glow
for guidance into secure warmth. Wait. A burst of cacophonous joy
sounding like a trout wangling its kin for some hash and eggs.

A young girl with her mind focused within permanently
holding a delicate flower senses more than we will ever see
or she will ever comprehend when the green fuses with the roughness
of the ground and the smells of carnations and molds blend
for her scattering and knowing only her mother’s and father’s love
extinguishes grief and laughs, curling her fingers
into the circle that resounds with harmonic pleasure
she alone can feel.

Oh, “O”. Love and pain and wondering.

Autism, within itsĀ  city limits, must be a lonely place. Forgive me
for kissing the atmospheric condensate reflections of azure and cotton
as the fissures of longing for making deeper connections
in the wonderfully inhabited space of minds that have no concept
of intercommunication beyond shape and color and texture running
ripples over the tips of fingers and eardrums while order and structure
are flying up and down to the tune of footsteps randomly echoed.
When the applause dies down the nasturtiumsĀ  are dancing quietly.

Pi-tal, pi-tal, pi-tal, pi-tal, pi-tal, phoom. Phoom. Phoom-plume.

The grid of softly rooting drapes the blinded eye as feathers
caress palms and mesquites for daily bread and forgiven destinies
behind altars and podia where a lack of empathy shines forth as
a light in its blackness and dullard degrees for cellular dreams of
too many friends or not enough time at the block of real learning
or caring beyond fusillades and the currency of acquisitions
renders useless applications of hackneyed structure or blandness
in the face of true light. Shine on girl, keep fanning the flames of
inner visions into a life of joy, love and peace.


Sunday, March 22nd, 2009



4 police officers and a suspect shot
5 people dead or dying, doing what they felt necessary
responding to a moment in their life.

2 police stopped a car for a traffic violation
found the driver to be a man wanted
for jumping bail on assault charges.

The suspect feeling cornered
and visualizing his future re-imprisonment
flees on foot after shooting the 2 officers.

Some mother’s son gone
wrong somewhere along the line
to end up in this situation of mortal fear and anxiety.

Some other mother’s sons lie dead and dying
their blood soaking the blue of their uniforms
doing the what they do, enforcing laws.

Holed up in a house surrounded by cops
the suspect follows a script in his head
and shoots his way out, killing 2 more officers.

In that final act he too succumbs to a rain of lead.
Another 3 mother’s sons now lie dead or dying
in the pursuit of justice and survival.

Most heinous and inexplicable
the mayor and governor proclaim.
Why would anything like this happen?

Watched any television or seen an action film lately?
Why is it so easy to visualize this event?
Have we not seen it played out many times?

Look at the track of those five lives.
First as children learning through play
and their matching of family and peers.

What motivations moved these men
to where they were that fateful day?
Survival and doing what’s “right”?

Is the world too populace
for us to care about or for
one of us on a deviant path?

Too many criminals breaking too many laws
and too many police enforcing with too much force
leaving their mother’s sons dead or dying.

4 police officers and a suspect shot
5 people dead or dying, doing what they came to do,
resting in peace.

do something

Thursday, March 19th, 2009

Turn off that TV set and that computer.
Our youth are crying out for something
real to get their minds into.

Wrest them from the clutches of media
and promoters of gluttony and excess.
Give them something real to do.

Yank those earbuds out and put down the cell,
you are aiding and abetting a hand-basket
that is taking you to hell.

Look around and realize you must
accept what you see and
its not going well.

Our “healthy competition” is about
to turn into a struggle for survival
and you know who wins, not you.

Stop bickering, whining and begging.
Get off your ass and do something, anything
above all, don’t be careful or hesitant.

Our youth feel entitled to luxuries
without the need to earn or contribute,
stop giving in to these rants.

Let the pain of want sink deeply
into their little spoiled souls until
the realities of the world are evident.

Evident enough to inspire
shame in crying for handouts
and, instill a sharing ethic.

Deep enough to elevate above the ooze
of material excess to the joyful pain
of critical thinking and community awareness.

Unplug, unhook, disconnect from the virtual
and plugin, hookup and connect
with the seeds of the future – our youth.

my own room

Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

The idea of my own room brings to mind several times when I remember defining my “very own” space. Are these really different experiences or, is there possibly a theme …some underlying or obvious similarities.

As a child I shared a room with my sister until I was about 10, my sister 7. I got to move upstairs, all alone. It was a bit musty up there having been used mostly for storage. My parents wanted to make it “up to the minute” interesting and bought a huge bolt of burlap and glued it to the walls. This lent an even more characteristic smell that I came to associate positively with my own special place. My dad put up a table for my model trains, made from a huge sheet of plywood. We never built the elaborate train set-up we planned, which would have been like the ones we saw in the department stores’ windows downtown at Christmas. Instead, I used it more as a workbench to pursue my growing interest in radio and telephone technology.

A couple friends of mine, Jerry and Lyman and I, went down to the waterfront to a huge warehouse and each bought several old telephones that had been surplused and discarded by some phone company up in Alaska. At the time it was illegal to have any extension phones in your house that weren’t owned and installed by the phone company.

A neighbor of Lyman’s was a neat older man who had just retired from the phone company where he had been a lineman and installer. He gave us tips on how too tap into phone lines so as to not be detected. He gave Lyman some manuals filled with fascinating schematics and directions.

My room now, in addition to my own bed, my own radio (one with no cabinet that my dad had built as part of a class on radio building), a bedspread with the symbol of the National Lighthouse Service knit into it (from my grandpa Hansen) – right their, within easy reach – my own pirated, illegal, extension phone!

As my involvement with things electronic grew here in my own room-cum-laboratory, I had cobbled together a PA system from an old pair of headphones and a radio that I could put in my window and broadcast my comments, often derisive and sickly humorous, to passersby, my sister and friends.

Occasionally I would get “in trouble” for something like an argument with my sister or doing something erotically naive and irresponsible with a neighbor girl in a tent in my backyard (an adjunct of my room I guess). My punishment was restriction to my room.

Lucky for me I don’t think the pleasures of my own room (as punishment) caused me to purposefully commit acts of disobedience or depravity just to get to spend time there. It certainly didn’t take me long to unwind from the anger and humiliation of being caught once I was surrounded with the comforting engagements that made my room my “special place”.