How I Spent my Summer Vacation

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Greg wore thick-rimmed glasses,

had meticulously,

parted and slicked-back hair,

wore a white button-down

and freshly-pressed slacks

every single day.

CLIK-atik.

“Here’s a picture at Niagara falls with Molly,”

They stood in front of the famous formation,

Facing our neighboring northern nation,

Looking uncannily like a modern American Gothic.

CLIK-atik.

Molly smiled lovingly,

but had nothing much to say,

aside from “Greg, honey, get out of the way”

As his shadow was blocking the projection

of the spectacular cascade.

CLIK-atik.

“After we crossed the border

We drank a few beers, and ordered poutine.”

Someone from the sea of folding chairs called-out mid-yawn,

“Greg you’re the only person I know who would summer in Canada.”

Molly smiled again.

She knew more than most about Greg,

Who found excitement in the routine,

and archaic.

CLIK-atik.

The whirring machine,

Was so old that it seemed,

Ready to come apart,

In a tumult of loose-screws,

and dust-particles.

CLIK-atik.

“Hey look! A moose!”

Greg didn’t lie,

but the picture was from such a distance,

that it was hard to make-out,

the animal.

“They’re pretty dangerous,

so we stayed clear.”

CLIK-atik.

A black title card,

With the word “FIN,”

Written minimally,

Spelled the end of the slideshow.

CLIK-atik.

His favorite part of the trip,

and his life,

was sharing the experience,

with his friends,

family,

and wife,

Long after he left.

Maple Syrup

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The fork and knife,

Rest comfortably,

Side by side

On the table.

Holding the plate,

Up to my face,

I lapped away,

The last remnants,

Of breakfast.

Bits of pancake,

And scrambled eggs,

Encased in sweet amber,

Like a less depressing,

La Brea Tar Pit.

Color me an opportunist,

It would be in poor taste,

To let good food,

Fossilize.

You Will get Away With it

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Every so often,

I hear the doorbell ring,

When I’m not expecting company.

Sometimes,

I look through the peep hole,

And see nothing at all,

“Damn kids,”

I’ll say,

Presumptively.

Sometimes,

It’s just the mailman,

So I sign for something,

Then he’s on his merry way.

But once in a while,

It’s you,

“Come on in,”

I say.

“Take a seat,”

I’ll go get some drinks,

And snacks.

We relax,

Tell some stories,

To fill in the gaps,

“It’s been too long,” you say.

I know it has,

“But I cannot stay,”

I also know that,

“Take your time,”

Glad I could give you,

Some of mine.

When you stand up, 

With your arm,

Half in your jacket,

I ask nothing more of you.

When there’s nothing left to say,

All I want,

Is to be sure,

For now,

That you’re doing okay.

In Microcosm

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“I’d rather be sleeping,” said John, sliding hangers back and forth, trying to find an appealing shirt.

Every day he left pieces of himself behind in his bed.

And the dust mites would eat them, as dust mites are wont to do.

He slid a t-shirt over his face, smearing his skin cells into the fibers.

He has left many impacts on the things in his life, sometimes too small to even be seen.

But they meant everything to those dust mites, who lived for generations, before he’d lay himself to rest again.

Is he still John then?

Remember?

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Holding a stack of Polaroids in my hand,

“I was there,

I was there,”

I said counting and recounting.

My thumb stuck to their glossy surfaces,

I turned them over to find the dates scribbled in black sharpie,

“April 10th, 1997– Hannah’s birthday,”

Curly, unruly hair and a missing front tooth,

And a little frosting on the tip of her nose,

And her brow.

She  was laughing,

We all were,

Now I am.

The next picture,

All of us,

Surrounding,

A dented cake,

Seen from a bird’s eye view,

In a fisheye lens.

The next picture,

Blowing out nine candles,

Her face amber through the dim light,

While we stood nearby,

In the shade,

My face was buried in my hands,

Now it is again,

The stack falls to the floor,

Spreading the moments all about,

I look toward the hall,

I hope the door opens,

And you’ll be back again,

Someday.

Jitters

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Drum roll please,

Thumb, pointer, middle, ring, pinky-

And repeat,

Repeat,

Repeat.

While you daydream,

Whilst waiting,

Impatiently,

Humming,

Tapping your feet.

“Read a magazine,

Or something,

More distracting–

Or less distracting,

To other people,

Please,

Quit fidgeting,

Stop twitching.”

Flat screen Televisions,

Cover the walls,

Untouched children’s toys,

I’m too old for,

Riddle the floor.

Stuck in the lobby,

Awaiting drills,

Hooks, brushes,

And pumice.

The Waiting Game

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Wu wei,

Each day,

Parlay,

Then part ways.

Nonaction, indeed,

Is a good strategy.

An absentee,

Cannot be,

On the team,

Deemed,

The loser.

Nonaction,

Trains one,

To run from,

The game,

Entirely.

“Let it fall on your lap,”

Relax,

Take a nap,

Do your taxes.

No matter how fast,

You run,

The rat race,

It doesn’t change,

The fact,

That beyond it’s face,

It’s a maze.