You loosen my strings.
You unravel each one.
You remove them from the frets.
I suppose I'm done playing, now.
Then, you return.
You bring back to me my music:
fit as a fiddle —
and strum.

Missed Plane, Moving Along

I buy tickets to go to Oregon. Mom and I talk over the phone and it’s a good talk and we plan on going. I buy 2 others, one for Brian and one for another person just in case.

The plane leaves at 3:30. I get to the airport an hour early. There is a sense of well-being and relaxed agency.

Then, mom doesn’t show up. In what seems a matter of minutes, instead of being an hour early, I’m am an hour late. The tickets are no good. I’m driving out of the airport.

Are there eight tickets or four? I finger through four folds of tickets with two studs per fold. No, the tickets are in two parts each; so, there are four tickets. That’s good, because I’d be even more upset if I ended up wasting eight tickets.

I think briefly about going back to the airport and asking for a refund. It’s a brief thought and it actually seems quite possible.

I drive out of the airport in a fog of emotional upset and quickly arrive into the pleasant offsetting quiet of the suburbs. The children see me speeding down the hill. A police car follows me.

They shrill “ticket, ticket…” all the way down the street. I’m sour-lipped with fear of being punished.

The police car purposively stops in the middle of the T intersection, blocking traffic. I wait a number of minutes looking at the cop car until I realize the radio is broadcasting a bust going on in the house the diagonal right of me and in the street left of me.

I was just scared and guilty for missing the flight; the cop wasn’t after me but focused on the bust. It’s time to get going. I take a right, away from the cop car, onwards.

The Icy Reflection Pool

Dad talks with another landowner about the reflecting pool’s rising a number of inches to near the top of the pool. He tells him he plans to sell it once it’s rose to its peak. They both agree to this as sensible, both planning to do it as a studied matter of course.

Dad dives into the iced-over lake/pool. I wonder “won’t this hurt his body, especially his heart with its condition? How can he even swim amid the ice?”

I myself can barely move, kneeled down in an iced-over love-seat recess embedded in the pool’s edge.

Then my weight breaks the ice open: it splits down the center of the lake, right where dad is swimming.

I stay kneeling in shock, unable to move. Eventually, I start scooping out watery snow around my knees; I’m almost clear; still, I can’t move my legs; I’m so tired; I was tired even before the ice broke.

Then, Dad yells for my help from the icy center. I worry at the moral dilemma of trying to save him. I don’t have to — the risk; besides, I can’t even move, and I’m so tired.

Beat My Heart

My heart sits atop
anvil, in furnace,
eager for the hammer
to bend down and squash it
for its tendrils to grab hold
and embrace hammer and anvil
into one amorphous pounding.


I’ve tucked my worries into bed —
their toddler eyelids chasing night visions —
tucked in, with folded blankets, creased
both cat and mouse;
I’ve blown out the candles as,
with silent footfall,
I hushed each room
and let moonlight in.
I’ve folded the blankets over my chest,
thanked each cricket in their lullaby chorus,
thanked each star in its twinkling.
I’m not the first to breathe in thankfulness.

Sighs at the Country House

I’m at some rich place.

There is a sickly woman here.

I’m hungry and I get out some pizzas. I eat one right away then I wait while the oven heats up for the second one. The first pizza is from a different restaurant than the other. The pizza is made by developers. We talk about it and I emphaticly agree that developers are cool. ??This pizza will make a computer or will turn into a program?? The conversation is quiet and cultured, with the birds tweeting outside.

We like one another and we take off my pants and plaid shirt and get to it.

Then we run outside onto the gravel parking lot; it’s like she’s escaping from her desperate life. She falls in front of a posh car as it parks.

Inside the car is her husband and his mistress/business associate. She looks up at him, headlights glaring into her.

There is an understanding that its an open marriage because she’s sickly. It’s her loss; my relationship with her is a settling of sorts. The mistress gets out; she’s very businesslike, same as the husband.

We go back to our room… there’s actually two pants and plaid shirts.

Again with the music

It’s hard to catch the vast world’s tune;
 it goes on so long:
 it’s surprising when it begins to repeat
 to know it well enough to like it.
 Then, there’s the instrument I’m stuck with,
 embarrassing for its narrow applicability.
 Oh, well; here goes —
 and I blow or strike or strum or sing
 and accentuate the melody
  or compensate with harmony
  or engage in counterpoint
  or remain silent, waiting for a dramatic
       crash of symbols or discharge of canon
 and, at some point, appropriately — artfully
 add to life’s symphony.

My Stranger Chords in the Middle of the Street, House

I’m in the middle of the street playing my guitar. Some kids are playing there. A mom looks out of her window and wonders about me. Eventually, the kids, two blond boys about 12, are playing right next to me. I wonder if they even like my playing.

Then, I’m in the kids’ house. Their father is there; it’s a laid back good time. I’m still playing guitar.

Eventual their mom comes home and she is nervous I’m there. I sense this. I’m not even sure I should be there, even though I like it. I know it’s time to leave. I say my goodbyes. Before I go, I notice I’m carrying some red curtains or long hand towels. I don’t know how to put them back.