The First Day of School

Under the sign of the A-B-Cs
a teacher auditions for a semester run
as actor, director and stage manager,
standing before a new class
ready to loot and pillage his emotions.

A moment, just a moment of stillness,
before a return to a hue and cry
of gossip, comradery, and spit balls
thrown across the room with an accuracy
of a Major League pitcher,
thirty mouths filling the air with chaos.

Suffering from stage fright and first day jitters,
his balloon of molding young minds
crashing to the hardwood floor,
he turns his back to the mongol horde
who has slashed and burned his enthusiasm
into a thousand humpty-dumpty pieces,
folds his arms and faces
the giant musical notation on the blackboard.

And he waits.

A September breeze eases through the open windows.
One by one student voice after student voice
drops off a cliff until silence fills the air.
The teacher unfolds his arms,
turns to his audience,
and the play begins,
neither a comedy nor a tragedy
but a semester of moments
when stars are born
and Shakespeares emerge
and young minds released
to play with unicorns,
follow yellow brick roads,
and grow wings and fly.

This Age of Deliveries

I have been thinking of the word “delivery.”

In this Age of Deliveries
delivery men and women rush about
city street to city street
dropping off essentials
and non-essentials
house to house.

The mail carriers
through snow and rain and heat
deliver our mail: sales pitches, bills
and credit card offers.
And an occasional birthday wish
but never a letter. You see,

we have lost the art of letter writing.
Once upon a time a letter
was a delight to receive
and the mailman was a friend
who delivered that cherished event.
And there are other kinds of deliveries.

A doctor delivers a newborn,
a celebrity delivers a graduation speech,
and a friend of the family delivers a eulogy,
then six more deliver her casket
to a piece of earth where we
deliver our farewells.

I have been thinking of the word “delivery.”

Worries

My mind is a town cryer
Shouting out,
“Hear ye. Hear ye.
There’s trouble coming down.”

Now Job,
That man had troubles.
And I have worries too.
The sky is falling.

So what.
Clouds are soft bundles of rain,
And with each rain,
A sky does fall.

And yet,
The sun and the moon return.

Looking around

They say he crawled out from under a rock.
He looked around and took him some stock.
“Maybe I’ll stay and give it a knock,”
he said and then made off in a trot
To see the sights never to be forgot:
Four seasons and time without a clock,
Snow and the green, the cold and the hot,
Rivers, mountains and all within eyeshot,
Roses, daisies and forget-me-nots,
Lions, tigers, leopards and all that lot,
Kittens, cubs and faun ready to be taught,
Robbins, sparrows and birds that mock,
Horses wild and peacocks that strut.
All in all a pleasant place to flop.
So he did.

George

An average American George
in an average American town
census bureau-wise
slips through the kitchen door
out into a sixty-degree morning air
and the day ahead.
George swipes the night from his eyes
and settles into a back porch chair
for a prayer or two.
At driveway’s end a garbage truck
scoops up the trash bin,
dumping its ingredients into a hungry mouth
with an empty stomach, ingredients
from the previous week:
arguments with Grace
over this-that-and-the-other,
disappointment over hopes
to escape a stuck-in-a-rut job,
anger at a son who never calls
and a daughter who fails,
distrust of a brother
who takes and keeps taking,
fear of an accumulating debt
that continues accumulating,
loss of a god
who is always somewhere else,
and more junk
from an average American life.
George crosses himself
in the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost
after a quick Hail Mary
just in case.
Inside Grace pours water for morning coffee.
George pulls himself from his chair.
Down the long walk to the street, George
passes a squirrel picking his teeth
and just about catches a shoe
in a sidewalk crack, then reaches
the empty bin.