Connectedness

Here they come
one by one
through portals between
reality and formality,
fairy tales and disbelief,
Santa and Madoff…

“Love them all–
they’ll learn better”

Really? And what about me?
Shall I be Silverstein’s
Giving Tree?

Of course, there’s love enough
to go around
but time?
How, now brown cow?

“Show them you care”
can not be false to me

Let me walk in and out
Love one or two
just so well
the rest, smile and send them
on their way
with just a piece
of me in tow.

I’ll love my kindred souls,
My family, too
but all one hundred twenty souls times twenty
years?
I did not sign up to be a Saint.
That’s ironic, is it not?
A Saint, indeed,
is what I’m not.

Didn't Peter Parker feel this way? Am I shirking my duty?

If I Could Change the World

I wouldn’t.
Not really, anyway.
I could wipe out painfully
cliched poverty or
rid the planet of hubris
or make airline travel free.

But why would I take away
a chance for someone to
learn the joy of giving,
to learn humility,
to learn to work for
etickets to Paris,
or Prague,
or Portland?

I wouldn’t
because there exists
nothing more beautiful
than a sunset near the water
a glacier in the morning,
the San Francisco skyline from
across the bay.

Yes, wars and congress
are terrible reminders
that it’s not a perfect place
But I wouldn’t change the
world, if it meant I
could not experience grace.

Juxtapose the bad in life,
like traffic jams when you’re in a hurry
and men who hold grudges for more than
a fortnight
and the same stupid racism that seeps out
in drunken baseball brawls

to

that moment you passed your driving test,
or were forgiven or gave forgiveness
or saw the beautiful difference in
another face and said, “I can’t wait
to learn something from you.”

It’s altogether too tempting
to say, “Change the world,”
then conveniently give up the hunt
for a better, happy life.

If I could change the world,
I really wouldn’t, at least not much–
I’d say, “I’m sorry that it’s not just
right,” then try my best to lend a hand
and pray to God
He’d fix it.

What's there to change off the coast of Carmel?

Risk

Think about the box

You’re in it

It’s a safe box

A righteous box

A darn good and sturdy box

But it’s small

And sometimes it becomes crowded
And messy

And once it gets tipped on its side

You can crawl out.

Wow. Crawling out of your box
Is scary.

But then the feeling comes back into
Your legs

And then your heart opens wider
Your eyes, once refocused,
See things—
Amazing things,

Like Mr. Squirrel
Who yesterday found a nut
Outside his box,
Buried it—the nut, that is
And chided you for being
Too afraid to step out

Happy Birthday.

He peeled her off the ceiling after
Thirteen attempts at ungluing her
Pieces from the floor
All because a little ambush
Caught her asking
“What the hell is all this for?”

Buy a peanut for the elephant
A corn cob for the goat
And don’t forget the Starbucks
Cup for the upright man
With an iPad strapped to his hand,
An apple in his throat.

“I saw this once on Lost in Space;
the episode aired again last night…
Or was that Laugh In,” well,
I don’t know,” they all left off
Where today begins—just a little
Less funny since we lost those
Three good men.

The alarm will sound for rising
Hours and work begin anew—
If younger ones can learn one thing
To follow their passions and their
Dreams
Her pieces will come together again.

Yesterday’s Tea

She’d probably fall down if the
Ground wasn’t in the way
Or a few good Republicans
Hating on the President
Hadn’t made her so mad she could
Spank them all the way
To 1962.

But then getting up was much easier
Because one of the saner people
Reminded her that politics
Is an art, not a science
So beauty, dear friend, comes from
The beholder’s eye and
A few moments around truth
Could get everyone sober again.

And, ironically, the tea
Fell in the harbor
Because drinking it would be a sin,

Not to mention, taxable.

So they all turned to beer.
What? You hadn’t heard that?
History, enigmatic though it be,
Makes us all consider where we
Came from
And where we want to be.

Who Called?

No one called today, nor cared
To call tomorrow, so the planting began
As it always does…
A seed soaked in water

When sunlight filtered in
Through fern boughs spotted
With spores,
Hibernation began to breathe
New life; the seed sprouted
White roots in search of
Soil

Dirt, bark brown earthen
Furrows of forgotten time
Harbor seedlings without
Jealousy for spent nutrients—
Like good parents,
Sensible teachers,
God must be

And the plant grows
And someone sees it among the
Strawberries because Spring
Arrived, and he left his house
Without calling

And he decides to pull the plant
From its anchored homeland
Because, it’s a weed, after all,
With its spikey leaves and purple
Thistle adorning its strange
Presentment

And she still waited for the phone
Instead of forwarding the calls
Or finding an audience or
Dialing her number herself
Or planting that seed.
Because easier beat out
Proper in the garden of
Popular opinion.

Walk Away

He walked the edge of the cliff
Life reflected in the whitewater below
And the grand decisions of that life
Compounded his happiness thrice-fold.

The first, the choice to listen
To the teacher who saw his soul,
Who told him once
To follow his passion with fierce commitment
To learn what he could while growing old—

And then, the second most powerful turn
To mingle with people he loved
Belonging to common tribal bands
Honoring customs, the wisdom thread wove—

A third decision, most powerful of all
To forgive the wrongs of others
And move beyond his injured shores;
Progress never worth the pain of a brother’s
Forgotten name.

Comfort comes in myriad forms, the traveler
Found he knew;
If he stood there calmly looking out
Rapids would wash his life away.

So on his heel he turned around and lifted
Up a stone
That cleared a path for another who
Might walk that way alone.
His tribe, you see, was sure enough
To invite another in, and once the stranger
Sees her life filled with comforting views
She’ll walk to the cliff of her own good grace
And gently begin again.

Happy for the gift of three,
The rock, the sun, the sea—
Happy for the gift of four
Family, home, life, and liberty.

http://www.FriedmanArchives.com

Cheater

Flatlining is not death
Nor is it sad nor tragic nor wail-worthy
Conversely, it calls for action.
Minds must get to work,
Must decide forever
What poignant decisions require
Movement on our part.
And do it swiftly
Because that smart fellow said it best.
“Time is but a stream I go afishin’ in”
Trains to Tomorrowland don’t wait,
So get movin’ before the flatline
finds you unable to step aboard.

Lovely Dust

Some people mill life
seeping joy
sucking away other’s pain
sharing burdens lightly,
beautiful in their space.

And then there’s mud.
Loveliness incapable,
Red and white ringed ego circles

siphoning down in sickly gulps feet first

lovely dust.

Good Deals

“Come give me some lovin’

and make the popcorn now,

Then sit here by your Pa,

Recount our day aloud.

We rode the bikes

you pet the cat,

then, walked the dogs awhile;

Then, built a treehouse

of redwood boards

gathered from the scrap wood pile.”

They had a day, her Pa and her,

while mom was off at school–

“we’ll make a date for next week, too.

Is that a deal, you squirt?”

She loves her Pa more than he knows

’cause injured men don’t feel;

But somewhere deep inside he knows

She’s daddy’s little girl.

Good Evening

The dog came in and looked at me and turned
around and left.
I must have had that far off glare that often
follows work.
The man came in and said something then offered
some advice.
I did not hear it, not one word;
My blood ran warm as ice.

Why is it when a simple thing
like helping build a home
Zaps all my inner strength some days;
And leaves me wanting some?

Press erase and come back in as the spell
is almost broke.
A thousand painted ponies circle round
to guard this homestead place
Then cyber nights meet Crocket lore
and dreams fill in the space.

Call Me Stupid

Trying to make sense of all
the crazies
makes me crazy, too.
Health care for all sounds like a good idea
And then someone shouts, “Baby Killer”
and two more shout, “Obama-care”
And then Huck Finn, who knows the word and uses it
heads west because even he wouldn’t say it now.
And it’s health care, for crying out loud.

“But not my money,” and “what happened to choice”
seem like logical arguments, but then
What about those who have no choice?
No money? no job? no privilege?

call me crazy for thinking that
the world won’t end, that the government
made up of mostly men,
won’t get anything perfect, ever.
Call me “stupid,” or “ugly,” or “‘fat,
or a socialist or un-American,
or a red-haired commi-loving,
Jew-friending, Mormon,
Pro-life and pro-choice, left-winged

Call me anything you want.
But take the child to the doctor;
help those who are trying to help themselves
And stop crying about how this will
hurt you. It won’t hurt.
Have a lollipop.

Hang Time

There could have been a winner
in bracket number three
But Barry chose the Cougars
And Pat bet on Tennessee.
If the Wildcats of Kentucky
look like ‘Toga in 2005
then, maybe the dirty Huskies
won’t make it out alive.
But really, boys, it’s just a game…
Don’t put your money on the line.
If Butler comes in lucky
Then Northern Iowa wins your dime.

All right already; the bracket’s
out of tune. If 16 teams start out
to win, then 15 won’t go through.
That’s lots of losers, money, too
Exhausted in the race
But next year’s sweet sixteen
Will quickly take their place.

Secretly the poet knows little
’bout hoop-dee-dos…
No one knows the teams that well
So luck’s a must go-to.

My hopes were all on Kansas
’cause Dorothy’s from that state,
And Kentucky has the Derby, boys,
Despite the ranking slate.
It’s not all about the hang time;
The heart must be there, too.
So for the “Lions, Tigers, and Bears
Oh, my,” I was betting on KSU.

Too Tired to Think

All the rush is over,
bells have rung, cars have left,
Lights fade on long shadowed stragglers
And night crews emerge and hover.

Out comes Jimmy Works-too-much
Who sees lights go on
In pretty Sonya Driven-by-power’s room;
What’s she up to now?
Plotting someone else’s doom.

“Don’t you know it’s quittin’ time?”
Nightman Randall razzes him.
“Oh, there’s no such thing
for some of us,” says Jimmy
in his self-created gloom.

“Balance , dude,” the fellow says,
“make boundaries for the day.”
“I know,” says Jimmy, “that’s what
Wifey-you-need-to-be-here-more,”
said as I left the house today.

So, what will it be?
Another too-long-week-ahead?
Or will Quittin’ time only start
when pillow meets the head?

Occupations

I went to meet Breanna

Who, walking home from school today,

knelt down to pick a flower

off a neighbor’s scented bay.

Then, she whistled to a tabby,

who’d scurried up a tree, then

bellowed at the sheepdog who

had stopped to take a pee…

When a butterfly crossed her path
then flitted up a tree
She found a pebble,
kicked a stick,
then caught a sight of me.

The butterfly, now safe from harm

was swept by wind away

But nothing chased that

inner warmth from me when

she turned to me to say,

“Hi, Mom, did you see me call

the kitten?  can you whistle just like me?

Can you be home everyday

to meet me by this tree?”

It doesn’t take much insight

from a little girl I know

to remind me of my rightful

place, my call to help her grow.

“Gadzooks!” She Cries

The pot is bubbling over.
The kettles turning black;
The bees are making honey,
An’ the boys is sittin’ back

“High treason,” shouts the Colonel.
“The bad one got away.”
Who tol’ ya that sad story?
Muss be that teacher, Mister Gray.

“Come back to Shallow Harbor,”
yelled the captain to his mate.
“We’ve got a lot a fishin’ yet,”
he added, “Don’t be late.”

Duck down to miss the branches,
Duck down to see the ground,
Duck down to put the little boy
beneath the hallowed mound.

Merrimentism

Okay, it’s not a word,
but neither is lonelinesser or joymenting
But Merrimentism is happierest than
frownering or saulkabilly.
And playful images of kiddiegiggles
twittering from toddlerodges pop
from Merrimentism while
Angerarable or Disgustamundo
paint images of sobbering victimazers
or distressibly depressimobily direnessing.

So Merrimentism is it for now. And really,

who cares
if it’s not spelled right?

Breezes

Whip up, O Wind! off Eastern shore
Lift from sea dust the maverick
Franklin spirit; stir century encrusted
thinking about the New World;
Breathe inspiration into today’s righteous
Revolutionaries.

Alaskan air streams chill Northwestern
minds, but drafts filtered over glacial fields
fuel pioneering imaginations that rest in
California’s gold-laden streams and Oregon’s
Klackamus tribal lands.

Rise to meet the day, O Wind! off
Express pony hooves. Let enlighted
Squalls lift, inflate the minds
of the people, leaders.

A new world breezes in.

Entourage

Her rhinestone pinky ring
His dollar aviators
collect on the floor of the
four-door limousine;

Collie hair clings on
dress up clothes;
but Candy wiggles
somewhere in the sideyard.

Change the clothes; it’s
gettin’ time.
Pack the oranges, brownies,
fried chicken, and fishin’ pole;
We’re headed out

with all our bling in tow.

Grandfather Clock

Hurry before the scurry of the mouse
strikes one
Before wizards make lizards of Rowling’s
desperate muggles
Or Lewis’ wardrobe smacks Lucy’s
behind as Asland asks,
“What time is it, anyway?”

Beat back the time chime
Find something in Newton or Galileo
to stop the surety of
oops, tomor…oops, tomorr…
oops, tomorro…
time.

And then there’s an earthquake
in Chile that rivals Krackatoa,
did you hear?
Where is that grandfather clock
now?

Hey, There!

He called across the boulevard.

Turning to see,

She wish-boned, mid-stride,

the steel pole in front of her.
And he laughed, and laughed,
still laughing.

But she broke her nose
on that steel…
And then, tomorrow, she found reason
enough to shout
“Hey, there” when he
crossed the street.

Too bad his pole was
a semi.

Oops! She didn’t mean to
do that, did she?

Who, Are You Kidding?

Reading done?
Math finished, too?
Dogs fed?
Vacuuming through?

Whos get it done
In Whoville-land
While Spartans made Athens
float;
No wonder school
closes
When CH, MT, and Sally
mope.

Go back to work
Stop kidding around.
LOL LOL LOL LOL
Pound Facebook down;
There are 88
essays yet to grade.
Who, are you kidding?
Sanity fades.

Youth

That kid in the third row–
what a geek.
Crinkled blonde mop, Q-tipped
swimmer’s form;
He must swim backstroke well.
No consideration from the girls who knew him
then.
Now, a different, seasoned crowd
praise him.

Beauty and his fickled followers
Turn us from ourselves
And light recedes from untrained eyes,
until finally, after eons of experience
Character leaps to the fore
and Spirit outshines Beauty
because she always can
and will.

Welcome back to Geekville–
where things that matter don’t,
and boys look at girls
and girls look
inside.

Student

Little latch-key child
Burnt by loneliness and loss
Speak to someone;
Work out the sadness
And find peace.

Because peace, with her ruffled feathers
shiny mother of pearl softness
calm whispered breaths brushing
tears from his eyes
comes only by venturing through
dying and re-dying.
O Peace!
Let him read Fitzgerald’s lines
Ponder Populist movements and Great Wars
Care about greening chloroform
Challenge Will Hunting.

He, too young for such despair,
just wants to laugh
or form a revolution
or be hugged by his mother.

And there should not be a test
on that tomorrow
or ever.

Little boy, don’t cry anymore
You are beautiful
Just the way you are.

Pooh Bear and Pickles

Spring over Christopher’s
shoulders,
tumble to the ground
tickled and giggling about
Tigger’s silly bounce.

Crawl over the baseboard
onto the toy chest crammed
with matchbox cars, dinosaur
parts, Woody dolls shouting “Howdy
partner,” and memories like
crumbled pinewood derby
ribbons.

And where did that pickle come from?
Poor Pooh
who only wants honey.
Honey, those pickles

taste good.

Don’t say it……..

Oh bother.

Response

When word gets out
tomorrow’s done
Havoc reigns on everyone
his purpose does not linger on,
why do you?

Questions come from
every fore,
answers ring about
the door
Speak first, speak loud, speak
evermore
into you.

Nothing can prevent his word
No bold attempt can spare the sword–
She bit the line that reeled her up
You fool, you.

Evening melts in amber hues
Night creeps by with purple blues
Apollo’s gone with Io’s moons,
To do you.

When she cries molten tears
for you, you lemming,
listenharder still–
Can you respond you will?
Tell us, do you?

Holding On

Crying helpless “Hallelujahs”
Fighting private battles
Public wars–
Seething beneath the tender
skin
Ignored, abandoned, peering
up to the roof top
shyly, slyly hoping to be
caught by the
high priest
before the war ends and
he falls vanquished to the
melting, itching earth.

Inspiration

The Book fell down and built a crown
and children ran and held him up
and then the crowd began to heave
and then she cried, “pretty please.”
And from nowhere the line occurred
it moved from now to yesterday and back
again the story played until the final
moment rang so out of tune
and he was born to set it right despite

it all begins with in the little campground

near Pink Mountain where beer costs $12 and tea,

for those who drink it, teases warmth, pacifies.

32 and Counting

Unmarried girls fantasize romantically
about perfect unions
parties about those unions
and offspring
without knowing the full extent
of the reality that births
from that union…

daily compromise, constant
contact even when the co-signer’s
morning breath reeks
insults through the pores
onto the nice clean laundry
that no one folds
left waiting for attention that is
owed to sterilized linens
neutered dreams

Growing older without
the other half makes the whole
enough

But 33 sneaks up
and so does he–
damn it.

High Priest

Systolic clashing, crashing
pressure; squeezing walls,
crushing that which he thought
Lovely. Brown spheres with burning
portals suck life blood from
mere small talk–
naive impatient heart
simmer down down down
down
Heal him with that very lovely
love
Calm him with the tears
of longing
Rest him in the folds
of praying arms

Be cast iron in his eyes.

Landing

On the moon, on the earth, on the
front door of life
waiting momentarily for the door
to swing open
welcome me home with
hot sleepy time tea .

Moving to midnight, moving to work
life, easy sleep gives way to
tension, stress tingles crawl across
shoulders hunching against the pillow
bracing for tomorrow.

Landing sublime
Tomorrow survive
get ready to
s-m-i-l-e

Scripture

The Word digitized or otherwise printed or beamed or
recited
is still the word.
And what it says screams
STOP
listen to yourself.
Circumlocution does not
change the truth
Truth stands witness for itself.

Looking, feeling, crying
does not change
the Word.

Suffer, and shut up about it.
Is that right?

WIll you

Will you, dear, allow
a photograph
posed for by the window?

Will you smile
just for me because you
love me as much as i love
myself?

Will you make my coffee
make my dinner, clean
the dishes, pay the mortgage
and cable, phone, electricity,
water, insurance, and i’ll
buy some bread?

Will you put out
the trash when you get home
from working 12 hours. Say it:
Say, “yes, dear.”

I will.

China

Terra cotta photographs line the books
with soldiers stiff, with broken arms and
wall after wall of bricks and clay belie
the wealth that makes the country
Rich in humanity and poor in progress

But she blooms time once again; more earth
moves back, away, revealing more soldiers
in earthen garb that do not know how
to protect their infants from their fathers
and mothers who cry when its a girl.

And we pay whole retirement accounts
to see you.

“O, what a piece of work”
How can he always be right?

Glorious Reunion

Who’d ‘av thunk it?
Who’d ‘av known?
Who’d ‘av bet
You’d come alone?

There you came with guests
in tow to rock the glorious reunion
with the downright gall
of the arrogant knave who tempted fate
and lost.

How dare you do that to those
little ones who love you more than
you love me; how dare you do that
to them or us.

Don’t you want that glorious reunion
to occur? Oh dolt, oh fiend, oh beautiful
being. Why do you come so gallantly now?
Where were you the first time around?

Assessed Value

Nothing is that bad–despite the news
it’s getting worse
And if one has no empathy
Then, hell, it’s downright
peachy.

But, if blessed with the soft
sense of care
The values crashing bodes despair
crushing them and me
with the anxiety, fear, uncertainty

Value is a taxed statement.

The dark side speaks a veritable plethora
of offerings that will work

Only an idiot would try to slight God
and offer something else
How vain
How insincere

how often do the offerings lack
the proper spirit
the proper humility

But then there’s the Pinewood Derby that will be missed
and they will not accept the sacrafice
No matter how sincere the offer.

Torrential

Friday night, driving through the
radar’s golden storm eye
I thought I saw a veil

but it was rain water-torrents of pounding
droplets all racing to hit my windshield
blocking my view

But it was peaceful, too
torrential peace
washing over me

with love which calms
and peace breaks out
like the sun.