Friday, September 23, 2022

Michael Weeks 3

The day of your funeral a hundred people came to the cabin we built on the back of your parents’ land.
 
What times we had there. We continually jumped over the campfire until Roberts fell into it. We played guitars and danced like morons. We hung stolen street signs on the walls and dripped profanities in candle wax on the plywood bar.
 
Cabin guests were by invite only. I guess the crowd was invited, but not by you, me, Roberts, or Sundance. I entered the door, saw two young girls scraping your candle wax off the bar, and walked out.
 
During the service, a rain fell so hard no one could hear the speaker. I cried and sang “Fire and Rain” while Nic and Sundance played guitars.
 
After the service, the rain stopped and everyone got stuck in the mud—wheels spinning, clothes ruined. I laughed. I know you did, too. 


Friday, September 16, 2022

Tater Poems

A lone curled cat
on the couch anchors
the room.
 
 
 
What does the high tail
slinking around the opened door
mean after the repeated screaming?
 
 
 
Silent house. No cat in sight.
Eyes look out the dresser drawer.
 
 
 
Paw prints on the counter.
Toy mouse in the laundry.
 
 
 
There’s a loose string
on the back of my shorts,
according to the claws in me.
 
 
 
The cupboard doors clunk.
The cat tree shakes. A door mat
shoots across the floor.
 
 
 
I wake and can’t move my head.
Tater is on my hair. Purring. 


Turning Timid

The leaves show no fear.
But a sensitive limb blushes
gold and betrays the tree.
 
Relieved by the revealed
honesty, each leaf comforts
the other with back patting, 
 
and none feels the tremble.
Down below, green grass
holds a lone gold leaf.


Thursday, September 15, 2022

Leslie’s Out

Tater sleeps in the bedroom 
until he hears the toilet flush, 
the light switch, or the recliner's motor—
something that signals I’m mobile.
 
He enters. I give him a treat, 
pat his head, and return to my book. 
He walks back to his bed.


Saturday, September 10, 2022

Nothing Remains

We gathered orphaned furniture 
after we eloped; furniture that should 
have remained orphaned. A bean bag chair. 
A yellow faux-fur, 70s style bucket seat. 
A yellow, 70s style couch with fabric
as tough as burlap that the previous owner 
assured us had seen a lot of sex. 
Chairs and a table with a flame retardant top. 
A 70s style, pedestal lamp with a yellow shade. 
(We loved the 70s, though neither 
of us were alive then, but the yellow 
coordination was unintentional.) 
The only piece we chose to buy, new, was a 
Sponge Bob Square Pants plastic end table.
 
That was 20 years ago, and Sponge Bob 
is all that remains. His gap-toothed 
smile stands out among our curated furnishings.
 
In a dream, my dead grandfather said, 
“Don’t get rid of any long-term clothes, 
any long-term anything.”
 
But he’s no longer here.


Thursday, September 8, 2022

Coming and Going

The thought of the elderly behind the wheel is a horror, 
until I think of them at dinner, pushing food off the plate 
and failing to land spoons in their mouths. 
Watching them walk? Good Lord. 
I’m just waiting for them to lean a little too far forward 
and torpedo their heads into a wall, or worse, a coffee table. 
They’re pitiful. They can’t do much of anything for themselves. 
God forbid they have to hand you a pen and paper. 
I do envy their eyes, though, 
how they look as if they’re seeing everything for the first time.
 
The thought of toddlers behind the wheel is a horror, 
until I think of them at dinner, pushing food off the plate 
and failing to land spoons in their mouths. 
Watching them walk? Good Lord. 
I’m just waiting for them to lean a little too far forward 
and torpedo their heads into a wall, or worse, a coffee table. 
They’re pitiful. They can’t do much of anything for themselves. 
God forbid they have to hand you a pen and paper. 
I do envy their eyes, though, 
how they look as if they’re seeing everything for the first time. 


Saturday, August 27, 2022

Friendship

Some of the friend’s I’ve lost died.
 
The dead are still with me.
 
Those who broke my heart stay, too, despite my wants.
 
Others went missing when I wasn’t paying attention.
 
Life is a series of unresolved events that prepares us to accept death, an event that prevents resolution.
 
The friend’s I have with me,
 
most of them are living. 


Saturday, August 20, 2022

Frog Songs Entered His Dreams

Raised on a farm, he came to a city.
His hands rough, his kindness useless.
The city trained his head to the ground.
His shoulders rolled. His belly grew.
He waded through daily faces 
that at night waded through him.
The streets became rote. He forgot the sky.
Mechanical noise lulled him to sleep.
Frog songs entered his dreams.
Animal sounds filled his dreams.
He knew he was climbing his grandfather’s
barbed cattle fence. The sun had set,
and the pony, Little Bit, stood still.
He reached from the fence over her
back and pulled himself atop her.
He could see all the land that sloped
to the pond and rose again in the back
pasture, and the neighboring tree line
darkened under the dimming sky.
Little Bit was silent. He reached for her mane.
She bolted and he was thrown. He slid a distance 
in mud and shit, but was okay. 


Saturday, July 30, 2022

Eulogy for Forgotten Times

The driven commutes without mentionable
weather or changed radio stations.
 
A day spent entirely alone 
at home, missing no one.
 
A familiar walk by the river
lost in thought.
 
The day you left work 
as though shortly after arriving.
 
Let’s honor those that’ve carried 
us here with no expectations.
 
Between pain’s insistence on permanence
and joy’s inspired impressions, we’ve
forgotten times without difficulty.
 
May times uneventful
return to anonymity.
Our tireless comfort
and overlooked reprieve.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

Everyone Needs a Mimi

She hasn’t shrunk. She’s always been.

In high hair and pajamas, she’ll say,

“Want a pickle, ice cream, popcorn?”

She’s not comfortable until you are.

“How’s work? Do you like it?”

If you don’t, you shouldn’t, and she

doesn’t either. If you do, “Oh good.”

Her stool helps her feet touch

the floor. Her gestures rattle her

bracelets over her arm chair.

And if you’re upset, “Talk to Mimi.” 



Thursday, July 21, 2022

Another Day

You stand up and shuffle in pajama 
pants (awaking Tater) into the kitchen.
“How did dinner go with Evan?”
“Fine. Talked about the usual stuff.”
Tater arches upward and yawns 
on the back of the couch, and then 
walks down my chest and lap.


Saturday, July 16, 2022

Michael Weeks 2

The day after you died, 
your house and yard
were full of everyone 
we knew. I fell apart
when exiting the car,
and went around the house
for privacy. I found your 
dad crouched near a kitten
that played with his hand.
He said, "Hi," and I did, too.
Then we both continued to cry.


Friday, July 15, 2022

The spirit of the mentally ill

The spirit of the mentally ill
wants one conversation
 
to confirm she exists.
She catches herself
 
on the corners of reality enough
to suspect it:
 
a déjà vu in an overcoat
on a summer beach,
 
the synchrony of a cigarette light
with lamps on streets,
 
or neck hairs stand on end
when eyes lock with a friend—
 
            the pith of all hope
            (recognizing her expression
 
            in a mirroring face)
            passes understanding.
 
She feels as if something’s misplaced.


Saturday, June 18, 2022

Tribeca's Kitchen

Stop animation photos capture
a diner table overhead.
Two coffee cups empty and fill
and empty and appear here
and there around disappearing
chocolate chip pancakes
and a two-egg breakfast, until
the cups stand empty alone together.


Tuesday, March 1, 2022

Michael Weeks

I was sixteen when you died.
When I was seventeen, Stacey Brice 
handed me a paper-doll skeleton
that you had cut and pressed within 
your Geometry book. Now I’m forty one,
and those paper bones are in this poem, 
atop my shelf, and older than you ever were.