2017

uly 6, 2017 – Postcard #1

My arrhythmia was
OK for the quarter –
The doctor checked
and told me today.

Episodes were
irregular, infrequent
and of short duration –

small wonder in the
world where we live

July 6, 2017 – Postcard #2

The rain this morning
was more like April
than July –

Soft, steady, cool
raindrops splattered
on my forehead
and my glasses.

July 6, 2017 – Postcard #3

the 4th of July
came and went –

some shopping,
burgers and fries
at Five Guys,
the sound of fireworks
after sunset
that gave me flashbacks
to Baghdad.

July 7, 2019 – Postcard #4

Went to Queen of Sheeba yesterday.
Prices were lower and service was quicker.
Food is just as good as Chercher.
But all the customers were men, again.
I just don’t know what is up.
Enjoy your day!

JUly 8, 2017 – Postcard #5

Some days I wish
I were not a poet –

I wouldn’t worry about
how words sound together –

I wouldn’t force completed
thoughts into fourteen lines
with an occasional rhyme –

I wouldn’t feel compelled
to send my thoughts
to friends on a postcard.

July 8, 2017 – Postcard #6

I used to care about poetry
contests and getting published

and all that stuff.

But these days I only want
to record in words
each moment

I spend with you.

July 14, 2017 – Postcard #7

Who am I, are we,
to judge?

Beauty. Practicality.
Intelligence. Efficiency.

What do we know?

Words, sounds, thoughts.

Who am I, are we,
to judge?

July 14, 2017 – Postcard #8

If I lived in a state –
I might write a letter
to my elected representative
every now and then.

If I lived in a state –
maybe I’d run
for a congressional seat.

After all, I know
foreign policy, government
bureaucracy, and how laws
are really made.

If I were a citizen
of a state, I just might
go for it.

July 14, 2017 – Postcard #9

I am reading a paper,
Archives in the Ancient World.
The title reminds me
of the place where I work.

Nothing state-of-the-art here.
New machines stored
in big brown boxes
will never see the light of day.

Interesting artifacts
should be on display,
not squirreled away in
acid-free containers.

July 14, 2017 – Postcard #10

There are no spirits lurking in the aisles
and corners. Just cartons of documents,
​details of lives. Whether well-lived or ill,
these papers tell the story – marriage, birth,
land acquired, taxes. Death. It’s all there.
No need for the rattling sound of zombies –
ghosts of events yet to come – in graveyards.
Might this be the judgement we fear? The words
and deeds, archived records we leave behind
won’t deliver us to any heaven –
or hell. It’s just a mirage, this image
of hereafter we’ve been trained to accept
as truth, the certain object of our faith:​
​d​ried, folded, faded, in a dusty box.

July 14, 2017 – Postcard #10

I gave it my best –
I’m glad I don’t
have to do it anymore.

It was never worth
the promises they made –
to deal with all the
aggravation and ingratitude.

The dead may bury the dead.
And I will burn the bridge
that delivered me
before the clock ran out.

July 15, 2017 #11

you may not remember
it’s been nine years
since our last conversation

All is forgotten
all is forgiven
all is displaced
by new things
in our conversations.

July 16, 2017 – Postcard #12

I’ve made you the composite
of all my former lovers –
across the seasons, across
all boundaries, a character
in a pulp-fiction novel.

It’s unkind to include
all those identities into one
situation, one impossible role
to be performed, lacking
consistency or authenticity.

July 17, 2017 #13

We, the living –
so much to be
thankful for.

Death, the end –
has no remediation
to speak of.

My office is windowless,
but at least I know
where to go to see
the sunlight.

July 18, 2017 #14

my wife says it’s time
for a new poetry collection,

original stuff, not the
found poetry like before

She is usually right
and she has her favorite

selections all teed up.
I just need to cut and paste.

July 24, 2017 #15

I can’t believe what they put me through

to sign up for a fall course at my alma mater!

Not to mention the cost!

Transcripts from all graduate study. Really?

Didn’t I do that once before?

July 24, 2017 #16

I forgot that password again!
Wouldn’t it be easier
if a single password
opened everything?

July 24, 2017 #17

Friends didn’t like
my last poem.

At least they didn’t seem
too excited about it.

OK. You can only please
some of the people
some of the time.

July 25, 2017 #20

I am actually thinking
about canceling my Foreign
Service Journal subscription
and union dues.

All I read are the obits
anymore & I should
probably let the dead
bury the dead.
July 26, 2017 #21

It was a daring escape
sneaking out of the hot
dungeons of babylon.

unfortunately, I didn’t
escape alone. Ghosts
of Babylon slipped out
with me.

But I was home and they
couldn’t last too long
in the cool mountain
climate.

July 27, 2017 To the AU Librarians #22

Dear friends: I’ve changed my mind, back and forth,
about how to write this farewell, what to say,
how to address you, what format to use.
Accustomed to changing countries every
two years​, I suppose I’m still on that track.
​The new job? An adventure, a challenge,
but it appeals to my missionary zeal,
like many of the far-flung places where
I’ve worked. I was christened Methodist but
raised Missionary Baptist, so there you
have it. Well​, for some, this may be​ farewell.
​A fond adieu – I wish you well in all.
Others, for whom fortune grants our paths a
​2nd ​crossing – I say – until the next!

August 7, 2017 #23

I take the long route home
at end of the day – more time
for reading on the subway

And I don’t rush for departing
trains – the next one is coming
and will be less crowded

August 9, 2017 – Eclipse #24

If I should die before I wake —
Oh, never mind. My soul will know
exactly what to do when darkness
envelops me and she is freed and free.

Stuff my mortal remains, whatever’s left
of me, in a weighted wooden coffin
like the ones we kept in stock overseas
in abandoned embassy warehouses.
Put me on a Navy warship – bury me

at sea just beyond the 12-mile limit –
in international waters – let me sink
silently, peacefully to the bottom,
where lost shipmates are still on patrol,
and my ancestors await my return.

August 11, 2017 #25

I am seeing objects
in rapid random motion
on my mind’s periphery

Items I never knew
existed, never even
gave a reality to

before they appeared.
the items must think I’m
ready to see them

August 11, 2017 #26

Rushing home today
and hoping someone
has uploaded today’s
episode of Eastenders
on youtube so we can
watch it and chat over dinner