Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Calligrapher's Anguish

What are the kanji
for flotsam and jetsam, and
where is my family?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Les Quatre Cents Coups

There’s a universal roughness in the urchin years
a stark collision of freedom and neglect
that cuts across continents

Street-smart lads learn early on
an uncanny knack for reconnaissance
spotting weakness like distracted parents
slipping away unnoticed and nicking
everything from typewriters to fresh milk

Even the Amish let their boys run wild
these scenes recur in Stanley
Cherry Hill and Hampton Park
but nowhere better than 1950s Paris

Are we shocked?

Do we miss it?

Inspired by Poetry on Wednesday prompt for the classic 1959 French film Les Quatre Cents Coups

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


His room was his room
until it was invaded by a shrieking little alien
disguised as a newborn brother
and then it was their room
an experience he’d cite years later
when holding forth on the topic
of birth control

The next twelve years were okay
except the times when his girlfriend would gaze
over his shoulder at the ceiling
and wonder what their own place would look like
which lasted exactly until he left for college
packing his dreams
but leaving her there

Nobody has personal space in college
except for ninety minute favors
so somehow he survived

No young faculty have their own office
even the rock stars
so he suffered the cramping and clutter
until he got the one little office under the stairs
and even that seemed like redemption

Then he got his own space
in his own home
and for a guy who liked to name things
that’s the only name it had
not the den
not the manspace

Set up as a study with weights
it had a nice chair and all the right tools
and it worked swimmingly well
until he forgot everything
he ever believed about birth control

But he found fatherhood to his liking
though his son was quite different than him
the mutant actually liked studying
and excelled at homework
meaning the den was taken over
and it was time to move again

Picture his exile:
the smallest room of the house
a feng shui disaster
but his precious ego
was tempered by the knowledge
that far better writers gave their lives
to work in much worse surroundings
and he’d do well to get over it
to thank his blessings
and get back to work

Inspired by Poetry on Wednesday prompt 22
The only peace that can be found is in the smallest room in the house