A Minute with Michael

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I forgot to be mad.
I forgot to be jealous.

I forgot my regrets.
I forgot my foolishness.

I forgot it all.
I forgot I was forgetting.

I looked at her,
she looked at me.

I forgot everything else
except her eyes, looking back at mine.

I forgot about this sort of thing.
I forgot about that meaningful look.

I forgot lovers looked that way.
I forgot how hard I wished for it.

I forgot the past,
I forgot the future.

I forgot ever worrying,
I forgot that I was supposed to.

I forgot to be anxious.
I forgot to be scared.

I forgot my judgments.
I forgot my preconceptions.

I remember
Her smile.

I saw it, that sweet smile,
which I had forgotten women make.

I hope she remembers it,
as well as I do.

But then,
I forgot I am a romantic.


I kept hearing clicking as we spoke.
The sound a roller coaster might make
as it climbs higher and higher,
but there’s no drop.

We keep talking,
I keep hearing clicking,
and it fills me with a new

The clicking isn’t annoying,
or frustrating or intimidating,
it’s just there, like the gears of
a grandfather clock masterfully made.

A metronome swinging back and forth
with the rhythm of the conversation,
a steady pace, clicking, like parts
fitting together.

Click – I like that.
Click – I like that too.
Click – That makes me laugh.
Click – Me too.

It was no measure of time,
it wasn’t a beating of hearts,
just a conversation,

A clicking I liked,
A clicking I hope to hear more.
A clicking that fits effortlessly
into place with the other clicking sounds.

Click – I saw that too.
Click – I had a similar adventure.
Click – I see that the same way!
Click – Let’s do this again.

A kiss good-night – Click.

Twenty Years Ago

These are always tough to write.
I’ve actually written ten of them.
You’d think it would get easier,
but it never really does.

20 years is a lifetime to some,
20 years is nothing in the universe.
20 years ago, is odd to say.
20 years ago, is easy to remember.

As much a date in my mind as
12/07/1941 and 06/06/1945,
as much as 04/12/1861 and
04/02/1917 or 01/28/1986.

All dates of infamy and pain.
Shared across this country like
a yoke of impossible disbelief.
Joining us all in the choir of sorrows.

We have grown with the scars
etched on our souls,
while the young know nothing
of the marks we carry inside.

It’s strange to imagine a world
before 9/11. I don’t remember
what life was like before then.
Were we less divided as a country?
More divided?

Were conspiracies and cockamamie
theories just the left-overs of bad
X-Files episodes or were we always
headed down such a divisive path?

Does it diminish the memory of all
those valiant lost and dead when we
play with the tableau of history to suit
our perspective?

I miss who we were,
20 years ago, on 09/09/2001.
I miss not having to ask these questions.
I honor those that were elevated into memory,
as I trace the scar on my soul.

  • Photo Credit – Me. I took this photo on 08/23/2001 (I had it framed, that’s why it looks like I took it with a cell phone.)

For a Change

In Autumn,
a sunbeam,
is aesthetically pleasing.

In Winter,
a sunbeam,
is precious.

In Spring,
a sunbeam,
is a welcome old friend.

In Summer,
a sunbeam,
is a laser beam death ray.

It’s perspective,
that’s changed.
Like the seasons.

Always on the move,
always in flux,
always in transition.

No stubborn absolutism,
no intransigent positions,
no stagnation.

Change is change,
for change,
in change.

In mind,
a change,
is good.



I’ve stared at that word
for quite a while now
wondering what I should
write about it. And all I
have is that I’m positive
I don’t have anything good to say.

I thought I should perhaps,
write something slightly
more upbeat than my last
few poems. They’ve been
somewhat down in the dumps
and I should try to bring a little
positivity into our lives.

But then life, being what it is,
seems to get in the way and my
patience for the general incomprehensible
nonsense overflowing from the bowels of
humanity makes me lift my feet up, trying to
avoid each miserable puddle to miserable puddle
like a child splashing through the street after the rain.

Avoiding all the muckity-muck as
best as I can, while whispering the
most profane of curses and swears.
In the vilest way, I swear and grumble
in streams of rage and impatience.
At the endless masochism puddled
in my path.

Be positive.

“You look nice today,” I say.


Art: Girl looking into a mirror
Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Something About the Old Gods

I was pondering the relevance
of the Ancient Gods and
Goddesses of myth on my
drive into work this morning.
And how those ancient beliefs
fall in line with the contradictions
within the human condition.

Zeus at least, was
presented as a morally
corrupt and contrasting
figure of an all powerful
deity. He was flawed, thus
excusing man’s flaws.

God though, the Christian,
Jewish God, is infallible.
A perfect being without
error, directing the compass
of destiny through just means.

Disease, viruses, sickness,
famine, plague, war, etc.,
all created through God’s
creation. Yet it’s all part of
a plan. A plan based around
a predeterminate free-will.

I propound the antique belief in
the Ancient panoply of Gods
is akin to believing in some level
of modern moral turpitude.
A paradox.

God is good.
God makes man.
Man makes sin.
Man destroys God.
God destroys man.
Is God good?
Is Man good?

Is believing in a Minitour or
Centaur any different than
believing a vaccine is unsafe
or that there’s some sort of microchip
in their designed to… I don’t even know,
Is there any difference?

Are human beings so easily
taunted by myth we’re not
capable of seeing through it,
seeing them as just stories,
and we just writhe in the agony
of misinformation and arrogant

I should just focus on my
drive into work.
I don’t want to miss my exit
and there’s a lot of stuff to
do on my desk.
This is not a Labyrinth.

But I fear the beast in the middle.

When the Dam Breaks

I don’t know what to say, again.
It happens every so often,
when the wells run dry
and the usual flow of
words are stifled at the source.

Dammed up behind some
casual comfort.
Cut off behind a wall of boredom
and repetition and repeating myself.

How much more have I got to say?
Do I say anything?
Is there meaning in the work that I
do with this?
Is this just an exercise in self-delusion?

At least I’m getting exercise,
so that’s something, I suppose.
Supposing, is something I should
do, in the creation of these poetic
word shavings.

Ick, word shavings?
That’s like that magnetic poetry
on the fridge just got nudged and
the words “word” and “shavings”
fell to the linoleum.

And I was like, “Ooooh, a neat-oh
phrase! Let’s put that back on the
fridge. Look how cool and very 1990’s
this all is.” As I buff my fingernails
on my shirt in pride.

It’s not doubt though,
it’s more like a lack of purpose.
Why say anything if there’s nothing to say,
nothing to write?
Rote obedience to the words, I suppose.

I’ll just have to find something
worth saying.
At some point.
As I am compelled.
When the dam breaks.

No, Is What I Said

No, is what I said.
No, not right now.
No, I’m not interested.
No, I don’t like that.
No, just… No.

No, is a tough word to hear,
for most people.
They take it personally when told, “No”.
People would rather say anything else
than say the word, “No.”

No. It works for me.
Do you want this Pill? No.
Do you want to go swimming? No.
Do you want me to make you lunch? No.
Well, what are you making? Ick, No.

I’m okay with hearing no too.
Do you love me? No? Okay.
Do you want to hear this haiku? No? Okay.
Do you want peppers on your sandwich? No? Okay.
Do you ever see yourself being in love with me? No? Okay.

No is just alright.
It’s clear. It’s unambiguous.
It is direct and commonly appropriate.
No is reliable.
No is real.

No doesn’t coddle you
or fill you with false anticipation.
It’s done with you in two letters,
That’s it.

Until the right Yes person comes along.
The Yes person to take those specific and
concrete No’s and turn them into sweet
honey that tingles the tongue into
blissful acquiescence.

All my No’s are really just waiting,
for the right person who’ll turn all
my No’s into Yes’s.
A Yes man.
For a Yes woman.

Subtle Cruelties

The random strange cruelty
of the world is truly something
to behold. The shadow of malignant
chance creeping effortlessly
amidst our daily lives.

Life is, streaky.
Like a baseball team.
You’re having a good season
and then, “Wham!”
Slump city.

Where does this dark
random malignancy come from?
In what foul wretches of the
underworld is it made?
A stinking, vile cauldron of witches’ brew?

I’m very much trying to value
my good streak, and recognize it
while it lasts. I want to hold onto
it for as long as possible and keep the
creeping darkness at bay.

Yet, the fringes of luck I can see, are being
tainted by the wispy tendrils of
chance and general rotten
Tearing and gnawing at the edges.

It starts with something simple,
a stubbed toe in the morning,
ending in fires and shouting,
ambulances racing over city
streets as the rancor and havoc erupt.

I’m still trying to keep my chin up
though. Still trying to keep that hope
alive that my happy plans will not be
destroyed by the dark machinations of a
stubbed toe or a missing turn signal cover.

Which I discovered this morning on
my car before I went to work.
Because the little cruelties of the world
are relentless in their desires to keep us

Doris on the Floor

The ice cream melted on the kitchen counter. Doris never had the chance to put it back into the freezer before she died. The strawberry ice cream dripped and leaked, puddled and pooled, across the counter and steadily dripped onto the cold linoleum in gooey globs. Doris didn’t know. She was dead. The ice cream that pooled in her hair and splashed in small drops on her face were of no matter.

Doris of Ivy Lane. Doris of The Prairie School for the Gifted. Doris of Allen County’s Concert Pianist Society, was dead. She wasn’t really a fan of ice cream either. She had only bought it for her granddaughter who was obsessed with it. Doris only ate orange sorbet; in delicately small spoonfuls. To match her petite features.

Doris on her yellow kitchen floor. In a puddle of sticky, congealing strawberry ice cream. The coroner and medical examiners would have a field day with her poor body. All sticky and icky with old ice cream in the week she’d be there. Ants would somehow find her first and start their harvesting of all the sugary goodness encasing her body. For now, she was still just there. A sticky corpse unknown to anyone walking by her house, dropping off her mail, or calling to ask about the charity auction for next month. Doris’ life, left for someone else to discover, to tell.

Doris, dancing barefoot in patches of moonlight while Steven drank red wine from the bottle and smoked. He waxed philosophically about life and everyone’s inevitable demise and the poetry of all things. Doris, at 23, was so impressed by Steven and his 27-year-old wisdom. He was so cool and sexy. Tall and muscular. She danced barefoot for him in the moonlight because she thought he loved her. Which he didn’t, but it was 1968 and everyone thought they were Alan Ginsburg, Jack Kerouac or James Dean, even though James Dean had been dead for 13 years by then. It was all about the, “poetry of love, baby,” Steven would say as he pulled her close to kiss her.

Doris, dead on her kitchen floor. She’d joined them all now. Alan, Jack and even Steven had passed some years back. She had her fling with Steven, who had gone into aeronautics or something and never got to be the Hep Poetry Cat he wanted to be in New York Cafes, encircled in cigarette smoke and bongo music. Doris heard he died while jogging up a hill, talking on a Cell phone about propellers or something. Doris had shaken her head when she heard, remembered that strange night of love-making and “tsk’d”, the way people do when a memory like that pops into the head.

Doris had always felt that she was more Kerouac anyway. She played the piano. She liked jazz. She understood the mood piano music could inspire. She loved paying. She played in school. She played on a few records. She played at the community center for the old folks. She followed through on her beatnik dreams as it were, unlike so many of the men who thought themselves beat poets and artistic types, when after all they really were just spoiled white boys.

Doris’ lifeless eyes were open, staring at the edges of her kitchen cabinets. Dilated and fixed, her eyes, hazing over. Eyes that witnessed the rapid changes of society, that petered out at the last minute, leaving so many unfulfilled and disappointed. If they could look sad, they would. Doris’ friends had only recently commented on how tired she looked these days. She’d brush them off, saying she was just fine.

The week passed with Doris on the floor, covered and coated in the pink hue of Strawberry Ice cream, before her daughter finally came by to check on her. Doris would have been embarrassed by the mournful wails of her daughter, but it was probably alright. These things happen.