Bob’s Adverb

Who named the adverb bastard child?
Is this because it fails to stand alone,
leans always on another
for meaning
so much like us
at our worst (and best)
we shun them?

In the time when fans spoke quietly
before the days of scream and riot,
we stood with Dylan after a concert
behind the Mosque in Newark.
We talked, shared wine, laughter.
He and Suze invited us to party in the city.
We declined, I had a curfew.

The next year in that same spot,
a mob ran past us. A fan returned
hand in air, shouting “I’ve got his hair!”
So ended gentleness. It’s clear why
Dylan sometimes plays –
his back to the audience.

Adverbs in my mind describe how
translucent Dylan’s skin
bright Suze’s smile
tiny their Volkswagen
high that fan held her cruel hand.

Chores

When the Winken Blinken days were gone,
defiance became my middle name.
Dad and I met only over floor tile and paint –
chores well done.

We’d visit the lumber yard, select
pine to fashion Adirondack chairs
to grace the deck, unaffected
by wind and rain.

Rising early, the bay quiet, we’d share coffee
from a pot that sat – stacked silver orbs –
on the counter – and discuss our day’s
plans, make notes.

I’m an ecstatic sander – a lover of latex.
All my life – one gallon at a time
I paint my way back
to my father’s heart.

Foxcross Farm

When I think of the farm
it’s the stone bridge and country
road curving by the low barn.
It’s Tony’s tomatoes, white peacocks.

When I think of the farm, I see pine
trees, green pastures, the
bramble roses by the creek
sheep standing in the field.

When I think of the farm
I watch women spinning wool
the whir of wheels descant to
soft voices and gentle laughter.

When I think of the farm, I see
Airedales, Romney sheep,
a rabbit and Rhode Island Reds,
a well-fed Peaceable Kingdom.

I do not think of the ground
we walked last night when
one of their flock went missing
fearing death had stalked a lamb.

When I think of the farm
I don’t see Anthony striding the fields
Julie peering into corner and cranny
in tense, sweaty anxiety.

Death’s but a hair’s breadth
away each day. It makes
sweet our brief walk through time
I don’t think of that.

WHAT CATS KNOW

The neighbor’s Siamese
all smoke, beige fur, padded feet
appears in the abandoned yard
next door to torment my puppy.
She cleans herself and watches.
How does she know not to wander
into the busy street out front
or Interstate behind
to be flattened by van or semi?

What makes her sit instead
and groom, blue-eyed Charybdis,
amid weed-shrouded lilacs
while vehicles vahroom past and
exhaust wafts through the air
stained with scent of fries and
big Macs from across town?

Dogs know none of this.

CROWS


Black forms
fly north-by-northeast
over the transparent moon.
First one, a few
then a broken ribbon
crosses the sky
as the crows fly home
to roost.
 
Audubon does not say
nor maps reveal
which nook hides
so many Corvids.
They sway and weave  
heading coastward
over lagoons and draw bridges
rivers and roads.
 
I’ve wanted to befriend
a crow for years
although I know
taming wild things
is not an act of grace.
But the presence of wildness
is soul mending
irreplaceable.
 
 

BEACH

Glasses on an open book
    its pages ruffled by the wind.
Spring air (as winter melts away)
    against a naked patch of skin.

The warmth of sunlight on my back.
    The sight of seagulls as they fly.
The scent of sand beneath a towel.
    The curl of waves under the arc of sky.

Salt water when it’s clear and cool.
    Toweling hair after a swim.
 The beauty of the beach when fall is near.
    How skin when drying, gathers itself in.

These images and more return to me
    when salt and sand and sea’s nearby.
Sweet days lived long before I knew
    how life like summertime could fly.