Tag Archives: free verse

Don’t Fence Me In

Don’t Fence Me In was a song we sang in Mrs. Nye’s music class in our Roman Catholic grade school
It was kind of an old fashioned song for seventh graders to be singing
I thought at the time
Maybe she felt fenced in with all the nuns and priests and the small paycheck
Teaching music to ungrateful school children who really wanted to sing
from Fleetwood Mac’s Rumors album
I liked that teacher though, as I liked most of the teachers from what is now called my middle school years
They were young and, I can now assume, probably desperate for their first teaching job,
They had bills to pay and families to support, and there we were,
our know-it-all smartass selves
Giving them a hard time and doing stupid things like putting Alka Seltzer in our mouths at recess
Our mouths foaming while we felt funny which gave us the mistaken belief we were brave
Having a group of seventh and eighth graders sing hokey songs they’d never forget,
that was brave
I find myself singing that song to myself sometimes, and it makes me happy, just like I’m some old cowboy on the open range
Maybe that music teacher knew that when we grew up, there was a strong chance we’d feel fenced in too

A Wish

If I wish really hard for something
Squinched up eyes shut in a whisper
Over and over sandwhiched between
Please oh please, God, pretty please
Wishing til’ it hurts. Will it work this time?

Mama says that life ain’t fair and no
Amount of silent hoping is gonna change
That wishes are just a bunch of tossed up
Dreams to God and he can only say yes
To so many. But if my heart’s in the right place?

Maybe last time I forgot to close my eyes, and
I didn’t capitalize God’s name in my thoughts
Or God is a lady and she’s mad I’ve been
Calling her father, But if God’s as nice as the priest
Says on Sundays, should all that matter?

I think that if God is a girl, like me, she’d
Understand better that my mama needs
My daddy to come back home now
That mamas need smiles on their faces
And if my wish gets a yes, I promise
I won’t ever ask for another thing, ever

Waiting in Line

Have you ever been waiting in line behind a guy
You think has a toupee on his head?
And while waiting for a really long time in that line
That doesn’t seem to be moving forward,
You wonder what he looked like with his real hair
It must have been darker, the shade that
Still lingers above his ears, not having abandoned him

Would you start to imagine him adjusting it carefully
Thinking it made him look younger, better
Than if he was partially bald, or shaved it off completely?
Does he take it off, setting it on his nightstand
Or keep it on in case his wife comes to bed feeling amorous?
Does he fret over every windy weather report
Knowing he will have to hold onto it like others do a hat?

It keeps my mind busy, this staring at his artificial hair
And I find myself as you probably would too
Feeling compassion for this total stranger and his whys
That compelled him to cover up what changed
Sometimes so much more than simple recessive genetics
Leading all of us to fix what shouldn’t need to be
It is then, I slowly reach up and touch it lightly with love

Who Did That?

There is the hope for closeness
When they are adults and I am gone
Not standing by, suggesting or
Forcing it by demanding truces
Calling for ceasefires continually
The many verbal assaults that
Still sometimes end in giddy
Laughter over one or the other
Expelling a gaseous exchange
With the universe merrily shocking
Each others olfactory sensibility
And always the question of
Who did that? All three know
Without anyone admitting it
I smile knowing it is in these
Silly boy exchanges that their
Love is in the craziest of details

The Voicemail of a Stranger

Nowadays phones flash names
In silent warnings announcing
The hoped for, the unexpected,
Sometimes the feared, the dreaded
What is my mood, what is the time
Is there desire in committing
Effort to a voice, to listen, respond
Appropriately, kindly, with patience
To a voice, with nuances and feelings
Sending a message is quicker, easier
Unlimited, unstamped instant notes
Abbreviated by sound, to save space

Today though, a number without a name
No recognition to who this person
Could be, calling me in the morning
Allowing voicemail to give notice to
This stranger, that I am busy and
Will respond when the inclination
Suits my schedule, a save it for later
The day is long, tedious, lacking
In everything but frustration
As I clear the memory of the day
From my phone, from my thoughts
I listen to the gentle voice of a stranger
That unimportant call this morning
The mystery number that held no distinction

Now, at the end of my day, generously
Thanking me for leaving a note on his car
Accidents happen he says, then apologizing
For not thanking me sooner for honesty
That in this world is not so frequent
I was on vacation when you hit my car
In that parking lot and left the Post-it
He repeats in gratitude again, I
Should have called you sooner
No, I think this was the perfect time
This gift of voice from a stranger, who
On vacation came back to that
Parking spot to find my gift of a dent
Adorned in a fluorescent green Post-it