Soft kiss on my lips,
a wisp of her scent wafts by…
merely a daydream.
The cows are all down,
clouds stretch to each horizon;
Not the day I planned.
I have reached a point of not
really giving a damn about what
you may be offended by.
Not a Rhett Butler scolding
a spoiled child kind of ambivalence,
no, more like angry
get out of my face before I lash out
in unrepentant violence
kind of scorn.
I find lately that I am inherently violent,
restrained only by propriety
and a rapidly becoming outdated
morality. To clarify,
I do not seek confrontation,
but have come to believe
myself capable of an extreme response.
I find I watch people more,
question their motives and intentions first
with no real concern as to how
they might feel about such scrutiny.
And if you are perhaps a bit more swarthy
than I, or if you display signs
of a faith more Eastern than mine,
and my gaze lingers on you longer
than the redneck with the Confederate flag tattoo,
well, too damn bad. The circumstances
of reality now supercede political correctness. I intend to engage
in a private profiling.
I look at my daughter, my son, my wife,
and realize that I cannot define
the limits of my response were someone
to inflict harm upon them.
I do not believe I would be capable
of placing forgiveness before retribution.
The steel jabs into the roll of fat above
my belt, just above my kidney,
but the discomfort is secondary
to the unease I would feel
were it not there. I get more used
to it every day.
You may protest me if you like.
My willingness to respond to violence
with greater violence — without remorse
or conscious — may appal you.
Does the very fact of my existence
As I stated before,
I just don’t give a damn.
I remember taking my oldest daughter
to the beach,
slathering her in sunscreen
and securing the frilly, floppy hat
over her red curls.
The rest of the day was spent
walking behind her, picking up the hat
and replacing it on her head.
Worst sunburn I’ve ever had.
I remember my toddler son chasing seagulls
across the sand,
arms outstretched, Gilligan hat on his head,
always on his tiptoes,
heals never touching the sand.
He would turn back to look at us,
point at the skittering birds
and laugh as a carefree child
ought to laugh.
I remember my youngest daughter’s
first time at the beach, still too young to walk.
We would hold her by her hands
and lower her to the sand,
the lower she got the higher she would raise
Not once did she touch sand without crying,
perfectly content to explore
to the edge of the blanket,
and no further.
Somehow, I thought they would always
be that age,
but I do often wonder,
whether it is they,
who I have allowed
to get so old.
There is a faded sign with large, colored bulbs
that used to work in front of the house
where Sister Rose receives callers. Palm reading,
tarot cards, astrology; she is well rounded.
I often gaze at the old house —
now on a main drag —
when I pass by, sitting in traffic,
but I am never tempted to stop,
always remembering the wide-eyed gypsy who
refused to read my palm.
I do not place much faith in the mystical arts,
a flip of the cards or the alignment of the stars
has never meant as much to me as my wife’s smile
when I compliment how she looks.
My hands are not worker’s hands, no callouses
or cuts or broken nails, but there are lines,
a lot of lines, crossing, meeting, diverging,
parallel, perpendicular and broken,
and once there was a frightened gypsy woman
who refused to read my palm.
Psychic readings strike me as nothing more than
parlor games, or shysters who prey on those
searching for what cannot be found
by anyone other than yourself.
Astrology is an amusement, Virgo only describes
a small part of me. None of it holding more portent
than when my smiles and takes my hand in hers,
gently letting me know she is there,
but there is always a memory of a gypsy woman
who refused to read my palm.
a requirement for continued
and looks across the table
as if about to speak, respond,
appears to change his mind,
before getting up for a refill.
The moon is bright through the kitchen window.