Friday, September 26, 2014


…For whatever reason, a lot of people’s pets died today.  Or so they’re saying on Facebook.  I understand how sad that must be.  I’d be miserable if anything ever happened to my sweet little Lucy.  Still, I don’t think I’d share the news.  Seems like a pity grab.

…I live in the boondocks (now there’s a word you don’t hear anymore).  The nearest grocery store (or food store, as they say on the east coast) is fifteen minutes away.  All the phone and power lines are above ground, sagging from slanted poles and there are thousands of old trees which occasionally (especially in winter when it snows, or during windstorms) crack off limbs which in turn fall on the power lines taking the power out with them.
That was the case this week and last week two.  Outages this early are pretty rare.
Yesterday the internet went out.
Sometimes there’s something to be said for living through an outage.  I’d find myself still flipping he light switches, which just goes to show how a person can take having power for granted.
When the kids were still here and we’d have an outage we’d light candles and get out the lanterns and play board games.  The kids actually looked forward to it.
Yesterday, with no internet, I wrote a ton of poetry.
Here are two (the first is all true and the first half of the second is true)


So much to say about the taste of a strawberry
How it takes me back to age nine
My first time working the fields
With all the Hispanics
Knees on the hard dirt and rocks
For hours
Clipping berries from stems
Picking as fast as I could
Filling flat after flat
Until the heat broke one hundred
And the foreman called it quits for the day
While we lined up like prisoners
Around the back of a pickup
Handing over our punch cards which showed
How much we’d picked
And getting cash for it
Bills discolored from berry juice
Looking blood-stained
The same way my fingers would until Fall
Me not caring one bit
Because back at home
In our trailer
As my parents went at each again
And my brothers turned up the TV
To override all the screaming
I lay in my bunk
Thinking about the rest of the summer in the fields
And the summers after that
About how much I’d pick
How much I’d make
Feeling I could be rich
And maybe
Just maybe
Make a new life for myself someday


I remember the day my brother got out of prison
Dad driving his ’63 Cadillac convertible with its chrome-tipped fins
The top down though it was dusk and windy and bitter cold
My step-brother in the back seat next to me
Yelling, “Floor it,” while Dad obliged
Though he’d been drinking earlier
Mom riding shotgun
Wearing a headscarf like her idol Grace Kelly
And cat-eyed glasses
Cigarette smoldering between her lips
Me wondering how it would feel to kill someone
Even on accident
Then being locked up all those years with nothing to do
But wrestle with shame
We’d switched towns after it had happened
But when my girlfriend found out
She broke things off
Others knew soon
I was a killer’s brother
And school was torture
At the prison gate we waited for hours
Until near midnight
He strolled out
“Aren’t you even going to give me a hug?” he said
“I don’t bite,” he said
I never did ask him how it felt
What it was like to be locked up
But tonight after I pick up my Dad from the same place
I’ll make sure he tells me how
It was for him  

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