A covid morning spent waiting for the mail.
The telltale metallic open and close
Of the mailbox lid,
Then a minute's wait
For the postman's retreat...
The anticipation of going for the mail...
A high point of a covid day,
A flatline day with an EKG spike,
Just thinking about the mail,
Then a spike for lunch,
And a spike for dinner,
And a spike for a walk,
And a desperate spike
For a late-night snack,
And, of course, a bedtime spike,
Musing over the next day's mail.
Robins used to be humble and small...
The harbingers of spring...
Little Robin Redbreast.
But, now, seemingly on steroids,
They've grown as aggressive
Squadrons of them,
Swaggering on my lawn
With the strut of a Tsar,
Who'd try to sneak a seed
From my turf,
Building their nests in the toniest places,
The high ground,
The Sun Tzus of avian warfare.
Where's a bald eagle,
When you need one.
Beau Shevitz said he'd quit a job,
If he had one,
Saying he'd need all the time
He could get
To do the things,
That one day he'd have to do,
Though he hadn't a firm thought,
About what those things might be.
But it was a great comfort,
Knowing, if a job ever cut into his time,
He'd quit it with nary a backward glance,
To free up the time
And do what had to be done.
In the vast, unmapped Land of Ikea,
Where a sign to the exit led us on paths
Of inventive meander,
On slithery trails, like the s-curves
Of a python chasing a rat.
It might have been the alleys of Tim Buk Tu...
With signs that maddeningly brought us back
To where we began,
A false-front village...
There when we started...
But second time through had disappeared.
Though our third time around,
We did see a chair that was there at the start
Of our march to the sea...
To our Dunkirk and hopeful evacuation.
But the sign nearby to the exit we followed,
Is the one that returned us
To this very spot.
Evidently, the python
Didn't want us to leave.
Now, what tone should this poem take...
Murmur, hope, exhilaration?
A tone as tough as a battle hymn,
As deadly as a lighted fuse...
Or unsure and rueful,
Intending love, but shy as a sonnet,
A lamentation of lost opportunities...
Or brook-side gentle, teary from beauty,
Willows and breezes and blankets to lie on...
Or maybe a voice of common notice,
As spare as a painting by Edward Hopper,
That seems alive. but has little pulse...
Or a provocative tone of torso and tease,
Shrewd and savvy and prairie-wide
With room to imagine
Much more than exists.
The unsolicited robo call...
The "we need 10 more donations
In the next half hour" call...
The "would you take a quick survey" call"...
The "I'm glad you picked up,
My mother-in-law's calling on the other line" call...
The dinner-time "your new-car warrantee is up
And you need auto repair coverage" call...
May each of them be seethed in sour milk
And broken dreams...forever,
Since robo calls are hard not to answer,
Even in the midst of a carnal fling,
Since it might be
Publishers Clearing House calling.
In a super market parking lot
A woman shouted, "Mister".
Then, more insistent, "Mister, Mister".
I paid no attention...
Surely, it wasn't meant for me.
But the shout of, "Mister, Mister", persisted.
So I turned to make sure,
That I wasn't the mister she meant...
But I was.
"Mister" your avocado,
You didn't put it in your bag,
And handed me the avocado
I left behind.
And I, most grateful, gave my thanks.
Then, self-effacing, she turned
And faded into the mists of good deeds.
And me, I smiled,
Knowing I escaped the despair
Of a lost avocado.
There were no mourners
For hospital corners.
On the day they died from fitted sheets...
The toss and billow
Of a pull-on sheet...
With cleverly sewn-in permanent corners...
Taut as a sailboat's jib in the wind
And quick as pulling on underwear.
Now all the bed-makers, from that day on,
Have much more time
To vacuum and dust.
In full protective regalia,
Squeezed into the apartment.
The air, terrified by his size,
Escaped into the hallway,
Causing a whoosh and a ripple of dust
That rose in his wake.
He turned to face us,
Knocking a closet door off its hinges.
His helmet collided with a high-hanging
Sending it into a fatal, floor-bound spin.
He walked wide,
Scraping artwork off the walls.
There could be no polite offer of refreshments,
Since we were all out of vat-size drinks.
We called because a carbon monoxide detector
Registered 30, not its usual 0.
He reset it to 0,
Saying it happens all the time.
Then he tripped on the broken chandelier,
Going out the door,
Righting himself with a hand to the wall...
The carpenter next week
Will fix the sheetrock.
"I could care less",
Is baleful and grim
Especially when said
With, maybe, a finger-jab in the chest...
A menace that leaves
Not a flicker of hope,
That he'll cut you some slack.
And there's no shade of difference,
If the bagman says,
"I couldn't care less."
Which is a tad more grammatical,
But likely means only
The bagman passed English.
* Someone who collects money for racketeers.