“Last Soda Can” Tanka 1037

(March 17, 2018)


The last soda can –

must I replay life’s last reel? –

to find the cooler?


It costs more to recycle

but – the foam sleeve*’ worth finding!


  • (A free – cost someone but not me – soda can went into one of my treasured foam-rubber cozies – fits a beer can and most of the kinds of bottled beers at  which glassless I sip – thass right, the ‘mericun popular kinds which a good mug or stein or special glass will not improve either The Head or The Legs or The Dregs, is no big loss when recycle day comes ’round: but I will beat the universe if the last of the three remaining (haven’t lost a one yet, though some have gone AWOL for a year or six) 40+-year-old “insulated holders” comes up minus at muster.  Oh, well: any excuse to clean up, I guess.)



“My Da” Tanka 1036

(March 16, 2018)


Northernmost US?

he’d talk-quest of us three boys

at supper table.*


Washington, sured Glenn: I, Maine.

Wrong, he’d gloat: Lake of The Woods!


  • (An elementary school drop-out who put money on his widowed mom’s table every day – and bitterly counted the 15 cents a week he’d get back – he worked in fields from Montana through The Dakotas before he could say those long pants fit, Mom said he was treated like a kingless Prince by his two surviving sisters (whom his and younger brother’s toil got them schooled and wedded so they were not menials and cooks and waitresses like their mom).  Mom, much later, recounted her first trip to Osseo, Minnesota after they were married in 1945.  “I swear they would have wiped his ass if he so much as lifted one leg off the seat,” she’d laugh.  He couldn’t do a thing without one of them, his mother included, wanting to ‘do’ for him.”  Sounds like your mom and grandpa, I smirked.  She just looked at me and shrugged: “point.” I always fetch my own beer. And I bought her a color teevee with a cable contract and one of them new-fangled “slider” thingees that let dad run through the channels like a kid whacking picket fenceposts with a willow switch he probably soon would feel later that afternoon. Dad though it an extravagance: he had a black-n-white set with excellent picture and a “channel changer” already, he’d smile crookedly…because he knew for whom the gift was intended as well.)

“My Da”

(March 16, 2018)


my da was short,

thick, and brutal when called out:

my brothers* saw not


  • (At a Navy appreciation barbecue picnic at a downtown lakefront Sanford spot I saw him and another man – this one much taller, leaner and well-lubricated by the fumes I sniffed it was not Dad’s beer – standing atop a long picnic table…there were celebrants at either end, but none nearby. Reading dad’s lips I found: “You put that ‘piece’ away before I shove it up your ass and then pull the trigger.” The man shrugged, turned away and walked on.  Then dad saw me watching with moon-eyes and came up, scrubbed my short mom-cut hair and said out loud but softly enough only I heard: “This does not get reported.”  Sorry, pop. Just did. Told mom years ago.  She just lifted a half-shrug and canted quickly her head to the left as if to say: why am I unsurprised – at him…and you.” My older brother at last confided how he handled dad, when in his cups a lager-order of Bully, especially when trying to educate his eldest in the fine art of small engine maintenance and repair, buffeting the points missed with a softly swung forearm, after I had recounted the time Dad and I, bot somewhat lubricated, came to a contretemps outside mom’s kitchen window.  “I ducked under his roundhouse, grabbed the left wrist with one hand and locked it to his belt-loops and over-hooked the free arm into a chickenwing in my go-behind move” which was how I often began my tussles with 13-year-old 5-10 and 180-pound sibling the year I weighed a stone-holding 120 pounds and maybe saw the world from five-foot -2 if I jumped.  Glenn unhid a slow grin.  “I just backed into him and pushed him into mom’s azaleas.  He couldn’t get around me.”  Storm? Never saw him firey with anyone – but me – and mostly he’d use that special laugh and no one could remain mad at him when he did that. When that grappling move – usually followed with a forward ankle trip and a nice face-plant takedown – though with older burderbrother usually I’d skip the preliminaries, drop to a seat and spin out a leg-whip aimed at an ankle: to get his attention.  We had some memorable donnybrooks and, apparently, the neighborhood noticed our penchant for fighting tooth-n-nail with each other but rarely if ever (you had to swing first!) anyone else.  If we broke a brother fighting we had to do his chores – or his paying jobs and give him the money – until he was fixed: Mom’s rule.  Don’t know if dad ever knew – but those two were master co-conspirators in keeping their monsters in check.)