“Old-Man Shuffle”

(September 30, 2019)

he reads shop windows

the thousandth time this year

looking for dead friends*

*(The following is only lightly fictionalized: The tall, not quite erect but well-dressed – in fact over-dressed for a muggy near-October morning in downtown Sanford, Florida – man never looks past the shop windows, the newspaper office, the “modern” hardware store, the gallery on first street and world renown Florida and Deep South folk art exhibits which draws close and sometimes repeated scrutiny; his newspaper remains folded at his outside arm’s balance point as he shuffles. By the sound I expected well-padded house slippers and I am right. I think: he will save the paper for his breakfast at one of the two such eateries by The Square; but no, he goes to a park bench – one of the few remaining (the others were ripped out as they impeded pedestrian traffic’s constant flow…more eyes past shop windows) – and then he reads his paper. All the while he was passing me I held my breath in abatement: perhaps he will swivel from this storefront passage and notice me and maybe nod hello to which I may then reply. But, no. I hold no reflective gleam and pose no comfortable news same as yesterday and yesteryear. I wonder: Is that me? Soon? No. I sigh in relief. He’s much taller.)

“She Asks Pro Forma”

(September 30, 2019)

she asks – pro forma –

and I reply not likewise

better than I need*

*(Actually the formula goes like this: “How Are You?”/”Much Better Than I Deserve.” Often it evokes blank looks and sometimes commiserations: surely, some have said and I paraphrase, you deserve so much more, to which I ramble: I live with me so I know exactly what I deserve and each morning when I awake alive I say ‘Thank you, Lord, for giving me this day and not what I so richly deserve’. Even more blank looks oft ensue. I was using that formulaic return-of-greeting years before I head Dave Ramsey say similar on his radio talk/advice show some ears back. He does not include “Much” in his return serve. Mostly, I do. Verisimilitude donchaknow?)

Commentary on Bruce Jewett’s Tanka 2599

September 28, 2019)

What I scribble oft

comes to you from Bruce’s pen*

a light through darkness

He glides into and around

the world with grace and soft grins

*(Poet, Haikuist, Short Storyist, Photographer, terrible body surfer Bruce C. Jewett taught me – which instruction I promptly failed to follow – whilst thrashing me at chess in the last gasps of 1969 and much of ’68 at Kaneohe Marine Corps Air Station, Oahu, Hawaii where he published a remarkable literary “magazine” Jo. He – and his talents – survived The Green Machine and thrive still near his Northern California perch alongside MountainView. The following Tanka required of me a near instantaneous response when first I read it in “Juice’s” Twitter offerings. Here is #haiku #tanka 2599

flows around within

heart’s blood of waking buddhas

who are all laughing

having dreamt we’re cups of water

immersed in wonderous oceans

2560

Musta gone to the same knot-tying class as mine. Many remedies tried; some work. I like strong drink but so do the “squids” and they then double their output. Yoga, stretching, tantric breathing, more fruits and veg, but all compete – and lose to beer. As the guy in the mirror said: quitcherbitchin! Pain is God’s way of proving to you you are alive!

Cat Nap Revue

cold weather sailors
in my back, neck, and shoulders
practicing their knots

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