Counting Cars (with Spoken Word)

The child counts cars with hash marks
Make and manufacturer recognized
From advertisements, pages ripped
From sports magazines of his father.

The Ford Mustang was a first favorite
Before poor design choices threw out
Strength in exchange for Four Eyes.
Two gens later the muscles are back.

Now cars and vanity and statements
All mash up together in a price tag
Out of reach of the man’s desire.
The price of gas, alone, too much.

A bike seems much more practical
To and from with saddle bags full
Fresh produce, cold dairy, sweets
The slight oxygen burn of legs.

The child counts cars again, always
Going along for the ride, never driving.
By now, hash marks have cut through
His paper marking up the leather seats.

Stars, Memories, and Stories

Asked to describe the night sky
He recognized his deficiency
Not knowing summer’s stars
As he knew winter’s,
As if as a child,
Busy playing,
He failed to look up
At gifts awaiting him:
Myths and legends,
History of the universe
Slowly told by fading giants
Sending their stories
Through vast space
To his imagination awaiting them
On this verdant planet alone
Needing to tell tales
Nowhere else told.

Now they are clues for him
To be alone in the telling,
Truly alone,
An alone he once feared,
An alone he now embraces
Like that child embraced play
So inside the moment it forgot
To be remembered
And was better for the forgetting.

Venus shines brightest,
As always,
Gently reminding him of the sun
Now lighting the play of children
Forgetting to save memories
In other hemispheres
Happy,
As only children know.

The city is close enough
Its vast and arrogant lights
Hide the full story,
Though hints remain:
Like treasure hunts,
A glitter here,
A twinkle there.

He thought of Odysseus
Navigating the turbulent rage of Poseidon
By their lights
To return home to Penelope
Faithful weaver and unweaver of cloth
She’d only finish when his ship’s mast
Pointed to the sky that awaited them
Two old souls
At the end of their journey
Meant to sit together
Counting stars to measure love
Limitless, like the journey of a life
Lived inside the safety of hearts
That only know a story children can tell
Playing together
Memories forgotten
And better off for it.

Some nights fireflies
Are more than enough
Like tonight
Walking alone
His way finally lit.

Image: John William Waterhouse – Ulysses and the Sirens (1891)

Always Remember (1985: Age 15)

Always Remember
September 10, 1985

Summertime is gone
With it the sunshine
There will be a new dawn
With it new sunshine

Life does not end
With one season
Look around the bend
You will see the reasons

Don’t forget your new found friends
Or your old renewed friendships
Never forget our summertime trends
Be ready to sail on new ships

Life is meant for living and loving
Keep on learning and discovering

You must carry on
Without written lines
Because there comes a new dawn
And with it new sunshine

Remember trust and love
And with them patience
You will see a white dove
True love will make sense

Remember, Summertime is gone
With it the warm sunshine
Soon comes the awaited dawn
With it warmer sunshine

… and so it began…

image: Sheila Tiffin – Children on the Beach, Porthmeor, St. Ives