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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Wasps of South Creekview Road

A dissonant fall begins
after an atonal summer
when I accomplished nothing
for myself.
There were no melodies
humming from the woodshop;
no Christmas boxes or cutting boards
whizzing from the saws
and scraping top speed through the planers.
The vibration of wood only came from thunderclap
and then pinging of rain on plastic tarps.

I could not make the mower awaken,
so the neighbor nipped the front yard
to keep up appearances:
our money so tight that pennies
were a luxury jangling into the change jar.

All the while some wasps were building
their gray paper bells
that ring the eaves,
humming their unknown tunes
for just the necessity of offspring
and survival through the coming sting
of a long winter.
Am I to be the figure
of the fighting swallows
who battle them for space
in the early summer?
Is my heart ready to cut these colorless balloons
of future life down for the snow to soak away
the next generation of new fears
of needle sharp pains on shoulder or arm?
What would the monks do at their lofty altitudes
who kill nothing in defense of every spirit,
and should I kill a wasp
whose spirit am I snuffing?

Oh, I think I know:
non-believers and conservatives
who passed to the next life
in their speeding Cadillacs on straight roads
or peacefully in gilded beds,
thinking they had nothing to fear
from the next world
when they woke up
to a thousand eyed mother
pouring a colorless world around the siblings
from an unfamiliar mouth no kiss could touch.

Yes, I will pull them down before the worst freeze
and make them find another soul
away from me and mine:
this home for liberal wasps.

(mp3 file of Barry G. Wick reading this poem)

Copyright © 2010 by Barry G. Wick

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Out of Order: the day before her 92nd birthday

Today she clapped for television shows
and counted leaves on trees
She thought she was in a hotel
and I'm always the servant
The glass is too close to the edge
The soup is cold
She takes off the alarm
I make breakfast
buttered toast, tea, cantaloupe pieces
a fully-cooked, single egg omelet
Toasted homemade bread and homemade chicken rice soup
for dinner
I washed towels and handkerchiefs
I re-dryed a previous load not quite dry
I washed dishes twice in the dish washer
I kept the kitchen clean
We're running out of milk
I vacuumed up dead flies and cobwebs
in the garage and moved wood around
I thought about installing the air conditioner
in the garage window
I'm tired
I dreamed of winning the lottery
I bought a house for my daughter
with my imaginary wealth
I gave her the two pills in the morning
I gave her the four pills at bedtime
I changed her paper underwear four times
I went to get the mail
There was no mail
It's her birthday tomorrow
I made myself a three egg omelet and three pieces of toast
for breakfast
I made a pot of coffee for me
I'm running out of coffee filters
I put sugar in my coffee
I put sweetener in her tea
I sat and watched her take her pills
at breakfast and at bedtime
I instructed her on how to wipe herself
We watched Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific
on public television recorded from last night
I change channels for her to find something
that doesn't over excite her
We listened to Minnesota Public Radio on the Internet
I opened my email many times today during commercial breaks
I wrote a letter to a friend about something I'd written
I stayed in the jeep a little longer after
coming back from an empty mail box
I didn't back out of the driveway when the neighbor
was coming back from getting the mail in his car
I kept the air conditioning running all day in the house
I went to bathroom five times today
I took a short nap on the sofa
She can't control the chair so I pressed the buttons for her
She got up three times after midnight
She set off the alarm three times
I'm tired
It's the last hour and I'm typing
I'm listening to MPR
It's a cello piece
The dishwasher is winding down
It's 62 degrees outside
My left leg is on the sofa
My right foot hurts and is on the floor
I'm using a cake keeper in which to save the bread
We have 12 dollars until the end of the month
I have lottery tickets for Saturday night
I took handkerchiefs to her in her bedroom
before I turned out the lights
I turned on and off the attic fan to cool the house
I close windows in the morning and open them at night
I yawned
I turned off the computer
I went to sleep on the sofa in the living room

Copyright © 2010 by Barry G. Wick

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Unhappy Audience

never mind the cute music
written for piano
by Zez Confrey
never mind the curtains
we've wrapped around
our heads in the second act
to get a laugh

we are bombing
in Afghanistan

the audience is losing its legs
and arms
in frenzied abandon
every time
one of our jokes
falls flat
on their homes

these skits are stale
and the actors
are tired
sitting in their
air conditioned trailers
their joysticks
swinging wildly back and forth
for audience reaction

we are bombing
in Afghanistan

time and time again
we were told
that no act should follow
into that theater
but no
we just had to try
thinking we could make a difference

and there isn't a decent
pastrami sandwich
in a decent deli
that doesn't have to be
Why did we think
the tallest letters
on the tallest sign
would gather enough
of an audience
to make our show go

we are bombing
in Afghanistan

when you have to build
the theater
and drag the audience in
bit by bit
when you have to make the light
flash suddenly on the stage
to shock the audience
into the awe of a great performance


we are bombing in Afghanistan
we are bombing in Pakistan
we are bombing bombing bombing

bring down the curtain
close the show
quench the writers

Copyright (c) 2010 by Barry G. Wick