Tuesday, March 19, 2019

It Always Sounds Like This

It always sounds like this

He’s trying to make the day go by
And pretty soon
It’s—

Bong, bong, bong

Gotta go
Gotta go pray

Gotta go sit
And notice
The petals
Falling off the flowers
Or something like that

Then it’s silence
And I get the cooking done

Come up two miles from town
Don’t say anything to anybody
Just get to my work

My work is the cooking
And stocking the pantry
Making sure they have their canned pears
They go through ‘em like you can’t believe
Never knew monks or whatever they are
Liked pears
But believe me, they do

And the one I always see
He always looks bored

Always looks like
He’s just trying to get through the morning
Or the afternoon
Same as the rest of us

We don’t talk, obviously
I can’t talk to him
And he can’t talk to me
But we catch each other’s eye
Here and there
And then we go back
To whatever it is we’re doing

But I sense a restlessness in him
I sense a discomfort

I stir the soup for lunch
And from the window
I can see him out there
Practicing these moves

I don’t know what they are

Kinda look like karate
And kinda look like a dance

But there’s no music here
There’s no sound at all

Except for the bong bong bong
When it’s time to pray
And what you learn
Pretty quick around here
Is that the time to pray
Is always

They divide up the time
For other things
Like reading
And gardening
But really
All of it
Is supposed to be
Prayer

I don’t pray myself

Not that I have anything against it

I just don’t like
Harping on my own thoughts
For too long

Seems like a waste of time

One night I left here late
Because I found mouse droppings in the pantry
And I had to clear the whole thing out
And see what could be salvaged and what couldn’t

By the time I left
It was pouring rain
And on the way out
This big hole in the road
Caught my tire
And popped it

Pretty soon
All the men from the house
Came running

They must have seen my headlights stuck
Or something
But pretty soon
They were all lifting up the car
One changed the tire
And the other held up an umbrella for me
While we stood off to the side

I felt embarrassed
Having that many people
Fuss over me

Especially people
You’re not allowed to thank
When they do nice things for you

I decided I had to break the rule just once
So when they were all done
And soaking wet
Before they headed back to the house
I yelled—

Thank you!

Most of them just smiled
And kept walking away
But the one man
The one I see all the time
He stopped and took my hands in his

And we just looked at each for a little while
Right there in the rain

Nothing romantic about it
I don’t mean that

Just two people
Wishing they could say something
And not able
To say it

Monday, March 18, 2019

The Things I Can't Find in My Purse

Well, for one thing, my license
Forget about my license
I have no idea where my license is--ever


But I refuse to get a new one
Because I know it’s in there somewhere
I just don’t know where it is


Sometimes I dump my entire purse
Out onto a table
And then I usually find it
After a few hours of searching
But as soon as its back in the purse
There’s just no finding it


One time I got pulled over
And the officer asked for my license
And I told him it was in my purse
And something about the way I said ‘purse’
And the look on my face
Must have tipped him off
Because he let me go with a warning


I can’t find my social security card
I know that’s in there somewhere


Those sandwich cards?


Where you buy so many sandwiches
And you get a free one?


Well, I can never find the one I already filled out
So I always have to start a new one
But I’m sure if I added up all the ones
That are in my purse
I’d never have to buy another sandwich again


Same thing with haircuts


When the boys get a haircut
You run this special--it’s like a credit card
And after so many you get a free haircut
But I can never find the stupid card


And it looks like little Matty’s going to be bald eventually
Just like his father
So chances are
Those free haircuts are never going to be used


I can’t find my birth certificate
Or the kids
And I know I shouldn’t keep them in my purse
But I thought one day I might need them
And I probably will
But when I do
I won’t be able to find them
Without dumping my purse out in public
Which makes my husband cringe
But does he want to be responsible
For carrying around the entire history of our family?


Does he want to break down
And get a messenger bag
Like my brother has?


No


He wants to have a wallet


Just a wallet


Nothing but a wallet


And that means I have to worry about gum
And band-aids
And paperwork
And wet wipes
And sunscreen
And snacks
And it’s all in my purse
And I can’t find any of it


Instead I find toys my kids put in there
When I wasn’t looking


Half a loaf of bread
A copy of the Old Testament
A street map of San Diego
Never been there, by the way


Chopsticks--which is insane
I don’t know how to use them
And we never go anywhere that has them
But there they are


I can’t find my reading glasses
But I find a werewolf nose from Halloween


I can’t find my phone
But I find a yo-yo


I can’t locate my keys
But oh look!
Twenty euros
From that time I went to Spain
In college


You know who I envy?


Mary Poppins


Puts her hand in a bag
And out comes
Whatever it is
She’s looking for


I put my hand in my purse
And I’m half-expecting a rattlesnake
To clamp down on my arm


I told my husband all this
And he said--


Why don’t you just throw
Some of that stuff away?


I know


I know

One day when he needs
A yo-yo
He’s going to realize
What a ridiculous idea
That is

A Little Lamb

We’re never going
To hear the end of it

Vicky picks up a lamb
And the damn thing
Falls asleep on her
And now she thinks
She’s Amy Adams

I could kill
Whoever sent that video
Into the local news

How the hell
Does the local news
Spend ten minutes
On a video
Of a girl
Holding a sleeping lamb?

Aren’t there wars anymore?
Isn’t there famine?
Aren’t there better things
To talk about?

Oh, she is out of control now

Soon as someone came up to her
At the Denny’s
And said they saw her
And ‘Oh, you’re a celebrity, huh?’

And I know they think
They’re saying it
Just to be funny
But what they don’t realize is
She actually believes it

And it’s easy for them

They make their little comment
Make her smile
And then they go on with their lives

But we’re never
Going to hear
The end of it

She’s going to talk
About that damn lamb
From now
Until kingdom come

You know she’s saying
Maybe she’ll get an agent

An agent

Because a lamb fell asleep on her

She was wearing a wool sweater
The damn thing probably thought
Vicky was its mother

You know, just being on the news
Doesn’t make you a celebrity

Celebrities are folks
Who actually do things

Act in movies
Or sing songs
Or murder people

Not hometown girls
Holding sleeping lambs

Hell, if that’s all it takes
To be a celebrity
I’ll go down to Holworth’s Farm right now
And take a nap in the pigpen

Oh, she’s already
Changed all her profile pictures
To her with the lamb

She’s already posted
All the links
To all the stories

She’s done every interview
They asked her to do

And she’s already talking about how
Next year
She’s going to go do another video with the lamb
To celebrate the anniversary of the clip going viral

An anniversary of a virus
Have you ever heard of such a thing?

If I had known how this was all going to blow up
I would have grabbed that damn thing out of her arms
And put it right back in the pen it came from
Because this is all too much for me

All I want to do is sit in a Denny’s
On a Sunday morning
And enjoy my English muffin
And instead
I’m getting people coming up to the booth like--

I have to ask you something

Why is everybody
So easily impressed these days?

It is not 1944

You can get somebody
From New Kids on the Block
To send you a birthday message
For ten dollars
And people are going nuts
Over my daughter
Holding a lamb?

Everybody needs to get a grip
That’s all I can say about it

Everybody needs
To just get
A
Grip

And I’ll tell you something--

That’ll be the last farm animal she ever holds

As long as I’m alive
That’ll be the last time
My daughter does anything

Worth talking about

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Have You Tried the Kool-Aid?

Have you tried the Kool-Aid?

They think we don’t know
What’s in it

Our families
The people who come to visit
At the gate

They want to chalk this all up
To naivete
Or stupidity or something

It’s not that

I like the Kool-Aid
I like the way
It makes me feel

I used to be in the corporate game
Mostly financials
Lots of numbers

When I think of all the shit
I used to cram
In my head

It’s crazy to me
That people wonder
Why one day I just woke up and said--

No more

Now I feel so--

I honestly feel lighter
Is what I would say

I do say it

I say it to my family
When they come to the gate

Twice they’ve tried to kidnap me
And take me back home

They talk about brainwashing
But they don’t--

You know
They don’t know what to do about the fact
That this was all my choice

I chose this

It’s not like I used to live
Anywhere near here

I had to spend a lot of time and money
Getting here

We all did

It’s like they think this a Pied Piper situation
Or something

Like we were lured here
Away from our happy lives
By some siren call or something

I just think everybody’s definition
Of insanity is so subjective
And, uh, you know,
Nobody thought I was crazy
For working sixty-hour work weeks

Nobody thought I was nuts
When I skipped Christmas
Because we had a deal fall through in Japan
And my boss put me on a flight to Tokyo
At three am on Christmas Eve

Nobody thought I was out of my mind
When I had to see eight different doctors
Because I kept having all these medical symptoms
That I haven’t had since I’ve been here
And the whole just turned out to be
Because my life was poisoning me

But living in a hut
In the woods
With a guy who says he’s Jesus
Is crossing a line, right?

But why is that the line?

My barometer for crazy--

After years of destroying myself
And my body
In the name of corporate finance

--Is really off, let me tell you

But at least out here
I have fresh air

I have very few worries
Responsibilities

Jesus keeps saying one day
We’re all going to ‘go home’
And whenever it looks like that’s going to happen
I’ll probably hightail it
To the nearest motel
And call a cab
But in the meantime
I’m doing pretty well

People pay for retreats, you know

This one is free

And so is the Kool-Aid

I gotta tell you
I can’t stop drinking it

Never really cared for it
Before I got here
But now?

I can’t get enough of it