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Archive for November, 2011

I want to work at Waffle House

when I grow up.

Calling out orders over the din,

sweat trickling down my back and

steam rising up from the dishwasher

like a message from the heavens

proclaiming my importance.

 

I’ll sling the hash, scramble the eggs and

make the bacon extra crispy for table 3.

I’ll wait tables, wash dishes and

cook all in one shift.

The bacon will sizzle at my command,

people will see my style and flair

and they will smile because of me.

 

I want to be a truck driver

when I grow up.

Sitting on 18 wheels, hot metal and

one hell of an engine.

The road will be mine

kids will wave from minivans,

bikers will nod humbly and the

waitress will bring me extra coffee.

 

I’ll drive from Maine to Florida,

stopping only to gas up the rig.

Rubber will burn, the pedal will

melt onto the metal and I’ll sleep

every other Tuesday.

 

I want to sleep on a park bench

when I grow up.

Worn out from living the life

great novels are made of;

my tangled hair at my shoulders

and a beard covering the scars.

The pigeons will tell me their secrets

and the grass under my shoeless feet

will remind me of the gnarled roots that

began the entire escapade.

 

Mothers will steer their children away from

me, boy scouts will give me nickels and the

policeman will shake his head as he evicts

me from my bench.  From behind the

dumpster I’ll watch the people walking by

holding hands, living the life that already

passed me by.

 

I want to be alive

when I grow up.

Out in the world in a pile of

grease and ketchup sitting on

the general merchandise and sleeping

with God’s creatures.

 

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One Fine Fall

I remember the piles of leaves at my feet.  For some reason whenever I think of the house it is Fall and I am outside in my blue jacket and a runny nose.  Of course I have other memories but the first image is always of my blue outline against the red and gold leaves.  God, I loved jumping in those leaves. 

This particular day I was four years old in what would turn out to be the last Fall in the house.  I played outside most of the day, defenseless against the pull of mud puddles and leaf mountains.  Sometime around dusk I sneezed and snot poured from my nose in two thick rivers down to my chin.  Too much to staunch with my sleeve, I went into the house looking for a tissue and found her standing in the kitchen. She turned from the stove and looked at, or really through, me.

“I need a tissue…” I whispered, shyly. I could almost feel her eyes focusing until…there! She saw me! For a shining moment she really looked at me.  My heart pounded and I dared not move for fear of breaking this wonderful spell.

“Oh!” She said, as if shocked to see this small person in her house.  “You do, don’t you?”  Her smile was warm and bright as she knelt down and wiped my nose. Her eyes never left mine and I’d never felt so loved.  “There you go, all better!” she exclaimed and her voice and my heart agreed that this one small act was that of great importance.  She ran her fingers over my cheek and tucked my hair behind my ear.  “Run and play, dinner will be ready soon.” 

 At the word ‘dinner’ the light was extinguished like wind to a flame and her gaze left my eyes. The spell was broken, I was once again invisible, a chore to be dealt with if acknowledged at all.  But the warmth remained and as I went back outside I knew I had witnessed something extraordinary.  My mother had seen me at last.

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