Slow Motion

You know those double-time fast movies

A flower blooming

A tree sprouting instant leaves like a green porcupine.

Me, I’m the opposite.

I move at a molasses pace like

My movie is stuck on slow motion

Minutes pass as I laboriously set one foot

Down, then another

Walk through sticky porridge to get to the other side of the room

Accompanied by the sounds of a spoon clacking against the bowl.

Not quicksand exactly

Just age suddenly upon me

So I will press my fast forward button and step lively like I used to

Snappy and brisk

Springy and quick

Nobody will be able to tell that I am old.

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Doves

I see four mourning doves every day

Serene and mild-mannered

As they pigeonwalk here and there.

Each dove is a bubble of gray, plump body

And tiny head bobbing.

They placidly graze under the feeder outside the kitchen window

Oblivious to the sparrows and cardinals that swoop overhead and

Knock birdseed onto the ground in their feeding fury.

The doves peck and peck

In their slow meandering way

Following the trails of seed.

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Col Me

I’m not sure anyone should write poetry about writing poetry

It seems very self-indulgent

But I just realized

That my poetry is the same as my prose

Except

For line breaks.

To write a poem

All I have to do is chop up ordinary sentences

Because see, I have a short attention span anyway

And a whole paragraph makes me nervous with its

Dead weight

So instead I adopt a porous style with

Lots of white showing through

A colander, not a stew pot

As it were

And call myself a poet.

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Death-O-Vision

I have been reading obituaries

Where the bereaved say things like

She’ll wait for me in heaven

Or he’s watching out for me from paradise.

I don’t know if people believe these fantasies

Or just understand that such stories

Are there to get through a tough moment in life.

Maybe better than saying

Oh he’s deader than a doornail

So long, too bad about your short yet miserable life.

Maybe we need to say all those things

Even if we don’t actually believe them

Maybe it’s like taking off your glasses when you are nearsighted

Letting everything go all soft and fuzzy

And hard to recognize

Is this death you ask?

Maybe it’s just the cat.

Hard to tell without my glasses.

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Alone, With Cookies

Sad to say

I am still alone

Baking cookies or whatever

For nobody

I am not sniveling

I am brave in my isolation

Like a pugnacious dog

Yapping at myself in the mirror.

I like that image

My mouth fits nicely into a snarl shape.

After the cookies cool I

Fill my pockets with them to eat as I shamble along

On my solitary walk

Amble along being brave

I throw a cookie to a passing dog

Also walking alone

Good dog, he snaps up the cookie and barks for more.

I empty my pockets onto the ground.

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My Judge

I called him my judge

Not the judge

Because when I was a law clerk

Getting him coffee

Researching his opinions

Following him as he went in and out of the courtroom

In his black robes

I adored him. I mean

He was brilliant, a first amendment scholar, a star

Full of portly bonhomie

A native son from the wrong side of the tracks.

He smoked cigarettes with flair

Told filthy jokes and war stories.

He once asked me early on

What I thought he would be if he wasn’t a judge

I think he wanted me to answer, a senator, a professor

Something like that

But I said, a bartender.

Because he was Irish and drank whiskey and was convivial.

A few years later when I was a lawyer

He died

Too many cigarettes, too much whiskey

Too much bonhomie.

Probably too much adoration.

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Retirement

Yesterday was one of those gray sleepy days

My mind was a bit foggy.

Ankles stiff

I turned the lamps on early

And made cookies.

Before I retired I used to sit at a desk all day reading

Cases and researching points of law

Drafting lists of critical questions to

Ask witnesses

Surrounded by books and files

Stacked up at my elbow, teetering in a pile on the floor.

In adjoining offices

My secretary and my partner and a paralegal talked

About legal matters, their

Voices a background murmur

And someone might be pouring coffee.

I was busy, always busy at work

Telephone ringing with clients, court, lawyers on the line

And appointments, sometime two or three

In a row.

I don’t miss those days but

My ankles weren’t stiff back then

And sometimes I miss the race.

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