The neighbor is moving
Stacks of planks
To the backyard,
Digging his way into the construction
Zone he rented officially today—
The bathroom and kitchen still
Unfinished—and I wonder
Where he found the long planks.
There’s no question
Where the young girl
Following him came from,
Her posture and gait
The same as her dad’s.
Last night I visited a friend of mine
Who’s been battling melanoma.
I hadn’t seen him in a month,
And he’d lost a lot of weight,
Resembling those photos of Buchenwald
Ghosts at the end of the war . . .
Still he’s upbeat about his death
Sentence, thinks he’s got it on the run,
Though he appears to be on the ropes
And struggling to hang on, he’s still
On his feet, still bobbing and
Weaving—determined to win.
A couple weeks back I bumped into
Another old friend I hadn’t seen in awhile,
And he got that grave look on his face,
Asked if I was alright—he was afraid
I had cancer. Of course I laughed
It off, told him to kiss my ass,
Assured him I was dying
One day at a time and took his curse
As a compliment for dropping twenty pounds.
We’re so vain and oblivious—
And that’s probably for the best—
But after seeing Bob last evening
And slipping on his shoes, size C,
I was reminded why they fit perfectly—
All things are a reflection of me—and cancer
Is here like the birds and the trees.
Survivor of another day
Under the summer sun, one more
Promising afternoon in this green
Dimension listening to the blues,
I gave up on the answers
Years ago, long before I gave up on the questions,
And pretty much think if I ever did
Consider taking a stand on an issue
Like “What really matters the most?”
Most likely I’d vote for this moment—
And I know that’s totally selfish,
But I think it’s true—that we best
Honor being alive by living,
By paying attention and loving
Our breath, the air—being here.
Turns out I’m notching love stories today:
The new neighbors working, bees
Gathering on the clover, the cats napping
In the shade of Mississippi blues
Flooding my ears and filling my heart
Like skinny Buddha-Bob
Smiling hollow-eyed in his hammock,
Sipping vegetable juice from a quart
Mason jar, so happy to see us,
Glad we took the time to stop by
And share our voices, praise the mysteries—
Tomorrow and yesterday—
Toast our weepy joys and cramping guts
From laughing too hard or from crying
Too much—the sweetness of loss,
Of holding on—we love to
Live this dream.