Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Library Lights!

The Schaumburg District Library is currently presenting their Library Lights program, featuring spring-themed artwork and poetry from the community projected onto their exterior wall.  Yours truly contributed three short pieces, scheduled to be displayed through May 2, 2021.  And here they are!


The email you’re waiting for,
it contains a yes or a no,
the yes that could completely change your life,
but it’s most likely, probably, a no.

The final episode of the final season,
of the show you’ve been watching for a decade.
The one where all your questions will be answered
and all the conflicts will be resolved.
Then they announce the spin-off.

A break in bad weather,
the one nice day of the whole week.
Bright sunshine and a gentle kiss of a breeze.
You make plans to have a picnic or go to the beach,
an amusement park or a baseball game.
and so does everyone else.

The guy at the office you have a crush on,
you see him only on Thursdays.
You dress just a little bit nicer,
put on some lipstick,
but you don’t want to go overboard
and make it look obvious.
He decided to take the day off today.
It’s no big deal.

VHS Ghazal

Streaming will never be the same as going to the video store.
Watching a movie at home was still an event when you went to the video store.

First you search the new releases, but the movie you want is checked out.
The scent of salty, buttery unpopped microwave popcorn wafts through the store.

Your mom starts to look at the old movies—Hitchcock thrillers and musicals.
Slowly you drift away from her to the other end of the store.

You peruse the boxes of films you’d never be allowed to see.
Screaming beauties, grinning skulls, dripping blood are what lies in store.

You find a row of ‘80s sex comedies: young men—our heroes!— peeking into a locker
room full of half-dressed teen girls—doesn’t this belong in the “adult” section of the store?

Speaking of which, it’s in front of you now, the little room sealed off with a velvet curtain.
You imagine what your mother would say if she found you in this part of the store.

Here is a comedy, but also a romance, but a nice one. No voyeurism, just John Cusack, who is everyone’s true love. Finally, you have found what you were looking for in this video store.

April into May

The pink and white petals of the blossoming trees
float through the air, dancing on the breeze.
The birds have returned, composing their song.
The sunset can wait; the evenings grow long.
The daffodils are wilting, but the tulips are strong.
Lilacs and peonies will be the next to come along.
I deeply inhale the gentle floral fragrance in the air.
I want to capture it, grasp it in my hand; its brevity is unfair.

Reluctant Aubade

I only see the dawn
if I’ve stayed up all night 
the night before.
Or sometimes I’m forced to greet the new day,
but I can assure you, I haven’t rested well,
my thoughts racing,
What if I oversleep,
sleep right through my alarm,
and I miss my flight, my surgery,
the mandatory meeting?
And I wake up multiple times in the darkness
with a hammering heart
and see that it is still too early to rise.
I make a note of the sunrises I see
because I feel at the end for me it won’t be that many.
Thousands upon thousands of sunsets I have admired.
Sunrises…I don’t know, maybe 15?

The dawn to me is a pink and purple sky in the east,
shoved offstage by a blinding yellow star,
Dear God, that’s bright.
Slow morning traffic on the highway,
the relentless beams sliding just underneath my visor,
I sip my scalding tea,
listen to the morning radio chatter,
and inch forward
toward some kind of delay,
road construction or an accident,
and it makes you wonder if you’ll be late,
even though you got up so goddamn early.
And you think,
there are people who thrive at this time,
who are awake and alert and most themselves at this time,
and what would that be like?
I would be a whole different person.
Probably not a better person, but completely different.
Much better to greet the dawn from your bed, I think.
A gleaming ray of light sneaking behind your curtains.
You lift up your head, scowl and groan,
flip to your side and close your eyes again,
and as you breathe slowly, you sink back 
into the incomprehensible scene of your dreams.

Wednesday, April 7, 2021


I open the fridge for the fifth time,
but nothing has changed.
I survey the leftovers—
several days old—
with a scowl.
I don’t throw them away
because maybe I will want them later,
but when I think of eating them now,
my stomach does a little flip.
Limp and lukewarm,
they would be microwaved sadness.
I would rather never eat again.
I want something new, fresh, hot,
its enticing aroma filling the whole house,
something so good
I want to eat and eat and eat,
and I have to force myself to put it away,
put it away for later,
and the container will sit on top of these leftovers,
and tomorrow I won’t want that either.


The lilies of the valley,
for now just blades of jade,
are inching their way up, up, up
having emerged from the brown earth
and old red mulch
and the crunchy dead leaves of last year.