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Occasional Sonnet

Sonnet for My Daughter on Her Birthday

Let me not admit November’s wild
Transition into winter’s dark, my child,
Could ever turn the light out in your mind
Or cause the love within you to unbind.
Oh no, you woke in autumn’s grip but kept
It at arm’s length until you walked and leapt
Across the calendar of time and thought
And showed me everything you found and brought
From icy mornings to the changing seasons,
From cold conclusions to the warming reasons,
To daughter me to father forth my vision,
To light a fire of love and firm decision
To love you always, always newly prove
That I will stay beside you, never move.

Unto Us a Book

What the Sky Lacks

coming soon

God is in Your Typewriter

God is in Your Typewriter

From the introduction to Anne Sexton, The Complete Poems

My Mother, Urs

My mother, Urs
Is not averse
To what is claimed
To be not worse,

Like apple cores
And wooden floors
And husbands blamed
For broken doors,

But woe betide
The other side
If they, enflamed,
Should try her pride,

For she will cut
Their fattened butt,
Unfurl her famed
Derisive tut,

And bring them low
To eat some crow
Till they be lamed
And in the know.

My Father, Ted

My father, Ted
Can take the lead
From bullets aimed
Straight at his head

And turn them in
To gold and tin
To cure the maimed,
Both friend and kin,

By alchemy
And family tree
And things unnamed
And mystery

Because he knows
The wild rose
Cannot be tamed,
It only grows

With rooted love
And hand and glove
And old age framed
By the sky above.

Coming Soon from Korrektiv Press: What the Sky Lacks by Thom Caraway

This Letter to You

The Night Before the First Day of School

‘Twas the first day of school, when all through the class
Not a brain cell was stirring and I needed a pass;
My classmates were sitting like lumps in their chairs,
Hoping the teacher would fall down the stairs.
The principal hid in her office and cried
While the flowers of summer wilted and died;
And mamma with her suntan and dad with his beer
Had just waved goodbye and got the hell outta here,
When out on the playground there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The teacher freaked out and said, Sit back down!
We don’t need such behavior from a would-be class clown!
When what to my wondering eyes did appear
But a gigantic monster truck that was hitting third gear,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he was a lunatic.
More rapid than seagulls his curses they came,
And he whistled, and squawked, and called out my name.
Oh shit, I thought, this lunatic’s fixin’
To demolish the school like a linebacker blitzin’.
I said to my classmates, We can’t wait for the bell,
Now dash away! dash away! Like bats outta hell.
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So out of the schoolhouse everyone flew
With backpacks full of books (and some with weed too).
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the street
The flipping and flapping of flip-flop-clad feet.
As I lept from the schoolyard and was turning around,
The dude in the truck made a cackling sound.
He put on the brakes and skidded to a stop;
I’m not really a lunatic, he said, I’m a cop
And I’m here to arrest you for gradeschool truancy
And make you learn math and linguistic fluency.
His eyes—how they twinkled! his dimples, how scary!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up in a frown
And the beard on his chin was dirt-like and brown.
The stump of an e-cig he held tight in his teeth,
And the vapor encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump like a horror movie elf,
And I screamed when I saw him and wet myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Confirmed that I had something to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Rounding us up and being a jerk.
And poking his finger deep into his nose,
He said, You’ve been binge watching too many shows.
But then all of a sudden I heard a loud whistle
That tore at my brain like a thorn on a thistle.
It was my mom waking me up and turning on the light—
“Happy first day of school, did you sleep well last night?”

Short Story: A Poem

“For my pleasure I had as soon write free verse as play tennis with the net down.”
—Robert Frost

*
I. The Boxer Rebellion

Your turn of that page
has opened a drawer.
My home. I am his underwear.

He’ll always show you
the contents of his drawers
but never what he’s wearing.

He’s that kind of fellow.
But I’ll give you a clue:
I am his only pair of boxers.

To put it briefly,
he suffers a shortage.
Why only one of me?

Why only one day
of freedom per week
when he could have seven?

That is the question
I once heard
his girlfriend ask.

He replied like Robert Frost
that a little freedom
is almost too much

and went home and
put on briefs.
Short changed.

*
II. A Brief History of the Work Week

Briefs #1 (Sunday)
Freedom’s just another word for lost
In funhouse laundromats where dreams are tossed.

Briefs #2 (Monday)
You’ve got to work to make a living wage,
You’ve got to button up your daily rage.

Briefs #3 (Tuesday)
You’ve got to count your syllables and keep
Your cock and scrotum snug and fast asleep.

Briefs #4 (Wednesday)
You’ve got to keep your humpday hopes pressed down,
It makes no difference if you smile or frown.

Briefs #5 (Thursday)
You might love her, she might love you, but then
Your Adam’s apple bulges up again.

Briefs #6 (Friday)
Thank God? Well, maybe in the morning light,
But Eden’s underwear gets torn at night.

Briefs Chorus (all together)
Like Frost said, don’t play tennis without net.
Don’t let your balls fly free from match to set.

*
III. The Girl Who Was Saturday

I like it when my man is frisky
But when he drinks too much he gets so frisky
Like a shooting star on a Saturday night
He shines so bright but then he passes out.

I like it when he takes me out dancing,
I like it when he cuts loose a little bit, you know,
On a Saturday night after a long week of work,
When he takes off that tie, loosens up his collar, and swings like a birch tree.

I like it when my man gets frisky
And I like to drink and have a good time
But if he drinks too much too fast he passes out too soon
And when I’m ready for the fun to continue on, he’s gone.

He’s lying there in his boxer shorts. I love those boxers,
The ones with the palm trees and the Christmas lights,
He looks so peaceful sleeping there, like an angel, like a fallen soldier, like a child,
But I want my man to wake up and take me to the promised land.

I like it when my man is frisky, when he’s had just a little whisky.
But when I see him on a Wednesday or a Thursday,
He never has those boxers on, he’s wound up tight and white,
But I love my man when he gets frisky on a Saturday night.

*
IV. The Naked Poet Speaks

O boxers, I hear the siren call
Of your easy-open fly
And your free and airy ways.

O briefs, you’ve
held me close and kept me
Safe since childhood.

O Adam, O Eve, O Fruit
Of the Loom, what have you wrought?
Who told you you were naked?

Since childhood, I’ve been
Burdened and blessed with the words
For the days of the week.

I’ve been clothed
With the fabric of toil and dread,
Of yesterday and tomorrow.

But now I stand undressed
Before the dresser of my shame,
I stare into the abyss of my drawers.

In this present moment
I ask of you, O Robert Frost: speak
Your will and testament to me.

*
V. The Shorts Not Worn
(with apologies to Robert Frost and his underwear)

Two shorts submerged in a yellow drawer
And sorry I could not model both
And be one wearer, long I wore
The tighter briefs till I was sore
And then I bent and scratched my undergrowth.

Then took the boxers, just as fair
And having no doubt the looser fit
They were the ones I wanted to wear;
So easy to whip it out and piss anywhere,
The opening truly being made for it.

And both that morning equally lay
In my drawer with shirtsers and socksers.
Oh, I kept the briefs for another day!
Yet knowing how freedom has to have its way
I doubted if I should ever change from boxers.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
On Korrektiv.org ages and ages hence.
Two pairs of shorts in a drawer, and I—
I wore the ones more loose to thigh
And that has made all the difference.

*
VI. Whose Woods These Are

We hope you’ve enjoyed our brief exposé.
The frost is coming, so bundle up, okay?
Be it brief or boxer, boxer or brief,
Relax, unwind, get some relief.

*
VII. Epilogue

The page has turned, the drawer
is closed. The leaves are
falling from the trees.

One brisk fall morn, in the middle of the week,
whistling a carefree tune, he put me on,
slipped on some pants, a shirt, socks and loafers.

I said, Man are you puttin’ me on?
He said: Well,
I’m taking the day off.

And we went shopping
over at that dress-for-less place
and bought a bunch more of me.

Two packs of three, to be exact,
and that’s enough to form a tribe,
for seven days of freedom every goddam week.

The woodchucks and squirrels
are squirreling away their nuts
in the backyard as daylight declines.

But his are hanging loose now
as he kneels and asks his girl
if she’ll tie the knot with him next summer.

So it seems that just when he found
his freedom, he gives it up.
I’m not surprised. He’s that kind of fellow.

*
*
*
THE END

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Birthday Limerick

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A fellow named Potter was born
On this date in a stable, forlorn
And the angels sang Hank
Williams songs while they drank
Irish ale from the night till the morn.