MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh

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stringy river near
throbbing centers
of steel manufacture
more accustomed
to canoes than
barges of pig iron
aroma of fire-cooked
fish than sulphurous slag
now water transport
and dump for
chemical sludge
until the cuyahoga
river catches fire


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pool of artificial peace

surface rippling
with faint, tinkling music
nearly absorbed by concrete rims
a plaster frog
eyes agog
stares unblinking
across the water
unable to follow
the flitting of a dragonfly
unable to flick his tongue
in skilled aim
unable to swallow
or digest his prize

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our hole in their road

“You can’t”
we tell kids
handing them limits
that may well not be theirs
they hear
and define themselves
by our fears

only their courage pulls them
out of narrow confines
we drew for them

may we draw courage
to frame our warnings
to give foundations
rather than holes
in the road

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(with thanks to McClaren)

thin paper, bending
under the pros on one side
and cons on the other
her family torn
each sure he is right
sure she is wrong
or the other way around
she can't keep track
but none of that matters
only the sharp words
and turning of strong
backs on each other
she cringes, hearing
anger instead of love
accusations rather than support

quietly turning the paper from
one side to the other
trying with all that
is in her
to find a way for
all the family to win
to change the dynamic
from one and another
to one another

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the surer i am that i am right
the more likely i am
to be making an ass
of myself

i know that
have proven it to myself
how many times
yet need again to call to apologize

implacable, growing hot between my long ears
should signal me that i’m at it again
but doesn’t always
and yet

how often and often
in the coolness of later
family and friends will smile-tolerantly
and tell me i speak a fine bray