MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh


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Uncle Bob

Bob had a smile
that made friends of passers-by
A huge part of the joy
of my childhood
he, and his slightly
older brother Bill
taught me and my sister
Carolyn to swim by tossing us
off the barrel raft
into Lake Eire
and poling away as we
doggy-paddled back
but they knew – and snatched
us up out of the water –
when the game was done
poled us back to Kelly
Island shore and taught us
to make golden melted s’mores
over the rocky beach night fire
Himself snatched from high school
into WWII and out of college into
the Korean War, Bob taught me
patience and loving-kindness
despite personal tragedy
that has sustained me
time and again, but
i’ve never quite learned
to smile just like
Bob

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little racket man

(a pantoum)

sweaty little racket man
tow-head bright in the sun
kicking down others’ castles in the sand
calling names meant to hurt

tow-head bright in the sun
you listen, but do not hear
calling names meant to hurt
sleep now, please, little destroyer

you listen, but do not hear
kicking down others’ castles in the sand
sleep now, please, little destroyer
sweaty little racket man


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not a hot-weather gal

(a pantoum)

i dread the heat coming
spring is too short
growing green fades to dry brown
skin glistens with sweat

spring is too short
eyes squint, trying to see distance
skin glistens with sweat
long for a cool drink

eyes squint, trying to see distance
growing green fades to dry brown
longing for a cool drink
i dread the heat coming