MJ blathers

dark poet who loves to laugh


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dad

(a pantoum)

broad-shouldered, tall – i looked up
mom cut his hair during the great depression
youngest of four sons
could take a joke, but expect retaliation

mom cut his hair during the great depression
conservative with money, liberal with love
could take a joke, but expect retaliation
snored so loud, neighbors closed their windows

conservative with money, liberal with love
youngest of four sons
snored so loud, neighbors closed their windows
broad-shouldered, tall – i looked up

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i’m sure

i struggled and screeched
as they carried me to the car
“my mommy is coming
i know she is”

and she was
trudging in shin-deep sudden
snow slanting against the wind
to pick me up
from William Cullen Bryant Elementary

“It’s all right, Mary Jane
we’ll send you home with Mrs. Peterka”
they said, prying my fingers
from the edge of the car door

“It will save your mom
the terrible walk
in this weather
Go now, dear”

i cried, pounding
on the window
of the back seat
of Mrs. Peterka’s car

we pulled away
just before mom
arrived
exhausted

exhas


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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
positively
to give foundations
rather than holes
in the road


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reconciliation

(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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forgiven

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