charvey up on his hind legs
silent but forceful
i guess this is what leash aggressive means
dezi says 


seagull greywhite matching
sky greywhite
icelake surface wetsmooth
sometimes air can be empty and sometimes it can be full
this time it is lyered
with geese sounds
moving across frozen water


we drive past the tenney park ice rink
which isn’t really a rink but a pond/lake
filled with snowsuited kids and grownups gliding along on laced up boots attaced to blades
what is amazing is i pass it at least four times today
and each time (including 9pm)
the skaters are still skating
and this is one thing
i’d like to show people who are getting to know me
this is one place i’d like to take them
so i could point
my breath a small cloud rising
and say see
this is what i am made of

this blue

there is no word
for the blue of this sky
against the thick white of snow piled on deep green needles
twiggy branches
highway signs
something about stratificaion
and how we move through it
eastbound on the i-94 at

70 miles an hour


after the wafting of frankincense and before the gathering around a table of red and green cookies
we talk about guns
and i articulate it like this:
when i think about survival
i think about knowing how to grow food
where to gather clean water
discerning between edible and poisonous wilds plants
not about who’s going to come after me and my stuff with a gun
and therefore why i should have a gun in response
it’s more of an offense kind of thing
i say
not defense


car-cold brach’s chewy peppermint tree candy
warming/melting under my teeth

some things never change
(this is where i want to tell you about one xmas
i must have been 9 or 10
this was back when people still lined their driveways in our neighborhood
with luminaria
[paper bag, sand on the bottom, candle placed inside and lit]
on our way home from midnight mass
[white cotton gloves grasping brass bell choir bells by their black plastic handles
how warm sound can fill a cold space]
pulling into the driveway
tiny stockings with each of our names
hung in the bare birch branches
candy filled)
something about how just the right secrets and sneaking around
become magic

empty (except us)

we visit several places that make this city livable:
the riverwest co-op
and woodland pattern bookstore
the difference between the two being 25 years
(how to balance the weight of
pre and post gentrification
with the 30 year old bookstore on one end
and the 10 year old co-op on the other)

a dinner of go-arounds
in an empty (except us) restuarant
it begins when dad leans in and says
tell me about yourself. who are you really?

we pass around the plum wine
the eggrolls
the herbed tofu and peanut sauce
the vietnamese coffee

these nights when chris drives me back to 15305 doverhill lane
it’s not about getting there
it’s about what we say on the way

for all the educators

one day, will you just write
rob is cool”  ?
he asks
in reference to the detail collector

he being my brother in law
for one
a ridiculously funny and sweet human
for two
and a middle school teacher
for three

of course
i respond, laughing

and i can set it up so that your name links to…

to my class webpage
he says
which, up until this point, i never bothered to ask if he had a webpage for his class
much less considered it
because sometimes, weird things don’t transfer from 22 years ago
and what i mean by that is
22 years ago, the internet didn’t really exist
but rob was teaching then
and sometimes i forget to update things
(like, one who taught 22 years ago is not teaching in the past
but in the present
which is pretty much the future
and therefore
there’s a good chance that that  one has a class webpage)

and so here it is
an ode
not only to rob
teacher in greendale, wisconsin for 22 years
but to all the educators in my life
(shannon, brooke, chane, emil, kernan, 217, macon, meg day, wayne, renee, a.m., and beyond)
in case i’ve never told you in person
are some of the people i have the maddest respect for
and tonight you receive
the brilliant heart award of planet earth

down the night hall

like a nurse pressing a plastic thermometer under a patient’s tongue
dad presses the moisture-meter into the kitchen table plant
before allotting it a small stream from plastic maroon watering can
sound of soil sucking it up
a kind of rice-crispy snap crackle pop
as he retreats, shuffling down the night hall