Rain Check

A slick trail is carved into the sheen
of the glistening road in the light of the lamps
but as the bicycle rounds the next corner
the line is already lost, vanished into the wet.

By the railway crossing, a man coughs
phlegm onto the pavement, but this, too,
will be washed out in unrecorded time, even
by this soft drizzle, which is forecast

to persist throughout this 6 December,
Santa Claus Day in Switzerland.
No snow then this year (just like last).
Tonight, Santa’s donkey will leave no trace at all.

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My Father’s Coat

My father’s coat has many pockets.
His coats always had: A pocket for each tool
of the engineer’s trade. The tape measure
would have been here, the small notepad here.

This one used to hold a box of matches
– my father never smoked, but a loose screw
will always find purchase with a little help.
And here, he kept the small camera.

Now, all the pockets are empty. Mother put it all away,
gave the notepad to one grandson, the pencil to another.
Some things she threw away, the rest is in a cardboard box,
the matches will light the tree this Christmas.

The coat is almost new, the last of a long series,
bought before he knew that it would outlast him.
“It’s a good coat, expensive,” she says, “it’ll last”,
as we inspect it on its hanger in the laundry.

She looks at me. “I’ll wear it,” I say.
He’d always hated waste.
It fits well enough and
I will fill these pockets in time.

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Advent Snow

It’s cold enough for snow to settle
on lawn and roofs and streets.

It’s rare that even streets are white:
The ploughs take Sunday off.

White static foregrounds all around us.
Words like ‘muffled’ come

–and will go in time no doubt.
Peace in our time, no more.

Our time: This moment or perhaps
this day and night, no more.

The forecast has a warm front coming.
Snow will turn to rain.

Somewhere a new war is spawning.
It will send battles our way.

We will forget this peaceful moment
but for now, it’s here.

IMG_9270

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A Life in Ten

Born Roger Bryce Inglewood, Jackson MS, March 11, 1971

Brother John Ebenezer born 5/13, 1973

Broke elbow on swing, spring of ’77

No girlfriend in primary or high school

Found out why, fall of ’88

Did not graduate 7/7/90

Trip to Asia & Australia, with Barry Svensson Jr., 92-93

Opened “Rog’s Downtown Deli”, Jackson MS, 5/13, 1997

Opened 1st “Rog’s Downtown Deli” in the East (Washington DC, 5/13/2000)

Checked on delivery quality, health standards and customer satisfaction at Marsh and McLennan Companies, NYC, 9/11/2001

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Ten Little Piglets

One of the new piglets
was limping – a broken leg?

Two others were trying to shove it away
from the feeding trough.

Three legs were not enough.
The piglet toppled over.

Four minutes later, up in the hamlet,
a farmer-lady in her garden told us where the pig-farmer lived:

Five houses further down, just past the bend.
It was just gone

six, so someone was preparing supper
behind the kitchen window. We rang. “No. Number

7 is my son’s house, not here.” said the elderly lady,
“But don’t worry, I’ll go tell him myself.”

Eight minutes on I was home, telling the story
to our sons who had first spotted the new pigs. The cat just listened.

(Nine lives – was she really grinning?) “Sometimes,”
said the younger boy, “glee would be easier than compassion.”

‘Ten out of ten,’
I thought.

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Writing Exercise: [Noun] in Ten

heart attac

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Clarity in Ten Words: Alien Invasion

We
are
unconditionally
unanimously
unprepared
to
surrender.
Tell
your
leaders.

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