HUH?

The problem with youth
isn’t that you misspend it,
or even don’t appreciate it
as it is happening, or even expect
it to go on forever, for those
would be the simplest hurdles
to leap even at your now advanced age.
The true problem with youth
isn’t even those around you,
grandchildren, high schoolers
that overrun the Starbucks near campus
are caught in the midst of it
while all you can do is jealously watch.
The ultimate problem with youth
is that you recall it so well,
the sights, sounds, the textures
but what you did last Thursday
you can’t recall for the life of you.

ETERNITY OR A WEEK

He only wants to live
forever, or if not, at least
until a week from Thursday.
Important things always happen
on Wednesdays, he is convinced.
He has no logical reason
for his belief, but it is his
and he will not be shaken from it.
“It is a matter of faith,” he says
“and you can borrow it or leave it,
but it’s mine.” He does like
to own things, and ideas are
the greatest things in his world.
He is certain he will die
on a Wednesday, not that his death
will be all that important, though
he wouldn’t mind it so,
but he wants to be cremated,
wants some of his ashes left
in a church, any church, just
to let them know we are all
created in God’s image
and this Wednesday will
for him, Ash Wednesday.

TUESDAYS ONLY

Everything important, he declared,
should happen on a Tuesday.
Wednesday, he explained, was saddled
with a deep burden of middleness,
rendering it unfit for much else.
Friday simply couldn’t be trusted,
since five o’clock everywhere came earlier
and earlier each year it seemed.
The weekend was for battling Sabbaths
and there would be no winners there,
merely heavenly losers.
Mondays were out since so many
were halfway along in it before
they were willing to admit
that it had begun, and Thursday,
well, what can you say about Thursday
that hasn’t been written
and said far too many time already.

HISTORY

I took yesterday and pressed it between the pages of my unabridged dictionary. The day began at sunrise and ended just before it became a supplicant, though to what, was not at all apparent. Days can be frustrating when they refuse to allow sufficient margins. I always thought Thursday’s among the best behaved, or at least the most compliant but that’s no longer so. The promise they used to hold out is evanescent now. It doesn’t really matter anyway for when I went to get it today to place it in my book of days, of course it was gone. I won’t look for it, yet one day it will, like so many others turn up amid the page barely preceding histrionics.

CROW DANCE

Sunday

They gather in the trees
remarkably silent
one speaks
their morning prayers
and they
return home.

Monday

Only three arrive
to commentate
our morning walk.
We appreciate
the silence.

Tuesday

There is a reason
for all
sentient creatures
but the crow
tests our credulity.

Wednesday

A wintered branch
breaks
under the weight
of the blackness.
There is much
gnashing of wing.

Thursday

A single bird
seems pitiable
and lonley
but we lack
avian compassion.

Friday

The usual
morning cacaphony
but why are they
so happy
it is Friday?

Saturday

Would that they
were ravens
and would heed
my entreaty
Nevermore!

SEOUL

Thursday night, and
Planet Hollywood in Seoul
is dead, more smiling
staff than diners,
the bar a well polished
wasteland, no lines
in the gift shop,
the Penguin mask
staring out over
the almost empty
dining room.
As we leave, having
consumed half a bottle
of soju between us
to the blare
of the endless videos,
they thank us and bow,
neatly arrayed in a row.
I can write my name
in Hangul and
smile in Korean.