1

Catching Quiet

The neighbors don’t wake me up anymore
No yelling, no dragging the kid out of bed
It’s eerie in the morning, no one making a sound
Not even on weekends
There’s no getting ready
No dirt bikes, no day trips
Nowhere to go

The quiet is catching
The dog’s caught it too
No more howling and whining and pacing the stairs
No more being alone
All day every day
No more singing to soothe him through the wall

The humans are home, the humans are home
No reason to bark
Except at the package
Left on the step
That nobody opens the door to get
Cardboard isn’t safe, you know
Leave it there
Be safe, beware
The quiet, the catching quiet
Will catch us all

4

Another Day

Walking seaside, sand soft as ever
Alone, but there are others here
They pass me from a distance
Separate singles, careful pairs
Walking six feet apart
Or is it twelve now?
Maybe they seek escape from confinement
Maybe fresh air, a welcome change
I never seek change, I’ll deal with that later
Today I only seek the sea

The ocean’s blue from yesterday’s rain
Horizon crisp, no smog, clean line
The sky’s blue too, cold blue like breath
I breathe in yesterday’s calm
And make sure to stay upwind of them
That group of twenty, gathered close
Heads together
Too close, heedless
Don’t they know what world they’re in?
Ignorance or ill intent
Our droplets and our poison breath
Let’s raise our glasses, drink to this
What else are we good for anyway?
Happy St. Patrick’s Day

The ocean doesn’t hear us and the ocean doesn’t know 
Unaware of all the beauty it holds alone
Beauty taken from all other things by us
It’s always us
Unafraid until we’re not
We don’t believe the truth, unhidden, unbidden, and then it’s too late
Another crash, no consolation
What’s a thousand bucks to this?
Everyone put on your blue light glasses
It’s going to be a long night

The waves don’t care, they crash and crash
The tide recedes and then it comes back
Airborne droplets hit my face 
Moist salt mist, it’s safe, we’re safe
Standing here and looking out
I can almost pretend. 

2

no fun

out of the under and into the rain
no fun out here, breathing air, making sounds
spoken words, stolen breaths
save them
save me
save the toilet paper
or at least the pasta sauce
what am I to put on all these sunshine noodles?

I want to dig, to burrow, to bury
into the dark to find the quiet
I know it’s here someplace
I left it right there

or maybe it is there
it’s me who isn’t
I’m out in the open, wandering aisles
lost in the light and the air
Enough.
I wasn’t meant to see, I say
the spoken sound, the breath, too much
I shut my eyes and turn away
maybe I should learn to shut my mouth.

2

Puddles

Florence, nine am. Deserted rain-soaked streets. Silent, slow, sleepy morning, even the dripping drops are sluggish.

Old man, timeworn, sucking on a cigarette. He nods to us as we pass, rasping out his first word of the day. “Buongiorno,” he says. “Buongiorno,” we say, our voices too bright for the sleeping street. We’ve already said words this morning, too many. So many steps, more to come, no time to stop.

Shopkeeper, sweeping out puddles nestled into cobblestones, making a home wherever they are. Into the street, “out” says the broom, sweeping proudly. I want to stay, to stop and see if the puddles will empty, the broom will still, the man will go inside the shop, or if all of it exists just like this always.

We don’t stop. Almost ten, the streets are empty, but not like nobody’s there, more like they’ve been there so long that mornings don’t matter. We keep walking, our boot-steps steady.

Across the square, a puppy – muscles moving, sleek coat, russet colored, large paws bounding, zigzagging and dragging along a boy with the same color hair. A boy my age or the age I am sometimes. Boy and dog both look my way.

I smile and keep walking, keep watching through the mist, the grey morning between us. Boy keeps watching too, but the dog is up on a tall curb now, yanking the other way. Boy laughs and lets him pull, tail wagging, zigzagging, so many smells, a world in every puddle.

I watch them go. Time, having stretched out, snaps back and let’s find a coffee shop (it’s drizzling now) and shall we get a croissant and where was that flea market and do we have enough time to reach the train station by noon?

Sweeping puddles, endless worlds, russet colored paws. So many places to go and nowhere to be.

3

Time’s Prison

The sun always sets. It’s always an end, another day done, another gift gone. Thrown on a pile of things you can never again hold. It may slide to the side, carelessly tossed and quickly forgotten. It may land right in its place, thrown with sparking precision, a boomerang that will always come back to you but never stay. Maybe instead, it will land and instantly sink, too heavy to stay on the surface, too weak to bear its own weight. Sink to the bottom and stay there, out of sight, out of your misery but never out of its own.

Or, it will land where it should – the perfect throw – and stay perched at the top of your growing tower. But it can’t stay there and it won’t, because another end is coming, a blink or an eternity later. Another sun will set, always the same but different, and soon it will lie covered up like all those that came before.

The sunset is also a beginning, but it’s of night, and night doesn’t matter. Night is a timeless place where I’m forced to wait until another day lets me in. Nights are full of needing, full of dreaming. Of worlds inside my head that no one else can see, where no one will ever be unless I guide them there, and I can’t do that in the dark.

Perhaps I should begin watching the sunrise instead.