Noble Leader

when I was old enough to walk
my brother home from school,
mom gave me a keychain with a star

above the name and ‘Noble Leader’
blazing below. the brass it brandished
over years gnawed at its red and white,

still the medal shines. though not
as pristine today, you can see the key
belongs to me. you may need to hold it

further away, others will squint to read
the depiction under my name, one
my mother hoped her son would be.

Mr. Jones at the Pinery

when I hear Mr. Jones now, I feel a layer of wintered needles
cushioning sandaled foot steps ’round the Pinery roads’s

rocky patches. when the park ranger pickup turned the curve
we would hide the hidden Molson dry up a hoodie sleeve.

the forest edge lit by lanterns in almost June still had a chill
blanketed by girls’ smiles from towns I’ve never visited.

we’d meander, back to a fire, friends, voices, someone playing
a guitar’s fairy tale from a picnic table – she’s singing to you/

I don’t think so/ she’s looking at me/ smiling in the firelight/
I made myself a silver sleeve/ when everybody loved me

I wanted to be, just about as lonely as I could be.

Note: part of the last line in stanza four and the last two stanzas are based on lyrics of the song Mr. Jones by the Counting Crows

Saturday, Jan 1

On a wonder past a molehill of ice; remnants of a last snow fall
clinging to cold as it awaits rescue from this morning’s weather advisory

this evening’s passing storm
the darkened store fronts
the steam of clothes dryer pvc pipes (not our mouths)

the low seniority bus (driver) leaves the stop

the quiet of the street (not our sidewalks)
the cries of a child around someone else’s corner
the suffering lungs of the year’s first run at a resolution

an empty plastic Brahma beer cup on an Annette St. tile of lawn

I step my way back to the blue desk in the yellow writing area of the silent living

room in my Quebec Ave. apartment to think this into ink, for you