Friends

FRIENDS                         FRIENDS                        FRIENDS
FRIENDS                             FRIENDS                        FRIENDS
FRIENDS                                 FRIENDS                        FRIENDS
FRIENDS                                     FRIENDS                        
FRIENDS
………………………….F    R    I    E    N    D    S……………………….
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62    TELEPHONE

We call each other
Because we can…
What’s going on?
Like, what’s the plan?
With a lot to say
Or maybe not much…
Hey, we’re just trying
To stay in touch.
Best buds for life,
So don’t be a traitor:
Go find your cell
And call me later!
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63     SAD DECEMBER

Time…always heals every wound;
Deepest pain fades away.
These words they say
Don’t ring true –
Not when we’ve lost you.

Friends…reminisce and dry a tear;
Laughter soothes the hurts we hide inside.
Peace must abide.
It’s long overdue,
But, still, we miss you.

All that life willed
Left unfulfilled…
Worlds stood at your door.
What has fate done?
You’d just begun.
How we’d wish you more!

Light…reaches even darkest hearts;
Brighter days lie ahead.
Things they’ve said
Now shine through
Sweet shadows of you.

Death…never takes it all away ;
There’s a plan God does not reveal.
Could it conceal
Love man cannot know?
Please, Lord, make it so!

All this life willed
Left unfulfilled…
Worlds stood at your door.
All you’d have done,
Barely begun –
How we’d wish you more!

We’ll remember
With fond regret
Classmates gone too soon.
Sad December,
We won’t forget
Souls He took so soon.

Friends that He took from us…

(These are actually the lyrics to a song.  Music by my friend Rex Steiner.)
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64     SONGWRITER

From hollow cauldrons
/    of pure nothingness
A melancholy dreamer draws
/    a cup of melody…
/         to baste a void.

In sullen vessels
/    of somber silence
A moody visionary mixes
/    spoonfuls of lyric…
/         to stir the quiet.

When tune blends with words
A sad song
/    nourishes the souls
/         of all who feast on it.
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65     COUNSEL FOR A FRIEND                                                                          *****

Bittersweet remembrance, the returning ghost…
How sad that your past can hurt you most
Not when cherished or despised as yesterday’s way,
But when allowed to live as part of today.
Never should what-was put shackles on tomorrow;
A martyr loses all if he drowns in his sorrow.
Handling your past is something you must do –
Start by refusing to let it handle you!
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66     TO THE AGED  (HEAR!  HEAR!)                                                               *****

The future never was
/   ours to see;
Propose no toast
/   to what will be.
Some are content
/   to have come so far;
Underachievers drink
/   to what they are.
Only with lenses thick
/   and hair gone thin
Dare we raise a glass
/   to what we’ve been.
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67      CREDIT THE AIRWAVES                                                             *****

Inspiration was the tuning
/   of a radio dial.
The Seventies records reared
/   my writing style.
In that maze of lyrics
/   the melodies were lost –
Oh, I could’ve been studying
/   Tennyson or Frost,
But I preferred pop lessons
/   from a vinyl stack,
So I had tutors like Lennon
/   and Fleetwood Mac.
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68     TEACHERS                                                                                       *****

In recesses of our minds
/   bittersweet successes are stored –
We live a profession known
/   to be its own reward,
And no other aspect of teaching
/   can rightly mean so much
As knowing you make a difference
/   in the lives you touch.
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69    PRACTICAL PRE$ENT$

To touch the heart,
To stir the soul…
Gifts poignant and priceless
Had been my goal.
But now what to do?
I’ve nary a clue,
And this panic won’t find
Those presents for you!

No choices were made,
Yet my indecision may please.
There’s a practical solution
For times like these:
Backpedal to cop-outs
At which no fool balks –
When gift ideas run silent,
Money talks!
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70      FRIENDSHIP CLICHE’

I’ll lighten the load,
/   allay your fears.
I’ll ease your mind,
/   dry those tears.
For this and that,
/   through such and such,
Just lean on me –
/   I’ll be your crutch.
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71      THESE TWO

There’s something endearing
/   in how he tortures big sis –
What two-year-old “monster”
/   can smile like this?

With every tummy upset,
/   every bump on the head –
I’m wishing those ills
/   befell their mother instead.

So thankful I’m a parent:
/   Tho short nights are no fun,
I can’t imagine my life
/   without them as Job One.

My first bears my name,
/   but both bare my soul.
They’re my reason for being;
/   These Two make me whole.
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72    MIDDLE-CLASS BLUES                                                                           *****

Teach math to high school kids;
Let dismissal bells be your friend.
Mow the lawn and trim the hedges,
And watch them grow out again.
Do a little painting on the side;
Join a bowling league on Thursday night.
Grade papers, plan lessons,
Replace a burned-out kitchen light.
Slander a kid in the teachers’ lounge;
Scrape money together to pay for a car.
Pretend your students aren’t sick of books
When you know they really are.
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73    QUEENS OF THE FLASHING LIGHTS                                                           *****

Mixing her lines of smooth, sweet talk
With a cute little wiggle in a cute little walk,
She knows all the sexy new moves,
And each week this painted lady proves
She’s the passionate queen of the flashing lights –
Disco’s gift to the World of Saturday Nights.

She’s enough of a woman, yet she gives it more –
Her young body moves swiftly across the floor,

And back at the table one can surely bet
On a glass of beer and a cigarette.
Add a low-cut dress and she’s got it made,
For these are the tools of this popular trade.
While the fever burns hot into warm summer nights
Some girls thrive as queens of the flashing lights.

(May 28, 1979)
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74    FRIEND

Fresh starts can grow stale;
Your happy trails may end…
Often the burden’s too much
For broken hearts on the mend.
When colors run into black,
What you need is a friend

Who can never do enough;
A helping hand he will lend.
Should life tie those hands,
Golden words he will send…
Your spectrum never goes dark –
It’s always lit by your friend.
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75     RED FIERO

Neatly wrapped in a fancy car,
Even a deadhead seems alive –
A mirrored glance is all you are;
You can only be what yo drive.

As man and machine both unwind,
Key is how it makes you feel –
Cool’s still a state of mind;
Passion thrives behind the wheel.

(July 18, 1989)
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76     SEE ME MONDAY                                                                                *****

Hurry up, weekend –
/   You have to get here soon.
I cannot settle
/  for Friday noon.
Sick and tired
/   of workaday stuff,
I’m watching the clock –
/  It ain’t fast enough!
Come quitting time,
/  I won’t be found.
They’ll look for my car;
/  I’m not around.
Good riddance, office –
/  I’m homeward bound!
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77    HITTING THE WALL

I don’t think for a minute
/   that you’re only bluffing
When you say you don’t want
/   all or nothing.
Though I’m a primary player
/   in life’s latest phase,
Yo’ve planned to move on
/   in those timeless ways,
But I hit the wall so hard
/   as my lap ends
With your crash-helmet words:
/   ‘Can we just be friends?’
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78    THE DREAMER’S GUIDE

If each poem is a tour,
/   is its poet a guide?
I’m now inspired to try,
/   but I cannot decide:
Shall I write tonight
/   my spirits to uplift,
Or shall I create something sweet
/   for Spindrift?
‘Guess I’ll just record my dreams
/   as they come through,
And then hope my readers
/   are dreamers too!

(August 1, 1981)
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79    TOO MUCH FOR ME

My mind caught up in old clouds of gloom,
I peer out through the darkness of an empty room.
Looking back on the image of the love we had,
Wondering how our story could be so sad.

But then you had the class while I had the dreams;
It was your mighty river and my mountain streams.
When you left me behind to head for the sea,
I knew you were simply too much for me.

Yes, you had the money and I had the friends;
To you they were means but to me they were ends.
The world was your prison and I was free,
But you knew you were simply too much for me.

While you were a queen, I was only a man;
I gave you my heart but got only your hand.
When we saw that true love could never be,
We both thought you were simply too much for me.

There was a time when memories could make me cry,
But in the dark of this room my cheeks are dry,
For the answer’s light has come shining through:
In the things that count I was too much for you.

(December 8, 1976)
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80      I’LL OWN THE STORE

People were my means,
To her they were ends.
So I cached the checks
While she counted friends.

Mighty sea-destined rivers,
Her meandering streams.
My style and substance,
Her too-simple dreams.

Craving power and prestige,
I was too smart to start.
This partner loved
To foreclose that heart.

Yet to this day I puzzle –
She claimed less was more.
“In the business of life,”
She’d say, “I’ll own the store.”

(July 21, 1992…Inspired by the poem “Too Much for Me”)

 

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