Showdown 1/2/2018

Far too many times

He had been here before

Young men making a name

Or trying to even a score


Dust filled the air

The man squinted in the sun

He pulled his duster back

Exposing his well-used gun


Facing him in the street

Was an unnamed foe

The kid had all the gear

A gunfighter head to toe


Rumors and reputation followed

This aging Western cliché

Never a chance to rest or retire

Just a final bullet someday


Every bone and muscle ached

When he walked into the street

The years had nearly beat him

He could hear his weak heart beat


The man could see the faces

Of every failed adversary

Their ghosts no longer haunted him

He did what was necessary


The graves of his victims

Litter countless western towns

The names of both lost in time

As are the consecrated grounds


The kid was dressed in black

His boots, holsters, and hat

A pair of silver-plated pistols

His stance like an aristocrat


The kid made his challenge

From the door of the saloon

The man sighed heavily

Then spit into the spittoon


The angry and brave words

Varied little from all the others

He knew what the words meant

Sobbing ladies, wives, and mothers


The townsfolk were excited

Word raced far and near

Boredom and malaise vanished

With other’s lives, so cavalier


With an aging tanned hand

The man lifted his glass

He slowly finished his whiskey

Letting the seconds pass


Before leaving the saloon

He pulled and checked his gun

Assured every part functioned

The man stepped into the sun


A memory gave him pause

The first man he killed

Set him on this path

A better life unfulfilled


Born with a gift or curse

Of accuracy and speed

Along with moral flexibility

He was able to succeed


His thoughts broken by a taunt

The kid yelled for the man to hurry

Every second precious to the man

He was in no rush or worry


The town filled with silence

Except that of a baby crying

The anticipation of the crowd

That a man would soon be dying


The kid’s fingers danced

On his pistol’s ivory grips

He grew anxious to use

The fiery death on his hips


The man, a pillar of calm

His face a portrait of serenity

He had done this before

It had become his identity


Heartbeats marked the time

The man never moved first

He waited for the kid’s move

Then the action would burst


The kid’s hands moved quickly

Unholstering silver-plated obliteration

But the man’s reflexes were faster

And one step closer to damnation


The kid fell to the dirt

To endure death, painful and slow

He cried out for his mother

As the crowd turned to go


Without a further look

At his latest blood sacrifice

The man returned to the saloon

Knowing he’d never see paradise


The man returned to drinking

Before finally riding out

He was the best gunfighter

Of this he had no doubt


Locking away other memories

Never forgetting the kid’s face

Added to the long gallery

Until the man takes his place


Solicitors Welcome 3/9/2005

The dogs barked like crazy when the Avon Lady came into the house and all she could say was, “Could you please restrain the beasts. I’m quite afraid of dogs.”

I looked at my ferocious Yorkie and Chihuahua and laughed a little.

“Do not mock my fear, I was bitten as a child.”

I looked at her with sympathy, “I’m sorry, they’ll calm down in just a moment.”

The Avon Lady looked angry, “Do you want your skin-so-soft and make up? Then get rid of those awful creatures.”

I thought about it for a moment, then turned to my sweet little bundles of energy and said, “Dinner time, lads.”

The two small dogs went into a frenzy and ate the Avon Lady, bones and all. I went to my front door and adjusted the sign that read: Solicitors Welcome.  I then sat down on my blue couch and cradled my two little dogs in my arms.

“I love you guys.”

Seconds 3/7/2005

       Time seemed to pass slowly. Every heartbeat was a new image of the elderly couple, hand in hand. I could see them when they met at the USO in Hoboken, dancing close. The man dared to sneak a soft kiss and she returned it. I saw her waiting on the pier as he returned a hero from France, medals and a Purple Heart on his chest.

     Another beat and they held their first child, a boy they named for her father. They bought a house for their growing family. I saw them passionately make love and whisper heartfelt endearments to each other. Their son goes off to college as they hold each other, so proud of their boy. Soon their daughter leaves to get an education.

Another beat is witness to their sadness as the flag-draped coffin of their son was lowered into the cold ground. She jumped as the salute fired.

Another beat and my Dodge Durango crushes the couple sending the man flying and the woman under the wheels. There are no witnesses, yet I wish I had never left the bar so drunk.

Imperfection 12/31/2017

I loved you when

You didn’t love yourself

I saw a better person

Than she saw herself


At the same time

You did the same for me

Building me up

To the best I could be


But I am only human

Imperfection at best

I fell short of you

Of this I confessed


I hate myself at times

For poor decisions made

Now I have to move on

The price has been paid


Saying is not doing

The hurt remains still

Process just beginning

A question of my will

Fiona 12/26/2017

She is black and white

Brindle in the sun

She had my heart

From day number one


Fiona is my baby puppy

The best dog around

Her arrival saved my soul

In sorrow I nearly drowned


Now she has grown older

Not nearly as spry

But she’ll chase a ball

And give a valiant ry


Laying in the sunbeam

Enjoying her chubby life

Cuddling close as we sleep

No worries or strife


She has her quirks

Like biting at hose water

Sitting in her dish to cool off

Maybe she is part otter


So happy to see me

When at home I arrive

The feeling is mutual

Our love will thrive


Lost My Shadow 12/15/2017

I am not the man I could have been

It is a terrifying thing to know

Not knowing exactly what went wrong

But somehow I have lost my shadow


The journey to regain me

Has to begin somewhere

I have to be true to myself

For my soul, I have to dare


My shadow was lost years ago

Longer than most would believe

There is only one person to blame

It is my own heart I deceive


Fixing whatever went wrong

Will not happen in a single day

My journey will be a long one

The hard course I cannot stray


Knowing what I lost is a start

My shadow will be found

There is still time to become me

And in this life rebound


9 12/12/2017

You are getting so tall

As many nine year olds do

Obsessed with your tablet

And stories of Bigfoot too


Learning to speak German

Guten tag, wie gehts?

Talking and telling stories

A star of future debates


Double digits come

In just one more year

Enjoy being nine

Every youthful moment is dear


Have a happy birthday, Joe

I will see you at zoo lights

May your life be happy

And education to new heights