Snapshot

The picture was taken
from too far away

the two of us sit on the
apartment steps
the manicured shrubs on
either side dominate
we are framed, she and I,
by wrought-iron railings

Still, it is the only picture
of us that I have

she wears sunglasses and
her acorn-hued hair
cascades over her right
shoulder, trickles down
almost to her lap

I sit on her left
my hand behind, not quite
coming around her back

We hadn’t been together
very long; a few weeks
later any snapshot would
have been much different

more focused, more intimate
more of what we became
before we went our
separate ways

All that is left is a yellowing
bent-corners Instamatic
photo, circa 1979

Were it of anyone else,
finding it in a stack of old
pictures I would squint,
wondering just who these
people were, so far away
from the picture taker

Passing fancy

I have passed many things in life;
tests, gas, out, deals-of-a-lifetime,
cars on the freeway, footballs –
been given a free pass,
let other go past

I have passed forty and now fifty;
been passed over at work, while
women have passed me by as
has apparently ‘my time.’
I have passed the buck.

I have passed the gravy and on
the opportunity; been caught
without a hall pass, had my
past catch up to me, though
most have let that pass

I have frequently passed muster
often said ‘Thanks but I’ll pass’
made quite a few passes at girls
with and without glasses – often
past the point-of-no-return

Someday they will say of me,
“Oh, he has passed on” though in
my own mind I will just be dead,
simply in the past-tense of others

It’s all semantics, anyway, once
you get past the diction, phrasing –
the awkwardly quirky bad spelling
has all passed someones inspection

La-Z-Boy lullaby

late night television used to
be old movies, should’ve been
forgotten musical westerns
other black-and-white obscurities
followed by the national anthem

then mystical test patterns;
funky geometric designs
with a channel number and
odd, monotonous dulcet tones
for peaceful slumber white noise

now people pontificate at all hours;
exhortations for insomniacs on
how to remain wide-awake
with gadgets to chop slice cook food
preachers selling salvation and DVDs,
miracle cures for bald people who
can’t perform sexually losing weight
by drinking shakes delivered to your
door via FedEx in a different box
from the exercise device that is yours
for only three credit card payments
and you can hang dirty clothes on it
after you use it twice but they often
don’t mention that in the thirty
minutes they paid for to talk about
why you should turn your mortgage
backwards and how celebrity insurance
salesmen will be of great comfort
with a check when your spouse dies

and I’ll be damned if I can find a good
test pattern when I really need one.

…by the dashboard light?

What was in our youth, mood
lighting for teen romance –
dim, yellowish-orange tinged
spotlight on amateurishly
fumbled front-seat lust

has become, in our middle-aged
driveway rendezvous, moment-
before-we-go-in-from-a-night-out

a weird glow of two blue-hued
Smurfs who now bumble with
seatbelts due not to inexperience –
but for lack of practice and the

confusion of hazily remembered
Gumby-like nostalgia with the
logistical impracticality of now,
coupled with the odd, irrational
fears of inadvertent deployment
of dashboard air bags;

unlikely, yet boast-worthy episode
rendered less useful with no locker
to hang out by, no peers to awe,
chiropractic co-pays in the offing

Now we just kill the engine,
go inside, sit down and watch the
news from opposite ends of the couch