Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Silver Shield on Blue

One week into the job
The rookie pulls a boy from a car wreck.
He clings tightly onto the blue uniform
But he doesn’t cry.
He is safe in the arms of the officer.
The new blue smiles ignoring pain and says a prayer,
            Michael and Jude, I am the protector,
            The one who faces impossible tasks.
            “I’m going to be a cop too,” said the boy.
            Yeah, this is what I do.

Some years and many miles on the road
Icing a twisted knee from a failed pursuit.
The officer pulls off the uniform that reeks
From the rousted whino.
A call comes from a former classmate with news.
One from their number has fallen in the line of duty.
            Michael and Jude, How can I protect
            And face the tasks ahead without purpose?
            Checking on your toddling child a siren echoes in the distance.
            Yeah, stroking the little head, I can continue to do.

Partners have come and gone, cars have changed.
Knee surgery and temporary desk duty have added a few pounds,
Slowing the step and tightening the blue collar.
Ol’ Cap is hospitalized from stress on the heart.
Whiskey bites the throat
Its all been the same, nothing ever changes
            Michael and Jude, I need some protection
            and help with the job I do.
            On the table , drawn in crayon, is a boxy car and officer in blue.
            Yeah, that’s the trick, I can go on a few.

Its an odd bit a fate that has brought the circle round
Yesterday, a trouble teen said ‘thanks’ and gave a hug.
Today, at the academy, an unusual invite did bring.
A new officer gets inducted and acknowledged today.
The boy from the car.
He shakes your hand with strength the way you did back when.
You pass on a gift of Don Quixote with the inscription that read,
            “Michael and Jude, To Serve and Protect
            Is an impossible job to do.
            Yet, Quixote did manage to joust a windmill.”
            Yeah, you salute, silver shield on blue.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

In the Game

Stop the ball.
Hands high, shoulders low
Eyes focused like a huntress.
She defends the court.
Shuffle and run; run and shuffle
Denial is her purpose.

Hungry, a split second to swipe
She pounces on a lose ball.
Banging against her opponent
Bone slamming wood
Skin scorching the wax.

Dish it off.
Pass to the guard
Her knee is bruised,
Burning from the slide.
Sweat trickles at her temple.
Strands of hair dance as she moves.

Pop a pass.
Swing it right and cut.
Reverse the ball back around.
Weave through and set the pick.
Zap, the ball slams her hands
Drive the lane, quick and sure.

Delicate of the glass.
Step high and power up.
Soar above the hands.
She rolls her wrist with grace.
A gentle kiss in the square.
Her eyes shine then flicker.

Stop the ball…

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Helmet to the Stone

Late October, on a cool Friday night,
the battle done for the season.
A young man in gridiron gear
stopped at a rock at the base of a flag
placed in memory of a dedicated coach
and put his helmet to the stone.

The polymer plastic gritted against
the great rock, and its chiseled words.
He held it there, his head down in
a private moment of silence.
Not far away, fans marched by seeing
him with his helmet to the stone.

The player, sweat soaked and muddy,
bloodied knuckles, hair plastered to his head,
stoically poised, a picture of youth,
of hard work and of love for the game,
reflected heart, pride and sadness
with his helmet to the stone.

Letters cut with steel deep into the rock
say a name and date of a man
who passed on a legacy of character
to all the players who took the field with him.
Late October, a player, a boy at heart, 
proudly, reverently, put his helmet to the stone.

(a verse for Duane)
Years later, early July, some hot days.
The battle fought, another hero gone.
He played for the love. He played hard
As an Oriole, Chippewa, Crusader, and Patriot.
His heart held community and family close.
“Five more minutes,” helmet to the stone.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Blue Eyes Looking Forward

Standing tall, chin firm, ready to go
Blue eyes, looking forward, bright and bold
Proud and playful, the smile does show
Standing tall, chin firm, ready to go
Free spirit, launching with wings aglow
Beauty and brains break the mold
Standing tall, chin firm, ready to go
Blue eyes, looking forward, bright and bold

A woman of strength is stepping forth
With dreams to achieve, the world to change.
Her heart beats firm with immeasurable worth
A woman of strength is stepping forth
To make an indelible mark upon the earth.
Stars and possibilities are within her range
A woman of strength is stepping forth
With dreams to achieve, the world to change.

This style of poetry with the repetition and rotation of lines is known as a pantoon.
A poem was requested by Alicia (center) and Liz (right) as their graduation gift. This is their poem, but it does include Rachel (left), who graduated a year earlier

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Set It Up

Commands coach
As the guard crosses mid-court,
Arm raised, two fingers out.
Two, he yells, running the offense.
Forward cuts to the high post.
Center drops down the paint.
The ball passes left,
Reverse, swing it round.
Shuffle, step, pick is set.
Turn, bounce pass…..

However, had started on day one
When coach called all to the base line,
Running passing drills, lay-ups,
Conditioning with sprints.
Then it became the go to play,
The bread and butter routine,
Going for the bucket.
Only here, it varies with
Three on the clock, down by one.

Goes the ball,
From the fingertips with patience
To the hoop with urgency;
A title on the line.
A touch on the glass,
Held breath, roll on the rim,
A cheer from the crowd.
Completes the play that took a season.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A Teacher of Art

Today, he was sitting on the bench,
Sketch pad and pencil in hand.
The wind ruffled the paper
While clouds dimmed the world.

I have seen him about the town.
Sketching, drawing, painting
In bright summer dancing in color
And dismal winter of charcoal gray.

I sat next to him and glanced at his work.
His hands were sturdy, the fingers gentle.
“Wouldn’t it be easier in a studio?” I asked.
He adjusted his pad, hand flickered on.

Paints have to spill,” he said.
“Brushes have to hit, tickle, and wave;
Pencils cut, trace, kiss, and break;
And easels get knocked down.”

“Color must be grabbed, smelled,
Rubbed between fingers and tasted.
Form dances, skulks and caresses.
Light and shade play hide and seek.”

 He closed his pad and pocketed pencils.
“Yes, it would be easier in a studio.”
With crinkled eyes, he threw me a wink.
“But, then how fun would that be?”

This poem is a part of the Wordz collection.

Friday, May 11, 2012

We Play the Game

Our silk we wear has a sash
               of grass stains and dirt
from battles royal.
Bruises blossom dark and purple,
               mixing with last week’s yellow
               and green to make our bouquet.
We wear a crown, but it is nothing
               more  than headband or prewrap
jeweled with sweat.
Soft slippers? No.
               Bright laces don our cleats,
               Double knotted, tough.
Our regal presence on the field
               is a bruised jaw set firm,
               tasting grass and grit.
Heart and Determination
               burns in our eyes,
               a sigil to our oath.
We are pledged to teamwork,
               a sisterhood of Go!
               Crusading for victory.
Yes, we are girls,
               Beautiful and Bold,
               And we play the game.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Toughest Job

Just a few days old, a precious little life.
The husband stands next to a tired wife.
Its time to rest, this she does know.
Carefully, with tears, she lets go.

Bright September morn, a boy kicks a stone.
Impatiently waiting,  he wants to stand alone.
Mom stands back, Dad says the bus will show.
She waves at his grin as she lets go.

Bands and books hype the late August.
Dad aches from luggage, his back will adjust.
Mom smiles bravely  but moves away slow
Her child to the ivy halls, she lets go.

The height of June, flashbulbs pop bright.
A man in black, and a woman in white.
A dad brings her down, passes her hand aglow.
The two moms look at their babies and let go.

Dads smile and nod and make a joke or two.
Although similar, he has a different job to do.
Done with grace, though it hurts her so
A loving mother’s toughest job, is letting go.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Passing the Torch

With static breath,
The runner stumbles, shuffles, regains balance.
The torch bobs, the flame flickers.
It is heavy, the arm sags, the head drops.
The trek has drained color from the cheeks,
Curl from the lips,
Glint from the eyes,
Blood from the heart,
And even, spirit from the soul
Feet grumble in the dirt.
Neck complains of weight.
Air fails to reward the lungs.

Yet, the turn completed, straight away ahead.                                            
The successor awaits,
Bouncing on toes,
Shaking the wrist.
There is color in the cheeks.
A curl, a glint, blood, and spirit.
The runner’s eyes drink,
The soul sighs, then surges.
The pace quickens.
Heart pounds,
Feet clap, arms wave, and the flame flares.

Close together,
Both in motion.
One leans forward, reaching, giving.
The other, stretches back, waiting, accepting.

The runner shuffles to a halt.
Hands on knees, gasping.
Watching the other fade away.
A knowing grin thinks of the course ahead,
Watery eyes recall the one just traveled.
Limping, aching, the runner sees the torch
On a distant hill.
The heart sighs with contentment.
The soul aches with tears of pride.
The hand flexes, missing the weight.
The torch passed.
The fire still burns.

Passing the Torch is part of the Wordz collection.