Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Strange Things I Heard at a Restaurant

I was always curious why the word
Had its own motion in sign language.

There is a large cosmopolitan crowd surrounding me,
The middle Ohio upper class
Clogging the essential arteries of an upscale restaurant,
I look from person to person expecting some kind of likeness.
I find nothing, perhaps a familiar lack of patience.

Complaints are being tossed at the hostess
faster then orders for T bone steaks in the kitchen,
I hear that and ignore it,
wanting nothing to do with this culture.

I see a pregnant woman and her mother,
keeping close watch over an obnoxious,
overly curious
four year old, looking disgustedly around,
motioning at the waiting bench I am sitting on.

She sizes me up and determines that I am no worthy
bench mate.
No matter,
As I am seated I hear her saying something to her pregnant daughter,
about some rude people at a table making overt hand gestures at
each other.

I am trying to overhear something useful,

As I watch the table beside mine,
A deaf man and three friends,
Their conversation is loud: hands are quickly
Speaking about their day,
Their dinners and surely how nice the weather was.

I wonder how long it took this man’s friends to learn,
the intricate art of sign language,
And I realize there is more beauty in this man’s thumb
Then the dialogue of every other table in the place.

As I watch, fascinated at how intently this quiet conversation
Fills these four friends with smiles,
That we take our language for granted.
They are practicing singing while I self-consciously pick
at a burger.

It is music to my ears

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


I picture ripped jeans, red and black
knee patche’d punk rock kids,
shouting at cars driving by:
fuck this!
bollocks that!
And I laugh.

I picture my streets slithering around,
like a snake hugging the ankles
of unaware farmers digging in fields:

My streets create their own romanticism,
their own mysteries begin to unravel like
and undone scarf,
the knit wool slowly and quietly giving way
to the pull of the near spring warmth.

They wrap around
My childhood memories, bicycle rides
and walks, getting stares from the punks,
with their skateboards.

Setting is mapped in lots of different ways:

I wander on,
eying my brown turned hands as a Tootsie
melts into my mouth and on my fingers;
I will manipulate then to picking up stones, sticks,
toys that fell out of trees.

My streets hide me from disasters
like being lost.

I can’t imagine a world where spring doesn’t
feel like this,
where the knot of Poland, Ohio is a tangle
waiting to be sorted out,
by young boys determined to become