Ending As They Started It

there are surprises
when growing up.
some things never change, though.

people find the faults,
look to lay blame,
find reasons in others
for the short comings
of what they’ve sown.

oh well, hope survives,
optimism touts happiness,
neither doing well.

Tough One This Year

That’s it,
Another Christmas season,
Wrapped in the cloak
Of a monster chest cold
And coughing carols
With chestnuts roasting
In snot filled lungs.


Scrooge Lungs

Not seeking sympathy,
Only complaining on Christmas Eve
As the clutches of pulmonary vice grips
Refuse to let go of my lungs.
Instead the air bags are choked with phlegm
And an inability to take full breaths
Without the consequence of a burning hack.
What air remains after Tyson like body blows,
Seeps out producing the sounds of a deflating bagpipe
Deep inside my chest.

To John

To my friend and mentor John Helion
A long overdue thank you and congrats,

Dr. Sanford Lopater, someone from my undergrad, one said,
“You’ll be lucky if you have one or two professors
You relate to in college.”
He was right and wrong
He was one,
You were one of the others,
The unmentioned being a spunky Health teacher.

Tonight I drove past your house thinking of old times,
Like Hindu tag and Jack being nimble or late,
Like hanging at the ropes course having deep conversations about PE,
And watching you fall asleep in Denver with a book perfectly perched
On your chest.
Each of those images brought a smile to my face
Because you are the man
Who made whatever I have become happen.
There is something about the way you think,
It’s in its custard of possibility
That has stuck with me all these years.
Whether it was the conversations about teaching up North,
Old ladies doing laps at Columbia, or just your cackle,
All stuck with me with a genius that personifies authenticity
And the true nature of what it means to be a teacher.

Forget all of the professional mumbo jumbo,
ALT-PE, time on task, cross-curricular integration,
Each of those pales in the shadow of who you have been to me,

My teacher.

You taught me how to understand the importance of preparation.
You taught me how to understand there is more to life than the profession.
You taught me what it means to have perspective,
That debate is more than just disagreement, that it’s necessary,
That laughter does not have to be personal,
And that a strength of character is all we really have.

Thank you, my teacher.

So on this night
When I spent too much time at the Side Bar
And made the trip on New and 926 for the who knows what thousandth time,
Thank you, John, for being the teacher than you have been,
I owe you my career.
No go listen to some Clapton,
Start with “Hello, My Old Friend.”

Comic Strip Postcards: From the Lungs

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Abraham Lincoln

Nothing like a day
When leaning to the right
Has nothing to do with being political
And everything to do with keeping
The San Andreas coughs at bay.
Add to the never-ending stream
Of hot teas, Lemon Ginger and Chai,
To keep the sinuses wide open
Or at least able to flow.
The final piece of the ecstasy of a chest cold
Is Netflix, made only better by the heavy blankets,
The ball of warm pit bull next to me, and
The solitude of hacking and calling up the bombs
Resting so deeply in my lungs.
At least honest Abe gives good advice
For the less I talk the better I feel.
Maybe tomorrow will bring clearer passages.

Comic Strip Postcards: Job Completed

C’mon colleagues,
Your charitable sponsorship is noble,
But your completion of the clean up
Is one bloody mess.
This drive draws viscous contributions
Only surpassed by ire we feel
At left over by the trash of collecting
Life saving fluids.

Now if the sponsors
Could just pick up the s#%* left behind…

Comic Strip Postcards: From the Heart

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.” Abraham Lincoln


Look, all I do is beat.
I’m a pump.
Nothing more, nothing less.
I squeeze…blood moves.
Don’t go putting work ethic on me.
I work.
I’m no metaphor for your motivational tricks.
I do my job.
I am a heart.
Through and through.
I keep going until I can’t,
So don’t lump me in with persistence and resilience.
They’re nothing but constructs
That show nothing.
I’m a heart, a pump, muscle,
The thing that keeps you alive.
So don’t cheapen my worth
With games when kids can get to the ball,
Or when politicians can’t do what’s right.
Hearts always hustle.
Hearts always pump.
We do what we do because we must.
Leave the shoulds to some other organ.
Better, yet, make all of your little invisible intangibles
The property of the brain.
Hearts care little for thought.

Let the Good Times Cough

My runny nose
can’t wait for the tax break
that will keep me
from paying through ‘da nose

Maybe I’ll cough
All the way to the bank
Because if this cough should kill me
My family will reep the credits.

Thank you,
Republicans for knowing
How much I would appreciate
Your taxing consideration.