A magnet,
My dog has the powers of attraction.
I watch from my pandemic perch at the dining room table
As my family walks into the room,
Each one drawn to the couch
By E’s tractor beam.
To his credit, he lets us in,
Scratching his chest,
Patting his ribs,
Talking the gibberish we all do,
And he always gives the obligatory kiss.

People could learn a lot from dogs.

Clouds,
Sneezing,
Coup ups,
Binge boredom,
No end in sight,
The fear,
The panic,
The worry for others,
My parents,
My grandmother,
My kids,
Hell, all my family,
Friends,
Everyone.

Even the deniers,
The disaster capitalists,
Those blinded with optimism,
Those throwing shade,
The hoarders,
Spreading their irresponsibility,
Shedding their truths,
Bringing their biology
To infection’s party
Maybe not yet,
Maybe not ever,
But to whom will they get sick
Hopefully, no one,
Not even them.

There was a really cool thing said to me today,

“I’ve known you a year, I never knew you could talk.”

I loved that,
Me, a quiet one, being recognized for talking,
Even if it was forced conversation,
The kind that happens when I’m teaching,
This time to adults who were on indoor cycles,
Don’t want to have trademark issues
When naming them,
The bikes,
Not the people,
Three of them who are a few clicks short of appropriate,
But that’s why I make jokes with them,
Because they’ve gotten in and
LET ME BE ME,
The same courtesy I hope to extend to everyone else.

The best part of the aforementioned quote
Was that the woman called me by a nickname, Cox,
Which was started by the troubled trio
I wrote of earlier.
The new monicker has worked so well that this woman
Has called me Cox twice in two days.
I just
LET HER BE HER and answered her questions
WITHOUT feeling upset, WITHOUT correcting her,
WITHOUT feeling the need to complain about
The injustice of being called something I’m not
And besides, she’s not in on the joke,

But it was perfect,
We, the insiders, laughed,
AND THEN WE LET HER IN ON THE REASON,
Hopefully, she’s cool with that,
I mean, I don’t care if she isn’t,
I think, though, it would be nicer if she was
Given that her comment and confusion about my name
Brought such joy to our group.

We could use a little laugher, Auntie Mame
Sorry for the reference to a musical,
After all, the cosmos says I like the arts and
That was like a cheap circumcision,
A rip-off,
Which is a joke my young journeyman protege
Told the other day,
Leaving me thinking that fun is just around the corner
Until I get run into
By people who are never happy,
Who spin themselves into a tizzy, and
Fail to recognize that seriousness of a certain kind
Is something to be escaped.

And I know that person,
It can be me, miserable,
But exercise and hanging with the people where I workout,
Even if I’m taking the effing class
Where there are a bushel load of burpees
Doesn’t really make me hate on things.

So thank goodness I talked a lot during class, today,
That woman who is married to wrestling coach and
Whose name I don’t even have a nickname for

MADE MY DAY! (Capital letter emphasis, yo)

Fred’s week went down right after he had his best swim. The water pushed him along, nearly parting as he pushed his newfound pace. There was a post-exercise rush that ended as soon as he got to work. The weight of shutdown culture came crashing down. The drowning nature of the fear existing from the defense of other people’s feelings pulled Fred under. He did the only thing he knew to do. He held his breath, dropping out of sight and stewing about what life was becoming, an unfortunate set of experiences that stole the good from a super swim.

Shredding papers,
Not wrapping papers
Or rolling papers,
Just shredding papers,
By hand, the old way,
Like they did back in the past,
Ripping right through the middle,
Leaving a document halved,
Destroyed,
A symbol of petulance,
Half for the President,
Half for the Speaker.

What has become of our institutions?
What of the Senate?
What of the House?
What of the President?
What of the minions do all of their bidding?
What of the people who vote.
How did they get to this point?
So divided?
So selfish?
So narrow-minded?
When will they do right by us?
When?

photography of man jumping on ring
Photo by Patrick Case on Pexels.com

This was some day,
When the fates threw their best at me,
I nearly cracked,
Blood was certainly drawn,
But in the end, I made it through.

It started with a swim,
I didn’t want to be in the water at 5 AM,
That’s when I have time to get it in, though.
My mind was waterlogged long before I got there,
Little did I know the pool would make things worse,

Because the second part of the workout
Was a high intensity interval training foray
In the far right lanes,
By the way, don’t call it Cross Fit, they might sue,
Or the current instructor might fly off a turnbuckle.

It was during class,
That I ran into Willard White, the crass oilman,
From Diamonds Are Forever, who was played
By Jimmy Dean, only my Willie, baby,
Walks around on sausage, thick, little piggies going to market

Chlorine seems to create rigidity and an insolence
That leaves common sense and over-developed senses of
RIGHTEOUSNESS
Stuffed into an XL and hidden behind
Some life guard’s rescue gear.

Long story short, the wannabe Hasselhoff,
Who should be watching the pool,
Instead of surfing on his phone and talking to all of
The female coaches and instructors,
Decided to tell me I couldn’t swim in an empty lane.

It was reserved for swimmers.
“But, I’m swimming.”
“No, you’re taking class.”
“And we’re swimming.”
Not to mention that there weren’t any other people

IN THE EFFING POOL!

So I finished the very nice class,
Headed to school, proceeded to bang my head against the wall
As I asked the kids for the one hundred and second day in a row
To get their notebooks out for class, and then ride to a faraway school
And loose our next to last basketball game. Lovely.

Then there was dinner,
The cleanup,
A short bike ride,
The shower,
Making breakfast and lunch for tomorrow. On and on and on.

As I write, bedtime is approaching,
My dog is curled into a ball and will not be bothered,
He snores and yelps and I’m jealous.
Normally, I would just go to bed,
Turn out the lights, sing it, Willie, the party would be over.

But this never-ending day,
Still has me Ubering later,
Making a pickup at 9:30, so there is no sleeping yet,
Just me, some spicy tea, and the promise of tomorrow…

There are many ways to Williamsburg,
I’ve never flown there,
It would probably be ugly
Going over DC, just as it is driving around,
But the Colonial Capital doesn’t have suitable airports,
Landing strips,
Acceptable fields,
Or hover pads to set down on.

Once there, however, the time is great.
Running in the woods,
Learning about my family,
Seeing my goat herding homie,
Barbecue and all those pines…
It’s great.

Still, I wonder,
What’s going on at the new governor’s haunts?
How cruel can old age be to alums and the face they put out there?
Would a genetic smash up of Don Johnson with Philip Michael Thomas
Create the perfect model of a dad with no chest chair,
His shirt unbuttoned to his ribs, a white man’s jeri curl,
And a shiny dinner jacket he bought in 1987 at the Casual Male?
Hey, good enough for a landing spot,
Faux fur or not,
Middle age can’t be covered up with a cosmetic counter’s worth of foundation,
But they played the part,
Like the homecoming parents, they were,
Smallish town royalty, bumpkins or wanna be’s.
Doesn’t much matter,

It’s all part of going home.

Seen in their natural habitats, animals exhibit their truest behaviors. They forget the responsibility for insuring the success of the herd and look only to protect themselves. Think of the teacher with closets full of supplies while the rest turn to funding sites to beg in a socially acceptable way for markers, erasers, paper, or scissors. Think of the teachers who see the classroom as their personal domain, as if it is an extension of their homes, so much so that they are put out when a transient is assigned to their classroom for a period or two.

Maybe it would be good if some kind of animal whisperer came into contact with these egocentrically inclined professionals. The trainer could show them the good of building strong relationships with other members of the pack. Their enlightened ways might help them share some of their resources or maybe even knock stressfulness down a level or two. Of course, the truest habits of an animal comes out in the most natural environments.

Old dogs, new tricks?