Let’s Make a List!

Let’s Make a List! she says,
Whenever something exists to be done,
Or to be Bought, or to be Sold,
Or to be observed, or to be learned.

We need to Fix the House!
I’ll make a List of House Projects!
We need Groceries!
I’ll make a List of Foods!
We need to be Happier!
I’ll make a List of Ways!
We need to get in Shape!
I’ll make a List of Exercises!
We need go on a Trip!
I’ll make a List of Possible Places!
We need, we need, we need;
I’ll make a List, I’ll make a List, I’ll make a List.

We now have lists. Lists upon lists, and
Lists of lists, and lists of
Everything. And each item crossed off
Only reveals three new additions.

But should all Life be Cataloged and Listed?
All Actions, Possibilities, Potentials, and Inactions?
No! Listless Weekends, Lazy Days, Long Evenings,
These Call Out for the absence of Lists!
Too many Lists impinge all too much,
And in so many ways.

Oh, so many ways… those ways…
Let’s make a List of them!

Tully and Ed

He that Violates his Oath
Profanes the Divinity of Faith Itself.

So said the learned Cicero,
A great lover of his Country.

But what Divinity is left,
When Faith Itself has been disabused?
What Oath should be kept inviolate,
When Two Oaths conflict?

Walk away! Walk away
From the chasm that exists
When conflict thrusts itself before you.
You answer only to your Conscience!
And perhaps, later, to God.

Does your Conscience allow you to walk away?
Does your God allow you to Walk away?
Or is withdrawal as disabused a notion,
as Faith Itself today?

Northward Bound on an Amtrak Train

In the morning at the Oceanside train station,
I am waiting. It is foggy, quiet, cool, and crisp.
The train arrives on an ocean breeze,
and I embark.

The Conductor announces on the PA system:
Ladies, do not do your nails on the Train. Please,
Do not do your nails on the train. You are
using a lacquer based product in a closed space.
Please, do not do your nails on the train.

In my seat, I am reading Frank O’Hara.
At Anaheim a dozen elderly people board;
They play cards, drunkenly, loudly.
A younger woman stumbles down the aisle, and is
Flirted with, lecherously, by one of the dozen.
The woman’s husband does not mind.

On Metrolink trains, they have a quiet car,
The woman sitting to my right tells me.
I know, I tell her. I used to ride
Metrolink every day, for years.

At Los Angeles I move to a different seat.

After finishing with O’Hara, I lean back
in my chair, close my eyes, and drift off
Into a train-rocked sleep. As I drift, I listen
To the quartet sitting behind me, who
Discuss the rules to an obscure board game:

You start with 45 pieces,
But if we were playing for real,
There would be no limit.

That Early Morning when I Wake with Trepidation

At 1:30 in the morning, I am stirred out of sleep
By our new Miniature Schnazuer, whom I love.
She is unwell, and looks at me, in the dark,
with sad, dull eyes, urging me up and


I stand, and walk with her to the Kitchen, and
Then we go outside, where she vomits.
She looks embarrassed, as if she does not want me
To see her.

But I see her. And pet her. And let her know
That everything is OK, that she is alright,
And that she is good.