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Mike May 2019
Familiar enough, they live in the same flat
Sleeping on the other side of paper walls
Phone calls muffled.  Or clear as day
When nighttime drama has been peaked

Passing when scurrying
Off to work, out for a walk
Gone to the beach for a breather.
They politely nod with pleasantries and smiles

              The flat is surrounded
              By invisible but ever-present
              Life forms
              Who arrived recently

The three sages, the visitor, the novice
In the novitiate all strangers
We try hard.  To be civil, kind, pleasant
We would do well to have a warm relationship

Sitting at breakfast on Tuesday morning
Master encounters the viejo leaving
“oh, hi”
Frequently those would be
The only two syllables to pass
Each of their lips

               “We are here to guide, protect and educate”.
               The disembodied women and children
               Steeped in ages of tradition
               Have found their way here.  Or were they summoned?

Rising slowly the Master stops the flow
And cuts into recognized routine
“I have something for you,
I made it last night.”

That evening, Tuesday, another chance encounter
The docent, el viejo and the Master
Chat comfortably, alone, without the others
A quiet and peaceful cabal

               The building was a shop
               Or perhaps, a parts supply warehouse Which
               Upon installation of sacred statues
               Became a sanctuary.  With a loft

Do you practice in a particular way?
Are you comfortable in the expectations
When your inevitable death arrives
Are your wills stout and resolute?

You have heard of Kabbalah, of course
The concepts strange to me
I’ll stick to what I know, goodnight.

               Let them go to slumberland
               Attend the special space
               Where they can see
               A Pure Land
  May 2019 Mike
the dirty poet
i see the flyer at starbucks

"are you caucasian?
without mental health
and drug problems?"

i don’t know the answer to any of these questions
is a jew a caucasian?
is the occasional naked, ****-slamming drunken rampage
a drug problem?
as for mental health
i’m a deadbeat poet and unpopular pop musician
i’ve got a job fighting death and boredom
and i just changed my facebook password to "eat ****"
my frustrations have driven weaker souls to homicide
but are these PROBLEMS?
Mike Jul 2018
Before my first day of school
I knew how to read and write

But mom thought it important
That I memorize
Our home phone number.

In retrospect
She worried that a stranger
Might sweep me up and secret me away.

How cute.
That one’s deepest fear
Would be kidnapping

And how sweet
That her dearest friend
The one she couldn’t bear to lose
Would be her five-year-old

Good times
A "home phone number" refers to old style land line phones that were not mobile.  Land lines were usually tetheted to a wall or they sat on a desk or table.
Mike Jun 2018
It was raining on Sunday morning
They left the house and got into the van
It smelled like stale cigarette smoke
Spilled beer and nylon glue

Travelling over the bridge
From north to south
Then slightly east to bell parkway
A constant drizzle

The row house was typical
The driveway big enough for only one car
Sloped downward toward the house
From the street level above

Introduce ourselves
Remove the gear
Observe the task
Oh, great.  This will take a while.

They worked in quiet.  Not in silence.
Sleepy, groggy.  Tired and cranky.
The basement was damp
Unlit, as a cost saving measure
There they worked efficiently

Today would have been a day of rest for the help
With the grand mixture of cultures
Yesterday was the day of rest for the buyers
But we knew it when we signed up.

It was raining on Sunday morning
And they made a few bucks
The elder said things like “daddy-O” and “now, we’re cooking with gas”
The younger held his tongue.
  Jun 2018 Mike
If I die in a school shooting
I'll never go home again.
My room will sit unused,
A capsule frozen in time,
A snapshot of how I was.

If I die in a school shooting
I'll never see my dog again.
She will sit at the front door
Waiting for me and wondering,
Why I never came home.

If I die in a school shooting
I'll never graduate from high school.
My yearbooks will sit stacked
Stopped short of their goal,
Missing years that should have been.

If I die in a school shooting
I'll never see my mom again.
She will sit distraught,
Planning a funeral
For a child taken from her.

If I die in a school shooting
I'll never see my friends again.
They'll sit together, missing me.
One empty seat among them,
A constant reminder of their loss.

If I die in a school shooting
I'll never see my little sister again.
She will sit through high school
Knowing I can't guide her through,
That she has to figure it out alone.

If I die in a school shooting
My school will be stained.
Pools of students lives will sit,
Blood tattoos on the brick structures,
Marks of death ground into it.

If I die in a school shooting
Everyone will wear black.
They'll send their thoughts and prayers
To a town marred by death,
Forever to be the home of a shooting.

If I die in a school shooting
Will the world change?
Or will I become one of hundreds  
Of kids who have to die?
What will it take?

If things continue this way
Children will have to live in fear.
They'll look over their shoulders
Always worried and wondering,
If they'll die in a school shooting.
The state of Florida is now home to the two most deadly mass shootings in American history. Pulse Nightclub was attacked in my city, I have friends who attend Marjory Stoneman Douglas in Parkland. My little sister often fears going to school. I'm afraid to graduate and leave her. I want to be able to protect her if something happens. I hate that we have a reason to be afraid... That it's reasonable to have these fears. I hate it so f*cking much.
  May 2018 Mike
Lori Jones McCaffery
To all the men in all the wars who died for causes they believed in
Or found themselves unable to escape the roll of dice that sent      
them there.
A country posey picked in a shady lane by hands of love and care.

To those three thousand souls who fell crushed by towering hatred,
And those who fell at other bomber’s hands on other days,
A long stemmed perfect snow white rose from the garden of regret.

To all the children taken in their innocence on ordinary days,
In ordinary places, thought safe from all the madness of insanity,
A wreath of multicolor blossoms tied with cotton candy bows.

To all the revelers out for fun who sought the music in a crowd,
And learned the rhythm of an automatic gun instead,
A vase of yellow daisies, with a petal for each one

To all the tots who suffered at the hands of those supposed to love  them,
And lived with wounds and deprivation until there was no hope of life,
A potted red geranium that will go on blooming endlessly.

To all the lonely elderly who slipped away without a sound or note,
And went into the ground with no sad songs or mourners,
A small bouquet of lilies tied with velvet ribbons.

To all of those who couldn’t live the number of their ordained days,
Felled by accident, disease, or lost in limbos of mental illness,
A planting of daffodils to bloom each Spring.

So many lives, so many flowers.  So many to grieve and mourn for.
Just one day is not enough, nor is a week or year.
The best memorial is memory, and it can last forever.
It's not just about the military any more..
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