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Robert Zanfad Jun 2014

on some dateless dawn
away from the mown swath at the edge of the road,
grass tall in the meadow, gold already and leaning, each piece seeming
to whisper some secret one might hear if close enough
as blades nodded in unison towards scrambled trees at the edge of the clearing

i  was a deer there, hiding, feral, eating secrets
for a moment then, free
Robert Zanfad May 2014
today we celebrated pain

crowds gathered in the close hole they'd made,
and, too, in fields where once were harvested
anonymous body parts and broken luggage straps  
and, why do they still need to remember that ...

sad birthday

he stares ahead, piercing the lens with blue eyes,
apparent youth belying ancients inside
uncertain how to smile yet,
the tie uneven around his starched oxford collar
there will be cake later, one supposes,
laughter of other children gathered 'round the table

the pretty brown girl in a pink dress
accepted presents from those who'd gathered -
maybe her mother set her hair in those loose braids-
her brown eyes brushed him, lips smiled
and newspapers said it was wrong
because it made too much fire, burned whole cities to the ground
he never saw her again


bobbing hens got lost in a wailing Hammond;
they'd missed The End
it was spring again then, like in Eden,
when, unashamed and perfect, her ******* danced with music
and a yellow rose was
pressed between their unused notebooks to mark the occasion
Mother was mad, and derided the prospect of pickaninny babies
taking seats at her fine linen-draped table
until everyone forgot once ... again


the New Yorker has finally canceled itself,
ever a meager meal, its offerings of pinto beans and metaphors
quickly swallowed in secret
in hopes that divine inspiration might ensue
as he picked ripened tomatoes and peaches, each in their seasons,
and ate of them lustily, too

and suddenly it's spring ...  again
but eyes weak and weepy,
his life lost in stone-walled sanctuaries that protected
imaginary pickaninnies and half-breeds
today accustomed to titles of "mister" or "ma'am"
because it's America, and at her own End,
Mother fell in love with so many other brown-skinned girls
it didn't matter anymore

Clayton leans on his push broom,
always remembers to smile
as he requests the odd bit of change
"if you can..."

the boy can't remember his own name anymore
nor her's
rubs broken dust with his black leather shoes,
wonders where they've been -
because bold hues loudly pronounced the arrival of spring again,
which revives nagging pain from the picture he'd saved
and not yet time for tomatoes or peaches
nor the pretty, brown eyed-girl, her pink dress and braids

which had always come and gone without celebrations
Robert Zanfad May 2014
i'm realizing
life's now free from
pointed pens and sharp knives,
so i don't need to hide them anymore
i've brought the dog inside and don't sweep floors

the kitchen is for cooking food again

i've rearranged fleeting emotion with teaspoons of random words
found in our rain gutter among rotted leaves
i'd meant to clean away last winter
and hope you like them ... there's
a sweetness in decay

remember the cascades
of water, then snow that rippled over the brim?


we were so alone,
waiting for an end
you flat in bed, hairless, angry, confused;
me at your window
staring at blue light from distant windows,
strangers' homes in which i'd always found refuge
where you will always be.
Robert Zanfad Mar 2014
warm air crept over ice last night as we slept
arriving to offend morning with doubt
comforting, I think, the frigid sear that reminded once of life

because this restless fog obscures thought
and has made the world smaller, duller
I've begun to wonder, now, where the living hide

there’s a familiar ghost, that man half blind,
wandering creaking boards inside
hoping to find joys in his shoe box of blurred photographs,

researching meaning among reams
of precious handwritten notes and shopping lists,
their chapters stacked in magazine racks and bookshelves

opening the hapless, broken-winged jewelry box
remembered crisply wrapped in ribbons, love and flowered paper once,
to finger its claspless necklaces, orphaned earrings and half smiles

her old clothes are freshly laundered,
the favored sweater with holes, neatly folded
stored in the bottom drawer to savor forever

will we all live, neat, finally quiet
in boxes someday, just like this?
he chose to robe her in that special dress, but kept its matching scarf...

I glimpsed him in her mirror as he paced
and wait for mist to pass
Robert Zanfad Dec 2013
just a little bit o' asbestos
unwrapped from 'round the pipes,
yellow-green arsenic soap
in the bucket to make me clean
to eat... sump'n to munch on
like crunchy lead paint chips
and oh, how i love the smell o'
greasy diesel dip -
it reminds me of my last birthday
when we ate my smoggy cake
the kerosene ran dry that day
and smoked us to the street
our tummy aches that time forsake
'cause doctors cost real money.
but, hey, no choice in winter
- Obamacare or heat -
couldn't type his site with frostbit nubs,
no matter what the hype.
life ain't free,
so as fer me, i doctor fer myself
hell, in 50 years i've seen nothin' yet
some bourbon wouldn't fix.
but never in this tidy place we come to call our poverty
has ever lived the lovely stench
of crisp, green, perfect money.
I read that money pollutes societal interactions...
Robert Zanfad Dec 2013
i love stumbling upon advice from wizened sages,
who'd 'semble the tao of writing decent poetry
into a clever, lengthy monologue

read years earlier (just a few), it might save me
a hundred odd embarrassments
that, today, bear my name

like the time my kid balled his fists up
'cause i said so
but got knocked down, again, by the playground bully

not a Quakerly thing to do...
i'm still learning, too
(maybe i didn't teach the right stance?)

or perhaps we learn more by our failures;
my little boy's muscular, a confident wrestler, now...
gets along with everybody - go figure

and he writes pretty good poetry  -
all by himself.
Robert Zanfad Dec 2013
i drove into one of those famous tunnels beneath the Chesapeake
under a freighter that lumbered in its foggy distance,
still off about half a mile
i thought the kids might get a kick out of this experience
but they were busy in the rear view mirror,
snared in silent worlds of mini screen devices i bought to see them smile
there's only static on the radio now, like no more bourbon left in the bottle
and you're so quiet
this is my life - the thrumming dented van within a sterile white tile fortress,
ears on verge of popping
i hear humming tires, the thumps of each heart beat
trapped inside, heterodyned
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