Friday, August 27, 2021

Condolences

This is just to say

I'm sorry to hear

your dog died.

I know how much you loved 

that dog. 

She was a good dog,

one of the best,

learned some commands,

never chewed the furniture,

never shitted or peed in the house.

I know how you enjoyed 

taking her for walks

in the neighbourhood. 

How watching her

playing with the other dogs

at the dog-park brought you joy,

she never fought. 

How good-natured she was.

How she wagged her tail 

when you came home

from work at the end of the day -

and seemed to be able 

to read all your moods.

She'd come to you

when you were sad or depressed, 

and stay away 

when you were upset.

How attentive she was,

she seemed to understand, 

and easy to please,

all she needed 

was to have her fur stroked

or occasionally her belly scratched 

to be happy. I know you’ll

keep great memories of her,

as a member of the family.

Do you think you'll get another one?

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Exit Strategy

You wanted

this entire time

to make the world a better place

in whatever way you could,

and if not the whole world

then at least, some tiny, 

forsaken corner of it,

but trust me, when I say,  

all your efforts will come to naught

without a good exit strategy.

There are few things in life

as difficult as leaving,

it rarely goes as planned

and there's never a good time,

so, ask yourself  

how will I make my escape?

Will I be the desperate soul 

waiting to be plucked

from the embassy rooftop

or will I be flying the helicopter

when the terrorists take over?

And what will become 

of the ones inevitably

left behind?

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Consolation

I first heard of consolation

when I was home from school 

with a fever. 

A daytime TV game-show prize

for the loser;

Hamburger Helper,

a year's worth of Uncle Ben's 

or Rice-a-Roni, the San Francisco treat.

The host always apologized

as 'Johnny', the disembodied voice of reassurance,

described the fabulous parting 'gifts'

they would receive

for being a good sport,

a set of American Tourister luggage,

a Mr. Coffee (slugger Joe DiMaggio's favourite), 

an endless supply of Dentyne

for fresher breath and cleaner teeth.

Sadly you didn't get the car,

but here's some Turtle Wax

lots of Turtle Wax.


I was riveted by those second placers,

how grateful they seemed, 

smiling as the host's delicate consoling hand 

gently shoved them off stage

so he can get on with the show.

A curtain inside me would open 

as they disappeared 

into the unlit wings

of their private lives,

something in me 

wanted to follow them,

needed to know 

if it all turned out okay for them, 

if the consolation they'd received 

had been enough,

and I took to heart 

the message

that whatever happened,

whatever disappointments, 

none of us leaves this life

empty-handed.