Posted in Passages


It happened 20 years before and
the man who told me, remembered
as an adjunct or preface
to the funeral senior staff were attending.
A fellow, 10 or 11 years retired,
before my time, but emeritus distinguished –
name still spoken with reverence
good at her job and a stickler, but
drank a lot he said,
then, cut the cards and showed the joker,
“ killed a guy one night – drunk driving ”

Realms and rulers
alcohol was king, queen and emperor then
misfortune as a result of, seen as ……. misfortune :
bad luck,
shit happens
especially this one apparently,
impairment’s trifecta – poor visibility and raining
crap timing – almost home.
No shame: no stigma,
“came back to work a couple of days later as if
nothing happened
turning to understanding and sympathy
imagine that today.”

Posted in Passages


Age: past, present and future
12 years a long time when someone is 13,
the other 25,
more so when the other’s father is 52.
I’m not sure the three ever met – before
they could have,
a father and son might encounter a schoolyard,
or out of uniform pupil.
Perhaps they did, probably didn’t
but that did all meet – sort of : once
circumstances knocked.

Son called on his father early one Sunday
never knew why – had been just the day before
finding him in bed,
he didn’t bother with any shaking,
or CPR – he just knew.
The doctor signed the certificate and called the undertaker –
the former pupil, who gave instructions to his teacher
just the two of them and the third
aged 48, 60 and 87
the years of no significance.

Posted in Passages


For many years he occupied special affection for my rage
nothing quite fulfilled it like the thought of a chance meeting
and being fantastically obnoxious.
Or four letter word contemptuous –
gratuitously insulting,
like Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs
Paul Newman in The Sting
or Jack Nicholson in anything.
Even now,
after amputation has faded to occasional phantom pain
I still mourn for the job
and wish he had been stronger, or less timid.

The position could have been renewed
but he was not long the boss
eager to please, and eager to avoid been difficult
or a nag.
Collateral damage – what is the loss of a junior lieutenant
to a just minted colonel hoping to be a general?

The rage is gone now, placed with envy
– slightly disdainful or strained envy,
but envy still.
He had the opportunity to exercise moral judgement
to stand up to his superiors for what he knew to be right,
most never get that chance.