Silly Little People

I wonder how you're doing
But I can't call you
Even though that makes too much sense.
Can't have that.
The rules say that's not allowed.
It wants to eat me up from the inside,
Dissolving the lining of my stomach with
Wretched bile comprised of
Guilt, anger, pride.
OK, I get that,
But it doesn't move me to dial your number today.
Maybe tomorrow.
That seems like a good time to reach out,
Give a shout out,
A unilateral act,
But probably not.
This is the way it is between people who aren't strangers,
A ridiculous, complex dance of
Intellectual stubbornness and gorgeous misunderstanding.
Past days cannot be captured.
They can be summarized,
But their wholeness and spirit have evaporated forever.
Silly little people who won't be here for long,
Allowing days to blend into
Clouds that dissipate so they can't cast shadows.

© Poem Fix 2012
 Photo by AWa


What Time Is it?

If I ask you what time it is
Please ask me why I care.
Because I know the answer already,
And I'm only asking for confirmation.
Besides, does it really matter
If it's ten after or a quarter till?
Why is it your responsibility to be my clock,
To get me to a meeting on time,
To check the oven?
Don't tell me the hour;
Tell me it's time to wake the
Hell up,
To take control,
To be responsible,
To make wiser decisions.
Time to do something about it,
To get on with things,
To look in the mirror,
To see,
To really see.
What time is it?
Come here and I'll make you feel it.

© Poem Fix 2012
 Photo by Jorge Barrios



They are sitting close together only because
The couch is so small
And they've sold the chairs that once flanked the coffee table.
She would sit on the floor to find space,
But that would give him too much.
He doesn't care either way.
She could be in China for all he cared.
He has the remote control and a drink,
So he's set.
They pretend to care, to communicate.
He, sitting in his boxers,
Holding his stomach in,
Hoping she'll notice and that she'll regret what she's missing.
She, thinking about the pool man who visits the neighbor,
And hoping he'll be gone for a while tomorrow
So she can be alone without leaving the house.
But now, watching TV together,
Their bodies brush lightly together,
Making sparks that go unheeded.

© Poem Fix 2012


An Idea for a Song

I thought of an idea for a song
That put me back in a
Small house
Across from the infinite desert.
I'm always in that house and
Its narrow hallways,
Tiled counters,
Always on that sacred ride
In its open carport by
The saturated, scorpion filled canals against
The new school down the street.
That's the song I wanted to compose,
But it kept bleeding into the
Mounds of pool dirt and that
Nameless girl who told me
Something I didn't want to know.
The house resists a melody,
Pushes me away,
As if to say I should look elsewhere.
And on that cold Thanksgiving morning,
Pedaling through the empty neighborhood,
Carrying something,
And getting one of those shivery
Moment feelings
On the back of your neck
And the awareness that it will be important
One day.
So I let the tune go,
Just as I am letting all those aspirations fall away.
A part of me is still on that street
But I just can't get it
And so I release the song and its premise.

© Poem Fix 2012



When you walk through a doorway you forget where you were going and why.
Did I need paperclips or a stamp?
On the way to check the mail or get a drink?
But the doorway gives your mind permission to
Let go of where it was,
Moving on,
Done with that,
Free up some space.
That leaves you standing there,
Feeling silly,
Holding the bag,
Wondering if it's a precursor to senility.
You tell yourself it was important,
Or unimportant,
But you close your eyes,
Helping your brain track breadcrumbs,
Relaxing into it,
Trying to feel it,
But it's gone.
Lost it,
Almost nostalgic for it already.
There are more doorways and arches ahead,
And they loom like sirens,
Taunting and calling you.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Ishai Parasol


Love Sick Highway

A computer tries to
Write this poem,
But it is too rigid,
Standing still
Like a statue at the bottom of the ocean,
Sideways, carefully.
It craves the capacity to
Luxuriate in the randomness that
Molds us, defines us, offers us
But it has to be satisfied with
Instructions on how to
Find ourselves, and
Fix things before autumn arrives.
God, Earth, and the beginning of time areHiding, and not hiding,
As if we didn't know that,
As if a shade of what we want to be
Is good enough.
All it cares about it is setting us on course,
Helping us find an adequate road,
But always the shortest distance,
Forever avoiding dangers
And exquisite unpredictability.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Travis



The woman cutting my hair is about to be old.
She tells me that her son got out of bed and
Tumbled through the closet door.
He was dizzy, I'm telling you, she says,
Diagnosed with vertigo.
Vertigo, I'm telling you.
He had to take the dog outside,
Which is why he sat up so fast,
And then he just fell into the closet door and
Smashed it in half.
He was also on the way to the bathroom, but
I didn't tell that to the doctor because
That's not my place.
But vertigo?
That's what he has and I wish people understood it.
Is this too short?
Just let me know.
But my son, oh I do everything for him, I'm telling you.
Well, everything except helping him to the toilet,
If you know what I mean.
Oh, don't mind the blood.
I cut myself all the time.
You're looking white all of the sudden.
Do you need some water?

 © Poem Fix 2012
Art by Edo 555


The Scary Giant

Is there anyone out there?
Contributing in any way?
Other than the mournful giant who
Trembles through the woods,
Looking for fresh meat,
A human's head to snap off for a snack.
Politicians say
Blah, blah, blah,
And we pretend it matters.
It's hard enough decoding the difference between
Regular and organic peanut butter, and pondering
If we all lost our jobs today
Would the electric company shut everyone off.
So I pursue the mysterious giant,
Trudging through the wild,
The indulgent ferns and impossible forests,
Wondering if he has a green card.

 © Poem Fix 2012
Art by Francisco de Goya



I find a pair of shoes I like and ask to try them on.
The clerk says she doesn't carry half sizes
So I choose the next one up,
Which turns out to be too big.
I request the next size down, but
She frowns at me
While balancing six boxes that no one wanted.
I say, I'm sure they will fit.
She sighs world weariness and says OK.
After a long time she emerges from the back with my shoes.
She hands me the box with an expression that begs for acceptance,
Silently imploring me to buy them without trying them on
So she doesn't have to pack them up and lug them away.
The shoes are much too snug but I don't have the
Heart not to buy them.
Maybe I can squeeze into them a few times and so get use out of them.
I'll take them, I say, but she seems to know they don't fit.
She says, You don't have to.
I say, They fit really well and they're perfect and
I wouldn't have found them without your help.
I can tell she sees right through me.
Please don't buy them on my account, she says,
I really couldn't handle that today.
I try to convince her but she pulls the shoes away from me and puts them on a tall pile to be returned to inventory later.
She says, I don't always act this way.
I don't say anything else.
Neither does she.
I walk away but immediately try to think of an excuse to go back that won't make her feel pitied.
I want to save her from having to kneel in front of people,
Smell their socks,
Spend hours standing on ladders, searching for shoes.
Is there a way to engage her without making her feel worse?
I wander aimlessly around the store for a few minutes but soon return to the shoe department.
She's vanished, along with my dreams of deliverance.

 © Poem Fix 2012
Photo by How can I recycle this?


Low Carb Diet

Everything looks good when I'm on a
Low carbohydrate diet,
Even foods I don't eat like
Bacon, pepperoni and
Stuffed cabbage.
Man was not meant to live on smoked trout alone, or
Cheddar cheese,
Marinated asparagus,
Egg whites,
Diet soda, and the resulting
Who says we should all have
Washboard abs and
Crest 3D Whitestrips teeth?
I draw the line at using
Grecian Formula.
But maybe I will weigh a half-pound less tomorrow
And it will all be worth it,
The world will be right and
I will be the sexist person alive.
Then, slowly, inexplicably,
Begin the steady climb back to my
Former weight,
Feasting on pizza.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Renee Comet, National Cancer Institute


Fantasy Football

Fantasy football,
No fantasy.
Obsessive obsession,
Pride, respect and office worthiness.
Trophy on desk,
Returning champion,
Everyone gunning for
Last year's winner.
No flying under the radar this time,
No one agreeing to trades,
Wanton unsportsmanlike conduct,
Quasi cheating,
Backroom deals.
Silly and hideous conspiracies every week.
Sunday enjoyment vanishes,
Replaced with anxious math.
Forget about team performance,
Revel only in individual highlights.
Restful byes,
Ruined lineups,
Decimating injuries,
Scorn of other team owners in hopes of
Tantalizing, wondrous, fleeting victory.
Spouse patronizing and

© Poem Fix 2012


Pink Slip

The last time I saw him
He was wearing one of his clown ties
And dozing at his computer,
Suffering from offensive comments
That suggested he was either
Too fat or
Too different or
Questions about whether he'd ever had a girlfriend, and
Forced to listen to Robert Preston singing Chicken Fat. 
He suffered these barbs with courage, a smile,
And then would go home to his puppets and his secret room
Overflowing with toys that had never been opened.
When his usefulness was over we issued him a pink slip,
Which he accepted with worry, anger,
But on Monday he didn't come to work.
Instead, he escaped to his shower and
Absorbed a bullet.
He was a nice man, decent and harmless,
But those traits are only apparent now in retrospect and guilt.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Jesse Krauß


Traffic Jam

The cars stop halfway up the mountain highway,
So I sit for a while, happy to relax.
It won't be long,
But five minutes turns to ten
And then suddenly it's a half hour.
Drivers step out of their trucks, restless.
Children scurry into a gully to pee.
It's 95 degrees
So I burn gas to keep the cold air on,
Comforting the dogs in back.
A brave, selfish car hugs the shoulder,
Bypassing the long backup which is now simply a
Parking lot.
Tempers flare.
A man shakes his fist at a motorcycle squeezing up the middle.
I chew a stick of gum and begin to lose my cool, as well.
The dogs are getting agitated.
They sit up and whine.
Then the endless line of cars begins to crawl forward
Where the road disappears into the canyon.
I feel better once we start moving until,
Miles ahead,
We pass an ambulance and a car burned down to its tires,
And I chide myself for my conceit and

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Poem Fix



Poems that rhyme can't use the word
Because there's no perfect match
Other than the never used sporange,
Which is an unfair derivative of
That only botanists comprehend.
The half-rhyme lozenge is about as close as you can get
To being understood,
Which leaves orange
Among the loneliest of words,
Sad and virtually friendless,
The Nixon of Oxford,
Destined forever to live life in solitary,
Fallow and unemployed.
Yet inside, with silent pride and secret knowledge,
Bursting with delicious desire.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Per Enström


Lebanon, Kansas

The geographic center of the
Lower 48
Is a mile or so north of Lebanon, Kansas, in Smith County,
A quiet piece of private land that was once a
Hog farm.
The owner won't let you near it.
He holds it all to himself
Like Gollum's precious.
A short distance away,
Where US Highway 281 and K-191 meet,
A stone marker and flagpole
Erected by the Lebanon Hub Club
Stand as a substitute for the nation's true continental center,
And nearby a small white fragile chapel
Waits for patriotic lovers.
Lebanon is home to 217 people
Who look out for each other,
Watch for freight on the Kyle Railroad,
Hunt ducks and deer,
Get dolled up at Betty's Beauty Bar,
Stock up on ammo at Higby Bros. Gun Shop, and
Call on Gary Thompson for insurance and real estate.
These deeply religious folks worship at the
Christian Church, the Methodist Church, or
Within the ivory sidings of the Oak Creek Church.
Each year the Community Thanksgiving Dinner
Attracts half the town to the American Legion Hall on Main Street.
But locals don't much visit the geographic marker these days.
It doesn't hold great meaning for them other than a minor
Tourist attraction,
Because the rest of the country doesn't hold their values,
Care about what's really important,
Or truly understand exactly what it means to be

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by


The Man in the Backyard

I looked out my window and saw a
Strange man in the backyard.
It was dark and he was dressed in black
But I could see him well enough,
Crouching behind a tree,
I locked my bedroom door,
Called 9-1-1, waited.
A crazy wind came up and blew through the yard.
A car drove by throwing a dusty beam of light behind the fence.
Dogs barked somewhere in the far distance.
I lost sight of the intruder,
Wondered if he slipped away to the bushes
Or moved close to the house where I couldn't see him.
I held my breath and listened for breaking glass,
But it never came.
Two officers arrived, inspected the house and
Found nothing.
This is the third time, they said, Go to bed.
When they left I went outside where the man had been hiding,
Wielding my flashlight, 
Hunting for footprints and my sanity.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Mrmariokartguy


Dumb Dogs

I'm told that the Border Collie is the smartest dog.
How do we know that and
How is it measured?
Because they are obedient and easy to train,
Or because other breeds are not?
I am jealous of Border Collies
Though I've never met one.
I suppose they are hard workers and protective,
Which is nice.
But I look down at my feet where my
Two Boxers
Are resting,
Waiting for me to rise so they can
Stand up,
Hoping I move toward the kitchen where
Yummy things wait.
They lead simple, uncluttered lives,
But I feel sorry for them
And I'm embarrassed,
Owning dumb dogs,
A master of imbeciles.
But they are my mentally challenged canines, and
I don't care how stupid they are,
My pooper butt face boys,
Perhaps smarter than I am.
At least we're similarly handsome,
Which must count for something.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Poem Fix


When The Earth Dies

In five billion years,
When the Sun turns a red giant,
All the Earth's water will evaporate,
Its atmosphere bleeding into space.
This fate is unavoidable.
But the Earth will be uninhabitable much sooner,
In just one billion years,
Shriveling like a piece of bacon left too long in a pan.
That should be enough time for humans to
Escape the heat and
Complete lack of moisture.
We will have fled
Long before the planet fails to sustain life,
Finding young solar systems to inhabit,
Worlds to conquer,
Loves to smother,
Death to consume,
Art to rise and be forgotten.
And then, in another billion years,
As it was for our ancestors,
We will seek another place to
Spill our seed and grow a race
Destined to repeat itself.

© Poem Fix 2012
Image by B. Jacobs


The Page To Monday Turns on Sunday

The page to Monday turns on Sunday,
When the shadow from the neighbor's house covers half the yard, and
It's not too hot to mow the lawn,
The wisps of Bermuda sliced,
Grass bagged and dragged away.
It's 5 p.m. and still 90 degrees
So the dogs won't go outside except to drink from the pool and
Challenge the first step.
From here, I can see tomorrow,
Coming on bright and hopeful,
With a week of wishes before it,
A blank slate of promise and desire,
Sparkling with sweet potential that,
By midweek,
Is dashed and washed up like a
Stranded whale in Geographe Bay.
I can almost smell tomorrow morning's coffee
And am almost savoring the thought of driving to work,
At least for the moment,
When everything feels optimistic and life seems
Wholly worthwhile.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Wing-Chi Poon


Hummus Emergency

Two fresh rounds of pita on a plate
Joined by a small scoop of tanned hummus.
Not enough.
Another portion of mashed chickpeas seems right,
But when one pita has been consumed
The hummus is diminished much more than half,
Not sufficient to last
Without change.
Stingy hummus,
Less per bite,
Until the last pita sliver
Pushes into what remains,
Absorbing the final smear of hummus,
Like mopping up blood from a highway.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Poem Fix


Bob Dylan's Truth

Dylan says we shouldn't care about the truth,
But rather what the truth should have been,
Could have been.
That's its own kind of truth, he says.
This freedom releases shackles,
Condones fabrication, fantasy and lies,
Proposes that fiction is stronger than reality.
Bob grants permission to create alternate realities,
Be better or different than who we are,
Modify our resumes,
Fudge online profiles,
Weigh less,
Be younger.
This is the difference between what we want and need,
Who we are and who we long to be,
A better lover,
More ethical.
And when we don't know who we are,
When we disappear into shadows and alternate narratives,
New truths, opaque and ethereal,
Pull us into delight and confusion.

© Poem Fix 2012 
Photo by Alberto Cabello from Vitoria Gaseteiz


Things That Cannot Be Adequately Explained

Why yawns are contagious
Who Carly Simon thinks is so vain
Dark matter
The popularity of the Kardashians
How an E-Meter discerns spiritual health
How Sister Bertrille could fly
Why Pluto is not a planet
Why Clinton chose Lewinsky
Whether Han Solo or Greedo shot first
Why JD Salinger stopped publishing
What existed before the Big Bang
The purpose of female orgasms
The Mona Lisa's smile
How Hugo earned the nickname Hurley
Why Twain, Tolstoy and Joyce did not win a Nobel Prize
How DiMaggio hit safely in 56 consecutive games
Why Vertigo was not nominated for Best Picture
The depth of my love for you

© Poem Fix 2012


15 Item Limit

The woman behind me objects.
You have more than 15 items.
I look in my basket.
Close enough, I say.
She puts her hands on her hips and looks at me as if
I am the worst person in the world.
She points at the sign.
I say, Three apples count as one item.
She shakes her head and says, That's still too many.
Sour face.
I shrug, turn away,
No time for petty bitches,
Put my groceries on the moving belt.
That man has too many items, she tattles to the cashier,
Who looks at me with understanding eyes.
Her name tag says DEBBIE, and she says,
I'll go faster then, and gives me what I think is a wink.
The impatient lady sighs, Well fine then.
I nod thanks to Debbie who says My pleasure, and
I fall in love with her on the spot.
Debbie is probably too old for me, but overcomes it with
An agreeable demeanor and accommodation,
Magnetic and somehow erotic.
If I lean over to kiss her she would not resist,
I'm sure.
Nice of you, I whisper so no one will hear.
Do you need some help out? she asks..
Yes, I say bravely, If it's you.
Debbie smiles warmly and seems to understand my interest.
I'll get a bag boy to help you, she says, But I think you can handle it, right?
It is her polite way of dismissing an infatuation she sees all day.
I can, I say.
Debbie holds out my receipt and I touch her hand taking them.
She doesn't pull away, but looks me straight in the eye and says,
Have a great rest of the day.
I hang my head, lift my two bags, and
Glance back at the woman who is nudging her basket toward me.
Some people don't have any manners and don't know how to count, she says,
Some people.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Poemfix


Miami and Israel 1973

They don't have much, but
They never said one time,
I would like to swap positions with you.
Not once.
They want to build up the country and maybe be like the U.S.,
Sure, there are some complaints.
They think they are better Jews than you.
But maybe they have a right to think it, no?
Maybe they feel like they do more than we do for a country that's ours,
That we share.
And all we give is maybe money.
For they give their blood,
Blood and sweat, really.
And hard labor.
But, oh, the way those women look down on American women.
They think we're pampered,
Pampered spoiled brats.

© Poem Fix and Ruth Petrovsky 2012
Photo by ארכיון גן-שמואל


Settled Love

I tell my husband to empty the kitchen garbage.
He says, I don't know what movies are playing.
He never hears what I'm saying.
I ask again, but emphasize it with just five syllables:
Take Out The Garbage,
And add a question about what that has to do with movies.
He looks up from where he's planted on the couch.
He says, What?
The garbage, I say, losing patience.
I was waiting for please, he says,
Throwing it back on me.
Please, I say, Jesus.
There it is, he says, That wasn't so hard.
He takes that small victory and rises with great effort.
And we should go see a movie, he says, Anything.
We can see a movie, I say.
He moves slowly for effect and pulls the bag from the kitchen can.
Mister strong man.
I should have done it myself while he was watching,
To show him,
To make him think,
To put everything in my favor.
But now he's trudging outside with the garbage and advantage,
With the weight of our marriage on his side.
I close the door behind him,
Put a fresh bag in the can without waiting to asking him,
Wipe down the counter, and
Pour myself a drink.
Maybe I should have started with please.
I pull one of his beers from the refrigerator and open it,
Standing by the counter, waiting for him to return
So I can offer it with a smile,
This time.
The door opens and he comes inside
With the semblance of our settled love.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by



I'm tired, are you?
Yes, I'm very tired.
I can't remember when I've been so pooped.
Me, too.
But I'm not that tired.
It's OK.
I mean I'm never that tired.
Yeah, but I'm tired so no problem.
I won't be tired if you don't want me to but you look tired, too.
I am.
Because you said you were tired.
See? I knew you were tired.
We need to work on not being tired, right?
I know.
If you're not tired . . .
It's OK, I'm beat.
Let's not be tired tomorrow.
For sure.
I'm feeling good about tomorrow.
It's a plan then.
I'm there.
Me, too, only right now I'm tired. Hello?  Hello?

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by Dori


Consider the Bougainvillea

Consider the bougainvillea's
Unrivaled ironic beauty.
The thorny vine bursts with green leaves and
Wafer thin purple blossoms.
Lovely, splashed from palette,
Growing tall and too heavy,
Weighted, arcing over trellis and
Invading neighbors.
But the paper flowers,
Gentle, baroque,
Do not cling long or tightly to their woody hosts.
A slight wind or brush will loosen them,
Snapping silently,
Twirling to the ground,
Blown about into families of magenta,
Skipping into waiting water and pools,
Floating like lilies.
Absorbing chemicals,
The colorful bracts bleed their pigment,
Turning pale white,
Invading skimmers and filters,
Sticking to tiles,
Causing unceasing
Ugliness and havoc.

© Poem Fix 2012
Photo by User:Mattes



The young man looks in the mirror.
An old man looks back
With tired eyes that weren't there yesterday.
He plucks a stray grey chest hair,
Measuring himself against an idea and
Friends he doesn't see anymore.
I have more hair than they do, he thinks,
Flatter gut,
Face still young.
He doesn't feel as ancient as them
But guesses they must feel the same.
They envy me.
He turns his face in the mirror,
Considers the years,
Things left undone,
He sighs,
No worries,
Brushes his teeth in concert with the
The stranger,
The shadow,
The constant
In the mirror.

© Poem Fix 2012


Obama's Bat

The president holds a
Baseball bat,
Fist just under the knob,
Veins pulsing, prominent on the back of his hand.
He's not aware he's grasping it so tightly,
Or even that he's holding it at all.
His attention is elsewhere,
A man a thousand miles away in
They are talking about Syria,
Kurdish fighters,
Civilian casualties,
The worries of the world that fall on men like this.
But he does not release his grip,
An autographed gift from a slugger,
Despite delicate diplomacy.
He taps the bat's fat cup on the hard plastic chair mat,
And his mind wanders to somewhere he'd rather be,
The Cell, Nationals Park,
Sneaking a hearty hot dog,
Anonymous, invisible,
Or being the man at the plate,
A pitch heading his direction,
A deafening stadium
And a small child holding his breath,
Dreaming of a smack he can catch.
If only . . .
He struggles to focus on the Prime Minister,
But no matter.
He has his bat,
A safety line to

© Poem Fix 2012
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza


At Your Sunset

I am sorry your afternoon is
Moving so slowly. 
Every day is Saturday,
Which sounds wonderful
But leaves you untethered.
I should have called you before
My phone rang today. 
Important news about
Amelia Earhart, and how
Eagle Scouts contribute to society. 
I don't need to read The Journal anymore, because I get the good news from you.
I want you all to get along
When I'm gone, you repeat
For the hundredth time,
And don't fight over things.
OK, I promise.
And when you say you are proud
I file that away to use. 
Your life, so organized and neat,
Now waits for its finish.
Each day filled with 
Anticipation, preparation, wondering, 
Perhaps morbidly hoping, if this will be your last,
And remembering one more box to sort through, label, instruct.
Everything orderly and
In its place.
I will sing Red Sails in the Sunset
At your sunset
And then start my own
Too short wait. 

© Poem Fix 2012
Graphic by Nevit Dilmen


Going Commando

The guys in the mail room pledged to
Go commando the next day
And be smug around women in the office.
So I went to work today
Sans underwear,
Leaving modesty behind.
I wore loose jeans so it might not be apparent,
A mistake because the rough material
Rubbed me wrong.
I walked down hallways with my hands deep in my pockets
To keep things in place
As much as possible.
When I saw one from our secret society,
We exchanged smiles, knowing glances, and high fives.
But I began to feel as if people suspected.
They were looking at my waist,
Sneaking peaks at mysterious bulges,
Awkwardly small or large.
I felt alternatively embarrassed and excited.
I hid from most people and perfected talking
While walking away from them.
At the end of the day, safe in my apartment,
I stripped off my clothes and showered
To wash away the ambiguity.

© Poem Fix 2012
Graphic by Gregory Connor