1. Borrowed Time
Memories crash back more frequently
Reminding him how long he's lived
Instead of how short it seems
Is it because his end is near?
Maybe a physiological phenomena?
Or a shoulder tap from God?
Analog crap from the seventies
He'd lived through an age ago
Returns in high definition
Music brings back the eighties
A simpler, seemingly happier era
When in reality, he's happier now
Perhaps these acid-free flashbacks
Are God's unpleasant reminders
That tomorrow's not a slam dunk
2. Doctor Recommended
What if they discovered that
the stifling of self-expression
caused the early onset of disease?
That if everyone who ever
had a song in their heart, but did not dance,
set the stage for an aneurysm at forty-four?
Those who wanted to sing
at the top of their lungs in the library but didn't,
generated cancerous cells?
Or if not hugging your father,
or not crying for fear of ridicule,
jump started their own arthritis?
What if we could live to be 140
if we took that guitar lesson, got that tattoo,
or grew those dreads we'd always meant to?
Maybe if we built more art galleries, concert halls and bookstores,
taught more viola, art history and rumba,
we might do with fewer hospitals and nursing homes.
3. Brautigan's Cubicle
If Richard Brautigan had done all of his writing
from inside fabric-covered cubicle walls,
how different it might have been.
In Watermelon Sugar might have read
like a battery charger user manual,
or the back of a ketchup bottle.
Trout Fishing in America
like a home remedy for rickets,
or the possible side effects for Cialis.
Willard and His Bowling Trophies
might have been sketched out on Post-It Notes
and accidently tossed away by the cleaning staff.
Revenge of the Lawn
may have been about fertilizer application,
and its effect on water quality.
A Confederate General from Big Sur
might have died in a hard drive crash
and never hit the press.
Brautigan might have contracted carpal tunnel
at the age of forty four
and switched careers to become a dentist.
He might never have written past the 4:30 quitting time
or drank port wine on the job,
and his life not his death would have been the real tragedy.
4. House Homicide
Born in 1907 to a family of others
A generation away
It was nothin' special to anyone but they
Who made the beds
And slept in them
Wood, brick and mortar are all it was
Hulking like a blue collar mansion
It was nothin' special to anyone but those
Who swept the floors
And walked on them
Kitchen warmed by electric stove
One bath to serve all seven
It was nothin' special to anyone but us
Who painted the walls
And lived between them
New tenants brought boxes of neglect and blight
Slumming the mansion to size
It was nothin' special to anyone, especially them
Who killed the house
And moved along
5. Four Walled Box
They're gone now
All three, gone
Loneliness sets in like cancer
Small at first, a lump
The memory of
Then ravaging, it eats away.
Calls to dinner
The rattle and hum
Electronic chemo fails
So alone in this Four Walled Box
Only one miracle cure