new poem – Staring down the throat of Labour Day

Staring down the throat of Labour Day

I am too old by a century or two to fear the new school year.

I need no pencils or notebooks, no ruler to measure with,

No heavy duty three ring binder

I can toss in my locker for the whole endless school year.

I have no buddies to reconnect with during the first day back.

No class schedule to analyze to figure out

how bored and stressed the school minutes will be.

No girl crushed upon to search for

with my eyes in the hallway

the first day back.

I am not a student.  I am not young.  I am an old fart.

But I could use some lined paper at a discount price

So I will in my soul become young once more, a student once more,

and go school supplies shopping reduced absurdly once more to a nervous

young boy trying to swim forward in his life.  One fish in the school.

In the store the water should feel warmer I think.

old poem – old habits

old habits

We sat in the art house cinema
where we used to go after your divorce

you used to go there with him often
over your years – everybody loves old movies don’t they

but that night he came in with his new woman
and sat on the other side of the mostly deserted cinema

he saw you and you saw him and suddenly
we were in a whole new movie of our own

you started to shake and we talked over what to do
but they got up and left before we could

we watched twenty minutes of the film
then left by the exit down by the screen

walked back along  between the buildings
you waited as I looked carefully

to see that the coast was clear
and we made it to my car

after I got home you called me on the phone
and we talked about everything else

in the universe till dawn cracked an egg over
both our new days and after you hung up

I thought about how she looked like your
identical twin and wondered if his hands shook


Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on...

Lyndon B. Johnson taking the oath of office on Air Force One following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, Dallas, Texas, November 22, 1963 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just noticed an article in the sports page using LBJ in the title, referring to LeBron James of the NBA.   I am almost 60 years old and for me first and forever, LBJ, refers to Lydon Baines Johnson, once President of the United States.

LBJ is perhaps the most complex politician in the history of America.  I just finished reading volume four of the biography of Johnson  by Robert Caro.  It traces the 1960 election that saw LBJ dither about running for President, the race won by JFK, the odd making of the Democratic ticket, the campaign, the Vice-Presidency of Johnson, the assassination of JFK, and the transition of Johnson from VP to President. Caro describes so very clearly the blocked legislative situation that had stopped JFK’s plans and how Johnson magnificently rose to the challenge of that frozen state and moved key legislation through his astute judgement and long experience with Congress.

In the future and final volume Caro will describe the Voter Registration Act that Johnson drove through and the quagmire of Viet Nam.

Portable typewriter Olympia SM-9

Olympia SM-9 portable manual typewriter made in West Germany

The parental units decided to buy this new in the 1960s and turned my older sister and I loose to type up school materials.  I was the typist of the student kind for my high school newspaper for four years.  I used this piece of German engineering almost all the way through the University of Toronto.  I went electric with the Smith Corona Coronamatic, which used ribbon cartridges.