Aidan’s ethical dilemma

‘Nobody likes grape!’
I leaned out from behind my car,
a whirlwind approached.
‘Doesn’t matter!’ Another voice answered 
from somewhere across the lot. 
‘If it’s not in stock, then it’s not in stock!’
The rain had picked up. 
‘…not my point. 
Not disagreeing but...
not my problem to tell customers 
about inventory issues.'
My person paused beside my driver side door 
then added-
‘It's Mike’s job to make sure people know.’
He checked his device. 
It blurped quizzically. 
‘You Chris Cluff?’
I nodded and tried to find my opinion 
about grape flavouring.
A fading voice continued-
‘NOT worth it. Why d’you have a beef 
with Mike over this? It’s not worth it.’
He looked at me for a second then
got to unpacking the goods. 
Items moved quickly 
into the back of my vehicle.
He was deciding something, then offered- 
‘Mike is our manager.’
His tablet pinged again. 
'He ordered too much grape.'
The device's pleas were muffled. Distant. 
'He doesn't want the head manager to know.'
Aidan had set it inside a red crate, 
while he was emptying a green crate.
'So we are supposed to sub grape for lime
and tell the customer that we are out of stock.'
Now a blue crate sat on top of the red. 
There was momentary panic, 
I pointed to the bottom box. 
Relief, then-
‘You got one of the last lime Bubly.’
He pronounced it Bublé 
and smiled to himself. 
‘The next client that orders lime
will get a sub of grape instead.’
Non issue for me. 
'Even though we got stock.'
I waited for more,
then filled the silence-
'Dude I am good with grape or lime.
It's all the same to me.'
It definitely wasn't the same for him.
He was dismayed.
With a sigh he advised-
'It ain't right.'
And left.

my words will change me

Spent most of my life 
breaking fossils from prose,

weaving dust into
thread, stitching seams on

wings that have lead me,
fed me more full meals

than my mother or
father or other,

then put me to bed
with confusing dreams.

Caution to robbers
who find my bare grave

filled with old man’s bones
and cold cryptic stones-

what were you thinking
you might find this time?

A nest lined in rhymes?
A chest full of lies?

Since all the hearty
poems left my body,

you will not find new
prodigal pieces;

all the fragile forms
that I used to be-

the structure, stanzas,
and blood and the ink,

the words on page, can
no longer change me.

And what I’ll love most
is the double dare-

to recognize the
figure in the words
once no one is there.

how could they know?

The Amazing Race
goes to a 
commercial break,
two teams of
high fiving contestants
atop the Eiffel tower fade
to a McDonald's ad. 

'Remember Paris?' 
I toss across
the room at my wife.
'I do. Both visits.' 
'If only 
we would have ...' 
I wished.
'...gone up the tower.' 
She finished.

That seems
like another life,
before we
were us,
before marriage
and family
were even discussed. 

From then 
to now, somehow
other things
left undone
not gone
have become
'Eiffel towers'. 

Not exactly
maybe just
we weren’t ready
for yet. 

My kids,
our life,
sit on
the floor 
between us.
They suddenly
are curious.
'When did we
go to Paris?'

animate nation

Dear Empty Coffeecup
I see you

At the end of my arm cradled in my hand tilted questioningly

A sliver of last sip smirking at me

You are in queue behind other hand raisers

Snow Filleddriveway

Overloaded Dishwasher

Ripe Litterbox

Bag of Work in the front foyer

And the Mind that Thought it wise to bring school shit home over the March Break ‘just in case’

Also needs emptying.

time travels

3 years ago 
today was an

became haunted
freeze framed
to dos
and dates

grocery shelves
about to be
of toilet paper
Lysol spray

news reels
had yet
to include
hot spots,
death counts,
infection rates

I would live,
and work
without my body
and with

my students
know me
by beard
and name
wall adornments
in my home office

any new space
or place
fears of yolo
and wistful
looks of

‘where are you?’
was akin to
‘are you safe?’

good night
see you tomorrow

did not
seem dangerous,
public space did

safe measures
were clear,
lines defined,
distance estimated
and we were
good with
so we

we hadn’t
yet crashed
looking for

doing things
was still
even a
few students
be online

no one deflated

no one hyperbolized

no one gasped

no one said the inside aloud
no one ironically asked
from behind a mask

well then

why bother locking doors?

why bother taking vitamins?

why bother with a seatbelt?

no one yet
what was next


the story refolded
into straight lines
molded around
better times
and even though
we know better
this letter
won't fit
in the mail
we admit
that most 
of it
never happened.
funny that
as we grapple
with constant edits
wonder who said it
one truth
becomes true
even though
both of us
have tried
to say it better
no one
ever stays
for all of 
the credits.