For Days


Streets are avoided.

We come home on opposite avenues due to

distaste for the otherÕs travel philosophy,


allayed by knowing both

will use the front door.

Which one of us turned up the thermostat

or failed to turn it down?


Recrimination is denied to us  

the next day

as your morning is done

as I step into the shower.


The night before we had several

layers to renovate before reaching

basics such as the governor

of room temperature.    


Your day is force fed me as I have

not met my obligations to

pay several bills with your name proclaiming

ownershipOur public face.


The unforgiveable pettiness on my part

is slight pressure at the crown of your skull

as you drive home early.  


Since coming home

early, drive your avenues,

so we wonÕt intersect and hit,


or to prevent AlzheimerÕs, with

a new route.


I was released from obligation

at work by way of an

invite and a crooked finger


into a corner office that held me transfixed

with a view of the grid toward home.


I want to relieve him of what

he has to say if I will be allowed

to mount a camera in the window,


so that I may spot you driving home

and intersect and tap.





Sports Fan


Please donÕt cast aspersions upon

my country in any form,


including the inanimate,

even as a backhand compliment.

I will kiss a tarmac upon my return,


even if confused for a Muslim

due to the time of day.

IÕm proud of my family and my


good looks, which are the

effort of generations of not

straying from between oceans.


My wife might leave me,

but my nation-state never will,

even if I support with taxes,


policies that are like a sample

taken from my living heart.


Inertia goes deep, over a

century of 4th of July parades.


Sometimes I wonder why did we

leave the homeland, of which


I have several, accounting for

my tattoos.  Represent!






Everything but Obedience


excludes one from the army,

unless one takes a bovine approach,


until placed in a spot to

do the most damage

to those that demanded


unquestioning compliance

even if they thought you


were on the team, due

to early entry in the draft.


The stag undercover work excludes leaks,

but no one to grasp your shoulders,


inspect eyes to eyes

and ask, are you ok?


To scold, that you are not

one of them.


Your deplorable

missile launch was

understandable, but the


insidious disinformation campaign

of blaming atrocities on


the Blue Duck gang was only done

to disobey the nonexistent contact.


There is no one but you to say,

that you need to bring me back in.


That I donÕt know who I am anymore.

A self-propelled pull from/into the mirror

is the only tack.




© Paul Handley


Bio:  Paul Handley has poems included or forthcoming in publications such as Anemone Sidecar, Boston Literary Magazine, Halfway Down the Stairs, Honey Land Review, Red Fez and others.  Links to his work are at