THREE POEMS BY PAUL HANDLEY
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
ownership. Our 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.
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
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.
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 http://endersgame.squarespace.com/