I’m new in the shop
where they manufacture metal parts and fixtures
end of the day time to go
I make sure the back door is locked
check some windows
flip switches to turn out the lights
but one switch closes only halfway
and suddenly fire bursts out
in the far corner
of the back basement the flames leaping
and clawing at the air
but there is no smoke just flames.
I quickly close the switch all the way
but the fire rages on
but only in that one corner
no wood burning or people getting hurt
I pull the alarm
co-workers appear immediately
seemingly popping out of the walls
concerned, more annoyed, not panicked
frowning in my direction
the new guy fucking-up as usual
everyone staring at the fire
from the edge of the basement
until a woman officer shows up
tall, short hair, sharply dressed
removes something from a cabinet
descends the stairs
to go put out the fire
and she’s frowning at me too
Where has all
the time gone in his life
he’s walking his girl
to her math class
next he’s doing the after-dinner dishes
so her new nail polish
won’t get spoiled
all he can think about
is kissing her
next he’s waiting two hours
in the Orthodontics office
while she gets a root canal
he’s obsessing if she’ll really spend
her life with him
next he’s reliving their first date
first kiss, their first “I love you”
over and over
and over again in his mind.
Minding my own business
reading David Markson’s This
Is Not A Novel
when for some
reason looking beyond the vastness
that is my belly
I notice the lamp
hanging on the wall across the room
a dusty dull off-white shade contrasted
against this repetitive
bile-green flowerish pattern
leaves and sticks, begonias and whatnot
and I realize it’s an ugly lamp
and I hate it.
Who bought that lamp?
My wife did you moron, you know that.
Oh yeah, guess there’s nothing we can do about it then.
No, nothing, you know that.
Cluck, cluck, cluck.
You can cluck, cluck, cluck all you damn want
but the lamp stays, it’s a fine lamp.
OK then, what about that bilious blubbery belly of yours
can we at least do crunches or leg raises
or something, a diet perhaps
to get that hideous eyesore into a more manageable state.
Oh for crying out loud shut the hell up!
She never said a word
not one word
to me in high school
but I never expected
her to why would she have she
was stunning – beautiful and confident
athletic and popular
with her blonde hair and tight
unstoppable teenage body
so when I received a Facebook “Friend Request”
from her I hit the “Accept” button so fast
I almost fell off my chair!
And yet I still had the audacity
to expect her to respond
to the dopey note I sent her:
“I just had to say hi
now that we are ‘friends’ on FB,
how are you?”
Of course she never responded
how could she, no of course she couldn’t
reminding me that even after 50 years
some things never change
without upsetting life’s delicate balance
reminding me that I should have remained
tongue-tied and awestruck, content
with my humble place
within the universe’s unimpeachable physics
and oddly I am.
About the author
Michael Estabrook is a recently retired baby boomer 'child-of-the-sixties' poet freed finally after working 40 years for “The Man” and sometimes “The Woman.” No more useless meetings under florescent lights in stuffy windowless rooms. Now he’s able to devote serious time to making better poems when he’s not, of course, trying to satisfy his wife’s legendary Honey-Do List.