Category Archives: Daily Poem

If I had been on my iPhone 6 today

pic {Photo by Damien Pitter}

If I had been on my iPhone 6 today
I would have missed
a mother at my school
say to her seven year old,
“Have a great day. I love you.”
and I would have missed
the kid’s gleeful response.
“Thanks, Mom.
Bye, Mom.”

I would have missed a student,
the daughter of a friend,
walking a small dog
at the end of the school day.
Not her own cute little dog
as it turns out but a dog
that makes her want
a dog of her own.

I would have missed a girl
spot a moth on our train car
and follow it
from Motomachi-chukagai
to Yokohama Station
with her eyes
and her index finger.
I would have missed
her narrate its journey
to her mother
in a quiet voice
filled with reverence.

I would not have noticed
the adults forming a long line
for the escalator
at Yokohama Station,
all of them standing
patiently
on the left
and two small girls
in plaid skirts
and blue cotton blouses
racing up the right,
laughing loudly.

I would have missed the free samples
of pain de fromage
at Maison Kayser
and the shy smile from the woman
at the counter of the Chinese place
as she tried to remember
the phrase, “Anything else?”
in English
and how happy she was
to say “thank you.”

I would have missed two girls
walking home from school
in the rain
and how they engineered
a hat from a binder tied
to the top of her head
with a grey hoodie
and how the other girl
a small person with braids
walked beside her
letting the rain come
come as it might.
Unperturbed
like the first day of spring.
 

Pink and Blue Benevolence

YokoRome

It’s raining in Yokohama.
I hang my transparent umbrella
on a hook near the door.
Water drops fall
and explode
on the carpet below.
I sit at my desk.
I turn on the red lamp
and look out
the window.

I peer in shop windows
in ancient Trastevere
where the sun pours in
at the ends of the streets
like rain falling
sideways soaking
the streets golden.
The buildings are tinted
with sun-variations,
butter yellow and
cantaloupe orange.

It’s not a memory.
I don’t remember walking.
I am walking.

I walk
through a small piazza
where two friends
with golden retrievers
on red leashes
greet each other
with kisses
on each cheek.
The dogs move closer,
stand so their bodies touch,
share a memory of open fields.

I walk past the restaurant
where we had dinner
was it two nights ago?
The waiters mock
the foreigner students,
send away those
without reservations.
Yet to us, they are
kind
enough.
Kind the way that Romans are.

I pass the shop
where he purchased
the red ceramic bowl.
A Christmas gift.
The white haired shopkeeper
pushes her glasses
to the top of her head
just like I do.
She waves.
Come in.

I shake my head.
My inbox is too full.

We are at another restaurant
with white linen table cloths
and heavy utensils.
The man beside us
the patriarch
wears navy adidas pants
with three white stripes.
Three children devour their pasta
and make fun of each other.
They do both loudly.
Every few minutes
their mother says “taci”
and they are quiet
for as long as it takes
to remember
who they were teasing.
At the table on the other side
a young foreign couple
spends the evening
looking at their phones.
We order cacio e pepe,
mac and cheese for adults.
We wonder aloud if we could
make this at home.
Pecorino and pepper.
He says he thinks so.
He says he thinks
with some practice
he could get it.

From the safety
of street corner shrines
the Virgin Mary
regards us.
Everywhere
she is pink and blue
benevolence.
I believe
she is here for me,
my patron saint
of time travel.

In Yokohama
it is still raining.
My inbox is full.

Time is a circle.
 

What are the stories

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What are the stories real and imagined
told by you, those who love you and also
by complete strangers, the stories that are
holding you back from living your fullest,
truest life, from becoming the person
you know you can be?

What’s the story that would set you free?