Afterwards

Ireland

Your colleagues are not your friends.
Your boss is not your family.
Even if they have been to your home.
Even if they have met your wife.

They may remember you.
For the stand you took, a battle fought.
For your authenticity.
But they aren’t going to stay in touch.
Regardless of what they say at your retirement party.

A few words exchanged with a stranger at a coffeeshop.
A dramatic storm coming across the lake.
The screaming, yipping celebration of the local coyotes.
That’s what I’ve got now.

#SpringIsRunningLateThisYear

A poem in 28 hashtags, curated from Instagram

#winterwithoutend
#whereisspring
#cabinfever
#maplesyruponpancakes
#upnorthliving
#winterwonderland
#nobadweatheronlybadgear
#beautifulsnowlookswet
#howmanysnowblowersdoyouhavethereanyway
#pastieweather
#walkedtoschoolthroughworsethanthis
#uphillbothways
#makeanothercupofcoffee
#whatyouseeiswhatyouget
#weatherapps
#whenwillthesunshineagain
#sickafofwinter
#whitemood
#gameoftones
#notafraidtobecold
#aprilblizzardsbringwhatexactly
#snowfalltalltales
#wintersurvivalhasmanymeanings
#snowpocalpyse
#whereisspringalready
#willwebestuckinsnowforever
#eternalwinter
#rememberthattimewhenitwasntsnowing

Poem: The Heart of One Saturday Night

A warm light spills out of the windows; we can hear the band faintly. The tasting room glows in the middle of a snowy field.

As we enter, we are warmly welcomed out of the cold. Our friends see us, wave us over, and my isolation is a little bit healed.

The band covers Chris Stapleton, while I get two glasses of mead from the bar. We catch up on everyone’s Christmas plans and watch the band.

They are beekeepers by day, musicians by night. They play harmonica, bass, and electric guitar, their charisma is catching. The singer is fearless and her voice is grand.

Two older women slowly gather their things and finally depart, and the guitarist calls out, “drive safe Grandma, thanks for coming.” It’s that kind of crowd.

Now the audience is singing, the room is buzzing. Everyone wears jeans and boots, and as far as I know, no one here is my second cousin.

There is magic here but it’s not of the melancholy variety. And I really don’t think it’s related to sobriety.

One last song, enjoying the ambiance. We say goodbye, then we too head out into the clear, cold moonlight.
It’s central Benzie County, on a Saturday night.

(Apologies to Tom Waits)