“Let’s get married,” Ted said to Mary.
The couple was sitting by their pool on a summer evening. Hollywood stretched out below them, its lights beginning to glitter as the last of the sunset faded and the sky overhead turned from purple to black.
“Wow. A proposal,” Mary said, toasting Ted with her martini glass.
Cecil B. strolled by.
“That cat is getting fat,” Ted said.
“I think Mrs. Welles next door is feeding him. So you want to get married? It ain’t broke, you know.”
“Sometimes it’s fun to tweak something, even if it ain’t broke. We’ve been shooting a wedding in that church they use in Pasadena. It put me in the mood.”
“Does the couple live happily ever after?”
“The wife gets killed right after the ceremony. But still.”
“I could be interested,” Mary said.
They sipped their drinks, gazing into the depths of the pool, azure in the dusk. The tile mosaic seahorse at the bottom moved in a languid way, as the pool water circulated though the pool filter.
“I suppose we’ll need a pre-nup,” Mary said.
“You can’t ever forget the pre-nup,” Ted said. “If my folks taught me anything, it was to remember the pre-nup.”
“I’ll call Sid in the morning.”
“I’ll call Saul.”
“Then what do we do?”
“I think we swing by a County office and pay a fee and pick up a license.”
Mary signaled Brigitte to bring out another chilled pitcher of drinks.
“Please bring my laptop too, Brigitte” she said.
A towhee closed the day with measured chirps in the hedge, announcing the sunset’s completion as surely as a night rooster.
“We can apply for a license online,” Mary said, studying her laptop with a fresh drink in her hand. “Then we have to go together to pick it up at one of the County branches… There’s one on Burton in Beverly Hills. I’m shooting in Santa Monica tomorrow and you’ll be in Pasadena. Let’s meet halfway.”
“Do they still want a blood test?”
“Apparently not… There’s something called the Name Equality Act, but we won’t be changing our names, so we don’t need to worry about that. I’ll fill out the application right now and then we’ll go down tomorrow, show them our driver’s licenses, and pay them ninety dollars.”
“Wow, it costs to get married these days.”
“Ninety for a public license, eight-five for a confidential license. That’s for when everybody thinks the two of you are already married… Do you want a wedding?” Mary said. “I don’t care. It says here you can arrange for a civil ceremony when you pick up the license. Otherwise, you have your own ceremony, get the pastor’s name on the license, and mail it back in. You’ve got ninety days.”
With the light gone from the sky, the blue illumination in the pool grew stronger. The circulating water cast restless, rippling light and shadow in the trees overhead. Cecil B. meowed at the sliding screen door and Brigitte let him in.
“We ought to throw a little party or something, don’t you think?” Ted said. “At least? Have your sister and my brother over, and your folks. Some friends. Get Emilo to cater it. Or we could just tie the knot right there at the County building.”
“No, let’s have the party. Father Bruno can marry us. He’s consulting on our shoot and he’s a darling.”
“What did you and Fred do for a ceremony?” Ted said.
“We were never actually married. People just assumed.”
“Jane and I made it clear we weren’t married, from the start,” Ted said. “We didn’t want any confusion about that. We explained everything to her kids so they wouldn’t ever expect me to be some sort of dad to them.”
“OK. I’m filling out the application here. Hmm. Your mom and dad’s full names and the state each was born in?”
Ted told her.
“This is so simple,” Mary said. “Boom. It’s done. We have fifteen days to go down, show our IDs, pay the fee, and collect our license. Then we say I do when the padre asks us, a witness signs the license, the padre signs it and mails it in, and we’re married.”
“Woo hoo,” Ted said, and they toasted each other a second time.
They met at the Beverly Hills Courthouse the following afternoon. They both parked on the curb along Civic Center Drive. In minutes they were done at the County Clerk’s counter and stood together out on the wide grass meridian in front of the building, holding hands and shaking their heads in mild amazement at what they had done. Ted followed Mary over to Mariposa on Wilshire for a late lunch. They discussed their honeymoon while they dined. Because they were both working on pictures, they settled on a quick trip to Palm Springs, where they would stay at the Zoso or Parker or Viceroy.
The following day, Ted picked up a pair of wedding rings at Harry Winston on Rodeo and Mary splurged on a modest Judy Lee for the ceremony.
“It’s about time,” Mary’s mother said to her over the phone. “What happened?”
“I don’t know,” Mary said. “Ted was at a shoot that was filming a wedding. It struck a chord, I guess. All of a sudden, it just seemed right to us. When we got the license, he had a great big smile.”
“Has the subject of children come up in the conversation? Can I hope to ever be a grandmother?”
“Not yet,” Mary said, “but it could happen as quickly as this wedding has. Who knows?”
“He did OK with his girlfriend’s kids the last time around, didn’t he?”
“They loved him. He shied away from being a dad, though. But that was a long time ago.”
Her mother took all this as a good sign, and was satisfied.
Ted and Mary made the wedding arrangements together, treating the event mostly as a casual party by their pool. The pre-nup was in place. In addition, everything Mary and Tom owned belonged, without question, in a legally defensible way, solely to one or the other of them, in spite of the fact that they had lived together in total devotion for a decade. Money, property, and the future never created issues for Ted and Mary. Their sole point of connection and intimacy to date was their relationship – their love and respect for each other.
On the appointed day, the guests arrived – Mary’s parents and sister, Ted’s brother, a variety of aunts and uncles and cousins and friends in the business. Everyone kept to the shade of the trees and the tables with umbrellas around the pool. Emilio set up the buffet and bar at the edge of the back lawn, out of the sun.
The sky was cloudless and the day was quiet. A thrasher called from the scrub on the hillside. Mary’s uncle got ready to record the ceremoney on his iPhone. Standing in the shade of an oak, Father Bruno held forth for a bit and then asked the couple if they did in fact agree to take each other in sickness and in health, and so on, for the rest of their natural lives.
Mary responded in the affirmative without delay. Ted hesitated.
“Sorry to be a pain,” he said, “but I just want to be clear. When are we actually married? When I say I do? When the padre signs our license? Or when the County records the license after we return it?”
“In the eyes of God,” said Father Bruno, “after you both say yes, you’re married.”
“Sure, but I mean, in the eyes of California.”
“The same, I believe,” said the padre. “Although to eliminate any doubt, I’ll sign the license as soon as you say yes, or at least nod your head. Who’s the witness here?”
Mary’s sister was the witness, although she said she wouldn’t do it if Ted was going to be a jerk about it. She had had a yen for Ted for years, so she was looking a little hangdog in the first place.
“Let’s back up and do another take,” Mary said. “You don’t mind, do you, Father?”
“Used to it,” Father Bruno said with a smile.
“Uncle Bob,” Mary said, “would you move around and shoot on my good side? Thanks.”
Father Bruno just summarized his thoughts the second time around, and got to the crucial question a lot quicker. The attention of several of the relatives had strayed in the direction of the portable bar waiting under an acacia beyond the roses. A young man stood behind the bar in white shirt and black tie, ready to serve the guests whatever they ordered. Mary again said yes and Ted again hesitated.
“What’s the problem?” Mary said.
“It just seems like… How can me saying one little word now, or even just nodding, do the trick? It’s a big step. What if I say yes and then instantly regret it? Padre, will you still sign the paper if I change my mind before you get your pen to the paper?”
“I ought to,” Father Bruno said. “You’ll be married once you agree. I’d feel bad, not signing it.”
“What if you sign it and don’t send it in?”
“California doesn’t care so much whether you send it in or not,” Mary said. “I asked at the courthouse. If they don’t receive the completed license in ninety days, you get a computer-generated reminder. If the license gets lost in the mail or you don’t bother returning it, there’s a statement or affidavit or something you can sign later on. Basically, when you say yes, you’re married.”
“That’s so old-fashioned,” Ted said. “I could say I didn’t really mean it. I could say I didn’t really nod, it was just a muscle twitch. A mosquito bit me and I jerked.”
“Let me remind you,” Mary said, “that for us, you and I, it’ll be as easy to get a divorce as it was to get married, if we ever decide we want one. If you change your mind after you say yes, we’ll call Sid and Saul and they’ll move us back to square one in no time.”
Ted stood thinking.
“Don’t do it,” said Mary’s sister to him.
“Give it up,” Mary said to her. “He likes you. He doesn’t love you. Settle for that.”
She turned to Ted.
“Honey, it’s OK,” she said. “If you’re not comfortable with this, we can drop it. It’s no big deal. If you change your mind back, we can have another party. Is that all right with you folks?”
Everyone agreed that they’d be happy to come back for another attempt. Emilo’s catering alone made the trip worth it. Perhaps everyone would bring their swimsuits next time.
“You don’t care if we stop now?” Ted said.
“I care, but I care about you more,” Mary said.
“Nah…,” Ted said. “Nah, it’s OK. Let’s do this. Do you mind another repeat, Padre?”
“Not at all,” said Father Bruno.
“Can somebody lend me their phone?” Mary’s uncle said. “I’m out of memory here.”
Once the uncle was in place and recording with a borrowed phone, Father Bruno repeated his admonitions to the couple. Sensing that this would be the final take, he allowed himself to expand on his original thoughts a bit. When Ted’s moment came, he said yes in a strong voice. The couple exchanged rings.
“Feel any different?” Mary said.
“I feel good,” Ted said. “I feel very good. What about you?”
“I feel good, too,” Mary said.
The guests clapped, shook hands with the bride and groom, gave hugs, and headed over to the bar and buffet. Emilo sent out the table workers and they began uncovering the food.
Later, the couple took off for Palm Springs. Everyone cheered as they drove away from the house.
“Finish this project on time, Baweler, or I’ll have your head.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Fistula,” I said.
“Have you hired an extra engineer like I told you?”
“Yes, sir,” I said.
“That’s money the company is bleeding, on your head if you’re late.”
Mr. Fistula moved off down the hall. I lapsed back into my office. Snuck a little pick-me-up out of the bottom drawer.
Flixie poked her head in.
“The new man is here,” she said.
I told her to send him in.
“Dilbert?” I said, when he entered.
He nodded and started to sit down in the chair I keep empty in front of my desk.
“Don’t sit,” I said. “You won’t be staying. Flixie will show you to your assigned work area. You understand the schedule? Our deadline? Why you’re here?”
He opened his mouth to reply. I held up my hand.
“A simple nod will suffice,” I said.
He nodded. Flixie would put him at the desk of a loser I had just fired, back next to the men’s restroom.
I made a motion of dismissal.
It seems to me now, thinking back, that he stood there just a moment too long, as if he were thinking, or perhaps considering a reply, or some other sign of rebellion. It seems to me now that I should have fired him on the spot. But I’m a softy. That’s my little weakness.
He turned and left my office.
I spent the day variously napping, working out in the executive gym, and chewing out recalcitrant engineers. Our project was on track.
At the end of the day, I told Flixie she could come have a drink and dinner with me. She gave me that big Flixie smile of gratefulness.
The week went on like that, but with one disturbing difference at the end of it. On Friday, I again told Flixie she could spend the evening with me, but this time she made a moue.
“I can’t come, Mr. Baweler,” she said. “I’ve got to show Dilbert the town.”
“Dilbert?” I said. “You’re going out with Dilbert? He’s only an engineer, and a new one at that.”
“He seems real smart, Sir. He seems like a real comer.”
“But I’m your boss,” I said.
Her brow darkened.
“All right, all right,” I said. “Show him the town if you like.”
She gave me that Flixie smile. This time, however, there were no drinks and dinner behind it, or anything else that would be fun. Not for me at least.
It dawned on me then and there that this Dilbert fellow was already, after only one week, destroying our group morale. He had to go. Yet, when I asked around, it seemed that a timely completion of our project depended upon him. To hear the other engineers tell it, he was carrying them all on his back.
It seemed that I must let him stay for the moment.
“Flixie,” I said, “I don’t get it. I gave you that seat by the window. I gave you a raise. I see to it that you don’t have to do anything all day. All I ask in return is your friendship, if you know what I mean and I think you do.”
“You have my friendship,” she said, giving me a hug in my office with the door closed.
“Not here,” I said. “I don’t want your friendship here. I want your friendship tonight.”
That was not to be, however, not with Mr. Special around. A hug during the day, yes; her friendship during the night, no. She must minister to Lord Dilbert. I began constructing the trail of paperwork that I would soon use to dispatch him from our midst.
“I’m hearing good things about your project,” Mr. Fistula said to me.
“We’re on track, Mr. Fistula,” I said. “We’re committed, we’re dedicated, we’re producing.”
“What about this new man, Dilbert? I hear great things about him, too.” Mr. Fistula didn’t sound happy about it. “Are we going to have to keep him on the payroll going forward?”
I shook my head and pulled a long face. It wasn’t hard.
“I don’t know,” I said with a doubtful tone in my voice. “We may be making progress in spite of him, not because of him. He may be the fox in the hen house. He may be the wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
“I see,” Mr. Fistula said. “You’re…”
“…documenting my concerns? Yes. The trail will be there if and when needed. No fear.”
“Good. The man is an added expense that we don’t need. In addition, there are rumors that he is fraternizing with his co-workers. I won’t tolerate that. It’ll be your head if we’re pouring money down the toilet for no good reason and if outsiders are stealing our hens and sheep, as you would put it.”
“Yes, sir, Mr. Fistula.”
I called Dilbert into my office that afternoon. A paper trail by itself is not enough to scoot somebody out the door without risking legal repercussions. So many of the lumpen are litigious these days. Bump into a needlessly careless pedestrian with your car and the next thing you know, the fellow is suing you from his hospital bed.
Termination action, when the time is right, requires that you have dialoged with the worker, warned him, warned him again, worked with him to straighten him out, created a plan for him, etc., etc. I’ve found that reading the riot act to the fellow a time or two is sufficient to cover all this.
When Dilbert came in, he eyed the chair in front of my desk. I gave my head the most minute back-and-forth no-no move. He remained on his feet.
“How’s it going, Dilbert?” I said. I pushed my chair back so that I could put my feet up on my desk.
“The project is on track, if that’s what you mean,” he said.
“Yes, development has been purring along,” I said. “Exceeding expectations.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” the know-it-all said. “The thing was a complete mess. I’ve been putting in sixteen-hour days, adding hacks to every module, trying to rationalize enough of the spaghetti code in there to allow the program to run for more than a minute without crashing.”
“Whatever,” I said. “As long as it works and you’re finished on the appointed day.”
“Listen,” Dilbert said. “Do you know what a shade-tree mechanic is?”
“What? I guess so.”
“You’re out in the country driving around. Your car develops a problem. You pull into the yard in front of a farmhouse. You’re thinking that you’ll have to call a tow truck and that it will cost you a fortune. A fellow – the farmer – is working on a tractor or pickup over in the shade of a tree. He’s used to maintaining all his farming vehicles. He offers to take a look under your hood.
“Having examined your car, the farmer tells you that he can make a fix to the engine that will get you to the next town. Once there, you’ll need to head right to a garage and let a certified mechanic repair do a real repair. If you don’t, the vehicle will break down again, and this time, you’ll be in real trouble. Do you understand what I’m getting at?”
“Sure,” I said. “You’re the farmer.”
“That’s right,” he said.
I sent him on his way. His arrogant attitude infuriated me. I was the one managing the project, not him. I sat fuming. Pulling up his file on my desktop, I entered the information about him hacking the code instead of using authorized, professional structures, and about his unauthorized overtime hours. I didn’t want to cause Flixie any problems, so I named a different secretary in my notes while detailing Dilbert’s unethical and illegitimate amorous activities. Not being sure what he was up to with Flixie, exactly, I just put in what I would have done in his place.
I missed Flixie’s ministrations. Dilbert was such a nerdy bore, such a geeky dork. Always with the questions, the reasons, the questions about my reasons, the questions about my questions, the reasons about my… You get the idea.
I could only wait. Bide my time.
We finished our project on the appointed day, just as Dilbert promised we would, and I immediately called him in and fired him. Then I found Flixie and invited her over to my place for the evening.
“I’m sorry, Mr. Baweler,” she said. “I’m going out with Mr. Fistula tonight. He says he’ll move me up to his floor, to a desk with a view of the river. My duties will remain unchanged.”
“What? He can’t do that!”
“The other thing is, when Dilbert was leaving, he told me to tell you that he isn’t only the farmer in the countryside, he’s also the certified mechanic in the town, whatever that means.”
I ran after Dilbert as fast as I could, but I wasn’t fast enough to catch him.
“I’m going to tell Debbie what your intentions are.”
“Go ahead and tell her. She knows already.”
“Why do you have to date her in the first place? You know how I feel about her.”
“I like Debbie. She doesn’t object to dating both of us. She thinks dating twins is kind of interesting. I plan to date her all summer and then go off to school. I told her this. She’s OK with us just having fun.”
“I know what you mean by fun. She doesn’t need that kind of fun. She has feelings.”
“Hey, I have feelings. I already told you I like her. All we did was go to the Saturday-night dance.”
“And park afterward.”
“And we went to the movies.”
“And sat in the back row of the balcony.”
“I know you say you’re in love with her, but that romantic feeling you have? It’s your feeling, not hers. It’s all in your head. I don’t know what it means to be in love, but I wouldn’t trust it if I were you.”
“I’m not saying that Debbie is in love with me, at least not yet. I’m realistic. I just don’t want her to get hurt this summer. We’re going to learn watercolors together. We’re going to play guitar and flute duets. We’re going to go for long walks up in the hills and talk about the things that are important to us. I hate to see her wasting her time with you.”
“You hate to see her smooching with me, is what you mean. Too late. It’s her chance to learn something she’ll never learn from you. Something about friendly relationships. Something about boys. Maybe she’ll grow up a little.”
“She doesn’t need to grow up that way.”
“Sure she does. Do you want to marry a girl that’s never been kissed? That’s not fair to either of you. Debbie is still in high school. Paint with her. Play music with her. Talk about Life with her while you walk. It’s all good. It’s just not all.”
“I don’t think the physical thing is a good idea until a couple has an emotional connection.”
“That’s because you haven’t tried it. There is nothing wrong with kissing a stranger, believe me.”
“Then go kiss a stranger and stop kissing Debbie. You know, I don’t get it. You were never interested in Debbie before, but as soon as I told you I was falling in love with her, you refused to leave her alone. What are you trying to prove? You can’t be jealous of me. You’ve never acted like this before. What’s going on?”
“You’re making too much of it. We’re just having some summer fun before I leave.”
“Stop acting innocent.”
“I am innocent.”
“Is this about the fact that I’m not coming with you?”
“You should be. You should be going to college somewhere.”
“If I decide later that staying here and going to work with Dad was a mistake, I can still go to college.”
“Not with a wife and kids you can’t.”
“So you’re worried that I’m going to marry young and have a bunch of kids and be tied down here for life, while you’re out making your fortune in the big wide world?”
“You’re too young to get married. Debbie is way too young to get married.”
“So you’ll ruin her for me. Is that it?”
“I’m not going to ruin anyone. If I can’t convince you, maybe I can convince her that you should go with me.”
“Convince her that she doesn’t love me?”
“You don’t know anything about love. We’re too young. I don’t even want to talk about love. I’m not worried about love. I’m worried about you getting married to a high-school senior, having children, and regretting it. If Debbie is ready to marry, what’s she doing going out with me?”
“It’s only because you’re my twin. I think that mixes her up a little bit.”
“If she’s kissing me, she isn’t so mixed up she thinks it’s you. I’m dating her to try and help you, but why is she doing it?”
“She’s inexperienced. She doesn’t know any better.”
“Please. She’s doing it because she likes kissing. Answer me this: how can you love someone who doesn’t love you? Think about that.”
“A person can come to love you. They can learn to love you.”
“Listen to yourself. You’re just a kid. This is all wrong.”
“What can I promise, to make you stop seeing her?”
“Someone in love cannot be trusted. No promises. I’ll stop seeing Debbie in either of two cases: first, you agree to go to college with me in September. You can register the week before classes. Or second, you convince Debbie to stop going out with me. I doubt you’ll have any luck with the second, not by using watercolors and your guitar.”
“The more you see her, the more it hurts and the angrier I get.”
“That’s my dilemma. Do I look out for you by going out with Debbie, or do I respect your feelings and let you go your own way?”
“You know my answer to that.”
“You know what? I’m going to talk to Debbie myself. I’m going to explain to her exactly what’s going on, why I’m dating her. I’m going to tell her my worries about you and your future. I’m going to see what she thinks.”
“Please don’t do that. It’s not her problem. Don’t put that on her. You’re already using her against me. It’s almost like blackmail. If I don’t go with you, you’ll spend the summer making out with her, or worse.”
“I’ve got to do something.”
“Let’s sit down together with Dad and hash this out. The whole college-or-job question. We can also tell him how I feel about Debbie, but not about what you’ve been doing. I understand that you’re trying to do the right thing, but this isn’t it. Let’s ask Dad. He’ll help us.”
“I’m thinking about cheating on my taxes.”
“Why would you tell your next-door neighbor that?”
“Drink loosens my tongue.”
“Are you that hard up for money?”
“It’s not because I need the money, it’s because I don’t agree with the way my tax dollars are being spent.”
“Two wrongs don’t make a right.”
“Where did that saying come from, anyway? If I believe that my tax money is being spent for evil purposes, and so I don’t give as much as I should, then fewer bad things are done with it. That’s a right, not a wrong, isn’t it?”
“The thing is, there is something called a social contract. You’re part of the country and society, which means that you agree to follow your society’s laws.”
“I never signed a contract. I was born here. This is my country. I don’t demand that everybody obey my laws, but by the same token, I don’t have to obey everyone else’s.”
“It doesn’t work that way in a democracy. You don’t stop obeying the law every time somebody gets elected whom you don’t like… Wait a minute. Why are we even having this conversation? You’re thinking about cheating on your taxes. End of story.”
“I’m just wondering how likely I am to get caught.”
“I have no idea. I doubt you’d get caught. I don’t know how many people cheat on their taxes but I’m sure there are plenty who stretch the truth a little.”
“The government is just borrowing money to stay afloat, anyway. It doesn’t need mine.”
“Will you please stop? You’re making me wonder how honest you are in general. Maybe this is why you always beat me at golf.”
“What? How dare you? I would never cheat at golf. Some things are sacred.”
“Maybe this is why you borrow so many eggs and so much sugar. Maybe this is why you’ve still got that set of Allen wrenches you borrowed from me.”
“Helen cooks more than Sue. Don’t get jealous.”
“But seriously. If you would cheat on your taxes, what else would you cheat on?”
“Don’t get personal. I’m sorry I said that. But now that I’ve finished another one of these drinks, I’ll answer you. We’ve been neighbors for many years. You’re Mister Straight-shooter. Every Sunday you troop out with your family to church. You’ve never borrowed anything from us. Your children never need a haircut. Your dog doesn’t bark. ”
“You do sound a little tipsy.”
“You never get drunk. But what really kills me is, you’re a salesman who doesn’t lie. You’re an honest salesman. How is that even possible?”
“I believe in my product. I’m proud of it.”
“Helen keeps talking about how wonderful you are. Every time you come over, she just lights up. I look over there when you’re at your dinner table and you and Sue look like you’re carved out of ice, but over here, you’re the life of the party.”
“I’m not so perfect. I have my ups and downs.”
“Tell my wife that. She thinks you walk on water.”
“Helen is a fine woman. You’re lucky to have her. And she is a great cook, in addition to her other fine qualities.”
“You’re right about that. Say, I’ve been meaning to ask you. Has anyone heard anything about Fred? Did he ever show up?”
“No. Fred is still missing.”
“I saw his wife out in the yard the other day. What a babe. She didn’t seem unhappy, either. Had a little smile on her face. She was humming as she pruned her roses. You’re friends with her, aren’t you?”
“Yes, we’re good friends.”
“What does she say about her husband?”
“It hasn’t come up.”
For a contest. 9 of these were disqualified because they don’t scan. I haven’t fixed them.
work mind remains fogged
till sun and waves clear it.
the world becomes real.
sun falls on pale skin
so long covered by thick cloth
and wakes life within
The tide is full out.
We leave home and find the sea.
The tide is full in.
Time to stop our play and watch.
Pink beach umbrella.
With the sound of gulls and waves,
my sadness leaves me.
At last, vacation!
White sand, blue sky, ocean fun.
Then the shark arrived.
Retirement. It’s like
a summer vacation that
doesn’t end in Fall.
Cabin in the woods.
Birds and bears and wily raccoons,
instead of my boss.
for going on vacation.
Rain starts at station.
vacation in New Zealand
means summer skiing.
Grandpa taught us on the farm
more than our school does.
Our dogs and cats hate
summer vacation, when we
go and they stay behind.
We fly to far lands
on summer vacation, but
find most much the same.
our vacation: we leave
for the untouched wilds.
on the moon, where little green men
keep the buffet well-stocked
Into the house, back
from our summer vacation.
Now, time to relax!
We come to the woods,
which stand silent, empty, dark.
A mosquito zzzeees.
No light in the tent.
We lay quiet in the night.
A mosquito whines.
Gone fishin again,
Away from others, alone.
Embraced by the Earth.
Summer camp for boys.
Heaven close across the lake:
summer camp for girls.
First year at boys’ camp.
Sent hunting for snipe at night.
Dark woods and laughter.
Out of their work clothes
and into weird shorts, my folks
laugh more and burn red.
Right down the road to the sea.
Once we fix this flat.
learn to stand in a long line
and learn to like it.
Car tire on a rope.
Swing over the lake and let go.
Land on a turtle.
in space. Martian girls go wild
while we take pictures.
The sun on my back
quietly warms my pale skin.
I notice after dark.
Grandma in heaven
enjoys vacations quiet
Seeing-eye dog on
summer trip works hard even if
the mister goofs off.
Summer in deep space,
the sun always shines, with no
sense of gravity.
In Hell, vacations
are hot. Not balmy, not fun,
but never too short.
Summer fun and excitement
ending in a whirl.
or ending in a mad whirl
Country to country
our tour moves on without pause.
Where the heck are we?
Clinging to the rock face,
make no mistakes, though I don’t
want to die at work.
The summer life guard
reigns over her domain with
white zinc on her nose.
Summer romance blends
sun and love in the heart, but
watch out for autumn.
Dad, are we there yet?
No, children. We aren’t there yet.
Well, are we there yet?
Our parents would fight,
but after our vacation,
be in love again.
Go to prision and
lose your freedom, plus also
no more vacations.
We bought hunting guns,
real big ones, and shot straight.
Mammoth meat for all.
Our folks planned the trip.
All we kids cared about was
Our uncle Fred went
over Niagra Falls in
a barrel for fun.
the tourists come and
the tourists spend and so we
are able to live
I have decided to
take a vacation from all
of my vacations.
Sky diving thrills me.
Free in space. Falling. But then
I come back to earth.
Grandpa said his life
was a vacation but he
always worked so hard.
We fell in love on
the beach but it was just as
good in Ohio.
On our vacation,
mom and dad don’t come home late.
They are always there.
Sand castle and moat
face the waves. Water spreads in
and smooths the beach flat.
Rocker on front porch
Cars pass while I smoke a pipe
Hot day and cold drink