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by Michael Estabrook






Organizing hundreds of poems

I’ve written annoyed

for having written so many.


Of course I keep a writer’s notebook one of those

old-fashioned black and white covered

college ruled notebooks.

I do my “creative writing” in there:

poems and bits of prose and prose poems

and hybrids of poems and prose.

I write in there at night before sleeping and while sitting

in the car waiting at the airport or the school

or while sitting in the doctor’s waiting room or in hotel lobbies

or at the grandson’s basketball practice or

the granddaughter’s lacrosse practice . . .

you’d be surprised how much writing you can get done

in between everything else. I don’t draw

pictures or symbols, hieroglyphics or images of any kind

I don’t doodle, it’s all just words

simple old words.



a line, (a short blue one)





Even in my dreams

I’m overly sensitive

and get lost easily.


“Hi Celia” I said

but her back was towards me

so she couldn’t see who I was.

She turned then to look back at me

smiled but didn’t say anything as I continued

to my desk isolated in a corner

along the hallway.

I began looking through

the drawers and files

for anything of mine I could take home

expecting to be fired any time

then Robert Celia’s husband walked by

heading to his office. I followed behind

stuck my head in his door

“She’s in the next office, Robert

say hello to her go to her.”

He shook his head, no, she can come to me.

“No, Robert, you should go to her

you’re the man and she’s sad

I can tell she’s sad and I hardly know her.”

He frowned and shook his head

and that was that.



a line, (a short blue one)





You’ll feel good about yourself

if you try your best unless

you still lose the girl.


Susie at work tells me that after hours one day

nobody else around

she pulled-off her slacks and panties

sat on the Xerox machine printed off a few

to send to her ex so he’d miss what he didn’t have anymore.

But I’m not sure I believe her

think perhaps

she was trying to pull my leg

or chain or something.



a line, (a short blue one)





Need to lift the heaviest weights

you can to force your muscles

to grow bigger, stronger.


Still have a cracking sound

in my right shoulder and it’s been

over a year since my

“massive rotator cuff tear involving

supraspinatus and infraspinatus tendons . . .”

was surgically repaired:


I hear it when I lift my arm over my head to paint

or wave or take a bowl down from the top shelf


I hear it when I do bench presses or incline presses or swing

my arms around doing my shoulder flexibility exercises


I hear it when I push myself up in bed before sleeping

so I can read or write a poem

which is what I’m doing right now.



a line, (a short blue one)





Just like that – time flew

dragging us from high school

to retirement in a flash!


I wonder about the people

who have passed

through my life who

I haven’t seen in years, in decades

wonder how they

are doing now

all of us being older

old high school friends

college friends and favorite professors

church people I knew

coworkers, teammates, and neighbors

my first girlfriend, I hear her life was rough.

So many people I wonder

how many if I added

them all up.

They are all here with me

part of my life whether I like it or not

helping make me who I am

but no longer accessible

there but not there

like ghosts.



a line, (a blue one)


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