Family gatherings are fraught
At best of times, which these are not.
It’s easy pushing buttons when
You’re on the crew that put them in.
Humiliating anecdotes
Emerge when cousins shed their coats
And aunts and uncles tumble to
When last they’d laid their eyes on you,
And incidents are disinterred
On which you’d hoped the final word
Had been postscripted Ever After,
Now retold to gales of laughter.
Take a breath and count to ten,
Exhale, and look around again:
These people are your history,
The clues that solve the mystery
Of who you are (and why you left,
If that applies); the warp and weft
With which the tapestry that’s you
Was woven. And moreover, you
Are part of each of them as well,
And every story that they tell
In which you feature’s proof that they
Were changed because you came their way.
You matter. When they’re gone you will
Have mattered, and you’ll matter still
In years to come when all the jokes
And tales are starring younger folks.
You’re in the family’s memory banks
Forever, for which we give thanks.

Excuse The Mess

I’m hoarding gratitude today
So I’ll have some to give away
Tomorrow on the Day of Thanks.
These past few years my Grateful Bank’s
Deposits have been tailing off,
Diminished by each stranger’s cough
That blossomed into Covid, or
The need to barricade the door
Against the ills the world’s wrought.
A decade back I’d not have thought
It possible my optimism
Might have fallen prey to schism,
Bitterness, and fear-borne strife,
But such describes our daily life
In these, the Times Beyond Before.
We rarely mint joy anymore
In quantities that near excess.
I’m learning to do more with less,
Which makes it precious, every drop.
Tomorrow, though, we’ll need a mop
To soak up all the thankfulness
I plan to spill. Excuse the mess.

Dress Code

No shirt, no shoes, we’re cool with that.
Feel free to come without a hat.
No tie? No sweat. No jacket? Cool.
No pants? No dancing. That’s the rule.

Bottomlessness is passé,
But you can do it anyway.
Don’t strip your hips to trip the Light
Fantastic and you’ll be all right.

We won’t judge your heels or hair.
No dancing, though, with bottoms bare.
Pas de deux from here to France
And we’ll applaud! Just, please, wear pants.

Thanks For Nothing

Normally I’d be elated
That the week’s abbreviated
For the holiday because
I dig that empty office buzz–
The sense that I’m the only one
Who’s managing to get things done
And not succumbing to distraction.
Little brings such satisfaction
As a lengthy to-do list
So quickly ticked you’ll twist your wrist!
Alas, distraction has its uses,
Chief among them: Great excuses
When a to-do box stays blank.
I’m stuck with just myself to thank.

Weekend Warrior

I rise and shine at crack of nine
To meet a man (whose horse is fine);
By ten I’m dressed; eleven, shaved;
Outside before it’s noon! (Depraved!)
There’re those, I know, who take it slow
On weekends. Not yours truly, though.
My feet won’t fit in lazy shoes:
No blistered toes, no bunion bruise
For this adventurer! I slap
Sloth’s slack-jawed face!
But first, a nap.


Thanksgiving’s earlyish this year.
Not quite prepared? Well, have no fear,
There’s plenty to be thankful for,
Like…puppies? Wait, I’ve got some more!
That coffee guy you thought was cute?
The toddler with the three-piece suit!
And wasn’t there a day with sun
When you weren’t working? That was fun!
Thanksworthy things are everywhere!
Remember when you found that chair
That almost matched your dinette set?
Except the lady wouldn’t sell?
But that’s okay, the chair did smell.
Lots of stuff like that took place
This year while you were near the space
It happened in. You didn’t know?
Be thankful that I told you so.