By Calvin Forbes
A fourth was needed so one of the three
Invited a friend and I came along as a spare
In case a chair was empty since I could fill
In as easily as I could shout out a rhyme.
As the jive flowed like the River Jordan
And Joshua and his trumpets sounded the alarm
The winning cards slam damned on the table
And I laughed along with morning noon and night.
My three big brothers: bold smart handsome.
One slim as a stick of dynamite, the second solid
As a line backer and the third crazy enough
To fight them both if they let it roll beyond talk.
Treated me like a child even after I had my first.
The three of them (ace king and a wild card)
Improbably born within four years as if Daddy
And Momma were trying to break a record
Or win a bet about how many diapers a woman
Could change in a single day without cursing
The hand God had dealt her; the odds were even
Until I came along years later to tell their story.
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The slice I ate I want it back
Those crumbs I swept up
I’d like my share again
I can still taste it like it was
The memory by itself is delicious
Each bite was a small miracle
Both nourishing and sweet
The Other Side of This World
Put my glad rags in a cardboard box—
This old jiggerboo never grew mature.
Is everthing in its place except me?
Don’t be surprised; I called all day
And the only person I could reach was
The operator; and it’s a sorry day when
More Poems about Activities
When you caught one to keep,
we took it home and I asked you to teach me.
You showed me how to spike the brain—
I thanked the fish, looked away, pressed down.
We bled it, shaved away the scales,
severed meat from bone.
A Wing and a Prayer
We thought the birds were singing louder. We were almost certain they
were. We spoke of this, when we spoke, if we spoke, on our zoom screens
or in the backyard with our podfolk. Dang, you hear those birds? Don’t
they sound loud?...
More Poems about Living
A spring snow coincides with plum blossoms.
In a month, you will forget, then remember
when nine ravens perched in the elm sway in wind.
I will remember when I brake to a stop,
and a hubcap rolls through the intersection.
An angry man grinds...
At the Equinox
The tide ebbs and reveals orange and purple sea stars.
I have no theory of radiance,
but after rain evaporates
off pine needles, the needles glisten.
In the courtyard, we spot the rising shell of a moon,
More Poems about Relationships
Mommy always wanted
To be famous
She would have us (my sister and me)
In all the talent shows
But I could not carry the harmony
Then she had me
Though The Isley Brothers
Ronald’s sweet voice and Vernon
Doing “the Itch”
Sort of like Michael Jackson
my dead grandmother’s young
Japanese maple was uprooted stolen
last week scattered leaves crushed
under a stranger’s foot. to recover