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Michael Estabrook

Michael Estabrook

Michael Estabrook has been publishing his poetry in the small press since the 1980s. Hopefully with each passing decade the poems have become more succinct and precise, clear and relatable, more appealing and “universal.” He has published over 20 collections, the latest being Bouncy House, edited by Larry Fagin (Green Zone Editions, 2014).

Bouncy House

Visiting our son and his wife and their two daughters,
cute and sweet little one and four year-olds, amazed at them:

needing diapers changed on the floor, on
the table, in the car, in the grass, in the store

catching their fingers in cabinet doors, gates,
little bake ovens, carriages, bikes, even books

squishing grapes, strawberries, bananas,
Cheerios, and French toast into the carpet

falling out of the bouncy house and off the bike
and the bed and chairs and down the stairs

scraping knees, elbows, arms, legs
bumping their heads on every wall, door, corner

and piece of furniture in the house
crying when they’re tired, hungry, thirsty, wet

cold, hot, bored, confused, alone, frightened
or just for the hell of it

watching the same episode of
The Mickey Mouse Club 407 times

playing patty cake, ring around the rosie, peek-a-boo
and this little piggy until you wished

you’d been killed in the war

Still Listening

So Dad didn’t die when he was only 36
Dr. Zullo gave him an experimental drug
that rolled the stomach cancer back out to sea

And Mom didn’t marry that jackass pencil salesman
with his shotguns and beehives
and his big stupid Lincoln Town Car

She and Dad came around a lot and spoiled
the grandchildren taking them to the movies and ball games
and out fishing like our grandparents spoiled us

And Dad was there when we needed him for advice
and to diagnose the problems with our cars
simply by cocking his head and listening

Good being older because I know:

when to call the plumber and when I can fix it myself (most times)
we no longer need a bigger house, a faster car
there are no more corporate ladders to climb
I don’t have to worry about impressing self-serving bosses
and idiot co-workers
getting angry over political machinations is fruitless
not to get into a tizzy over unwanted marketing calls
I don’t become offended as easily as I once did
like when store clerks call me sir
I don’t have to laugh at jokes that aren’t funny
what I’m good at and not
when I’m tired I can nap
don’t always have to be right
music is the nectar of the gods
I can’t win every argument
I don’t have to pretend to like football and golf, salsa and beer
don’t have to paint the entire house over one weekend
fantasizing about sex is a dead-end road
memories become stronger and more important especially
when they involve my girl, my childhood sweetheart
I still feel guilty if I have a slice of pie or a bowl of ice cream
but it doesn’t stop me.

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