Over Coffee

How about some coffee?
I slept well last night,
didn’t you?

What else will not be
said, how many more
questions will never get
asked or answered?
How many more
discussions will we not
have over morning
coffee?

How could she have
slept so soundly! For I
didn’t sleep well at all,
again.

I walked into the kitchen,
opened the cupboard, and
saw that we were out of
coffee.

My tears were mixed with
laughter, the mad laughter
of one who was tired of
years of empty talk. We
were on empty.

So, I left over coffee.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”

Separate Pain

I awakened on a small sounding train
that clanked its way out of the northeast plain.

It brought dawn into Bangkok as night was fleeting,
but the stifling morning heat was our only greeting.

I sent you a telegram only to say
that I missed you dearly and was on my way.

I should have never married her; how both of us have paid!
How was I to know the magnitude of the mistake I made!

And now forever apart, we live with our separate pain.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”

Beyond Repair

O how our love burned bright. Sometimes
it burned with a soft glow. At other times,
it simply smoldered. It had its moments.

Then I caught myself. I was thinking that
it was better than it really was. Our love
was like a worn out wall switch.

Click on, click off, click on, click off,
on, off, on, off, on, off.
And one day, the switch didn’t work at all.
It was beyond repair.

Like a filament in a bulb, our love burned
with an intense savage fizzle, then died.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”

Shadows in Life

all things are forgotten
by humankind
by time
by design

except for the memories
of war
of abuse
of pain
of suffering

for they are our own
they made us who we are
maybe not who we thought
we wanted to be

and what of the other memories
of joy
of love
of peace
et cetera

they cast light on the shadows
in life with hope for the life
to come

just like the knowledge of God
cannot be listed as a memory

To Reading

I scratched my beard while I reached
for a book high on a shelf. My thoughts
drifted to the bookcase in my room
when I was a young boy.

It was two shelves high made out of
thin plywood, painted a glossy gray.
The shelves were filled with Tom
Swift Jr. and the Hardy Boys. And a
lot of other important stuff, too.

New books have that special smell.
National Geographic smells great, too.
To fan the pages of a new book is
titillating to be sure.

In those pages, time and time again,
I have loved and been loved. Be gentle
with that book!

A torn page is like a broken heart; you
can patch it up, but it is never the same
again. Books give and give. They’re
not like people.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”

If Owl Could

Will I live long enough to see a cold clear
glass of water become a thing of the past?
I think not.

Will I live long enough to see no more
women and children being abused?
Or teenage gang shootings or high school
killing sprees? I think not.

How about no more rape, road rage, or
sexual abuse? No more abortion or fetuses
found in dumpsters? I think not.

Our culture has become a stagnant pool.
Unfit to drink. But the people say, “Drink!
It is good!”

How will history remember our culture?
History might record that we saved some
trees and a few birds. But in Heaven,
the record shows a culture filled with
pervasive hatred and a high body count.

What about the owl, who neither grieves
nor frets his place in time? His specialty
is simply owling. That is what he does.

If Owl could, he would cry out to our
Maker on behalf of mankind, who has
forgotten who he is and who made him.

Copyright © 2013 Alan L. Slaff, selected from
“The Boy in the Mirror (2nd Edition)”