Thursday, August 17, 2017

Clarity Never Complained

A pleasant July afternoon
Shifted its focus
With dark, puffy clouds
That spanned the horizon
Like wrinkled sheets.
Faint rumbling out at sea
Threatened a hit and run shower.

Local gardens, though, needed
More than drizzle’s innuendo:
A starched, smarmy pledge,
A blowhard’s bluff,
That broke its promise.

Nature’s calling.
Can you hear it?

Across the bay
A jagged sliver of light
Flashed downward and
Slapped a veteran pine —
An old soldier in the game
Somewhat hunched and wary,
Yet still poised and proud.

TV weather dude with
Capped teeth and wavy hair,
Eager to transfer to sports,
Glanced at the studio screen
With the Doppler feed
And said, “Storm’s coming.”

Though he was wrong again,
Clarity never complained.

A long, black limo,
Last used for a funeral
Snaked into the parking lot
Just a few minutes late.

The candidate, a professional
In the dry cleaning business,
Was nice to look at
If you liked ‘em tall and wiry.
Gary Cooperish
At close range,
A yup and noper,
Never a groper;
But a natural in front
Of the right crowd.

“Today marks the beginning
Of the beginning,”
He said, striding to the podium.
Three of the younger women swooned,
Perhaps like their grandmothers did
When they saw Elvis for the first time
On the Ed Sullivan Show.
Or was it The Beatles?

The candidate’s latest wife
Enjoyed the outburst,
Sensing that
Everything was possible.
The money, the endless train
Of those prodding
And pushing,
Demanding to get aligned
With the future.

It was all working out.
There was nothing
That could
Derail their quest,
Nothing that could
Put a bullet in the head
Of their campaign.
Though the voters
Proved her wrong,
Clarity never complained.

“It was a time of confidences.”

Guy Crowley gazed
Out his apartment window,
Wondering if he should find
Another radio station.
The oldies were okay, for a while,
But some of those folk songs
Drove him kind of nuts.

Guy cut the coupon
Out of the Press Herald.
Wanted: Acting Tutor
For two children, twins,
12 years old. Brunswick.
207 779-3434.

“Calling about the ad,”
Guy said, after taking
A deep breath and
Using the exhale
To make the sound:
His stage voice
Loud and present.

Maybe that was
A factor.
Three days later
He met the mother
For coffee and passed
Inspection, the final hurdle.

Twice a week
For two months
He drove down
To Orr’s Island
And arrived by
9 a.m. Then, in the
downstairs rec room,
Jeff and Jenny Sprague
Gave Shakespeare
A run for his money.

“I don’t have a goal,”
Alice Sprague, the mother,
Had said. “They’re shy.
They don’t have companions.
I believe speaking verse
Will help. What do you think?”

Guy agreed, partly because
He thought it true, and partly
For the 25 bucks an hour Alice
Had mentioned, including lunch.

They were bashful,
No getting around it.
“Read the sonnets out loud,”
Alice had said the first day,
Grabbing her tennis gear
For her daily session
On the Bowdoin campus.

Eventually, Guy
Realized that he
Wasn’t so much a mentor,
As he was the new friend
And part-time sitter.
That’s what had
Actually been arranged.
But the money was good.
Clarity never complained.