Jim Landwehr

Crowned Upon

Spit shades
cannot keep the
tears from gently
streaming out
the corners of
my eyes as
a masked man
drills with rapt
concentration at
a billion RPM.

Exactly twenty two
white stuccoed
ceiling tiles
are my focus
as mouthwash
and pulverized
enamel assaults
my nose
and soft rock
my ears.

slowly pools
in my throat
and I begin
to gradually
drown in it;
unable to swallow
with two hands
and several tools
in my mouth.

Thirty minutes
and a quarter-pound
of molar dust
later I gasp
and spit my now
pulverized tooth
into a sucky thing
as the artist
stops momentarily
to admire his chiseling.

The crown is temporary.


Election Rejection

Reagan and Carter were my first inspection
Of the right and privilege known as election
I thought it would be smarter
To choose Jimmy Carter
But apparently not

Reagan ran again in 1984
This time I thought Iโ€™d even the score
Go with Mondale and Ferraro
A woman in office, a new tomorrow
But apparently not

In โ€™88 Dukakis faced Bush
A race I thought might be a push
A vote for Dukakis
Would put him in office
But apparently not

1992 brought new competition
With Bush against Perot and Clinton
I thought it wise to go
With the wildcard Perot
But apparently not

Four years later in โ€˜96
Brought Bob Dole to be the fix
I voted for Bill
Thinking he was faithful to Hill
But apparently not

Ever since then, and later
Itโ€™s my vote for Ralph Nader
I thought a three party system
Would solve the problem
But apparently not


Solar Laps

Fifty-three laps
around the sun
running the race
of my life itโ€™s
getting harder to hear
without reading lips
and difficult to read
with glasses on
while trains of thought
come and go
often times
leaving without me.

My knees pop
like gunfire
and my ears
woosh with
the sound of blood
rushing and pushing
through my veins
and heart
on its way
to its fifty-fourth
lap around the sun.

I struggle to do
the things I did
when I was
half my age
running, lifting
or staying up
past ten oclock
things that came
easy when I
had many fewer
laps around the sun

I fight back
against the insistent
clock of time
trying to fit
all the richness
and love
and joy
into my bodyโ€™s bag
because I donโ€™t know
how many more
laps around the sun
I have left.