No.1 Primate

My little monkey
Soon-to-be damn dirty ape
Taller than me now


your stepfather


Uncomfortable silence.
Somebody turn the radio on at least
The quiet hurts
It’s not a reflective, meditative quiet
It’s the quiet of rage and fear and ignorance and denial
Of codependence
Poisoning by secondhand smoke
The residual smell
Acrid and nauseating
Noxious and toxic
Like the waiting room of an auto body shop
But it’s the family car
Brings me back
My teen years
Rides to family dinners
Yeah huh
Put that in quotes
Because it was silent
No one talks
There is no bond
No kindness
No humor
No fun
Now it’s the smell of age
Impending Death
Putrid vapor discharge from regular medications and Marlboros
Just as bad as the black coffee cups
And cigarette-infused car upholstery
Drive for miles
Say nothing
No wonder my mother rambles
No wonder she can’t be quiet
She can’t wait to get out of the car either
Talks about traffic lights like they’re jailers
This is maddening
Talking to yourself is better
Than having to endure
The selfishly shy and socially deficient
The consciously unnecessary stoicism
The anti-person
The unspeaking
Walking dead

Ocean City

Low blood pressure
and or
not necessarily true temperatures
(thanks ocean breeze)
squeezing my head
or maybe it’s the preadolescent vibration accompanying me today

Down the shore
my turn to parent while others work
it takes a village
don’t be fooled
we are all trying to find a way out

one is by land
because he’s too cool to swim
two are by the sea
wrapped in kelp
and subconscious sparring for little girls
they don’t even know they’re preening for

I am on the very corner
of blanket enforced space
I made them help me construct
because it’s Tuesday in August
and everyone came to this beach today

Single woman with precious toddler
at 12 o’clock
keeps getting hit on by a goombah
with his single dad swagger
she’d ignore him completely
but he’s got a nice summer body you know

Mom with twin boy toddlers
just flitted past in the sand
They’re twins because she made them wear the same thing
Talk about self-sabotage

Seagulls and sweaty bodies chatter
everyone’s talking
food and travel
the boardwalk later
how’s the water?

The single mom just dipped
her daughters feet
in a pink bucket
and put on her little tiny water shoes because we must be as clean as possible
on a place the ocean leaves it’s trash

The older boy has returned
with shore booty
a T-shirt and a selfie stick
one must conform
In order to distract from missed social cues
And raging acne

To note: A car full of boys
and men’s cologne smell
makes a woman like me
want to run screaming in all directions
It’s like an alcoholic sitting in a distillery
They too will age
Become prey for someone like me
Prey on others like me
Hopefully not
Hopefully at least one
because I raise him not to be

More families come
in this 1 o’clock hour
little babies
more villages
more tribes
I can no longer see the beach or surf
for the umbrellas and flesh
Tightly polkadotting the waterline

I wonder if the boys of this summer day
have disappeared
into the swell of humanity
Maybe I’ll close my eyes
And pretend I’m here alone
Until it’s time again
To be villager