Oscar Joseph is always painting old houses.
We go to visit him with a bottle of powerade
because he forgets he is diabetic
He works until his hands tremble with fatigue.

I smell the oppressive fumes
At the street corner. I barge through the door shouting,
“Oscar Joseph, Why are you painting with the windows closed
On a warm winter day?”

His eyes look a little funny and his words seem slurred,
“ window swon’t open.”

I get that alot.
I’m not so good at doors
But windows…..

A pry bar
Some dubious looking knives from the garage sale outside
A soft mallet, exacto blades, screwdrivers
and motivation of Fear for his glazed eyes.

I tear away at the stained frame

seals of time
Pounding with putty knife
Feeling the glass tremble in its

wondering if I will adequately be able to explain
resulting injuries to an ER doctor
“well, I was trying to open an ancient window
with a meat fork and kitchen knife…”

And POP.
as westerly prairie winds
billow dust through the stinging vapor haze
along with sounds of geese at 2000 feet

I am tiring at the fourth north window
Yellow Dog is coughing and pulling on my pant leg
He’s my canary in a coal mine.

Oscar Joseph is laughing his deep rolling laugh again
spirits cleared from his head.
No longer speaking in tongues
but in real words
Most of which I can decipher
for I have developed a few phantoms of my own

He squeezes my smarting arm.

“I didn’t realize.
I didn’t know the windows would open.
I didn’t know how to start.”

I am sore and achy tonight
but I contemplate on my life’s work:

the Thousand Thousand Times
I reached toward seething, smoldering hearts



  1. ah yes. I have realized in my journey… I was the nonrelease of the CATCH of life!!!. grand parallel of words applicable to folks…

  2. It takes a special person to know to “first just release the . . ..” Most of us don’t know there is a catch, or where it might be, or what tools to use. For those who do it takes insight and the desire to help; not to mention finding or creating the special tools. Your writings sometimes release the catch with words as your tools.

    1. You were one of my Teachers, who gave me some of the tools I needed to help open a few windows and let the light in. You still are/do. My thanks.

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