Posts Tagged ‘life’

The Judgment Comes

October 12, 2018


I see an airy spinner smiling down
from high windows in the clouds,
hand spinning from bags of wool.

Patiently she spins her cops of yarn,
each cop the life of a soul below.
Her weighted spindles whirl the sky.

She spins out homespun strands
from unwashed and poorly carded wool.
Sometimes fat, sometimes thin.

Thin sometimes to a single hair.
Full spindles she plays out from her sill,
airy worms squirming into the wind.

Strands dangle and dance, fray and knot,
tangle together with wind-borne leaves,
fouled in life’s chaos of indirection.

Beginnings too frayed to thread.
Strands too loose, too frail to work,
too knotted ever to set free again.

At times, she stops, studies her work
and suddenly snips a strand from its hook.
She smiles as the wind bears it away.

For us below, the judgment comes
without warning, without trial,
as when a child, alone in a far field,

poking for hours in the grass,
looks up to black clouds
and lightning in his hair.


Copyright © 2018 by Michael B. Smetzer


Field before Mountain. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Field before Mountain. Photo by Vera Lisa Smetzer.

Bill Acres Explains His Life

July 14, 2017


It’s better to be drunk and happy.
When I’m down I miss those early summer leaves.
I don’t feel that off-white warmth of concrete
in the sun.

I don’t see nothing sober.
I just smell my own dirty toes.
I don’t see that rich Kansas soil.
I don’t see those concrete slabs lined out
     fallen dominoes
          all the way to the park.

Hey!  Those black and white bird droppings are
a clue to life.
They say, “Bill,  look up!  You’ll see what’s
coming down.”
But it can’t kill me.
I wipe it off and laugh.


Copyright © 2017 by Michael B. Smetzer
An earlier version of this poem was first published in Cottonwood (formerly Cottonwood Review ).



Most of us know mean drunks, sad drunks, and happy drunks. Moralists tell us getting drunk at all is bad. We should face our life soberly and responsibly no matter how it makes us feel.

I don’t advocate getting drunk. But the man I’m calling Bill was not strong enough to face his memories and feelings sober. Drinking gave him some time to be happy. Buddhists believe it can take many lives for a soul to reach enlightenment. Few of us are going to make it this time around.


Detail from "Sunset" - Acrylic Painting on Wood by Mike Smetzer

Detail from “Sunset” – Acrylic Painting on Wood by Mike Smetzer

Monday at the Grocery

June 27, 2017


During my first break yesterday I got a phone call from a front end supervisor. I heard her say, “Can you come to the front? There is slime flowing around in the parking lot.” Sounded urgent so I advised her to page my partner who was working in the backroom. “What the hell,” I thought. “Could be a septic pumper with a leaky valve!” I hurried down at the end of my break and asked if my partner was still outside. “Yes,” she replied with great seriousness. I went into the parking lot to help. Couldn’t find my partner. Couldn’t find any slime.

I went out back and found my partner at work. “What was in the parking lot?” I asked, excitedly.  He looked puzzled. “It was just one of the yellow floor cone signs we set out in the fire lane. Someone knocked it over. The front end called for me to “take care of the sign that was rolling around in the parking lot.”

I suppose I could get a hearing aid, but life would be less interesting.


Detail from

Detail from “Sunset” – Acrylic Painting on Wood by Mike Smetzer