Fall 2010

Table of Contents - Vol. VI, No. 3


Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

Peter D. Goodwin


Being An Adult Is Doing Your Own Mending

It was a joke between us,
I told you I knew how
to sew a button, but I
never did, you always
sewed my buttons,
me saying I can do it,
I can do it, but never
doing it, just claiming
I can do it, if necessary
while waiting for you
to do it, to sew my button
and now there is no one
to sew my button, now
all I have is your sewing box
with its needles, threads,
thimbles and buttons;
do I dare open your box,
enter your sanctuary,
choose a button, thread
a needle ( how did you
manage that with your
weak eyesight) penetrate
the heavy cloth, find the
holes, push the needle
through, your thimbles
are too small, back and
forth, feeling for the holes
through thick cloth,
sewing my own button,
sewing my own button,
my own button sewn
does not look,
does not feel
and that’s no joke.


Absent Spouses

Missing her husband
she needs another
to needle.

Angry at her dead husband
who elsewhere

She enjoys his absences
her vibrator.

While her husband is away
she wanders around the lonely house
making lists.

As she departs
he anticipates some peace and quiet
pleasurable for a whole hour.

Missing her
he waters her plants
and waters her plants
who die.

She protested his leaving.
Yet when he did
she did not notice.

She had no taste, he
continuously reminded her.
After she left, he found himself
listening to her music.

They argued and fought, and
fought and finally split.
In their separate silences
they sought out the noise
of the other.

When she is absent
he misses and longs for her
and writes passionately;
when she is home he writes nothing
and longs for her to leave.

When he spent his time with his buddies
or sitting in front of the television
the remote in one hand, a beer in the other
she called him a lazy lump.
Now that he is on active service
she longs for her lazy lump
her hero.


At The Gym

Whenever I get
my prescriptions renewed
the doctor inquires
about the exercises I do
I need an exercise program,
he insists, a prescription
they do not fill at the pharmacy.

At the crack of dawn
the gym is packed with people
running, biking, exercising
working with so much intensity.
Before I was merely half asleep
now I am depressed.

The trainers are all dressed in black
From head to toe -- black
Ninja warriors
perfect magnets for

There are definite types
who inhabit the gym:
the muscle bound types, males
humping weights
overweight guys
cycling forever
never loosing any weight.
And the women
the young women
and the old
all excessively thin
all struggling to lose weight.

The gym is such a sociable place
all those people
exercising, lifting weights
walking, running, cycling so hard
perfecting their own bodies.

They look tough
middle aged men with shaved heads
tight tank tops and tight shorts
strutting from machine to machine
with long pauses between sets
looking about, rotating their shoulders
walking funny
legs apart    arms wide
more like a waddle
stranded ducks pumping iron.

She exhibited such intensity
on a running-rotating-bike machine
small glasses on a small pointy nose
pony tail flopping
working her legs so hard
reading a magazine
listening to music
such a funny figure
I could not keep my eyes off her.

He was cycling away
this chubby man
approaching middle age
concentrating on his book
an instruction manual
how to be funny
(Did Mel or Leno need a book?)
Does he realize
I wonder
How funny he looks.

A slight slip of a girl
with wispy blond hair escaping
exercising on a weight machine
up down up down up down up down
so quickly
I want to advise her
you are doing it all wrong
you need more weight
more resistance
until I realized that she was shifting
30 more pounds than I
and not even straining.

The first blush of youth has passed
and she looked worried
tattoos around her slender arms
lifting small weights
recreating what never was.

Younger than she looks
dry, thin hair
sagging, flabby cheeks and arms
sitting on a rowing machine
    oh so
her hollow eyes transfixed
on the television.

He is standing tall
shoulders tight and broad
tummy in
trotting on a running machine
maintaining an easy rhythm
as easy as when he ran
30 year ago,
he imagines.

She would be pretty
in a nice dress
and a smile
but right now
working so hard
on a runninng-rotating-biking machine
she is merely

She is very self conscious
in her sweaty sweats
gingerly adjusting the machine
doing her routine
hoping no one
will notice her.

He stands in front
of a mirror
lifting weights
watching himself

All over the gym
lying, deceiving, distorting mirrors
reminding us how much
we need the gym.


© Peter D. Goodwin



Poetry    Fiction    Reviews   

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