Frank Praeger

Slackening But Not Impatient

That which was once with me,

whose pace was mine, that fevered senses, now, when failing,

am I not the one

to be diminished,


made numb.

Masquerader at a loss,

totaled, mascara botched, ill-disposed

towards any final hurrah, tried

for an unruly, unstoried watch -


Who lingers longer touched.

Who cared

who could have worn taffeta, sequins,

whose severance was a further slanted light,

talked about, then, dispensed with over lunch.

Time Slots



parsing existence,

parsimonious doling out of time slots.

A loquacious maintenance of distance -

closer I can not get.

Sandy feet,

cutoff levis,



and spider webs

as inconsequential

as a broken yardstick

could be -

inconstant measures of remorse.

Observations faithfully done,

why not file an interim report?

A childless background, an empty swing,

as much dream as not,

no more foretold than forgot,

and, as before, a scribbling in scrapbooks

replete with place-names.

Not to be ignored, fingers cut,

stained with blood -

that same parsimony again doled out as time slots.

Frank C. Praeger © 2013


"I am not here to write, but to be mad."

Attributed to Robert Walser when while in an insane asylum he was asked about his writing.

Acceptance is all.

The dried leaves shake,

no sense to it even if they quiver

nor fruit or shade.

Dried up plants, drooping leaves.

Ask if you wish where the insects have gone.

Walking up even slight inclines my ankles ache,

my breathing hurried.

Yes, also, to the dried-up marshes,

but the wind is still constant -

I can not offer enough thanks.

Sunlight shines off the surface of Pilgrim river;

my wife and I, two small and quiet persons stare.

Some sighing and, later, with a bucket full of blackberries

more sunlight, more reflecting, more running water.

Would I could vanish there

as much

as on top of Lookout Mt.

Would I?

Here, there is no stone tower,

no water-fall or wooden bridge

from here to there.

A facetious gloss to the everday.

A laugh mistaken as lament -


Yes, it is so, I am not Chinese.

My roots are countless,


from anyone else's.

Further now means less.

More has long since been past.

How to rank successes, failures?

If I were a painter,

would I be painting black on black?

Instead of listening to mice

rummaging in the interstices of my house.

Frank C. Praeger © 2013