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News and Events

By Brian Weilert

Sometimes in life

We people

People with money

Not Bill Gates money

But middle class money


I own, not rent

Cars are less than 5 years old

Clothes from thrift shop because they’re retro and cool

Not because they’re cheap


Middle class money


We people

are presented,


Mental Polaroids of poverty

Frozen moments of a scene that gives us



Pause, because we feel both guilty and grateful

Guilty for having the things we have


Grateful for having the things we have


The cliché

Man on the roadside

Holding the torn cardboard box-top

With Homeless and Hungry

Written in black marker


The women in line at Walmart

4 kids in tow

Forced to put things back because she comes up short

Embarrassed she screams

at her youngest to stop crying

he doesn’t need new Spiderman pajamas




My moment

My Polaroid of poverty

Created guilt too

But a different kind of guilt

Guilt not generated by my bank account

But of my short-comings as a father

As a man



Sunday night

My time to relax




My son’s voice

Blending with Hawkeye Peirce

From a M.A.S.H rerun


I make out the word


3rd kid…3rd time through

For me


He needed help

A voice barely audible

As I fingered the remote

Watching the volume bars increase

Moving steady like a box-car train

Left to right

He needed help

Now a 13 year-old body standing beside my head


A head attached to my 42-year old, inclined

Couch absorbed body


“Turn it down, Dad!”

With a smile

I watch as the box cars go on the move again





The sudden silence from the mute button

Coupled with the volume-compensated voice of my son

Shocked me

Hurt my ears

And agitated me


“What?! What do you want now!”


I spend the next 20 minutes

Explaining what the unknown variable




missing the end of my show


I do it with anger

And I don’t really even know why


He finishes his homework and goes to bed


No, “I love you dad”

No, “Thanks dad”

No, “See you in the morning dad”


We drove to school

On a dark December day

A light coating of snow

during the night added to the overcast gloom

Silence (pause)

Me angry (pause)

Him angry (pause)


As we approached the bottom of a hill

I saw them


I squinted through the three-inch diameter circle

Hurriedly scraped in the driveway

Hoping it would grow with the breath of the defroster

But the frigid cold had held firm

Tightening the tether

Three inches only


They rode to the bottom of the hill

And stopped

Waiting for the light to change

Too dangerous to brave a highway crossing

Against the light

The cargo too precious



Across the street

Was a man and a boy on a bike


The bike

The bike was on I would have ridden when I was young

Single sprocket

The kind you could add a sissy-bar

Behind the banana-seat…

Extend the forks, if your dad could weld…

Playing cards gripped tight with clothes pins…

Rust coated frame

 layered with 3 different colors of spray paint

Lazy curved handlebars leaned back

Just a bit further than the factory norm

That was the bike