EPIC Poetry Group: Poet’s Corner — First Frost, Stealth and Welfare, Growing Old Disgracefully

The twice-monthly Poet’s Corner is presented by the Edmonds-based EPIC Poetry Group.

First Frost

Not unexpected, just not quite so soon

October barely here, only day two

Yet here you are to surprise me

Blanketing my roof

Kicking the sleeping furnace on

To thaw my slippered feet


Later my Kia’s windows

Thawing and dripping

Demand a thorough toweling

Before our morning cruise


But now your even odder trick:

Sneaking into my fancy new HP printer

Turning printed pages blank

Making my aging old Gateway

Creep ever more slowly away

From high-speed possibilities


Autumn, I love your crisp reds and golds

Your sparkling crystals at dawn

I’m even OK with numb digits today

Just leave all my tech stuff alone

Tom Fortin

~ ~ ~ ~

Stealth and Welfare

Beneath our dingy white leaf-clogged gutter it stands

Steady reliable green and yellow Stepmaster

Calls to me, tempts me

Practically demands that I

Risk serious repercussions

Possible bodily harm (or worse)

Despite wifely advice


I remain strong, determined to

Ascend and unclog

A job any real man would aspire to

Should he dare

Even after he promises

“No, dear, don’t worry, I’ll call the handyman”

In dead earnest

Vowing to resist that innate macho instinct

Which compels him to climb right up there

Dismissing any possibility of

Free-falling back down


I repress any recollection of my clumsy brother-in-law’s incident

(So long ago, so unlikely to befall me)

Involving three surgeries, six screws, two plates

His left leg with a permanent limp

Plus golf clubs now gathering dust

In his garage next to a cobweb-draped ladder


No way will such unjust punishment result from my short scamper

A mere ten feet skyward

Surely the Gods of Home Maintenance will award, not punish, my dedication

And my loving wife will cheer—and forgive—my efforts


Rethinking done, decision confirmed, my hands grasp the ladder and

I fold it back up

Beat a hasty, stealthy retreat and stow that diabolical device

As I cast a single wary glance toward our cement driveway


Thank God!  I don’t hear her Subaru returning home yet

Plenty of time to grab my cellphone

Hit the “contacts” icon

Then breathe a deep sigh of relief


“H” is for “handyman”

And for a healthy husband

Who will not learn this lesson

The hard way

Tom Fortin

~ ~ ~ ~

Growing Old Disgracefully

I’m OK with my card from AARP

Can do some things to keep brain sharp

Got Medicare to pay for meds

And doctor bills, hospital beds

All worldly goods fully insured

Some piles of cash (all tax-deferred)

All set, I guess, for sweet old age

But first…let’s add one final page:

It’s time for me to celebrate

To act up, screw up, make mistakes

To give less thought to safe and sane

To seek out risky, raw, inane

Admit to failings, lack of class

Suffer face-plants, burn my ass

Rush right in where friends won’t go

Blurt out “Yessss!” to others’ “Nooooo!”

Leave glaring trails of nasty messes

Craft alibis and false addresses

Admit to nothing, play the fool

Dismiss all action tied to rules

Embarrass family, misbehave

Then stumble laughing to my grave

Tom Fortin

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

About the poet:

I’m a longtime, retired high school and community college teacher with plenty of time now for “Fooling with Words.” My active interest in creating my own poetry was launched by that Bill Moyers-titled PBS series in 1998. And lately I enjoy becoming more public with my poetic attempts.

I love my present Lynnwood/Edmonds/Sno-King life. The vibrant artistic climate surrounding us here today fills my heart — and my poetic spirit — to overflowing.

  1. Loved your poems . . . Tom Fortin . . . They relate tome in so many ways . . . especially the ways after retirement. Keep up writing them and sharingg them on My Edmonds News.

  2. Tom:
    I appreciate that you have the intestinal fortitude to say what many of us think. I find you poetry pragmatic, entertaining and well crafted.
    Please keep up the good work my friend.

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