Nolo Segundo, pen name of L.J. Carber, 75, in his 8th decade became published in over 130 literary journals in the U.S., England, Canada, Romania, Scotland, India, Australia, Portugal, Hong Kong, Sweden, and Turkey, and in 3 trade book collections: The Enormity of Existence , Of Ether and Earth  & Soul songs  . Recently nominated for the Pushcart Prize 2022, he’s a retired teacher [America, Japan, Taiwan, Cambodia] who’s been married 43 years to a smart and beautiful Taiwanese woman.
AFTER COSTCO, BEFORE UKRAINE
You saw the lines weren’t too long so you went for the gas first--- spend a little time, save a lot of money you thought. But it took longer than you expected [too many ‘tanks’ as you call SUVs filling up their 50 gallon tanks] so by the time you went into the giant store, you were feeling like a crab trapped in a net as you wrestled through the weekend horde of bargain hunters…. Finally at home, you plopped down in the comfy chair as the nightly news came on and sipped the fresh brewed French roast and ate a piece of rich chocolate cake you bought at Costco and felt a bit sad for those poor people in Ukraine as you watched war in hi-def. Still, the thought uppermost in your mind, as your eyes scanned so many dead bodies lying quiet in the streets like stones thrown randomly, was just how damn good the coffee was and how much you had saved going to the big box store….
My neighbors are charming, An old couple in love through Sixty some years and six kids. Phil had been an engineer, Doubtless with formidable mind But he was usually reticent, While Nancy loved conversation. Her wit I strove to match when We met by chance at the café Where the Pie Lady made her Treats of muffins and pie and Quiche with cups of rich coffee. Nancy could turn a pun with a Flick of her tongue, and always I was so amazed—they’re nearly Ninety and so engaged with life, One would think getting old, Really old was not so bad—and Their love has lasted so long, Undiminished, unblemished…. But now Phil sleeps most of the day While Nancy wears his coat by mistake And thinks she is going to the doctor When her friend is driving her just For a haircut—THIS is not what we Think, a second childhood-- a child Has its own world but it is freedom Itself Phil and Nancy are now losing. They are losing their minds, he slowly, she a bit sooner. But when they sleep at night, she still pulls the blanket o’er his thin old body, an act of love and a proof Nancy is yet there… She passed before him-- (my secret prayer filled) their love still whole, but oh I miss her wit every time I bite into a slice of cherry pie.
BREATHE CLOSE TO ME
Breathe close to me, Let not your head droop Nor your face grimace In fierce grief, for when I must leave, all will not Leave with me, I promise. The memories we made Together will sit safely Inside your mind’s nest. I’ll leave the photos too— I can’t take them with me, So you’ll have the proof We were young once, Both pretty and foolish, Drawn together like Two bees put in a jar, Buzzing around each other Until their disparate sound Becomes a kind of music. The photos and memories Can take you back to all The places we loved in Italy and France and that Windblown prehistoric Southern beach where Our hearts first linked In tandem as flesh merged And the monk-like sun set Slowly, silently o’er that Endless and holy ocean. Yet they lie, those photos And remembrances of our Youth and middle years, For no canvas or brain Can seize our love, the Living thing it is, unseen But tangible as a hand, Vulnerable yet enduring Past anger, illness and Even death, because time Cannot diminish this Being born between us.