A cold, sweet, thing.

Kindness isn’t something hard to remember.

It was cold on the lake.
All the children wore layers and thick hats,
the kind that make it hard to really see them,
and when a flag sprung, everyone said,
“Flag!” And pointed.

The layered children ran toward the flag.
Ice fishing in Maine has a way of making
children, and all people, stay outside.

Two fish were freezing to death in the snow.
They had been brought topside a few minutes earlier.
“Are they dead?” He asked. A curious four-year-old.

“Not yet. But soon.”

“Why are they dead?”

“Because they are freezing and belong in the water.”

“But, why are they dead?”

“Because we caught them and brought them up here.”

“Can I touch them?”

“Yes.”

“Hi, fish. Hi, fish.”
The boy stroked the dying fish with his gloved hand.

-M. Taggart

Confusion with a tail #poem

Stray dog came at me today.
I didn’t want to fight,
Pulled out my knife-
saw the Pitbull.
Didn’t have much time,
as our four-year-old
was about to be dropped
off from the bus.
What the hell was this dog
doing here, on the side
of a mountain in Maine?
I want to be his friend.
But had to take out
the knife.
Shouldn’t show your teeth.
And shouldn’t circle behind.

-M. Taggart

He’s fine, somewhere in the woods.
I’d like to know him on different terms.
Maybe I’ll find him tomorrow.

It all started with a hug.

He ran to the school bus. His backpack is a bit heavy, so while he ran he teetered left toward the culvert due to the slope of the mountainside we live on. As he ran his hair bounced on the top of his head. He didn’t fall into the culvert and he didn’t stumble climbing the school bus steps. He was full steam ahead and smiling. He turned four years old four days ago and now he’s on the bus for his first day of school. He waved to us as the bus drove higher into the mountain.

And with him leaving I felt empty. Megan began to cry and said, “I didn’t think I would cry, but I am.”

I was Gavin’s full time care giver from 0-3 years of age. My career declined, I didn’t care. Still don’t. From 3-4 he did go to daycare three days a week. I had my little guy two days per week and recently we took him out of daycare so I could have him back, all to myself, before school started.

I didn’t have a father when I was his age.

From 0 to roughly six months was the most difficult for me. I’m not sure everything was always natural. Loving him was, and holding him and feeding him. Putting his clothes on was not. My fingers are too big for infant clothing and I would become frustrated when I couldn’t get his tiny arms or legs into the clothing. Especially if he was cold and I wanted him to be warm.

I remember many morning simply sitting on the living room floor with him in between my legs. I would sit and stretch my legs into a V and he would bounce around and roll and explore the best he could. Eventually he stood. I have a photo of the first time he grabbed onto a couch cushion and pulled himself into the standing position. It wasn’t long after that he was running and jumping off of the couch. Lots of time outs.

One morning, while changing him, he coughed so hard it sounded like a bark and he couldn’t catch his breath. A funny wheezing sound followed by a another barking cough and difficulty breathing; I thought I was losing him. I held him close to my chest to calm him. He seemed to be afraid an panicking. This was among the most scared I have ever been as a parent. I was alone and needed a doctor and the infant I was holding was in pain and badly sick. Croup with stridor, a double ear infection and a fever doesn’t bode well for small bodies. It hit so suddenly, the sickness, and with such force that I began to cry while dialing the doctors office. I told myself to calm down and I did, but it was hard to speak.

And just now we watched Gavin run, with his backpack on, toward the bus, which was parked on an incline, as he teetered toward the culvert and steamrolled his way onto the bus. Ready for his new chapter.

And I sit and write and relive the entire thing. Since day one.

Matt

first day of school

I’ll do it – Poem

A great childhood friend wants me to write for him.
We lost another.

He said he wants to remember the memories
that made him a better person while being with him

We knew Sean since early childhood. Sean didn’t have it easy.
Now, he’s gone.
So I’ll write
The best that I can. And he’ll give that to Sean’s mother.

Life’s a funny thing until it’s not.
If I close my eyes, I see Sean, with his wide grin
laughing and going on with a story.

I tried telling myself it was no big deal.
I don’t know about how to fix any of this.

 

-M. Taggart

Poem – painful goodbye

She cried at work

her makeup ran down her forty-something
year-old-face

she looked a bit bad

he didn’t want her anymore
The lawn guy with his own
business

Mr. Z

He came in sometimes
i guess he was done
doing that

She cried with her dress on
We worked in a store selling
silver and she was the manager

I looked at her crying

I told her,
look in the mirror
and tell yourself
you’re beautiful

she cried harder

I don’t work there
anymore

-M. Taggart

 

A Short Story

A Short Story
Written by
-M. Taggart
Non Fiction

A Short Story

 

It was her birthday. She wanted to talk. A lot. I like to listen, but had planned on reading a book. I ordered a Guinness.

She told me she was lucky to make it. She was now 60. She didn’t say the number out-loud, instead she faced me and asked me to count her fingers.

For the next half hour I listened to her story. She had lived in foster care, had been abused, physically and mentally, found herself at 18 with a vicious tongue and lost herself completely in her twenties.

She had attempting suicide multiple times. The last attempt landed her in a coma and in the hospital. During the explanation of her life she bounced from age-to-age and from addiction to health. By her mid-thirties she had once again found herself and had stopped drinking. She also stopped using drugs.

She found both again and lived another round of almost not living. She was homeless for a time. She vomited feces while she was dying. She woke up on a Monday, put her make-up on, and lived.

I didn’t bother trying to read my book. I wanted her to finish her story. This happens to me often when I sit at the bar. I don’t mind. When I don’t want to talk, I stand in the corner, alone, with a book and a beer.

She is very kind. Full of love for life and happy to have not died during her attempts to end hers. She told me this while pouring her new beer into an empty pint glass. Her eyes widened as she started a new chapter of her story.

Slowly, I entered small facts about myself into the conversation. “You lived in Turners Falls, MA?!” she replied? “No, I went to High School in that town. And Turners was a border town to my home town.” “No wonder you had anger! There’s nothing there!”

That wasn’t the reason I had anger. I love that town.

She knew the drug houses, the homeless issue, the violence, the left over edge one has after spending any length of time in that region. And here we sat, in a pub located in Maine.

She asked if I was familiar with Greenfield. “Yes. Greenfield is where I was in one-too-many fights and also where I spent time in jail.”

She told me she lived in the woman’s home in Greenfield and that’s where she got clean. It took over a year, but they were amazing to her and saved her life.

I told her I wrote a short story that had much to do with the small town mindset of that area. And there we sat, enjoying our lives in the now, talking about the past. About the very town where I’ve lost friends due to addiction and violence. The very town where I found love for the first time and where I learned driving alone late at night, with the windows down and radio off, was a form of freedom that I was only just beginning to understand.

 

-M. Taggart