40/40 Poetry Project · Poems · poetry

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam! – Day 33 – “Independence”







Once Upon A Time


An early arrival at 288 Bunker Hill Street for a Fourth of July Cookout.

Bubba, our maternal Grandfather, cleans the round grill top.

June rusted remainders of crusted Kraft Barbecue Sauced chicken.

A damp dish towel and an alien tool make busy until it is Marine Corp clean.

On the kitchen table sits a large brown Tupperware jug.

This jug will hold the Lipton Iced Tea, once water is added to the powder.

The scoop to get the powder makes a scratchy sound.

Eight scoops? Nine scoops?


Our Father preps the grill for cooking once all the components are inspected by our Grandfather.

He seems like Hercules grabbing the grill by the tripod base, and twirling it in measured flourishes, carefully wrapping the grill reservoir with aluminum foil to contain the Kingsford Charcoal Briquettes

Once all the preparations are made, the coal can be loudly nuggeted into the bowl and charcoal lighter fluid added.

Large wooden matches are like wizard wands striking explosions and teasing dancy, before the flame appears over the charcoals, as if Prometheus himself touched them.

Couldn’t eat until the goodies were cooked, and couldn’t cook until the charcoals burned white.

Hours later, with bellies full, we’d walk up the Hill to Sawyer’s Lot.

The fireworks would happen around 10ish.

Lawn chairs, portable transistor radios, kids on Daddy’s shoulders, vendors selling glow sticks; all made it a scene.

Arthur Fiedler and John Williams did their best to add sonic emotions.

Then we’d go home and dream of glowing coals and exploding shells on the Boston horizon.




We wake up early for a Fourth of July Cookout.

Travel to a friend’s house, with promises of pools and inflatable water bouncy houses.

The traffic draws us out of our merriment.

We just can’t seem to get there.

The kids take turns trying on bad moods, and insisting upon being heard.

The baby is/was sleeping.

We missed the exit.

Everyone has to pee now.

Finally, we get there.

Bathroom is full.

“No, you can’t go swimming until I put sunscreen on you.”

“But, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaddy!!! We never get to do anything!”

Eat as fast as we can, so we can chase the kids.

It’s time to go.

“No, Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaady!!! We never get to do anything!”

One, maybe two fall asleep, but not all three.

Oh, wait, just as we pull into the driveway, the third is out cold.

“Wake up! We need to get ready for night-night.”

With full bellies, we walk up the stairs to put the kids to bed.

Clothes strewn across the floor, toothpaste squeezed across the sink for no apparent reason, eight books selected for night-night.

Over on the Esplanade, Keith Lockhart conducts the 1812 Overture, just as we begin our war to finally get them all into bed.

For the first of many failed attempts.

Then we come downstairs and dream of glowing coals and exploding shells on the Boston horizon, and fall asleep on the couch.


A very special thanks to Michelle A, perspective is important. Perspective of time helps us to value what we have and also what we once had. As much as we enjoy in our youth, someone else is ultimately responsible for cultivating and guiding those experiences, if we are lucky.

40/40: Summer Poem Slam-a-bam is a project in which people have joined me for 40 days and 40 nights of on-demand poetry. They have submitted the concepts, ideas, and subjects; I’ve done the work.