Spin the Globe

By Bill Hollands, published Sept. 24, 2020, by Hawaii Pacific Review 
Close your eyes as the ridges
tick by under your fingertip.
Wherever you land you go,
do-overs allowed, as many
as you like. Madagascar, Nepal,
Suriname, Chad – I always
wanted Chad. I knew
nothing about it.

My son and I take a road trip
each summer, just us, special
time. In the hotel room I
spread out my old road atlas,
try to show him the big
picture. See, first Bend, then
Crater Lake, then Ashland. He
rolls his eyes, so I let it go

and read about Chad. Wikipedia
says it’s a mess – poverty,
corruption, violence. We’re advised
not to go there, and if you’re gay
forget it. But there must be
beauty, of course, joy even, small
moments maybe, and I still
know next to nothing about it.

My Father, on Stage, Briefly Alone

By Bill Hollands. Published Oct 14, 2021 in autofocus

Community theater, The Gin Game
you’re old but not that old. Vigorous,

as Pete likes to say. You and your “wife”
take the stage, cards are dealt, the game

begins. Suddenly she stands, says she forgot
her glasses, exits the stage, leaves you

alone. Does the audience know
this isn’t in the script? In the dark

I’m certain this shouldn’t happen, why
is this happening? A shade

flits across your face, a blank sheet
in wind. But you keep your cool, invent

a funny bit where you peek at her cards, swap
one of hers for one of your own, perfectly

in character. The audience laughs. Your wife
who is not your wife returns. The play resumes.