The End 4-13-17

This is the end.
Some supposed it would happen
with a Big Bang,
like the birth of the universe,
in reverse,
explosions and fireworks
breaking through darkness
with shards of blinding brilliance.

Instead, reality disappoints.
The end comes with a blink
and a whisper of sadness
as dreams fade like
flaming coals turning to ash,
cold shadows of gray and black.

There’s a curious weightlessness
as mind separates from body,
disassociates,
lets go.
One observes
as though seeing through clouds,
noting details fuzzily
without really caring.

Words sift through consciousness,
clearly but strangely
lacking value or emphasis,
floating within range of hearing
as if they could be plucked from the air
one by one and placed in a basket
like peaches from yesterday, yesteryear.i

The door slamming shut with finality
brings clarity:
I am alone again as I had once begun.
I have yet to find feelings
much less a way to care
but awareness blooms like pussy willows
in the gray rain of spring,
quietly there outside my window.
Sitting in stillness
I find the end is also a beginning.
An empty green vase calls to be filled
and I move to respond,
realizing with surprise
I have a date with tomorrow.

(Rainy days encourage introspection and the review of memories past. Even emotions thought buried and gone may ghost forward, surprisingly vivid!)

On the Road again 4-9-17

Palm Sunday
and the road calls us,
a respite from tomorrow’s responsibilities,
a celebration on this day of rest.

God winked through the clouds,
warming the air with a smile
as we donned our gear,
the guy in black with glowing white beard
the chick with red boots,
both ready to ride.

What passed for breezy
became gusts of wind,
testing us from the west.
Balancing, adjusting,
we fly down Keefer to Charlotte Hwy,
Paul seeking each curve and twist
with precise acceleration
while I revel in the smell of grass
growing new along road and field.

Ditches flow with runoff rains,
flooding rivers past banks,
scenting with water, fish
and wet earth.
Too soon for blossom and flower
to sweeten the air,
but farm manure is spread here and there.
We are quickly gone and away!

We pass highways named Strange and Evenmore,
paved with dirt and gravel,
no time to tarry on our travels,
we race to stay ahead of the clouds
now gathering overhead!

Home before evening chill,
we are full of good will!
A perfect ride on a perfect day,
A grand way for two grown-ups to play!

Breakfast in bedlam 3-23-17

Morning brought bedlam
despite my father’s efforts
at organizing his children.

When alarm clocks failed
to make us hop out of bed,
John Phillips Sousa’s military marches
were enlisted in lieu of revelry
trumpeted in dawn’s early light.

Schedules for bathroom time
caused dissension in the ranks,
demerits to no avail.
Ineffectiveness led to disuse,
another plan in the making.

Efficiency and financial reason
joined hands to produce
the one-pot-feeds-all theory.
The last one to eat was supposed
to clean out the saucepan
because by their turn, only one serving should remain
according to the portion guide
on the blueQuaker Oats container.
Somehow or another, the cruel truth was
earlier portions were unsupervised and
mostly smeared around the bottom
of the bowl for effect,
leaving far too much slimy cold gruel
for the last to arrive.

That, more than anything else,
inspired some to arise at the crack of dawn
eating their daily portion before the rest.
In a family of eleven, nine children
guaranteed a certain level of chaos.
We each defined our own levels of love and cruelty,
that being the nature of the game.
Gotta give Dad credit, he never gave up!

Appropriate Response

She was tired of it,
the jibes hidden with smiles,
the jokes and stories
bandied around closed circles.
She wasn’t one of Those women,
a powerless victim
without recourse of her own.

She knew what day it was,
an International day of Sisterhood,
calling for recognition of female contributions,
worldwide.

Until that last poke,
she hadn’t thought
of adding her voice to the cause.
But last pokes are sometimes
the match that flames,
burning branches of hurt
piled high over time.

She wrote and watched
her fire burn skyward.
She cleansed her soul,
releasing the damage
to rise on winds of challenge
and change.

She stood taller than before,
and walked away,
a response even better than words.

February’s Breath

She’d lulled them with warmth,
fed them with soft breezes
from the sunny south.
She’d shifted the hard, grey clouds,
allowing the brilliant blue of hope
to tease their eyes,
all part of her twisted plan.

In the dark of night,
she whistled up the wind,
casting it out like a pitcher’s fastball,
whizzing past sleepy heads
and houses full of dreamers.
Mercury slipped downward,
dropping the silvery liquid
below freezing once more
as arctic air returned
with the rumble of furnaces
and vented chimney smoke
rising over rooftops
all over town.

We rose the next morning
still tasting the thaw
so recent and clear,
we clung to hats dearly
and held collars close.
March’s bluster chased
February’s drear gray skirts,
as we with a chuckle
watched winter bow and buckle,
not quite ready to yield.

We could see it coming
even as we counted the days
and marked them off with bold black X’s
a calendar month now lived and done,
about to turn a clean page.
We were ready for change
and nature was about to oblige!

Get out of My Head Rev 111716

The song repeated endlessly
throughout her day,
weaving between consciousness
and memory.
It brought back
a sadness that matched
the November gray
until she found herself
looking through old 
albums for Gordon Lightfoot.
The phonograph began
but hearing it
she turned it off.
She settled on piano instead,
letting feelings play
through her fingers,
pianissimo to forte,
the whole range of emotion,
unfettered,
until at last there was quiet
from the keys and within,
the song and the past
released from her head once more.

Love at First Glance 2-9-17

I fell in love at first glance,
riding in the country by chance.
Suddenly, there she was,
sitting in the shade of two, tall trees,
evergreens that moved gently
with the wind.
It seemed she’d been abandoned,
left on her own for quite some time,
sadly alone, waiting for someone
to come back and love her
as she deserved.
With the quiet dignity of those
who’ve lost everything
but their own self worth,
she offered the door and showed us in.

Built of red brick, she was solid though aged,
with fireplaces aching to burn
in a living room that once entertained,
wallpaper of gilt, now ragged and worn
hinting at grandeur gone by.
A smooth, dark staircase, perhaps walnut, maybe cherry,
rose from each end of the room in still graceful curves;
one side for the Mr. and Mrs.,
the other for children to climb up and slide down.
Bedrooms meant for dreams and the future
beneath heavy beams built to last generations
now echoed the past as brittle leaves
skittered and jumped across bare plank floors.

The kitchen yearned for a cook
to fill the musty dry air with smells
of a Sunday dinner roasting in the oven,
beef with carrots, potatoes and cloves,
apple pie steaming side board
for dessert, chunks of cheddar cut
and ready to serve.

Empty oak shelves in the pantry
whispered memories of preserves, conserves
and jams put by with tall bottles of Elderberry wine
while the window filled with shafts of golden sun
and shadowy glimpses of clean laundry
snapping in the breeze outside.

I fell in love that day and mourned her loss
when she could not wait for me,
fading into nothing but the memory of yesterday
and fragments of fragile hopes.
Now those trees mark her resting place
with only a few to grieve her loss:
the wind, the trees and I.

I’m your Mom, almost your Mother 1-25-17

I’m your mom, almost your mother,
but not quite.
I didn’t have the honor of carrying you
in the cradle of my hips or giving you birth
but I carry you now beneath my heart.
Your blood and DNA were created
before I came along,
yet I would bleed for you now
and do each time you are wounded
by a cold, uncaring world.
With your mother, I’ve cheered your attempts,
celebrated your wins and championed your causes
from childhood thru adulthood!

I will always be grateful to your mother
for the gift of life she gave you,
for sharing you with me.
You are a miracle of possibilities,
blooming as you mature
into the person you were meant to be.

To be part of that unfolding,
to see the wonder expand in front of you
like the universe flowing from galaxy
to galaxy, is a joy to witness.
Being part of your discovery
makes me almost your mother,
no matter what name I answer to.

The heart amazes with
a boundless capacity to give and receive,
endless rooms for family and friends,
still more for guests unknown.
It recognizes without words
those who belong to it,
welcoming them with love.

My heart knows its children, its own,
and you belong to it as I belong to yours.
My gift freely given,
paid for with tears and wrapped with memories
of the life we created and shared,
one of a kind, nonreturnable.
This brings me, your mom, amazing joy;
your mostly, almost, mother.

1-20-17

We rush outside,
escaping walls suddenly too close,
wanting fresh air and the wind in our faces
only to find the sun had run away
while we had come to play.

Thickly grey, rolling fog
swallows trees and grass,
leaving black silhouettes of oak
and maple fading in its embrace.

Headlights on, we drive with care,
undeterred from the pursuit
of summer ice cream on a winter day.
Fantastic flavors roll off our tongues,
along with old favorites of strawberry
and blueberry cheesecake!

It’s a child’s paradise
full of wonder and choice.
Right here and now,
nothing is more important
than which one our carefully counted coins
will buy.

Pockets full of quarters and nickels
empty onto the black Formica
ringing and singing
as they spin then lay silent.
Happily, just enough
for a single dip each
of our hearts desires.
We wait, impatient as our inner child,
bouncing on our heels.

Lick by lick,
the cones grow smaller,
yet our grins stay plastered
from ear to ear!
Ice cream is still a special treat,
good for mending wounds
and dates with someone sweet.
It never gets old or outdated,
a possibility of choices,
a taste of excitement, waiting.

Home again, home again,
ready to return,
fully dark now but our spirits
are light and happy!
Never underestimate
the curative powers of
ice cream cones!