blogging · creativity · Family · poetry · writing

A Convertible Summer

Summer of ‘67
the British had invaded
and Canada celebrated
100 years of confederation –
and Dad, at the top of his game,
came home with a brand new,
powder puff blue convertible

Eagerly, my sister and I
loaded into the back seat,
laughed at strands of our long hair
flying into open mouths, strains
of our uplifted voices competing
with the 8-track bellowing:
“Do you believe in magic?”

We were so alive then:
I, just barely nine, and my elder,
and idol, rocking sixteen –
she was hippie, go-go girl
and model all wrapped in one
and always humble, never mean.

We headed to the shoreline,
Sauble beach, where muscle cars
prowled, and tunes blared,
and all eyes lit on sister
and I wondered what the draw was,
still too naïve to understand the lure
of feminine wiles, my sandcastles real.

Barbequed steaks and mom’s
homemade apple pie, and
a trip to the ice cream store
if we were good, and Dad
shooed away the men who buzzed
about and lectured sister about “friends”.

I surfed the waves, and
avoided baby sister, her brash cries
and quick, chubby legs a distraction
for our mother, constantly in pursuit;
and observed the life, Neil Diamond
promised I was about to enter:
“Girl, you’ll be a woman soon.”

Ah to be nine, in the summertime,
when cares are few, and ideas
like popcorn, burst and pop,
filling my head with such fancy,
and then to forget it all, plunging
head first into the oncoming waves
still content to be a child.

(Thank you to Laura Bailey at All the Shoes I Wear
for the photo, song and word (summertime) that
inspired this memory.)

creativity · health · ME/ CFS · poetry · writing

Chronic

Mitochondria,
research says,
holds the key
to this malaise –
DNA failing to generate
required energy

I push against
facts, strive
to hoist
this stricken body
from the tedious mire –

fail,
plunge,
succumb
await renewal
of momentum,
push again

a hopeless cycle.

(Penned for DVerse’s Quadrille #59, prompt: cycle.  Thank you to kim881 for hosting.)

adversity · blogging · creativity · education · poetry · relationships · writing

The Boy in 3C

He like to walk across desktops,
bright eyes filled with challenge,
a shock of unkempt blond tuffs
lending a distinctly menacing air.

Had him for three classes a day,
and plentiful as my patience could be,
I must say, I was stretched –
searching for a suitable approach

He was all brawn, you see,
and I, nearing fifty, body frail,
was ill-equipped to deal with blows,
and besides, his ostentatious behaviour

netted me plenty of sympathy,
his classmate no more impressed
than I, my colleagues deeming him
incorrigible – surely, a lost cause.

And yet, I saw in him a wayward self,
glimpses of such anger and pain
as I had known in youth, and I
appealed to my own longing

assigned him helping tasks,
befriended the notorious lad,
inviting another side, appealing
to a scarred vulnerability

Stellar progress we made –
he passing every class, aiming
to remedy his days, and then
we let our guards down

Neither of us prepared for
the downside of success –
he, mired in unworthiness
slipped back into old ways

drank himself into a stupor,
arrived at school wielding
a pellet gun, waving his weapon
at unsuspecting peers, stirring

mass mayhem, and as they
took him away in handcuffs,
he called my name, “I love you”
echoing through the stunned halls.

(Written for Fandango’s Word of the Day: ostentatious, Ragtag Communities: stellar, and Daily Addictions: plentiful.

The boy depicted did manage to complete his school year, with the help of school administration and lessons provided by yours truly.  After high school, he went into social work, a field I think he will thrive in, given his background.  There is always more to the story, and there is always hope.)

blogging · creativity · culture · education · poetry · writing

Rain, Like a Typewriter

Rain tap, tap, taps
on our tin box roof,
like a typewriter

rhythmically transcribing
today’s lesson

“Erect postures,
elbows at ninety degrees,
fingers poised, ready,
and go…fff…ggg…”

the old machines
weighing heavily on my soul
disrupting my sense of self –
aspirations more esteemed
than stenographer, or secretary –
mother’s answer to securing a suitable man

“Target 125 words/minute,
accuracy counts”
keys tangle
stick
ribbon collapsing
whiteout highlighting
my fallibility
I seethe

rail against learning
a skill redundant for a scholar –
math and psychiatry in sight –

Tap, tap, tap
the rain pummels now
thunderous applause
as two crows cackle
hysterical mockery
such shortsightedness

as if teenage minds
can conceive of the future
as if I might have foreseen
the emergence of computers
machinery insinuating
itself into the crux
of human existence

Had to lie, in the end
post-secondary life
demanding accurate skills –
faked it till I made it.

(Inspiration by:
Weekend Writing Prompt #59: typewriter (149 words)
Daily Addiction:  accurate
Ragtag Community’s daily prompt:  target.)

creativity · poetry · relationships · writing

Oasis: Cataracts and Candour

To be candid
the jolt of your affection
rattled my sensibilities

had not realized
the depth of this despair,
miscalculated my longing

the rush of your affection –
like an oasis – refreshing
renewal for my barren

heart, gushing like a school girl,
melting, emotions cascading,
eyes glazed and unfocused

refusing to acknowledge
the impossibility of sustaining
something borne of deceit

and now we pay –
you claiming insurmountable hurt –
while the real pain of our tryst

as reflected on my beloved’s face,
has removed the cataracts from my selfish eyes –
what we did is insupportable – oasis or not.

(Written for three daily prompts:
Daily Addiction: oasis
Ragtag Daily prompt: cataract
Fandango’s Word of the Day:  candour

adversity · creativity · culture · life · relationships · writing

Checked Out

Every woman needs a man,
Mother told her, to be complete.

To submit, she realizes, too late
soul traded for high-rise living,
big city dreams numbing
inner losses.

She eats to appease inner sorrow –
a second-rate childhood – afraid
of being a burden, loathe
to create a stir – conditioned
complacency:

appeasing,
pleasing,
follows plans,
avoids decisions…

never really knows where she is going.

Can she fault her man, schooled
to provide – the alpha male
taking ownership/charge?

His own lack, like a child,
feeding on impulses, craving
attention, overcompensating
for fears with bravado…

cannot understand her fear
of assertiveness – alternately reads
acceptance and disapproval, frets –
gut gnawing incessantly.

They stumble over each other, seek
separation in small quarters, discuss
repairmen, schedules – nothing;

avoid deeper issues such as the fact
that they are both suffocating, near
jumping off the ledge of their high-
falutin’ existence, into the snarl
of traffic that immobilizes them,
the noise of city living negating
their ability to listen, distractions
altering identities, until the distance
between
is too far
to bridge
in a single sigh                      and she
no longer                        submissive
has joined him

and checked out.

(This is a rewrite of a poem, by the same name, written in June 2016.  Shared here for DVerse’s Open Link Night.)

adversity · Family · LGBQT · poetry · relationships · writing

Debonair and Deprived

“Is that you father?”
acquaintances would ask –
voices deep and dreamy.

Particular about his dress,
meticulous in his grooming,
Dad’s eyes sparkled oceans

his dark, wavy curls
framing a strong face,
his body tall and muscled.

I’d tilt my head sideways,
incredulous at this response,
then realize they’d fallen

for his mask – carefully
debonair, he exuded charm,
a well-rehearsed routine.

It’s his birthday today –
would be, you see, but
Dad passed over long ago.

Tortured, he was, relieved
to be done with a life
so defined by deprivation

for masculinity was only
a shell – housed a restless
spirit, a woman never seen

forced into seclusion by
a society – a family – who
could not/ would not see.

He may be free, but the tragedy
lingers – awareness now so raw
of all that might have been.

“Yes, that it my father,”
I might have said, adding
“A beautiful soul trapped inside.”

(My father was born June 14, 1924, and struggled all his life with his “secret”.  He turned to the Navy commandos at the age of 15, hoping to “beat” his impulses, and then alcohol to numb the pain.  We bore the brunt of his suffering, and were never able to cross the bridge to understanding. I have no pictures of my father, and only this one image of myself as a teen.  We looked very much alike.)

Fandango’s word of the day is debonair.

Daily Addiction is deprive.