Present Distance

I’ve lived the fog of distance –
life’s highway a series of dips,
destination without promise

Learned that acceptance gains perspective
that climates change, and hope sustains,
and that in the stillness dreams renew.

I travel quieter paths now; appreciate
space – have surrendered to present distance,
certain that this too will change.

(Borrowed from One Woman’s Quest II, April, 2020. Image my own)

Love Overcoming

Expectations are my enemy –
raised without standards,
boundaries full of holes,
I worship at the altar of lies

Fortunately, soul follows it own star –
rages against darkness encroaching,
shatters illusions, commands higher
aspirations – love overcoming fear

(Tuesdays, I borrow from Twitter @Vjknutson. Image my own)

Do Not Tell

No one told me,
in my haste to grow up,
that adulthood, awash
with responsibility,
would also be lonely

And, no one told me
that the days and nights
of sweating over lessons
would likely not lead
to the life imagined

nor that commitment –
the kind portrayed in movies –
does not exist – the word itself
bearing more substance
than the act, fickle as it is

No one told me that
motherhood would change
my reality permanently,
colouring it with unfathomable
pain and joy – such juxtaposition

And, no one told me that
every battle I ever arm myself for,
regardless of its justification,
is really a struggle with self –
inner demons the most menacing.

I never imagined that age,
with seismic force,
would alter my perspective so –
leave me barren and yet enriched,
enthralled with the ordinary
and unfazed by the rest

And, in the end, as I watch
the vernal rains announce renewal,
in the quiet of my solitude, I am
amazed and grateful for all
that this crazy, driven life has become
and that no one ever told me.

(This is an edited version of a poem published in April, 2019. Art my own.)

(Self) Portrait of a Waitress

Jumbo Jet
they called her –
fast on her feet,
zooming in,
swooping up trays,
delivering with flight-
attendant flair.

When did she turn
to autopilot,
stop paying attention
to her destination?

Didn’t she know
she was set
on a crash course,
headed for disaster?

Tried to warn her,
wake her from stupor;
told me she’d reset
but danger remains.

She’s cruising now –
over-sized
turbo-lacking
under-fuelled,
no longer able
to soar – trapped
in a treacherous game.

Waits tables,
tries to keep
a clean house,
caters to others,
lends an ear,
has squeezed
every drop of self
into a low flying life

needs to land
a space of her own,
with room to breathe;
take life in shorter
intervals, refill
her jets.

(Portrait of a Waitress was originally written in 2016. Image a self portrait. Note: once upon a time, I was a waitress, whom the cooks referred to as “Jumbo Jet”. I waitressed my way through university, and a few rough spots in life. While I gave up the job, the metaphor of ‘waiting’ continued to be a theme in my dreams for many years after.)

If I Were a Kitchen

If I were a kitchen,
I’d want an old-fashioned woman
at my counters – rolling dough
canning pickles, chutney, jam,
homemade pasta sauce,
and every Sunday, a roast.
She’d wear her sweat like a saint,
ignore her aching back –
one practiced hand feeding
her Carnation baby, while
other children flocked to Formica,
hot flesh sticking to vinyl
as they picked at fresh made
sweet buns, the pot on the stove
perpetually simmering.

Or give me modern efficiency –
ninjas and presses, air fryers
and induction cookers –
let the children belly up
to the breakfast bar, chomp
on veggies and humus, while
cook totes baby in a sling,
and preps bone broth,
strains of Baby Einstein
emitting from a propped up iPad,
while a cellphone vibrates
on granite, and the Keurig
spits out Starbucks Pike.

Just don’t abandon me,
piles of unopened mail,
or tossed aside receipts
company for coffee rings
on my counters.
Please don’t litter my surfaces
with rotting takeout containers, or
dishes caked with processed cheese –
don’t leave my stainless steel sinks
stained, spoiled food reeking
in the refrigerator, traces
of late night mishaps curdling
on the floor; absence of familiar
sounds declaring my presence invalid.

(Rewrite of a rewrite. Image my own)