Remember When

When you were Eden,
that longest prairie night,
warm with verdant moss
on trunk, no soft cover,
river shine vivid –

Me, a bee,
would eat from a tree berry,
seed this animal nature,
stroll a watery song –

Soon they come at dawn,
give peace.

(Another poem courtesy of online magnetic poetry.)

Slippery

Slippery performed
and my eight-year-old
heart applauded

cheered when he escaped,
mourned the capture,
prayed for flight’s courage

but survival skills
eluded – was certain
I would starve, die

in a cave where
animals would gnaw
on my bones, and

family, unconcerned,
would sigh and say:
She’s just being Slippery.

(Slippery was the name of a sea lion who performed at a local’s children’s attraction in the 60’s.  He escaped into the Thames River and was captured again.  I can remember being torn between sorrow for him that he didn’t want to be there, and sorrow for us that he didn’t love us the way loved him.

It’s Open Link Night at dVerse, and I am also submitting this for 50 Word Thursday, Fandango’s: guess, and Ragtag Community’s prompt: slippery.)

Problematic

“You’re an enigma”
mother would tsk,
ushering me out of the door,
brown bag lunch,
book bag dragging,
to catch a ride across town

a special classroom –
desks pushed together
formed quads, and
walls retracted,
created one large room,
the bustle of activity
a constant

no readers here,
or math sheets,
it was free learning,
cross-curricular,
learned about history
from novels,
math and science
through applications,
wrote poetry,
read Shakespeare,
enacted plays,
and while some went to shop
or home economics,
I tackled Mensa puzzles

we debated
current affairs,
grew a social conscience,
progressed individually

“Men don’t like smart women,”
was all my mother could say,
shaking her head with disgust
at this daughter, who spouted
politics with her father, and
whose career goals,
prepubescent,
aspired beyond the 3 k’s.

(Penned for dVerse, hosted tonight by Amaya Engleking.  I’ve also snuck in Daily Addictions prompt:  enigma.)

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.)

Snapdragons

Snapdragons transport me
back to father’s gardens –
the pleasure of pinching
delicate flower mouths

forbidden as I was, tiny
feet banished from tiers
of ordered colours, how
he worshipped those rows

hours spent on knees,
as if in prayer, attention
lavished on nurturing
growth while I shrivelled

at the sidelines, longed
to dig beside him, sully
my hands and share
a passion, ignorant of

an inner drive to weed
out imperfections, felt
only walls of separation,
the coldness of perfection

and in my wilful way,
rebelled against taboos,
tiptoed through the soil
and pinched snapdragons.

 

The Pen Is To Blame

This is pen is far too vociferous,
illuminates the disabled rage,
dismissing my concerns, as if
outgoing messages are company
for its dispassionate agenda.

No privacy for ailing, sleeping,
I would physically eject the offending
appendage, but cannot bear reopening
of wounds, recognizing the sins are
mine, no matter how unintentional.

Words can be a trap, take on a beat
of their own, history rearing on page,
leaving me raw-nerved, reeling, their
thoughtlessness a venomous refusal
to remain a victim – I am inflamed.

How to banish the thoughts smouldering
like a cigarette, daring me to inhale,
choke on my own toxicity; I must expunge
the intrusion, recall this maddening vow
to create; withdraw to the safety of illness

shuttered away from the crowd, a blue
silence warming this frozen heart –
maybe, I’ll write a note and leave it
on the dashboard, command the pen
and its itinerary to leave me alone.

(Image: hellenmasido.wordpress.com)

Sleeping Alone

Sleeping alone –
so intrusive –
a child born of
so many intentions
awash in a trail
of barricades

I cope, cook up
breezes, strike
wet ground,
stuff myself
to satiate
the onslaught

ground rapidly
shifting –
Earth Mother
exerting presence –
too stubborn,
I turn away

Look for
God, but my
cup keeps moving –
I am unreachable,
charmed by
a broken tale

aimless,
oppositional,
overwhelmed –
cry out but
absence holds
no listeners

need adhesive
to fix this urgency –
a peerless torrent –
if only I could simplify
these wounds
find a stopgap

emotion
bubbles up
overflows
manifests
external turmoil
replaying sorrow

sleep offers
no repair
alone
tormented
by the issue
at hand.

(Image: blogs.voanews.com)

Age and Obstacles

Sloth-like she shuffles
each stride an argument
against unwilling muscles,
ignores spasms, lips pursed
in concentration, advances

Cockeyed he totters,
step…hop…step, poker-hot
stabs punctuating his effort
moves swiftly as if to out run
pain, face set in determination

They are out of sync, oddball
awkward sightseers, obstacles
for the fast-moving able-bodies
that whir past unable to fathom
motivation in crooked spines.

The race here is against time,
propelled by insatiable thirst,
they forage for snippets worthy
of hoarding, squirrels readying
for winter’s harsh call, days

when minds still alert will hunger
despite bodies inert, they will
dine on memory, boast about
the daring, reminisce fondly
over adventures hard won.

(The Daily Post prompt is snippet.  Hope you enjoyed.)

 

Nested

Nestled in with childhood truths –
second-hand, missing perspective –
nursing a creeping creativity:
insignificant clarity expanding
measurably, hurried.

Once social, now retreating
papered over failure, have fallen
frigid waves infiltrating, overtaking
chronically pained, over and over
contemplating flight, freedom

voiceless, expressionless, flat
even revelation muted, unmoving
boundaries, discussed, protective
currently crumbling…underestimated
the struggle, the pervasiveness

have considered a military approach
strident restrictions to nullify passions
but I am a weaver, open to uncovering
blessings in failure, employed in soaring,
grounded, yet questing, unsettled

disease is not a repellent for the mind,
objects conjure movement, creatures
undoubtedly defensive, renewal motivated
I am dank, moist, lacking burning passion
in this explosive personal nest.

Haunting Irony

You come to me in the Dreamtime
slipping between the veil of what is
and what shall never be, stirring my
restlessness, a bittersweet reminder
of love once cherished, yet shunned.

You are a ghost shattering illusions
of sleep, thrusting me into lucidity,
regrets real – I want to hold you to me
for eternity, devoured by the shame of
what I did to you – relentless sorrow…

Always, you are steadfast, forgiving,
offering up your unshakeable love,
melting me with the depth of your
tenderness, your patient smile, those
ocean blue eyes – you redeem me

Then day comes, and pulls me from
your embrace, and promises fade,
but the dream lingers, leaves me
dissatisfied, a punishing reminder
that I let you go to save us from pain.

(Image: blogsleepingsimple.com)