Friday, September 30, 2011

Losses and Life

There are many people in my life who aren't afraid of death;
It hurts my feelings because they put me in a mess.
If they are not grieving because they're sure of eternity,
It wouldn't be right for me to cry while they hold me.

I know that they feel they are just passing over
To a place where they can sit on their god's shoulders,
But it would be nice to have a tearful goodbye
Before they leave me alone to cry.

I will miss their physical selves in my life
Their smiles, words, and laughter that soothe my strife.
How can dying people be so blissfully blind
To the holes in the hearts of those left behind?

How can I be so foolish as to continue making friends,
Knowing the grief I'll feel when their lives end?
My broken heart, I don't have time to mend it
Before another loss appears to rend it.

Yesterday was two of my oldest and dearest
And another with whom I feel a kindred spirit.
I'm hard pressed to say which is most inviting
Shared history is comforting; discovery is exciting.

Still I force myself to open my heart and celebrate
With family, old friends, and new, and my mate
Then I review the memories on these pages
For reliving during our last life stages.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Midtown Magic

I experienced midtown magic in my trip to New Orleans,
Where the people are so real and the trees are evergreen.
This is the essence of New Orleans that I so dearly love,
The one of my childhood, before the working class got shoved:
Moved into to the suburbs and the city's periphery,
With the promise of housing that would be rent free.
They moved to secure their piece of the American dream,
Never realizing this was a political and corporate scheme.

With the advent of a new city caused by a hurricane,
The essence of the working class, in midtown remains.
There are divas dressed to die for still meeting for lunch,
With shoe polish black hair and hair as pink as punch.
There are old time politicos whose children now rule,
Hoping for anonymity as they set on their bar stools.
The smell of sweet olive trees may not permeate,
But the shade of the lives oaks is still something to celebrate.

The friend that I met for lunch certainly spoke to my soul
When she shared that in the Bible Belt she didn't feel quite whole.
She shared that her child had asked her about the people who were left out
Of the fundamentalist beliefs that Bible preachers love to shout.
She said that she and her husband, a moral Jewish man,
Were seen as not equal parts of the Christian salvation plan.
New Orleans has always been a center of spiritual openness
And the mistakes in relationships, the people are quick to confess.

I cannot think of a better way to live until I die
Than celebrating we're all human, as long as we continue to try.
We are very outspoken about where our boundaries really are,
So that those at our same parties won't rain on our cigars.
We understand that those around us may be on different paths,
And we have the choice to wait for them or to take a pass.
All I ask is that those who say they love me work with who I am
Instead of trying to convince me I was a mistake in their god's plan.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Pets and Safe Bets

I sit and watch out my window how people treat their pets;
This vicarious viewing of other people's lives gives me no regrets.
I think it is good training to have pets before you have kids
This probably would have been better than the way my first husband and I did.
I had always thought that pets could take care of themselves,
Like the stuffed animals that many kept upon their shelves.
The father of my children thought pets should be kept outside
To only be paid any attention if something made them cry.
We were quite the pair to bring children into the world:
A boisterous little boy and a sweet, sensitive baby girl.

It is a source of constant amazement that humans continue to survive
With all the efforts we make sabotaging that for which we say we strive.
Chickens, cows, and horses have more attention paid to breeding
Than those in whom we are, our own genetics, repeating.
There is an accepted adage in lesser animal husbandry
That the offspring will only thrive if the mother is stress free.
Yet we continue to allow breeding women to be abused by their mates
As if this has no effect on their gestating children's fates.
If people can't be bothered to train and care for their helpless pets,
Their children becoming something other than wild animals is not a safe bet.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Goodness Gracious Grandmas

Nobody ever asked in our family, "What do you want to be?"
But as an adult I knew what I wanted was to be a granny.
We sat at the feet and worshiped our grandma in her chair,
And talking back was something that I would never dare.
My daddy, her husband, and my uncle made great fun of her emotions,
But she enjoyed the luxury of my mother's complete devotion.

We had another grandma who came over to help with us kids,
But she was treated as "domestic help" for all the work she did.
This was not a place of honor in our completely chaotic home;
I was able to understand why this widow chose to live alone.
I've spent my granny years vacillating between the two;
I wasn't sure which of their shows of love was more true.

My deceased sister said it was the love of the grandma who came to us,
But our other grandma, over her grand kids, made a bigger fuss.
I do know that as a youngster, I drove them both quite wild
I was never a "sit silently worshiping" kind of child.
It is so strange to me to now come to realize
How much I do like these two women by whom I thought I was despised.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Granny Games

Wow! What a weekend I had at my son's home!
I'd like to never again spend a weekend alone.
I showed my granddaughter and one of her friends,
A favorite game of my sister's twins.
Then granddaughter and I taught her friend a board game;
Rummikub will probably never be the same.
There's no such thing as peace and quiet;
When these two girls are together, it sounds like a riot.

My daughter-in-law joined us in playing games,
And my son, as usual, kept us quite entertained.
My grandson came home with a lacrosse team mate,
And into his boy cave they went to hibernate.
When my son got skunked in trawling for shrimp
Down to the street shrimp vendor he went.
Oh, the pure bliss of a gulf shrimp boil!
Eating like this has me quite spoiled.

On our song book we began the printing process
With our favorite songs we sing before we rest.
"The Lord is My True Shepherd" is something I sing
For the comfort to the children it seems to bring.
We went to bed and snuggled and read a silly book
About six fishermen with no good sense or good looks.
And then I scratched her back so very softly
And crooned to her til she was feeling sleepy.

Sunday came with joyful anticipation
Of Richard joining our family celebration.
My son and his wife went to the Saints game,
So to their house, kids, and kitchen I laid claim.
The boys asked for pancakes, eggs, and bacon;
We had all the kitchen counters shaking.
I made them sit at the counter so I could see them
I won't feed anybody who won't give my labors attention.

As Richard made his arrival, so did our niece
With her two baby boys, so my joy was increased.
My granddaughter's chocolate cookie cake
Was out of the oven for all to partake.
Richard had the counters almost rocking
With all his precise seasoning chopping.
Richard taught meatball rolling to our little cook;
Then she made the baby boys their own coloring book.

By this time we had four teenage athletes in the kitchen,
Coming through and on each trip snitching
A bit of chocolate cookie or a meatball or two.
Our meatballs were diminished by more than a few.
By the time the weekend warriors returned from their games
The pot of sauce was ready with the meatballs that remained.
More board games, some TV, and singing of our bedtime songs,
This is the kind of family life where this granny belongs.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Granddaughter Day

I'm going to see my granddaughter;
I'm so excited I can hardly say.
This is one of my favorite
Ways to spend a Saturday.
This one loves to be snuggled,
With covers "strapping" her up.

She also likes to cook with me
To create that on which we'll sup.
Her neighborhood friends may join us
In our little cooking school.
I'd love for her brother to join us,
But he doesn't, as a rule.

We plan to make a book
Of all my favorite songs
Then, when I sing to her,
She can joyfully sing along.
I don't know what she's planning
For tonight's entree.

She loves to make lasagna,
But for something else I pray.
We plan to bake a cookie cake,
Chocolate, this time, she says.
And when she goes to sleep tonight,
I'll scratch her back and sing our prayers.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Watching Others Work

It is such a luxury to watch others work;
In rental condo living, it's a definite perk
Richard comes home; we relax and play games;
He doesn't face problems with nobody to blame.
Our dog lived outside; so did our cat.
He didn't blame me; don't worry about that.
But the stress when one has nobody to kick,
And the tension at home can get a bit thick.

He's at the point in life where he deserves some leisure,
And extremes of temperature almost give him a seizure.
He works in a museum all day, in climate control,
Where camaraderie and service are his primary goals.
It's nice that he has no household responsibilities
When he has the leisure time to spend with me.
He still likes to think that he's a pioneer man,
So we'll let him upkeep our mountain cabin as long as he can.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Lasagna on the Loose

I would know that I was rich enough if when I create a catastrophe,
The person left to clean it up would not be little old me.
The grown daughter of a best friend came over for her favorite food
I baked chocolate cookies and lasagna, being sure they were extra good.
Because she was in a hurry, in the excitement of seeing her after so long
I forgot to support the lasagna pan, boy did this turn out wrong!
The beautiful baked lasagna wound up in a puddle on the oven floor
We had to scrape it together and serve it; there was no time to bake more.
It tasted really delicious but its good looks were omitted
Now the bottom of my oven looks like someone vomited.
Where is a cleaning fairy when a bomb goes off in the oven?
And my Richard is not here, his helping hands to lend.
It's time to stop putting it off and roll up my sleeves to clean;
I'll reward myself with lunch out with a homemaking queen.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I Think About My Shrink

If I'm not the one who is crazy, why am I seeing a shrink?
Is it because I want someone to affirm what I already think?
If when we talk to our friends and relations, and they get an itch
The usual solution is to sign us up for a hitch
In a convenient psychiatric facility of their choice
Where they can pay people to put up with the sound of our voice.
Lots of life just doesn't make sense when you stop to think about it,
But unless you want to be crucified, you shouldn't, out loud, shout it.
Take slavery in a country of equal rights and women with no power;
They got the people who objected scorned, in not our country's finest hours.
But we have so many who are afraid for society to change
That they proclaim the revolutionaries to be deranged.
The sixties were about seeking justice, we should all face that fact;
I'll go to the nut house or prison, but I'm not going back.

Monday, September 19, 2011

The Courage to Create

I finally found the courage to run down the street with no clothes;
My greatest fear in life is that I would be completely exposed.
Exposed as the scared fraud that I know I've always been;
I've been faking my way through life following other women and men.

I've lived through many life's adventures, some more painful than others;
I have finally accepted myself through the love of adopted mothers.
The book about my mountain home tells many of my love stories.
I've saved the sad ones for another book, so you don't have to worry.

Many will see themselves pressed like flowers between the pages,
But I've changed the names to avoid any person's potential rages.
You just never know who may be in the witness protection program,
And exposing their identities is certainly not part of my plan.

I feel as if I've been in labor for the last five years,
A time filled with a lifetime of blood sweat and tears.
We look forward to seeing all our mountain friends very soon
And listening to the forest creatures howl at the moon.

I lied about the forest creatures; most of you know they scare me,
But when something makes for good rhyme, I just can't let it be.
Thanks to all of you who have loved me into not becoming too discouraged
I couldn't have done it without borrowing some of each of your courage.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Family Fire

There's a young man who lives across the way
I don't know if he has a wife.
Every day he takes his lab for a walk
He seems to really enjoy this life.

He brings his well-behaved dog home,
Comes back with his fishing pole.
Yesterday he caught a flounder
Will today's catch be mackerel?

I've often thought it would be nice to fish
But it takes a patient and steady hand.
When The Creator handed out these attributes
I must not have been part of that plan.

How life must have been for early humans
Who gave thanks for whatever they caught;
I guess even then I'd have been the cook
Of whatever the hunters and gatherers brought.

I would sit by the campfire and listen
To the exciting stories they would tell;
I'd supervise older children watching babies
In the community where I'd dwell.

The really old folks, wrapped in blankets,
Would be welcome around the campfire.
They would have open laps for the babies
Until the day comes that they expire.

We'd sing joyful songs together,
Welcoming each new day and each meal
We'd sing soothing songs until the babies,
Into peaceful slumber would steal.

And when all the children were
Safely tucked into their beds
The adults would share stories
About that which they dread.

We'd have a council of elders
Who'd share the wisdom of the ages
And we'd listen to the active adults
Who would also act as sages.

Perhaps we'd have a talking stick
To each, it would be passed around.
This would insure that the campfire
Would be respected as holy ground.

After all the family folks retired,
The wild ones could remain by the fire
They could regal each other with their lies
A fall sleep with adventure-glazed eyes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

My Matriarchal Mama

When I was in the seventh grade,
My teacher was a formidable woman.
She had a presence that I craved;
I felt like her favored one.

When my little sister would come knocking
On this teacher's classroom door,
She'd gently call for "Little Mother,"
When she could have been angry, I'm sure.

My sister had a stomach ache
Because she was always scared;
Her big brown eyes could never fake
The terror that was in her head.

My teacher would allow me to
Calm my sister and go call our home,
But then I'd have to leave her
In the office all alone.

I never forgot this teacher's kindness,
Or the fact that she was so brave
In standing up to my bullying brother,
Which put my mother in a rage.

When I went for my first job
As a recently divorced mom,
She was secretary to my boss,
And managed to keep me calm.

So many times she's been there for me,
Like a angel with her flaming sword.
I knew that I only got the job
On this woman's positive word.

Now she is recently widowed,
And her son has passed away.
Her daughter is a full time nurse,
But I have time to play.

She fixed for me a luscious lunch,
And gave me leftovers to take away.
She sets a lovely table,
In a proper New England way.

I know I should be cooking for her
After all she's done for me.
But she so loves doing for others,
I had to let this be.

Her words of wisdom and her wit
Are such a welcome gift to me,
When I get to be eighty-six,
She's who I want to be.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

My friend's requeted last verse re: Dogs, Don't Walk on White Sand

Mississippi beaches sure missed out
Because me and my friend
Picked up other people's trash,
Leaving the beach clean from beginning to end.

Dogs, Don't Walk on the White Sand

My girlfriend wanted to take her pups
For their first-ever romp on the beach.
I was thrilled to be included
Because so much beach is in reach.

I took a ride down the Mississippi coast
Only to find, to my chagrin
That now they've cleaned their beaches
Dogs are no longer welcomed in.

The neighborhood where we lived
Before Katrina stole our home
Has a small beach on the lake
Where dogs are free to roam.

It was delightful watching her poodle
Challenging the waves.
I only wish I could have taken them
To the miles of white sand about which I'd raved.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Peaceful Pastimes

A day of mourning for many in our country,
Was a day of great peace for Richard and me.
We stopped by the home of dearest friends
She and I needed to, a wound made with words, mend.
I needed to hear her gentle voice and see her smiling face,
To make sure our deep love was still in place.
Then our son and his wife welcomed us with open arms;
Their loving home is a shelter in many storms.

At this refuge which produces daily celebration,
My niece and her family came by with libations.
My niece and I had had an argument;
I was so glad to see that her anger was spent.
Watching her children was a pure delight;
Her husband's fried chicken was the hit of the night.
I cried all the way home from the pure beauty of life,
Offered to me as a mother, grandmother, and wife.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

It Ain't About Tea; It's About Defining Free

We seem to confuse what it means to be free
With a belief in absolute anarchy.
To be free to do what, to only one, makes sense,
Comes with terrible consequence.

And the creation of leaders who claim divine rights
Has brought our republic to a terrible plight.
We elect heroes who don't play by our rules,
And make the hardest workers look like fools.

We don't need those who were born to privilege,
Their good luck in their births being their edge.
They may think they're modern day Robin Hoods,
Braking laws, believing it's for the public good.

Maybe it's time for true democracy
Where each of our actions is our responsibility;
Where we're held accountable for following common rules,
Beginning with regaining control of our schools.

The language of commerce is, by default, English;
Common language to communicate is a must.
And order is not only an English concept;
It is the way that we show each other respect.

We will always need common laborers;
Those who fail in the classroom can join this corps,
But we must stop being fooled by the wealthy
Who in, robbing hard workers, are very stealthy.

It is we who pay taxes who are paying for them
To lord their status over honest women and men.
The rich and powerful are not our friends;
Our fear is that on which their power depends.

In the land of the free and the home of the brave
We are not put here to be our leaders' slaves.
We don't need blustering hypocrites
Who lie to us as if we're all half-wits.

They threaten if we don't do what they say;
With their money and power, they'll move away.
I say let them go and don't let them come back.
We have hard working citizens to take up their slack.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Our Nation and Salvation

We must set up a new definition and following of patriotism,
Where we shun anyone who believes the law of the land is not for her or him.
I have no use for movie stars or other clowns of our nation;
I don't think that the most entertaining will affect our salvation.

I vote for those who encourage free will and free thought,
Which are the principles for which we were told our wars were fought.
When loyalty to one person or party is seen as necessity,
It goes against all the ideals that make our country free.

We approve only abstinence education mandated by adulterous hypocrites
Who lead our sovereign nation and give me moral fits.
I don't like abortion any more than fertility treatments;
Hypocrisy in our laws is what makes me come unbent.

There are many in the religious right who hire illegal immigrants,
And pay no social security. Our money, on their help, is spent.
They seem to live by the law that what is secret is right,
Forcing law abiding citizens to subsidize their employees' plights.

We can continue to pretend that we are a Judeo-Christian nation,
But we are allowing those who follow no rules of faith to control creation.
I have one constant question in our strong religion-based rhetoric,
Are our leaders actually people of faith, or is their religion a parlor trick?

Friday, September 9, 2011

My Mamas

I spoke to both my mamas; they say they miss me every day.
I have waited for sixty years to have a mama with that to say.
I suspect it's because I have a habit of writing what looks like eulogies
For people who are still living, not waiting till they're deceased.
I write much about these women; what they say should be holy scriptures,
But we have all these rules which, on scripture, put strictures.

Unfortunately, for me, this causes some to become quite cocky,
And our relationships are bound to become rather rocky.
I never know if their reaction is because I embarrass them
By being so forthcoming with how I feel about my friends.
These two women are from the old school and spend their lives in service.
I find them so uplifting that, their presence, I often miss.

They have learned to laugh and to cry with their trusted friends,
Knowing that, as long as we care, our grief in being human never ends.
I so admire these women for their wit and their wisdom
It is a great honor that they count me as their valued friend.
I admire so many people for how they avoid false pride,
But admiration for each other is something that should not be denied.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Soft, Sweet Sunrise

Something special about sipping coffee at sunrise,
Especially when the air is fall cool and crisp,
Pink wisps passing over the sailboats,
And golden rays give the world a soft kiss.

The water shimmering as a breeze on it plays,
The birds fairly tremble with the joy of waking
Gifts of Creation on which I'm blessed to gaze;
This is certainly not of man's making.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Memories of the Mountains

The air is clear and cool today at our condo on the lake,
But the fall-feeling nip in the air, make no mistake,
Has me missing our fireplace at our home in the woods
Richard keeping it stoked on autumn days has always felt so good.

It's a rather luscious longing as I anticipate our next visit;
We have many varied chores that need doing, and yet
I think that we will take the time to luxuriate
In the warmth of the wood fire behind the fireplace grate.

Perhaps friends will come to talk and enjoy a meal or two;
Maybe some will even come to be part of our work crew.
And the times around our table eating meals and playing games
Making marvelous memories, that for all of us long remain.

It is always a great pleasure to work with our hands,
Maintaining and improving our forested plot of land.
It seems that it has been too long since we've seen our mountain friends
Maybe there will come a time when our two lives truly blend.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Smiling Through the Storm

The storm has passed leaving behind some damage, but also some healing;
It has finally extinguished the marsh fire that had asthmatics reeling.
The lesson I have learned from loss is that nothing on earth is permanent,
And we usually don't know all the answers for why the scary is sent.
I have never understood why people pray for certain weather conditions;
What may be a blessing to me, may destroy the dreams of a friend.

I do know that if I look hard enough, I'll find something to celebrate;
The rain has moved to our Tennessee home, giving that drought a break.
There was nothing to be done by us in our rental condo unit;
Watching the wonders of nature, cooking, and games was how our weekend was spent.
The most important lessons I've learned are that life is give and take,
And learning when all we can do is to hunker down and wait.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Silencing the Storms

Whitecaps on the water are a joy for me to behold
They lead me to think about stirring up the old,
Making way for new water and new water life
That seem to appear after the terrible strife.

I don't like to ride these waves;
Of capsizing and drowning I'm afraid.
But I can, in my perch above the fray,
Feel like a captain most brave.

I greatly admire those who can
Bravely ride out the storm,
With visions of a future that's worth
Subjecting themselves to harm.

I think I may have been one of them,
In a long-past time in my life,
But I can now relax a little bit
As a moral and brave man's wife.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Males and Moms

I've spent much of my life riding shotgun on other people's lives,
Thinking that mothers with small children needed help to survive.
But it has come to my attention that in this modern world,
Daddies are as capable of child care as any of us girls.
They're expected to change diapers and come running when baby calls,
Not simply to take them out for the occasional game of ball.
Those who bemoan that there are so many outside-the-home employed moms
Don't want to admit how many of us, as full time mothers, bombed.
There are those who have a talent for understanding baby talk,
And others who, at the constant crises of children, balk.
If we can now have male nurses in the hospital wards attending,
Certainly men are capable, of children's boo-boos, mending.
The trick is in defining who possesses which skill sets;
On moms being the better stay-home parents, I'm not taking any bests.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Flash Flooding and Flashbacks

The storm is bringing back memories all across town
Of Hurricane Katrina, in which our pasts were drowned.
Everywhere we go, people are reliving the terrors
That, in many cases, were caused by human errors.
Levees were built poorly and not properly maintained;
The pump operators were sent home, so the city wasn't drained.
There were lives lost; amounts of property lost is untold.
Those brave enough to come back aren't feeling very bold.
These winds, thankfully, won't become hurricane speeds,
And, to quench a marsh fire, this deluge is what we need.
But, we know that, in a blink, it could happen again,
As we count the inches of the pounding rain.
We feel a bit safer perched on the second floor;
The furniture isn't ours, so we'd leave and lock the door.

Friday, September 2, 2011

One Fine Little Family

I'm in love with the little family
That lives across the way,
Even though we have never
Had any words to say.

The tall, pencil-thin mama,
The barrel-shaped grandma,
Supported by the short stout daddy.
Is that his mother-in law?

They so obviously love their children
And enjoy them immensely
I guess they would think it creepy
That they share it, unseen, with me.

Most days they are in the pool
Outside my living room window,
But this morning in the teaming rain
Mama and daughter had places to go.

The tiny girl in a pink tutu,
Perched on her mother's hip,
Protected by her mother's arms
With their strong, sheltering grip.

I guess that grandma was inside
Sitting with the precious baby boy.
Watching all this love in action
Gives me untold, silent joy.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Being Nice and Real Life

I had lunch with a close friend last week
Who shared a quote she had heard on life.
She said, "Home is where we go
When we're tired of being nice."

I guess I must have skipped this lesson
In the things one learns before marriage.
I have been thinking all along
This would be married love's miscarriage.

I thought if there was no peace at home,
The marriage was doomed to end.
At sixty, I'm learning life's lessons
From some of my oldest friends.

My seventh grade teacher visited;
She was married sixty-four years.
She's widowed now, and shared with me
Her family's laughter and their tears.

She told me that she left him once,
But he followed her to win her back;
Never in their marriage was there
A spirited discussion lack.

My other mother gave me a quote
As we were a bit of wine drinking,
"If a couple never fights,
Someone isn't thinking."

She allowed that she and her husband
Were the thinkingest couple she knew.
And in their long life together
Their friends numbered more than a few.

They brought up two children who
Both spent their lives as nurses.
Clearly dynamic tension in marriage
Isn't the worst stress there is.

Both of these women are
Strong in their own rights.
I think this is the secret to
Having productive fights.

We all need to hone our strengths,
And learn how to work hard,
Learn what's important to fight for;
Moral children may be our reward.