Portrait Poem

Neighborhood eccentric
a bit askew,
dressed for the decades
always strutted her stuff.

Peered out on the sixties
in tortoise cats-eye glasses,
black beret rakishly tipped
atop henna dyed hair.

Artistic in the seventies,
she embroidered purple zigzag
on turquoise gaucho pants.
Donned gaily colored tie-dyed tops.

Now ninety-four,
spiffy on her daily walks.
White gauzy lace gloves
firmly grasp walker handlebars.

Feet move deliberately.
Frilly laced anklets,
inside patent leather
Mary Janes.

Everyone smiles
as she lights up the street,
battery operated bulbs
on her Christmas wreath hat.

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Written for Misky’s Twiglet prompt #184.

Life’s Design

It seems to me, there is a map to our lives. Imagine that we can draw it on a grid. Each cell is a day. Cells filled in with bright colors are to-dos and pay-attention-tos. Some neon need-tos are so intense they cause a glare. Blank cells appear in chunks. Free days. Times to play, cogitate, and just be.

My early years were chock full of free days. But ultimately, they almost disappeared. The grid became so colorful, it was blinding. Full of responsibilities, accountability. Children to raise. Professional ladder to climb. Even in those few empty cells, vacation days, I found myself calling in to the office; answering emails. The job tinted even the blank chunks on my grid.

Now in rejuvenatement, never say retirement, filling in the grid is largely my choice. And as I look at it, I suddenly begin to understand, the map of my life is not all my own doing. The socioeconomic term “privilege” comes to mind. Circumstances of birth, ethnicity, geographical location – all have affected my life and enabled me to come to this point where the grid is much easier on the eyes. And in these days of Covid-19, I understand even more, how blessed I have been.

for the lucky ones
summer yields bountiful crops –
others slowly starve

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Kim asks us to respond, in some way, to the image above, “Broadway Boogie Woogie”, created by Piet Mondrian, displayed at New York’s Museum of Modern Art.

Haibun: 2 or 3 paragraphs of prose followed by a haiku that includes reference to a season.

A New Me

Reboot. Rejuvenate.
Retired? Poor phrase.
Never intended to tire again.
Released from to-dos and alarm clocks.
I revel in the autumn of my life.

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Photo from a Boston 4th of July celebration with the Boston Pops on the Esplanade, soon after my rejuvenatement.

Day 25, National Poetry Writing Month. Prompt from Toads, where we are asked to write about a reboot, a renewal, that is meaningful to our lives.

Careful What You Wish For!

Another birthday?
Oh God to be young again!
Rid of the grey, the wrinkles.
To live those carefree days again.

Pimples? A crush on what’s-his-name?
High school cliques and watching Elvis gyrate?
No-Doze to pass Dr. Parkander’s killer exams?
Grad school living off hot dogs and beans?

Note to self:
Put all the candles on the cake.
Blow them out in thanksgiving
instead of blow-hard forgetfulness.

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Day 20 of National Poetry Writing Month. Today at Toads, the prompt is to write about a wish that would somehow produce something not as good as what you’d hoped for – when good wishes go bad.

After watching the news . . .

if I put on lacy anklets
chalk hopscotch on my sidewalk
tie these grey locks into pigtails
and read Golden Books,
will everything be fun again?

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Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. I’m “tending the pub today” and look forward to reading all the posts. Photo taken a few weeks ago at the Corvette Diner in San Diego’s Liberty Station – our waitress’ feet!

Waiting for Spring Tending

The small San Diego garden plot lies waiting. Remains stripped bare from summer past. Green straggling leggy vines meander over and under blunt-cut branches of a now anonymous plant. Dried tall corn stalks stand in leaning stance, blown by winds or simply bent from lack of care once the cobs were picked.

Long woody stems are capped by dry flower tops, their name a mystery to me. Brown scaled outer shell still holds tight to popped open pods. Each pod is perhaps six inches across and contains what looks like spiderweb short wisps of silken threads. I am smitten by these long-past-their-prime blooms and try to capture their beauty in photos – some in monotone black and white, others in their natural earth like tones. I am sad to know these plants, beautiful in their drying state, will soon be cleared as new seed is sown.

migratory bird
transports dried seed in plumage
beauty travels far

Photos taken Saturday, on a walk through the beautiful campus of San Diego State University. We came upon a small garden plot by the art buildings. It was obviously left untended until spring, when it will be cleared and replanted.

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Frank asks us to write about the coming spring. Haibun: two or three tight paragraphs of prose (must be true) followed by a haiku that invokes a season. 

Notes to Self

Perk up!
So the path behind is longer
than the trail ahead.
Wild flowers still bloom,
ready for picking along the way.

No more reins to white knuckle.
The children are loose
reining in their own foals,
galloping in fields you planted,
tended many years ago.

Embrace your lover joyfully
as days and weeks slip by.
Love more deeply, gently, surely.
Expect to share the morrow gladly
as you kiss the night goodbye.

Beautiful-Elderly-Couple-Hugging

Written fordVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where Frank is tending bar, asking us to write a soliloquy poem today.  Photo from Pixabay.com

Winter Glistens

“As I left China farther and farther behind, I looked out of the window and saw a great universe beyond the plane’s silver wing. I took one more glance over my past life, then turned to the future. I was eager to embrace the world.”
Wild Swans, Jung Chang

Youth and middle age.
I am far past those lanes,
beyond that curve in the road.

Photos framed on shelves.
Who I was and who I loved
all along the way.

Mirrored image returns my gaze.
Silver haired and wizened,
in this, my final season.

No turning back.
Winter’s snow always glistens
even in the setting sun.

I shall embrace this scene.
This my new world forever,
as ever I shall be.

Mish is hosting Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to choose a book near us (or from a link she provides) and look to the last lines at the end of the book….and then let those be our poetic muse for our post today! Thus the last lines to Wild Swans, included before my poem.
Photo from our trip to Norway a few years ago.

Children through the ages . . .

Parents, she thought, learned to survive touching their children less and less.
From Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

These were precious moments ~

holding you upon my shoulder
napping with you upon my chest
holding you to my breast

lifting you back up to walk again
reading together, you sitting on my lap
skipping lessons, hand in hand

sharing hugs on grade school days
combing hair and straightening shirt
and wiping tears as you tumbled.

Now you have growing children
and as their independence grows,
touching them is lessening too for you.

But between you and me
at this stage in our lives,
hello and goodbye hugs
seemingly last a bit longer.

Perhaps because we know
time passing, means less time left
and we treasure more
these moments of staying in touch.

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