devotion

I visited an old friend
and I said, ‘where is your husband,’
she said, ‘he is having a mid-life crisis, and
his penis is in the garage.’
I opened the garage door and saw a cherry red convertible
Ford Mustang
and had to laugh
I knew
that he did not keep it in his pants
but I wasn’t expecting to find it there
taking her place. I think
she liked when he was poor and in need
of cash, driving a beat up Chevy he hated
because he was always home
and always devoted

Visiting

cafeteria.JPG

 

I went to a local nursing home to visit my friend. She turned 93 on her birthday yesterday. I hadn’t been able to reach her by phone. Bad timing and bad luck. I would call during a meal that was earlier than I expected, or she would be at physical therapy or a Bible Study down the hall. I could have interrupted, but it seemed best not to. Today though, I felt I ought to go find her. I hadn’t seen her in a month, and I didn’t want her to think I had forgotten her birthday. Her husband was there and told me she was in the cafeteria. Walking to the lunch room I saw faces I recognized, but could no longer put names too, familiar faces from my relatively small town that helped make up the quilt of a place. Seeing their faces again filled in the empty squares. I had missed them and didn’t know it. They were simply in this peaceful place, trying to get well. Some had family coming. Others have outlived their families and work the days as best as they can by reading or talking to the other residents.

When I found my friend’s table, she had a smile upon seeing me. Lunch wasn’t served yet, so we talked some, and caught up. She asked if I had remembered her birthday yesterday, and I told her I had, only I could not find her. She said that they had let her go home with her family for a few hours and enjoy her birthday there. I told her I loved her and gave her the fudge I made, her favourite treat, which she has told me many times that she used to make as a young girl after school. I kissed her and hugged her shoulders and left, again, seeing faces I had not seen in years, some ghostly now, others seeming to recognize me as well. Walking out into the sunshine and sliding my sunglasses from the top of my head to cover my eyes, I felt changed. It was a daily, mundane experience, but I was changed by the love of people for the rest of their town that is slowly becoming another town entirely.

like at your home
birds still sing at your window
sanctuary

 

you do the math

dancing tall in my living room
to George and Elton
(does it really happen
if no-one sees it
like that tree in the forest)
he says sometimes I never go out
(could tell him stories about 1985
when I lived ten years in 12 months)
and I dance and dance

my head full of 1990
(wonderwall,hammer,hit me baby)
one more time-let’s dance as one
I’ll lead this time, you follow
if you still have that notion
that 1+1=1
and 2+1=no end of joy

perhaps we find
a new kind of happy-
ness, wrapped in understanding
and lessons learned
(old flames, new rites of passage)
let’s not forget, and dance to now
(rhianna, poison, blended with
the Beatles, Eagles, and 21 pilots
shaken and stirred)

once I thought it was most crucial
to fly without a net
but I believe
the trick
is
to not let go

***
***

A playlist just for kicks- must say it’s hard to find original Beatles music online, just covers. Also- it feels strange to be this close to 64, oh so much closer than when we first sang it to one another, it felt so far off.

because joy helps you to swallow

roses.jpg

each day my resolve
weakens
under a burden of years
with one truth to be
self-evident
that we did not think
everything through

in these hours
I sweep fetid memory
under his favourite chair
each moment of hell
relegated to the pantry
behind the oatmeal
no one will eat

it is best to leave way
for new sweet minutes
when I am kinder
and remember smiles
like that time
he left his tea
atop the car
and we laughed

Book by its cover

joplin

She looks like a girl but when she opens her mouth
she sounds like a roller derby queen
complete with helmet and knee pads
the music of the 70’s surrounding her

He looks like a middle-aged man but when he talks
he’s like a used car salesman
trying to get me to take an old caddy
for a spin-and see its worth

My words come fast and furious in black and white
but I think I am a rock and roll star
hair flying around my head in a haze
of Janis Joplin mid-sixties blues

The hair on your chest

No one told you
when you were half naked
pressed up against the wall
touched until you were brand new

No one told you
when you were drowning in love
and falling through promises
cherished beyond breath

They never told you
that day when eternity was vowed
and she touched your chest softly
and felt your head explode when you came

That some day
she wouldn’t want to touch your hair
anymore. That someday he would not want
to hear your voice except to answer him

Does she know you have
gray hair on your chest
Did he look into your eyes and see
that you are still twenty-five inside

They never tell the truth
about what happens after.
Don’t be bitter-don’t be cold
but they really should have told us

Let’s drive

In my youth I drove

to soothe the beast
to tame the beast
to unleash the beast

I drove faster, wilder, and more at ease
than I could have imagined
and now-
I sit and wait for my turn to merge

Traffic flies
by
traffic does not stop
traffic does not cry

Screaming does not make it slow for me
anymore than negotiating
with a clock-
panicking only makes it go faster
it seems

There is no embellishment here
standing naked in the square
and showing all-
how it is to be
how it is to be now

Let us join together
let us eat together
let us pull together

Let us drive