Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Not Much Going on in Reality Today

Without the spouse,
Or the children
Or the siblings
Or the parents
It gets quiet
When the world’s
At work.
And you realize that
Is killing you
And it must stop.
One wants to be
Anchored in reality
Even though
My illness
Makes reality
Move like tar.
The game is over.
Turn in your
Pads and gloves
Leave it to younger
People who
Do not know
The future
Whose careers
Have not
Yet ended
In disability.
Or poverty.
I must embrace
My age.
Your white hair
Is beautiful.
Your face
Is beautiful.
Adjust to
The rhythms
Of the new
Because, Sugar
You can’t go back.
No matter how
Hard you dream.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Just a Couple of Things 'cause It's Been A Few Days

A bottomless
Miasma of pain
Tentacles wrapped round the soul and history

A horror
Laid out on a mistake
Wrapped in blindness
Love is too weak to unravel the mystery

water finds weakness
and gently carves a new path
with an iron fist

weather and nature
hurricane fills the news feed
haiku is elusive

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

How Does a Chick Get Service in a Joint Like This? Canto 2

CANTO 2   August 24, 2011

Everybody has a story
It’s my job as a writer to tell mine
So that you remember yours

My father told me that if I wanted
To do better than him
I was spitting in his face.
My sister chose to be a nurse
Which he considered woman’s work
And no insult to his driving a bus.

My mother was forced to go to work
When we reached Cleveland.
She was furious at my father’s failure
And vowed that she would never
Do another day’s housework
And told me it was up to me.
Since I was crazy and my sister
Had a normal life.

For some peculiar reason
I chose to major in business.
I don’t know why.
We started out commuting to college
My father would go no further in debt
For a couple of girls.

Business majors had to take English
Like every other poor slob.
My English teacher listened to me read an essay
And ordered me out of business, saying
“You’re a writer.”
So, I did because I was.
Since fourteen when I found
That I loved to read and view plays.

Just before Junior Year,
My mother said the magic words
“You’re so crazy you might as well accept the fact
That the only thing you’ll ever do is stay home
And take care of me.” And I knew I had to run.

My parents had made me start paying for my clothes at 16
So all the summer jobs and part time work
Got me enough money to pay the room and board at
Ohio University at the furthest southern end of the state.
Southarhn Ohhai, y’all

I became a Playwrighting major
As I had written plays since I was fourteen
And Lorraine Hansberry died, leaving
It up to me to carry the load.

Later shrinks would call me a clever girl for hearing
What she was really saying and planning.
That I had been raised to take care
Of a depressed and angry women.
Just like every man I would ever love.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

5 NEW HAIKU and 1 Old Free Verse

overnight the bloom
has emerged in the garden
morning’s pink trumpet

he kneels silently
bow and arrow on the ground
waiting for the word

much more powerful
for Life to give him the word
than for me to say

no one can inform him
with such clarity and truth
as his own two eyes

he has awestruck me
once again with his insight
into his reality


We defined manhood too narrowly, and now,
You are watching its realities rip wide
Through your life.

I am awestruck, that you remain standing,
But I am also not surprised that you hold.
You are strong,

Feel the Samurai blood, the Viking blood
Pulse through your veins as you face the dragon.
Clear your mind.

I watch in silence. It’s not my battle.
Alone is the way for the lessons to burn.
In your soul.

Today, you are man and I am woman as 
Strong as any man. And equal to the fight!
Say nothing.

I fight the urge to run to you and help.
But that would let the Dragon win.
Stay silent.

And if I never see your face again.
And cannot share the moment of triumph.
I’m with you.

Monday, August 22, 2011

How Does a Chick Get Service in a Joint Like This? Canto 1

CANTO 1   August 22, 2011

It was supposed to be better
It was supposed to be better

Damn it!

Future tense in the past
Tense like a wire
That will kill you if it gives
My father said he never wanted sons
They would be too competitive
My mother wanted at least one son
To take care of her
She was not happy that I arrived
Another damned daughter to marry off
Who couldn’t take care of her.
My 142 IQ meant nothing to her
Without a penis between my legs
Although, later in life, there were
Plenty of…well, you get the joke.
My sister was pink sweater sets
And girlfriends and boyfriends
And back seats and A&W Root Beer
I stayed in my room, dreaming of
Boys on the television and writing plays
And then they decided that it would be smart
To go to war in Vietnam
My advanced History teacher, Mr. Cox
Locked the door and told us not to tell our parents
That he was turning us into Peaceniks
Even the boy who loved Barry Goldwater
Became a member of the SDS
Falling off my high heeled shoes
And smearing the makeup on my face
And never getting the hair or clothes right
I was ripe for the next thing to come
But that would take two years of
Running the mimeograph and fetching coffee
Before the women started to realize
That we were the slaves of the Revolution
That we were an oppressed majority
Looking for that man to marry
To keep our mothers quiet and content
We called the first meeting “Bread and Roses”
And it was supposed to make it better.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Draft III of The Day I Was Laid Off...Last One.

April 15, 2009, year twenty-three on the job. I’m sitting at my desk, as I’ve done for 5,000 days, when I see a reflection on my computer screen and turn to see that my cubicle is surrounded by upper management, a rag-tag group of men and women varying in height from 4 foot ten to six foot three. My typesetting job had changed over the years until I was simply emailing and posting United Media comics and cartoons on the computer. It was supposed to be a temporary job till I made it big as a playwright, but somehow I had become a genuine professional Typesetter…the Workhorse who showed up every day, rain or shine, who guided the company through three major system upgrades. I considered myself invaluable.
Debbie, the head of my department told me that I was to stop working a go to the conference room where six other stunned employees sat around a table. Carol, the HR Manager told us that we were being laid off. She handed out papers. blah, blah, blah, sign here. Blah, blah, return this and wait for that in the mail. She told us to stop working, pack up our things and leave.
I asked if I was being paid for a full shift. She said yes. I said, “Well, then I’m going to finish my work and make sure everything is in order.” All the rest had left, but management knew they could trust me. So, I returned to my desk and finished up what was on my screen and to do list.
Since I was close to retirement, they gave me this, a gold Dilbert Watch. But the most important thing I took from the office with me was this hundred year putty knife that my Grandfather, the Carpenter had given me. This reminded me that I was a craftsperson, a typesetter, not just a computer operator. I am a craftsman. I know fonts and leading and kerning…and never mind. All that comes with the computer nowadays and the name we had for newspapers: “Dead Wood” meaning paper, becomes more and more true every day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Introducing Pi-Ku, brought to me by Annie Brodrick

Pi-ku is a poem like a haiku, but instead of the 5-7-5 format of haiku, Pi-ku uses pi as its base.  In other words, as pi is 3.141592653..., the first line of the Pi-ku contains three syllables, the second line contains one syllable, the third line contains four syllables, and so on.

Pi-Ku Number One
Body parts
Between my legs
I have nothing left
If you have to leave me then go now
My words
Will never substitute
For what a girl brings
In silence

Pi-Ku Number Two
Am I hiding?
In hours of daydreams
Self-pity, anger, and sad regret
Of past
Of memories of youth
Wasted in daydreams
Of future

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Tracks of Our Years

The color has drained
From our hair.
Our skin shows
The tracks of our years.

We are not young
Our bodies mock us.
Your mind takes you
To darker places.

I can’t follow  you
I can’t help you now.
I am older and yet
I am younger.

Hand it to him
The Spirit Guide says
And I do not know
What it means

Lucky animals
To not know of “Death”
They must not starve.
They fear Eagle’s claws.

But it is not Death
As we know it.
Which is that we know
Not what it is.

But we know what time is
And that the color is
Draining from our hair
And Death is coming near.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Talk About Hey Now! Hey Now! Haiku Haiku I Kay

Love does not answer
Because you need it on call
It does what it wants

Sick of Love couplets
From those who know its embrace
And beat us with them

Am not beautiful
And don’t inspire desire
Good soul doesn’t sell

Hey! Inspire desire
Is good for making a rhyme
I’m wasting it here

Men use Love for sex
Women use sex to get Love
Money conquers all

The worst result
Of our commercialized world
Is the death of Love

Food. Shelter. Health Care.
Peace. Laughter. Feeding the poor.
Love is part of it.

Love will surprise you.
Coming when you least expect.
Did you miss the clue?

Don’t talk about sex
As if you think I’m too old.
I do remember.

I’m not enough Saint
To be Lovable when old
Walking with a cane.

I envy you, my Child.
Life’s joys and sorrows are new.
Go forth and fall hard.

Friday, August 12, 2011

The Day I Was Laid Off--Draft II

See You in the Funny Papers

Have you seen my gold retirement watch? Dilbert. United Media Syndicate is where I work…I worked. I hadn’t actually planned to retire early, even with MS. It was my “Temporary Normal Job Until I Make it Big as a Playwright with the Meaningless Made Up Title of Digital Prepress Administrator” position…and I’d been at it twenty-three years. Twenty-three years of in early and out late and no lunch hours. Coming in from seventeen miles away on a cane. Neither rain nor snow nor sleet could stop me. I still wrote and was planning to store away as much money as I could before I turned 65.
April 15, 2009, So, I’m sitting at my desk, like I’d done 5,000 times before. The Work Horse. The craftsperson…a Typesetter. OK, all I was doing was e-mailing and posting comics and articles, but I knew how to do whatever needed to be done. I started to noticing that my jobs were starting to disappear, but I thought they’d all be replaced by new tasks and new programs. After all, I had guided the company through three major network setups since 1985, I was ready to do it again.
So, I’m sitting there and I sense a dark presence behind me and turn around to see five grim managers standing in a circle around my cubicle like Cheetahs in business drag. They told me to stop working and come into Debbie’s office NOW. I had no choice. They spoke of The Bottom Line and since I had told them over and over that I was thinking of Retirement sometime in the next six years, they felt comfortable letting me go now.
I was then led to a small conference room full of 6 more people about to walk the plank and was handed papers. Blah, blah, blah sign here return this and wait for that to come in the mail. They told us to stop working. Just pack up and go home. I asked if I was being paid for a full shift. They said “yes.” So, I said, “Then I am going to finish my work.” All the others had left. But I had to finish my work and make sure everything was in order. Older workers have this useless, annoying habit of wanting to finish the job.
When 4 p.m. came, I put all my things, such as they were, into a box. Including a one hundred year old putty knife that I gotten from my grandfather, a carpenter, to remind myself that I was a craftsperson. I was a typesetter, not a desktop publisher. I knew fonts and kerning and leading and…never mind. It doesn’t matter any more. That all comes with the computer nowadays and nobody reads the funny papers any more.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Are you Ready, Grasshopper?

I need to take a break before the War
I need to sit silently in the dark.

And wrap my hands.

This is going to be the first real fight
In a battle where we won’t see the end.

Find my center.

I am Karate, I cannot harm them.
But I will make sure that they don’t harm me.


Stop talking and yelling and let me think.
You cannot know where the arrow will fall

Till bow is raised.

The arrow is settled and the string pulled.
And you sight the target and let it go.

Prepare for it.

Monday, August 8, 2011

I'm Out of Inspiration and Thank God

If this endless hellish heat wave ever ends and I can leave the house, I need to have some new adventures. I've spent too many months spinning sugar into cotton candy and I want some meat and potatoes. If nothing more, I've found myself and found my voice. That's pretty much all a woman of a certain age has to offer.  I don't want to change to please men because I would just be an old broad in an inch of makeup and why waste money on things we can no longer afford? That's the benefit to being too old to compete for the dwindling pool of men who are not going to rescue you or pay your bills. More than likely, they will spend your money and at this age, expect you to be their nurse. No, thank you.

My goals are simple. Lose weight. Write. Learn. Try to keep the Republicans from stealing my tiny nest egg and dancing in the streets. I have beaten to death a small, irrelevant event that awoke certain passions I thought were dead, but there's only so much you can do. It has absolutely no effect on the gentleman in question, who has already gone off to moon over very young women. But hey! It inspires him and motivates him, and at his age, he needs all the help he can get. Go for it, Baby. I hope they appreciate what you have to offer.

I have to pay bills and stay fed and housed. I failed as a writer, and I don't want to fight for huge success any more. I don't need the money, so I just want to enjoy words. My body doesn't work all that well and I can't pretend love and sex will feel the same as they did at 28. I can't dance and drink all night and seduce handsome male models (OH YES, I DID!) any more. I can't ask a man to be a nurse to me in ten years and I find it a bit amusing that the single men my age don't think that will happen to them, even without exercise or proper diet.

I'm mature and I've earned a rest. I'm on Disability and Pension, so like it or not, I am retired. Now that I'm all settled down with Medicare...let's see what kind of adventures I can have...with lowered expectations.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Three more stabs at poetry

Bad taste
In Lovers
Leaves a bitter taste
In the mind.

Shimmering hot waves
Stop me in my tracks today
Melted like the tar

Trapped inside the heat today
I have no breath for passion.

Is indiscrimate sex
The newest carnal passion?

For those few prostituted
By life and exploitation.

Burning art and  youth and cash
For aimless exploration

Of lost and willing strangers.
Driving them further beneath

For momentary blindness
To all the pain we bequeath

To the next generation
Of victims whose only worth

Is between their legs.

There is more to life, my beautiful Friend
Then what’s between our legs tonight.

We worry about Love and applesauce
As Earth collapses around us.

Sitting here on my grassy mountaintop
Nestled among the rich and strong.

I have mine and I am safely nested
As the Earth melts down around us.

There is more to life, my beautiful Friend
Then what’s between our legs tonight.

Flaming heat and boiling tornadoes tease
As the money dries up and dies.

Genocide. Hurricanes. Nuclear Melt.
And the racists taking control.

There is more to life, my beautiful Friend
Then what’s between our legs tonight.