Onion Rings–Mysterious Wheels of Decadance

American meals out–
Colossal celebrations
Of our plentitude–
Plates brimming over
With wedges of turkey meat,
Cheese, crispy bacon and
A bit of obligatory lettuce
Between toasted bread
Held together with long toothpicks
With shiny foil squiggles
On the top end, and
For some reason
Are called a “clubs”.

Or, melted cheese
Stretching over salty corned beef
Soaked in Russian dressing
Topped with sauerkraut
On rye bread
Which is somehow called a “Rueben”…

I understand this decadence.
But ordering and then eating
The almighty deep fried
Onion ring continues
To mystify me.

I never did understand the appeal
Of biting into those
Breaded wheels,
Whole for just one minute
Only to have the entire
Onion snake slither out
Upon it’s released breakage
Causing the construction
Of the ring to totally collapse

Not to mention the
Social awkwardness of
Trying to eat
Such a long onion slice
In one bite?
Or, do you cut the onion
Into smaller bites with a knife? Doesn’t that defeat
The convenience and
Fun or ordering those
In the first place?

If and when I eat that way,
I’ll stick with French fries
Crispy and mouth friendly
Doused with ketchup, oil and salt.

Wheel

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Books as Magnets–The Pull of a Good Story

Children safe, stomach full,
I sit here, comfortable,
In good health and
In one emotional and
Physical piece.

I don’t have much
Paid work this week
Which makes me anxious
But I am still alright and
Am definitely OK.

So, tonight, alone,
I dive back into
An old favorite book,
Rebecca, by Daphne Du Maurier.

A plethora of quality,
Unread books await me, I realize,
I am still waiting for the
Next Game of Thrones book
With baited breath.

But there is cozy solace
In settling into a favorite book
With twisting plot lines
And characters that,
Like magnets,
Pull and draw me
Into a majestic, bygone
Old world filled with rich
Descriptions and gothic suspense.

Life can feel strangled,
Pinched, punched, like
Prolonged agony at points
Making the prospect of
“Going on” feel challenging
For squared off pegs like me.

So sometiems I just
Want to curl up in a
Quiet and cool place,
A tortoise taking refuge
Inside its shell,
To be held in the arms
Of an author’s storytelling.

Magnet

Eccentric Introvert’s Sunny Side Up

Celebration of
Daughter’s Red Cross Youth Advisory
Volunteer of the Year award
Ceremony has ended.
Home now,
Dusky hues
Still light out,
Land me into bed.

Great moments punctured by
Underwhelming food like
Quinoa encrusted mushrooms,
Over cooked vegetables and
Wilted field greens.

Rising with dawn
Moving with sunny sides up,
Gardening/weeding, running,
Working out, laundry and
Cleaning house just a bit
Plus a facial to boot
Before the dinner,
My day feels about done
Regardless of the actual early hour.

Early slide-ins
With the sheets
Lights off listening to
Old time radio
Theater of the mind.
I’m so eccentric
I know it.
What are you going to do.
There’s no one else like me.
I know that too
And am still here.

Sunny

Formerly Everyday Items Bottle Bygone Eras Now Posess a “WOW!” Element

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Wind whips the hem
Of my polka dot dress up high
On my legs
While getting out of the car.
Summer afternoon
In Midwestern rural flatlands.

Corn fields, silos,
Old weepy trees
Dotting two-lane roads
Give the region a lush,
Desolate richness.

My 18-year old, now,
Carries in what is called
A hummingbird cake
Filled with fruit, spices and nuts.
We also bring a bland, washed out
Noodle “covered dish” that
I did not help make
To share at this family reunion.

Filing into a tightly constructed
Brick church built in 1905
By German Lutheran immigrants,
We’ve traveled far to get here
And have also gone back in time
In the process.

Inside, down in the basement
With bare concrete floors,
The air runs cool
As we socialize with white haired
Longtime residents
Born and raised in the area.
There are only two
Younger children present and
The two teens who came with me.
Everyone else smiles widely
With elderly good nature
And sighs heavily
In long draping jewelry
And sensible shoes.

Someone has brought a marvelous,
Old-time picnic basket
I’ve seen only in movies
About bygone life, never up-close.
I watch, with fascination,
The owner unpack it.

How much can a basket like that hold?
How did she acquire such a gem and
Where does a person get one now–
Nantucket?

After she’s finished,
She leaves the basket by
The extra fold-out tables
And moves to another part of the room
To socialize or
To help with meal preparation.

Captivated, I inch closer
To examine the basket more closely.

Generous enough in size,
The basket can hold a full meal
Along with necessary supplies.
The outside is made with real wicker
Giving the basket flexibility
And pliability

Versus the stiff brittle material
Used to “weave” together newer
Williams Sonoma picnic baskets
People like to give
As wedding gifts but
That prove useless in the end
With their small size
And lopsided construction
Caused by 2 idle holes
Meant for holding
Wine bottles.

The inside and flat top
Are made of actual wood
Smooth and lightly polished
With antique luster.

For once, the container,
The vehicle used to
Carry and transfer food in
Holds my attention and interest
More than the food itself.

I have no idea what she brought.
Likely, I ate whatever it was
With little note or fanfare
Alongside the other
Soft casseroles, deviled eggs
And desserts with names
Like “dirt pudding”
Amid overeating generally
That day
Leaving me with a
Gnawing stomach ache.

But the basket–
Once, an everyday causal item
Thrown into the backseat
On route to a day’s outing,
Now contains a vintage
“Wow!” element that

Harkens images of
Steampunk folks
Making hasty escapes
In hot air balloons
At the turn of the century
Or of southern American belles
And gents romancing
Under huge shaded oaks
During the 1950’s–
Remains on my mind
And makes me smile.

Bottle

Remembering the Good–The Loop of My Mind. Day 26 of Getting Dressed

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Sunshine through slats
Stripe cityscaped afternoon heat.
Fan paddles pulse overhead
Giving breeze to your bed.
Promises.

“Let’s go to Dolls & Miniatures”
You suggest.
No.

Today’s not for viewing
Opulent bygone life
Distantly behind glass
Where time stretches back–
Pulled over Victorian footsteps
Passing through a summer’s residence.

Instead, time was made
For minutes soaked in absorption
Slipping away unnoticed
Within bone and flesh melding–
For consuming muscle
And fascia entanglements,
Heady Frontal lobe entwinements
Drenched in audacious proximity,
Front and center.

I consider you carefully–
Masculinity emerging from flames–
I peel back cobwebbed habits
To free you from sticky pressure
That, in the past,
Has left you weakened
And bogged down.
I prove able to coax
Pleasure out from within you–
Raging fire
Roaring up high
Burning my flesh.

Afterwards, I’m left grateful
For gasping lungs with which
To breathe you in
As I lie quiet and still
Behind you–
For language with which
To piece together
The unfolding magnificence
Of our dynamic.

Remembering, I see you–
Frames looping back within my mind
Marveling at your hairless back
Enclosed within my arms
Reliving your spine’s ride
Up and over thoracic curvature to
Slope down to lumbar
Then to dip into sacrum depths.

Holding onto that day,
I wonder if I’ll ever be
The same person again.
This emergence
From deep nerve endings
Has altered me permanently.

Maybe I really can see
Holding you forever.

I don’t know how,
I confess.
My vision about
Exactly how to extend afternoons
Into a lifetime
Remain clouded,
Unclear,
Troubled.

I’m unsure
When calculating the total
Of our love
If I’ll come out ahead
Or even what the sum will be.

Nevertheless, I still see
Sunrises, coffee,
Holding hands, sunsets,
Hospitals,
Funerals…

Loop

To L, to D and Everyone Else Punctured by A.S’s Death

A certain luxury surrounds boredom.
Restlessness and
Being overwhelmed by
A lack of purpose
Come cushioned in moments
Of calm existence
Where most things
Are humming along smoothly.

Particularly on days off,
Boredom can only crop up
During non-emergencies.
There are no ceilings leaking,
Broken toilets or pipes,
No holdups at gunpoint, job firings,
Broken bones and subsequent
Hospital visits from
Being thrown off a horse or
Being whacked and cut down
By someone holding
A lacrosse stick.

No one has
Accidentally shot himself
And died either,
Unlike today.

Morning ablutions unfolded
With predictable dullness
Creeping up
Until this news–
So shocking in its
Brutality of finality–
Punctured my peace,
Fractured my maternal mind,
Caved in my soul’s skull
About what’s supposed to happen
And what is absolutely not.

I don’t know many details
But I know enough.
That this young man,
A budding musician,
Had gotten a new gun.
And, while handling it this morning,
In all of its deadly shiny majesty,
The gun may have malfunctioned,
Been tricky to use–I don’t know–
But went off and fired
In such a way
That cost him his life.

I don’t know his family at all
but I do know his girlfriend’s.
So I had seen him over
At their house and
Had conversed with him a bit.

I remember remarking to myself
At the time how sunny
His personality was.
He was a younger guy
But confident and
Comfortable enough with himself
To chat lightly with adults
He didn’t know.

He said he had a job flipping burgers
At the time that was “so-so”
But was optimistic about
Finding other work at some point.
He didn’t appear to be
Bogged down with hefty worry
Or negativity that I could sense.

As a mother who watched
His girlfriend grow up
Throughout the years,
I had to smile inside, for her,
Because he seemed like
Such a nice kid and
I was glad she had found him.

I don’t know a lot about him, but
What I know most is that
He loved his girlfriend
Dearly and tenderly.

Already talented and embedded
In the local music scene,
He had his own interests
To focus on and develop
And could have just spent
Most of his energy
Furthering himself.

Yet, he roundly supported
Her efforts to perform and
To regularly host open mic nights
By always attending,
Helping to organize,
Orchestrating the technology
To produce the shows,
And generally being
One of her biggest fans.

I lack many details
About other parts of his life
When he wasn’t with his girlfriend.
But as a mother,
I do know this–

That he encompassed many qualities
You hope your daughter can find
In a partner–
An avid supporter,
A best friend who
Expresses genuine interest in
And commitment to
Doing what he can to
Further your daughter’s happiness
With kindness and love.

I sat stunned today
And took this loss hard,
Even from my distant chair,
As a mother,
As family friend–
A life taken too early–
An obscene punch in the gut
Leave taking
That doubled me over
Heartlessly.

“I’m sorry” is insufficient
And may never be enough.

Puncture

Tapering Down the Weight of my Existence

Everything is fine.
My life ambles on
While children proceed
To race breakneck ahead
Sleeping in, basement video
And guitar projects,
Outdoor programs far away,
What next.

In silence I wonder
Where the time has gone.
Listening to the void,
I pull my insides,
Ear half cocked for
Small footsteps to
Run into the room to
Ask me what we’re doing today,
Where we are going
Who we are playing with
And what we will eat.

In the din of absence,
I’ve begun decluttering
In a more full and systematic way
Than ever before–
Working on some area of things
To toss or put away–
Everyday.

Bags and boxes of items
I no longer need, use or want
Begin to fill up my room.
My plan is to get lighter,
Be more minimalist,
Relatively–a challenging
And new undertaking for me
And this household.

My adult life–
Colored by money insecurity
Combined with the elation
Of shopping and buying
As well as a hatred
For putting away
Made more intense
By someone else who deems
Keeping paper and all books
Ever acquired
A matter of eccentric survival
A steel rod principle
Of accumulation as
Being “well prepared, smart”
For 25 years
Makes this project daunting
In Its enormity.

But I will do
What I can do
To begin to be able to
Move among the clouds
To taper down slim
To be a willow reed
Swaying in the wind.

Being surrounded and
Weighted down by piles of
Dusty clothes, rotting books
And broken furniture
Doesn’t make you happy,
People do.

Of course, these items
Tend to be intricately marbled
With intertwining memories,
Time spent doing something
With the children,
Aspirations of the places,
Careers and people
We hoped to become
So making the decisions
To determine what to keep
And what can be lived without
Is a real, painful process.

I’ve heard the results
“Are so worth it” and so
Look forward to experiencing
A new, more peaceful “high”.

After two weeks and still going,
I might feel the slightest twinge
Of satisfaction of
Waking up to a cleared off table
And no dishes in the sink…

But mostly I’m still here,
Waiting.

Taper

Children Growing Up and Leaving–A Heart Breaking Triumph–Day 25 of Getting Dressed

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Time passes.
Children grow up
And want to spread their wings
To soar high and wide
Developing their own interests.

I roundly applaud my children
As unique budding individuals
And encourage them
To safely experiment,
Taste novelty,
Triumph in skill and
Relationship building
And feel a dash of failure too
Out in the world.
I’m supposed to support
Independence anyway and know
This process must happen.

Still one at home with me now
But I wonder.

What will I do after that?
How will I make my way forth
From there?

I’ve built my whole life
Around my children,
My sustenance,
My worry,
My access to and
Deepening of
Profound meaning.

I know I’ll find my way
But my heart
Lags behind a beat too.

Growing up means
Them leaving and
Can amount to them being far away
And for so long–
Missing sibling and grandmother
Birthdays because the dates
Fall during the time away,

Missing visits in bed with me
To chatter about wishes and desires,
Watching projects attempted
Like hanging plant growing,
Canning and ice cream making.
An utter absence of
Smoothie making, online shopping
As well as the ambiance of
Calm, collected composure.

And feeling a new
Tenored aura
Gathering storm overhead,
My soul weeps
An uncontrolled,
Irrational death.

Triumph

The Innards of Males–Crisp and Cleanly Outlined–Day 24 of Getting Dressed

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I miss you and feel our depths.
I hope that
I’m strong enough for you.

Society expects males,
“Masters of the universe”,
To stand tall,
Move through the world
Swiftly with confidence
And decisiveness,
Hunting and killing what they
And their families can eat.

Of course, a great many styles
Flavor the planet.
No two men are the same.
I know this and
Appreciate unique differences
Of tone, hue and line
Found in masculinity.

Yet, I have found
Key similarities exist
Between the males
I’ve held in my arms–
Those whose dreams I’ve listened to,
Whose familial and career choices
I’ve observed,
Desires I’ve tried to fulfill–
Whose undertones of want,
Wish and need
I’ve tried to understand,
Ride and lift.

The deepest innards of males
Can be emotionally needy,
Empty with dehydration
Though most would
Be the last to admit that.
Men I’ve known don’t
Always even realize
How much they desire
To be petted, praised, supported
And taken care of
In almost every sense of meaning.

The multifaceted disguises
Fluid with inconsistent layers
Are real.

After all, men move
Through the world well enough
Designing and negotiating contracts,
Booking flights, paying bills
And generally being very adult,
Living their sociability
Mostly through handshakes, nods
And clipped, covered conversations.

Yet, at home, shoes off, under sheets
Crisp with lavender scent,
A dependency on me,
For me, wafts
And clutches onto
My spirit’s soar
While hanging on
For dear life’s intimacy,
For definition,
For life force’s initiative.

The responsibility for
Shaping, growing and keeping afloat
Masculine happiness
Feels heavy and
Makes me want to die at times–
The weight of which
Keeps me low to the ground
Even as I try to run for takeoff
With the wind in my hair–

Though simultaneously,
I wouldn’t have
Anyone’s heart, mind and body
Any other way.

Crisp

Polishing Life Moments Off by Staying Engaged

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Yesterday my day began
With French Press coffee attempts–
How many spoonfuls of
Powdered black gold and
Cups of piping hot water
Do I use
To make the perfect brew–
Very different proportions
Than the almighty espresso machine.

How long do I wait for
Optimal steeping before
Getting morning’s start
To my eager lips?
Inpatient, not long enough
Proves to be too early,
Watery, unsatisfying.

With newly given determination
Sloshing around inside me,
I tackled yard work,
A dreaded drudgery
I wish I enjoyed more.
Crouching low to pull weeds
By the roots,

I used a Round Up applicator tool
To zap unwanted grass,
Clover vines and
Heady broadleaf weeds
Sprouting resolutely everywhere
To thwart reappearance.

Who knows how well my uprooting
And wanding session(s) will work.
Growth wasn’t supposed to
Spring up among xeriscaped rocks
In the first place.
Does anyone else
In the house even care??

Washing my soiled hands,
I worked on a 300 piece puzzle.
Late morning, I snapped
The last piece in and
Called it “done”!

Afternoon opened with
A gym workout followed by
My hungry self making and eating
A large tuna melt
Paired with what is
An unusual wine choice for me–
An Oregon Pinot Noir.

Feeling afternoon lag
Starting to slow me down
To a drained halt,
I grabbed onto
The last bit of life energy
To learn something new–

How to clean crystal jewelry
Whose shine, much to my dismay,
I noticed had begun to dull down
To being just “pretty”
Versus retaining
A blinding brightness.

I used a soft toothbrush
To gently scrub my necklaces,
Earrings and pendants with
Warm soapy water,
Then rinsed and dried
With a soft cloth.

The resulting high polish
And glow
Pleased me greatly!

I definitely recommend
Giving your crystal jewelry pieces
A light once over
Every now and then
To renew their beauty and
To put a smile on your face.

My day winded down
With one last novelty.
Generally not a fan of
Wiling time away
Sitting still
Zoning out in front of the tube,
I watched an absorbing
Sci-fi TV show, “Black Mirror”
Never seen before (by me)
With my teenager,
Who is otherwise
Inclined to be feral.

While certain minutes
Floated by that tasted
Lonely and pointless,
Overall, I consider yesterday
To be a stellar day.

Polish