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

“Despicable Me 3” Uniforms and Ice Cream….

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Cloud cover tamps heat
Cooler days flanked the weekend–
Friday and today, Monday.

The weekend itself,
Relentlessly sweltering,
Melted the sunblock off my skin
Burning my scalp to tender.

Promoting the upcoming
“Despicable Me 3” movie
at a large urban outdoor festival,
Sweat already rolls down
My back dampening
My required uniform
Of branded Tee and long pants
At 10 am.
Eleven more hours to go.
No tent or trees for shade,
We stand on pavement
That’s starting to bake.

“Such a cool shirt you’re wearing.
Where can I get one?”
Teen girls in short denim cutoffs
Ask me.

She and her girlfriend are
Mid way through what look like were
Fabulous waffle cones.
I glance longingly.
Cool sweet cream
Moistening my lips
Sliding down my desert throat.

Last week, we took our
Visiting cousins for ice cream
At a local favorite’s shop
Where their small
And somewhat picky eating mouths
Gobbled down entire
Handmade waffle cones
Covered with chocolate and nuts
Filled high with cookies and cream.
I watched and eyed
Their pleasure with pleasure.

Well today,
Neither working
Nor entertaining others,
I indulged in the sweet treat too
Just for me, by myself.

I stopped short of
Eating directly out of the tub
(I’ve come to know that
That is not a recommended practice–
Who’s to know how much
One consumes and
Oh, ice cream goes down easy!)

But sat and ate rather close by
Spooning frosty gooey
Caramel swirled vanilla
Imparted with toffee
Heath bar crunchies along the way,

One bite after another
Trying to slow this cone-less,
Rich brain and body
Sugar spike down,
I tried to lick the ice cream
Off my spoon instead just
Biting and swallowing.
I ate too fast and
Too much anyway.

Oh well.
I may partake in
A major summertime joy
Once in awhile.

Uniform

What is Your Portion Size for Happiness?

What is my own portion
Of finding and maintaining
Peace and happiness
In life?

I fight to keep moving through
Anxiety and self doubt
Pulsing through me
Painfully neon electric,
Curdling, sapping,
Crippling at times.

Today, I am able to select
A shared small plate of
Just two delights
So here goes:

(1) Falling asleep–
Most of the time,
Including last night,
I fall asleep quickly.
I don’t spend much time
Laying in bed awake
Rehashing the day or
Creating more worry.

Once down, I also remain asleep
Until early morning.
I have very few sleepless
Tossing and turning episodes
Where dark monotony
Drones on with
Unwelcome timelessness.

(2) Cool late spring air–
Early mornings before the sun
Spreads out full power,
Undiluted by any cloud cover to
Bake the pavement and plants
For hours–
The air is almost cold here.

I keep the windows open wide
To try to capture this
Light “frost” before
Sealing up the house tight
In attempts to keep things
Cool during the
Hotter parts of the day.

Walking home late yesterday
From light rail,
Night air also bathed me
In understated comfort.

As summer progresses,
This coolness will disappear
Even at night and early mornings
So I’m enjoying while I can.

I wish I could tell you that
My plate was an oblong platter
Piled high with
Sustaining nutrients to
Fuel my day with
Genuine easy smiles
And soothing light

But it’s just not
At the moment,
So that is all.

Portion

Finding Balance–Living Cleaner While Still Allowing a DNA Existence

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Follow my heart’s desire?

Lately I yearn, more than ever,
To live in a neater, cleaner
And less cluttered house.

But how?

I love the satisfaction
And resulting peace of
Cleaning up
But hate the pain of
Getting started to make changes
In the first place,

Of having to stretch to adopt
Different habits and
Developing an “eye” and
Intention for picking up,
Wiping down and
Putting away to try to maintain
A new, less college-aged
Standard of chaotic living–
I’m like in my mid 40’s and all…

Anyway, to further these ends,
I’ve been researching ways
To motivate myself to progress
Because, well, otherwise,

I’d rather be writing you,
Drinking wine while puzzling
Or escaping into fantasy
Radio dramas from the 1950’s
Where aliens suck out all memories
From the human race
Instead,
Or at least be out and about
Either attempting to be social,
Culturally aware
Or making money
Versus cleaning and
Organizing at home.

“Stop reading and just do,”
A friend who has been
A professional organizer said.

Yeah, but I need the
Visual images of neat rooms,
Shelves and tables to
Inspire me to work towards
Something different
Than what currently
Surrounds me.

I need to learn concrete tips
For starting small
Like clearing off
My dining room table, for starters,
And see this as time well spent
As much as a stalling technique.

Somehow, the urge or need
to expunge away traces of
“My DNA evidence” at
The bathroom sink, kitchen counter
Or any other well used place
Has not naturally lived
Inside me, thus far.

“I’d rather stay up late
And get less sleep to spend
The time needed to
Get my house in order
Than wake up to a messy house,”
I’ve heard people say.

While walking into a tidy room
First thing in the morning
Must feel fabulous indeed,
I disagree with that
As a practice I will
Realistically do.

I look forward to
Hunkering down under
Cool crisp sheets
[I do make my bed every day now–
I’m really quite trainable]
And am fond of getting into bed
Early so I can rise
With the sun
To deal with messes
Of various kinds
When I’m fresh
And in the best mood.

Trying to proactively
Learn new ways of being,
I do a little something
“Organizey” everyday.

One key step to move
Closer to a living
A cleaner existence
Involves getting rid of things
I am not using and
Don’t absolutely love.

I’m making snail movements…
And am gradually amassing
Tote bags full of items
To toss and donate.

Slow and steady might very well
Win this race
Whose finish I will own, at least,
Versus having someone else
Swoop down, outline and
Implement an acronymed system
That surely works
Wonders for them
And their lives.

Trace

Why Even an Art Infused Air BnB House Can be Dicey

Did you know renting and
Staying in Air BnB housing
Can be dicey and,
After cleaning and service fees,
Does not end up saving money anyway?

Renting houses via Air BnB
Is all the rage
For travel accommodation now.

I reserved what was listed
As a beautiful artist abode
For out-of-town family
Who came for Daughter’s graduation
And had high hopes
That this art infused home
Would be perfect for them.

The owner provided pictures
On the website
Made the house look magnificent!

And, in person, the house was,
In fact, what they listed–
Stylishly decorated, modern,
And possessed the correct number
Of bedrooms and baths
Freshly cleaned.

Even so, what if the mechanism
That cools the house down
(Swamp cooler in this case)
Hardly works
Making the upstairs temperature
Read 95 degrees
No matter what dials or buttons
You press
Per usage instructions?

What if, when you arrive,
You find that the
“Entire use of the house ”
Apparently means
Squeezing our food
Inside a fridge and freezer
Already spilling over
With items that previous guest(s)
Left and thus can be used
Mixed in with the
Owner’s personal stash
Which must not be touched–
Which is which?

What do we do if
The closets are stuffed
With clothes of the house’s family
Leaving very little room
For anything we brought
And might wish to hang up?

What if the stairway railing
Flanking 3 steps down
Is loose so that your
Elderly father, upon reaching for
Support but then finding none,
Slips and falls down hard,
Crashing into the recycling
After cutting his foot
And bruising his hip?

Good God–
A fall like that
Could have resulted in
Broken bones, head injury
And a trip to the ER
If Dad was less athletic
And coordinated.

What then?

Let’s just say this–
I’m less enamored with
Air BnB than I once was.

Infuse

Reprieve–A Night Away From My Own Life

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Live jazz
Elaborate cocktails
Fried fancy appetizers
Overflow onto my lap.
Sensory abundance
Gliding effortlessly over
Glass bottomed
Present minutes.

An adults only
Evening out
A corners up reprieve
From reality.
So much good exists in my life
But still…

A few hours
Without much thought
Or worry about expense,
Caloric decadence,
Stridence,
Exhilarates and enhances
The experience
A velvet box
Topped with a glittery bow.

I feel warmed and special
By spirits shaken and iced
Quenching my parched throat

By being dressed up
In a black Mandarin
Collared dress
Splashed by a silver dragon
Cascading down one side
While shod in
Heeled high boots,

By being on the second floor
Looking out onto
One of the newest, hippest clubs
Shimmering aglow
In candle flame.
Stairs softly lit
To guide our enjoyment in
An up and coming part of town
On a Friday spring night.

These stanzas
Generally aren’t me, no,
But I’m here tonight
Relaxing
Sipping
Consuming drum beaten brass
In full swing motion.

Not often a later night,
Live music fan,
I sit, tonight, mesmerized
Caught up in the flow
Of musical composition
Riding the shape and cadence
Of each note combination,

Living at the edge of
The next groovy set
Barred and decked out
In flecked rainbows
Of melodious sound
And layered possibility.

What a night this has been.

I want to return
To this magic space
Where time stops and
Anxiety din mutes

To feel like a
Well adjusted, successful
And fashionable adult again.

Reprieve