The So-Far-So-Great Carousel of Teen Children

Record player spins
Round and round.
The needle searches
Then falls into emotional groove
Playing earthy melodies
Textured by a hint of scratch.
A familiar carousel
Same old story
Riddled with tightly wound
Hand wrung butterflies
Fluttering nervously
Living on sips of
Negative thoughts intricately woven
With the thread of
Second guesses, self doubt.

Thank goodness the souls
Of my children feel more free
To spread out wide in themselves.
Comfortable wingspans
Of identity guide them
To explore life,
Have friends,
Enjoy high school.

Somehow, many of those things
Eluded me and still do.
We wish better for our children.

When “so-far-so great”
Appears to be their songs,
Be happy for them.
Go with the beat.

Carousel

Gratitude, a Serious, not Casual Matter, Especially on Run Days

Training for a half marathon
In October has brought me
These things to be grateful for, so far.

– Falling asleep within 2 minutes
Of head-to-pillow contact

– Sleeping so hard at night

– Ibuprofen to soothe
Knee inflammation and dull pain

– Being part of a larger community
Training and planning to run
Rock and Roll half marathon
With me,
Even if I don’t know
These people yet.
They are still in this
Together with me.

– Developing endurance and strength
So that running 4.5 miles
Does not feel as big of a deal
As it was when I began running
A month ago.

I Ran 8+ miles today
For the first time
With about 5 left to train.
Slowly but surely,
I’ve left the ranks of a
Once-around-the-2.5-mile-park trail,
Casual runner
To becone someone in training
For a longer race.

– Seeing positive body changes
As I begin to sport
The outline of legs
Just short of amazing–
Quads and calves rippling
In sunlight with muscled use.

– Having the health stay with me,
So far so good,
To make weekly incremental
Mile increases possible
Though my knees question
My comings and goings.

– Having the slow and steady
Determination to get out of bed,
Take ibuprofen,
Lace up my running shoes and
GO!
To run farther than I ever have,
Three days a week.

– Having a teenage son who is
Willing to run the race too
And who trains with me.

– Having sufficient energy, spirit
And space in my life
To undertake this new challenge,
Mile by mile.

Casual

Harmonizing Desire to a Middle Aged Body

IMG_4024

Training for a half marathon
In October–
90 days out, two weeks in…

Running 13.1 miles
A first
Maybe a last.
5.5 miles down
About 8 left to go.

Pain
Knees and back scream
After only 4.5 miles on
Soft terrain
Wondering what on earth
I’m doing and why.

I’m a swimmer not a runner,
A food and drink lover
Not an Amazon warrior

The crushing impact of
Tender sore
Paved miles loom ahead
I’m uncertain how
To make it through
And need to figure out how.

Icing
Ibuprofen
Altering my running form
To harmonize desire
With the reality
Of my body mechanics,
A bit creaky and stiff.

More gym time now to
Strengthen quads, hams, back
With core and flexibility work
While maintaining swimming too,
Of course.

The weekend day before
I’ll be grabbing my race bag
At the Rock n Roll Expo
Among the billionaire fit
Rolling in lean
Oxygenated fascia deep…

I want to get to that finish line
To complete the race
Going at a pace that resembles
Some variance of running
Somehow
Some way.

Harmonize

Disastrous Openings–Day 27 of Getting Dressed

IMG_4008I awoke feeling unwell
A summer cold coming on
An emotional gratitude rift.

Lost fog clouds my way.
Disastrous onset
Heavy, unable to shake.

A wish to reach for
Expired medications
Dusty pills in cabinets
Beckon for obliteration
Less capacity to feel.

Following recommendations of articles
On how to get “happy fast,”
I’ve immersed myself
In a good read,
Went running,
Pulled weeds…

So now what?

I had a novel insight–

If I had more money,
Had less body fat,
Were more ripped,
Traveled more,
Ate more gorgeous dishes,
Weighed less,
Had fewer things break,
Had clearer skin,
Were more popular…

Demons would still
Penetrate through
The membrane of
my well being.

Imbalance in physiology
May be my worst enemy
Not carbs.

Everyone’s got to do
What she needs to do
And then wait for
This miserable opening
To close.

Disastrous

Sailing through Poison Mercury Waters Between Women

Envy
An energy rooted
Strongly within women
And in men, surely,
But I’m talking about
A specialty poison mercury
That can bubble up among women–
Between women–
That hopefully, we seldom feel
Curdling our insides,
If ever,
But occasionally, just might.

We’ll see what someone else
Appears to have–glorious travel
And stays at international resorts,
Opportunities to visit
Multiple domestic cities,
Business/career success–
An especially dicey topic
Between women not working
Outside the home
Particularly when success
Happens for the spouse of
One stay-at-home, but not
For the other–
Fancy dinners, parties and
Nights out,
Multiple residences….

As humble and “unbraggy”
As they may be about
Their sunlit circumstances,
The rest of us
Can be vulnerable to
Feeling pain because
These photographs,
Social media posts and
Just their general sharing
Can make us double over
From a sense of lack
We may feel we have,
In comparison.

Hearing about the goings on
Of those with more
Financially plush cushioning
Can end up scraping away
What we were working on–
The layer of gratitude
We’ve been cultivating
In our own lives–
Leaving an open, bleeding sore.

We have come to understand
That an attitude and eye
For positive plentitude
In small, every day experiences
Is for anyone’s taking
If she’d cock a her head
To the side a different way.

We know that searching for
The upside is a more constructive
And happier mental ecology
To grow and so
We seek to live out
Our own unique sense
Of good fortune,

But still…slips happen.
A much newer way of being,
This skin is thin and fragile.
We may not have been
Brought up to feel and express
Appreciation and gratitude
(Like EVER) and thus
Have to rethink and retrain
Old patterned ways of being.

At times, the healthy sightline
Can become foggy, unclear
Making the landscape of our lives
Look uninhabitable, barren,
A Death Valley spreading darkness
That may tempt us to eschew these
Newly “golden” friends
Who are actually
Too important to turn away.

We may also happen to know
The underside of shiny–
That these lucky women have
Encountered glitches and difficulties
In their lives through which
We’ve been able to
Sail more smoothly.

That is the way of balance
Even if things still feel very
Lopsided from my seat.

Sail

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

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

IMG_3830

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

IMG_3827

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