May 31, 2014 · 5:00 pm
On the heels of Maya Angelou’s death my son’s fourth grade class put on a poetry tea. It wasn’t planned this way. They just happened to transpire in the same week.
I’ve never been to a poetry tea. I’ve been to poetry slams, where upon entering everyone is given a paint stick. Instead of clapping or snapping (never really understood that one) you slam the paint stick on the desk in click-clack applause.
When my son told me weeks ago they were beginning to study poetry at school I was elated. Finally something I could get excited about. Common Core math is all he seems to bring home and talk about (and fail). I don’t do math. I took remedial math in college because my ACT math score was so low. I used to stab my math book with a pencil on homework nights in middle school. One year I snuck my worn math book home on the last day of school, placed it in the dry creek bed behind our house, and set it on fire.
But poetry? I wrote my first poem sometime during elementary school. I’m sure my mom still has it as she has much of my early schoolwork, artwork, and report cards archived.
I continued to write poetry into high school. Became the editor of the writer’s group. Won an English award for outstanding achievement. Wrote more poetry in college. Went to more poetry slams. Acquired more paint sticks.
My mom even kept one of my poetry slam paint sticks. And brought it to the tea. My son was intrigued. But asked me to please not slam it.
It was a dream of mine to become the next great American poet or author. To make money and gain notoriety from what I loved and seemed born to do. That dream among wanting to become a famous actress, a CIA agent, and at one time an astronaut. Now I hate being in front of a camera. Don’t like guns. Haven’t flown in six years. But this writing and poetry thing? Yeah, it stuck.
Maya Angelou’s first book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was published when she was in her early forties. You don’t have to be young to be an accomplished writer. And you don’t have to be accomplished to write. We do it because we have to.
I don’t know what my son will end up being passionate about. Right now he wants to become a firefighter. Or create story lines for video games. I don’t care if he doesn’t get math. Because I get that. Would I love if he were to get into poetry? Sure. But he will do what is in his heart to do. And yesterday at the poetry tea I was very proud of him. For an afternoon we shared a common dream. To express our thoughts from heart to paper to audience and have at least someone moved.
Here is his original poem he recited to two classrooms filled with nervous students and tea-drinking parents:
not too hot
sand, water and shells
grainy, soft and wet
the sand and flowing water
crashing waves and the birds
running in the sand and
watching the sun go down
watermelon and salt water
tired and ready to go home.
“Words mean more than what is set down on paper. It takes the human voice to infuse them with shades of deeper meaning.” ―Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings
May 28, 2014 · 10:04 am
I felt it coming on during the Memorial Day pool party Monday afternoon. Seems as soon as one of my neighbors announced he had a cold and wasn’t feeling well my sinuses began to clog.
I don’t get sick very often. Take my vitamins. Eat healthy. Work out. Wash my hands like an OCD sufferer.
During this month alone I nursed my son through conjunctivitis and the flu. Then my husband through Shingles (meaning I sequestered him to the guest room and occasionally brought him tea). And then through a series of surgeries which had me applying ice patches, eye drops, administering meds, draining fluids and recording them, and holding a bucket for him to pee in. And let’s not forget enduring the moaning and groaning.
I could have made a pretty damn good nurse.
But now the nurse needs a nurse. And no matter how much my husband and son try to help they cannot live up to the high standards of the one who nursed me through countless bouts of strep throat and a few horrendous stomach bugs as a child.
I want my mommy!
As I sit here on the stained recliner I finally regained command over I am overwhelmed with a craving for Mom’s sweet, soft southern voice. And some bacon, eggs, and biscuits. I can see her now, dashing about the house in her muumuu, carrying a box of Kleenex, a thermometer, and a recycled plastic honey bear filled with ice-cold orange juice.
But right now she is in her condo. A mere fifteen minutes away but still. Probably in her muumuu, sipping coffee and watching some network morning show. I texted her I wasn’t feeling well and of course she replied she’d be available if I needed help. Then she added the emoticon with the kissy lips. I instantly felt a small surge of healing.
Still want that biscuit though.
May 25, 2014 · 5:22 pm
Swooping down from above
to place hands in care
No hidden agenda
But perhaps not hands
a withering body
a lost soul
In your eyes
What if that love
turned to hate
It cannot be
that thought of despair
The world is full of dust
but underneath it
a lush green forest
where angels and fairies
They strengthen together
then float back to dust
to extinguish it
lay hands and wings on
without hidden agenda.
May 23, 2014 · 9:50 am
I remember snippets and chunks of my childhood. Mostly because my mom has the bulk of it archived in 70’s and 80’s faded photographs.
I look at my son sometimes and think, God it would be great to be a kid again. Would if I were you right now. I also say this to my dog when she’s lying around snoozing and I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.
But really, wouldn’t it be fantastic to be a kid again for a day? Especially a kid like my son who lives in a safe place, surrounded by friends and parks and beaches and the invention of some really kick-ass nerf guns?
Or come back as myself, time-warped back to the 80’s, where my playroom smelled of chalk, encyclopedias, and Strawberry Shortcake farts. Where there was no worry about diets or jobs or bills or relationships. It was all, how are we going to keep our bed-sheet tent from falling on top of my 8×10 glossy of Noah Hathaway from The Neverending Story? Or ouch this hose water is hot but we’ll drink it anyway. And oh crap the streetlights just came on, better run home before the pot roast gets cold and we hear Mom screaming our names in that annoyed sing-songy way.
Not that childhood doesn’t have its share of problems, but come on, wouldn’t you love to trade a hectic day, or even a melancholy crap adult day to run in the sprinklers and smell the honeysuckle without the nagging worry of time or sunscreen or disappointment?
My son is at school today. And that is definitely not a place I long to be. I have lots of work to do. But maybe I can sneak away for an hour, go to the beach. Splash in the water and smell the sea air. Wearing sunscreen, of course.
Anyone wanna join me?
May 21, 2014 · 3:15 pm
So it’s come to my attention that some Busted Flip Flop followers have requested my blog guesting. If that’s a word.
So here I am after a bit of a hiatus. The pug with the fruity name and the she’s-so-ugly-she’s-cute face. I still don’t get that one. Shouldn’t I be insulted?
There’s been a lot of snoring going on around here. Seems like everyone is so busy with their own drama that I’ve been sawing the logs on an even more regular basis. But Mom did give me a bath yesterday and with baths come a treat so at least that’s something.
Me. Sittin pretty.
Oh yeah and brother had a sleepover so popcorn was consumed and “dropped” on the floor for my snacking pleasure. Yeah they pretend to drop popcorn on the floor so I can eat it. I’m all about some popcorn. There could be tens of other things being prepared in the kitchen but as soon as Mom starts shaking the pan on the stove and I hear the POP! and the Ouch, the oil got me! I am in there like a pug outta the front door.
Oh yeah and speaking of front doors I did escape one day. But brother’s friend grabbed me before I could get to the lady who always feeds me greasy people food my mom crinkles her nose at.
Well it feels about that time. Time to stare Mom in the face and give her that pitiful look I give even after I’ve already been fed. My bowl runneth empty.
Filed under Cherry Pearl
Tagged as dogs, pets, pugs
May 13, 2014 · 7:47 am
In times of trouble
I need to hear the birds sing
remember where I came from
and who I used to be
all the struggles overcome
all the times come undone
but put back again
by some strength within
In times of trouble
I need to hear the birds sing
I need to remember it's not just me
a speck in the universe
bound yet free
a flitter of a thought
not all for naught
In times of trouble
let me hear the birds sing
let me rest under her wing
let me let it be
May 8, 2014 · 12:07 pm
Remnants of your breakfast
chocolate chip waffle crust
sits stale now
You're in that long building of learning
your pants high-waters again
My heart weighs heavily
thinking about your happiness
Hoping to God I'm not the
contention one day
in the therapist's office
We snuggled yesterday
for the first time in ages
You were like my baby
And I hope those moments
are not few and far between
I know I must let you fly
just like I let go of the bicycle
when you told me you were ready to pedal
Just like I tell you to be careful
as I watch you walk away
with the other boys
to your fort in the woods
I was ten once
I still smell the school hallways
disinfectant and chalk
And I knew Mom was always there
waiting for me
a cushy cradle for my lanky limbs
A solace from the noise of the world
over the crust of a cinnamon bun
left to sit
A melancholy reminder.
May 3, 2014 · 6:09 pm
Today I saw a turtle making its wobbly way through a patch of wet grass. He was coming straight for the road. I looked on the other side and noticed a pond. In his determination to get to that refuge he was unaware of his possible demise.
Or perhaps he studied the traffic patterns of a Saturday afternoon and knew this was his best chance.
Only this wasn’t a post-Pong, pre-Mario game. This was real. One wrong move and that shell, no matter how sturdy, couldn’t protect him from the weight and speed of a moving vehicle.
I prayed the cars behind me saw him. And perhaps the jogger on the sidewalk might catch a glimpse, run over, and carry the poor thing across. There was no where for me to stop so I moved on. I couldn’t linger in the rear-view for fear I might see the worst. A shattered shell. A busted dream. A snack for the vultures.
What happens to the shell? It is discarded. Its crushed pieces refuse on the street. A reminder to look before you cross. And once you do, you do it with all the heart and speed you can muster under the heaviness of the hull.
Perhaps the shell is taken and studied. Or even collected like pretty beach shells we use to decorate our houses and yards and hold them to our ear to hear the ocean.
Or maybe another organism finds in the abandoned husk a new home.
Filed under Observations
Tagged as shells, turtles