Opaque

The second year

He kept the Presidential desk

and hung the curtains

They hung heavy in the fishbowl

hovering floor-length

Undisclosing

scratchy catalog stock

ape-like drapes

like swirls of blackened brine shrimp

empty froth for barracudas

Well intended

Cloak of Containment.

I choked on the blinking they caused,

They’ll never be the Greatest,

the dog and pony flow of child,

the fairy wand, the plush, and LEGO

Come and go….and stay awhile.

This  retro Bronze and

Iron starched establishment

is Reinstated

Belated State of the State,

Good Old Boy Regiem.

I preferred Progressive

honest, public, meek and mild,

Choice and …accountable mercy,

Play and “Mother May I?”

transparency and glitter grooves.

I preferred all these to what has come

in chain store, out the door remedies

I preferred “Suffer the little children

to  this dry wall, float and tape

escape the community pool

For not so goodness sake

This year we hooked and caught some

Suckers

fishy family counseling

divorce court tug of war

naughty parents keeping score

Sure is Sad

Glad we had a little bit of Heaven

for awhile

Sadder now

We Cant keep the darkside in

We can not keep it out

the pout and shout,

the Upside down plays generationally

its broken records

skip and scratch

the vinyl face of unimaginative

broken school system

Pretending ice and bandaids

will take the swelling down

believing the answers  LIE in TESTING!

clinging like a grubby Golden bandaid

we applauded but lost

I Polish up the silver strike plate

believing God hears prayers

I wipe and smile away the tears

and every day make the drive

park the lines like wax on paper and crayons in boxes

another weary year

Cuz you can’t stop on green

You must GO!

What else would you do at 52?

Just can’t stop the guiotin routine

”God!”

How can I stop?

Light finds a way

It seeks and finds and blinds you

like truth and antiseptic

Light comes softly, loudly

humbly, proudly

sometimes bending corners and swallowing swords

pokes into pockets for wish watches or lockets

for carnival tickets and cotton candy

and soaks into hearts

All the while

Reality sags

like a warm soggy swim bag

Pack it up. Pack it home

It wets the bed

and then you have to sleep on it

Until tomorrow

Tomorrow is a Mew day

of Pawsibilities

and coffee late’ creation

Where the water runs clear again

refilling a paint brush cup

and palette with sunrise

I face another day

hoping

David Habben finds color

where the curtains hang

opaque

 

 

 

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All I Want for Christmas…lives in my heart

“Star people don’t cry. They shed light,” said Archie to Star Girl.  The statement hinted of saguaro, Senior Grandote, Don Miguel Ruiz, and ancient Toltec wisdom.  Susan was missing Leo and feeling sorry for herself. I was driving home, likewise,  listening to this favorite Spinelli audio book and empathizing with Star Girl. I was depleted, like an empty happy wagon minus the pebbles: Sad. Lonely. In another Universe in my head. Archie’s words just stuck. Like truth and taxation. Like a spit dripped Nerf dart to a target.  Like tiny elf owl feather to an infinity scarf.  Like snowflakes on a Christmas sweater.  Like a perpetual motion machine cough.

Susan Caroway could have been in the passenger seat next to me. Wasn’t she?  I kinda wished she was, or that someone like her was.  I do a lot of driving and pondering on my own. Audio book characters serve as surrogate companions.  They feel gifted and present.  So much so, that I was caught up in the realness of story and like deja vu,  discovered I was driving too slowly in the fast lane and had lost the last five miles or so of winding canyon road.

It’s hard to believe, because ten hours earlier I was pulled over by a UHP.  Why would I speed to school?!  Exactly.  School days leading up to Christmas are crazy. The closer to  Christmas break we are, the farther from school I feel I want to be.  Ask any teacher about stress levels surrounding the holidays. Ask them about families and kids in crisis. Ask them about the frenzy of hundreds of little Tesla machines uncontrollably firing, grounding and grinding on teachers’ last nerves.  It’s all very challenging and wonderful. 🙂

“Where were you going so fast?” asked the trooper.  “To school,” I replied.  “I went to the store to get some stuff for a holiday project.”  I didn’t tell him I’d just bought a bag of kitty litter to fill Mexican paper lanterns. I didn’t own up to my Starbucks addiction. Um, and I didn’t admit that I drive 80 mph on I-80 almost every day.

The nice highway patrol man took a long time running my plate, license, and registration.  His car headlights glared in the side mirror. It was blinding so I covered my eyes which made it difficult to see the trooper approach from the front passenger side window.  I deserved a ticket, but hoped to luck out. So when he  returned and kindly gave me a warning, I was incredibly grateful. Consequentially, I  drove under the speed limit for the remaining ten miles. This while mirror checking  and resisting the incredibly strong natural urge to pass slow-moving semi-trucks.

There was a time that being pulled over would have reduced me.  When I was about 25, I cried for this reason. I was speeding on highway 248 into Park City.    I was driving the old Green Machine, a Chevy Malibu with pretty bald tires.  It was a slick snowy day much like this one. It was a feel bad morning. Fortunately, I don’t cry anymore when I’m pulled over. I think it was an authority figure thing.  Not much phases me now.  Or maybe I am getting a little better at letting go. Dunno.   Things just…..are. And thank God for deep breathing!

So after a wonderfully joyous, exhausting day of teaching and an afternoon of swim team practice, Star Girl and I were tired, teary-eyed and missing dear friends.  I was missing a friend who used to work at my school, the “lmnop tree”, pronounced  /el oh men oh pee tree/.   She was and is bendable light and shone around the corners of each day.  For about 2,000 wonderful beginnings, she scattered sunshine and flooded the place with warmth and service.  In and out of doorways, she sparkled,  advocating fearlessly for children and teachers. In hind sight, I think I took that goodness for granted and I regret it.

It isn’t the same at school now.  The place feels hollow. Empty. Even when full of children.  It lacks the luster she created. Sometimes when I stay late to prep and all I can hear is the copy machine over a distant droning vacuum, it feels haunting.  It saddens me to watch an amazing school culture my friend created with us slip away into something like the Nothing.  ( I try to remember school is what “we” make it, of course, but I forget sometimes.)

The more things change, the more they stay the same?  Yes and No.  Sure, this week the library smells like a confectioner’s dream come true. The annual 3rd grade gingerbread tour of homes is up and on display.  Teachers are churning out festive projects almost daily along the count down to Christmas.  Sounds of children’s program song rehearsal fills the gym and spill into the entry.

The disciple-ship continues to move on. It sails through calm and wild waters.  It rocks and pitches.  It creeps, and stalls, drifts, and continues on, with or without you, in joy and tears, in smiles and indifferences, with work and play, Art, and song, and with Love and Learning.  In God she trusted. In Him she loved. With us, she served and taught by example.  I really miss her.

Another Christmas checks in as a much-loved fixture,  Charlie Brown Christmas tree bows simply on the office counter. It droops under the weight of the World.  The misfit Charlie Brown rests  below its few bare brown branches. He smiles, but inwardly he is crying, as many of us do.  Charles Shulz’s standing metaphor reminds us to keep the faith as we Trust in God and keep safe His children.  We give, not because of who we are but because of what He did.  He gave His Son.  God loves all of us unconditionally and we should love each other too.  Not because of what we do, but because of who God is and because of the Law of Attraction, the Law of Love.   My friend knew this and grew a Godly love in our little school. She had a passion for God and compassion for people, especially little ones.

My Love, Star Girl audio CD ends and ejects as if Pearl is sticking out her tongue at me. I feel the morning wash my mind and heart like a prayer. I’m left feeling peaceful and all I want for Christmas is a friend in Jesus and a friend like Star Girl, who just keeps loving the misfits. I glance over at the passenger seat which is occupied with plain, unscented kitty litter plus all the signs of someone who lives in her car. And then Christmas bells ring in Advent and a countdown of the days ’til Christmas. May our days be full of smiles, wishes, surprises, and best of all…the gift of children!

Merry Christmas and a Joyous 2018!

 

 

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Pondering Tree-serves

(Midway Reservoir)

Why do the Quakers tremble? I often wonder why

with strong upstanding knotted trunks, eyes squinting to the sky

Could this response be anger or a sign of latent fear?

Or do the boughs rein praises to a God I feel is near?

 

The woodcock in the wetland, the songbird in the tree

The soul slung in the hammock swaying in a canyon breeze

Why do the Aspens tremble, so shakeable, yet true?

in chlorophylic beauty sound hypnotic tambourines

I’m much too quick to question,  consumed with making sense

Life’s worries blow between my ears like words nailed to a fence

“No Parking” (without paying)

Ha! I’ve lived this marker well,

but will my heart beat long enough to learn what trees will tell?

 

The chipmunk on the boulder,

The moose up to her knees,

Belong,

absent the day pass, simply living out their days

 

A quiet life void questions

Of shelter cool and  green

Of bugs and Seeds and flowers

Of living wild and free

 

They do not think or question

Nor do they need belief

Their consciousness wired differently

divinely to His needs

 

If I were but an Aspen, a primrose or a bee

bequeathed a greater knowledge 0f God’s blessed mysteries

I think I’d be more gentle, more patient and sublime

I’d see with better clarity the truth behind the eyes

I think I’d feel content to breathe a sigh of increased hope

and share the leafy laughter echoed in an Aspen grove

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Welcome to the Scrap heap….not exactly the Jungle, Thank God

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Out of practice, but here goes.

I’ve decided parenting has gone to S-craps.

My twenty-something children have left the nest for college. Growing up is hard.  Its’ hard on them because they have to make Life for themselves now. It’s hard on me because  parenting has been my lifestyle for years.  I miss my children and I miss feeling needed by them.  They are discovering they can manage mostly on their own, except for rent and tuition assistance, the occasional load of laundry, and a sometime hug or sounding board. I realize this is as it should be, but I don’t have to like it.

I breath a Friday sigh and park Pearl in the driveway.  Prying myself

from the driver seat, I trudge across the road to get the garbage cans.

Dodging  sprinkler spray, I  jerk, jarring an empty awkward payload

balanced on undersized, seized-up wheels that etch a shallow trench back to familiar

dirt lined spaces against a retaining wall.

 

The gray bin is for all things throw-away.

The brown one is for keeps, or should I say, do-overs.

Hm.  Compartmentalization and Metaphors.

 

Ew. Left overs. Produce tossed.  Ancient, moldy, Ziplock keepers.

The smell of kitchen wet, and washroom bio

mingled with  messy non recyclables ripening  in the afternoon heat.

 

I kind of miss ….. this…..I think.  Not the horrible stench. No,

but, THIS!  Things. sights. sounds. feelings. years of familiarity. predictable routines. family life and family things. Everything changes.

I miss my son, as if he were still fifteen in the school drum line, dragging  garbage cans across the road.  I miss my daughter bringing in the mail and plunking down for another episode of I Love Carly.  I miss hearing and seeing sibling banter.  I miss their occupancy, their laughter, and all things children.

With them gone to college, life is different. Quieter. Kind of lonely. Kind of crazy! What’s more, it’s Summer and even my youngest is schooling.  She gets up early and drives an hour to school.  She is studying digital media design at a nearby tech school her final year of high school. Pretty cool.

I reminisce on the past, taking stock a little too much in remembering the sadness of parenting lost, trying to be grateful for kids’ accomplishments and independency.

Hard to believe any of that living happened, imagining what used to be, and what is now.

From late-night diaper changes to ice cream binging and make-up rounds.

From teething to half squeezed toothpaste tubes, to tossed towels and shampoo bottles and razors doing a balancing act with soap on the shower door.

Coveted Converse footwear, prize posters, braces, and retainers…phone calls, cars.

Then mission calls, foreign dispatch, and now university acceptance and jobs on campus.

 

The other bin is blue, I think…..or is it brown!?

Can’t tell …because “I need my STUPID drug store glasses!!!”

(just kidding) I can see colors, just not TINY PRINT.  (Thought I’d be helpful there.)

The cheater glasses are RED and inconveniently hanging on the rear view mirror

along with the Little Mermaid and a Hobby Lobby, Super Hero door sign meant for the

classroom that reads, “STAY OUT” on one side, and “COME IN” on the other. (hmm)

Second thought, I think, the RECYCLE BIN has faded

It is un-washed, sun-washed, snowed on, cracked and cock-eyed.

I think someone could pimp this ride, tipped on-its-side like a bare bone

bloated whale shark

Old Blue-Old Brown shifts and morphs until she has a

dorsal fin! Somehow this grows a mouth and begins shouting,

“WITHIN THESE HINGED JAWS LIES A LIE”

a try and a fail,

Felled much like my own young adulthood for this imposter, inconvenient truth called

MIDDLE AGE.

Mid-life feels windblown like scout flags laid flat on Decoration Day

Actually the bins and flags do continue to stand, tiredly leaning…

lonely, and under-appreciated, like a room full of ancient veterans

eating compulsory “Thank you” cake on a paper plates

America’s proud throw-aways

 

I bend down to pick up a red solo cup next to a single mangled floral lip-flop.

Some scraps of cardboard and glass  have spilled out on the ground.

 

I haven’t really failed, have I?

No. There is alwuz hope.

 

Several years ago the County forced the Eastside to recycle.

Change was NOT easy.  The outlying hayseeds sort of despised it, but complied,

only to discover the TUFI handlers contract did not include transporting  recyclables to Park City for sorting

So TUFI picked up the road-side recycling and carted it to an almost full land fill.

I remember thinking…..ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! What’s the point of this project if it doesn’t get where it’s supposed to?

What good is trying to do good by Mother Nature, if the baby is still-born before it is delivered?  This speaks to the need for excellence in Leadership, intellectual integrity and follow through.

“We need a Doula.” Middle said.

“We do-la?” laughed Angel. Bad pun.

I break into the lyrics of “We Need a Hero” and start flash dancing on a kitchen chair.

They try to ignore me.

“Do you know for certain that the recyclables don’t go to the center?”asks my girl.

“Maybe you should just follow a trash truck. “That might be fun!” said Angel.

“WOW.” I laugh.  Then my imagination takes over.  I’m good at imagining.

It is my escape.

 

Suddenly I remember a favorite a ridiculous VHS movie called the Stupids

and visualize myself shoulder to shoulder with Darin Stupid, (Ted Arnold),

the two of us on roller skates in hot pursuit of garbage thieves, only different.

He can keep the baby blue suit and topper hat.  I’m a true Olympian in training, as I

morph from cammo tree woman to amazing patriotic jumpsuitress, with Jan Sports

sponsored poles and roller ski blades.

I lunge and drive athletically, my muscular quads keeping pace just the right distance from

diamond plate, while conspicuously painting a smart, yellow two-way traffic line.

I’m ultra agile, dodging orange construction cones, and a few morning cyclists as I pipe

bright new paint that spreads like butter cream on the tar chip

under my ice skating Cake Boss feet.

Following a ribbon of diesel smoke, the TUFI disposal truck sputters like a chain smoker jerking from house to house like a derby trout on the end of a garlic chum hook..

“Earth to Mom! Why don’t you just ask Insa?”  suggests my youngest.

“Huh?!”  Reality check.

“Insa retired last January.” I admitted.

“Happy New Year! Still. She would know.”

I wouldn’t know how to reach Insa these days.  We are not Linked.

“Why do you care so much about this now?” asks my son. “It’s been this way for years.”

I don’t know. That’s the problem, maybe. The fact that it hasn’t changed.  It doesn’t seem right.

“Just another reason to be disappointed in government and the status quo, I guess,” adds my mustached boy.

“I know I’M disappointed, too!” Middle says.

“Why?”

“I can’t find Tim Tams (Canadian cookies) anywhere!”

“Wow. Something is wrong with this scenario,” says her brother.

“True,” I add.” “Trump IS still President.”

“What? Can’t a girl have her cookies?”

“You can if you make some,” adds her brother.

Somehow I think Middle will keep coming home, if only to bake and to buy Tim Tams at the local World Market. My son will come too.  He has the truck.  They will carpool until the Semester resumes and studying bogs them down. They’ll come home to relax, to see friends and to help with projects. Angel and I can’t wait until Devon comes again with a complimentary hack into her roommates Netflix for those last two episodes of Anne With and E.

Guess all I can realistically do is Live my Life, stay in touch, and keep making something that resembles food for the hungry.

Summer bakes on. Again, I  land on a Friday evening after boxing in the city. I park Pearl on a hot driveway and let her engine cool down before pulling in.  I wonder if the kids are coming home this weekend.  Leaning in I bump the visor with my head and a spray of massage reminders and snapshots litter the seat and floor. I lean in to retrieve a useless garage door opener, crumpled receipts and empty, crinkly water bottles.  Here goes another Starbucks siren to the dreadful landfill.

Conclusion: Canadians recycle better than most Americans…at least from what I saw.

My Summer road trip taught me this. In British Columbia, recycling bins are visible and expected to be used properly. Maybe it’s the law.

Our Northern neighbors seem to really care about the environment,

Cuz under every kitchen sink I found active compost kettles brewing decomposers

and outside,  I discovered alleys full of flies and bins with stinky sorting of everything imaginable.

Amazing!   Why don’t Americans seem to care more into Eco action?

Honestly, I’m not much help. I  rarely have anything for Recycle Friday.  I hear a Helper Dad  roll down the hall with an unruly entourage of children. Every week I come up blank. Maybe I’m just resourceful.  Yes. Not really.

At home I give the juicy salmon rhine a  big fling and wait to see and hear the spectacle:

a howling magpie cloud descending on it.

Moe and Socks  remain reticent, observing patiently until it’s their turn to nose around the residue. This is a perk of country living.

I wish I had the patience and wisdom of my cats……cat.  Moe died this Spring, two weeks before Devon got home.  She sobbed when I finally told her. She confessed she’d had a dream and in fact Moe dying was one of her biggest fears when she left the States for Canada.

“Cats are indifferent,” my son interjects. (This is a generalization. Moe was so cute.  Quick to meet and greet me in the garage with a roll and poll for love and a purr-full tummy scratch.)

“Cats are mostly warm but sometimes indifferent, ” I reply.

“Like some people,” he added.

I would be purringly happy for you and your sister to brush by any time, I thought.

“Thanks for coming home,” I said, giving a quick hug. He’s not much of a hugger, but took it anyway.

“Sure! Do you think the pizza is done?”

“I’ll check,” I add promisingly,  and trip on an empty pizza box.

Scraps.  I’ll take them.

Glad I don’t live in the Jungle.  I don’t like guns at all.

Maybe I’ll move to Canada.

 

Here is something 80s.  They play this at kickboxing sometimes. It’s a great punch song.

 

 

 

 

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Run away Truck Lane

I drive a lot.  It got me thinking.

Spinnings in her mind

chase anxious freeway speeders

quick to grind bumpers

tallying insanity

“For the love of…..?!”

someone in the fast lane is afraid to pass

or better yet, just gass’in the cell phone

Mirror check

Mirror check

Best to brake or pass fast?

She’s Peterbuilt and can’t stop.

How deep the gravel? How steep the grade?

The silent grave is broken

An air horn screams last year’s fatalities

Skid and spray

She’s not coming back

 

 

 

 

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