keep my words

smug bird on giant sequoia
woman with raven hair
she laughs,
she flaps,
she calls up friends,
drafts deft in blackened
watch her wend in shadows
watch her wield her hips
watch her if you must
but never touch her lips


20: Real Toads


March 14, 1986

I wish I had listened
to you Coach, giving your
commencement speech
at Ohio State University.
I would have made sure,
that I’d never let the other
team beat me, Sir,
&pledge that I’d never
beat myself at my own game
either, like I did.
I wouldn’t have felt sorry
for myself so much,
opening up
the road to alcohol
&other tearing things.
I would have realized
I needed a mother.
One whom I could never
repay, so I’d have to
pay it forward.
I wish you’d say it again,
“You can outwork anybody,
Angie.” You know, Sir,
I almost believe I would
have found that to be true.

This fun Found Poetry prompt
had me digging through the best
commencement speeches ever.
This one was inspired
by Woody Hayes’ speech.

Opening Doors

Again, a giant new door. Wrong key.
I come back with the (same) right key and fumble.
Someone I don’t know, but younger, offers
to unlock the door, and does. I will come back;
disturb the door, jiggle the key
more profound, but with softer meaning.
Time and again, I face the door.
Someone hears me swell this time
“Be patient, I have to remember
it can be very tricky.” Old doors and new keys.
New doors and old keys. Wisdom opens wide
for me &I walk slimly through.

for dVerse

Some Wisdom Please

I’m not the same person I was twenty years ago.  I’m a mess.  I show up at school functions with two different shoes on my feet, and end up at grocery stores with my shirt on inside-out.   Although I’m not a drunk I can empathize with seeking an escape from the constant demands of life and motherhood even when all I ever wanted was a family.

I had four daughters in the prime of my life.  I gave them my best years (geez I sound like a wrinkly old geezer shaking my bony fists at the heavens).  Nothing of course prepared me for motherhood, not all those years of babysitting, not my own mother’s spittled advice, not even a Master’s degree in counseling, or Tony Horton’s Beach Body boot camp double DVD set.  For shame.

I imagined motherhood to be a breeze with my arm around my beloved well-spoken child, strolling along the beach, discussing her loves, her fears, her dreams, etc.  Ahhh.

The reality I got was my eldest hiding the fact that she had her first period, which apparently sent me into full-throttle I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening mode and I put my daughter in the car and drove her to a remote location, basically locked her in, and asked her why in the hell she wouldn’t include me in such a momentous moment I’d been anxiously waiting for.  Her nails scratched at the passenger door the whole time.images

Needless to say I must learn to communicate better with my babies before a)  I die of a coronary, or b) they go off to college. I’ve had more time to think about what’s important.  Here’s my attempt to impart some wisdom which I realize they may hear now, with the possibility of understanding later.

Five Truths I Think Kids Should Hear: 

  1. It’s not all about you, contrary to popular belief.  The quicker you realize this, and change your mind about this, the more free you’ll be relating to and enjoying other people around you.
  2. You are not the sum of your parts.  A hyper focus on your perceived physical flaws robs you of being the you you were meant to be.
  3. Say no thank you sometimes.  You can people-please yourself right into a psychotic break or a dangerous situation.   
  4. Try something hard.  You’ll never get stronger if you don’t break a “bone” or two.
  5. Ask for help when you need it.  Pride does come before a fall, and if you look at it in another way, the helper is probably stoked about being helpful, as long as you don’t abuse this power that comes with humility.

[What do you think is paramount to teach your kids before they crawl out into the outer expanse of the universe, besides the obvious ones we learn in Kindergarten about sharing our toys and putting them back when we’re done playing?]