Faulty Youth

At the age of 24
I may not have paused
to peer down the sunlit throat
of a blue morning glory, or smile
at the old couple on the bench
holding hands as if it were an answer.
I had no time
or place for a garden
and can’t tell you I cared
where my spinach came from—
did I even eat greens back then?
I did not have enough
money or conscience to donate to
ARF or the rain forests, and
if I saw a young woman sobbing
behind the wheel of her car
it would not have haunted me for days.
Was I grateful in my twenties?
“For what?” I would have answered.

Still, I curl up on my sofa now and then
and paw through memories
of my faulty youth,
looking for the days I soared,
certain I could fly.

Alabama For Beginners in bioStories

A big thank you to editor Mark Leichliter for featuring my essay “Alabama For Beginners” in bioStories. This is my fourth appearance in bioStories, and I am honored to be among the many talented contributors.

“bioStories offers word portraits of the people surrounding us in our daily lives, of the strangers we pass on the street unnoticed and of those who have been the most influential and most familiar to us but who remain strangers to others. We feature essays from an eclectic variety of viewpoints and seek out writers of literary excellence. We particularly look for work that offers slices of a life that help the reader imagine the whole of that life, work that demonstrates that ordinary people’s experiences often contain extraordinary moments, visionary ideas, inspirational acts, and examples of success and failure that prove instructive. In short, we believe every life displays moments of grace. bioStories wishes to share pieces of these lives and celebrate them.”

 

On Sunday Morning

images

New to this place,
I keep forgetting the rules.
I pop into the store for some milk, bread, cheese,
then grab a bottle of wine on my way out—
an afterthought really, I’m innocent as a cookie.
But the cashier seizes my bottle,
looks at me as if I tossed a puppy
into traffic, and tells me again
that she can’t sell alcohol on Sundays
“Till ONE PM.”
Nevermind that I don’t believe
in clock-watching deities,
or in deities at all,
unless you count butterflies,
and octopuses,
and redwood trees.
This is the deep south,
God’s country,
where you can buy a gun
but not a beer
on Sunday morning.

The Larger Geometry

If you’re in the mood for some spirit-lifting literature this holiday season, please consider the new Poems For Peace anthology, The Larger Geometry. Three of my poems are featured, along with wonderful work by many others. There is some serious talent here, at a time when we need it most. Wishing everyone a peaceful holiday season.

 

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Morning Prayer

In the beginning my love
for you was a balloon,
high and bright,
joy on a string.
The years brought trouble, doubt,
and the love fell to earth,
became a thing to carry,
everywhere.
By now it’s part of me,
and so dense with worry
that it hurts to think of you,
as if I were the one who is ill
in a hospital too far away.
This difficult, durable love,
may it finally be of use,
worth all it put us through.
May it be in your room,
steady and unyielding,
refusing to give you up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A New Passion

Maybe I should change my byline to Life Into Words/Images. As a writer, I never gave a thought to trying out another art form, but since retirement, I’ve been testing my hand at acrylic painting. YouTube has some terrific how-to videos that I’ve benefited from, but there is nothing like good old trial and error. Here are a few recent efforts. I am having a blast!