Category Archives: Aging

Old Age in Paradise

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Old Age in Paradise

I’d like to know on just what basis
we deserve our fine oasis?
In other places, other climes,
people our age have harder times.
They work ’til death or do not eat.
They toil in poverty and heat.
So though we may have aches and pain,
I must our grumbling disdain.
Yes, I ache and limp and groan,
yet prefer these problems that are my own.

 

 

The Daily Addictions prompt today was oasis.

Answered

 
What happens to someone like her as she gets older?
–from Luck, by Joan Barfoot


Answered

She loses her balance, starts to fall.
Once in the kitchen, three times in the hall.
Finds it harder to remember, spends more time alone.
Speaks her mind more freely, less likely to atone.
She starts attracting cats that come inside and do not leave.
Wears frays in her clothing–hemline, neckline, sleeve.
Starts forgetting passwords–sometimes the names of friends.
Her search for keys and glasses never really ends.
Starts waking in the nighttime to contemplate her death.
At midnight, has to go outside to try to catch her breath.
Counts the years before her instead of those behind.
She could live to one hundred if fate is being kind.

Will she live her last years with sister, lover, friend;
or will animal companions help her meet her end?
Will anybody mourn her? Does she want them to?
Will she be remembered by a poem or two?
Will anybody read her after she is dead?
Will all her future poetry die here in her head?
Will her blog named “lifelessons” finally cease to be?
Will they give the name away for a modest fee?
Will they erase her blog spot, burn her files of poems?
Cause a glut on EBay of her leftover tomes?
If she sells a book or two every other year
where will Amazon send the money when she isn’t here?

One day in the future in three thousand two
will Zee, (some bored teenager, with nothing else to do)
go onto the internet connected to her head,
close her eyes and throw herself backwards on her bed
and stumble on an errant line that floats through cyberspace,
and Google it to try to find its author, time and place?
“What happens to someone . . . ?” are the words that Zee has found.
Her fingers start to twitch as she is driven to expound.
The printer prints the words she says without her further action.
Tied into her speech and thought–spontaneous reaction.
” . . . like her as she gets older?” is printed on the wall.
For there’s no paper in the world. No paper left at all!
Her face is flushed, her eyes dilate, her eyes first squint, then blink.
This random line floating in space has provoked her to think.
First she’ll finish cyber school, then link her living pod
with a blowout sort of guy with a gorgeous bod.
They’ll make links with other blogs and party with their friends
for a couple hundred years before they meet their ends.
She thinks back on the interbrain to look for thoughts and links.
Lets her mind go soft as into cybermind she sinks.
Looking for her future job. She knows it’s there to see.
Time being just a concept to wander through for free.
She plops onto a webpage from two thousand fifteen,
all the information still there and easily seen.
The line Zee thought jumps out at her. She sees it’s not her own.
It’s been used two times before and now it seems it’s flown
into her thoughts to sort her out and give her a direction.
As she reads on, she catches on to this writer’s inflection
in every word she writes and when she gets to the post’s end,
she goes on reading through her life and starts to make a friend.
After two days of reading, she winds up at the start
knowing every detail in this blogger’s heart.
Then she goes back to where she started and sees her doubts and fears.
It’s then that she fast-forwards to the blogger’s final years
and sees the truth of everything that’s going to transpire.
The failing health, the hopeful mood, the ad, “Wanted to Hire
an interesting friend to talk to while I fall asleep.
One capable of caring and thoughts that wander deep.
Someone to be there some nights when it seems that I might leave
for one last time this life that’s loosening its warp and weave.
No heavy lifting needed—a weighted thought or two
is all that I find necessary. Weighing thoughts will do.”

Zee zoomed back to the entry that had drawn her thoughts at first.
The very sentence that had caused her gloomy thoughts to burst.
January was the month and 14 was the day
The year 2015, when she’d been the first to say
those fateful words and now Zee, too, was thinking just the same–
moving to the comments to add her words and name.
“Dear Lifelessons,” she’d say to her, and then add her assurance
that everafter she would be her safety and insurance
that she would never die alone or be bereft of friend
for Zee was vowing here and now she’d be there at the end.
She’d looked ahead and so she knew that she would keep this pledge.
She’d known the center of this life and now she knew its edge.
She knew the dates that she’d be needed in the years ahead.
She made a list and filed it in a clear spot in her head.
And then she went on thinking what those words meant in her life.
Would she be a scholar, an actress and a wife?
Would she produce children and would they be there for her?
That sentence found in cyberspace created quite a stir.
But all her dreams it prompted came true enough, what’s more
she kept her date with Lifelessons in 2044.

                                                                            –Judy Dykstra-Brown, Lifelessons, 2015

 

A question posed by one writer can often serve to provoke an answer by another. So it is in this poem, which is an answer to a question asked by Joan Barfoot in her book Luck. This piece was first written three years ago. It is a long piece I had forgotten but enjoyed reading again so I thought perhaps you would, too. I would appreciate knowing if you follow the plot line and realize what is going on. Also, did it hold your interest?  And yes, the prompt word of the day is in the poem. The word of the day is provoke.

Who Knew?

Who Knew?

When new was new, I was crazy about it. A new friend, new dress, new favorite food. But what I liked best was new places. I yearned to travel, even if it was just to the next town. Strangely enough, as tiny as the towns were in my part of South Dakota, people from neighboring towns did not mix. We went rollerskating in Draper, 7 miles away, but when our eyes chanced to stray to Draper boys, we were taken aside by several of the “popular” Draper girls–the cheerleaders, in fact, and told to stay away from their boys. This really happened. We played their school in sports, went rollerskating every Sunday in their school gym, even went to movies in their tiny theater, but we did not mix. When we tried, we’d been warned.

I think I visited Presho, Vivian and Kennebec–all 20 to 40 miles away–no more than once in the 18 years I lived in Murdo, population 700. White River, 38 miles away, we more regularly visited since they had shows on Mondays as well as weekends, and the movies were just ten cents, whereas ours cost twenty-five cents! But, never did we ever socialize with White River girls. The boys, however, were a different matter.

The first boy I ever kissed was from White River, and we went steady for two years. I think I’ve told the story of that first kiss in another blog posting. Suffice it to say that after putting it off until age 16, it was about time. And, it worked. I was literally dizzy and he had to hold me up for a minute afterwards. He had opened my car door, helped me out, then folded me in his arms and kissed me. I was so discombobulated that instead of walking to my own car, I opened the back door of his car and started to get into the back seat. Not for the reasons you might think. My best friend and a boy who (as I recall) later turned to cattle rustling were already in the back seat. I just did so in utter confusion. And no, I had never had a drink in my life at the time.

At any rate, this story has veered off in a direction unintended, so just suffice it to say that after that, life continued to present new after new and I accepted most of them. I traveled widely, loved a few loves, pursued a few careers and wound up in Mexico. Now, at age 70, I suddenly find that new isn’t as necessary to me. The older I get, the more I realize that everything is everywhere. You just have to look for it closely.

No longer is it necessary for me to travel to far-off third world countries. It is exciting to take the same walk on the same beach day after day since the sea presents new treasures each day. I love getting up each morning and writing first thing, having Pepe come each Wednesday to give me a 1 1/2 hour massage after which I plop into the hot tub. I love spending hours at my desk and sometimes hate having to leave home even for activities I have enjoyed in the past.

The point is, that the older I get, the more I want to spend all my time doing what I love most. Writing. Art. The fact that each endeavor creates a new piece is getting to be enough “new.”

 

This is a rewrite of an essay I wrote so long ago that I only had one viewer.  If it was you, you must be one of my first followers! The prompt today is suddenly.

Staying Afloat

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Staying Afloat

The days my life is not erratic
are the days it is too static.
I need an leavening in life—
a lessening of loss and strife—
that doesn’t store me in the attic.

Retirement is not intended
to designate a life as ended.
I’d like some fun and some pizazz
aside from knitting and Shiraz.
I’d like my salad days extended.

Turn off the news. Turn up the notes.
I prefer hearing what emotes.
There is coverage enough
of Donald Trump and other stuff.
I’m tired of inane Twitter quotes!

Bring in the band and serve the drinks.
One’s only as old as she thinks.
I’ll move my body, move my mind.
(True, my brain  more than my behind.)
For what is static is what sinks.

The prompt today is static.

Leap Year

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Leap Year

This year, indivisible by four,
is nonetheless a leap year.
As friends fall away from my life
like leaves losing hold,
I make adjustments,
searching for a direction
other than down,
spread my wings,
letting that stubborn wind
that blows me
determine my direction.

 

A quadrille for dVerse Poets. The prompt is “leap.”

Gingeritis

 

Gingeritis

I find that my life is rapidly slowing.
I’m gingerly coming and gingerly going,
for if I move quickly in shower or mall
I slip and I stumble. I bump and I fall.

I eat gingerbread cookies and drink ginger ale.
I mince more fresh ginger over my kale,
thinking that once I have eaten a faceful
somehow I’ll develop a gait that’s more graceful.

Yet when I go faster,
with steps that are vaster,
I find that once more
I’m down on the floor.

So again I move gingerly, with great attention,
hoping that no one will notice and mention
that I’m also shrinking, and the lower I get
with less distance to fall, still the slower I get.

I don’t need a walker. I don’t need a cane.
I’m not yet in need of the handicapped lane.
Please don’t offer a wheelchair for boarding the plane.
I’m entirely capable, plus I’m too vain

to be labeled as elderly, seen as infirm
I have not yet contracted that “elderly” germ
that will render me helpless and feeble and fumbling.
I simply step gingerly, lest I go tumbling.

The prompt today was gingerly.

Memory Games

 

Memory Games

The only thing that makes my present memory lapses at all bearable is that all of my friends seem to be having the same problems. I lose my keys, find them and before I make it out the door, lose them again.  When I drive into town, I usually forget at least twice where I am going and end up repeating again and again, “Bank to get money. Bank to get money,” or “Pick up Glenda.” The other day, however, I reached a new low.

I was about to Skype a friend to tell him where I was going and why I wouldn’t be home for the rest of the afternoon. I was going to the awards luncheon for a local news magazine. I’ve been reading this publication monthly for 16 years and submitting work to it for nearly this long. Long story short, I am very very well acquainted with its name, but suddenly, I could not for the life of me remember what it was.  I shook my head, trying to shuffle and refile my memory, but nothing popped into mental view until suddenly, the word “ajo” popped up. Ajo what? “Ajo del Agua.” It sounded sort of right but something seemed wrong. Ajo?  Garlic? Agua? Water? Why would a paper be named garlic water? Yet it seemed so right.  Ajo. Ajo. It was driving me crazy.  Oh, wait, I was already crazy.

It was disturbing me greatly and then, suddenly “Ojo del Lago” slipped into the right slot in my brain.  Yes.  “Eye of the Lake” sounded much more appropriate than “Garlic Water.”  Oy Vey.  That phrase is starting to feel ever more appropriate to express the events of my life lately.

El Ojo del Lago is a cool monthly publication also available for free online. Here is the link:

 http://chapala.com/elojo/

If you have a story or poem you think might be appropriate, they are always looking for submissions.