Category Archives: Poem

Fame

Fame

I don’t want to be Gwyneth, Julia or Pink,
Madonna, Shakira or Cher.
Their kind of renown is simply too much.
Much more than this woman could bear.

Though there’s no famous person that I’d rather be,
it’s not that I wouldn’t like fame.
It’s just that I want to be known for myself
and not by another one’s name.

I want to be known for my words and my art,
but not by my form or my face.
So I can dine out and walk down the street
without all the bother and chase.

I want to go out for a coffee or tea
and see someone reading my book.
And without her knowing, to study her face,
interpreting how she may look

as she reads every page, be it smile or tear,
I’d be known by my writing alone.
Like watching your child go out in the world
to establish a life of its own.

I want to stand hiddenunknown by the world,
to observe someone viewing my art.
To see if what registers there on his face
is what I’ve revealed of my heart.

Unnoticed, unphotographed and unpursued,
I could walk at my usual pace.
I’d get to the finish in plenty of time
without ever joining the race.

I wrote this poem four years ago, but it is perfect for today’s prompt word of  famous.

Modern Bride

 


Modern Bride

The groom’s family was titled and a bit anachronistic.
So when they saw the bride, I fear they went a bit ballistic.
Instead of white she wore a dress of scarlet oddly draped.
The mother of the groom grew faint. Her husband merely gaped.
She wore something archaic instead of merely old—
her grandma’s feather boa—a bridal statement bold.
Around her neck, a python, and her arms were densely bangled.
Her veil pinned to a tractor hat of satin, oddly-angled.
The brim turned back as though she were an umpire at a game.
In short, the bride’s ensemble was anything but lame.

As she hip-hopped down the aisle to a tune by Kanye West,
the groom stood fondly watching her in morning coat and vest.
Her lipstick blue, her bustier was borrowed and conditional
on return to its owner in a manner most traditional.
To complete her fashion statement, her combat boots were blue,
and if you’ve paid attention, you could guess that they were new!
Her bouquet was fresh dandelions bound up with some chives.
She held it in one hand and with the other, gave high fives
to friends all up the aisle as she jerked her way on by.
The groom’s mom gave a shudder and his father gave a sigh.

So did this modern wedding  forsake the antiquated
with customs much less stuffy, less predictable and dated.
The wedding fare was tacos, Cuban sandwiches and chips,
jelly beans and donuts, crudites and dips.
No caviar or salmon. Just ribs and Tater Tots.
The toasts to bride and groom were made with jello shots.
The wedding cake was chocolate with custard between layers.
Good wishes  voiced by ministers, gurus and namaste’ers.
In place of rice the bride and groom were showered with quinoa.
In short, it was a wedding to rival mardi gras!

 

The prompt today is archaic.

Agave Marias

 

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Agave Marias

Two sides are battling for possession of my life. One pushes me ahead, urging, “Do, do, do, and you will be of value,” but the other twines a hand around my ankle and pulls me down to earth and whispers, “Be.” The “Proud Marys,” I have named these contrasting women who emerge one at a time from my center, but since I have lived in Mexico for seventeen years now, perhaps Maria would be a better shared name. A name is all they share, for by their own natures one is an outward person: a doer, a liver of life, a socializer. The other is inner: a reclusive watcher, dreamer, thinker, artist and writer.

Some people know how to balance these voices, but I don’t. And so I live on a little seesaw of made and canceled plans, meetings and random days of alternately reading, writing, watching movies or wandering around my house attending to my ever-lengthening “to do” list. What is life, I wonder? Is it your accomplishments? I have lists of those I seem to have less and less willpower to sit down to and finish. It’s like I have to sacrifice the satisfaction of ticking things off a list for the promise of a different kind of life.

I don’t think I’ve every really felt I had significance other than as a doer of things: artist, writer, committee chairman, decorator of houses, organizer of my friends’ lives. Yet during all of this activity, I always suspected that all around me people were leading lives that were more fun than mine, more satisfactory. If I gave more, did more, accomplished more, I thought I would attract this ideal life to me.

A tour guide once explained to me the importance of the agave plant in Mexico. For the Mexican of the past, the agave was what the buffalo was to the American plains Indian. Different parts of the agave plant were used to make rope, housing, clothing, food, dye and last but never least, mescal—the finest of tequila-like alcohol. So perhaps I should call my Marias the Agave Marias. Between them, they furnish me with all of the necessities of life. One says organize, proceed in a linear fashion. The other says, “Brainstorm. Go with the flow. Let process win over need for a perfect product.” So I let one Maria lead me through my mind and put it all down on paper, now and then letting the other Maria pop in to clean things up a bit and organize. Agave Marias, furnishing it all.

Childless, have I instead created all of the possibilities for myself within myself? In refusing to give birth, have I hoarded all of the possibilities of my genes within myself and is that what has led to this slightly schizophrenic seesaw of existence-—one day running off for an entire day of activity, the next staying home behind walls? One side wanting to be Cinderella at the ball, the other side wanting only the security of my own hearth?

I was married for fourteen years and before that lived with another man for three years, I’ve also had female roommates, but most of my life has been lived alone. There is some part of me that only exists in solitude and when I’m too long away from her, I miss her. Without her I feel superficial. It is from this side of my Agave Maria that I draw all of my real nourishment—my creativity, my soul. The other Maria is my reward—the finished product, the publication party or the book tour.

All of the seed I hoarded has given birth to these different entities within myself. Failing to produce offspring, I have become my own offspring. These children, my Marias, journey out from me but always return to the wellspring. I go to the party but come home to snuggle into bed for the entire next day, venturing out only for popcorn and a different CD. Or I sit on the side of the tub for two hours with my laptop on my lap, writing a story which takes me into a wonderful world of my own creation.

It is Christmas, and in the background, a chorus sings what to my ears becomes, “Agave Mar-eee-e-e-e-aaaah,” and the beautiful notes convince me, for a short time, that I am the mother of creation, the one Maria that all of Mexico celebrates, tattoos upon their chests, dyes into their T-shirts, puts on decals and bumper stickers, commemorates in stone or plaster or clay or wood in every house. She is the spirit of duality in all women and in all men: flesh and spirit, of this world as well as heaven, of the utilitarian and the creative, human and divine.

All of us are Agave Marias, learning to collect ourselves and pull all sides of ourselves in to ourselves to appreciate them. We are our own mothers as well as our sisters and daughters and friends. Within all of us are these Agave Marias, like sisters absolutely indispensable to each other who are nonetheless competing for our attention.

“Honor them by listening to each,” Mother Maria says to me and suddenly I realize that there are more than two Agave Marias within me. This third motherly Maria seeks to reconcile the others and whispers, “Look deeper. There is always one more. All welcome. All part of life.”

 

The daily prompt was Narcissism. Since I had already written on this topic in April, I chose a slightly different slant on this prompt, concentrating on the different sides of myself in a slightly nacissistic manner. My original Narcissism poem, published in April for NaPoWriMo is HERE.

Loud Music in the Rainy Season

 

Click on any photo to enlarge all.


Loud Music in the Rainy Season

Up above me, such a din!
I feel my patience growing thin.
Cross fingers that they do not fall
as workmen scamper over all,
balancing on domes and peaks,
replacing roof tiles, sealing leaks.

They’re taking the old surface off
all my domes and drainage trough,
putting membrane down and goo
that will not let the water through
in June when rains beat hard and steady,
although, alas, they’ve come already!

The dogs are sent into a tizzy.
Looking up, I just get dizzy.
In this world that I love so,
down here in lovely Mexico,
now the grinder joins the din.
In a noise Olympics, it would win!

My thoughts all center on escaping
this chipping, drilling, pounding, scraping.
How I’d like to leave this all
for relative quiet at the mall!
But, alas, I must remain
a martyr to construction pain.

Ear plugs having no effect,
before my sanity is wrecked,
I turn up music to a SHOUT
to let Bob Dylan drown them out.
Now Caitlin Cary croons and sings
that she is “Sorry” and other things.

Eliza Gilkyson’s rough croon
is over oh too soon, too soon.
The silence that her true love speaks
replaced now by the sander’s shrieks,
I turn the iPod on again,
full force, to drown out all the din.

I’ve no sympathy for the neighbors’ plight.
Their damn dog kept me up all night,
and if my eardrums are to be shot
I would rather that it’s not
by machines like those above,
but rather by a sound I love.

The prompt word today is “thin.”

Mongrel Maven



Mongrel Maven

My bloodline’s scattered here and there—
a genealogist’s nightmare.
Racially, I’m broadly mixed.
The KKK would have me fixed.
My lineage being under-par,
I cannot join the D.A.R.
I have no claims to royalty,
so my name is title-free.
Who I am is merely me.
For this I need no pedigree!

 

The prompt word today is pedigree.

Pen and Ink

 

Pen and Ink

The pen that stands, clipped and inert
in the pocket of your shirt
has no power on its own
so long as it is left alone,
but once held upright in your grip,
free of cap and free of clip,
it forms a partnership of sorts
that spews out pithy, smart retorts.

It snaps the present into line
with words that, effortless, combine
in sentences that, once unfurled,
have the power to change the world.
I ask you, who would ever think
that two joined objects—pen and ink—
could form a perfect synergy
to spew out jokes or tragedy?

Guided by a hand like yours,
a pen can open many doors.
A simple point, an ink-trailed line,
could link your heart with one like mine.
Unclip it now. Uncap its point.
Let paper now that ink anoint.
Let words turn somersaults and caper.
Let words flow from your heart to paper.

Let ink flow rampant from its cage
to dance across the naked page.
No telling what it might report
as words go wild and cavort.
“I” and “love” and “you” might do
a sort of line-dance or soft-shoe.
Words just might and words just may
leak out and give your heart away.

The prompt word for Tourmaline’s One Word Photo Challenge is pen.

Core Identity

Judy's new haircut and thin lips

Core Identity

Whoever really gets to see
what is at the core of me?
Neither my mother nor my lover
gets to see beneath my cover.
No surgery has extracted it.
It’s not exposed in ire or wit.
It’s in a corner still unlit,
buried in identity’s pit.

Even I have not exhumed it, for
I’ve never found my very core.
Some say it’s found in meditation,
prayer or true love’s exaltation,
but I have journeyed into each
merely to wind up on the beach
of what I know must be the sea
of my soul’s identity.

Perhaps it is the world’s distractions––
all its toys and fine abstractions,
its petty jealousies and fears
regarding family and careers
that get me lost while searching for
that ladder, passageway or door
that will lead me to the root of me––
that seed of my identity.

Perhaps in death we’re rejoined with
the part of us that is our pith.
Could it be what life is for—
this striving toward identity’s core?
Perhaps the lonely death I fear
will finally serve to bring me near,
away from all those things I’m not
to that whole self I’ve always sought

 

The WordPress prompt today is core.