Category Archives: Poems about aging

Substandard in My Dotage

Well-dressed-older-women
     

Substandard in My Dotage

My body is substandard, defective, under par.
It does okay for walking if I don’t walk very far,
but at jogging mile after mile I would not be my best.
My left knee hath a hitch in it and so it doth protest.

And as for aesthetics, it takes no art detective
to discover all the many ways that I am  defective.
My skin is pale and blotchy and will not stay in place.
It sags here on my underarms and here below my face.

My fingernails are ridgy, my toes starting to curl.
Everything is different from when I was a girl.
And though I have less hair now in places where it’s been,
When I go in search of it, I find it on my chin.

Gravity has claimed those spots where once I was most perky.
That neck so firm and regal now resembles most a turkey.
The pounds that all my life I have been struggling to lose,
as by magnetism have settled where they choose.

Some ladies age most gracefully. I fear I am not one.
Of all the charms of aging I’ve not captured even one.
So I guess I’ll just dress funny with a little flair.
Put shadow on my eyelids and feathers in my hair.

I’ll jangle all my bracelets and put on all my rings.
I’ll give away old lady clothes and wear more stylish things.
At least I’ll finish my last yard with a little dash.
What I lack in all the rest I’ll make up with panache.

 

Substandard is the prompt word today. Photo borrowed from the Internet.      

Brick Wall

 
cat·a·pult  : a device in which accumulated tension is suddenly
released to hurl an object some distance, in particular.

Brick Wall

Two times in the kitchen—hurrying like a fool.
One time on the terrace when I tripped over a stool.
Three times in the hall when I stumbled on the stair.
The wall my forehead hit each time needed no repair.
Not so my skull which needs new paradigms inside
of how to live my life by slowing down my stride.

I am scared of my subconscious—it’s refusing to be tamed.
If I do not learn its language, I’m afraid I’ll soon be maimed.
When steps and mops in pails and stools taught me not at all,

my stubborn subconscious launched me at a wall,
totalling my car—a frighteningly close call.

Bruised and sore, I hear the words  the doctor said,
“Take these pills two times a day and spend five days in bed.”
Six bad falls? One totalled car? I finally do the math.
Something wants to put obstacles in my path.
It says, “Take off the running shoes. Reduce those trips to town.
Loll around a few days more in your dressing gown.

Never do more than one thing. Give each thing its time.
To think I can do all of it is simply asinine.
Why do I think that I should be continually busy?
Why go up on ladders when I know it makes me dizzy?

The less I do it seems there are more I shouldn’t do’s.
Somedays it’s an adventure just locating my shoes
and cell phone and my glasses and finally, my keys.
Then I drive to town for broccoli and come home with blue cheese.
When did it get more difficult? It seems this is all new,
and yet I wrote about those falls a year ago or two.

A catapult propels one up over the wall
and over every obstacle that could cause a fall.
Why avoid the catapult? Why think that I should be
the person I was yesterday—that one no longer me?
Ironic that the catapult instructs me to slow down,
leave prat falls to the stunt man and the circus clown.
“Put some space around the things that you think you should do.
Take some time to hear what life’s trying to tell you.
All this beauty for your eyes yet often you don’t see it.
That same beauty within you waiting for you to be it.”

Catapult is the daily prompt, but this poem certainly also works for the prompt Reprieve.

Grandpa’s Lament

Version 3

Grandpa’s Lament

Oh to be nimble, unfettered and young––
heedless, with yesterday’s breath on my tongue.
Scuffed shoes unpolished and hair all awry,
with nary a reason for white shirt or tie.

Chucking small stones, shooting rubber bands.
Gritty black fingernails, scandalous hands
sporting sand from the sandbox or silky black loam
from digging for earthworms or sliding on home.

I’d like to be lithesome and agile and spry––
a long life in front of me before I die;
but my years are numbered, my life’s nearly over.
Gone is my past as a rambler and rover.

I sit on my porch and watch younger men
take off for those places I’ve already been;
knowing my wild years are too far behind me.
I’m an Energizer bunny with no one to wind me.

Maddeningly, although I know I still dream, I forget them the moment my eyes open. Instead, I usually wake up with the first line of a poem on my mind. In this case, I used it as the second line of this morning’s poem.

Snap

 

Snap

You flavor my memory with common tastes: Spam and corned beef hash.
You wanted to be the common man, but you were anything but.
The bold aggression and the subtle feminine sweep of what you formed—

beautiful. Your hands never clumsy as they sculpted wood and stone.
Metal bent and melted into beauty at your touch,
and colors lifted the wings you gave them.


I floated, also–– too independent to be formed by you,

but still uplifted that a man like you could love me.
It validated something in me—those hard choices I had made
because I listened to something vivid in myself I had not yet found a name for.
Dreams taught me. And synchronicity.

I had always wanted to be a wanderer­­­­—to try to quench those yearnings
that had haunted my daydreams since I was a child.
I cut the ties that bound and wandered West to find you—stable man
pinned by your wings to obligation all your life.
Instead of pinning me down, you wandered with me.
The gypsy life of making and selling art. The easy camaraderie of that circus life.
The vans and wagons circling every weekend in a different convention center parking lot.
Nights pulled into the woods or by the ocean.
Short nights in transit, parked in neighborhoods where we’d be gone by six.
The song of tires on the road, Dan Bern and Chris Smither. Books on tape.
Pulling quickly off the road to lug a dead tree or a well-formed boulder into the van
or to engineer its route up to the roof,
so we returned home as heavily laden as we had departed—
bowed under by the fresh makings of art.

The texture of our home life was silver dust and wood curls.
Its sounds were the stone saw and the drills and polisher.
The heat of the kiln hours after it had lost its art.
The fine storm spray of the sandblaster,
the whine of drills and whirling dervish of the lathe.
The smell of resin, redwood, stone dust, paint.
The sharp bite of metal. The warm bread smell of cooling fired clay.
Every bit of my life was flavored by what you loved––what I loved, too,
our interests merging so completely that for awhile
we had no separate lives, but one life welded end-to-end.

These remembraces are not organized or filed.
They flutter into my mind like hidden lists blown off tall shelves.
That life now a scrapbook of the past with certain photos plucked out
to be tucked under bedroom mirror rims or carried in wallets.

Snap. You put yourself into my mind.

Snap. Another memory follows,
and I am an old woman replaying her life.
Snap. The creak of the tortilla machine across the street in the early hours.
The loud rush of the surf, the rattling startup of a motorcycle.
The raspberry seed between my teeth,
the scent of the dog’s bath still on my hands,
sand gritting the sheets
and art projects taking over every surface.
Snap. I am me, looking for the next adventure.

 

Below photos snapped a few minutes ago. Proof of the tale.  New projects.
Click on first photo to enlarge and see all photos.

 

 

The prompt today was vivid.

Where Time Goes

 Version 2

Where Time Goes 

They have not vanished without a trace.
Past years are written on your face.
They web your skin like finest lace,
its former smoothness to efface,
and write a story in its place.

The prompt today was replacement.

Spot Amnesia

Spot Amnesia

How can I sort the world out to when I was only ten?
I’ve taken my mind back there and come back here again.
Eleven I remember, and I also recall nine,
Grades one through four and six through twelve, I remember fine.
Why can’t I remember that year when I was ten?
I opened up an album to take me back again.
I see that I was chubby and had unfortunate hair.
Maybe that is reason enough to keep me out of there.
To live just in the present can block a lot of pain.
Sunny days are better without memories of rain.
Perhaps this digging in the past is something to be curbed,
and certain memories are not meant to be disturbed.
Whatever blocked my fifth year out will be allowed to die.
There’s wisdom in the adage to just let sleeping dogs lie.

 

The prompt word today is “ten.