Pink’s been reserved for babies. Black and blue are much abused. You need only look at nature to see green’s been overused. You would not like the fuchsia, it is gaudy and distracting. And yellow’s like an ingenue who’s been caught overacting. White’s not really there at all and scarlet is too flashy. Tan can be depressing. Gold lamé is simply trashy. Silver strands among the gold by some are found distressing. Flesh a color that’s best seen only while undressing. Gray is simply nondescript. It looks like white that’s dirty, and day-glo colors best reserved for people under thirty. Deep purple is too moody and mauve is also glum, as are other purples like heather, puce and plum. Taupe’s a mousy color—too boring to be worn, and gold they’re holding in reserve for bankers (and for corn.) But you can have the oranges from tangerine to peach— all the tints and shades and tones that are within your reach. Pluck oranges from the color tree a dozen at a time. I’ve no use for a color that has no words that rhyme.
This silly poem came about as a result of a family story much-told. When my mother and father made a trip to Appalachia, they were waiting at a train station and saw a woman with a number of children. One little boy was especially fussy and kept pulling at a lumpy and heavy-looking bag that his mother was carrying in the arm that wasn’t holding the baby. The train was pulling into the station and that little boy was balking and holding up their progress toward the train platform when the mother called out to him in a harried voice, “You can have all the ahr-anges you wants when you git on the train!” It has been a much-used family saying ever since, especially useful when someone is holding up the act!
My ending line actually came about as I was trying to find a word to rhyme with orange and realized there weren’t any. I believe it is somewhat famous for this fact. Well, that and the sunset!
Our lives are made, by end of day with rules we choose to disobey— those pathways we choose to walk down to find a different part of town. Strange roads to new territory that make the ending of our story one unplanned, our life replotted. All carefully scribed plans now blotted out, with new ones wildly scribbled in new colors brash and ribald— breaking rules carefully set for new patterns you won’t regret, making our lives messier, more “maybe” and less “yessier.”
Every rigid rule undone
might simply make our lives more fun.
Before it had been pillaged–scraped and torn and rent,
nature had a dignity everywhere you went.
A hill remained a hillside and a stream remained a stream.
This was before the elements began their silent scream—
long before the advent of smog and acid rain—
before our exploitation of the earth became inane
with our damming and our digging, our culling and our raping—
before we had created a world that needs escaping.
Now we thrust out into space to find another place to plunder
to repeat inane histories. To ruin and tear asunder.
Any new place that we find, thinking it a haven,
will soon be altered as before with acts as crudely craven.
We do not learn our lessons. We never quite atone
for messing into matters we should have left alone.
Like children picking at a scab, then worrying the sore,
we’ll frack the universe apart and crack it at its core.
The prompt today is willy-nilly. Now, what would you say the chances would be that I’d have written a poem that already contained that word? If you are thinking practically nil, then you are WRONG! Not only did I write a poem containing “willy-nilly” over two years ago, but it is even in the title. The assignment then was to talk about a holiday created in my honor and to describe it all—music, refreshments, decorations and who would come. Here it is, warts and all:
A Holiday Most Willy-Nilly
My namesake day would be a dilly. Simply not run-of-the-milly. For the concert, I’d have Willie and resurrect Milli Vanilli. Kind of music? Rock-a-Billy. For refreshments, I’d serve Chili. Though the terrain would be most hilly, they’d travel over rock-and-rilly for races of both stud and filly, and poets, fleet of tongue and quilly, reading poems both sage and silly.
For weeks I’ve been suspended in clouds and foggy weather. Up here on the mountain, I can’t determine whether there’s another world out there or if I am alone, banished for a life of sins for which I must atone. I don’t believe in Purgatory. Don’t believe in Hell or other childhood stories that grownups chose to tell. Yet something living in the mist has seeped out into me. Suddenly I’m restless. I’m not content to be. There’s something still left in the world although I don’t know what. What I’ve thought of as security is suddenly a rut. I haven’t lived my life out. There’s much that I have missed. I’m needing much more laughter. I’m needing to be kissed. As soon as this fog lifts away and full light reappears, I’ll solve all my confusions. I’ll sweep away my fears. The road will be much clearer when it isn’t half-obscured. I’ll see the bait that life has set and let myself be lured.