Once I was unstoppable, but now my moves are tentative. My tones once sweet and wheedling have now turned argumentative. My salad days gone limp, “cute as a penny” turned to brass, people take as vitriol what once they saw as sass. My image has been shattered. When I look in the mirror, I prefer to view me far away instead of standing nearer. I once was an ingenue with all the roles I wanted. I faced the cameras brazenly, unfiltered and undaunted. But now I find the only lenses on my face are trifocals. The cameras? Gone without a trace.
Is it love or obligation? I am driven to inquire. It’s the sort of information that I’m not going to acquire unless I ask you bluntly. He’s a noxious sort of fellow— shriveled-up and cranky, and his fingernails are yellow!
He’s a worn-out western movie star, but I swear his past is not the sort of glamor that’s been shown to last. Marry a guy for former fame? My dear, it isn’t groovy. If you want to see him at his best, may I suggest a movie?
The gleam of ruby slippers, the taste of Jujy Fruit— sensations of our youth that aging can’t refute. Obliged to eat our green beans, jelly-roll came after. Midnight loneliness gave way to breakfast table laughter. Good and bad mixed up in each. The freedom of old age compared to flexibility of youth? It’s hard to gauge.
Red wine or hot cocoa, a warm cat on your lap, nodding off in hammocks versus a daily nap prescribed by Mom no matter how unsleepy you might be. Whether you sit under or climb the cherry tree. All your life lived here in this same small town, morphing from baptismal to your wedding gown.
Eight years old or eighty, good times follow strife. All of them together making up a life.
She struggles to keep time as they circle ’round the floor, her flushed face with its rosy hues signaling “no more!” This dancing she once lived for has come to be a task, whereas the problem once was whether any boy would ask.
Standing in the wallflower line, wishing for a fella, whereas sixty years later, a chair and an umbrella would serve to meet her wishes, for this dancing in the sun at her grandson’s wedding has turned out to be no fun.
What she needs in her dotage is not cognate with the dreams of those age fifteen fantasies that burst her at the seams, spilling out her future hopes, sure they’d be the same— that there would be no change of rules in this living game.
Memories of graceful maneuvers through the night
remembered at one’s leisure are a pure delight. Yet all those youthful dreams of blithely swirling ’round the floor
have matured into her fantasies of sneaking out the door.
Hide and seek, hide and seek. I set them down and then I peek here and there, in purse and pocket. Find my keys and grandma’s locket but I do not find my glasses even after countless passes over tables, desks and floors. Opening cupboards, searching drawers. My life is like that childhood game, but it’s hardly just the same, For unlike others seeking me, what I’m seeking I cannot see.
The first NaPoWriMo prompt this year is to write a poem wherein our life is described in terms of a metaphor that is an action. I am comparing my life to playing hide and seek. More literal than figurative, I fear.
(If you’re not familiar, NaPoWriMo – the National Poetry Writing Month – happens every April, an offshoot of NaNoWriMo. Back in 2013 I joined the movement, and I’ve been writing poems daily ever since. If you’re curious, HERE is my first NaPoWriMo poem!)
As she awakened from her afternoon nap, she could see the glow of the lit-up dial of the alarm clock even through her closed eyelids. Everything on her body was thinning out. Her hair hung so limply that all she could do was to push it behind her ears and smooth it back from where it formed fuzzy little swirls on her forehead. Her arms sprouted an archipelago of purplish dry torn bruises—new ones every time she knocked up against a door frame or pruned the thunbergia vines. No one ever mentioned these bruises, although her children were perceptive and must have noticed them on those occasions when they stopped by on their way home from work to bring her groceries or to open the damper in the chimney and check that the gas lines had not clogged up over the summer.
Today it was her son who rang her doorbell to check up on her and accept a fast cup of coffee. It was going to be a cold winter, he lectured, so she needed a fire. Did she want him to light it for her? No, she wasn’t cold, but she would do it herself later, she insisted. For the hundredth time, he lectured her on being careful to make sure the pilot was working every time, then feigned interest in what sparse news she had to impart. She feared her subscription to life had expired along with most of her friends. What new did she have to say about this week’s installment of Mrs. Maisel or even the weather, now that it had turned gray and unchangeable––much like her life?
After ten minutes, he was off to children and wife and supper, and she was glad for this. She kissed him good-bye. A good boy. She had been fortunate in her life. She moved over to the fireplace. It was cold already, she thought, as she bent over to close the damper and blow out the standing pilot light on the fireplace, then turned on the gas.
That crepey neck. I’m going to look like my Grandmother. But I refuse to wear blue tennis shoes like her, and when my jewelry starts turning black, I’ll stop wearing it. I won’t use straight pins for buttons or rat my hair and roll it in a bun. I won’t save Cracker Jack prizes in canning jars
or give all my money to the Seventh day Adventists. I will not save food in my purse to take home from family dinners, and I won’t let so many cats sleep in the henhouse.
The Lake Chapala, Mexico area where this apartment building has been going up for over a year is home to the largest group of American and Canadian expats in the world—most of them over 60 years old. That taken into account, I don’t think its sign sends the correct message to their targeted renters. I’m sure the name “Last Apartments” is a rather unfortunate translation of “UltimosDepartamentos,” and for the superstitious, it is definitely not a great selling point. (Most probably, their intention was to convey that they will be the latest or best in design, but the translation from Spanish to English leaves the impression that no renter will be leaving the premises alive!)
Please post your own example of unfortunate signage on your blog, pingback to this page and use the tag “Unfortunate Signage.”