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I wish that I’d been wilder and freer in my day.
Had imaginative friends to join me in my play.
I wanted to stage circuses and playact vivid scenes,
but schemes like this were always far beyond my means.
There wasn’t enough zaniness in anyone I knew
to dream my dreams or want to do what I yearned to do.
We’d play school or hospital or house when we were smaller,
but this imagination palled as we grew taller.
I wish there had been classes in writing and in art
to allow that side of me to flourish from the start.
Instead, I had to search for whatever it might be,
never finding anyone who seemed at all like me.
What was it I was lacking? Where was the rest of me?
I didn’t have a clue about what I was meant to be.
Half of my life I think that I was trying to fit in
to places and activities where I’d never win–
achieving just enough to make my life appear successful,
yet still I felt unsatisfied–unfulfilled and stressful.
Since I was nobody’s mom, nobody’s loving wife,
at thirty-one I ran away to find another life.
I quit my job and sold my house and caught a westbound train.
Perhaps I’d find in water what was lacking on the plain.
So I went to California and took a writing class.
Then another and another, until it came to pass
that I finally found the playmates lost to me in youth.
They were irreverent, creative, clever and uncouth.
Here, at last, I finally felt like I had found it all.
Words were the playthings that we tossed among us like a ball.
My own life now surrounded me–securely, like a bowl.
Here I felt a part of things–a section of the whole.
Later, I discovered I was an artist, too,
All my life, I hadn’t known. Hadn’t had a clue.
It took someone just guessing and pushing me that way.
Then I had two mediums for saying what I say.
Art filled out the rest of me ’til I was full at last.
It took almost forty years to find how I was cast.
And then all of those playmates lost to me as a child
began to pull me out with them–out into the wild
to paint myself and write myself anew each dawning day–
discovering those hiding parts in what I sculpt and say.
Every day, like hide-and-seek, I find another part–
all those portions of me I’ve been seeking from the start.
I know that second childhood is a derisive term,
but I have found in fact it is the apple, not the worm.
It is the food I feed upon, the fruit I’ve always sought.
It is simply what I am instead of what I’m not.
It’s filled with messy, juicy things like paint and flux and glue.
Explosive things like nouns and all those verbs like “am” and “do.”
What I missed in childhood, I found when I was thirty,
and it was simply glorious: naughty, messy, dirty.
I rolled around in words and paint with others of my ilk–
these artful things more nourishing than bread or mother’s milk.
At forty, fifty, sixty, I’ve become what I can be–
found what I lacked in childhood: friends that are like me!
The Prompt: is there anything you wish had been different about your childhood? https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/childhood-revisited-2/
I lie in bed, flat on my back, head raised by pillows,
computer raised to eye level
by a wadded comforter over bent knees.
I listen to raised voices in the village down below,
the staccato of an inadequately mufflered car revving up,
a hammer falling on wood, birds in the coco palms.
A pianissimo chorus of dogs spread
over the surrounding hills swells to a frenzied crescendo,
then falls silent but will swell again.
I have dropped obligations
like clothes shed for a lover.
My Saturday morning pool aerobics and zumba,
I slipped out of years ago.
Group luncheons hang from doorknobs and chair backs.
Committee meetings lie sloppily abandoned in the hall.
I have retired from the running of the world
to run my own small universe on paper.
Saturday morning is my brainstorm session
with “Me,” “Myself” and “I.”
“I” suggested feeding the dogs,
but they are quiet now, so
“Me” suggested we let them lie.
“Myself” laid out some words to dry
in the heat of the fire of our communal
inspiration, laying them smoothly on the page,
rumpling up others in her fist to send them sailing
to join the crumpled singles event invitations in the corner.
This slow Saturday morning dressing of pages
and stripping them bare
is a sort of ceremony celebrating seizing time
and making it my own.
Pages fill up with passion, angst, anger,
irritation, joy, laughter, camaraderie.
There is more than one word for each.
Imagine such control over your world–
not having to live the world of any other.
If you could have any life you wish?
Imagine a Saturday morning building it.
The Prompt: Me Time–What do you like to do on Saturday morning? Are you doing it now?
Over the past year, I have started to feel so encumbered by things that I feel like they are choking me. Even my art-filled and carefully arranged house, which I love, has started to make me feel like I’m trapped in one of my own collages.
I once wrote that I like to do assemblage because it is an arrangement that is glued down so other people can’t rearrange it, but recently I’ve begun to feel like one of those objects. I just can’t get myself unpinned from my present life. It is not that there is anything terribly wrong about it. Just that I no longer have a feeling of freedom..
Recently, I was asked what I would save if my house were on fire and I could only save five things. My answer would be an album of childhood pictures, an album of pictures from Africa and Australia, my computer and two backup drives. Then I’d put them in storage, buy a new computer and go on another trip around the world with no planned itinerary and no planned start or stop dates.
Why can’t I do this on my own? Who knows why we let ourselves be controlled by things? Maybe it is because we know we can’t take them with us and so we strive to get as much pleasure out of them as possible while we can. Perhaps it is because we fear that without things, we ourselves are nothing. Perhaps it is because we cannot see that the beauty is within ourselves. Perhaps it is because we fear that others give us value simply because of the things around us.
I once heard my eleven-year-older sister tell someone that she liked to visit her younger sisters because they both had such interesting lives and friends. I felt so sad that she hadn’t said that she loved to visit me because I, myself, was interesting and loved. I think this has influenced my feeling for her ever since.
My sister is now in the stages of dementia where pretty much everything has been taken from her. She no longer knows what most common objects are for, but my niece recently told me that she had been given a life-sized baby doll that she holds and rocks and talks to and that the other day she called it Judy. I guess she waited too long to express any feelings of love she might have felt for me. Now, she is seemingly expressing that love toward an object when all these years she could have been expressing it to the person who could have returned it. Is this what I’m doing by refusing to surrender the objects that fill my life? Maybe it is time to find out.
In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “For Posterity.”
The Prompt today was to write a post that you want to be remembered by. I’d like to try something different. Instead of my telling you what post I’d like to be remembered by, would each reader please post a comment telling which post you would most remember me by? It’s possible to search by topic if you don’t remember the title, or you can just scroll back through two years of prompts until you find your favorite. This would be very very interesting to me, might help you find some posts you’ve never read, and also give me a day off from the frustration of searching and searching for ways to learn and remember PC ways. Yes, I’m getting there, and I am beginning to think there was a reason for this painful lesson that forced me to learn how to coexist with my Acer. Last night my Mac came alive for a few minutes several times before shutting off, which led Duckie to believe the problem might be in the fan. It has resided in the rice bag for most of the time since it came back from Daniel the dismemberer and is back there now, with my camera, which I also got to work for a few minutes, so perhaps not all is lost and praise be to the restorative powers of rice. Remember this if you ever soak your camera or computer! I think the salt air is also a big contributor to computer demise. My next-door-neighbor Daniel (different Daniel) says his computers usually only last a year! Okay, on to your assignment. Please, please. Judy (aka Jury)
Update: I finally answered the prompt as written here.
The prompt: Digging Up Your Digs—500 years from now, an archaeologist accidentally stumbles on the ruins of your home, long buried underground. What will she learn about early-21st-century humans by going through (what remains of) your stuff?
Tools, pictures, clothes, shoes,
too much food and too much booze.
Too many games and too much fun
for a house of only one.
A mystery why this big collector
didn’t have the proper vector
directing her away from things:
(potions, lotions, bracelets, rings)
directing to another track—
something that could love her back.
But, for the rest of the story about living alone, go here
Alone is not lonely
And single’s no sin.
Solo is only
a state I am in
because I need time
to do what I do.
To scan and to rhyme,
to create and to stew
both poems and soups
without watching the clock
or jumping through hoops
or having to talk.
I really like cooking
dishes for one.
I’m simply not looking
for “coupley” fun.
I like doing art
far into the night.
This freedom is part
of traveling light.
Going solo is groovy.
Single-handed is fun,
and it might behoove you
to try being “one”
instead of a brace
or a duet or pair.
You’ll have all this space.
You’ll have all this air.
Your closet’s your own
to fill up with shoes.
No sharing a phone
and no bathroom queues.
You won’t have to fiddle
with left or with right.
You’ll sleep in the middle
You’ll eat what you want to
and dine when you wish.
You’ll get to eat tofu
and never eat fish.
You can stay up till dawn
to finish your quilt.
You’re nobody’s pawn,
so you’ll never feel guilt.
Leave coffee cups sitting
all over the house?
It’s behavior most fitting
when bereft of a spouse.
Pop bonbons and read
all day in your bed.
You can meet every need
when you’re no longer wed.
On the other hand though,
you must walk your own dog
and when water comes slow,
must unclog your own clog.
When you blow out a fuse
and your lawn goes unmown,
there are no “honey do’s”
when you’re all on your own!
Today’s “prescription” came from my friend Betty Petersen, a wonderful artist, who asked me to write a poem about the single life. If you have a topic you’d like me to write about, please post it on my blog or send it via Facebook or email.