Tag Archives: poem about aging

A Woman Alone: for the Sunday Writing Prompt

 

A Woman Alone

I am airborne in the hammock,
the small dog on my stomach,
but patting the bigger dog
on the ground below us
to assuage his jealousy.

I watch this week’s brand of butterflies
popping like popcorn
above the audacious flowers
of the tabachine bush,
and that confused hummingbird
that has mistaken the Soleri bell for a flower.

I eat pizza at midnight
and swim naked in the pool at 2 am.
My cats know my sins
and like me better for them.

When I talk to the air,
it is unclear whether I talk to the cats
or to myself.
Who might the neighbors think I am talking to?
Some new lover?
Most probably not.

Those of us who live alone
are never really quite alone in Mexico,
where private lives
are so easily shared
in spite of walls.
It is as though
sounds echo more easily
in the high mountain air,
and we become one large family,
putting up with each other’s secrets.

But, no responsibility
for husband or children or roommates,
we sink into the luxury of selfishness.
Sleeping at odd hours,
wearing our pajamas from bedtime
to wake-up
to next bedtime,
calling out to the gardener from behind curtains,
accustoming the housekeeper to our sleepless nights
and long mornings of slumber.

No one to explain the junk drawer to,
or the large accumulation of toilet paper rolls,
for which you have a definite purpose
that you never quite get around to.

The luxury of a nude body
no one else short of the doctor
will ever see.
The back of your head
where snarls can exist
unchallenged
until the next trip to town.

The Petit Ecole cookies
you need not share
with anyone.
The unmade bed uncensored.
The best hammock always your own.
An internet band unshared.

Only your toothbrush in the glass beside the sink.
Every leftover cup of coffee
sitting on surfaces around the house
one you can sip out of
with no fear of any disease
other than the ones you already harbor.

Alone.
What you always feared.
That fear now behind you.
You were so wrong.

 

For Sunday Writing Prompt: The Quiet One

Final Curtain

Final Curtain

Behind a tangle of bushes and impenetrable wood,
paint peeling from its walls in strips, the ancient mansion stood.
A blemish on our neighborhood, the property condemned.
By its neighbors’ pristine hedges, its boundaries were hemmed
like burnsides on each side of an unruly mustache.
And no amount of pressure and no amount of cash
could persuade the one who lived there—a widow old and frail
to repair her ravaged property or put it up for sale.

And though neighbors voiced their protests, she challenged one and all
simply by remaining behind her crumbling wall.
At night, thin wispy music from her gramophone
leaked out through the bushes as she danced on all alone
over creaking floorboards, reliving bygone days
and a life once vivid now diminished to a haze.
Reenacting dramas of a life gone by too fast,
she played the heroine while other roles all went uncast.

 

Prompt words today are challenge, blemish, burnsides, tangle and property. Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash, used with permission.

Fruitless Efforts

 

Fruitless Efforts

I know what they say because I’ve heard the buzz.
My profile, alas, is not what it was.
But the fact that some parts of me have required
more helpful support as they have retired

does not negate the simple true fact
that all my former charms are intact.
They shifted location against my behest. 
My breasts have moved south, my hips east and west,

and my upper arms have chosen to rest
in regions below where they’ve deemed that it’s best
to hang in their hammocks without so much tension
as when they were forced to remain at attention.

Some women thirst for their trim bods of yore,
but frankly, I find their efforts a bore.
Whether they seek them by suction or scalpel,
by fairy wand, prayer or by decree Papal,

it doesn’t seem worth it for when they get fit,
what are they going to accomplish by it?
For though they are going to look mighty fine,
what lovers are left by the age 89?

 

Prompt words are tired, wand, thirst, negate and profile.

 

Cease and Desist Order

 

Cease and Desist Order

My car’s due for an overhaul, but unlikely to get it.
My dog could use a clipping, but I’m not going to vet it.
I’m balking at improvements. I like things as they are.
I don’t want people poking at my dog or at my car.

Though my house might be enlivened by another coat of paint,
I like the faded, peeling look. I think it’s sort of quaint.
And though my coat is tattered and fraying at the hem,
it is my favorite garment—my closet’s unset gem.

You won’t wrest it from my clutches, for my grasp is strong and sure.
There’s not one thing in my whole life that’s needful of a cure.
So let my grass grow longer and let last fall’s leaves lay.
Let us all just rest here to molder fast away.

I do not want a face lift. I’m fine the way I am.
I have no need for beauty aids to make me look more glam.
When it comes to your suggestions, I must beg for their surcease!
All things don’t need improvement. You can let things age in peace.

 

 

Prompt words today are wrest, overhaul, balk and liven. First photo by Forgottenman. Second photo thanks to Curology on Unsplash. Both photos used with permission.

 

Then and Now

 

Then and Now

That spontaneous body that moved with swish and sway
never quite believed that there would come a day
when spring would turn to sprang and run turn into ran
and movement would become a thing achieved by plot and plan.

Dancing done in memory raises less of a sweat.
When we swim in remembrance, rarely do we get wet.
Every action has two pleasures. The first is when we do it,
but it’s equally fantastic later on when we review it.

 

Prompt words today are swish, body, spontaneous and fantastic.

Locationally Challenged

Locationally Challenged

I’ve misplaced my glasses. Yesterday it was my keys.
If they weren’t attached, I’m fairly sure I’d lose my knees.
Some say I’m absent-minded, others say I am forgetful,
but whatever you may call me, you can bet I’m often fretful.

Whenever I walk through my house, I am forever gleaning
things I’ve lost throughout the week since Yolanda’s last cleaning.
But though I look for hours, my passport just stays lost.
I obsess about it all week long. My dreams are tempest-tossed.

Monday morning, when she arrives, it takes her just a minute
to approach me with her hand held out with my passport in it!
Ironic that though I’m the only one here who can use it,
that I also seem to be the only one who can’t peruse it!

First I lost my laptop and then I lost its mouse.
I looked under the sofa. I combed the whole darn house.
I sought it in the hammock, in the front seat of my car.
It wasn’t on the bathtub ledge, the table or the bar.

Finally, I found it in the last place where you’d look—
on the shelf above the kibble in the doggie nook!
Too many things to think about. Too many things to do.
I simply have to find a way where I can shed a few.

I’ll sacrifice my waistline and a smooth complexion. 
I’ll put up with my creaky bones and energy’s defection.
Just to keep my memory is all that I am asking,
like back when I was young and I excelled at multi-tasking.

 Prompt words for today are misplaced, bet, legendary and glean.

All in Everything

Click on photos to enlarge.

All in Everything

My heart as empty as a room the party’s left behind,
I tell myself I am at peace and that I do not mind;
but it may be pertinent, if I am being truthful,
to admit as I say these words, that I am feeling ruthful.

Day-by-day, I improvise, insisting I am free.
‘I” can pursue anything not limited by “we.”
Driving past the railroad tracks, an engine rushing by
reminds me of those trips when I was young and wild and high.

Cheyenne out to Oregon, Sydney to Melbourne town.
Always a new place and new adventure going down.
That local train in Java, stopping a thousand times
at every local village–the hawkers and the mimes 

flooding all the aisles and all the window frames
insistently proficient in their selling games.
All the places where I went teeming with new faces,
constantly observing as life put me through its paces.

Before old age annexed me, I had a brilliant life
as student and explorer, as writer, artist, wife.
Those inevitable things, grave and prompting sorrow
were always covered over by the prospect of tomorrow.

But now that tomorrow is not such a certain thing,
I simply fall in line with whatever life may bring.
Knowing that I can’t flee fate, still I have seized my power
by finding a whole universe in bee and bird and flower.

 

j

 

 

Prompt words today are empty room, pertinent, improvising, annex, railroad tracks and grave.

Back to the Beginning

Click on photos to enlarge.

Back to the Beginning

When I began my journey, I was jocular and young—
no hardness in my heart and no burrs upon my tongue.
I hadn’t joined the fracas and the chilling of the years.
I had none of life’s baggage—no heartaches and no fears.

Life had not disseminated all her tawdry facts
and I had not encountered them by gossip or by acts.
No tricksters had deceived me. My heart remained intact.
I knew not what I’d missed. I was naïve of what I lacked.

And now that I am older, I’ve returned to what I had
before I had decided I must follow every fad.
The things that I’ve acquired? I am loosening my hold.
I’ve found that satisfaction is not something that is sold.

I have simplified agendas, taking time to see and do
all the things I overlooked while in the human zoo.
The progress of a caterpillar on a hanging vine
as effective as a church in reaching the divine.

The flutter of a wing, the morning calls of birds
reveal as much about the world as news reports or words.
Drawing back into what’s basic and screening the uncouth
has helped me in regaining the lighter heart of youth.

 

Prompt words for today are journey, trick, fracas, disseminate, chilling and  jocular,

Remembrance of Things Past Aug 17, 2020

Remembrance of Things Past

I think I’ve vanquished wanderlust. I do not pine for travel.
All my wandering hopes and dreams have started to unravel.
I have no need to ameliorate the life that I am living.
I find that simpler pleasures are ones that keep on giving
pleasure far after the fact. It seems that memory substitutes
to satisfy what once I gained via other attributes.
Events in memory flower again  after their first flowering.
A simple  perfect blossom on a plant once lush and towering.
I no longer need it all. What I have is sufficient.
I’ve learned so much this lifetime that with more I’d be omniscient.
Year by year and friend by friend, I’m losing more connections.
I only hope that I will not outlive my recollections!

The prompt words today are vanquish, wanderlust, longer, ameliorate and hope

(Click on photos below to increase size.)

 

I was looking for one photo to illustrate the poem and got sort of carried away..I could have added sixty more, so if you are from a period of my life not represented, sorry..I just took them as I could find them and suddenly realized I was getting excessive.  You are in my heart even if not on this page…

Mrs. Blumenschein Matriculates at Sixty

Mrs. Blumenschein Matriculates at Sixty

Enough with the babies. It’s time now for you.
Cease with the usual. Do something new.
For once be the player instead of the coach.
Let this school year start out with a brand new approach.
Before you’re a grandma, face your heart’s desire.
Matriculate college as others retire.
Sixty’s not too late to make use of your mind.
Create the life for which you have pined.
As your youngest departs to expand his knowledge,
pack up your own bags. It’s your own turn for college.

When I entered college in 1965, one of my fellow freshmen was Mrs. Blumenschein, age 60, mother of nine, who, when her youngest packed up for college, packed up and enrolled herself. She had long red tangled hair, the nicotine-stained fingers and cracked voice of a chain-smoker and a sharp mind. Graduating in four years with an A average, she became a graduate assistant in the English Department as she went on to get her masters. One form of discrimination rarely mentioned in this age of protest against racial, sexual and gender discrimination is ageism. Mrs. Blumeschein conquered that prejudice long before it ever became an issue elsewhere. So, here’s my tribute to Mrs. Blumenschein.

Prompts for the day are enough, baby, usual, matriculate and coach. Image thanks to Alonso Villa Ulloa on Unsplash, used with permission