Tag Archives: secrets

Out There

Out There

Back when you were innocent—back when you played the clown,
before your mind was jaded by seeking wide renown,
back before the pomp, the glory and the plaudits,
back before the news reports, the surveys and the audits,
back there when a diary preceded post and tweet,
there were words of innocence, secretive and sweet.

Back when every aspect of life was not for show,
back when information tended to move slow,
was there more than one hushed aspect of your life,
secrets not used against you, as lethal as a knife?
Everything’s now out there in selfies and YouTubes—
your angsts and loves and conquests, not to mention boobs.

What is left to grow inside, to flourish and to bloom?
What secrets left confined to the safety of your room?
Everything’s out spinning in the cruel world.
No way to get it back again, no secret ever curled
safely under the covers of a private book
where even your best friend has never had a look.

Do they still make diaries that aren’t electronic
where words languish on pages, quiet and laconic?
Where little girls confide their thoughts to a much-smudged page,
all their secret passions, their hurts and hopes and rage?
“Dear Diary” the sweetest confidant of all?
One that will never tell on you. One always there on call.

What will happen in a world where everything’s on view
forever to be classified, forever part of you?
Never will we ever leave our pasts behind.
Everything is indexed, simple enough to find.
Your sons and your daughters will peek into your past.
Google yourself now. Won’t they just have a blast?

Prompt words today were pomp, diary, jaded, aspect and clown.

I just stumbled upon my old diary from age eleven through thirteen yesterday. What a revelation. Facts garnered: I had someone sleep over at least three times a week, lots of relatives passed through one summer, my best friend went home mad a lot, I called lunch dinner and did the dishes every day, woke up late whenever I could and never revealed the names of secret crushes, even in my diary. I had a “dreamy” boy-girl party the year I turned 13 (a feat never repeated, at least among my friends) and danced with every boy except J (yuck.) Mr. G didn’t like me anymore (perhaps) and we seemed to take a lot of trips down to the Frosty Freeze at night––probably because other kids did the same and we had no other place to gather. Nothing, however, to preclude my running for public office and all easily burned if there were. And that simple event and the thoughts thereafter led to this poem.

 

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Naughty Little Pleasures: NaPoWriMo, April 1, 2018

jdb photo        

Naughty LIttle Pleasures

Naughty little pleasures, secret little games—
they are our private treasures, these solitary shames.
We never can admit them to family or friends,
for fear that doing so would  bring about their ends.
Childhood is when our private pleasure starts—
not stifling our sneezes or holding back our farts.
Eating the last cupcake or hiding Grandpa’s teeth.
Watching skirts on windy days to see what’s underneath.
Torturing sister’s Barbie Dolls and kidnapping her bears.
Reading Daddy’s magazines underneath the stairs.
Guzzling ice cream from the carton and milk right from the spout.
Opening sister’s love letters to see what they’re about.
Telling mom you’ll help her because she’s running late,
then licking all the cookies you’re putting on the plate.
If being perfect were more fun, then probably we would,
but there’s little pleasure in always being good.

For your listening pleasure, my friend Christine Anfossie added music to the poem and sent me a copy to share with you. Listen to it here: 

 

The NaPoWriMo prompt: write a poem that is based on a secret shame, or a secret pleasure.

Locked Secrets

Version 6

Locked Secrets

I’d just received my school’s math prize and my Uncle Jimmy, after handing me a twenty dollar bill, had, in his usual self-effacing manner, proclaimed that I must have gotten my smarts from him.  “How is it that you are both the pretty one and the smart one in your family?”  He teased.  My sister Eleanor was out of the room at the time.  If she’d been there and I hadn’t, he would have been proclaiming her the prettiest.  We all knew this about our uncle.  He adored us, and was not above flattery in revealing the fact.

This time, however, he had overlooked  both the precociousness and competitiveness of my two-and-a-half-year-old youngest sister, Stephanie.

“Elebben, eight, twenny, fiteen,” she recited proudly!

“Well, forgive me, Missy. Aren’t you a smart young lady, knowing how to count?” He reached into his lumpy pocket and tossed her a nickel.  Amazingly, she caught it.  Perhaps she was going to be the first athletic one in the family.

“Fohty-two!” she exclaimed proudly. “free, sebben-elebben, one, one, one.” This time he extracted his wallet, took out a one-dollar bill and handed it to her.  Putting his wallet back in his back pocket, he turned one side pocket inside out. “But that’s it, Teffie.  No more money. If you want to go on counting, it will have to be for free.”

His other pocket still bulged with its contents: coins, a rubber ball to throw for our dog Pudge, oatmeal cookie bits in a small plastic bag–also for Pudge.  My Uncle Jimmy always proclaimed that doggie treats were a real gyp and that no self-respecting dog would perform for such a dry, tasteless mouthful.  So, he preferred to bake his own dog treats.

My sisters and I agreed, and sometimes we would perform, hoping to be rewarded with one of Pudge’s treats.  We were all constantly performing for our uncle, whom we adored. He was the one person who paid more attention to us than to our parents when he visited.  He was our favorite babysitter, and our parents’ favorite as well, as he always waved away payment.

He would take us to Fern’s Cafe for strawberry malts, greasy hamburgers and mashed potatoes and gravy, since Fern didn’t have a French fryer. He took us for wild rides over cow pastures in his beat up old red Ford pickup.  Once he took us to a matinee cartoon show in Pierre, sixty miles away, and got us home and in bed again before my folks got home.  We were sworn to secrecy and so far as I know, none of us ever told.  I know for sure I didn’t.  My Uncle Jimmy had my undying loyalty.  I would have borne torture before giving away any of his secrets.

Sadly, Uncle Jimmy died during one of those wild rides across the South Dakota prairie.  This time he was flying solo over a dam grade and veered too far to the right, rolling the pickup.  He drowned trying to get out of the passenger door, the pickup mired driver-side down in the mud at the bottom of the dam.  We had always felt like such ladies as Uncle Jimmy graciously got out of his pickup to personally open the door from the outside for us.  We didn’t know then, as we know now, that it was a peculiarity of that door that it would only open from the outside.

“Thank God the girls weren’t with him,” my mother sobbed to my father, as they sat side-by-side at the kitchen table, my dad’s arms around her.  It was past midnight, and they were sitting in that room furthest away from our bedrooms, thinking we wouldn’t hear her sobs.  But, unable to sleep, we had stolen out to the living room to listen––all consumed by that missing of Uncle Jimmy that would last our whole lives.

“Oh, he never would have driven that wildly if the girls were with him,” my dad said.  But Eleanor and I and even Steffie just exchanged that look that we were to exchange so many times in our future lives together––that look that children exchange that would tell their parents that they know something their parents don’t know––if only their parents took the time to notice. Even Steffie understood.  And Uncle Jimmy was right when he proclaimed her wise beyond her years.  Even Steffie never told.

(This is a work of fiction.)

 

The prompt today was recite. (A repost of a story from a few years ago.)

The Secret Life of Gardeners

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The Secret Life of Gardeners

My gardener of fourteen years
has a stern unsmiling wife and grown children
that I used to know well.
I set his morning coffee on the terrace table

and there is some secret
twining through the dense thunbergia vine
that causes the flowers
to nod their heads.

Later, the man who does not know I watch
drinks his morning coffee grown tepid in the cup,
coughs gently (or is it a laugh?) behind the hand
that cradles the telephone,

sly smile betraying a secret love
as clearly as the small child
who sometimes accompanies him to work.
Some senora’s, he tells me,

but the child
has his eyes and solid legs,
his shy manner,
lives with his mother and her husband,

but sits on my steps with a sugar cookie––
betraying no more secrets
on purpose
than his father does.


(This is an extensive rewrite of a poem written three years ago. Since this is the fourth time I’ve written to this prompt in three years, it seems fair to do a rewrite on this round!)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/secret/

In Safe Keeping

The Prompt: What’s the most significant secret you’ve ever kept? Did the truth ever come out?

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In Safe Keeping

What would be the sense of telling you my secret now
if in the past I’ve taken a very sacred vow
to never share it anywhere, with anyone at all?
Does WordPress now expect that I would seek to scale the wall
of confidentiality I’ve kept year after year?
They’re playing Devil’s advocate, but friends please have no fear.
You secret’s safe with me, for I have kept it all this time
and would not now reveal it for the price tag of a rhyme.
A secret is a secret and remains right here with me.
It is a pact between us, and forever it shall be.

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/evasive-action/

Locked Secrets

                                                                      Locked Secrets

daily life color093
I’d just received my school’s math prize and my Uncle Jimmy, after handing me a twenty dollar bill, had, in his usual self-effacing manner, proclaimed that I must have gotten my smarts from him.  “How is it that you are both the pretty one and the smart one in your family?”  He teased.  My sister Eleanor was out of the room at the time.  If she’d been there and I hadn’t, he would have been proclaiming her the prettiest.  We all knew this about our uncle.  He adored us, and was not above flattery in revealing the fact.

This time, however, he had overlooked  both the precociousness and competitiveness of my two-and-a-half-year-old youngest sister, Stephanie.

“Elebben, eight, twenny, fiteen,” she recited proudly!

“Well, forgive me, Missy. Aren’t you a smart young lady, knowing how to count?” He reached into his lumpy pocket and tossed her a nickel.  Amazingly, she caught it.  Perhaps she was going to be the first athletic one in the family.

“Fohty-two!” she exclaimed proudly. “free, sebben-elebben, one, one, one.” This time he extracted his wallet, took out a one-dollar bill and handed it to her.  Putting his wallet back in his back pocket, he turned one side pocket inside out. “But that’s it, Teffie.  No more money. If you want to go on counting, it will have to be for free.”

His other pocket still bulged with its contents: coins, a rubber ball to throw for our dog Pudge, oatmeal cookie bits in a small plastic bag–also for Pudge.  My Uncle Jimmy always proclaimed that doggie treats were a real gyp and that no self-respecting dog would perform for such a dry, tasteless mouthful.  So, he preferred to bake his own dog treats.

My sisters and I agreed, and sometimes we would perform, hoping to be rewarded with one of Pudge’s treats.  We were all constantly performing for our uncle, whom we adored. He was the one person who paid more attention to us than to our parents when he visited.  He was our favorite babysitter, and our parents’ favorite as well, as he always waved away payment.

He would take us to Fern’s Cafe for strawberry malts, greasy hamburgers and mashed potatoes and gravy, since Fern didn’t have a French fryer. He took us for wild rides over cow pastures in his beat up old red Ford pickup.  Once he took us to a matinee cartoon show in Pierre, sixty miles away, and got us home and in bed again before my folks got home.  We were sworn to secrecy and so far as I know, none of us ever told.  I know for sure I didn’t.  My Uncle Jimmy had my undying loyalty.  I would have borne torture before giving away any of his secrets.

Sadly, Uncle Jimmy died during one of those wild rides across the South Dakota prairie.  This time he was flying solo over a dam grade and veered too far to the right, rolling the pickup.  He drowned trying to get out of the passenger door, the pickup mired driver-side down in the mud at the bottom of the dam.  We had always felt like such ladies as Uncle Jimmy graciously got out of his pickup to personally open the door from the outside for us.  We didn’t know then, as we know now, that it was a peculiarity of that door that it would only open from the outside.

“Thank God the girls weren’t with him,” my mother sobbed to my father, as they sat side-by-side at the kitchen table, my dad’s arms around her.  It was past midnight, and they were sitting in that room furthest away from our bedrooms, thinking we wouldn’t hear her sobs.  But, unable to sleep, we had stolen out to the living room to listen––all consumed by that missing of Uncle Jimmy that would last our whole lives.

“Oh, he never would have driven that wildly if the girls were with him,” my dad said.  But Eleanor and I and even Steffie just exchanged that look that we were to exchange so many times in our future lives together––that look that children exchange that would tell their parents that they know something their parents don’t know––if only their parents took the time to notice. Even Steffie understood.  And Uncle Jimmy was right when he proclaimed her wise beyond her years.  Even Steffie never told.

(This is a work of fiction.)

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Your Days are Numbered.” What’s the date today? Write it down, remove all dashes and slashes, and write a post that mentions that number.