Running Late

Jacket is slowly retrieved,
carefully put on.
Scheduled appointment time
has long since come and gone.

Waiting for an indication,
some reason for this to-do
rather than being left alone
by myself to sit and stew.

Simple words remain
unsaid.
Billowing images rise
instead.

Thoughts fly
to delirious heights;
trailing hurt and anger
ready to ignite.

No explanation given
for the unexpected delay.
Patience wears thin
with the lengthening day.

Minutes pass,
magazine pages are read.
Still no one comes out,
nothing is said.

Jacket is buttoned,
zippers zip.
Do not reschedule.
Never mind a tip!

Blank Page

A page stares blankly up at me.
I curse and rant.
I wave and point my pen.
Yet the paper remains unmoved.

I pace my room.
I look out the window
reciting to this stationary sheet
all that I could be doing.
I could be walking the paths in spring sunshine
with the many other Sunday strollers.
I could be planning tomorrow’s dinner.
I could be,
I could be doing anything but trying to write!

The unmarked note pad
waits patiently,
vacant.

I am irritated by its emotionless state.
So I write.
To shed my emotions.

I want to mar the page!
Deface its untouched, barren territory.
I write forcefully to deny
empty, white space
a place upon my desk!

I spill language
that brings life to feelings
that were masquerading
as restless energy.

Pinball Thinking

pinball

(internet photo)

Random thoughts
roll through my brain.
A pinball pattern
navigates a maze of ideas.
Emotional bumpers
flip
free ball thinking
to light up fear or anger,
ring bells of relief or laughter.
Cognitive displays
flash and wobble
to warn of danger,
alert
what must be done next.
Points are awarded,
a second chance given
when I can rebound
not held captive to speculation
in a zone of no return.
I see a kickout hole opportunity
to adjust attitude and attention,
regain direction.
Noise buzzing around me
cue connections
to keep on going.
Tilt must be avoided
at all costs.
Loss of free will
or forfeiting self
to the judgement machine
of others opinions
is not an option.
I am a pinball wizard.

My Baba with the Babushka

My Baba with Babushka

Comforting aroma of fresh bread
beaten, kneaded, punched down
frustration of monotonous existence
Sticky dough serves as punching bag for emotions
allayer of mood

Metallic tang of well water
dipped from pail on counter
smacks of earthiness and strength
necessary to draw it forth
to sustain others
How many pails have you hauled in your lifetime?
Buckets balanced in each hand
scales of impartiality measuring judgment in your mind?
Sloshing, spilling despite effort to save each precious drop
Water for washing, drinking, cooking
lever pulled and pushed
pumped up and down
brought back and forth
dogs nip at heels
white geese with orange beaks
honk indignantly as you cross their path
oblivious to your resentment with this plodding, repetitious task

Sweat on brow
hard working hands
calloused, hardened from toil in
garden and field
yet soft and welcoming
ready to lift and embrace
a teary tot or boisterous child

Mother Goose apron
fashioned from flour and potato sacks
full of seeds
or hand picked eggs
fresh from chicken coop nest
warm to touch
fodder for family meals
base of nutrition

Surrounded by relatives
Baba quietly goes about her business
stirring pots and pans
on wood burning stove
As she listens to conversations
raucous children
scurry about like
field mice underfoot
dart here and there
rustle her skirts
swishing movement
as little hands grab food
off the table
before dashing back outside
wooden door swinging in their wake

She patches clothes
sews patterns
in a mud chinked room
lit by kerosene lamp
electricity a luxury that she did not enjoy
until late in her life;
labours long after dark
heavy breathing, soft snores of family
nocturnal accompaniments
for this tiresome composition she is
performing

Ukrainian accent held in check
broken English strange on the tip
of her Slavic tongue
hair held in check
by her dark babushka
sombre color
an echo of her
dispirited mood
stray locks of hair
attempting freedom
are pushed back
with weary hands

Her family grows
one by one leaving her behind
to pump water
and knead bread

Returning with their own families on weekends
a growing brood gathers
continue to drink metallic water
continue to eat fresh baked bread
flour dust clouds
hide
Storm gathering behind Baba’s eyes

While the world progresses around her
her environment remains bleak and unevolved
pump and hold
pump and hold
pump
and
hold

Dimly lit
slowly fading
until one day

She leaves

She walks away
Her shift is done

She enters a home
for seniors
for those unable to care for themselves
for those unwilling to care for others

Some say she snapped
call her crazy
cuckoo-nana

She grew tired
this beautiful “Aunt Jemima” Baba of mine
Tired of serving others
Tired of the well
Tired of the back and forth, up and down,
punching and kneading

It was time for her to be served
and that’s how it was
until she passed away
No more time on her primitive farm
Her sentence had been served

 

Insomnia

The clock is ticking
a metronome
a numbing, staccato beat
each tick reverberates on my weary mind
a magnetic pull obliterating all other thought
and sound
heavy eyelids scratch and droop
sodden, wet wool in a Scottish rainstorm

I crave sleep
the ticking beckons
now, now, sleep now

but sleep dances away
teasing mercilessly
a Sufi dervish spinning, whirling
dizzyingly taunting

giddiness overtakes me
as the clock becomes my world
shapes move in and out of my bleary eyed vision
I’m flying through space
floating, drifting,distorted
only to be pulled back
by the ticking
THE DAMN TICKING!