Nobody, Hour Twenty-Two

Nobody

Off the map,
off the charts,
in a red roadster
on a road to nowhere,
nothing,
nobody (who are you?)*
would drive that red roadster
to the middle of nowhere
without bad intent,
a spent lover
to leave
on the road,
a body to hide
in the bog.
She’s somebody
in that red roadster,
pretending to be
nobody,
so next time
she’ll put the top down,
let the wind
play with her curls,
but this trip,
this one,
she’s incognito.

*references Emily Dickinson’s poem I’m Nobody, Who Are You?

No Place Like Home, Hour Twenty

No Place Like Home

The concierge was made aware in advance
that this was to be a second honeymoon,
no expense spared for the middle aged lovebirds
reigniting their romance with tired, damp matches.

A nest was made near the water,
whose lapping made the wife need to pee,
and they were to lay on a goose down mattress
and pillows that made him sneeze.

Gamely, they gave it a go, tried to rest
in their old lover’s knot, that position that knows
what to do with the extra arm,
only to awaken hours later, entangled and aching.

Ant colonies had bitten in unseemly places,
the champagne made her flatulent,
shellfish in the hors d’oeuvres swelled him like a sausage,
and a sudden squall soaked them.

So miserable they had to laugh,
they found a reason to commiserate,
a new story to tell the kids (with more than a bit of distance),
and a burning desire to be nowhere but home.

Imaginary City, Hour Nineteen

The sleepy, somnolent air of a summer’s day
reels away in ribbons through the stratosphere,
spooling down to cooler night
as the city awakes again.

Electric cars are beetles tick-ticking over still hot pavement,
invisible until close enough to touch
by startled pedestrians sharing their space.

Lights in skyscraper windows flicker and burn
in tandem until finally they are as torches
reaching to the sky, a sacrifice
to the new gods of industry.

Furtive love and quicksilver hate duel for supremacy,
a lover’s dance that never ends,
slipping, sliding, grinding through the night.

Duality, Hour Eighteen

The duality of sadness and joy can often inhabit
the same moment, counter balancing each other.
This happened for me as a moment of deep sadness
was almost immediately erased by a corresponding
moment of equal joy.

I had just finalized a divorce from my husband of seventeen years
and moved into a home of my own, signing the papers for the house
on my daughter’s fifteenth birthday.

I could not celebrate with her and her brothers,
as they were to be away from me and with their father
for the first time since the divorce.

Melancholy welled up within as I sat in my nearly empty home
on the futon that was as yet my only furniture.
Sensing my sadness, first my golden retriever, Ginger,
sat near my left leg, then my cat, Black Magic,
sat near my right, both gazing upward at my face
with twin earnest expressions that seemed to say
“Don’t worry, Mom. It’ll be alright,” and suddenly,
it was.

Too Beautiful, Hour Seventeen

Medusa was born a mortal beauty, the daughter to two sea gods
and sister to monsters.

Her beauty became her undoing.
An enraptured Poseidon seduced and impregnated her
in Athena’s temple, enraging the virgin goddess,
who then turned Medusa into the most hideous monster of all.

As if that weren’t revenge enough, Athena then gave
the location of Medusa’s island to Perseus,
who cut off her head and used it to turn his enemies to stone.

Freeing Medusa’s head from her body also released
her twin children, Pegasus and Chrysaor, from her neck.
Blood from her severed head dripped onto Lebanon
as Perseus flew with it overhead, dooming it to a plague of snakes.

All this because a human, mortal, fragile woman was deemed “too beautiful.”

42, Hour Sixteen

*42

At age fifteen, the boy who would one day become my husband
and I met, briefly dated, and parted ways after a misunderstanding
we were both too shy to correct.

Don’t panic.
It all ended up well in the end.

Decades later, we met again after hardships on both sides,
stronger and wiser and finally ready to deeply love.

We each kept our towels with us,
as we wooed one another and finally married.
At what age did we figure out the answer
to life, the universe, and everything,
and incidentally, marry?

 

*“Write a poem with the last line being a question and the answer being the title.”

Truth and the Chinese Lantern, Hour Fifteen

Truth and the Chinese Lantern

Come closer, grandson, and I’ll tell you a tale,
the allegory of the Chinese Lantern.

Once there was a plant, lovely and mysterious,
its fruits veiled in lacy shadow.

The Chinese Lantern thrived in nearly any climate,
though given rich soil she spread beyond control
and killed off other plants in her exuberance, therefore:
in all things, moderation.

The Chinese Lantern tidily grew in poor soil,
lending her beauty to an otherwise arid landscape, thus:
where there is no struggle, there is no strength.

The Chinese Lantern seed pods dried to ethereal perfection,
their seeming fragility lasted long after her death, and so:
death is the greatest illusion of all.

Chinese Lantern seeds were small, round, sweet fruits,
both medicinal and nutritious, but remained cloaked
in a paper shroud that had to be stripped away, so:
three things cannot be long hidden, the sun, the moon, and truth.

Admire the Chinese Lantern, dear grandson,
and remember the truths she taught.

Idun, Hour Fourteen

Idun

In the Old Norse mythology of my ancestors,
Idun holds as high a place of importance as any,
though few people now know why.
She both owns and dispenses the fruits
that impart immortality to the gods of Asgard.
Without Idun the gods could no longer sustain
never ending life and power.

How appropriate, then, that she is also the wife
of Bragi, court poet and minstrel that chronicled
the lives of the gods. For the Norse,
writing also imparted a form of immortality.
Their Viking descendants were known to leave
ancient graffiti, secret carvings depicting
their runic names in places that might never be seen.

A Viking father of long ago inscribed a standing
stone with spiraling runes describing the life
of his deceased son and his valiant death in battle
in the hope that by so doing, his son might never
actually die. We speak of him still, and still he lives.
And so here I sit, a sister to Idun, scribbling my name,
staking my claim to a longed for form of immortality.

Disaster, Hour Thirteen

Disaster

Death, divorce, desertion, depression,
name your disaster and I’ve had it.

Childhood abuse led to adulthood abuse,
and a widening chasm in my first marriage
became the demilitarized zone that
began with the death of a baby.

Depression spiraled year upon year,
further and further down until
hitting rock bottom would have been a relief.

Near suicide after the discovery of a cheating spouse
was averted by the almost unbearably sweet intervention
of my chubby toddler child, cuddling close, patting my cheek
and crooning “No sad, mama, no sad.”

Through it all, one disaster, one heartache,
one agonizing pain after another,
one thing held true, one thing sustained me.

Writing saved me, pulled me up and out of myself,
purged the illness that plagued my soul,
and quenched the flames that ultimately annealed my character.

I came through more flexible and strong, more open and ready
for the advent of real love. Had I not suffered, not bled, not written
through it all, I would not have the strength, the love I have now.

1 2 3 14