Dear Idealist

Dear Idealist,


Life will not be what you had hoped.

Loss and disappointment are real.

Failure hovers.


You will cry. You will despair. You will lose your faith.


Why persist, young one?


If this old woman is sharing a grim reality, why not quit now?


Because your soul still sings.


Sure, it’s off key and out of tune.


The voice of your soul, like the voice of your throat, grows scratchy.


But still it sings an unbearably beautiful melody.


I have lived this


And I survived.


That is all life requires.

Good Night

I accomplished.


I reached a goal.


I am proud.


I am tired.


I am going to bed.




I’m drinking my coffee.


Your presence puts me in a fog.


I don’t want to be with a married man.


Yet, here you are.




I knew you, felt you, enticed you


Before she did.


Still, you put me on a shelf


For her.


And, now, I accept that.


Because we are old?


Because we need one last comfort?


Or one last laugh?


Or one last fling?


If I go first,


Come alone to my grave.


Smile and remember.


Standing in the rainbow


Beautiful Tommy

You came into my life on a rainbow

You stay in my life as a rainbow


The adoption agency gave us 24 hours notice  before you became our son

That night, a storm and a rainbow


You were ours for seven years

Then a storm

An illness

No cure

Your death


Rainbows were slow to emerge

But I see them occasionally now

And I know you are near

For you

Keep me close

Send me away

We are always one


You are a mystery

You are an open book

I cannot read you


I love you

Your Song

We are 20 years old. In love. Lustful.


We sit on the couch in my parents’ living room. They have tactfully retired to upstairs bedrooms.


I remove your hand from my back, my neck, my thigh … wherever and say,


“I want to play something for you.”


In the dining room, I put a 33 on the wood-cabinet record player.


Elton John shares “Your Song” with us. I wanted “Your Song” to be “Our Song.”




We didn’t know then that Elton John was gay.


Princess Diana hadn’t died.


We didn’t know that you and I would lose a son.


Didn’t know that we would divorce.


“Your Song” survived as a painful memory for years and years.


But today …


“… you can tell everybody this is your song.”


The memories have softened.


We had what we had.


I watch you

And I want to be you

Accomplished, satisfied, content


But I hear the lock going



No, this is not for you

Says the noisy lock


Watch, but don’t come in

Hope, but don’t receive

Strive, but don’t attain


God has something against you


Pray and pray again


Reform, repent, renew

But none of this is for you


Still, God asks us to worship and adore him


I don’t get it

Daughter at my door

I may let you in

Or I may not

You have come to my door

Our emotions are hot


You are my longed-for child

Yet we’ve had no bond

Your life is dysfunction

A deep muddled pond


How often you’ve come

Seeking my aid

But you’re an adult now

Your rent should be paid


Go find your own path

I won’t carry your load

In spite of your feelings

You’ve been paid what you’re owed


After all of my effort

You think ill of me

I take a deep breath

And just let it be


Parenting comes with no guaranty

Some enjoy contentment and even feel love

The rest of us shake fists

At whomever’s above


Still, if you came

With your heart open wide

I would open my door

And take you inside


Waiting for the prompt

All lined up

Sitting straight

Hands folded, fingers crossed


Waiting for the teacher to ask a question

So I can wave my hand in the air

Correct response again


Waiting for a writing prompt

So I can wave my pen across the paper

Validating myself


But this time

I don’t like the prompt

I have been given


So I wander off down poetry lane


At large


What images might I find here?

A flamingo with a broken leg

A book missing its cover

Regal Sphinx, noseless


What could life mean

If I stopped waiting for the prompts

I am at home

Shared homes were happy

But this, oh this, is me.

An apartment where I live alone

A refuge where I find …



I lock myself in at night

Or during the day

And I am safe

Deadbolt on my door

Security lock at the main door

I let in who and what I will



Rooms and hallways with collected trivia





Bo Peep pitcher on top of the refrigerator




Books, of course

Books are life

Celtic cross

A butterfly balloon

Abundant sunlight from the east



Potted plants

Marian Henjum’s art

Unobstructed view of sky and trees



Surrounded by all this

Security, memories, inspiration, beauty

I am at peace

I am at home