When Dad said, “secondhand store,” I looked at my hands. Wondered which was bought second. It’s a euphemism for used. Now it’s preloved. Just bought a preloved printer. Nobody loves evil printers. They’re used.
Daughter, Julie, likens me to George Carlin. Not as funny, but I’m snarkastic. We both rant about softening lingo with euphemistic bull shit excrement. It’s doublespeak. Even good bad words, a euphemism for euphemisms. What’s your favorite?
Look both ways: a euphemism for pay attention or consider all options. Mind both past and future.
So is mind the gaps. Maybe metaphor is mo’ betta’.
My hips, thighs, and especially calf muscles
become painful when I walk. It’s poor
blood circulation with several medical names,
thanks to my poor choices such as who
my paternal grandfather was, my dad,
and my long past smoking. But I walk anyway.
Almost every day. I like it. I’ve always
exercised. Completed a dozen marathons
after age 60, always been a bit of a gym rat.
Now I swim too. Doctors like it all better
than pills. I must endure such pain
in my battle to delay inevitable days.
They do their best. Me too. It’s okay.
I have countless privileges denied others.
Like life. I can and I must endure,
for as long as I can. I’ll keep mindful
of those less privileged who fight in fear
tougher battles than I’ll ever see.
Look both ways and see all around.
Smell, taste, touch, and hear everything.
Mind the gaps as you fill them with knowledge.
And “sing with me, sing for a year
Sing for the laughter, and sing the tear
Sing with me, if it’s just for today
Maybe tomorrow…” (Lyrics from Dream On by Aerosmith)
We see and seem to know nature from first smiles
to the sound of a baby’s giggles
there is a special happy glow in the hopeful eyes
of helpless, needy life.
And as years pass over, our senses tell us more,
who they are and who we’ve become,
and we learn there is light because of darkness,
that happy grows from sorrow and loss.
When the child looks back
do we see through the years, the fears, and the tears?
Into the now aging eyes to find the hopeful baby,
still there, now aware.
When we look upon others, do we see with humanness?
Do we look both ways to either a distant history or a promising future?
Look both ways to the very young and very old.
Mind the gaps where perfection is a trap.
It’s August again. Just another
one of twelve named collections of days
to mark our planetary position
relative to our Sun, called sol, in our
solar system spinning reliably about
in some outer spiral arm
of our Milky Way galaxy. Our home.
August is supposed to mean something important,
like some Roman title signifying reverence;
to hold in high regard. I don’t do that for August.
As a child, school started next month,
I was often bored, sunburned, a year older.
Halloween and Christmas were far off.
I feared some raging red-faced nun’s pounding footsteps
and bone rattling beads storming my way,
with some weapon of horror in her hellish hand.
Hormones made me feel things I didn’t understand.
I still don’t get all that. Crazy life.
As an adult, August now means hot and dry. West coast
wildfires raging on while US Forest Service bureaucrats
either fight or fiddle for smarter management
policies for mother nature to ignore.
I try to be respectful of August.
It’s the end of summer, the gateway for September
as promised glories of Autumn soon fall upon us. Coolness.
And color. And feelings. October promises more.
My apologies to summer lovers, tanned bodies,
teacher’s times off, vacations (because kids), and to Caesar.
I say it every year. Only Christmas can save August.
Look both ways to seasons past and yet to come.
Mind the gaps in government policies.
They’re only human, even if they can’t admit it, until the mic is hot.
They number in trillions.
Too many to census tally,
on insides and outsides of every
human body, we each have
our own personal repertoire
of microbes keeping us alive.
In typical foolish human fashion
we’ve tried to kill them
with discovered miraculous medications,
intending genocide to thwart some few
deadly troublemakers by misusing
mass murder techniques, all
to our own peril and demise.
Look both ways for the connections of all life,
the great and the small.
Mind the gaps of gods and science and don’t be fooled by prophets or profits.
They were big, ugly, dangerous,
and ubiquitous to us. Black piles
of sandy slag, hundred foot high
hills of grief daring us
to climb to the top, for no reason,
sometimes at our own peril.
This stuff was soft like black, dry
quicksand. My foot would sink
and the slag would rise above my ankle,
sometimes to my knees,
allowing the scree into my shoes.
Each step was a challenge.
Maybe that’s why we climbed,
for the challenge, the thrill, the view,
perhaps the danger.
We’d been warned not to go.
Sometimes culm banks caught fire.
Children fell into their sink holes
and suffocated. Anthracite coal
was the black diamonds of the barons,
deadly job resources for citizens.
All overlooked, denied, or shrugged-off,
both human exploitation and environmental
degradation. They were witnesses
to the need and to the greed.
I didn’t know it then,
most of the world’s anthracite
coal supply was crushed by eons
of pressure beneath my feet. It was also
why we were there: the sons, daughters,
and grands of the men who built the banks.
Look both ways with two perspectives, theirs and ours.
Mind the gaps as you watch for the traps.
at great cost.
This oasis shades no reality.
only twisted truth.
Each prison is of my making.
I must move on.
I’ll never be free
of my past.
or paranoia will hand me
Look both ways for any port in a storm
but learn to dance in the rain.
Mind the gaps as you seek the road less traveled.
Got my Indian Buddha statue
the next day
after some Catholic Answers lecture guy
told us it was a mortal sin to have one.
First Commandment (Catholic version), no less.
My graven image now sits with my Dragon Chalice,
lion statue, and cowboy with horse bronze art,
family photos, among other things.
He’s been lotus sitting around my house,
mostly in my room, for more than 20 years.
The best years of my life
have been with Siddhartha.
My family has concurred many demons.
I’ve beaten cancer (for now), completed 15 marathons,
written hundreds of poems, cheated death
and heart disease (also temporarily),
lost twenty pounds (several times),
and today I mark 75 years since I squeezed
through Mom’s birth canal. Sorry, Mom.
My mother claimed I was a contrarian.
Dad said I was only half-Irish and my sibs
considered me a spoiled brat (that’s still true).
The (younger then I) lecturer from the diocesan chancery
died two years afterwards.
Wrong statue or just superstition, I guess.
Look both ways at life and nature.
Question scripture. Make room for doubt.
Mind the gaps where you find them.
Buy a buddha. Acquire art because you can.
That first romantic kiss.
Nights in the wilderness
sitting by a warm campfire.
A mother’s smile, a daughter’s laugh,
the soft whispering voice of a lover.
Our child’s birth, your son’s success.
The smell of a grandmother’s hug.
That first buzz, never found again.
The gift of a young pet. The sadness
and loneliness of a beloved’s death.
Muffled lonely sounds
on cold snowy nights. My first bike.
A thing well done. Disappointment
overcome and rewarded. A road
less travelled. A baby’s accidental
soft touch. Moments in a lifetime.
Look both ways,
to the future for the young,
to the past for the old.
Mind the gaps but live in today with hope and happiness.