Lynda Lee Lyberg caught me at the dVerse bar today thinking of a poem about the mavens of music from the days of my time. While I must bow to the discipline of a mere 44 words, I will eventually make a much longer tribute to the quad of this week’s Quadrille. For today—this:
To Carly, Carole, Joni, and Linda
Music, Ladies! Making music was your life.
It’s been seventy years more
since you made your way writing, singing,
and playing for your sake and ours.
With Anticipation I’ll let Tapestry tell me When Will I Be Loved since I see Both Sides Now.
Look both ways and try, try, try to see all sides.
Mind the gaps when the beautiful ladies sing.
It’s where the love is.
Note: Maybe some young ‘uns don’t know that Carly Simon, Carole King, Joni Mitchell, and Linda Ronstadt were literal folk and rock stars for more than sixty years.
It was one of those warm and humid days.
When it’s like that in LA, it is
miserably smoggy, but here
it is just moody and gloomy—no rain—
in the mid-seventies, like me.
Drove and hour to Temple, Texas,
for tests (the answers to which I thought I knew)
and to see a new PA-doc
and then to get gas
and drive another hour back home.
It’s boring sitting and waiting,
but since this is a hospital, boring and routine are good.
No, “I’m sorry, Mister Bill, but … ‘oh, no’.”
I saw nicely dressed police or correctional officers escorting
a mildly overweight bald man in an orange jump suit
and fake shoes
with handcuffs in the front,
all making it hard for others to not stare and wonder.
It was not so boring thinking about that.
Got an obit email that morning.
Another high school classmate had died
(they say he passed to be euphemistic
as though he just kept driving).
Patrick Murphy (Murph)
was an artist and philosopher
of Irish descent, and a Vietnam War vet.
His obituary was more interesting than most.
Anyway, I shall not be
characteristically pointing out problems or deficiencies today
because Murph is dead, and I am not. It’s all good, thanks.
So, I’ll just sit here trying to remember him
from art class, I think,
and be happily bored on a gloomy day
in a hospital clinic waiting area
in Temple, fucking, Texas.
Looking both ways at the days of gloom and doom. Mind the gaps in loose cuffs and I wonder who wipes his butt.
Click the photo of Robin Williams and Matt Damon to watch this scene from the movie, Good Will Hunting.
Last night, as I sat with my extended family, a mixture of baby boomers, Gen X’s, and Millennials, we spoke of haunting experiences: fear intentionally endured for fun. Few of us said we wanted to repeat those ‘fun’ occasions. They were things that fell into the it seemed like a good idea at the time category, but now we wished we hadn’t risked them.
We have learned that Halloween can be fun and scary without doing long term psychological damage. What adrenalin rush is worth the walk into nightmarish darkness? I recall the fun: the costumes, the parties, the doors to knock on, the treats, the stories, and the songs we made up and sang. We were having fun. But when scared, boy did we run!
I recall winning a Halloween party costume contest as an adult. I was not in the best costume. Was I given an honor for courage? Was humor involved? Did my green legs catch the judges’ eyes? No one fears a giant tomato.
What I like about Halloween is that I owe no one anything for it. It has a strange history and a life of its own with unique childish traditions. It is when it is, on the last day of October, followed immediately by November. Halloween has as many bizarre religious undertones as it does silly religious rejections.
With nods to the goths and the goolies, to the vampires and fried eggs, to the ubiquitous hobos and fun folks in clever, challenging outfits, I like Halloween and I know I’m in good, scary, company.
Look both ways on those dark October nights.
Mind the gaps where memories of youth dance and sing because it is time for all of that.
The sweet, delightful, and flashy Mistress of Fiction, Rochelle, has prompted my muse with a bit of rain for the second week in a row. Combining strokes from her purple lane, she has splashed the Friday Fictioneer gang with a Roger Bultot picture of a modern, colorful, children’s playground park, seemingly after some precip.
Feel free to dive into our un-juried pool of players with your own fiction of fewer than 101 words. Avoid any litigiousness by giving Roger’s pic a gaveled tap, which will sentence you to review the brief code of conduct behind the purple bars on Rochelle’s blog page. You may want to get setup to be served weekly with a summons write early each Wednesday morning.
Genre: Shakespearean Fiction
Title: Time for Pettifoggers
Word Count: 100
I took my nephew, Dicky, to the playground after the rain had stopped.
He said, “Everything’s all wet, Uncle Billy.”
“Water keeps the insufferable brats and bullies away. Now, go play.”
“There’s lots to climb on. But why no swings or rides?”
“Lawsuits. The lawyers forced the city to take them all away.”
“What are lawyers?”
“People who profit from the misery of others.”
He ran off to play on the wet climbers and such.
“After this,” he yelled, “the first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.”
“A noble goal, Lad. You’re a chap after the old bard.”
Look both ways for the future of the young.
Mind the gaps and dangerous traps, but a life without risk can be dry and vapid.
Note: “Let’s kill all the lawyers” is a line said by Dick the Butcher in William (Bill) Shakespeare’s Henry VI (Part 2, Act IV, Scene 2). It is among Shakespeare’s most famous and most controversial lines.
I returned to your place of business, like I said I would.
A clown-man there told two jokes. At first,
I glared at him to the silent end. The other
I interrupted so I could give you my coffee order.
I allowed him to finish. I again stared
before telling him his joke was unfunny and that his
comedic skills were woefully lacking behind his
overflowing obnoxiousness. Was he your father?
You would not take my money. He paid.
I sat quietly, typed my poem, drank the
Americano and chewed the muffin.
Now I wish I hadn’t. You
did not look at me or say another word. Then,
Sorry. Henceforth, the city library
has much more to offer and
better silence, too. No jokes.
Is Divinely Beautiful your real name?
Tell your father that my low opinion
of him has declined and my vote
is not for sale.
No apology necessary.
Look both ways but think on your feet.
Mind the gaps of silence when the wind passes.
I knew nothing of
automobiles back then
except about how to drive
(not well) and add gas—
My first (legal) car
was twenty bucks—
I got it for fifteen;
(Dad didn’t know, yet—
he called cars “motors”
and expensive things “dear”)
but she said, “Oh, dear,
what’s wrong with it.”
I was about to learn so much
rings, pistons, and
timing points, and why not
grab hold of a bare spark plug wire
on a running straight six,
and about positive and negative.
Guys at school, the ones taking
auto mechanics shop classes,
(learning something useful)
were not the ones to ask
even though I took
English III (again) with them.
(I’m still grateful for how
smart they made me look
another story there.)
while those know-it-alls
claimed auto knowledge,
helpful they were not,
and I’d already bought
my old green Chevrolet
capable of burning
a quart of oil
per city block or
country mile—either way,
lesson learned late.
Learn first, then buy
(now I tell me).
And used car salesmen—
that lesson took a lot longer.
beware. Be aware.
Look both ways as time keeps on slippin’ into the future.
Mind the gaps, feed the babies, shoe the children, house the people livin’ in the street.
Time would stop,
or ripening dead,
green callowness everywhere
sameness would be
one forever season
as it was for me
to never return home again.
Look both ways but remember that life is lived in the eternal present,
planned forward, understood backward,
and we each have a story.
Mind the gaps, and keep a nickel for the exit fee, or you may never return.
Sammi’s weekender (as I call it) is a word use and number/count challenge. But I am often called to music and songs by prompts, as in this case. The chorus from the song M.T.A. (or Charlie on the MTA) written in 1949, and recorded and made famous by The Kingston Trio in 1959, (one of my favorites) while unrelated to my poem, is still fun for me. If you buy a ticket today for the (now MTBA) Boston subway (if you go, ride it), it is called a CharlieCard because of this song.
“But did he ever return?
No he never returned
And his fate is still unlearned (poor old Charlie)
He may ride forever
‘Neath the streets of Boston
He’s the man, who never returned”