Monday’s Rune: Just a little poke


Lying on the Cath Lab table, oxygen
up my nose, needles in my everywhere,
nurses and technicians asking questions.
Technology all around.

It’s like a Federation starship sickbay,
or a Starbase infirmary
with many more actors vying for a role
and space at my table.

There are two main characters. The protagonists are
the Chief Medical Officer and me.
Other smart young wonders,
called residents, watch.

Also, a consulting rep from
the manufacturer of my shiny new transcatheter aortic heart valve,
to be snaked into place and magically,
guided, angiographically trough my veins and arteries,
and into my beating heart, which will soon almost stop,
scaring all except unconscious me,
to replace the defective OEM part.

They all look alike in masks and caps. I’m naked on a procedure table,
surrounded by X-ray machines, big screen monitors,
procedure carts, lights, and computer workstations.

In some in another room more medical miracle role players
wave from behind large windows.

No TV doctor medicine-show drama. Okay, maybe a little,
but two days later I am home and ready to rock.
Ya gotta love medical science.


Look both ways and ask lots of questions.
Mind the gaps for diagnoses and prognoses.

Monday’s Rune: Rescue This

 


Innocently Unhelpful

One day I was chopping weeds.
When I looked up Libby, our toy poodle, was gone.
I knew she would go home with virtually anyone.
But she’d been fixed years earlier, so she could go play.
I noticed a familiar SUV driving away. I was unarmed, but I felt, maybe,
Libby had been dognapped. I called for her and looked around.

After a while, the car returned and pulled over near me.
The lady driving rolled down the window. She held a small black dog
in her lap and asked if it was my dog. I said, “I don’t know. Lemme check
her license right here on her collar.” Libby was calm. I got semi-sarcastic.
“Yep. Last seen right over there in my yard sniffing her own shit.”

The indignant do-gooder gave me a look and said, “I’m a dog
rescuer. I rescue strays.” I took Libby and said, “Today you’ve
moved up to dognapping. Last I checked that was against the law.
Now may I see your rescue license?”

I could tell she was getting pissed at me.

Pink Floyd’s Another Brick in the Wall
started pounding my mind and I turned up my volume,

“Hey!       Lady!         Leave this dog alone!


All-in-all, look both ways when tending your flock.
Your poor wretched strays may get “rescued” the minute you look one way.
Mind the gaps in the minds of those dumbly righteous souls who do good to feel better than.

Monday’s Rune: Hanukkah or Chanukah?

Happy Hanukkah everyone.

The eight-day Jewish festival, which began at nightfall yesterday, is also known as the festival of lights, or the Feast of Dedication. It commemorates the recovery of Jerusalem and rededication of the Second Temple at the beginning of the Maccabean revolt.

As a child growing up in a relatively “strict” Roman Catholic family, I recall all the “Christmas” cards we received during December. Mom used them to decorate our home. I recall many of the cards wishing us Happy Holidays and Happy Hanukkah. This was from the late 1940’s through the 1960s.

While I attended a Catholic parochial elementary school, I also recall saying “Happy Hanukkah” and playing with dreidels (or similar toys). A dreidel is a four-sided top bearing Hebrew letters. I ate some Jewish foods (year-round) and drank sweet kosher wine, but I did not learn the full meanings and traditions until years later.

When my children were growing up, they (and we) had Jewish family friends. During the holiday season one Jewish friend went to our children’s public schools and explained the Hanukkah festival. During the eight-day festival, my children spent many evenings at their friend’s home learning about Jewish traditions, eating the special foods, and participating in lighting the nine light menorahs (Chanukiah).

While Hanukkah is a minor Jewish religious holiday, for me it is full of happy (and a few sad) memories, and I ponder the possibilities. One more time, Happy Everything, Everyone.


Look both ways to learn the stories our friends and neighbors have to share.
Mind the gaps because no two are exactly alike.

 

Monday’s Rune: Halloween


The Last October Night

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.

 

But this Halloween tragedy was way over the top.

Monday’s Rune: Weekends


 

Saturday Morning Doctor

Monday or Tuesday is
the time to be sick.
Those same days are best
for having hospital
admitted surgeries.

Weekend emergency rooms can
get crowded and are often
staffed for far fewer sick people
but what are you gunna do?

Friday night I knew. Damn!
Saturday morning I was
off to an urgent care clinic,
a relatively new ubiquitous
phenomenon in the health care business,
because I was not sick enough
for an ER, and no routine
doctor care would be available
until Monday, if then.

The nice, large, waiting room had maybe
five people, not all patients,
queued up as walk-ins,
first come, first served, maybe.

“Have a seat, Mister Bill. Someone
will be with you in about three hours.”
Urgent? Right.

I read, wrote, and people watched.
Moms with kids had long waits too.
A lady using a walker was whining
and moaning, kind of lost.

But she was soon packed off to an ER by EMS.

It was a classic civilian version
of hurry up and wait. Yet,
I confess to enjoying the sights,
people watching, and the quiet reading time.

Three hours later
I was off to pick up a script.


Look both ways on weekends for doctors at the beach.
Mind the gaps when you clean-catch into the cup.

My favorite doctor song.

 

Sammi’s Weekender #282 (opposite)

Click on Sammi’s graphic to link up with her page for more 44-word poetry or prose.

Coincidentally, this is the second 44-word poem I have written this week. The other was for the dVerse quadrille challenge. Maybe it’s an omen.


 

Mom & Me

Mother always pointed out my difficult side;
that contrarian in me, not the exact opposite of good,
more like one who disobeyed, who pushed back,
because I saw life through my own eyes.

Today, I both regret and rejoice my
yin and yang personality.


Look at yourself both ways.
You may not be who you think you are.
Mind the gaps while searching for self.

While I enjoy this musical duet, I am struck by the irony.

 

Monday’s Rune: For Sale or Trade


No Quid Pro Quo

I have nothing at all to sell.
Or to trade.
I walk alone because
we must.

It’s just me
with my own thoughts,
maybe music or a book,
as I deal with some pain.
A good thing,
claim my many doctors.
Not the pain—the dealing with it.

I like the thought of it—alone time,
but it’s not. Not really.

The Universe, also not for sale,
is with me. Always with us.
I call it being alone
because it makes me feel good,
but I know

I am never totally on my own,
without a piece of eternity
talking some quid pro quo.


Look both ways when dealing, feeling, or logrolling.
Mind the gaps between your steps and use the poles lest you fall and break your nose.

 

An oldie and a goodie from Mr. Poe.

Monday’s Rune: A Memoirish Library Essay


Howdy! And Happy Monday, Y’all.

Since the American government still had an active conscription/draft system, I enlisted during my senior year in high school (1964). I eventually went to college after four years in the U.S. Air Force, which would later result in my first of three closely related “career” choices.

In May of ’66, I married Yolonda. More than half of our first two years together were spent as 20/21/22-year-olds living and working in Ankara, Turkey. I was not sent to Viet Nam. Happy Honeymoon.

I started college in September of 1968, as one of what would become known as Vietnam Era Veterans. I registered as a sophomore transfer from the University of Maryland, Overseas Division.

The Viet Nam War was raging and nearing its high-point years. LBJ was about finished. The Tet Offensive had hardened much more of U.S. public opinion against the war. While not ambivalent, I disagreed with both sides of the argument at that time. I was confused, as were many Americans. I had two short term goals: graduate and get a job. Yolonda was the Brazos County Attorney’s Secretary at the time. Every cop in the county knew her.

We lived in “on campus” student housing. Our “home” was a small one bedroom, one bath, unairconditioned apartment in southeast, central Texas. We eventually bought and installed a window a/c unit.

The campus library was my retreat, a place to read, study, and to people-watch. At the time, everyone exiting the building was forced to have their possessions searched to prevent theft.

One evening, Yolonda waited for me at that library while I was part of a psych department research study. I found her waiting in our car. She asked me if I would know if my penis was exposed out of my pants. She had been cock-flashed by a student employee. The perv got busted, and we’ve been sharing the experience for fifty-plus years. They are everywhere.

I’m writing this while sitting comfortably, sipping coffee, and eating a pastry from my public library’s coffee bar. These days book checkout is on the honor system, and nobody is searched.

I still like libraries. I am not a prodigious reader, although I read every day. Libraries are strangely comforting to me even though everyone has access to the facility, library card or not. Libraries are what they are and do what they do. The same is true of people.

My first library from childhood was in an old, mid-19th century, church building and still is. I also like old church architecture. Maybe there is a reason for my library/church juxtaposition of interest. I recall no pervs in the stacks from back then, but if those books could talk… (wait, we have talking books nowadays.)

Computer stations at the Central Branch of the Osterhout Free Library

It seems like it began for this boomer with the assassination of JFK. My first ten years after high school, the sixties, and early seventies, were a coming-of-age time for me and a tumultuous period in American History.

More than fifty years later, I still like to sit in libraries and write, read, search for books, people watch, and sip coffee. I may ponder what others say or claim. I think about how differently we all see the world and each other.

But at this point in my life, I really don’t give a shite what anyone thinks of me, except for Yolonda and our three middle-aged kids; less so, a few teeny-bopper or early 20s grandkids.

So far, I think I pass muster. Sort of.

Bill


Look both ways for what is right. Arguing does little good.
Mind the gaps lest they become crevasses of civil division.
Find your tribe and take a side. Keep trying to understand.
Support public libraries, not book bans or burns.

Sammi’s Weekender #277 (renege)

Click on this graphic to open Sammi’s page with links to more 49-word renege writing pieces.

Renegade Renegade

I was born into a world that no longer exists.
I was dealt this hand when my life began,
then and there.

Convinced, cajoled, and directed into treaties and agreements by threats, guilt,
intimidation, and false promises;
when given limited control, I reneged.

I wasn’t the liar. Not then.


As days pass, everything changes in us.
Regret and mind past gaps enough to make things right.
“For everything there is a season and a time….”

Monday’s Rune: On Labor Day 2022


Let Me Clarify

They were not smart or rich. Some might write. Few to none finished school. In many ways they were all slaves.

The children, the men, and the women were trying to survive, to make it through the night.

No great athletes, not a genius among them. The company was the enemy. The boss.

I think of them on Labor Day. About my dad, the filthy coal miner, who swore I’d never work in the mines.

He was right.

When the mines shut down, he was lucky to find any job. He was a plumber’s helper. He mowed lawns and dug sewer ditches. Finally, as a nurse’s aide for the same pay I got as a teenage knucklehead, for my summer job, as a gardener’s assistant, he worked until it was finished.

Mom was a cleaner of footwear in a shoe factory. She had to take two early morning buses and often walked home. Her hands were always dirty and stained from cleaning factory shoes. Sucky work.

I never did piece work, nor had black lung, but at a young age I knew all about both.

Labor Day! I love it, but the more I think about it, and the more I learn about the labor movement, the more pissed off I get.

Wars and soldiers did not build this country. The rich damn sure didn’t. Cowboys (not the jerks in Dallas) and labor did. Workers built America.

Damn it!

“No gods, no masters.”


Look both ways and try to understand.
All workers and all labor around the world are brothers and sisters.
Mind the gaps and may we treat them well. Welcome to America.