Julie said, “Dad, you don’t understand. You buy used cars. Same thing. It looks like a lot, but you’ll get change.”
I said, “I see. One person’s trash is another’s treasure.”
I handed the cashier a twenty. She held out my change, “Would you like to donate to our feed the poor project?”
I said, “Of course,” handing her another five.
When shopping came up at dinner, Steven said, “Secondhand sales and peer-to-peer marketing is a hundred-billion-dollar business. In Austin, the fastest growing retail market is in junk stores. And there’s the rental game.”
“My, how things have changed.”
Look both ways to see that resale and rental retailers are thriving in the pandemic – and not just because brick and mortars were shuttered.
Mind the gaps. They may have fleas.
Lorry, was so apropos,
most correct old maid aunt
in navy blue turban with pin,
self-assured in sensible shoes,
purse over left forearm,
her small portmanteau
I loved Lorry, now I know.
But then one day,
I had to let Lorry go.
what the hell did I know,
long, long ago?
Look both ways, to the past for memories,
to the future for better days.
Mind the gaps in memory but hold on to what you can.
Former family homes, once
Businesses, barns, refuge
From the hot Texas sun
Or driving storms of
Wind and rain.
Suppertimes, nights of dreams,
Homework, plans to plow
Now it’s all abandoned, forgotten,
Seen but unnoticed or ignored
Peppered along the otherwise
Scenic road drives on, once dirt,
Now blacktop paved roads
Memories forgotten or
Buried in nearby family
Unloved by ungrateful
Outsiders who see
Only haunted eyesores, sadness.
A mess to be cleaned up
By the next generation.
Past lives carried into the
Graveyards of the forgotten.
Look both ways and wonder.
Who were they? What were they like? Where are they now?
Pay attention to the message and mind the gaps.
in the smiles of others,
in visions of those we love,
people we care about,
that is where truest,
most honest, happiness thrives.
To see such dancing zest is to feel
the same in my bones, heart, and mind;
while tears of delight run down
my cheeks. When babies laugh.
Hope laden felicity. Even
an old man simply must smile.
To sing and dance
with those we love most,
to see and hear them rise
in rebirth to life’s glorious days,
to overcome fears and sadness
that come with what we call
our human condition.
How strange, that we may
give or receive no greater gift,
no higher prize,
no nourishing of the spirit,
no deeper love than to allow
others to be and to see us
high on being alive.
Even more, to here and now
let love swirl among us all. Hallelujah!
Look both ways for the joy of love.
Mind the gaps, but live and let live.
Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge,
in the 10th of Poemcrazy said,
“in practical shoes, holding forth
with firm opinions”
were too many Sues.
Birthed and baptized, lacking
middle saintly nomenclature,
seeking to assert rightful independence,
Confirmation granted my pick,
Saint Bartholomew, a sub
for unsainted Bartley.
Mom had a fit. We fought.
She wanted Richard. I did not.
my lifelong reminder,
my middle moniker: John.
I wish I agreed to Richard,
at least a better memory.
Look both ways for better self-names. How often would we change?
I’m Dad, Opa, Mister Bill to some, cantankerous (and other adjectives)
Bill or Billy to the few.
Mind the gaps where we may only name things, pets, and kids.
For NaPo day 26, I was to write a parody. I was to find a poem or song and write an altered version of it. A parody is also called a spoof, a send-up, a take-off, a lampoon, a play on something, or a caricature. It is a creative work designed to imitate, comment on, and/or make fun of its subject by means of satiric or ironic imitation.
I decided to work on the song(s) “Old Hippie” by the Bellamy Brothers, a classic paean to male boomers that many of us related to. David Bellamy wrote three of these: one at 35, one at 45, and one at 55. Mine goes to 75 (the age of the other brother) and is more about me.
He turns seventy-five on a Tuesday
sometime late this next July.
Can’t believe his friends’ all dead,
but down the same old road he’ll still try
to understand and to keep his level head.
But now he craves those crazy days
with his shoulders back,
his chin held proud and high.
He still looks at life and wonders why.
He stopped with church and never prays
but he never wonders when he’ll die.
He still loves old soft county rock,
his poems come from just such songs.
His only friends are now computer faces,
and medicine pros working to help him get along,
with medical-grade stainless steel heart parts.
But he’ll run no more endurance races,
Just the tips and bits on legs that hate him.
He’s an old soldier who wants to be
a hippie getting older every day,
with hair and colors and closet disco music.
An old hippie who knows what life is for,
still wanting to be her man, before
she goes knocking on his door.
He’s an old man who always hated war,
but seemed to know what it was for.
He’s been confused by a government
he both supports and finds disgusting,
and people who tell him to forgive,
while he decides to let them live.
He likes people but not in crowds.
He craves his tribe, but they’ve all died.
Spending quiet time at home alone,
his kids are still his universe,
and Texas is still his home.
He’s a boomer till the day he dies,
he now fears life more than death,
he’s looked at evil in the eye
believes in love and wonders why,
then drums to ten below his breath.
Look both ways and avoid reading the obituaries.
Mind the gaps in everything but believe
you’re this damn old.
With less than a week left, the Global NaPoWriMo, 25th-day prompt was to write a poem for a particular occasion: an occasional poem. Every active poet seems to write these. The latest well known were Amanda Gorman’s readings for Prez Biden’s inauguration, and the 2021, Super Bowl. Another was Elizabeth Alexander’s “Praise Song for the Day,” written for Barack Obama’s 2009 inauguration.
Others include “The Charge of the Light Brigade” by Tennyson, “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” by Julia Ward Howe about the American Civil War; and “The Day Lady Died” by Frank O’Hara about the death of Billie Holiday.
Occasional poems (not a form or style, but a topic) are often lyrical due to their origin in performance and music accompaniment. Historically, they have appeared as wedding songs, dirges, elegies, hymns, and odes.
I decided on a happy personal occasion, walking with my daughter, Julie (who I call, Dewey).
A private occasion, at her location, we walked,
she on my right and me to her left, as
carefully we stepped around
ants, mud puddles; cow, and horse shit;
some plants better untouched, and more.
(She ran beside me years ago, on my right then too,
as I neared the end of the San Antonio Marathon
into the Alamo Dome, there for her Dad.)
We talked of important life things,
other people, how whatever-all
came up to be, stream-of-consciousness
chat, and we talked of what is.
We spoke of things we don’t discuss.
I mostly listened and watched for minor
dangers. I looked at her. She felt pain.
Could have been anything, but it was something.
I mixed roles: both father and friend,
old man down the road,
advocate and critic, partner and lawyer.
Life goes on, but not forever.
My own worry and pain of little consequence,
then—right there, right now; on this land, under that hot,
dry Texas sun. In the end, we were both having fun.
It was more than enjoyable, but not for fun;
it was exercise, but not for health; it was just
a father and daughter sharing some time and life,
one with the other. The little things, like
love and freedom, aches and pains. —— And family.
Look both ways when your baby makes you grand,
when you lean on each other,
when you surrender love for love.
Mind the gaps and watch your step.