Poetry: On Raising Teens

I recall, eons ago, when I was neither adult nor child,
during a phase of life known as adolescence
or numerically, being a teenager.

I also recall later being
a male adult parent to three, at one point—
all three almost simultaneously fitting
the technical teenager definition.

We all age up, but teeny boppers, as was once
a more affectionate term, stay the same.
Someone is always oddly 13, 15, 17, or some
age of that hormonally unbalanced
and the musically misguided post-pubescence.

I recall that back then, I was often bored unless
in the midst of violent volcanic eruptions,
and even then, given time, I found them dreary.
Almost everything of interest
involved getting into trouble, things which
I confess to doing with reckless abandon.

Now I look around and see grandchildren,
mostly in some phase of teenage-ism,
some exhibiting familiar behavior, some not.
I see parents, once teens themselves, distraught
over viewing in their progeny reflections of
their former life, a past they seldom
confess or want to remember.

I have no solutions and few suggestions for
those raising difficult teen personalities, like me,
like them, maybe like my parents in the
years of the Great Depression or
WWI or II. But I smile slightly
and I sympathize greatly.

Two things in life are not for sissies:
raising teenagers and getting old. That,
having done both, I can swear to. But,
in the long run, they are worth it.

May we all live long, prosper,
and remember. “Tomorrow, and
Tomorrow, and So Forth.”

Look both ways as life transitions. Be mindful of the gaps in denial.

Poem: Sammi’s Weekend Prompt 129 (a)

Click to hyperlink to Sammi’s page

***

Saturday at Dawn

As I sit at Julie’s kitchen table discussing worries
Special cats pass making cat comments and the dog smiles.
Do they know human life is not what they think?
Later, at dusk’s twilight, we’ll discuss solutions,
All because we live in an imperfect world.

***

Look both ways from dawn till dusk.
Mind the gaps lest they intrude like an ignored horse.

Note: I decided to use Sammi’s weekend prompt for my Saturday and Sunday poems. That is what a weekend is, right? So, there shall be another 44-word twilight poem tomorrow.

Sammi’s Weekend Prompt #127 (3 Poems and a joke)

Click to link to Sammi’s site.

I prefer to write Sammi’s weekend prompt on Sunday. When I looked at it on Friday, I wrote a poem. It just happened: oops, a poem. I decided this weekend’s prompt could be for each day of the weekend, including Friday. My three on replace:

Going Home Again (Friday)

I’ve tried to go back home,
to the place where
I was born.

It was the right place,
but I was not the him who
I was when I left.

I was unable to replace me,
and you weren’t who
you once were.

No longer was I one of you,
not of the same tribe,
only a memory.

Once you leave, it’s done.
You can never go home again,
we can’t go back in time.

What was is finished,
only the whisper of memory
holds us in the past.

***

Irreplaceable Love (Saturday)

If you lose someone you love
you can’t replace them
nor the love you felt.

Each love is unique. It may
change or flat-out die,
but most love remains in us.

We can’t feel so much love
that we wear it out,
like an old pair of shoes.

The love we feel is at least
for as long as one shall live,
I hope all my love lasts forever.

Be it a pet or a person, family
or friend, music or memory,
no love can replace a true love.

***

Relief Strategy (Sunday)

Planning battles, reserves
are replacements,
part of the relief strategy for
casualties and the weary.

In basketball they are the bench,
In football, second string,
baseball has relief pitchers from
the bull pen that replace starters.

My Dad referred to men
as being on relief. Years later,
I learned he meant welfare,
not to replace.

Then there is that personal relief we crave
during difficult or painful times, like in
the Jerry Clower story about coon huntin’—
I been coon huntin’ and lemme tell ya,
it’s just that funny.

***

Look both ways in them Mississippi swamps.
Mind the gaps for Lynx.

*

Jerry Clower’s most famous story was his coon huntin’ story about the time he and his friends went hunting that evolved into an entanglement… if Jerry don’t make you laugh, you need relief. If you got the time, he’s irreplaceable.

Poetry: Forgave You – Not

I opened the door and walked into a crowded room.
People, most I did not know, were sitting around,
all seats taken. I had a right to be, and should have been,
invited to the meeting, but since I’m a half-breed — excluded.

Everyone stopped talking and stared at me. I knew I was
the unwanted black sheep in a room of wolves and vultures,
there only to devour carrion and pick the bones of the dead.
Something in my nature delighted in their obvious discomfort.

They declared the meeting over and said I should have
been there. I did not ask the location of my invitation.
I thought, y’all low life vulture mother fuckers,
but I said, “No problem. Things will somehow work out.”

Oh, the sweet feeling of justice and the touch of revenge,
oh, the fine fit of the suit called, we’re even.
Did they think I would not know or gain?
I almost felt guilty for twisting the knife,
but guiltlessly I prompted their pain.
Putting things right feels real nice.

Look both ways in rooms empty or full.
Mind the gaps. That’s where the evil hides.

Poetry: Boys Only

Jimmy and me, and his sister June,
all about the same age
of seven or eight were standing
in the alley behind my house.

On that day I did not know
that in seven or eight more years,
me and June would share the experience
of lost virginity, the one and only day
she did not spurn my teenage romantic advances.

We three friends were all shirtless and discussing
whatever pre-pubescent children talked about
in the 1950s, when the shrill voice of their aunt
Dorothy demanded June not remain shirtless.

June did not get a satisfactory answer to her ‘why?’
(did we ever?), only that girls don’t do topless.

I looked June over, brown hair to barefoot toes
and could see no reason but forced socialization
of such things was commonplace and
in some circles probably still is.

Jimmy and his aunt died years ago. June is
a great-grandmother and we don’t keep in touch.
That’s too bad. I wonder what June remembers.

Look both ways before removing your shirt in the alley behind my house.
Mind the gaps, not the nipples, and aunt Dorothy, too.

Sammies Weekend Writing Prompt 122 — Museum

Monet at Kimbell

Not a big fan of Claude,
I wanted the experience
of seeing his original later work
at the Kimbell Art Museum
in Fort Worth.

In Cow Town, I ran
marathons and we danced
at Billy Bob’s near the stockyards,
and went to see Elvis, Marty Robbins,
and two of our three were born there.

A shining light of cowboy culture,
the Kimbell is one of many
attempts to not be Dallas.
DF dubya is nearby and
Cowboys play football in Arlington,

where the Rangers play baseball
and Six Flags (over Texas)
amusement park resides.
But what is most important
is not the museum or foot races,
not the water garden or train station,

what matters most to me about Cow Town
are the memories. The comrades, the friends,
the scandals and the hanky-panky,
the music (up against the wall, redneck mother)
Oh Lord, I knew it all so well.

But gunna miss the Monet.

Look both ways between Dallas and Fort Worth (I love you).
Mind the endless gaps in between.

Be a Stranger to Death: Know his Work

A first funeral for me was in our church. I was too young and didn’t know him. But I cried—it was so sad. Others did too. My family all asked me why I cried. A man I didn’t know had died. They took me to his funeral, and I cried because I felt so sad. Why did they ask me why? It was a funeral. I saw others cry. But I felt sad for his friends and family, and for him. My family seemed to be telling me that I should not cry or feel sad. They were telling me how I should feel.

It was my first taste of ultimate reality and sadness at a level I had not yet known. Six decades later I still recall their questions and the implication that I should not be sad because some man had died. And since I did not know him, I should not care about his death.

They knew him. But none of my family cried. I was confused by their lack of sadness. How could they not feel it? I didn’t wonder then why we went to the funeral, but I do now.

I should not feel emotion or act out my feelings if I do. I did not understand why others didn’t feel as I did. Too young, but already being told not to feel too deeply—to not be a sensitive man boy (later a man). Stoicism was and is associated with strength and manliness. Strong silence.

Years later I attended an emotional funeral for two young children of a workmate (auto accident). Later, another workmate criticised the people who cried at that funeral. I wonder more about former than the latter. How could he not cry and why criticize those who did?

Now, I am sometimes spoken of as a sensitive man by some; as one who reflects sensitivity back upon people. They say so because they read my writings. Not because of how I behave.

But not always. I suffer fools poorly and bullies with quite limited tolerance. I am sensitive to violence toward others, but I can do what it takes to be just and fair.

I cannot ask why they tried to teach me not to cry, or not to feel, or to be not sensitive about those who died. And they cannot answer. I doubt any would understand why. I went to their funerals and I cried because they had died and I loved them.

I cried when each of them died. Nobody asked me why. But I still hid my tears. I cried when I was alone. They had taught me well, but they never changed me. Show them only the face they wish to see. Be the strong, stoic, liar.

I remain an emotional little boy society calls sensitive (or weak or worse). They, in their curiously socialized hearts and minds will never understand me—nor will I, them.

Why cry? Must you ask?

Look both ways and deeply into the abyss of human emotions.
Mind the gaps but be consistent. Be yourself.