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.

Poetry: For a Little While

For a little while longer
I will annoy you with my
banal sarcasm, seasoned
with a pinch of wit.

For a little while longer
I will stare into your eyes—
making you uncomfortable.
I may annoy your sensitivity

With wise cracks or politically
incorrect observations of truth,
but only for a little while longer.

Until I stop, I will stake my claim
to a share of our relationship.

I may touch you, hug, or even kiss you
for a little while longer, and for as long
as I can. For a little while longer,
maybe forever, I will continue
to love you.

Of the forever possibilities, we’re all ignorant.
Look both ways here and now.
Do it now, say it now, mindfully minimize the gaps.

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.

Poetry: Kitchen Visits

Growing up, it was foreign land—
to me, yet, it was favored by all,
a magic kingdom of food and warmth,
a homework headquarters.

It had a coal stove for heat and
cooking. Mom (sometimes Dad) did laundry
there with a wringer machine filled and emptied by hose,
when new to the tribe, I was bathed in that sink,
perhaps after laundry and dishes were done.

Later in life it was (and still is) wife’s land.
Maybe it’s sexist, but barefoot in
the kitchen was her idea.
Actually, it was all her house
where we all lived. At home,
it was where the core of many lives
transpired—in the kitchen.
Meetings, parties, family dinners,
games and puzzles, some business.
It was our mother-ship’s headquarters.

When between jobs, I was given
the helm of house to navigate;
cooking, cleaning, laundry,
paying bills, and giving some homework
help. Dropping off, picking up,
taking to kid’s thingies. For a dad,
I believe I made a passable mom.

But the jury remains out.
Now those kids are gone
to their own kitchens,
it’s still the same in our lovely
(if mostly empty) nest. It’s her kitchen,
somewhere in the middle of
Texas. I don’t really
cook but would like to. I am the
dish washer, maybe replaced now
by a newer and quieter, a younger one
with fingerprint proof silver skin.

No man has ever been murdered
while doing the dishes.
Perhaps I
should be worried and observant,
or apply for the position of official
dishwasher loader and unloader.

It’s not my kitchen and it never will be.
Perhaps the laundry room?
Household poet laureate is a good job,
I eat well, and the beer is cold.

Look both ways, near and far.
There will always be gaps, in love and lust,
but in the kitchen, it’s Mom we trust.

Poetry: Green River

Like when Dick Clark used to ask the American Bandstanders,
What did you like about that song?
It’s music, Dick—don’t over analyze it
—and it is rock at that.

When Fogerty sings Green River

and I hear it

and I feel it

and yes—it takes me back,

not to a place or to a person, but to
a feeling. A condition of my

soul, walking a lonely road at night
barefoot girls dancing, it
seemed so right, the moon
at night.

On the inside a feeling makes me
want to want more,
inside me
a then that defies the reality of a now,
I dance cuz I feel, I sing cuz
I am going back to Green River.

I feel who I am—like
a slightly cracked shell over a sweet feeling that
was my Green River.

I remember things I love,
the sights, the sounds,
the smells and the tastes.

Now I love how it feels
when old John and Cody
take me home to a feeling—

to my Green River.

Look both ways along the river of time. Mind the gaps, bullfrogs hide there.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt #113 – Enthral(l)

An acrostic poem using the preferred US spelling to begin each line.

Enraptured by his vision of her beauty
Naughty and naked, how he wanted her
Taken with thoughts of ecstatic adventure
He stood bewitched, erect and stone hard
Riveted by rapturous delight, beguiled by her
Alluring charm; hypnotized and transfixed,
Lured into lust, he lost as her spell of
Love enslaved his soul and passion.

It’s not always possible to look both ways.
The gaps can be enticing.

https://sammiscribbles.wordpress.com/2019/07/06/weekend-writing-prompt-113-enthral/