Jim was watering his experiment
for his ag doctorate, Grasses of the Brazos.
The good ol’ country boy let his smile show
when I observed and laughed at him
for making a big deal out of a bunch of weeds.
They were not flowers or cash crop plants.
Jim said, without looking at me,
“a weed is just a plant out of place.”
Over fifty years now. Where did they go?
I remember Jim
and his greenhouse full of weeds at A&M,
we’d go spray water on them weeds daily.
Later Jim would defend his dissertation about
Brazos Valley dirt and river bank weeds.
Doctor Jim was a dirt man, agronomist.
Just a plant out of place.
Jim got his Ph and D in dirt.
Then, he moved away to California;
who with his high-pitched, out yonder,
Texas drawl, old Jim
was decreed Doc Jim, the good-old-boy
from Meridian, Texas.
In his own way, he became
a plant out of place.
Many times, I have been a weed,
a person out of place,
or so I felt.
I needed to be in a different place,
to feel unweedly,
wanted by anyone,
or not. Was I where I belonged?
Or, was I just another plant
out of place?
in the place I was supposed to be?
Bloom where you’re planted,
that’s what they say.
Weeds need to grow everywhere,
but it is nice to find your space.
Taking a cue from the John Keats poem, To Autumn, I must write a poem that is specific to a season, uses imagery related to five senses (I used more than five), and includes a rhetorical question, such as where are the songs of spring from the Keats poem.
Wasted days and wasted nights
for the sheer pleasure of guiltless
unproductive quietude of awareness,
as days are for summer, so are
nights fit for winter.
Loving both, I favor the transitions
of dusk and dawn, different but equal.
Each year, I am not the same person
I was. Nor am I the same each season.
I am at least four, maybe more
as I sense the changes each year
with each season, each day
brings new perceptions.
I belong within reality and metaphorically,
spiritually, and practically
somewhere within a transition
from summer to winter. An
autumnist is what I am,
but different of type with the
arrival of my knowing about cold
temperatures before I walk
and see changing leaves, I miss the
now gone migrating birds.
I do not hear them now.
Gradually, it seems, everyone thinks pumpkin
is my choice of taste, and the
traditional spice. Smell that
pumpkin pie or is that your latte?
The brisk autumn air is more
noticeable than in spring. It feels
different, more promising.
Pain seems less in Fall than
in Summer. I dance more at
Octoberfest, my balance is stable
and my sense of thirst has proven
stronger. I know my place
during those months with Halloween
Even my sense of passing time,
it’s more acute when the dog days
have come and gone. It is Spring
now—who will I be this year?
And next? What then? And
what about you?
My poetry challenge on this Friday is to write a poem about two things of mine. One was to be a dull thing that I own, why and how I love it. The other was a significant thing I own and what it would mean for me to give away, or to destroy the object?
*** A Prose Poem
Technology is significant. Toenails are dull. We upgrade computers, cell phones, and tablets. We cut toenails and toss them. Sometimes we wonder why we have nails (sometimes I wonder about computers too). Computers get viruses, toenails get fungi. One seems to make my life easier, the other we may paint and glitz up for fashion. One costs hard-earned cash, while the other may be pedi-’d when we mani-, but they were originally free. Toenails are expendable. They can turn black, fall off, and then grow back – sometimes.
While tech stuff may be frustrating, annoying, and expensive, we keep it close. Attached nails I never forget. But I would not go back home to retrieve a nail. Computers never caused me physical pain. I caused my feet anguish which they returned in misery.
Drop my phone in a toilet – get a new one. Drop this toenail in a toilet, I’d get it out, rinse and dry it off and I’d keep it. People joke about me and my toenail in a bottle. But while a painful memory, it’s a life treasure.
No longer a runner, my marathon streak ended at number 15, the Steamtown Marathon. This one was in the New Mexico portion of the Chihuahuan Desert for nine painful, grueling hours. Blisters as big as my feet, pain from self-abuse, all my toenails turned black. Some fell off.
I made stops at medical tents for foot care and to dump all that sand and desert scree from inside my shoes. During the short refreshing rests and pee breaks, I observed more serious casualties. Some turned back and limped or rode a golf cart home, others took the more serious ambulance rides. It was freezing at the start of the race one mile up and a hot high-desert afternoon when I finished. The blessed mountain top view from another thousand feet up brought a slight smile that said now we’re going down there.
I did the same event over the next three years as a wiser, more experienced participant. Finished all four New Mexico marathons (and the other 11) walking catawampus supported by ego and a feeling of achievement that defies words. It was more than a high. It hurt so good! That toenail is my reminder. I’m keeping it. You can have this other stuff.