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.

Poetry Report: October Poems

Even if I was bad at math (I’m not), with 61 days remaining this year, I have written more than 300 poems during 2019, beginning with my commitment on New Year’s Day. Writing at least one poem each day has been more of a learning experience than I expected. Originally, I thought it would be difficult but fun, and it has been, but I wondered if I could manage it every day for a whole year.

An unintentional consequence has been that I read much more poetry and I’ve bought more poetry books this year than ever. I’ve also become comfortable trying to write a poem about anything at any time. Sometimes I have no idea where it will go—I just sit down and write. A poem happens (no claims for first draft quality).

I’ve written around the clock. With my pen or laptop at my fingertips, I have composed poems during the wee hours after midnight, before dawn and at sunrise, before and after breakfast, at mid-morning with coffee, while dropping crumbs of my lunch onto my poesy, before and after dinner and while drinking wine or coffee (sometimes too much).

I’ve written them in the car as Yolonda drove, in coffee shops (alone or with groups), at meetings, on my back porch, in other people’s back or front yards, in my daughter’s kitchen, and in every room of our house except the garage and bathrooms (but I should, right?). Using sights or happenings for prompts, I composed while cooling my heels in waiting or examination rooms, while sitting, standing, or on the lie. I have composed mental poems that are never written down, but they don’t count.

Except when I use prompts, like Sammi’s weekender, at writer’s group meetings, or during NaPoWriMo in April, topics are virtually random thoughts or events. Billy Collins even wrote a poem about people telling him there’s a poem in that. I try to write as soon as a thought occurs to me.

I’ve now happily welcomed poetry as the biggest part of my writing life, with encouragement from friends, family, readers, and other poets/writers.

The titles of the 31 poems I wrote each day during October were:

  1. Hard Times Were Had by Us
  2. Shots and Jabs
  3. Choose Your Role
  4. Old Feelings
  5. I Need an Answer
  6. Haven
  7. We’re Number Two
  8. Old Man in My House
  9. Music in Me
  10. CSL (Clive Staples Lewis)
  11. Projects
  12. Irreplaceable Love
  13. Relief Strategy
  14. Too Much
  15. Fallen Pride
  16. Debatable
  17. Art in Us
  18. Your Own
  19. Where Goes the Candlelight?
  20. Aurora
  21. Oldies
  22. Risk & Danger = Life
  23. My Lucky Tree
  24. I could have been a Poet
  25. Road Trip Pits
  26. Saturday at Dawn
  27. The Sunday Marathon
  28. On Raising Teens
  29. Fortuna Redux
  30. It’s All Just Stuff
  31. Times Around

Trust no one.
Look both ways on one-way streets.
Mind the gaps with a skeptic’s crown.

Poetry: Eight is Number One

October is my favorite month
after September, until
it is November, which then
becomes my favorite month
before December. Then,
January changes everything and
I begin to dread July—

Which is when I start to yearn
for October again and
I look at the calendar and
I’m fixin’ to bitch about
the miserable Texas heat,

When my wife asks me where
I would like to go and
I answer, anywhere with
air conditioning, or where
it is October and she says,
it’s October now and
91 degrees outside.

I decide to go look
at the thermostat and to
think about Thanksgiving,
a good economy, and global
warming. She refuses to
live where it is cold.

Look both ways, but time is unidirectional
and never stops, until it does.
Gaps in time are cosmic to the mind.

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.

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.

Poetry Report: August Poems

As August washes into September for another year, we shimmy along into the later first part of the second half of 2019, with all it has to offer. School has started in most places and a Labor Day weekend presents itself as the final holiday of the summer, or the first one of the Fall, or both. I prefer to think positive: Fall.

Even though my now grown children always started school in August, I never adjusted to that as anything but an egregious school requirement during the hot summer months. It’s wrong. I never liked school.

My childhood experience was for the madness of school to begin on Tuesday following Labor Day. I don’t hate any month or time of year, it’s just that on the one-to-twelve rating scale, August comes in 12th place for me. I also don’t ever know what to do with it, so I write about it.

I continue to flex my poesy (or is it prosy?) braincells and muscles each day.

August poem titles were:

1. C-man
2. Relax, Old Man
3. Antipathy
4. Impractical End
5. Cicada Call
6. Some Days
7. Seven Times
8. Give Me Time
9. Learning How
10. Song
11. The Greeting
12. DIY
13. My Grief
14. Long Live Sadness
15. The Quacks
16. For Reality Pray
17. My Monster
18. Sabbat Lost
19. Social Sadness
20. The Horror of Love
21. I did It!
22. Big Bang Theory
23. Noted Brilliance
24. Vintage
25. That Shit Sucks
26. End of the Trail
27. For a Little While Longer
28. The Hope Within Hopeless
29. Road Trip
30. Wrong Again!
31. Temulence

Look both ways more than once.
Trust your senses and verify that things have not changed.
Mind the gaps lest you find yourself in difficult embarrassment.