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.

Sammie’s Weekend Writing Prompt 121 (Teapot)

Temulence

Trepidation guides my mind’s every thought
Embraced by the constant shadow of pain,
As grief overwhelms my sanity, body, and spirit
Poison has crushed my life’s spirit with the lie of happiness
Offended by other’s sorrow and denial
Temulence: a deadly goal, a trap to snare its prey.

We may look both ways, but can live only one life.
Mind the tremulous gaps of hopelessness.

 

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: Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt

A song played on the radio
from WARM Top 40,
rock and roll—
sinful music station
in nineteen sixty-four.

Joe Dreier was driving when
I looked at the speedometer.
We’d not be doing a hundred
except Joe was drunk.

Me too. Maybe Ron
(who we called Dobbie)
Ganick wasn’t there,
he didn’t drink, but we did.

We all got home that night
of senior graduation parties.
Later when I was away in Texas
with the Air Force,

I learnt Ganick died.
His VW bug threw him in a crash.
I bet there was a song on the radio,
probably WARM 590 AM.

Look both ways for “fortune smiles on some,
and lets the rest go free.”*
Mind the gaps and wonder why.

(* from Sad Café by the Eagles)

 

 

 

 

Birthday Essay

Today I am supposed to celebrate surviving three years into my seventh decade. I am glad to be alive. But such luck is a banal accomplishment, since each day when I wake up not dead (yet), I know I did nothing to deserve the pleasure of such a long and mostly good life. I may have stopped smoking 20 years ago, but I didn’t for the 30 before that. I spent thousands of hours throwing my body along faster than any bird can fly. I never crashed. Many did. I was lucky.

Today I meet the threshold of my end times. Will I survive one more year like my father? Four more like Mom? Less, like my sister, cousin, grandfathers, or grandmums? Today I will stop counting up and start counting down. Ten more? Twenty? And my health? Status quo would be a wonderful thing – but it will get worse – it’s a reality everyone dislikes (including me).

Ten years ago, I ran 20 miles of 26.2-mile marathons (walked the other six). Five years ago, I walked briskly for 13 miles on Saturday mornings until one day my body said, we need to rest. I sat on a bench and I wondered what it was – it was my now well-stented heart.

Nowadays, because low blood flow reduces needed oxygen and other stuff in blood from my leg muscles, I manage a quarter mile without a bench or a tree trunk or wall to sit on. A two and a half to three-mile walk is a big day, and I find tired and sore invades me as my body recovers.

It’s morning. I’m here and you are too. Now what? Wanna go for a walk?

Look both ways with contemplative wonder for life and its privileges.
Mind the gaps but live in the moment.