About You. About Me.

You taught me about gardening and life; I was content
to spend my day with you.

Riding high on your shoulders we stroll around your backyard.
You sang “I love you a bushel and peck”.

My small voice perched on your shoulders sang back.
“A bushel and peck and a hug around the neck”.

Then my four year old arms would squeeze you hard as you sang
“A hug around the neck and a barrel and a heap”.

You might hum a few bars but I knew what was coming when you sang
“A barrel and a heap and I’m talking in my sleep”.

You would swing me around and down to the ground
gently placing me on the wistful green leaves.

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Time Love and Tenderness

Several years after the death of her sweetheart,
Eula woke up.
Woke up, not like after sleeping for eight hours,
but really woke up.

1991 and she had been asleep since 1967,
not technically asleep but not really awake until now.
Leaving her house only on special occasions – graduation, weddings, and holiday’s.

The fog had lifted
with it her spirits.

Sleep.
Sleep.
Sleep.

Surviving on toast and black coffee from her electric percolator.

Sleep.
Sleep.
Sleep.

And then – one day

AWAKE!

They wanted her to wake up for so long and wakeup she did.

Out came the fancy dresses and shoes.
Unearthed were the ‘good’ hose and girdles.
Unpacked were the hairpieces and jewelry.

The drive took over an hour.
She was always driven.
Got married at 15
no need to drive for herself.

Saxophone echoed in her ears
Eula swayed in her seat – waiting.
She was with her girls
the content looks on their faces
matched their body language.

She let out a sigh.
She was awake.
All so she could meet Michael Bolton.

195 Highland Drive

In Sutter Creek, California,
I rode my bike to my granny’s house
she never wanted to leave. It was sunny
I had stuffed monkey Lucy’s tail wrapped around my
banana seat.  We waved to Mr. Bugni
he waved back (it’s ok I’ve met him
before so he is not a stranger). Not like Mrs. Gibney –
she just moved there.

It took me exactly
nine minutes to get to my granny’s house
I rode real fast down the hills and didn’t stop
to pet Marcy’s new puppy, and Lucy didn’t fall off.

My granny’s smelled like apple pie and
I knew the crust would be real good. Flakey,
that‘s how she made it.

Lucy and I met her in the kitchen.
She was in there in her housecoat,
the one with faded red flowers, and weird shoes
that she cut the toes out because they hurt her feet.

Granny was cutting out coupons.  I got to look at the
Sears and Roebuck catalog…and boy was it heavy.
The cover was a lady in an Easter dress and it said
Spring 1980.

I turned to the clothes and asked for a pen ‘cause I was gonna
mark the stuff I wanted. I did this every year so
that everybody knew what I wanted for my birthday.
I circled the pink corduroy jacket on page 73
I gotta have that!
My granny leaned over to look.
Huh…? hmmm … oh, that’s nice dear,
and she went back to cutting out her coupons.
I worked my way through marking the things I needed.
I got to the toy section, and I was in heaven.  I wanted
one of each on page 176.

We took a break and ate pie and ice cream
sweet juice ran down my chin, and my granny
handed me a napkin.

I wondered what it would be like if she left her house
like normal people. Even Mrs. Gibney went to the store
by herself, and she had only been there a week.
I like to imagine us eating in restaurants with big hats
sipping tea and eating those little sandwiches
with the crusts cut off.  She would have worn
that salmon colored dress
with the rhinestones on the neckline that
I saw once in her closet,
and I would wear that pink corduroy jacket
that I circled on page 73.

I asked her about it one time, that salmon dress.  She said
this old thing, I got it from Sears and Roebuck my dear.
And she told me that it was for an anniversary party
for my granddad and her.
She said I was too young to remember,
and she only wore it that once.

I always wondered why she didn’t want to go grocery shopping,
and why she ordered everything
out of the Sears and Roebuck catalog.
My mom said that sometimes my granny got sad
and as a young girl I didn’t really know what that meant.
To me it just meant that she never wanted to come
to my school plays or art shows or softball games.

How old will you be this year, my granny asked?
I looked up at her from my circling. She said it real sly,
like she didn’t know. But I knew better,
so I say 16, even though I was half that. She says,
Guess you’ll be getting your license soon.
Yeah, I guess I can drive you now.
And we both nervously laughed.
I went back to circling.
It was January 12, 1980.

The Sheets on the Bed Were Starwars

At first it is just a little poke; a nudge rather
tender and moist
this lasts for a few minutes as the two test each other out
Pushing to see how far the other is willing to go
lips on lips and tongues rolling in gentle synchronicity
soft kisses, mouths and tongues in exploration.

(Breathe)

Two bodies melt together in this new-found comfort
lying on the bed in the bedroom in a parent’s house
as they familiarize themselves with the other
The thought of being caught adds to the thrill
the anticipation grows
with each press, each kiss, each caress

(Sigh)

Bodies in perfect rhythm having finally found the groove
pressed hard against each other,
yet still holding back just that small piece of themselves
Breathing becomes rapid and temperatures begin to rise
tongues and lips continue their discovery
grazing necks, ears, breasts, wrists

(Moan)

Bodies like unexplored lands
eyes and hands search for recognition
clothing heaped like hills and valleys on the floor
Once a place of childhood innocence
long forgotten action figures line the shelves
now the location of a late night rendezvous

(Exhale)

Sweaty bodies entangled
finally letting go the pieces they both held back
then…sweet release they knew would come

Hair (and what clothing remains) disheveled
Panting,  boy and girl fall on the bed
Again, and again, and again, and again

Ink

she has been longing for numbness
succumbing
four more hours in the chair

I stare at the kaleidoscope
on her side
my eyes shy away

colors so beautiful
but they do little to mask the
irritated skin

pink
puffy
glossy with the goo

She confesses to the addiction
needles tap out
validation for her badge of anger

the tattoo over her heart
covers something besides skin

**This poem was published in the 2010 edition of the Element: Online Literary Arts Journal.

Passion

She brushes past unnoticed
and when he can no longer see her
it is her distinct scent that distracts him from his work.

What he thought was dead
is awake
like all the men at the Million Man March.

Pushing on his heart until
he thinks it will burst out of his chest
like the cork on the champagne bottle
that you shook up on New Years Eve.

**This poem was published in the 2010 edition of the Element: Online Literary Arts Journal.