There’s No Place Like Home

Working at a fancy restaurant in California is where it took place.
That busy day in November I was scheduled for a double shift on a Saturday.
Kitchen work was hard and the crew was a tight nit bunch. Myself and two boys were in the open kitchen. Romero and Tony, whom I refer to as My Tony.
Taking a tray of crème brulee warm from the oven like any other day into the walk-in proved to be anything but ordinary.
Tray was secure in it’s home on the cold steel rolling rack.
I turn to leave.
Before I know what is happening I start to slide and my feet flip out from under me arm bumping down the rack all the way down.
Like the thump, thump, thump of the markers that line the side of the highway as you drive sleepily home from a late night and fall asleep at the wheel for the tinniest of seconds.
I come to my resting place flat on my back.
What a sight that must have been for Romero and My Tony, who came rushing to my aid when they heard my screech and thud that followed.
Eyes big as saucers and looking at me lying on that cold floor – pride and backside equally bruised.
What they saw were my feet sticking out the walk-in door like the wicked witch from the Wizard of Oz who was trapped under the house with her stripped socks all before Dorothy took her glittery red “there’s no place like home” shoes.

My Books Smelled Like Melons

This is an exercise in prose poetry followed by the original {much shorter version} and a version that is not at all prose.

I wasn’t in a hurry when I left; it was a rather methodical expedition through our collected memories which were tucked carefully into seven boxes and driven over three rivers to where I gently landed in a cottage that had room enough for a single bed, two windows, and a dark oak phone booth that engulfed the multi-purpose living room. That phone booth became my nemesis as it hovered over, reminding me that I was alone in every sense of the word; so I turned it into my craft haven where I stored all my projects, ribbons and paper in yellow, violet, green, red and blue took the place of the dark wood exterior. There were no quick changes happening here, so I slipped into the welcoming quiet, and looked out the window as I watched the cows out for their daily stroll along the fence line.  The phone in that booth never rang and Superman never came to save me.

{Original}

I wasn’t in a hurry when I left; it was a methodical expedition through our collected memories which were tucked carefully into seven boxes. My journey took me to a cottage that had a single bed, two windows and a dark oak phone booth that engulfed the living room.  I slipped into the welcoming quiet.  Superman never saved me.

{Non prose version}

I wasn’t in a hurry
so, no I did not leave in a scurry
it was a slow exploration
a mental cleansing if you will
The memories were separated
fought over and then packed
Seven boxes were driven
over mountains and rivers
There laid a little house
and things were quite as a mouse
And there was the phone booth
the one that held the truth
Huge in the living space
it towered over me

Side note: I love the show The Big Bang Theory and got the idea for this prose piece from an episode where Sheldon was lamenting over the thought of having to move and how he would have to go the grocery store to get boxes for packing and was in a tizzy because my “books will smell like melons”.

White lies and other colors

Around 1982 I take my dad’s grey sweatshirt from his dresser and dye it purple.  I loved purple. Good thing my dad is forgiving ’cause my hands are stained and there was no hiding from that one.

Around 1997 I tell myself that one little white lie won’t hurt.  People can change, things will get better.

Around 1999 I pull on the white dress my mother has made me and wait as she attaches the train.  Sweat runs between my breasts as I walk down the aisle.

Around 1991 After developing and processing film all day, I get curious and look at the photos before I put them in the envelope.  The manager sees me as my face flushes. I look for a new job the next day.

Around 2007 I have a party and after everyone leaves you kiss me and rest your olive-skinned check against mine “we’re just friends, right?” I nodded.  I wish I had said no.

Around 2001 I meet Tony.  He makes me laugh; I cut his black hair on my back porch and watch as the birds carry the ebony fluff to their nests. He is 12 years my junior we are inseparable.

Around 1980 My sister and I sing “The Piña Cola da Song” at the top of our lungs while my mom shops for groceries. That song always reminds me of Christmas in Hawaii.

Around 1981 Linnea and I sneak into Raiders of The Lost Ark. During the movie the film burned up right as the faces were melting off.  We think we are so cool, until our mom’s find out.  Just like mine predicted, I need a nightlight so I can fall asleep.

Around 2009 I pick my friend up at the airport and ask her how long since I’ve seen her.  She says it was ten years ago, on your wedding day.

Dear Diary

Hear his voice, my heart’s crush
I melt
inside I, feel the rush

Look my way
I hope and I pray
hear his voice, my heart’s crush

He’s the one I want
I will not stray
in my flesh, I feel the rush

I dream
I wait
hear his voice, my heart’s crush

They say patience is a virtue…
lucky girl I am
In my flesh, I feel the rush

He is mine
Now and forever
Hear his voice, my heart’s crush

Under The Autumn Leaves

Magazines that go unread,
the glass coasters that belong to my roommate,
remote controls to a TV that is no longer here,
a corkscrew from an old job,
the collected works of Jane Austen,
The Shack, The God Catchers, and The Lord of the Rings,
candles that remain unused because they are
unscented and do nothing to mask the odor
coming from next door.

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

What a zipper becomes when it has fallen down…Undone

Before I was even a glimmer in my daddy’s pants my whole life was planned

Every scrapped knee
Each broken heart
All planned out as God held me in his hand

Then I met him
Yes a boy
Sweet tender and all mine

Thought my life was complete
You know start living now
Well it’s all come undone

I can’t lean on him
This boy who used to be mine
He’s gone vanished

Wiped clean
Like vinegar and newspaper on a car window in Mexico
Scrubbed until all the dirt is gone

Undone because all the sweetness of that boy dried up
Like when you chew on a piece of gum and all the sugary sweet syrup sits on your tongue
But a moment later is gone

Undone because I was smothered by the weight of this boy
His body, his sadness,
his stationary life

Undone and left it all there with that boy who became greedy
With his love,
his words, his body

Undone like a little girl on the playground who is playing dodge ball hair all sweaty around the edges and falling out of her ponytail
Since the day I left its all come

Undone

Written December 4, 2008

Nun Ode by Brandon Anderson an undoing of “Undone” by Sheila (Newsom) Streetman (“Nun Ode” is an anagram of “Undone” so I have quite literally undone “Undone”)

Keeping your heart pure should be part of the plan
Waiting for the right one will lead you to joy.
Don’t cheapen yourself for a man
That treats women as nothing more than a sex toy.

Chastity takes major control
But you don’t need to join a convent
Keep your standards high, I beg you, just wait.

Eventually having a lot of romantic relationships will take its toll.
Hold on for that equally yolked gent.
Don’t settle for some guy that is second rate.

When he says he loves you, test his dedication,
For all of your life he needs to stay true.
God has selected one man for you in all of Creation
Make sure he won’t turn and flee when you puke from the flu.

He needs to marry you to deserve any lovin’
If you give it to him sooner then he will treat you cheap
When you feel used you might start bitchin’.

Soon enough you might start fighting and shovin’
There’s just no sense in keeping a creep
If he’s looking for a handout, then ditch him.

Amazing Grace

I had to sing your song for the audition
“how sweet the sound” my voice began to shake

Isn’t that called vibrato?
Yes, I tell myself and recite the lyrics

Music soothing to my ears
with a taste sweet on my tongue

I think of later when I’ll be alone
safe from curious onlookers

makeup can run down my face
no longer able to hold back the sorrow I work so hard to conceal

I find my way to the end
and sing with only a hint of quiver in my voice “now I see”

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.