Depending On When You Met Me Depending on when you met me, I might have been: A five-year-old sitting alone on a stoop, Tongue stuck out of the corner of her mouth, Brow furrowed in concentration, As she fought to master the art Of shoelace-tying... A ten-year-old grade five, terrified To be starting at her fourth new school, This time in a different province, And enduring the stares of those Who'd all grown up together... A fifteen-year-old writing in a middle-school library, Churning out lunch-time pages for an anxious crowd, The latest installment of a soap opera Starring Duran Duran Taking acceptance where she could get it... A twenty-year-old security guard, doing outside rounds Of a fifty-acre psychiatric hospital property, Swinging a Detex clock and breathing in fog, Silently begging the shadows not to move, and her Fellow guards not to prank... A twenty-five-year-old tour guide, Wearing a mishmash of "historic costume", Biting her tongue behind the wide smile, As those who had just been rude asked, "Can you tell me where to go?" ... A thirty-year-old substitute teacher, Wheeling AV carts through crowded halls, Asking strangers to unlock classroom doors, Ignoring "Don't smile until Christmas," And learning to teach math in French on the fly... A thirty-five-year singing Duranie, In a university stadium in Northern Virginia, Finally seeing the original band members Twenty years after screaming herself hoarse At LiveAid on television... A forty-year-old crisis intervention worker, Answering middle-of-the-night calls At the domestic violence shelter A resource of resources, and Powered by energy drinks... A forty-five-year-old brain injury survivor, Parking in the lot at Walden Pond for the first time, Blinking in disbelief, relief and sheer joy, Having made it there entirely under her own power, And not been squashed like Frogger on the I-95... A fifty-year-old pandemic recluse Staring at a screen full of rectangular strangers, All teacher-writers with words to share, With her feeling like the first day of grade five again, Not knowing that they were all her friends already.
Words in My Head
I go to sleep with headphones on
to keep the brain occupied
and the demons at bay
Those words in my head
fill up any cracks
that would allow the
dark to get in
Went to bed with a
heart so heavy
The breath would barely come
Months of isolation
from people-watching and
from new horizons
Even the fumes were gone
I heard words
A poet blazing his truth
Lighting the dark
My heart stirred
My breathing quickened
And like an old furnace
My own words ignited once more.
The podcast I woke hearing — and which breathed oxygen to that dwindling ember inside — was a rerun of this episode of CBC’s Ideas: The Last Bohemian: Lawrence Ferlinghetti.
This post was created as part of the Poetry Friday challenge, hosted each week by a different poet. Today’s host, Michelle Kogan, is celebrating a birthday this weekend! Please enjoy her lovely poem on her blog and wish her a happy birthday in the comments.
This week, my Tuesday prompts group used today’s 2021 April PAD Challenge prompt from Writer’s Digest.
This poem has been rattling ’round in my heart and head for a very long time, literally twelve years in the making. Today it finally tumbled out.
Thank you for reading it.
Change / Don't Change I look at Google Maps To revisit childhood past; Plunk Streetview Man down In front of 8510, And set the time slider Back 12 years, to 2009, And the preceding four decades, Before it was all erased. Elizabeth Wilson's house, Back among the pines and cedars. Sixty years between us Makes for an unlikely friendship. I braid her antique doll's hair, While she braids mine. There stands the school, And the playground, The old Orange Hall, And Doris's yellow house Where she sits on her veranda And watches and waits to scold. If I angle it right, I can see the other landmarks -- Houses of people whose names I've always known: Charlton; Briggs; Livingston; Burton -- And the ancient mountain smiles benevolently Upon those sheltered in its valley. But if I angle it wrong, I can see the machines, And the unbearable piles of corpses Of hundreds of trees who Watched me collecting flowers, Cheered me chasing squirrels, and Listened to me singing silly made-up songs, Sighing back to me in companionable whispers. Looking at 2021, It's all gone now, of course. Obliterated by progress: "Must get to Fredericton faster." A highway overpass My childhood's grave marker.
About Archie I am owned by an orange and white cat Who, by all accounts, should be fat He eats quite a lot When he doesn't get caught He really can be such a brat The orange cat is Archie by name He thinks scratching me is a fine game Archies jumps on my head Then strikes a pose on the bed For a photo to add to his fame I'm writing this poem while he's here He's demanding attention, that's clear He purrs and he rubs I think he wants grubs An empty dish is his one great fear.
Let's Go The spring sun shines My dog is hopeful She noses at my keys But there isn't time. My dog is hopeful The tail is wagging But there isn't time "Let's go," her eyes plead. The tail is wagging She noses at my keys "Let's go," her eyes plead. The spring sun shines.
This week’s Poetry Friday is hosted by Susan at Soul Blossom Living.