I was seventeen, had one year left of high school and a boyfriend I didn't even love.
It was the end of summer, and I was on the verge of a night indelible
because it was incredible for me.
If "tall, dark, and handsome" had a face, it belonged to one who walked
into the store I worked at nightly all alone. He brought with him a smile just for me -
beautiful, magical, seducing. Were he music, he'd have been the warmest song
to ever touch my soul. Perhaps it was the moon, lunacy-inducing, that made me crave
his visits more and more, for he'd come each night into the store,
his ritual to tease me with his glances; then stand in line with just one purchase,
engaging me with words deliciously belying that he spoke my native tongue.
Did he know I fairly worshiped him?
And where was Aphrodite to let her dear Adonis wander free?
I learned eventually he was staying with a brother and soon would be returning to Quebec.
I do not know, but I can now infer the moon waxed full by the time he asked me out,
for I had waxed complete in my audacity. Knowing it was his last night in town,
I closed the store up early and fled with my Prince Charming.
The stuff of poetry that night transpired. . .
fodder for the several poems of romance I've since penned.
Sitting in his car in front of my own house, late at night, into the early morning. . .
The way he gazed into my eyes, teaching me of butterfly kisses
and his breathing his sweet breath along my ear lobes,
the way our fingers interlaced, the way he caressed the small of my back. . .
He taught me how small things
can be just as sensuous as that act of love that virgins do not know,
and he branded me with a yearning for a sweet romantic love I'd never felt so strongly,
nor would I ever know again as wonderfully as I was shown that night,
for others in my life I've kissed, yet barely missed.
My dream love wrote me postcards from Quebec. Then it all died out.
I married. A few years passed; then I got a call from him, completely unexpected!
Somehow he'd tracked me down to my new home. I took the call,
as I held my firstborn baby daughter in one arm.
Heart in my throat, I told him it was nice to hear from him, but I was married now.
So though I'll never know what "may have been," I'm still left with the memory
I chose to make with him that one day of my life, my very best,
because for just one night, I was Cinderella. A prince still holds my slipper,
and infinite romance lives on inside my poems.
To me, fair friend, you never can be old,
For as you were when first your eye I eye'd,
Such seems your beauty still.
~ William Shakespeare
I have looked into the mirror
Looking for a trace....a trace of my youth
A trace of the girl that I used to be...
Is she there? Buried deep? Is she still part of me?
Years can't be halted, change can't erase..
And there...in my face, are the lines of experience
Stories and time...I see staring back at me
A part of me wants to grieve for that girl
The girl that I was.. Has she vanished for good?
Oh, I do understand....
That I can't hang on to "then"..
To days long ago, when time was our friend
When summers, together, seemed never to end
But, then............ , here by chance, we meet up once again.....
Our friendship born in childhood..so young, and carefree
You...with bright eyes, and brown hair that fell long
Around your high cheeks ...and a wide, gamin smile!
You were the one who's light shined so brightly
Who's charm, laugh, and wisdom I fondly admired
A girlhood where we danced together in sweet grass under sunny skies
And under nighttime stadium lights, to the music of the high school band
After years, that have taken us to separate worlds
In my mind, and in my dreams you have always been
The fair maiden, the one who held my hand
Two girls who made promises...who sat in the dark, under a summer sky
And talked of our "somedays", of our future, our hopes
By the light of the moon, we wished upon the stars
Now here in this moment, I have found you again
And here in this moment, I have found "me" again....
I can be that girl again....as we share our history
our moment in the sun, ....I am "her", again!..
I can be that child, I can be fifteen, I can wear a crown, upon a teenaged throne...
And I can still dance to the sound of the drum, and the tuba,
I can sing football songs, and gossip about the boys,
and make fun of the stuck-up girls
and laugh about the teachers we didn't like,
and about the night of the prom, when I cried in your arms
I can hear Johnny Mathis singing "Misty", and the words will make me weep
I can hear "Canadian Sunset" as it lulls me off to sleep
Perhaps the stars have faded a bit...but beyond the weary miles
They still shine when I look into your eyes...my dear friend, from the past...
They will shine through the ages.........where a summer will always last....
For Frank's Contest:
It was the first day of the new school year
The children of Beslan had no need to fear
In anticipation they eagerly left home for school
Some walked hand in hand with Mom and Dad
Others skipped along the well known path
Excitement filled the sidewalks and the streets
As fleeting thoughts collided in mid air
Some thought of new friends to be made
Others of old friends with whom to play
A little sister left at home
Of baby brother asleep in his crib
Much too young to run and play
Some favorite lullabies which Grandmama sang
As Grandpapa played his violin
The first day of the new school year
Mothers beamed with such pride
How their little ones had grown
Never would they ever want to let go
Others gave in to their children’s cries
‘Mamma, I do not want to go to school.
May I stay with you today?’
On wings of hate evil had already arrived
With diabolical plans and bombs in hand
To maim and murder the children of Beslan
Who became captives in their little school house
After the dastardly deed was done
Dreams and aspirations lay splattered 'cross the floor
Childhood innocence forever vanished!
On the day of internment the sun in his temple hid
Earth wept pouring rain, her bitter tears
As Mothers’ voices cracked and strained
Cried out loud, their children’s names
While others pleaded in vain for death
Fathers in a state of shock stood stoically in the cold autumn rain
Wearing faces carved in stone
The blood of children cried out to Heaven
Where at the throne of mercy
Sits a God who is just
Though their bodies lay broken in tiny white coffins
On angels' wings their souls did ascend
He will judge all men and their deeds
All, on one appointed day
A tribute to the children of Beslan, No. Ostetia, Russia 9/1-3/ 2004
This poem was inspired by my best friend and her troubles: )
We go out on our first date,
We go back to your house,
Your parents are asleep,
We go to your bedroom,
You tell me you love me and that you will take care of me,
I wake up thinking of last night your laying next to me holding me,
You wake up and look at me and smile,
You lean over and kiss me,
I feel like you are the best thing to ever happen to me,
You are my first love,
Little do we know what’s happening,
Nine months latter we are parents,
We are planning our marriage,
Our lives are set in stone now,
We are parents at age fifteen, engaged at age fifteen,
Life has just left our eyes,
Now we are two teens in love living on their own parents disowned them, child with them
drop outs of high school and working jobs to survive.
What a stupid mistake we made at age fifteen.
Under aged sex is not a smart choice unless you want my life….
i caught your eyes on me. dont bother to look away. ive already noticed. i wish i was
brave enough to stare back. it doesnt bother me, just makes me curious. what are you
thinking? or are you just observing? try to figure me out. but you wont. because youve
only met the imposter. you havent stopped to look into my eyes.
still tiered eyes open,
She walks down stairs, packs up, and gets on the bus,
She stares out the window wishing to spend the day there and not at a desk.
7 FULL HOURS of of unempathetic teachers,
they give her 6 more hours of school work to do at home.
No one cares!
The homework starts on the bus and she's lucky to have it done by 10PM.
Finely, she gets to go to bed,
But all she does is stare at the sealing with the overhanging stress of the work she didn't finish combined with the work her unrelenting teachers will give her tomorrow.
It happens each day,
It's beyond her control,
she tells teachers and friends but they spit in her face telling her they don't care.
It won't change.
Luckily, she has her head on strait,
and while she trudges through the mud she stays strong,
knowing that everything is going to work out.
So she tells herself just wait.
The day’s hot-the wind like a convection oven
Blows hot air in our faces.
My cap and gown insulates me
Baking me like a potato wrapped in aluminum foil
I desperately fan myself and look around
My eyes search for my peers and see;
The bros that survived school with me;
The others who shouldn't have;
The girls with memories already wet in their eyes;
The people I never met and will never know;
All desperately fanning themselves
In silence and in waiting.
We all are waiting for the same thing-
What's next to come.
For some it will be their names
For another a trip to boot camp
For many including myself- college
A couple can't wait to forget the tortures of high school
And a few will already be planning our high school reunion
because it was the best years of their life.
As I bow my head, not out of sadness,
but out of sheer defeat by the sun,
I scuff up my dress shoes in the clumpy grass of the field-
that just finished another infamous drawn out lacrosse season,
I'll be thinking about the 4 plus years, 8 seasons,
worth of drilling and conditioning I did in that very field and on the surrounding track,
With a flash of ivory across my sweating face
I'll be thinking about
All the nooks and crannies
that I sanctioned for the intimate meetings of my girlfriends
The times caught and not,
All the heartbreaks and rejections,
The friends made, the best friends kept, and the many lost.
The drama, stupidity, and immaturity,
Everything that was and used to be.
And, all this time spent waiting-preparing
for this one moment
You can't help but remember it all
And with one, final sweet goodby-
I have been praying to God ever since I first understood the concept of a deity. Although I have struggled through life with my acceptance of and belief in the religion I was force fed as a child, the praying has always stayed with me – on an almost every day basis. In some way or some form or for some reason, it seems, I find myself praying to a God I am not sure I believe in.
Over the years, some of the things I have prayed for or prayed against have worked out in my favor. Other things didn’t quite work out the way I had hoped. So, I wondered, was this proof that my prayers are sometimes answered or simply the law of averages? It really didn’t matter, I was programed to pray and so pray I do.
This has been going on pretty routinely for over 50 years; so, imagine my surprise when, for the first time last night, God talked back to me!
I may not get this exactly right, but, in essence, this is what He had to say:
(I am not sure what font to type God’s words in, so I will just keep on with the default.)
“Joe, Joe, Joe. I have been listening to you for all your life. And, whereas I do enjoy your thoughts; your words; and your sentiments; I find it is time for me to respond.
You really do pray a lot for lots of things. Mostly good and humane things. Mostly with a pure and caring heart. But, son, you need to stop doing so much praying and start doing more stuff on your own. I am not up here to make your life easier and to do things for you.
When you were young, instead of praying for that bicycle, you should have been doing chores to earn money towards buying it. You could have cut more lawns, washed more cars, got a paper route, sold lemonade, or many other things other young boys were doing to earn money for the things that they wanted.
When you were in high school and prayed to me to help you do well in your wrestling matches, you should have, instead, been working harder at practice; spent more time on your conditioning; spent more time in the weight room; and studied harder on the art of wrestling.
In college, when you prayed for help on your mid-terms and finals, you should have, instead, spent more time studying and less time partying – I think that is something you already know.
Even when you pray on behalf of others – you should be doing more.
Instead of praying I would help old Mrs. Conner at the end of your street, you should have gotten up off your butt and walked down to the end of the street and looked in on her yourself. You could have offered to go to the store for her, pick up her prescriptions or simply keep her company in her final years.
When you prayed for me to care for the starving children around the world, you should have been volunteering to help out yourself or donating more money towards this cause. If you funneled all the money you spent on unnecessary junk food and extra meals you consumed throughout the years towards charities that help feed and clothe the poor, you could have saved many of the children you prayed that I would save.
Instead of praying that I cure your family, friends and acquaintances that you knew were ill or dying, you should have been visiting them in the hospital or writing them letters or providing assistance to their loved ones to help ease their pain.
Prayer is not the vehicle for you to be lazy and yet gain the rewards. Prayer is not a means to have me do for others what you have the power and ability to do yourself.
I am glad that you talk to me, but you have been granted the ability and means to do so much more by yourself and yet you choose to take the easy way out and pray to me – the God that I know you are confused about. Please, do me a favor, and before you pray, ask yourself, ‘Have I exhausted all avenues available to me to achieve the result I want God to perform?’
If, after you have done everything you can possibly do, then I may be more willing to consider what it is you ask for.
And now, my son, you can wake up.”
I sat up quickly in my bed, sweating and confused. Was I just dreaming? Was that really God talking to me? Then, somewhere from deep inside, either from my conscious or a left-over message from the Almighty Himself, I thought (or heard): “What does it matter? Whether it was God or not – the message is valid and something I probably already knew.”
“Well,” I said to myself, in prayer, “I will give it my best. But, is it okay if we still talk? It kind of helps to give me strength?”
I will take that as a, “Yes”.
(and long brown stockings)
I detest these stockings,
they're coarse, brown and ugly.
I hate the garters more;
elastic circles that cut off
circulation and fail to halt
the laddering down my skinny legs.
If only . . . I picture myself
in warm jeans and no teasing
from Tommy Rogers.
I put the garters to better use,
roll the repulsive stockings
down around my ankles.
"Who gave you
jointed toothpicks for legs?"
I lost it.
Now, Tommy has a black eye
and my nose is in the corner.
The eraser belonged to me; it was saved by my mother and returned along with many other
childhood items when I became middle aged. I was curious as to why she would save a
stubby old eraser from the primary grades, so she reminded me of its’ one and only use. My
faded memory of that time suddenly became crystal clear, as my mother recounted for me a
watershed episode from my formative years.
I had, as they say these days “acted out in school once again,” this time by writing
unspeakable words in a textbook. Without any hesitation or forethought, I chose as my
repository the teachers’ edition of our English composition book. Quite frankly, at the time, I
thought they were literary gems worthy of publication. That’s why I knowingly inscribed them
there for all to see. Upon further review by more knowledgeable minds, it was determined
corrective guidance and a phone call home was in order.
I was to spend several hours after school that day sweating in contemplative silence as I
erased the teachers’ edition and many other similarly defaced books. It was during this time
of reflection that I ground that eraser down to the stub as it remains today. The last visible
vestiges of my bad expositions disappeared forever that hot afternoon, along with more than
half of the eraser.
Mother then reminded me of what she overheard the Superintendent tell me, as she sat
mortally ashamed and waiting for hours in the hallway outside that sweltering classroom. I
can still visualize her ample adult size, trying in vain to get comfortable, in a sticky one
armed desk made for a 5th grader.
“ John, I want you to try and remember this:
WHAT YOU SAY to others might last with them until THEY DIE.
But regretful WORDS YOU WRITE, the residue of which, will last long after YOU DIE.
So you keep what’s left of this eraser and I hope you never need to use it again.”
*For the "Rub it out" contest, i still have the eraser.
And my beliefs were soon belied.
"Socialized and confined"; you mocked the flock.
"What do you seek, you all?"
We screamed your sight in unison.
"You are a nice girl" consoled your sister.
My silence was insulted over and over.
Like a fool I traced it all,
Winding through all the steps,
To make some sense from it all.
One day, I decided to erase it.
My longing was a haste.
I finally learned to ink that day;
When my empty body walked through those closed gates.
Grief and guilt held that pursuit.
Moreover, I could not race with those shoes.
My words are empty as they were then.
I weep for a little ink from your pen.
Contest theme:- Writing
Judge:- Regina Riddle
8th Place win
I was a seventeen year old senior in a coed, catholic high school. Our gym classes however were still all boys and all girls. My senior year we had gym every other day and music every other day in the same time slot. The music classes, therefore, were also all boys or all girls.
She was a twenty-eight year old nun in her first teaching assignment. She was in way over her head. She was about five-foot-four and weighed practically nothing. The nuns in our school no longer wore habits and I remember thinking it was a good thing because she would probably fly away like Sally Fields. If you don’t know what I mean by that then you are too young to be reading my story.
The music class was a mad house. She could not control a room of twenty some boys bound and determined to make her life hell. I mean, music class? Really?
We never did the homework assigned; never answered her questions seriously; never believed her threats at discipline; wouldn’t accept the demerits she tried to hand out; and basically goofed off for the hour that was supposed to be dedicated to learning about music.
For some reason, she seemed too proud or too green or too determined to go to the principal or another teacher for help; and, sensing that, we knew we could get away with our childish behavior and so we did.
One day, a handful of us “got in trouble” and she said she wanted to talk to us after class. I was the only one that actually stayed. She tried to lecture me on my bad behavior but I guess my smirk was evidence it was not sinking in. Then, she started to cry, and for the first time I saw her as a person.
“What am I doing,” she cried. "I can’t do this. I am trying; I am really trying, but I am not cut out for this. Why are you boys so mean and hateful?”
I stood up in front of her not knowing what to do or what to say. I felt like a real jerk. I was a real jerk.
Tears poured down her face, which I finally recognized as being a pretty face. She bowed her head and just sobbed. In my awkward seventeen year old manner, I slowly opened my arms and allowed her to lean into me. And I hugged her while she wept.
At seventeen, I was no ladies’ man, and this crying nun was the first woman I had ever held so close to me. I could feel her breasts pressed against me; the heat emitting from her body; and, the delicate nature of her womanly form in my arms. I knew then that I was destined to go straight to hell for the thoughts that were going through my head and the feelings I felt between my legs.
She pulled away and whispered, “I am so sorry, I should not have done that. You may go.”
I simply said, “You know, you are doing fine, you just have a class of a bunch of butt holes”, and walked out of the room. It was that night that she started coming to see me in my dreams. To hell I go, for sure.
I wish I could tell you I had the moxie and the influence to whip that class into shape, but I did not. The mad house continued with one less student joining in the fun. I tried my best to behave, answer her questions, pay attention and feign interest in the topic of the day – but I was just one in a sea of monsters. I stayed after class and after school a few times to talk with her, ask her how she was doing, and see if I could help in any way. She was actually starting to get the hang of things and was able to focus on the few classes that were willing to learn.
At the end of the school year, I was one of the few students who had not enrolled in a college for the coming year. Because I was one of the better students, it caused a little bit of a fuss and a number of teachers talked to me about the huge mistake I was making taking some time off before going to college. It seems they were all convinced that if I did not start into college in the fall, I was doomed to never go to college. I challenged them by saying what they were really worried about was their statistics of percentage of students who went on to further their education.
During the last day of classes, the music teacher asked me to stay after class. It appears, it was her turn to try to talk some sense into me.
“So, I hear you are not going to college,” she said.
“No, I’m going to college … some day, just not this fall.”
“So what are you going to do?”
“I don’t know yet. Take some time off. Work. Nothing. I don’t know. Why is it so important to everyone? When the time is right, I’ll go to college.”
“They just care about you.”
“Bull loney,” I said, only it was another word.
She smiled at me. I had been dreaming about her now for six months. I changed the topic.
“Have you ever kissed a boy?”
She laughed, “You know, I grew up the same as every girl in this high school. I did have boyfriends.”
“Yeah, but have you ever kissed a boy,” I challenged.
“No. Not the way you mean.”
“Do you ever wonder what it would be like?”
“No. Never,” she lied.
“If I told you I will register for college if you kiss me, will you?”
“No. I believe you when you say you just need some time off. I think that is a good idea.”
Then she walked up close to me and stopped a heartbeat away. Suddenly, she reached down between my legs, grabbed the crouch of my pants and said, “Just don’t let this thing get you in trouble.”
She abruptly turned and walked out of the classroom while I tried to catch my breath.
During the graduation ceremony I saw her sitting with the other teachers and shared a private smile with her while walking back to my seat after being handed my diploma. I would never see her again … outside of my dreams.
I often think about my high school music teacher and my ticket straight to hell. Unfortunately, I never heeded her advice. That body part of mine she grabbed ahold of for a fleeting second those many years ago, has gotten me in trouble time and time again.
Where I live
The land slopes downward
Towards Merrick Road
Inviting me for a walk.
Stopping at a corner
I hear my name
I say hello
To a neighbor
We exchange pleasantries
No need to say anymore
And I continue on my way.
My wife and I have roots here
Passing my daughter’s school
I remember that July
And office workers alike,
Toiled under a hot sun
To build a playground.
Near the park
I coached my son’s soccer team
Families came to watch
Their children run like the wind
Memory tells me
It was a good season.
On nearby streets
I helped neighbors
With routine chores
Lifting and pushing the unmovable
Shiny things for a kitchen
Or for the room upstairs
Odds and ends
We call possessions
My wife worked close by
To be home
When our children
Stepped off the school bus
Our house ran under
Her watchful eye
A job never done.
In return we are known here
And I take every opportunity
To walk through a quiet town
As early evening
On everyone and everything.
Big bully,don't ask my name--
I can't allow you to know my name--
You would chant to me on the playground,
Make a silly song __make funny of my name:
That my parents thought was a beautiful and significant name.
You have harassed many boys and girls at school,
Just because they are too short,too tall or too heavy,
or because they are too shy,or too neat,
or their clothes not exactly right size,or their shoes not the right
brand, or their packed lunch not palatable__
Many kids at school are concerned about your attitude,
You bully them in the pathway or in classrooms.
And many fear to talk about you,
I don't want to lash out and fight you:
but I don't like your teasing words and tactics.
I will stay with my best friend or group to ward you off.
I have decided to ignore you big bully__ walking away;
Ready to use my body language to ward you off .
It is great to be confident___
When you want to harm me, I will seek help from
my teacher,parents, and adults__
To offer advice,support and immediate intervention.
*In remembrance of school-going days.
One sunny morning in a class of thirty-one
They were asked to draw an image one by one
Each student stood up, with pastels at hand
Being enthusiastic to draw something grand
The first group was decided to start the task
Talents in drawing they've started to unmask
The paper came to life with colors, curves and lines
Will it end up like a garden or fields of mines?
Time passed by and the paper was almost full
Of drawings and colors made by their tools
There were animals with mustache on their faces
Each and everyone belonging to their places
Now the artwork was finished and the students sighed
Looking at the masterpiece they've done with pride
They didn't care what the paper looked like
For in their hearts it was a true work of art
With beads of sweat on my forehead,
And my arms and legs cramped.
I concealed in a little locker
Away from the horrid mayhem.
Damp and worn; fear and torn
I seldom gasped for breath,
And even tried reciting
Othello, Macbeth and Hamlet.
Alas, all in vain!
Aware with each passing minute,
That I would face the same brutal end
As my tutors and friends.
I heard them moving closer,
I say a silent prayer.
With final memories of my beloved -
I await those crazy monsters.
"Bang, Bang!" I hear them shoot.
But it now sounds so afar.
I drift into a deep slumber,
When the door goes ajar.
My magic Flute
My first and only instrument I received as a little girl was
My mom’s old boyfriend had gotten me a Flute and after they broke up I don’t recall what happened to my magic Flute.
A few years later I had music class my Freshman year in high school and we all got black plastic Flutes and we were supposed to learn how to play the Flute.
As an adult and a lover of good music I wish I had learned to play the Flute. I’d play on the sidewalks of city streets collecting money to pay for my children’s education and to pay the bills.
Susan sits by an open window
Remembering her brother
It was during the sixties when it happened
The exact date was May 8, 1966
They called the Sixties liberating
A time when America accepted change
But it wasn’t like that for everyone
Her brother Stevie
Was two years younger than she was
The guys in school used to call him names
Like sissy boy and queer
Saying if he got into trouble his sister would have to stick up for him.
But Stevie was better
Way better than the bullies at school.
At home Susan and her brother
Would move the living room coffee table
Push the old couch back
And then sing the old favorites
In close harmony
Songs about teenage love
Like the sad love ballads by the Everly Brothers
Or the Righteous Brothers
The sadder the love song
The more they liked it
They would stand together
Moving ever so slowly
And sing those songs so loud
And so close
To each other’s face
Over and over
And then Stevie would whistle the ending
While their parents
Clapped and clapped
Then one late afternoon
When Stevie didn’t come home from school
The phone rang and rang
With a strange incessant kind of ringing
That jarred their mother
It was someone from the school saying
That horseplay got out of hand
Then the police came
A man in a suit spoke to father in the kitchen
Whispering over the clouds of cigarette smoke
Susan could barely hear his hoarse whisper
Only things like “We‘re going to investigate this”
And “I promise I’ll do what I can”
Her family never did find out what happened to the investigation.
Along the way
Away from home
Something peculiar happened to Susan
She lost something of herself
And would sit
Staring out of the window
Not seeing anything
Just thinking of her brother.
She still does it today
Out to nowhere
Every time she hears one of those old songs
She feels that Stevie is still with her.
Forgiveness is a long word
For what happened a long time ago
All Susan has are memories
If she could just absorb them
And put them in a little bottle
And carry them around
So whenever she started feeling down
She’d open the bottle
And all those good memories
Would remind her just how special life is
And Stevie would still be there
Their bodies entwined
She holding the last note
He snapping his fingers
Whistling the last sad tune.
Give us your captains, your best and brightest,
From the buried vaults of Rangitoto:
The selfish! The selfless! The self-righteous!
Preened and pious and poised and posed they go:
And from the diaries of fraternal drones
Are raw epic tales of ragin' hormones
To meet again my accidental peers
Who bare the soul to fleeting youth salvage;
Who, chastened by blurred grandiloquent years,
Covet the old glories that time ravage!
O dear! Before this night's out I'm thinkin'
Prep the bowl - it's time for a bogwashin'
Yet for those whom triumph is manifold,
Alas, are not spared life's tender complaints:
And for every life story that was told
I cheered for the lepers and not the saints!
From the corner of my visceral eye
I kept watch on my fellow alumni
With long memories in brief accordance
I longed for uniformed delinquency:
When batin' those of foolish importance
Eclipsed the pursuit of knowledge in me!
For each scoundrel, vamp, truant, and jackass -
To you I filled and gladly raised my glass
Verily I confessed my crimes henceforth,
Yet not then or now do nobly aspire:
That my compass followed its own true north
Led magnetic paths farther and higher!
And not bravado could hide what was nigh -
That a part of me was about to die
O breathless kiss that does a lifetime keep,
And broken hearts conned by expectations:
The salutary lessons that cut so deep
Quickly learnin' of our limitations!
Those were interestin' times in our youth -
Not this bogus rabble's frayed strands of truth
Yet in my bold inquiry I sought
An old dalliance crippled by fear - mine!
That this girl grant to me a kindly thought
Made my gloomiest schooldays fiercely shine.
That in her too beats a requited heart
Did rouse desire in me long torn apart
Well, how counterintuitive methinks,
That I be part of this group hug yearnin':
Now hark back and fill in the missin' links
And think fondly on days not returnin'.
For this blowfest, if I am to be frank,
Is nothin' but a sentimental wank
The roll call of thirteen years continues
But raises a philosophical end:
Who among you has shuffled in my shoes?
Or stands before me a better man, friend?
Not one of you roused me to greater heights -
But agreed, some did rouse in your gym tights
I have drank largely a sailor's measure,
Bested my threshold for banal surprise!
Now I will carry on at my leisure
And leave you all to your own wild surmise.
So farewell lest my feigned regard aggrieves,
Your small lives bore me - 'tis mine that intrigues
I didn’t know you at first because you were mixed.
I was calling wrong names because you weren’t so fixed.
Now I have the chance to see your glow in one dark night.
You said your name is Iris who gives the brightest light.
You’re a cool kid and I’m so out of your sphere,
But we’re like close friends united with no fear.
I’ m a lucky one that we always learn together,
Promise to be at your side and will make you better.
You may sometimes cause my strong vexation,
I’m little bit patient because of this sweet affection.
You’re my entire confidante burning in raging red fire,
Keep those fires burning reaching your wildest desire .
I don’t even like how the way you talk about idiocy,
You have that magic that unleashes my privacy.
I thank God for giving me someone like you,
Stupidity is funny because it’s about me and you.
I’m looking forward to know you more Iris,
Best moments of us are what I’m looking at ease.
I don’t know if we will still see each other so soon,
Promise I’ll still be your best Bud who’s willing to boon.
Lord God, send us Your Divine and Moral Virtues to assist people
Faith, to deeply understand and produce evidence to the unseen
Impart Hope to be determined and persevere successfully
For persons to consider a little generosity to Charity
To present Prudence by being careful
For untruthfulness to bring into Justice
Give fortitude for lawmakers and government officials to be strong
Bring in Temperance to exercise Patience and Tolerance
We ask these in the name of Father Christ Jesus to send out the Virtues of the Holy Spirit
On the first day of classes, everyone was excited
To meet old friends, though new ones could be sighted
Old or new she welcomed us warmly
Wearing a smile, what a sight so lovely!
She was like our second mother
When things got rough or even harder
She knows when to be carefree or strict
Depending on the class' unpredictable flick
In the way you taught us, only one thing's evident
A method of teaching, a tactic, an element
You do not just teach and blabber all day
But you made us understand everything all the way
In times when other people would shun us down
You were the sole creature who'd lift us from the ground
You drove the mounds of doubt away
And found our courage that had gone astray
We're afraid that this poem's coming to an end
But we hope you'll gather what we mean to portend
We thank God for giving us an exceptional guardian
Happy Teacher's Day, our great mathematician.
We sat next to one another in class
from the first to the third grade.
Her name was Jennifer Penelope.
She preferred to be called Jen.
I instead called her Jenny Penny just because
that was the way I was way back then.
Both of our fathers were in the Air Force.
War broke out in some place called Korea.
Jenny Penny’s father was sent off to Guam
and my father was sent off to Japan.
Her mother took her back to her home state of Ohio
and my mother, my sister and I went back to Louisiana.
Puff! Poof! Abracadabra! Puff! Poof! Alakazam!
Jenny Penny and I were both gone with the wind.
Incomprehensible are the
Petty landmarks that linger in a person's life
It happened so long ago
That I'm surprised I still remember.
In St. Thomas' parochial school
When Sister Elizabeth held a ruler
In her pale white hands
Any signs of mercy
Mysteriously vanished from her blue eyes
Religion was her weapon
Corporal punishment it's end
Fueled by frustration
She held the class
Every school day
Was a grey morning
Of my longing to be somewhere else
Standing by the door
In a robe
Of darkest wool
Sister Elizabeth counted us in
One by one
As we walked in silence
Little backs held straight.
From her glance
The message was clear
Grade school was not about deep thoughts
Or clever ideas
Originality was not in vogue
It was about small things
That grown-ups winked at
And often ignored
Issues, important as the color of beige.
One dull morning
I whispered to a classmate
When I shouldn't have
Called to the front by Sister Elizabeth
I was given the ultimate punishment
The ruler and then some
In her capable hands my palms were lacerated
When I cried out
She turned my hands over
Until my knuckles bled
Darkening the cuffs of my white shirt.
That evening my mother cried at my bruises
And my father uttered a string of curses
Long into the night
Sister's time was not easy
Teaching mindless brats
Such as myself
Only added to her
Over the years
And Sister, childless and alone, realized
Much too late
That her days of sacrifice and Catholicism
Chastity and prayer
Had been a life against nature.
Even now my hands cringe
To a fist
When someone holds a ruler
For the wounds are marked deep
My daughter was 9 yrs old when my wife and I first separated. I tried to get custody; was
granted joint custody, but the children would physically remain living with their mother.
My career took me to New Jersey. My ex took the children back home with her to Ohio.
Over the next few years my daughter started getting into more and more trouble. Her
school grades were very poor; she was not allowed to participate in extracurricular activities
until they improved; her attendance record was poor; she was spending school nights over at
friends’ houses and skipping school the next day; and, who knows exactly what else?
The reports I received from the teachers, the school councilor, from her mother and from
her siblings had me very concerned. I shared my concerns with my daughter through a
series of long, verbose letters pleading with her to get control of her life before it was too
late. She was smart, talented and a beautiful person but was not applying herself and falling
into bad habits that could ruin a young girls’ life.
After three years I once again sued for custody. This time, it was much more obvious that
the children belonged with their father; I was awarded full custody of all three children.
In high school, my daughter started to excel. Her artistic talents were shining through and
she graduated in the top ten of her Senior class. This father was very proud to send her off
to college knowing she was a bright, mature, well-adjusted young woman.
Four years later, at her college graduation party, after she had opened all her presents, my
daughter announced she had a present for me. She pulled out a stack of well worn papers
and told me that they were the letters I had sent her so many years ago.
She told me she had been saving these letters and constantly rereading them throughout the
years determined to return them to me showing me she could right herself and not go down
the paths I feared. She admitted that she was headed there and probably would have ended
up in the trouble I foresaw had I not fought once more to gain custody.
She thanked me for caring enough to write those letters. She thanked me for caring enough
to not give up on her. She thanked me for continuing my efforts to get custody of her and
her two brothers.
I cannot thank her enough for such a wonderful graduation present.
There was a girl named Tracy Luke,
She cared so much about her looks,
She was blonde, pretty... slim and tall,
She loved her red lips most of all.
One day at school she mocked this girl,
Made fun of her looks, said bad words,
Then insulted another chick,
For being fat, ‘ugly and thick’,
Then barked at a girl who was black,
Called her a ‘colored, negro cat’
So this Tracy… she was so bad…
She bullied because she was sad…
She always had poor grades at school,
So she bullied, as though she ruled,
When she was done with junior high,
Her family told her goodbye,
She was moved to a private school,
Her senior years were not so cool,
She was the new girl, all loathed her,
For all were many times richer,
Days passed by, weeks and months would go,
Tracy was always feeling low,
The richer girls called her bad names,
Each day in class she’d be in shame,
Then one day she figured it out…
At her, her thoughts began to shout…
“Tracy, all the bad things you did
To those innocent and poor kids,
Back in your old school when you thought
You were ‘cool’ for the stuff you bought,
Are finding their way back to you,
God’s Justice, yes, is indeed true.”
So Tracy decided to stay
Patient, confirming her mistakes,
Until one day comes a new girl,
And Tracy says to her new self:
“Now this is my chance to amend,
Fix my mistakes, I’ll be her friend.
No longer will I be so rude.
I must be humble, not act ‘cool’,
For I know now that what you do
To others may come back to you!”
I may not be in active, thus, I may be proactive,
They say I am knowledgeable, But I am also approachable,
Though I am not generalist, However, I am an Specialist.
I am persuasive and adaptive,
Direct and indirect,
Sweet, kind, nice and persuasive.
I may know less about tomato,
Even Less about mango, even too little about papeeeta,
But I know more about Angoor (grapes) that is not related to papeeeta.
I am Wine Steward, Knowledgeable in Wine,
And approachable to all kind quests,
Very talented in wine that everyone consumes to
Growing Up Rich
My childhood home was just four rooms, heated by a black stove in the kitchen.
No phone, no car, a toilet in the basement. Money was tight. The rent had to be paid.
I spent my days in youthful endeavors. Playing baseball in the field where the high school now stands. My dad, a laborer, walked to work each day, every day. My mom typed envelopes at home for extra money.
At dinnertime my mom would ring a cowbell, calling me home. Responding was not an option. I'd ride my bike home, wash my hands, and join the family at the table. Food was not plentiful, but prepared with love. I never went hungry.
In my teens dad took ill and could no longer work. Mom got a job at the Woolworth s
I got two paper routes, my earnings split with my parents.
Neighborhoods were tightly knit then. Bad news arrived home before you did. Fruits of backyard gardens were shared, and helping hands lived right next door
School clothes were few in number, but were always clean and ironed. You took them off after school and donned the jeans with ironed on patches. Shoes were passed down from my brother, their lives extended by glued on half-soles or cardboard, cut to shape and stuffed inside. But mostly, I wore my high top P.F. Flyers.
Christmas meant a cut tree with strings of large colored lights. Our stockings were hung on hooks behind the old black stove, to be filled overnight with oranges, apples, candy, and maybe a toy. We thought we were the luckiest kids in town
Sitting here now, reflecting on my childhood, how hard it must have been to make ends meet, but meet they did. The things my folks must have gone without to make sure their kids didn'. We learned early the value of a dollar. They taught me to respect my elders, to know the difference between right and wrong, and to practice it. Their values became my values and stood me in good stead. Their greatest gifts were the love and guidance they provided
I realize now all my memories are good ones. My folks gave me everything it was important for me to have, and although I didn't realize it then, I understand now how lucky I was to have grown up rich.
It is a Wednesday afternoon during the school year.
That means sixth-grader Sallee Jacobs will be walking home today.
Sallee's mother works in the emergency room on Wednesdays,
Otherwise she picks Sallee up at the school that is one mile from their home.
On this particular Wednesday, it is pouring down rain.
As Sallee reaches the half-way point,
an empty stretch of road between two housing developments,
a red sedan pulls up next to her and the driver rolls down his window.
"Hi," shouts the man over the sound of the pouring rain beating down on the roof of his car, "your mother asked me to pick you up - come get in out of the rain."
Sallee simply stares at this stranger and quietly says, "No thank you", even though she is miserably soaking wet, cold and angry at her mother for working Wednesdays.
"It's okay," reassures the fully-bearded man, "my name is Mr. Thomas, and I am a friend of your mother."
Sallee studies his face, thinking, you don't look like any of my mom's friends. "No thank you," she repeats as she starts backing away from the car.
Then, out of nowhere, another man appears at Sallee's side. He is wearing a rain coat and flashes a reassuring smile. He looks at Sallee and asks, "Is everything all right here?"
Sallee, simply looks at the man in the car.
"Everything is fine," says the man in the car, "Her mother asked me to pick her up out of the rain."
"Do you know this man?", the rain coat asks Sallee.
"Do you want to get into his car?"
"How far away do you live from here?"
"Just up the hill and across Madison."
"Are you okay walking there by yourself?"
There are now four cars lined up behind the red sedan. They start honking their horns at the car in their way.
"I don't know, Mister," says the rain coated man, "I think you just best move along before I call the police."
The bearded man asks Sallee one more time, "Are you sure you don't want a ride?"
With water dripping down her face, Sallee shakes her head, yes.
The red sedan moves on.
It is 10:00 Wednesday night. The red sedan is parked in front of Sallee's house. Mr. Thomas holds Sallee's mother's hand while trying to describe to the police what the man in the raincoat looked like. Sallee is never seen again.
I was standing in my dining room, drinking a cup of coffee, staring out the window the other day. Across the street is the school bus stop, so for a brief time, each morning there stands a collection of young students, mindlessly milling around until the bus arrives. Of note is that this is winter time in Maine. Temperatures in the teens and twenties are the norm. Yet, there stood at least two boys, wearing parkas and, to my surprise and chagrin, shorts. What is the matter with kids today.
Then I thought about when I was a kid and how my mother would always be concerned that, when in my teens, I never buttoned or zipped up my coat. Didn't bother me near as much as it did her.
Where I grew up, there were no yellow buses. We all walked to school. In the summer, it was fun to jostle with your friends, sharing lies and tall tales with each other. But in the winter, it was quite something else again. Mom would dress us in the kitchen. Padded snow pants over which she would pull on and snap up a pair of rubber boots. They were called galoshes then. Next came a scarf over which a frayed but warm coat was buttoned, all the way up to the neck. Lastly, my prized leather aviator cap with shear-ling lined ear flaps, and of course, the requisite mittens, which when very young, were pinned to our sleeves.
Our books were carried in an old green book bag, cinched at the top and thrown over our shoulder, or more often then not, swung around or dragged during our school ward journey. Funny how I remember all this , but I don't remember ever being cold, even when my face was apple red. It was just something you did. If you weren't going to school, you would be playing outside anyway. Winter was subjective.
So when you hear the stories from your grandpa about how he used to walk to school in waist high snow and how the trip was uphill, both ways, you may want to think back on the fun you had, and how much those kids across the street are missing.