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.
Hello friend, Do you see that man on the corner by the street?
He is holding the cardboard saying "homeless and I need to eat."
If you're not too busy, come with me on a journey back to 1969.
It will help you to look past his appearence and beyond his homemade sign.
This is the 1960's, where they thrived on the American Dream.
The women were real ladies, or at least in public thats what it seems.
Today is High School graduation, So much happiness is in the air,
But, These young men have recieved papers, and Uncle Sam expects them there.
Do you recognize the bone structure of this boy standing on our right?
He is the one from the future corner, he was Valedictorian tonight.
So well dressed, and raised up right, his sweetheart by his side.
He has no reason to be fearful of the draft, he is filled with American Pride.
Fast foward, Just a few weeks, to him and his young new wife,
Kissing so passionately, pressing pause on their future, and their life.
He is dropped down in the jungle, amist the sounds of live fire.
He sees injured men being lifted out, as the SGT's on the wire.
Just a young boy of 19, he is scared beyond his witts,
Yet, he completes every mission he is given, he never quits.
He holds the hands of friends, who was cut down in their prime.
Yes, this is the same man, the one you wouldn't give a dime.
He arrives back home, in the year of 1972.
His tour earned him a purple heart, he took bullets for you.
once at home, he is expecting affection from his lover,
but, he has been gone for so long she already found another.
So at 21 years old, this veteran is now a man,
He drinks his memories away, everynight if he can.
He gave an eye, and two of the best friends he has ever known.
He never was told "thank you", and he has nothing to call his own.
If you pay close attention to the newspapers of '72
you will see in the protest, they blamed the drafted soilders too.
so here is this man, young, and broken, yet, still not ashamed.
He proudly answered the call, when the draft listed his name.
Only a fellow Veteran, could even try to understand,
That there are no surviving Vets, a part of them died in Vietnam.
When they returned they expected welcome parties and smiles.
Instead they were placed in a new war, but, it was their uniform on trial.
If you still feel the same as you did before our walk.
Go on about your day, forget about our talk.
But, if you have decided, you can look beyond his sign.
Maybe understand his pain, and give our hero a dime.
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:
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….
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
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.
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”.
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.
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.