Poem: The Waiting Room


What if we all were caught

together in a place

You with the purple legs

falling fast asleep between

the snorts and sniffy drool

and the woman who talks endlessly

on a phone she cannot use

While the rest of us

quietly swim in our own small worlds

Or watch the woman just over there

who cooks the arroz con pollo

and fills the air with popcorn smells

that settle in the memory

with salty buttery moments

While piped in eighties music

seeps in our private bubbles

(one guy’s foot is tapping as he tries to read

his book)

While a little white dog

trots by masquerading as a therapist

for the human

we all know is as crazy as us all

Yet no-one looks up

or at each other

or pretends to be nice

Still the employees walk by in their

black and white garb

wishing it was 5

while we hope we’re called next

But…what if

this was an Island

in the middle of the sea

where we all were lost

and survivors of a wreck

Then how would we be

Would you catch my eye

or walk with me to the edge of the sand

and look toward the horizon

searching for distant hope

Because now we are comrades

awake

to each others light

in this hidden land

 

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Poem: Hole


I miss you

far away far away

tear-streaming side-splitting

laughter together

you cooking sushi

and me standing near

or quietly reading

while you’re on the computer

I miss you upstairs

knowing you’re there

clicking off all the lights

heading for bed

now you’re just far

away

and it’s left a big

hole

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distraction


Tis the season for jing a ling and tra la la. Lots of shopping and running around. Too much Christmas music, tinsel and glitter or gathering for Hanukkah gelt and food of all kinds. Or whatever your holiday is, this is the time of year for…well, distraction.

Many of us may find much of this holiday season annoying: too much traffic, too many crowds, too much stuff and just plain too much consumerism. The holidays seem to have gotten away (in most cases) from what they were really supposed to mean and what all the symbols are meant to represent. I bet in many cases folks don’t know anymore. It’s just become: buy, buy, buy and rush, rush, rush and what’s on sale. They may know the basics, but unless you are deeply entrenched within your religious community, it’s all just Hallmark nonsense.

It’s exhausting and sad and often stressful.

But this was the first year I had an insight to it all.  Because the world has become such a harsh place and each year it only seems to get worse, maybe we all need this nonsense. Between the natural disasters and man-made horrors of the world, I truly believe we all suffer, on some deep level, from a global/connected/deep-seeded depression. Most of the time when we tune into what ever we tune into (our preferred media source), it’s some new calamity bombarding us. All year-long we must endure hearing about our fellow humans suffer, or our planet dying or animals being exterminated. It’s a wonder any of us get out of bed at all.

And then, along comes the holidays. Time for our own little fantasy world of tinsel and glitter, pretty lights and toys. And even magic and a crazy man, elves and reindeer bringing happiness to the whole world. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may still have your own holiday celebration within your own religious belief; one that brings your family together, one where you can remember better times and get time off from work.

All these holidays have one thing in common: they help us remember our past, not only our personal one when we were young and things were simpler and maybe happier; but our human past. That’s why they were celebrated in the first place; to acknowledge an important event in history.

And the days when many of us are celebrating our respective holidays on those special days specifically set aside for these historic days from our past, we are not thinking about all the terrible things going on presently that usually occupy our minds. This may be the most important gift of all.

For those precious moments at least, we can let our hearts and souls fill instead with the sounds of our families, children and homes (after the rush and stress have died down). The smells of cooking, the visits from those we haven’t seen, the familiar decorations all give a sense of well-being and safety. These feelings may be rare for us these days. So we lap it up in the swell of the holiday tide. This is the part we take for granted, the feelings, but this is the part of life we are missing every day in this painful world. This is what the holiday season gives us.  Positive feelings.

So, for the first time in many years, I say: go ahead and enjoy. Play the incessant Christmas music. I get all the lights and sparkly stuff.  Sure, I would still rather people not buy so much ‘stuff’ because it’s not good for the world, but I do understand better why they do…it’s for the feelings they produce. But mostly, I just understand the whole ‘thing’ of the holidays more this year: instead of global depression, it’s global jublilation.

Maybe that’s why they call it a magical time of year.

Just A Wee One


 

Finally I have landed a wee job that fits in perfectly with the criteria I had listed in my head (I hope). It’s been a long and interesting year experimenting with various things while waiting to find something, but hopefully this will work.

It’s nothing much really, but that’s part of my plan. Just a little PT position in a very small Charter school working as a lunch monitor.

So here’s how it fit the bill and my way of thinking:

  • It’s Part time: It’s in the middle of the day so allows me my workout in the am and the ability to get home for the pets in the afternoon or any chores/appointments.
  • It’s a no-brainer: After 20 years of the stress of being a paramedic, I didn’t want to do anything too difficult. Yes, I know, maybe I’m being lazy, but for now, this is the case.
  • It’s NOT in healthcare: I had made a distinct decision that I was pulling out of working in healthcare altogether. This is why I’ve had such a hard time finding something I reckon. With my resume reflecting 20 years in the business, not many folks were interested in taking a chance on me for something new.
  • It’s something new!: This is the very reason it seemed cool. While it’s not some deep, difficult task, at least it’s different.
  • It’s fun: The kids are great (albeit VERY noisy) and it will be a great new challenge to work closely with this population for a change. I’ve had my own of course, but now I have 300!
  • It has potential for more: I’ve been assured it has growth potential should I want it at some point. But for now I am quite content with the hours.
  • It’s close to home: After commuting 40 minutes each way (in ice storms) for so many years, having a job very close is a blessing.
  • I’m in ‘the system’: Once I’m within the public school system (yes, Charter schools are publicly funded), there can be potential for movement.
  • I can handle just about anything for a few hours: Even if there are difficulties, it’s only a few hours a day and plenty of vacations!

So all in all, I hope this works out. My fellow employees in the lunch room seem nice too. I have no idea how I will begin to memorize the names of all these children, but hey, I’ll figure it out.

And I’ve already ordered special ear plugs that will hopefully block out some of the major noise, but allow me to still hear them when they talk to me. (I mean it is REALLY loud in this tiny room!)

But I have to say, we never lose parts of ourselves… Because as I look around at all these kids eating and talking, and eating and laughing, and eating and being silly— the paramedic in me can’t help but think:

Just keep chewing, swallowing and breathing… NO CHOKING allowed!!

 

Someday


Today is different for me than most. A day to reflect on the inhumane treatment of animals and the continual sacrifices they must make to feed humans. I hope someday it stops.

And the centuries old disrespect and disregard of Americas Native people. It is one of our truly disgraceful periods in history.

Sure, I have plenty to be thankful about–but on this particular day, I would rather reflect on these two topics since they tie into this ‘holiday’. It has been a hard day for me for many years; today I am saying so.

May the future bring more comfort and peace to lives of those we take for granted.

 

Poem: Strictly Platonic


Slices

through a multi-layered

marbled veined cake

Ribbons of color and texture

lathered with sickly sweet

frosting and fake flowers

dripping down the sides

They all come

to sweeten the palate

and give sugar rushes

in brain bursting fury

Different sized portions

doled out in snippets

or heart attack plate fulls

all sure to crash

sooner or later

 

 

Poem: Food For Free


School Lunch Lines

with hair net lunch ladies

and cement paste potatoes

and spit filled ketchup

But today the book said:

159

(160 if you count 5-year-old Luciana)

Lining up outside

long before the prison-bolt door is let loose

drawn like a vortex

walking and sweating with bags and backpacks

or stopping in front from the city bus

and the cars stuffed full as they hope they will be too

“Sign the book”: is the weary demand

it is the Payment

The Price

for all you will get

Fill your bags and your belly

“I have no teeth, so no corn on the cob”

“No dessert because I am diabetic”

“I am homeless and live in the streets”

Gracias

Thank you

I am now the lunch lady

I give food for free

 

 

Poem: It Works This Way 


To all the Mothers out there

and to how we toil

and care

would give our

Life

for their life

and sometimes do

in child birth

in war

sometimes just 

to give them a better 

Life

If they are happy 

we are happy 

So Mother’s day can only really be 

Happy 

if all the children of the world 

were

too

Poem: Safe


It seems I’ve spent years 

looking 

peering around my own 

mind

for the right one

chasing the disguised 

tucking in 

and out

of doorways 

I follow 

into cities of my own making 

burned out places

trying to grow free

the tap tap

of footsteps 

on stone cracked pavement 

lead me farther into

another chase 

It seems a matrix 

endless labyrinth of curling walls

wet with the salt of sweat 

as I run

away 

and to

exhausted 

the beginning 

The Bird And The Seed


The Bird had been looking a long time. It knew by now, that when satisfying hunger, one must not give up. There were many others that were hungry too, and not much to go around–that’s just the way it was sometimes, but the Bird didn’t complain. The Bird understood The Way of things, but it also made him strong, willing to keep going when others just gave up. Finding what you are looking for may not be easy, but when you do, it’s sweeter for the trying.

Finally, The Bird landed on a plant. It was a rather flimsy thing, which barely could hold him up. But he had noticed that there on the plant was what he had been searching for: The Seeds. There weren’t many and they were hanging off a thread like stem, one that would never hold his weight, this he knew as The Bird balanced precariously on a nearby leaf.

But the hunger burned in his belly. So close he was to his goal and his journey long. Quietly he sat and pondered his predicament. Every time he moved closer to The Seeds, the more they seemed to get away from him. He moved slowly, but would slip down into the swamp below. He would contort himself, but The Seeds would dip into the waters with every move.

After much time and many different attempts, The Bird was eventually able to manage to grasp hold of a small part of the plant! And now, carefully he drew it closer to his beak and plucked two small seeds to eat. He had partially satiated his hunger and yet…as he grabbed for more–

He slipped! Now he was in the water below and what he had been there for: gone. The Seeds had fallen and plunged into the depth of the marsh and were lost.

The Bird, being the creature he was, simply climbed back up…shook out his wings and contemplated. He did not fret or cry out. It was The Way, after all.

And now it was time to move on…