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

 

 

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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…


 

 

Distant Shores


When I was a child, there was an ice-cream that I used to get from the truck that would come to the park near where I lived in NYC. It was the Good Humor truck, for those of you who might remember the familiar jingling of bells as it rolled slowly down the streets so the gathering children could get their 25 cents ready. This particular favorite of mine, was called an Eclair I think, because on the outside it had bits and pieces of nuts and maybe little pieces of chocolate; vanilla ice cream was the next layer which made up the largest part of the pop; but best and most special (and the best part) was the secret hunk of icy fudge-like chocolate inside. It wasn’t very big piece, but it was delicious (or so I recall) and had this particular texture that made it worth the wait.

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I was never a kid to just bite into the thing just to get to the middle. I would savor the whole thing to make it last and then take my time with the special part. Funny, because I never had much patience in life–but with treasures, I did. Just like how I never tore into Christmas gifts, but would open them throughout the day…(my kids hated this about me).

Someone who has known me for a long time, when I explained where I am  emotionally now and how I am conducting my day-to-day existence, said: that is not you at all! It gave me pause. What is me? Who am I really?

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I’ve run most my 60 years in a frenetic and unfocused way; making decisions based on how my mood was or the wind was blowing. It felt like I was making rational choices at the time, but in retrospect, I see now it wasn’t the case at all. Rather I was a sailboat buffeted by the winds trying desperately to steer to the nearest coast. Each shore looked better than the last, but upon reaching them they felt uninhabitable.

Of course this meant those around me were riding those waves too and often were cast overboard. Many drowned, but some found their own lifeboats and floated on to better beaches…thank goodness.

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It was nothing intentional. It just happened– it was the way I lived.But there was a part of me that knew it wasn’t working. Seeing the floundering of others hurt me, and my own inability to stand upright on this ever swelling craft was making me ill. At some point the ship must dock–in the deep recesses of my mind I knew this as truth.

So who is really me? I moved away from my comfort and have come to live in a place that is alien and barren to me, a desert devoid of water in which to sail. This was really unconscious on many levels, but I am starting to realize absolutely necessary to answer the question. Many spiritual treks to find ones true self include a time where one goes off on a quest: a solitary walk about or vision quest to discover what is real and what isn’t; what to keep and what to leave behind.

hut

We go through life rather like that Good Humor ice cream pop: multi-layered  with secret parts. Sometimes the secret parts are hidden to even to ourselves. There are bits and pieces we cover ourselves with that have rough edges or appeal, but it’s only the outside, a glamour…the part that faces the world at large. Dig deeper and maybe you will get to the soft part: it is white and can be colored by what we take in through the years we live. It protects the true gift: the sweet, central, secret core. This is the one we work for and may not know for years.

I’m stripping down the layers to find that me. I believe that is the real one, not the one that has faced the world so far. That was a mask I was unaware I wore. I believe my friend had it backward…what she knew was not me; what I am discovering now will be the real person I have had buried within. The visions of her were in my head longing to escape, but were trapped by my own shifting cage.

Someday she will be set free and sail for a place, heading into the sunrise.  Docking at some distant land, she will know with full awareness and clarity, that all will be good.

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Back To Work 


Guess the house will be a bit different starting next week because Mom goes back to work. We will have to occupy our time with stuffed mice and resting and such until she gets home. Luckily she’ll only be working part-time this this time so we won’t be left alone as much. 

As you can see my brother is still annoyed about it, but he’ll get over it. It’s a nice little job working for a family run sustainable local farm in the market. Mom will be around all the fresh vegetables and fruits. Since that’s all she eats she seems pretty happy about it, so I’m trying to be happy too.

Who knows, maybe they even  grow organic catnip?

A New Trend??


Today was a day that I was particularly thankful to be a cat and not a turkey or pig or some other animal that humans in this country find especially edible on this day. Luckily my mom never feels that way about any animals so in our house they all would be safe. Of course I don’t necessarily agree with her in certain cases, like when those silly mice feel they can come barging into my space… Well, I may not really eat them but do some serious damage I’m afraid and mom gets pretty annoyed with me. She believes all creatures should be allowed to live in peace.

Maybe so, I know that I live that way along with my brother and sister. We are privileged I suppose and I am not sure why it happened that way. So I will be grateful and try to be better about being inhospitable to any furry visitors from now on…but I can’t promise. Maybe I can start a trend and humans  will be kinder too?

But I doubt it.

The Real Deal


I feel I’ve always been pretty good at telling what’s the real deal. Of course this can refer to many things in life: food, merchandise (like diamonds–Marilyn would especially want to note), maybe love even (admittedly I’ve not been good at this). But in this case I’m talking about people. Are the people we meet, either at work, in social situations, on the street simply real?


You might wonder what I mean by this I suppose. Like, get real dude. It just seems the older I get, the more superficial people seem to me. Or at least, the less they are interested in things that involve anything that may mean thinking too hard, caring in a big way or really, really standing up for what you believe in.

It’s just easier to go to work, talk about your nails or hair, pretend that you’re friends with the person standing next to you, casually mention the horrors of the world, then hop in the fancy car and go home like nothing is happening. Like nothing is real. Like the horrors are really happening. Or your friends may not be really suffering, or maybe someone who isn’t your friend, just a co-worker, might need something from you more than a passing smirk.


No, it’s all about our own little microcosm. Our little floating bubbles that encase us and keep us separate but make it appear as though we’re able to see each other. But it’s just an illusion.

And in many ways I’m just as guilty. Oh I cry when I hear the news, but I don’t do anything about it. I just drive back and forth to work wishing I could do more. But I don’t. Not yet anyway. Swearing I will someday…when I can. At least I care I say to myself…it’s more than some. Does that make me more real?


When I’m with people, near people in real pain though, I do react. That much I can say. I can never sit by and just ignore it. And things like fingernails and doing my hair are not important to me anymore (well, they never were). It’s OK that they are to some, but there has to be more. Our worlds have to connect with people who have nothing.

So who is the real deal these days? Let’s get real here. Open our eyes to the real world. The war, the famine, the terror, the rape, the killing, the fires, the homeless, the poor, the racial disparity… And even the people close to us in true pain.

Let’s not pretend. Even while we live our comfortable lives, keep a piece of discomfort in our hearts to keep us real.