Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #28. Theme: It was a (Blank) and (Blank) Night

moon-1910082_960_720It was a Hot and Heavy Night

It was a hot and heavy night,
that August in Pensacola
I walked out to my car,
the Hershey’s milk bar becoming
putty in my hand,
my adrenal glands working overtime
while I no longer have to.

The brightness and cold of the store
always gave me a headache.
My hands tingle with the thaw,
and I feel a certain sort of
exhilaration and joy.
The night is heavy with humidity,
but I’m as light as warm air rising
above a cooling cake.

Drug pushers in the back,
candy pushers up front—
that is work life at Walgreens.
No longer do I have to smell the smelly,
nor see the hairy underbelly
of Pensacola society,
jiggling in and out,
or running with scissors,
or whatever else they can stuff in their pants.

No more saying, “Be well,” to every customer,
even if they’re just getting a pack of cigs.
No more walking into the restroom,
finding used pregnancy tests
on the filthy floor,
or profiling Sudafed users,
or just plain winos.

No more working with nutjobs
who punch out the eyes of managers
in pictures hanging in the office hall
with a ballpoint pen.
No more threats on my life
via telephone.
The creep show must go on,
but I no longer have to be there.

I am no longer a Wag hag
sans the Wag swag.
I feel free as an eagle,
for I just quit this drag,
without even having to say a word.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #27. Theme: Leftovers

baby-shoes-974858_960_720.jpg

Leftover Children

The world mourned
those who died,
but those who lived
and were left behind
were mourned by no one,
for we were called the lucky ones.

Our faces did not grace magazine covers,
our names will not be remembered,
for we were the leftover children.
Then came the replacement children
who brought about new beginnings,
while marking the end of the line.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #26. Theme: Luxury

On all of life’s little luxuries.

All the Little Things

For all the things I am thankful for—
the silver linings that are often sewn
in tarnished gold;
for the golden globe that covers the earth in light,
the pearl that glows at night,
the diamonds upon which wishes have been made;
for the wrinkle in the sky
which separates the land from the sapphire sea
that turns emerald in the day;
for the ruby-red hearts called strawberries.

For cool tile under bare feet on a hot day,
the softness of fuzzy socks in the winter that
let me slide on hardwood floors;
for the feeling of the water mister on my face
in a park on a summer’s day,
or lying under a fan with the windows open
with the sounds of the rain and thunder—
a soothing static.

For the aroma of chocolate chip cookies baking,
filling the house with eyes-closed memories;
for pasta dinners al fresco,
by moonlight and candlelight.

For the smell of ripening peaches at a roadside stall,
and snow that’s the stuff of childhood fun;
for seventy-two degree weather in winter,
and air-conditioning in summer.

For the seashells that wash upon the beach after a storm
like unburied treasures;
for the gentle gulf breezes that tangle my wispy hair,
and the stillness that warms my skin.

For goodness for goodness’ sake,
for the playful antics of dogs and children,
and for joy that goes beyond mere happiness.

For microscopes that help us see old things in new ways;
for the technology that has enhanced communication
between friends;
for music, that touches us on a deeper level,
and for art, that moves us;
for books, that take us away from it all,
and for life, that draws us back in.

For the holidays that mark our calendars,
for the regular days that fill in, in-between—
for all are dots on the maps of our lives,
so that we can say we have been places—
that we have truly lived.

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Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #25. Theme: Echo

The Echoes

The bells of St. Mary’s peal,
shattering the glass ceilings
of dreams I put to sleep,
piercing the silence with the sound
of angels getting their wings—
a plaintive cry from the earth
to the heavens—
a tribute.

There is a changing of the guard,
and the rapid footsteps I know as Ritz’s,
echo on the dull linoleum.
The wails of the innocent,
bounce off the cement walls.
Those sounds are all that is soft
in this purgatory of iron rods.
Heaven, Hell,
or Heaven or Hell on Earth—
those are the only destinations
after leaving.

Ninety-nine years
a man lived,
having taken a life—
the life in these walls
who pays for his sin,
and the life he took,
who paid the ultimate price.
All that mattered was that
someone paid it.
It mattered not who.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #23. Theme: Apology

Words Matter

She was sorry she ever lied,
for because of her,
the lie became a truth.

She was sorry she was ever truthful,
for because of her,
the truth had unintended consequences.

She was sorry she ever said anything,
and for saying nothing at all,
for bearing false witness of herself and others,
for not bearing true witness,
for placing the innocent with the guilty—
the latter a far greater error according
to the Ninth Commandment.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #22. Theme: Waiting for (Blank)

Several months ago, I read a story in “The New Yorker” about a woman whose mother told her that her father would come back before John Wayne died, because she thought he would never die (though I cannot find the story now, and I almost wonder if I dreamt it).  The story resonated with me, though, like it often is with a piece of art, I couldn’t say why.

The other night, I watched a movie called “Blossoms in the Dust”, starring Greer Garson (who, though not a beauty, had such a radiant charm, her beauty exceeded that of many others) and Walter Pidgeon (who I always thought was handsomer and more refined than Tyrone Power).  Blossoms” was about Edna Gladney, who fought for the word “illegitimate” to be stricken from birth certificates because of the social stigma.

Hence, the inspirations for this poem.

Waiting for her Father

She sits at the bay window,
surrounded by light,
her back to the shadows of the empty house.
From ages seven to twenty-one,
she has sat in this space on this date—
till the day the Legend died:
her birthday,
his deathday.

He will come, her mother had said,
before Elvis leaves this Earth,
he will come,
but then her mother had thought Elvis
would never die,
even though legends did all the time.

When the Legend passed on
to a world or worlds unknown,
it was like a second birthday,
a rebirth,
even though a part of her,
that part of her called hope,
died that day, too.
And yet, how freeing was a lack of hope
in things, or people, never seen,
and how limitless was hope in what was to come,
dependent upon her and no one else?

Fourteen years she had waited,
like Rachel,
laboring by being good
so that when he did come back,
he would stay.

But all those years had not been in vain,
for all the good she had been,
she had been for him,
till doing good became a part of her,
and it was only for that and her life,
she could thank him for.