Even the person you know the best sometimes resembles the common onion. I don't mean to suggest they might have an unappealing smell or make you cry, but rather that they have many layers, not all of which they are willing to peel off to expose a different "self". A more pleasing analogy might be that most of us are multi-faceted, like precious gem stones. That's much nicer, so let’s go with that one, shall we?
Keeping our many different sides in mind, and for a change of pace, I'm going to share a bit of my poetry this time. Let me preface by saying I don’t consider myself a poet, per se. Here and there I’ve hammered a few things out, but I’m not one of those writers who somehow manage to effortlessly release streams of poetry. That skill eludes me. It’s simply not my forte and, yes, one of these days I will submit myself to what I am sure will be a totally humiliating experience: a poetry class. Anyway, occasionally something flows. The emphasis here is, of course on the word occasionally. So here goes:
Recently I jumped into an on-the-fly Twitter challenge. The theme was
High in Velvet Mesquite.
Untidy eaters on feeder.
Rounded shells on gravel.
Flapping away baby quail.
Fast feet chase doves.
Backyard harmony disrupted.
Remember, I did say I wrote it on the fly. Next is a short poem I wrote a while ago, but it recently appeared in the monthly newsletter for a women’s group. They are generous about including submissions from members:
Dismal Desert Day
Trees tremble, branches shimmy,
sitting-out the dance between gusts.
Leaves toss, exposing pale undersides,
littering stone patios with organic debris--
detritus of the unfinished season.
Sickly sun, bedridden and cold,
hides under a grey comforter of clouds.
Birds fluff insulating feathers,
beaks curved like questions marks,
eyes hooded, awaiting Spring.
Grey lizards lounge on grey block walls,
under grey skies unbroken by rainbows.
Poetry, more often than not, is a writing format that comes to me when life is confusing / complicated / painful, and there seems to be no concrete way to handle whatever situation I’ve found myself in. This next one I wrote many, many years ago when life was a tangle of confusing emotions. I’m happy to state that I eventually pulled myself out of this particular rabbit hole.
heart brimming with joy, a moment ago,
now heated tears hover, ready to flow,
tears turn to laughter, I catapult back,
emotional rheostat so out-of-whack,
self-control failing motivation derailing,
I slide, losing ground, I am coming unbound.
can’t get a grip…
on what’s real and what’s not...
I’m overreacting, why can’t I stop?
a gyroscope, spinning ‘round and around,
into the rabbit hole, head first, upside down.
emotional bedlam gaining momentum,
delighted? depressed? could be anyone’s guess.
heart-stopping emotions confuse and surprise,
my composure, control, just transparent lies.
exposed, too vulnerable and raw,
to avert implosion, I have to withdraw.
So I hide in aloofness, I put up a wall
and try to deny I have feelings at all.
Yikes. Glad I made it through that dip in the road. If you are still with me, and bless you if you are, this short piece was my reaction to the suicide (by overdose) of a young and very loved extended family member. I posted, at the time, on my FB page.
Crystal structure: Symmetry, three dimensions on a lattice.
Ordered perfection. Splitting clean on cleavage planes. Refracting and reflecting light.
Human Structure: Complex, double-stranded molecules.
Weakness planes. Pressure from external stresses darkening and dimming light.
Chemical structure: Opiates, Reshuffle signals in the brain.
Symmetry lost. Darkening matrix of depression. Extinguishing and snuffing light.
Not very uplifting, and I apologize for that, but…. sometimes that’s just what life hands us. So I’ll leave you with one that's just fun, changed a bit from the original that some of you have seen before. Simple silliness.
Push Down and Twist
There’s a tamper-proof top, on the jar I just I bought.
I sigh and I glare, then slash, hack, and tear.
But buyer beware, it’s no worse for wear.
Pushing down while I twist,
nearly spraining my wrist, it slips out of my hand…
now the glass is all smashed.
So, I clean up the mess, feeling rather distressed.
A new movie might sooth, get me back in the groove.
But the new DVD’s, sealed in plastic I see.
The wrapping’s too tight. It puts up quite a fight.
I grab something sharp, to rip packaging apart.
But I stab my own hand, drop the knife,
and it lands, sticking into my toe.
And, what do you know?
The DVD now is bent, and my energy’s spent.
It can’t just be me, who can’t seem to free,
all these things that are trapped,
in protective shrink wrap, that teases and taunts,
flaunting stuff that I want.
My head starts to ache, must find aspirin to take.
The new bottle is sealed. This is too damn surreal.
So I prod, poke, and pry. No matter how hard I try,
I can’t open the top, can’t get the seal off.
I twist and I turn until fingertips burn,
but, the pills they stay sealed.
Wait! A hammer I’ll wield!
Damn… I just broke my thumb, and my hand’s going numb.
Might we discern, as a safety concern,
when frustration mounts, rising blood pressure counts?
Someone listen to my plea, to stop protecting me,
to this unreasonable degree?
Could common sense be the key?
...That's all folks !
Have you noticed giddiness running rampant among friends who’ve had their COVID19 vaccines? It’s contagious. I’ve even witnessed a few honest-to-God giggles, and I definitely sense a collective feeling very reminiscent of being released for recess in grade school. This whole vaccine thing is turning out to be a collective experience—a sigh of relief—that we can all celebrate, independent of political party or social POV (Okay…maybe not if you’re a conspiracy theorist.) It’s the most positive thing that’s happened since we all retired to our collective homes to hunker down for the duration back in March 2020.
My husband and I sailed through both of our vaccines without any side effects, but we were prepared for the worst. I even made Jello and stocked up on chicken noodle soup, both of which are our go-to flu and cold remedies. Oh, and of course, we stocked up on the magic cure for all that ails you: Ice Cream ! Like most of you, I was prepared to endure some flu misery in exchange for even 80% immunity to this miserable, life-sucking, hateful virus. We’ve become a society where guarantees are expected (or we sue), but nothing in this life comes with a 100% guarantee, so 80% immunity is more than good enough for me!
As much relief as I feel, I don’t want to uncork the champagne too soon. I am definitely flirting with optimism again, hoping that the doors that slammed our individual worlds shut will open up a smidgen. I know I can see daylight leaking through the crack. I wonder if any of us expect life and society to spring back to what we knew as “normal” in the pre-COVID days? I think some of that is lost forever, but I do think that most of us are willing to settle for at least a semblance of the old normalcy: family gatherings without fear of contracting or spreading the virus, dinners out, enjoying art fairs, attending movies and concerts and maybe even an in-person class. I don’t want to ruin my positive mood by being an alarmist, but I have to say that I plan to temper my hopefulness with common sense. I’m all about continuing to mask and distance from those I don’t trust to be responsible. And, before you judge, my level of risk may be different from yours, so we’ll all have to venture out understanding that each individual will break out of their cocoon in their own way.
But, to keep the post-vaccine party theme going, breakfasts out and restaurant dinners are definitely part of my game plan. There are friends I want to see outside of the constraints of ZOOM, and new (online) friendships to explore on a face-to-face level. The past year has revealed that I can get by with much less personal contact than I thought, but I’m not cut out to be a complete recluse either. Getaways are back on the calendar as well. My husband, myself, and the dog have a few vacation days on books in May and a few more in September. Fingers crossed please that we won’t get slammed back into lockdown.
So, in the spirit of spring and summer entertaining, I’ll leave you with a fabulous fruit cobbler recipe that you can make for your next get-together. (and if you switch the butter for vegan butter and the milk for almond milk, this cobbler is perfect to share with vegan friends and family)
Rhubarb-Strawberry Cobbler (Click READ MORE for the recipe)