Throne

My throne near the top of the willow tree

where I could oversee

my kingdom that resounded

with mournful train chords

and springtime robin red-breast

Thin the veil between worlds

Of retrospection cursed not blessed

It’s like a perpetual bloodstain

With solidly placed blame

Thats removed quietly with disdain

Where “It’s just how they are” to

Invisibility of me to an entire crew.

But I’ll not allow their foolishness

Not in my kingdom where I am best

Where I’m more than bone deep

Better than the company they sheep.

The Fragile Human

Be gentle with me,

for I am but a fragile human

whose eyes may not see

the expression of your sexuality

as a sign of repressed individuality

because I may be jaded by my misogyny.

Be gentle with me,

for I am but a fragile human

and I am terrified to be

the openhearted embracing destiny;

to stake my claim on my personal history

as one not bound by mainstream society.

Be gentle with me,

for I am but a fragile human

I am unafraid to be

every breadth and depth of clarity

a shining hope against disparity

standing human by human in equanimity

Be gentle with me,

for although a fragile human I be,

I have stepped outside of me

the one they knew can no longer be

because who I am, I was born to be

And I can no longer hide

I AM FREE!

Blazing Bonfire

I’m watching the orange hat man in the red flannel shirt and black gloves drink beer and toss corn hole.

His game partner is more pale of skin, wearing Lions jacket and a black hat. I suspect he is a Ryan or Chad, possibly a Todd.

The lattice fence behind them holds the picket porch at arm’s length.

A burst of laughter erupts. Orange hat guy has the orange bag that he curls in circles in his hand.

When he releases the bag at the top of the arch, his hand is like a painting in a city-scape for urban happiness.

A smolder plumes lightly with the breeze that precedes the storm threatening the evening hours.

Flap-flap hat and baseball cap are covering up the fire or adding up a larger stash.

Orange hat guy lights up a smoke. He has…HOLY BLAZES of black smoke and Christmas trees!

They’re all watching it burn. The pine tar smoke rises thick with quick and danger because the speed changed.

They’re up by the garage where I sometimes pass at night.

They’re pouring more gas. I’m slightly afraid of the large tree within wind distance from their need to burn.

Flap-flap hat guy is smoking a cigarette. He has a mustache. He reminds me of my brother and his friends before the military.

Baseball hat guy wears his brim forward and sports a full beard and mustache set neatly trimmed. Probably married.

Corn hole continues. Black and orange teams throw up-handed and across board.

Black hat dude just pissed by the garage with his back to me. His shoulders shook as he finished.

Orange hat dude paraded through the back yard with a baby in pink jacket and red polka dot dress. She flew above the fence.

Sometimes Maybe

Sometimes I want to be a kite

Ripped and tugged by wind’s whim

Rising above spectators

Admired for my brightly colored dips

That write nonsensical whispers

Of promises made to a forever not witnessed

Sometimes I wish I were a bear

Raw with raking power paws

With heavy duty claws that help me eat

People I don’t like or those who disturb me.

Sometimes I wish I were a siren

One that rests on rocks singing sweetly

Lulling sailors to their doom upon my rocks

Jutting breasts and flirty hair calling to boys

“Beware! Beware!”

Sometimes I’m glad to be me

A chubby tubby funny woman with dimple cheeks

Cracking open frozen hearts, not of ice

But stuck in places not so nice

Places that don’t remember their worth

Burying their beings without much mirth.

Revision

Rolling down the road before

Been there, done that, know the score

Crossed that bridge, then burned it down

Trapped myself in my hometown

Ghosts of me walk laughing by

Anger driven, cocaine high

I barely know the face of then

But I wear them as my diadem

Broken heart lay broken wide

Spilling love from what’s inside

Trains of childhood sing forlorn

Don’t chase those tracks. Don’t heed those horns.

Folks and Rents

When I was growing up, my Bapa and Grandma were a constant in my life. There was something magical that came whenever they visited. My parents were more kind and lenient. My brothers, like me, put on the best show we had in our pockets. Just hearing a rumor of them coming over got us pretty excited.

On Friday nights they had a standing “date” with my family. They’d show up early evening to drink coffee at the dining table with my Rents. They’d talk about adult stuff that didn’t much interest us kids. We were allowed to be outside playing while this ritual took place. In retrospect, I wish I’d taken more of an interest in those conversations because I feel I would have gotten to know them, the world, and my parents an incredible amount more than I did.

At the tail end of the coffee ritual came the fade in to our favorite part of the night. POPCORN! My mom would pop a massive bowl of the fluffy crunch while counting out the apples (one each), and chocolate squares. We’d all get into our spots in the living room to get ready to watch The Dukes of Hazzard. I was madly in love with Beau/Bo Duke. I thought Daisy was absolutely gorgeous, but took little interest in Luke. 

As a family we would watch the show and laugh together. On commercials (my brother as the remote to turn the television down), we’d squish in conversations about what was important at the time. It could be about the show, grades, behavior, how much we were loved by my mom’s Folks, or even what words were entering our vocabulary. At the sight of the General Lee, we were right back into the wild world of those “Duke boys.”

At then end of the show when Cooter pumps up the power of the ol’ #01 and Uncle Jesse had outwitted Boss Hog, we’d disperse to the bathrooms with us kids having to run upstairs so the adults wouldn’t have to. At my age now, I completely understand the wisdom of that, but as a kid, I resented having to do it.

And then, settled in with a refreshed bowl of popcorn, in our pajamas, we heard the verdict of whether or not we’d be able to watch…Dallas. Oh! How I hated J.R. Ewing and loved Bobby. I didn’t quite understand what Sue Ellen’s issues were at that time, but I knew to feel sorry for her. I thought Miss Ellie was elegant. The costumes, the dialogue, the adultness of the show made it more than worth a few good behavior days to follow the story line that I was just starting to get, but did not all the way.

I’d snuggle up to Bapa and watch with him. It was a feeling of complete and total safety. There was nothing in the world that could touch our family then. My Grandma was okay with the show, but commonly would lax her head back, mouth open, and snore lightly. It was practically tradition. 

When I think of my mom’s Folks, it gives me a feeling of family so deep into my bones a part of me lay with them in their graves. It is a feeling of promise that the world would be as strong as we were. Our duty to the world and to each other was and is to create love wherever we are because that is how the world SHOULD work. We know that it doesn’t, but with each little act of compassion or kindness, we are all living our Folks dreams for a better world.

As for my Rents, it took much longer for me to see them as givers of light. I was estranged for so many years but it wasn’t until I returned that the pangs of what I’d set down to walk away from really set barbs into my spirit. I realized that what I’d given up wasn’t just parents with incredibly high expectations, but that I’d relieved myself of that burden to do it my own way. I wasn’t born to follow their path. I was created to accept the guidance of the Folks and my Rents to become even better than they were, or at least comparable.

Since I have no biological offspring of my own, I often worry of how my legacy will pan out. I think of the many traditions I was taught at their knees and mourn the loss of it stopping with me. 

But, I have discovered in love and unity that my cousins, nieces and nephews, all carry me with them. For example, I got to take my great nephew across the Mighty Mack for his first time and buy the fudge of his choice in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. He learned to sing 500 Miles by the Proclaimers at the top of his lungs, got spoiled with ice cream, and basically…well The Folks and the Rents carry on in me no matter where I go.