Category Archives: Memories

The Traveler

On the street where my parents live
You can still walk between two houses like
When we were young and easily entertained
Our arms stretched wide as we grazed
Our fingertips across the layers of paint,
Chips falling in our thoughtless wake
Slowing before the sunlight exposed our
Crouching down to spy on the house
With the bright orange shutters where
The guy who talked into tin cans with
Long white strings dangling unconnected
Said he listened to aliens about space travel
He would slip the end of the string into one
Of the four grey boxes attached to his house,
While people out for a friendly stroll tried not to listen,
Appearing slightly afraid of his earnest belief that he
Heard transmissions from aliens who were traveling
Across the dimensions of time and space
Speaking with experience of his own time travel
He would point to the dilapidated tan pickup
With the makeshift camper made of old canvas tents
The first few times we giggled at his truth and its
Obvious crazy appeal as complete nonsense
And now 20 years later his crazy should be sad
Except that no one ever saw or heard him leave
In the truck with the broken muffler, and the police
Who kept getting complaints about the long grass
Came to break down his front door, thinking they’d
Find him dead, but found everything untouched
Including his wallet and the keys to that old tan truck

The List

Toss it away
Forgotten
Until garbage day
When panic
Reminds
Of a desperate
Need for
What was
Written
Within the folds
Of the crumpled
Up list
Of memories
Where
Can it be
Here
Beneath the
Used Kleenex
And ketchup
Soaked napkins
That slide
Across my
Forearm
As I pull
My treasure
From this
Mangled
Heap of slop
And carefully
Attempt
To smooth it
Flat again

Beware The Ides of March

Babe was a guy who owned a big tavern against a giant rock bluff in a town across the river from us
Dad took me there a few times, going over the bridge, sunshine becoming a foreign intruder when we opened the door to leave
My dad worked on the side bar-tending for Babe, that extra money probably a necessity for his family of seven with one on the way
Being only 4, I didn’t understand why this grown man was called Babe,
and I asked this man behind the big oval bar
He always gave me a kiddie cocktail, which sounded like kitty to me and I didn’t understand that either, he chuckled as I
Enjoyed the deliciousness of that red with the cherries and the orange slice on the teeny tiny colored sword that balanced across the top
On my tenth birthday my mom was still in the hospital with something they were calling high blood pressure
My dad took me to a supper club, just the two of us on a school night, and Babe was there
He joked around with my dad and laughed that my favorite meal was a bacon and American cheese melted on toast
Babe always seemed to be laughing, and as he left he said to my dad, “Beware the Ides of March with that one huh, Buck?”
I never seemed to get Babe’s jokes, so Dad explained that some guy named Caesar’s murder was predicted to happen on March 15th
Ides means middle, Dad said, and so some fortune teller told Caesar to beware the Ides of March
The fortune teller was right, and Caesar’s good friend Brutus helped to kill Caesar on March 15th
Babe was just being funny dad said, no one was going to kill me. Babe just likes to joke around
Being with dad, his only daughter, out where people always put a smile on their faces when they talked to him, was special
My Dad taking me to a restaurant all by myself on my birthday with my five brothers eating who knows what, at home, and Babe joking around
One of the best moments ever!
Even though I didn’t understand much of the joking, everyone was laughing, and it was my birthday
And I wasn’t so scared then that my mom didn’t get to come home for my birthday; like she promised

I Had a Bad Dream

What is a dream anyway?
A tale, a wish, a fear
Thoughts to fall asleep with
Something to wake up from
Conscious hopes carried
Into a supposed safe slumber
Our own cinematic scenes of
Scary, exciting, foreboding
Dreams becoming nightmares
Fleeing a wakeful unknown
Until sliding to a precipice’s edge
Some familiar cliff, alone
Over and over, the sharp echoes
Warning, granite’s dangerous contour
Nudging from fitful slumber to an
Open-eyed sweating confusion
Fearful stillness, blanketed
In darkness, only a fluorescent
Green glow signaling the safety
Of the soon to be dawn, details
Fading thankfully with the day

Magic

My cousin, 7, said the Easter bunny was a hoax
What is a hoax I wondered, a giant rabbit maybe

The boy behind me in the 2nd grade passed a note
It read, Only babies believe in Santa Claus, do you?

My brother, 11, said the tooth fairy didn’t lose her way
She may come tonight, he scoffed, but she isn’t real

Each time these truths were forced upon my ears
I grew up and was uncomfortable in my little girl heart

That little girl’s heart didn’t disappear for good, it lay
In wait to give what it could in the way of magic

Tucking secret presents under a tree, hiding candy filled
baskets, stealthily placing quarters under sleeping heads

Even if sometimes the magic isn’t what was expected
Maybe wasn’t quite the first choice, or even the second

Sometimes what isn’t real, those fairy dust creations
Make the uglier truths just a bit easier to bare, for both

If you tell me they are hoaxes, unreal, and only for babies
I will understand with my big girl brain that knows the truth

But my heart, beating as an aunt, and now as a mom
Will say those who don’t believe, don’t ever truly receive