Happy Father’s Day

Glad Dad

this very day it’s been about
those many years you called me out
by a that tag without a name
with rules never quite the same

i must admit and i’m truly glad
yet sometimes i was very sad
the years i called my father dad
now it’s this time for me to add

it was easy as you may see
in the game of one two three
to wish the better for me to see
dad is neither simple or free

days were good yet sometimes bad
i still love my kids to call me dad
my special treasure to be had
their father’s name my greatest fame

Look both ways and mind the gaps.

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Essay: My FWB Neighbors (4 of 4)

This is the last of my four-part neighbor-knocking recall from our time on the Redneck Riviera (Florida Panhandle).

 

Part 4 of 4: Meet Dangerous Dixie

Directly across the street lived an inspirational hero named Dixie. I met her when she was 97 or 98 years of age. I went to the 99th Birthday bash at Dixie’s home, the same house she and her late hubby moved into 50 years prior, in 1964, when the houses and the neighborhood were all new.

A wee bit bent over, Dixie walked unassisted and talked bitingly sharper than many folk decades younger. If I had a favorite people list, Dixie would be in the top five. I don’t know what it was about the little bull dog that we found so compelling, but Dixie was a treat to behold. A pill, but one you must love.

Meeting and making new friends when they are in their late 90s (Dixie was 30 years my senior) is like no other relationship. There were many things special or unique about her (not all of them sweetness and love), but at that point in life, attitude is more important than ever. One of Dixie’s last great adventures had been an excursion to the Galapagos Islands ten years earlier. She told me all about the trip, remembering many specific details and saying that she got around much better back then, at age 88.

Dixie was convinced that a local lawn guy had dumped a pile of yard-waste at her curb. He hadn’t, but that was not the point. She refused to permit me to dispose of the waste. My wife talked to the guy and offered to pay him to clean it up. He said, “I know she thinks I did that, but I did not. However, I will clean it up without charge.” He did. In Dixie’s mind, he was guilty, and she had won because she had waited him out. We let her go with that.

I have attended exactly one 99th Birthday Party in my life: Dixie’s. She wore two-inch heels and personally greeted each of the many guests. As she would introduce them around the room, naming each guest, she accurately told a little story about each person or couple.

That went on for more than an hour before Dixie finally sat down and took her shoes off. Dixie looked at my wife and asked if she still drove. Dixie’s Mercedes was parked in her driveway, but she had only recently stopped driving. When Yolonda said that she did drive, Dixie said, “Good. Because we need to get out and do some running around and have some fun.”

I don’t know what doctor thought a cardiac pacemaker would be good for Dixie at 99, but a few months following the party she had that surgery. Some weeks later, Dixie was found dead in her split-level home, ostensibly from some form of cardiac failure. Dixie’s 100th Birthday Party was combined with a memorial of her passing as well as celebrating her life. I knew Dixie for less than two years of her long life, but I will not forget her.

In many ways, I would like to be like Dixie. However, I could never measure up to her spark, enthusiasm for life, or love of nature.

Look both ways in life, even when there is a lot more was than will be. Mind your gaps.

 

Poetry: Everybody Has a Mother

52 years ago.

Everybody Has a Mother

I had a mom. And I loved her too.
Then she died, as all mothers do.

Now I have this woman here,
Texas gal and hell-of-a-dear.
Not my mother, no siree,
Nor sister or brother, but oh is she
Mother to the progeny,
who are something
that’s part of me.

She is my lady,
you can see,
love ‘er to bits like a
long-time lover
should.
She’s their mother.
They all love ‘er –
she loves ’em too,
as mothers do.

I love her so,
And likewise them.

Mom o’ my children,
all Texas born.
Now all growed-up
with kin a their own
Tex-bred kids
of one kind or other.

We love ‘em all,
short, fat, skinny and tall.

We love ’em up,
but she Loves them
more than I,
‘cuz that’s what Moms
can do. Love them all
a lot, you see,
more than you and more ‘n me.

Daughter, sis, and cuzin to some,
Wife to me, a very special one
Good sport of a kind and sort,
Mom to three,
Oma to more.

Yolonda,
this poem, my dear lady,
is just for you.

(Bill Reynolds © 12 May 2018)

Y’all be lookin’ both ways cuz Momma be comin’ with a spoon.
Mind the gaps.

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Cactus Flower of Spring

The 29th (of 30) NaPo prompt challenged me to write a poem based on the Plath Poetry Project’s calendar. I was to pick a poem from the calendar, and then write my own verse that relates to it.

If you don’t know anything about Sylvia Plath, you should. Click on her name to link up. I selected her poem Poppies in July (click for link to analysis) because the city I live in is having a Poppy Festival today. Also, reading the poem and learning about Sylvia’s life was deeply moving.

Poppies In July (by Sylvia Plath)

Little poppies, little hell flames,
Do you do no harm?

You flicker.  I cannot touch you.
I put my hands among the flames.  Nothing burns

And it exhausts me to watch you
Flickering like that, wrinkly and clear red, like the skin of a mouth.

A mouth just bloodied.
Little bloody skirts!

There are fumes I cannot touch.
Where are your opiates, your nauseous capsules?

If I could bleed, or sleep! –
If my mouth could marry a hurt like that!

Or your liquors seep to me, in this glass capsule,
Dulling and stilling.

But colorless.  Colorless.

© by owner. provided at no charge for educational purposes.

Taken on this morning’s walk as I pondered Sylvia and her poem.

Cactus Flower of Spring

Little Cactus Flower of much despair,
Your short life, a sad bad mad dream.

Your song of pity plays on. Oh lord, I want to touch you.
Deeply reaching your inferior, I want to know your pain.

Misery and pain surround you,
dear yellow flower of agony and sorrow.

Surrounded by cacti, as you are,
I cannot save you in life or death.

I can only see your pain today,
Through words you left of such sorrow.

May your pain be gone, your love remains,
O’ Little Flower of despair.

Yellow, green, red and blue,
I see them now, and I think of you.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/29/2018)

 

 

Live and learn and lean both ways, looking for our Cactus Flower.
Mind the thorns and shun the needles, the gaps are there for all to feel.

 

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry – NaPoWriMo: The Big Bike Ride

The day 26 NaPoWriMo prompt encourages me to write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses (touch, sight, hearing, smell, and taste). I’ve reached for this kind of writing in the past because I enjoy it. This is one I wish I had more time to work, but the deal is a poem a day, finished or not.

The Big Bike Ride

Special pants and socks and ankle-high boots,
jacket, sunglasses, and ear-plugs too.
Put on the gloves and crank her on up,
listen to the purr of ma sweet little pup.
Map and cell phone, no room for ma cup.

Turn her handgrip and feel her pull forward,
tap on her brakes, then turn on her blinker,
it’s left then right, to a big road we’re headin’ toward.
Feel as one this man and machine, search for a groove
as together we skate, and down the road, so swiftly we move.

Feel the freedom and the touch of the wind,
see other traffic and hope they see you.
Mowers ahead, oh yes, that smell of fresh-cut grass.
Getting hard, this seat could be a pain in my ass.
Onto that big road where the traffic will pass.

So many cars and big trucks run in this hot Texas sun.
Crank hard on her handgrip to push her big run,
zip into the traffic and all of its dangers, we are not
to this wind some unknown strangers. Cars and trucks,
unaware of chaos they cause, pushing air all around.

Racked by turbulent wind, we lean left then right,
be in control no matter the fight. Look all around
and hope they see us. Damn these trucks make a terrible sound.
Truck’s got some cooking hot tires and stinking back brakes,
add to this big deal, the unwanted odor of burning black diesel.

First thunder, then lightning, we tighten our grip.
The smell of the rain gives up its first tip.
No longer we see them, they cannot see us.
The downpour continues and collects in our saddle.
Up this creek, we need a boat and some paddles.

See the sign, take the next exit. Slow to be sure we find the road safe.
What if this, what if that? And the now to the rain – slowly it stops.
Soaked to our bones, with the taste of rain fresh in my mouth.
Together we dried, so onto the little farm road, we’re ready to ride.
Smell the clean air and sweet wild flowers, all country scents.

The danger is gone, the road is now ours,
lean into the turns and feel the fresh start.
Now it’s a good day to go on for hours.
See colorful flowers born in the fields,
and the green trees. Look at the streams, now running so free.

Look and lean into each turn, she feels the road and my soft touch.
See the cows looking at us. Behold the ride, feels so right.
Not too fast nor too slow, see horses and sheep as along we go.
As we smell mom’s apple pie, roll-on, smooth curvy road.
Now it’s all worth it that danger and fear are in the past.

Let’s pull on over, Honda my dear. This is Cow Creek,
and here we can rest. I will can eat lunch and read you this book,
sitting just there while you cool off your heat.
Maybe you’ll soften that firm and hot seat,
as I write this here poem and have something to eat.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/26/2018)

Rider? Look all ways. Mind the gaps. Mind everything. See, be seen!

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Envy ‘Neath a Window

The day 19 poem prompt of the 2018 National Poetry Writing Month challenges me to write a paragraph that briefly recounts a story, describes the scene outside a window, or even gives directions. I was to erase words from that paragraph to create a poem, or to use the words of the paragraph to build a new poem. Here is my result of that effort, without the paragraph.

Envy ‘Neath a Window 

With Mom I sat
As she was reading
Not to me – getting bored
On a raining summer day.
I’d catch some death of cold
She would say
From being wet with rain,
On that cool summer day.

Something ‘neath the window?
I walked to see a mouse.
I said no words, nor did he,
As I looked out the window.
My first envy feeling was seeing
Friends playing in the rain.

Making themselves damn fools.
I learned, in the adult version
Is as they call it, having a good time.
Damn fool for just sitting here.
“Mom, may I…?”
Envy. I felt it.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/19/2018)

Look both ways and love those rainy days.
Mind the gaps or hydroplane.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month

Poetry — NaPoWriMo: Fight Was His Game

I’m opting out of the day 18, 2018 NaPoWriMo prompt. Instead, I wrote this poem.

Fight was His Game

Poor boy whose story we were told,
Danny was his name, fighting was his game.
Young and strong, with dreams of glory in his fists.
He fought to save his life, to be proud and ever bold.

Promised wealth with violence
Would bring so many gifts.
No warning was to move him
from his promised dream.
Boxing and his future, were both all agleam
It was his game, to be his fame, no one interfered.

In the pit of misery, while still just a boy
Trusting words of strangers, and what they had to say.
In the roaring twenties ring
he took the fighter’s stand,
Seeking victory and honor, with his body and his hands
Many marred and broken,
This Danny boy was all aflame.

Stepped into the ring, a fight to be his game.
Still looking for a young man’s fame.
Dan stood strong and determined.
He faced the champ, who gave that boy
quite a beating with a lesson.

Badly beaten, he lost the fight,
And all his pride went with it.
The champ made him a chump
looking too sad and lame.

Still more boy than man, with spirits badly broken,
He searched for work and asked for jobs.
A boy inside, with dreams gone south and broken.

Now the boy was older
In all the world’s wrong ways,
Now laying low without his game,
Still, Danny was his name.

(Bill Reynolds, 4/18/2018)

Look both ways and duck those punches, mind the gaps right cross.

Click link to National Poetry Writing Month