A Winter Haiku – in memory of Midori

[a short story in ten short poems

I reread God’s Mountain, by O. Snow, and thought about Midori.]

The summit rises / a snowy, distant haven; / time will not stop me.

The snow in my path / is no longer fluffy white / but brown and slushy.

A steep icy trail / ascends before my unshod feet / and freezes my steps.

Beside the pathway / bodies sit, tired and worn, / baggage strewn around.

Lamenting, wailing / fill my silent trek, echoing / the canyon’s answers.

The apex is near; / futility closer still. / Darkness creeps forward.

Daylight breaks the sky, / bouncing shards on ice and snow, / slivering the cold.

At the top I smile / my lips curving in delight. / I have made it here.

Melting snow makes way, / A rutted, muddy road shows / dark, wet puddles and stones.

Starting, slipping, stop. / The journey calls me onward / to the next mountain.

Blasts from the Past

Or maybe I should say, a poem (or three) from the past.

I was going through some boxes long packed away in the attic, trying to figure out what could go and what I wanted to stay, when I found some old journals from when I was a just-graduated high-school teen. I wrote (or tried to write) poetry back in those days, and even got a bit of recognition for them.

It was…emotional…reading some of these. They made me remember the awkward, angsty teen that I was. She was nice enough, but sometimes very depressed.

I even found a journal from when I was in my early twenties, newly married, then I lost my grandmother and had a baby. [Whew!] I’ll share some of these poems on a different day–the feel of these is very different.

Here you go!

Teardrops (December, 1987)

Drops on the windowpane
teardrops from heaven
falling silent and gentle
or violent with great wracking sobs.

~I added to this poem in February of the following year. I must have been feeling better by then about whatever inspired that first stanza.

Flowers growing in the meadow
–children of the Earth–
sprouting defiant and sure
or hesitant and wary like a child.

~I’d like to say this was an anomaly, these angsty bits of thoughts that might mean something, but this is a lot of what I wrote back then. I know it sounds like a cliche, but I think I wrote a lot of these poems to express the roiling emotions I didn’t know how to deal with. Not sure it worked…but I’m still around, so it must have done something for me.

Untitled (September, 1988)

all alone;
a solitary figure;
dwarfed by life’s problems;
overwhelmed

defeated;
a solitary figure;
bows under the pressure
enveloped by the passing tide

no one sees,
a solitary figure
disappear from the path
gone forever

never remembered;
that solitary figure;
hermited away
in solitude

of a kind–not happy

~Heavy stuff. Reflecting back, I don’t remember anything weighing on me that bad, but life is different as a teen. Everything is big and bold and in your face, especially the bad stuff. It can feel like things will never get better.

And then, there is this cute ditty that follows. I know the inspiration for this: an argument with my English teacher about what a poem meant. I stated that a poem means different things to different people, because the symbolism held in an image is not exactly the same for everyone. I damn-near failed his class, I think. And honestly, think about this: an image of a circle will not mean “eternal love” to the child of a single parent whose best friend’s mother is going through a nasty divorce. The image of a circle does not necessarily bring to mind a wedding ring! And if so, it might be tarnished!

Anyway…enjoy!

Ode to my Poem (September, 1988)

I wrote myself a poem, just the other day.
Funny thing about it, I didn’t know what to say.

So I searched my heart to its very core,
wrote down these words and nothing more.

It is such a sweet little thing; only I understand,
its deep and soulful meaning, written by my hand.

[My journal has this little note to myself in it after: I wrote this and it made me feel so good because it is good!]

Dude – a poem for Caty

[My daughter is tall and often gets call “dude” or “sir.”  She’s good at keeping her head and giving the speaker the benefit of the doubt – but when she’s in heels and earrings – come on.]

Dude

Did you call me that, because my hair is short?

Because I wear combat boots and jeans?  Or was is my loose t-shirt – no cleavage as a clue?

Yes – I take a D cup – which you should know from staring at my chest.  It doesn’t take that long to decipher the logo or words or picture.  Was it because I dared to stare back?

Did you call me that, because I’m tall and broad-shouldered?  Does is make you feel better when you’re looking up at me and I’m looking down at you?

Is it because I’m strong?  Because I don’t fit in the mold of petite, dainty, feminine human?  Because I didn’t step back when you invaded my space?  Because I didn’t bat my lashes and coo at you?

Didn’t you see a woman?

Smart, sharp, witty, not scared of what you are?

Because when I look in the mirror, that’s the reflection I see.

Maybe you need to take a longer look at yours.

Skin on a Skeleton

I have a lot of issues with the way media plays with our body image – always have, even when I was succumbing to those messages as a teen.  The messages have only gotten more subversive.  I believe this poem was written while battling the baby bulge (I lost).  

Part 1

Onto the runway,

wispy fabric hanging

from the angles of her wares,

honed hips, sharpened

shoulder blades,

projectile-pointed elbows.

Long lengths of languid hair,

an unnatural

shade;

blue, green and purple

war paint on the face

of a pallid squaw.

Defiance in the walk

long and loose and limp,

hands on hips

pushed forward

but none in the eyes,

shuttered, staring

out into the crowd, only

holes

in a walking mannequin

made of skin

slack, hanging

on a white-washed frame

of a skeleton.

Part 2

Young girls,

in control,

of a long, drawn-out

spiraling death.

Trying to attain,

trying to sustain,

growth on a starvation plan.

dieting

exercising

starving

exercising

their right to frailty

uncertainty

death by perfection

The model life,

a hungry life,

of water and pills,

stardom and pain.

Striving,

thriving,

living,

but not giving

themselves a chance,

to be healthy and strong.

Trading a beautiful youth,

for an old age

as a slumped over woman,

afraid of dying

from a styrofoam bone

breaking in a fall

from grace.

Trying to attain,

trying to sustain,

the dream of death

as skin on a skeleton.