Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Passing through

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

I wrote this poem after driving through a section of the city that I don't normally pass through.

Red Light, Full Stop

Red light, full stop,
we're just passing through
making our way to the highway,
the streets are bereft of children
mid-morning on this school day,
but full of adults,
in clusters up and down the block,
seemingly idle,
wandering into the road,
oblivious to crosswalks and walk lights.
A young woman rushes out of a convenience store,
clutching packs of cigarettes,
running through the intersection,
zig-zagging in front of our car and
around oncoming traffic.
So many people milling about,
feels like a road version of pinball, and
deeply sad.
Red light, full stop,
so much trash and debris in the street and
along the sidewalks,
metal bars on windows and doors,
tiny stores with unfamiliar names,
broken windows and half curtains in the homes above,
boarded up windows and rolled-down metal doors,
marked with graffiti,
signs of other businesses long gone.
Two disheveled men
pants slung low, jackets frayed, matted hair,
a wobbly, jellied-leg third man between them,
who looks like he will fall over at any moment.
A low, loud, melodic bass beat pulsates from the car in the lane next to us.
Red light, full stop,
a police vehicle with lights blinking,
stopped just ahead on side of road,
no sign of the police themselves...
perhaps inside the pawn shop next door.
A bench at a bus stop,
a woman strewn across a man's lap,
belly fat exposed,
her eyes rolled up in her head;
she has passed out.
His one arm cradles her, supporting her head,
the other pats her, soothingly, tenderly, and
he whispers something we can't hear.
A man approaches our car with a bucket of soap suds,
wanting to wash our windshield;
we know not to meet his eyes.
Red light, full stop

people are living this way,
this is their neighborhood,
their home,
all day,
every day.
Everything and everyone seems
so far removed from
so far removed from
all decisions being made
or any debate being had
by anyone anywhere
with any semblance of power.
This is desolation.
Unless we happen to search for a shortcut
to the highway
in an unfamiliar part of town,
and are just
passing through.

Green light, go,
move on.

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

A cruel focus

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

We said goodbye
to a family
that is moving elsewhere
to get the health support that one parent so desperately needs
as she recovers from a major health crisis.

This young family,
with little children,
has had an outpouring of support
from their extended family, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and church,
for months now,
and to say goodbye and wish them well,
even in this hopeful way,
was hard and sad.
Their children - oh, I know this is hard on their young children,
to weather such a big transition,
to see one parent in such pain,
to move somewhere new,
it must be so very confusing and stressful.

how truly blessed they have been,
and we have been,
to know and support one another.
Their family,
despite acute challenges,
stays together.
This is a rich community.
We do not want
for support.

I think about how much trauma, and crisis, and pain
is man-made
in our world today,
and so many people
do not have the support and caring of others.

Our government is
quite pointedly
cutting off caring and support
in so many ways
to so many.

For example -
Policy changes for welfare,
removing families from rolls, and
poor families cannot get food for their babies.
A wall so impenetrable that
locals cannot pass even a bottle of water to the needy on the other side.
Purposefully separating children from parents at the border, and
not tracking where family members have gone.
Manipulating asylum laws so that many are forced to return
to cruel and inhumane situations.
Laws tightened and revenge sought so that
communities cannot offer sanctuary to the needy.

On and on and on.

It is a cruel focus.

Families suffer.
Children suffer.
We suffer.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

The mirror

I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
All participants are writing about one moment, one part of their day, 
on Tuesdays.
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers!

My husband captured the cutest video of our fifteen month old granddaughter ('Frog'), watching herself in a full-length mirror...as if seeing herself for the very first time. Truly, the video is enchanting - and I'd love to share it here, so that you might see for yourself. However, we are all trying our very best to raise Frog away from social media (as if this is even possible, these days)...so you'll have to take my word that it is the ultimate cuteness. 

I've looked at the video over and over again, these past couple of days - noticing her eyes as she looks at her reflection, noticing her delight with what she sees, and her burst of happy laughter that she has this mimic in her life. She expresses such ease with herself, with her body; she is delighted to share this moment with her Papa as she plays at the mirror, turning her head to laugh with him, then continuing to bend, stretch, and even squat, making her reflection move. 

I do not pause for mirrors. Whenever I happen to pass by a mirror in a public place, where others might see me (i.e., not my bathroom!), I am not in the least bit happy to see my reflection. Was I ever at ease like Frog? How might I capture just a fraction of her happiness the next time I see my reflection in the mirror? Where did I lose that little girl's openness to all that I am? 

There is so much wisdom in this little girl's dance.

Here's a little rhyming poem about the beauty of her moment at the mirror.

The Mirror

She happens upon a mirror
and simply can't believe
there's another someone hiding
who looks just like she.
She crouches down and then jumps up,
to see what her friend might do.
Every twist is mimicked,
and her facial expressions, too!
She tries a new position,
she leans in for a kiss;
when the other moves the same way,
she laughs with sheer bliss.