Should I get lost, point me in the direction of a poem.
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Collectible Things

October 30th, 2011 | Posted by bbleen in Growing old | Reflections | Sadness - (Comments Off on Collectible Things)

The Hilltop Home for Men collects old men,

like my freckle face grandson collects marbles

in a burlap sack, butterflies in a jar.

There they congregate in tiny rooms waiting

as patiently as hamsters for their turn to

come around at the wheel.

Their days are spent gazing longingly out of

picture windows, staring at a world whizzing by,

one that continues to revolve without them.

On a sunny day you might find them settling

old bones at weathered picnic tables where

they serve up past lovers or stories of war,

reiterating to each other how it was back then.

Rehashing all the could haves and should haves

and that devil of all clichés, If only I could live

my life over again

Night begins the death watch and sleep eludes

them as they smoke the day’s last cigarette,

groan and strain for compatibility with sunken beds.

Hours are spent staring at walls, bare but for a big

numbered clock, which beats to the tune of their

failing hearts, their rattling worn and rusty pipes,

as partners in time they wait for that final tick-tock.

Dismal Solution

October 30th, 2011 | Posted by bbleen in Death | Granddaughter | Kittens | Reflections | Sadness - (Comments Off on Dismal Solution)

In the pet store

my granddaughter is squealing,

reaching her tiny hands,

delicately touching soft fur.

Pairs of blue eyes stare

crystalline clear,

brimming with intelligence,

weighing her every move.

My granddaughter is ooh-ing

and aah-ing, unaware…

of Grandma’s eyes

brimming with tears.

As memories awake

of burlap bags

of flickering motion,

gurgling sounds beneath

piles of wet stones.

Of my  sisters and I wading in

the creek in front of our house,

stumbling onto their watery graves.

My grandfather’s solution

to every new litter of kittens.

In the Photo

October 30th, 2011 | Posted by bbleen in Death | Family | Growing old | Reflections | Sadness - (Comments Off on In the Photo)

In the photo my mother is beautiful.

Though it is in black and white,

I picture her cheeks to be rosy as pink Chablis.

Her hair cascades thick and wavy

to meet the soft slant of her shoulders,

covered demurely in a dark dress

I imagine, a shade of red.

She is smiling coyly for the camera,

as if she is the keeper of some secret,

about to spring a surprise.

The couch she sits on is smattered with

clusters of tiny white blossoms.

Behind her, the wallpaper is enmeshed

in huge leaves pointing skyward;

between each two leaves is a single flower.

The floor’s linoleum is a characteristic nineteen fifties pattern

of multicolored and sized diagonal stripes.

In the photo my mother is a constant,

in surroundings I can only describe as busy,

and so she has been for most of her life.

The photo was taken after mine and my older sister’s birth,

before those of our siblings.

It was long before school days, dating, marriages,

children, divorces, grandchildren,

and all forms of crises imagined or real

which have transformed her once vibrant brown hair to gray,

strand by strand.

Long before wrinkles claimed her face,

Arthritis wreaked havoc on her joints,

Osteoporosis settled in her bones.

In the photo my mother is beautiful.

She is poor but happy,

innocent and trusting,

hinging on a promise,

glimmering with love.