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

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.

Just Beyond the Softest Sound

October 30th, 2011 | Posted by bbleen in Fantasy | Imagination - (1 Comments)

The roses on my table appear to be singing,

so sure of themselves and their beauty.

Both proud and arrogant they break into song

the minute they are alone,

when they think no one hears.

I can tell by their pursed mouths,

I have caught them in action,

they have been silenced in midair

by my scrutinizing eyes.

With red mouths agape they stealthily suck in air,

in lieu of the next chorus,

their petals wrapped tight to hide trilling tongues.

They cannot fool me.

From a vase on my table the roses are singing,

stars in a theatre of dishes, pots and pans.

I haven’t heard them yet for they are secretive and sly.

Yet somehow I know this theory to be true.

While I am away or while I am sleeping

I know they are singing,

shedding their petals

like a burlesque singer sheds her clothes.

They repeat their song,

day after day,

night after night.

And they will go down singing,

dropping from exhaustion as the water runs dry,

till the last one withers and dies.

My Dentist

October 29th, 2011 | Posted by bbleen in Fantasy | Imagination - (1 Comments)

My dentist knows my mouth intimately.

And, like any man who recognizes a lover

across a crowded room, merely by her stance

or the way she tosses her hair, my dentist

recognizes me by the composite fillings,

the caps on my teeth.

Reclined under the veil of Novocain,

I listen to his and a dental assistant’s

chatter as he wields his drill, meticulous and

finely tuned, with gloved hands explores

every nook and cranny of my gaped mouth.

Reclined there I wonder if it’s true what they say,

that a dentist’s first impression is based on your

smile, the degree of whiteness, how big the gap

is between your teeth.

At the end of his day does he take our teeth home

with him, each extraction and filling a story to be

tossed over salad as he dines with his family,

an example to his children as the reason as to why

they should always brush their teeth?

Does he dream our teeth at night?

The decayed ones surfacing in nightmares to

mock him, in which he runs aimlessly through

forests, fog, or the dead of night, searching in vain

for a dental tool that will extinguish them?

While the healthy teeth shimmer in pleasant dreams,

lined up in rows like sailors standing at attention in

their dress whites, each saluting as he pauses before

them, the words excellent, brilliant, beautiful,

rolling off his tongue.