A Poem a Day

I had a great visit with a retired doctor last week who shared that, as a writer, she aims to write a poem a day. I dedicate this one to Dr. Nordgren.

A poem a day is an order
Prescribed by a Doctor of Parlance,
To calm all my mental disorder
By righting my inner imbalance.

If you skip one, a backlog will set in;
You feel creepy words crawling on your skin.
So pull out your tablet and watch how,
The brain starts to churn with a low growl
And delights the heart with this cure called verse,
Whose effects are never adverse!

The Garden and the Wilderness

Peer through the trees into Chapter 3 of the first Old Testament book, Genesis. Observe Adam and Eve frolicking in the Garden of Eden. The lush garden’s glory would make you gasp with its Elysium sights, scents, and sounds.  Its delectable fruit drips care-free pleasure. Even God delights in His daily time in this new paradise. His favorite part, of course, is communing with Adam and Eve, His magnum opus. Surely here, of all places,  perfection would forever prevail. What with naked companionship, lavish provisions, fulfilling occupation, and complete protection, all in the cool of the day.

Adam and Eve are smack in the middle of God’s will, this is plan A.

Yet deceit, blame, foreboding, and rebellion take the day. One sad day death draped Eden.

Now shade your forehead with your hand and squint across the desert landscape into chapter 3 of the first New Testament book, Matthew. Observe John in the howling wind of the Judean wilderness. The scorching sun beats down mercilessly on the parched landscape.  John’s gaunt, leathery body dons an old loincloth. It is covered with pulsing stings and infected scrapes. Foraging under jagged rocks for sparse locusts and honey is a painful, often frustrating occupation. The surrounding silence is deafening. No wife, no friend. The inner doubts are thunderous. He mumbles to himself to keep from going mad.  A roaring fire burns in his heart. Its flame chaps his cracked lips as he hoarsely roars, “Repent,” often to a sneering audience. “Bear fruits worthy of repentance,” he begs desperately. Fruit? Here?

One hot day, his wild eyes stared in disbelief. He HAD gone mad! God walked towards him smiling a warm smile that flooded his doubts  and refreshed his heart. John  threw himself at His feet and sobbed. Jesus tenderly cupped His cousin’s foul-smelling face, now covered with grungy, matted hair and muddy tears. Jesus convinced John to baptize Him. The heavens roared open, the Spirit descended on Jesus, and the Father expressed complete approval and pleasure.

John is smack in the middle of God’s will. This is plan B.

Now forgiveness, reconciliation, freedom, and life reign. Here is cool water for the dehydrated soul.  The death drape is rent.

Damn, The Bastard Child Shows Up!

(Image retrieved 6/12/2020, from https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f2/The_Pied_Piper_of_Hamelin_%E2%80%94_Child_Life.jpg)

This is a raw tribute to lands across the world that have been devastated by colonialism.

The bastard has unexpectedly shown up at his dinner table. Bags in hand. He never thought he’d see her again!

What sudden discomfiture, what indigestion she causes.
She pays no mind to the refined company present.

Her striking resemblance to him is terribly unsettling.

He’d found her mother, wild yet trusting; luscious and unsophisticated.

Magnificent and imposing, he strutted in and denuded her.
He perforated her soul easily and ravaged her – repeatedly, mercilessly, shamelessly. See, he never thought he’d see her again.

He’d paid no mind to her spirited yet ineffectual resistance,
Her agonizing screams,

Her exhausted, limp whimpering.

He kept coming back and even brought others.
Some of them gorge at the banquet tonight.

She looks around and recognizes the ivory, the gold, the diamonds, the mahogany. Ravaged from her land’s bowels, like she was from her mother.

‘God, she’s powerful. Beautiful.’

She need not mention Karen or Kolmanskop.

He sits dumbfounded behind his delectable dinner and baronial company.
What to do with her now?

What will he do with what he did? It’s time to pay the piper.
“For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.”

Hosea 8:7.


Dying to Self

When you are forgotten or neglected or purposely set at naught, and you sting and hurt with the insult or the oversight,
But your heart is happy, being counted worthy to suffer for Christ – that is dying to self.

When your good is evil spoken of, when your wishes are crossed, your advice disregarded,
Your opinions ridiculed and you refuse to let anger rise in your heart, or even defend yourself,
But take it all in patient loving silence – that is dying to self.

When you lovingly and patiently bear any disorder, any irregularity, or any annoyance,
When you can stand face to face with waste, folly, extravagance, spiritual insensibility,
And endure it as Jesus endured it – that is dying self.

When you are content with any food, any offering, any raiment, any climate,
Any society, any attitude, any interruption by the will of God – that is dying self.

When you never care to refer to yourself in conversation, or to record your own good works,
Or itch after commendation, when you can truly love to be unknown – that is dying to self.

When you see your brother prosper and his needs met and can honestly rejoice with him in spirit
And feel no envy nor question God, while your own needs are far greater and in desperate circumstances – that is dying to self.

When you can receive correction and reproof from one of less stature than yourself,
Can humbly submit inwardly as well as outwardly, finding no rebellion or resentment rising up within your heart – that is dying to self.

1. Galatians 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
2. Galatians 5:24 “Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.”

Smell you Later

(I blogged this 2 years ago and it was a little weird to see a prompt with the exact same title. For a second there I couldn’t find it in my archives and I thought, ‘They’ve deleted my article and stolen the title!!’ And then I found it.)

My son James catches his kindergarten bus at 12:18pm. He and I kick rocks and philosophize while we wait at the stop. We have special mother-son moments that I’ll relish for life. We sit there quietly and hold hands, or tell stories, or dissect bugs. I teach him the names of flowers and tell him what little boys in Africa do. He tells me a million facts about soldiers and the army. I eat up every minute, all too cognizant that my baby has flown the coop.

Some days he rudely awakens me from my maternal trance and asks me to wait in the house while he catches the bus.
One sunny afternoon around 12:16 while we waited for the bus, he frantically needed to use the bathroom. We tore into the house as he fumbled with his belt. I realized we had forgotten his library book so I dashed into  the kitchen, grabbed it from counter, and rushed to the bathroom to put it in his backpack. In the deep recesses of my mind, I heard the rumble of the old bus coming down the hill.

I stood aghast in the bathroom and things started to move in slow motion. So many questions flooded my mind: How on earth could so much fluid sit on the toilet-seat in a matter of seconds? How could there be gallons more on the floor? I was swirling in a urine tsunami, powerless, disoriented, confused.
He has two simple instructions to follow before he pees, and three after. We all know them. They are listed here in their irreducible complexity:
1. Lift up the seat.
2. Aim into the toilet.
1. Put down the seat.
2. Flush.
3. Wash your hands.

My final question was ‘where is he?’

I staggered to the front door like a drunken sailor, just in time to see him nonchalantly hopping onto the bus. He gave Driver Dan his daily high-five, looked back over his little shoulder, and smiled at me.

I exploded through the front door screaming “Get back in here!” Dan took one look at my face, assessed the imminent doom, hastily shut the bus door, and peeled off. He was taking corners on side wheels and was a block away before he remembered to retract the stop sign. I was chasing them down the road, occasionally leaping into the air and waving my fists wildly. I don’t remember what I was yelling. If I had warned my boys once, I had warned them a million times.
Eventually I stopped. Hopeless, I walked back spent and ragged. I was mumbling and probably drooling. I dragged my heavy, sodden feet with fistfuls of my own hair and a lousy library book in my hands. One neighbor cursorily shut her blinds. Another hurried into his house and double-bolted his door.
Could Dan be an accomplice to this crime?  I suppose, after all his years as a bus driver, he has a capacity to read premeditation on the face of a determined mother and was actually saving me from life in prison.

Thank you Driver Dan.


For the Love of Chambermaids

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I don’t spend ridiculous amounts of time in lavish hotels just to catch a break from life. I don’t wear furs or flaunt my Patek chronometer (I don’t own one.) I don’t use fancy phrases and blow cigarette smoke in the butlers’ faces as I sashay in my spiffy high-heels. But what must stupefy the staff is my cluttering aptitude.

Everyone that knows me knows I am a cluttering aficionada. I take it to the next level.  Piles spontaneously accumulate at the mention of my name. The chambermaids must gasp and beat their breasts, saying, “How could this be? She was only here one night!”

I learned of this moral weakness the first day I owned a home. Before this, it was my mother’s problem. It clearly did not bother her because she never chased me with an ax for it. That said, it bothers me tremendously. It is a purulent, gaping wound in my character. I have fought it; sincerely resolved never to lay any item on any flat surface again – ever;  been repeatedly hypnotized for it; purchased organizational books and even the specific baskets they recommended; attended AND  taught weekend-long seminars on it; rebuked and cast out the demon of cluttering! And for what?!

First, in my defense, let it be known that at least 40% of my  piles consist of items that do not belong to me. People who call themselves my friends come to my home with their household items and leave them here. They probably then gather to discuss how to lure me to a posh  recovery center  in Beverly Hills.

So this year, I am making my first new year’s resolution in a decade. I am going to embrace my cluttering ways! I will own them and proudly display all labels that go with them. I am everything clutter – seeming chaos and dreadful disarray are an obvious sign of my mental state of mayhem. That is me; sweating bullets as I frantically seek that one sheet of paper that was right here.

Along with that is a cessation of dreams of the high life in profligate hotels. I will save my money and stay home to revel in my piles. I will titter and cackle in celebration of them. No more furs, no more Patek. No more nasty cigarette smoke in people’s faces. No more devastated chambermaids in counseling or having to take their own lavish vacations to recover from my doings. Come to me clutter, mama awaits!

The Finger-Thucking Wrethler

The Finger-thucking Wrethler

James is my cowboy ninja. He is fearsome and bad to the bone. His favorite thing in the whole wide world, as they say, though he hardly knows what lies beyond “them hills”, is to wrestle. He makes feral noises while he leaps across furniture, flying through the air and swiftly kicking down doors. He is a deadly weapon. And a study in contradictions

James’ body is a formidable STSD (Soft Texture Seeking Device). His eyes, the Ocular STSDs are highly trained and skilled in this sensory operation.  They are on the frontlines of The Mission. These  binocular STSDs swiftly scan a room upon entry to see if any soft textures lie around unappreciated. They summarily divide the room’s height, breadth, and width,  and visually locate  subjects, a rare and difficult sciart(combination of a field that’s a science and an art) called oculocation. At this stage, his body enters a trance as it responds to the irresistible lure  of the subject. This trance state allows all system energies to be funneled to the STSD.

His left forefinger and thumb make up the Digit STSD. This DSTSD is the principal confirmating feature of The Mission and has astonishing prowess and accuracy. It is intricately tuned to the nanounit and serves as the final test of approval. He can be found on the couch sucking his finger while he fondles dad’s hair or in my closet drawers tracking down satin. For years now he has worn his pants and underwear with the tag facing forward. Reaching back for tags might compromise system security, not to mention it is less practical when one is lounging on his or her back. Needless to say, he doesn’t wear just any pants or underwear. Not only do they need to have camouflage print but the tag has to meet stringent STSD standards.

Unfortunately for him, around the age of three he had to stop reaching down women’s shirts. Women had difficulty  cooperating with this aspect of The Mission.  He even tried warming up to them and getting them to adore him before doing the Stealth Dive. Their eyes expanded to an unnatural size and every last one made a visceral whelp. Even rather large women jumped to astonishing heights when he executed this maneuver.  They were surprisingly predictable. They took it personally. Did they not fathom what softness laid yonder awaiting confirmating?  But I digress.

His older brother and I are planning his wrestling career for it is a promising one. We can see it now, his opponent, let’s call him Thunderwear will come walking towards the wrestling ring, the crowd gone wild. He has gnarly scars on his face, and a proud snarl to go with them. Grossly bulging arms are held by two women who are almost dressed. He has won many a match and inspires his opponents to piddle their pants, but today Thunderwear is visibly alarmed, and has reason to be.

The massive doors swing open and the frenzied  crowd is stilled to an ominous hush. Even the commentator is speechless. James’ eyes are narrowed. The mob steps back to let him pass, melting in fear. A spectator passes out, overwhelmed.

As soon as he gets on the ring, the drums roll and the  crowd rises like a pulsating chanting monster. The fight lasts but a few minutes. It is painfully predictable, much like the women down whose bosoms James thrust his 3 year old hands. The paramedics strap Thunderwear’s limp remains to a gurney. The crowd pays its respects then thunders to life as James leaves the ring in his signature stance – sucking his right forefinger and fondling his underwear tag with his left hand. He hardly notices the cheers. It’s been a good day in the ring.