Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Till the Cows Come Home….NaPoWriMo #37

This is a poem that is in the unfolding drama happening in Martin’s office at the moment. Yes, it is two hours past bedtime and the boy is still struggling to finish homework. It is his own choice as it isn’t due tomorrow or required, but he started a unit and by golly he is going to finish. We’ve already alerted his teacher via an email that he’ll be in later as he’ll need to sleep a little bit more.

Homework Haze

Your eyes droop
Your shoulders stoop
As you slide into your hard thinking chair
You have a task to do, but you stare and stare
I’m wondering if anything is there
Do you have the energy to finish?
But even though you are visibly diminished
From somewhere you push on
And I’ve seen you do till dawn
Because whatever it is that is in your mind
Is the only thing you can seem to find
To focus on and you will not let it go
Rubbing your face again
To find a new trace
To get to the end
You will not bend
It is the only thing that matters
Even though your brain is in tatters
You are shattered to try to think
I see you sink
Bringing you to the brink
Of nearly giving in
I think it is not a sin
But to you, it is a must
Even if it turns you to dust
It is two hours past your bedtime
Tomorrow we will not be in our prime
I hope whatever pushes you so here
Will get you where you need to be Dear,
The determined often win the race
I pray that you will always keep pace

Observations are a very good place to start…NaPoWriMo #36

I had nothing in my head tonight to write about, so I looked around my office and just started typing. It is half way a blog post and half way a poem. past midnight tweaking pictures even though this is my April 28th poem.

 My Son’s Present Art

Little drawings from little hands litter my office
They are time capsules that help me escape the rocket fueled present
That launches from the now into the space unknown to planet future
A pastel flower garden where the flowers all look like small suns
Was given as a first present on a Mother’s Day
My boy had always loved to give me flowers
Many hours that year we had spent planting and digging
He beamed with such pride to give me something
He had painted and knew I would love

A fiery furnace of an exciting Sunday School lesson
Is scribbled and so earnest on my cabinet door
I remember the flood of detail my boy tried to tell me
The words he could get out were about the fire and the angel
If there was no picture, I wouldn’t have understood his story
I looked at it with him and we went through it together
Finger painted hand prints from a desperate summer’s day

We were rained inside scratching for something more to do
My son didn’t want to do anything, but he let me take his hand
and put it in the paint then to the paper
He smiled, but wouldn’t do it on his own
He would hold his hand hovering there
Daring me to take it and place it just so

A computer printed, but hand drawn birthday card
That is a portrait of me with a Hershey’s kiss floating nearby
He presented it with a kiss and hug
So proud he and his father had kept this surprise a secret
They had pulled it off and then the next year I wanted a card,
But was told by my son, “no”
This helps me to know to not expect,
But to wait for what he truly wants to give

A coffee can decorated with shaky interpretations

Of butterflies and bees now houses a yellow miniature rose
We planted a sunflower in it that year you gave it to me
And that flower quickly outgrew our humble can
We planted it in the garden
Where it bloomed most of the summer that year
And now we include a few tall sunflowers every year

A tissue paper heart window that clearly
Someone else helped those little hands make
I found it shoved in his backpack and smiled
No presentation to me, nothing special
Just a memento of the season
But a heart with my son’s name had to go on my wall
As he has my heart in so many ways

The paper sack frog that hangs on the mantle

Is so faded from enduring at least three years now
I go to take it down and I can’t
There is something that leaps to my throat
When I touch that darned pop eyed faded frog
That he never played with
and I’m sure someone else cut out
as his scissor skills are shaky still
it is something about it
holding out it’s little hands
wanting to embrace everyone
that warms me to see
wondering if someday he
could leap forward
and run at life
like this little frog
there are signs
and simple maps
that bear his hand too
all pointing at what he is
and can be
this is his art
this is his heart
this is a great start

Monday, April 27, 2015

Race Cards Shuffled....NaPoWriMo #35

My son studies and loves history at a rate that is deeper than many college students. He is fascinated by assignations and wars. So, of course, Martin Luther King comes around in his studies as well as Hitler. They were on the opposite sides of the coin of racism and I often tell him that.
Today, when he was getting off the bus, he was yelling the word “racism” to someone on the bus, but when I questioned him about it, he wouldn’t say who or why. Later, he told Martin a little bit that the kids on the bus were discussing what they thought the word meant. His first question to me off the bus was, “Mama, what is racism?” I explained it several different ways to him. Still the question stuck with me as he repeated his question to me over and over (as he often does).

Making Best of Enemies
Racism didn’t begin with Martin Luther King
It is a very ancient thing
When someone looked at the shape of one’s leg
Or the color of hair or if that person ate eggs
The looker deemed it all unworthy
To not to be and called it “dirty”
What makes us look askance
at someone because they can’t dance?
We choose and say one is right and one is wrong
And we fight or struggle amongst the throng
People are people is what we say
But how is that shown today?
We are making judgements right and left
Sitting on the opportunities of others bereft
The opposite of this is grace
To judge not from race
Or creed, or purpose, or positions
Going out of our box creates imposition
To find that uncomfortable zone of friendship
Somewhere in an uncommon kinship

Sunday, April 26, 2015

NaPoWriMo #34

Summer Swim Time at Seven
Warm on the back of my neck
Inviting and deceptive
As my skin curls up, dries out, and reddens
The sweat dribbling down to the middle of my back
Half way out of the water
Laying my head against the cool blue tiles
To listen to the slap, slap, slap
Of the pocket gunk trap
In the corner of the pool
Imagining it to be a window
Opening and closing
Onto another world
I slip under the water
To cool off that neck
And sip in the muffled
Marimba-like punctuation
That is of that same comfort sound
Now on another planet
Blasting away down in the depths
Lying on the bottom
Until I must resurface again
To do it all over again

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Music in the air...NaPoWriMo #33

Trying to be profound and rhyme doesn’t always match up well in my poetry.

Voicing It

I think he was four here and it was Easter.
Sing a song of silence
Upon the sea of bread and treats
It gives you empty mileage
And slurps up all to defeat
Sing a song of soapsuds
To scrub yourself all raw
There is no other color
That brings you from the spa
Sing a song of sinews
Bunching it all up together
To cut them now would string you
A broken web light as a feather
Sing a song that’s silly
Except for your own part
The road with pebbles and rock candy
Shall always break your heart
Sing a song to sing
To free the soul and mind
Feel the wind with glee
Leave troubles all behind

Friday, April 24, 2015

Starry Night....NaPoWriMo #32

When any child speaks I believe parents tuck that away in memory. When a child with autism only repeats phrases they hear and never answers you when they are little it is an incredible moment when they speak for the first time. I mean say something that isn’t a script or repeating something you just said. At least that is our experience.
Our son we took camping and he had this moment. The stars were incredibly bright and it was hard not to look up at them for hours. I stared at him starring up at the stars because I was transfixed by this moment as much as he was.
Today, he and I were talking about camping and Oregon and he said,”Mama, the stars in Washington are quiet, but the ones in Oregon make noise.” Remembering back to this vivid moment when he was three, I told him about it and I asked him, “So, when you said “quiet stars” were you telling them to be quiet or were you saying at that time they were quiet? Are they no longer quiet to you?” He couldn’t answer me at this time. Knowing him, he will answer in a month or two. I’ll let you know when we all have an answer to that question. But for now, this is how I remember camping with him a little over six years ago.

Oregon’s Bright Nights

We pitched a tent and were so unsure
Not of us, but what you might do
You were three and full of energy
You didn’t answer to your name
You hardly played any games
You kicked at unknown stimuli
All of which made us sigh
But you are a part of us
We, in some ways, didn’t mind the fuss
We were teaching you to play
And trying new things to get you to say
Any words that you didn’t have
We worked hard not to make you mad
You often would just laugh and laugh
At sounds or butterflies or baths
But it was your anticipation
In looking into the night sky
With eyes so very wide
You wouldn’t go into the tent
You were adamant
We couldn’t understand it
Until you uttered a phrase
And we were amazed
That the earth’s beauty
Could draw you out
To the point we wanted to shout
Your little voice and smile
Reverently whispering
The sweetest of things
Nothing is still on par
With that moment you whispered, “Quiet stars”
In the day you wondered, “Star go?”
And every night we’d hold you so
As you gazed and gazed
Up at those bright spheres
Repeating “quiet stars” with no fears

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Happy Birthday Master Shakespeare! NaPoWriMo #31

It is William Shakespeare’s birthday and death day today. It is also the day Martin and I started dating 22 years ago. A marvelous day indeed!
I always try to write a sonnet on this day. I find the form a bit constraining and I don’t always construct it as well as I’d like. I like Martin’s sonnet he wrote today and that is below also as I find it very clever. Mine is the sap his is the snap.

Love Sonnet for 22

Oh may I be again your love for now
And always to your soul be true
Away from here I utter not a word
That comes to bend another’s view
I seek a loving being be
And sing when all the day is through
You see, the buses stopped this night
 You stay to see what you will find
A kiss that turned my eyes to you
This moment and for all time
You play your mandolin so well
You are truly one of a kind
I am always under your spell
I am forever yours and you are mine

Words for Will
Anon, it is sweet Shakespeare's day of birth,
And--which is more, and most convenient--
Upon this day was he return'd to earth;
The same day that he came, he also went.

Prithee, let iambs fall from every tongue,
In number, five; thus shalt thou form a line;
It is the sweetest rhythm ever sung;
With words thus build we Shakespeare's perfect shrine.

A measur'd word can scarcely go to waste;
We'd banish rancor, foolishness and spite
If all our words were chosen, form'd and plac'd
With all the care that poets take to write.

Rhyme if you can, or leave your verses blank,
But speak the speech--it's Will you have to thank.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Thinking of where I grew up...NaPoWriMo #30

My husband and I were talking about the Ozarks today. A friend that lives near there in my home state of Missouri posted a picture of the Mississippi River. It kept me thinking about my favorite times at home and how I didn’t appreciate them until I moved away from home. I often miss the charm of the Ozarks, the people, the rivers, and seemingly simple pleasures of many church gatherings. River parties in the summer were nearly every week and such happy moments in my memory. I miss that wild and wonderful spot in this world I used to call home. Now my heart is planted here, but it does linger in memories at times too.

River Runs Homeward

Wonder working power of the pull
In the center of your being
Tugging on a tender thread
Attaching you to home
Of lazy water swim parties that are
Murky mud bottom smooth rocks
Cold shocks welcomed
In blister hot summer steaminess
Jumping from high rocks
Into blue green heaven
Frog kicking up for air
Breaking the surface
To focus on other faces
Already bobbing beside you
The smell of the wood fire on shore
Built by the ones
Most concerned we eat soon
Calling from the campsite
To us water rats
Who while away the time
Splashing each other silly
Snorting in river water by the bucketful
Staying down where the air is sweet
Exploring crevices and tiny caves
Jumping at everything that might be a snake
Until one is spotted
They are fast swimmers
One bite could be deadly
It doesn’t see us
No one moves
Bang! Off goes the gun
Killing it dead
And we return to our revelry
Someone whistles telling us “time to eat”
We bow our heads and our pastor says blessing
We lunge for sticks
Poking on hot dogs
Finding your spot to roast it
Seeing it blacken blistered perfection
Tearing into it
Nothing ever tasted so good
Sitting round the fire
As twilight draws us close
To sing one after another
Songs everyone knows
Not a word said
But notes floating
Like the sparks
Popped from logs
Consumed in laughter
Until the stars look down
Telling us it is time
To wish and dream
Homeward once more
We pile eight to a truck bed
And convoy up the steep path
Not a word said
Leaning on each other
For warmth in the chill night’s edge
Gathering speed on the highway
We are dropped one by one
To where we call home
Never realizing
That is where we just came from

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Hearing the cry...NaPoWriMo #29

I wrote this one tonight and thought, “Is this really how I feel about being a Mom of a special needs child?” I don’t like the battle metaphor as I’ve come down on that side of what I don’t like to hear in the autism world as it sends a mixed message to our children about who they are if we have to “battle” against autism.
My son all night was looking up facts about the American Civil War and telling me things. I think that seeped into my subconscious and this came out more about how I feel about all the details I have to keep track of and try to make sense of. This is more the war I battle as I’m not as on top of things as I wish I was. Hence, the poem.

Mama's Special Battle

The thrum of the space heater by my side
Constant, cozy orange glow
Working the warmth into my mind
A sleepy contingent of cavalry
Galloping over hill and dale
To the trumpeter’s tune
Of a long forgotten war
Looming on the horizon
Of dawn’s dreary rise
To a tune forlorn
In the distance
A call to arms
Of an unknown enemy
That I resent taking
What I have left
Turning it out
To meet cold day
And restless nights
The battle drum beats
A quick march
Pushing me on
To type, research, and remember
All that has gone before
And all that might go on
The battle in the foreground
I hear it going on
I stay behind
Away from enemy lines
Reading my screen
Of new techniques and therapies
I study the map
Before heading out the door
to another appointment
Listening to another general
Scream orders to the troops
I retreat
Shutting off my heat
To snuggle into my bed
Raising my sword in victory
In my dreams

Monday, April 20, 2015

I really do have a headache...NaPoWriMo #28

I really do get a lot of barometric pressure headaches. Being outside today for part of the day helped, but it returned this evening. I hear it is going to rain tomorrow. That will help too, but for now it is literally all that is on my mind.

Barely There

A light nagging in my noggin
All day long and into the evening hours
Just enough to let me know it is there
Right between my temples
At the top of my nose
Extending like a halo round
My head is cloudy
Clumsy movements
Fumbling flights
Lingering on a second
A minute or an hour
The constant pressure
Of an unknown hand
Presses down
Keeping time
With my lack of it
Not knowing why
I cross from my office
Into the kitchen and back
With nothing in my hands
I sit down
Start over
Stare out
Hoping it will rain soon
To release that valve
That holds the steam
From escaping
So my whistle
Can blow
To make tea
On this lovely afternoon
Smelling the flowers
See the bright colors
Not screaming
But loving
A queen’s pleasure
in this measure
Released from this prison
to breathe in spring’s joy

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Three very different parts of my day today...NaPoWriMo #25, #26. & #27

Leftover Over Over
Fuzzy, fruity, fermented feet
Of something I wouldn’t want to eat
It lives in the back of the shelf
I probably put it there myself
I wasn’t looking for it
But it found me
Green and white hair waving
Like it could live once more
But quite dead
It used to be red
And rather delicious
I made it to be nutritious
But now it is not
Throwing it out
So as not to shock
Those rooting, tooting at midnight
For a snack or two
By then it would be blue
Or it could turn to goo
Out it must go
Even though
It could almost say “hello”

Oklahoma City News 1995
I was standing in my sunny white kitchen
The clock tick tocked almost two
I had just turned the radio on
When flashed the news
A bomb had gone off
A truck or maybe two
Had struck a downtown building
All I heard is that it blew
I sat down in disbelief
Hearing, but not
The details and colors
Of a state in shock
Oklahoma was far away
So many people
So many graves
I couldn’t think of anyone I knew
That could be there too
Still I sickened to think
Of our country on the brink
Of violent outbursts so jarring
This was more than alarming
So they were blown to bits
That was the crux of it
The cost of this loss
Was the tipping place
It hurried the hate a pace
From doing nothing but shouting
To murder where there is crowding
Taking the innocent
To drown
Down below
Reach by this breach
Of decency and sense
It takes just a pinch
And give not an inch
Signing humanity’s death
Hate grabs a pound of flesh

Family Fare
Children are commanded to obey
If only parents had more sway
At times we do
And it is true
We have the upper hand
Lines drawn in the sand
Is something that pushes a child the other way
And still it is something we parents say
To try to change something that hurts
To take away “little miss” or “junior’s” perks
It gets muddled and complex
We all wish we had the text
To follow and study
So it wouldn’t be so muddy
Children want parents to be proud
And parents love to shout aloud
Praises of their little ones
For every single thing they’ve done
And still we turn it around on each other
It is the same with father and mother
Looking for excuses to love
Those who are part of our fold
Parents take hands with child
By smoothing out strife to mild
To hold hands in mutual honor
And do this before you’re a goner
Life is shorter than we think
Bring it all to your sink
And wash away the dust of resentment
Bask in the clean surface of contentment
Listening and strong guiding
With both parties abiding