A Tiny Trace of Her

Urn

“It all comes down to that.”

Four pounds of pulverized and fragmented pieces of bone.
Packed in a plastic bag labeled with the coroner’s information about the contents.

A plastic bag tied with a rubber band.

Several tiny delicate urns had been prepared, each about three inches high, each containing a small bag of grandma’s ashes. Keepsakes for me and my siblings, my cousins, my mother, and my uncles.

My brother saw those urns lined up on the beautiful antique tea cart in our mother’s living room. The tea cart that had once been grandma’s.

He said those words above, and turned his face away. His cheeks were wet with tears. My amazingly tough and strong brother wept at the sight of those tiny urns.

A larger box containing the remainder of grandma’s ashes will be scattered over family land in Colorado.

Mom showed them to me. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to look at them, but I did. I poked at the bag with my finger.

They didn’t feel like ashes at all. They were hard and granular, like sand flecked with with small bits of white bone.

“It all comes down to that.”

Grandma was the granddaughter of Norwegian immigrants from the west coast city of Bergen. She once journeyed there, along with my mother and cousin, to trace her family roots. She found her grandfather’s name in a church registry.

One day I will go there, to scatter my portion of her ashes. A tiny trace of her, delivered back to her ancestral home.

For now, however, grandma is with me.

DARK HORSE

the dark horse
the unexpected
parts of us remain neglected
people only see the surface
not the deeper stuff that serves us
well when we meet our new lovers
cast off material, moral covers
our drive comes from a different place
not comfortable with just one face
we know well what we’ve become
never show the whole to anyone
but bring the shadows to the light
in the midst of passion bright
reveal hedonistic forces
with the twist that makes us
two dark horses

Inside or Outside, Can’t Decide

I am a little cat.
I like to sleep,
On the doormat.
So I’m always ready,
Should the door be opened,
To go outside,
Or stay inside.
I am a little cat,
And I like to stare,
Out of the window,
While meowing,
Open this window!
It is imperative,
That the window be opened,
Forthwith, human!
So I can decide,
To go outside,
Or not go outside,
Or stay inside,
Or not stay inside,
Or decide,
To not decide,
To go outside,
Or stay inside.

In any case,
The window needs,
To stay open,
Until I decide,
To decide.

DISNEY ME

I wish I was a Pluto, or a Mickey, or some such,
In a big costume at Disneyland, kids running up to touch,
When you were round I’d laugh and clown, you giggling happily,
You’d laugh so, but wouldn’t know, inside the suit was me!

SLAP

Stretched out,
Stark naked,
Across my lap,
I deliver slap,
After slap, after slap,
My hardened palm,
Stinging quivering cheek,
She gasps, and moans,
But cannot speak,
Though she need not,
I can hear each thought,
As I deliver blows,
I sense her shiver,
From head to toes,
Encompassing her exposed whole,
There lay open,
Heart and soul,
“Will he stop soon?”
“Will there be more?”
“If I say stop, will he ignore”
“Will he continue, again and again?”
“Will there be pleasure, after pain?”
“A tender kiss? A slipped in finger?
Or just stop,
To let the stinging linger?”
“Does he enjoy, this show of nerve?
Or does he feel that I deserve,
Some punishment, for something deep?
Just why do these thoughts creep,
And seep into my concious mind,
As he wails away on my behind?”
Me, I sense each and every wonder,
As I strike her with an inner thunder,
My imprint marked upon her skin,
I share her questions from within,
Punishment? Or gift? Or is it neither?
When will I stop?
…… I don’t know either.

Hardcore Grandma

About five years ago, I sat in my mom’s cubicle at the Arcadia office of the Fish and Wildlife Service and wrote this down in a leather bound journal:

She’s not the average grandma. As I approach my forties, she’s still alive and kicking, although not as high as she used to. When I was little we would make jam and cookies. She’d curl my stubbornly straight hair with steam curlers, and we eat cheese and crackers and drink Constant Comment tea. Now hot water has turned to wine, and we have adult conversations over glasses of chilled Pinot Grigio. She tells me about her high school days in the 1940s. She shows me a photo of her in her knee-length song leader skirt, one knee raised, and both hands gripping enormous crepe paper pom poms. The picture perfect All American girl.

She was a real stunner then, and was still as glamorous as a movie star well into her 50s and 60s. More pictures reveal her older, married, pregnant, her head piled high with Betty Grable curls. When I ooh and ahh over how beautiful she looked in a bathing suit, she chuckles with embarrassment or maybe sadness, that she no longer has the figure of a pin-up girl.

She hates being old. Not that anyone actually loves it, but she really, really hates it. She hates having to wear glasses after a lifetime of 20-20 vision. She can no longer wear high heels due to her feet being damaged from years of wearing too-tight shoes. She rejects computers and hates sending emails, but she’s nevertheless a modern woman. She lives a quiet life now, a lonely life. Though she still drives herself around in her Honda CRV, uses her cell phone, and reads books on an Amazon Kindle.

During one of our last shopping trips together, she couldn’t get her handbag open. The zipper was hopelessly stuck and neither of our best efforts could budge it. So she asked the cashier for a pair of scissors and proceeded to cut open her purse to retrieve her wallet. We laughed and laughed as she performed this emergency wallet C-section. The cashier looked at us like we were nuts.

“I’m not the average grandmother.” She said.

Indeed not.

“Grandma, you are hardcore.”

The Core Issue With Male-Female Relations

I’ve managed to summarize male and female relations, and identify the difficulties we have in that regard:

“She’s a genius,
Can cure cancer,
For every question,
She’s an answer,
Can’t underestimate,
Her abilities,
She is more,
Than the eye sees,
Literary,
Artistic, wise,
Worldly, with all,
That that implies,
Equal, and more,
Every respect fits,
And all I want,
Is to see her tits.

LAUGH, OR CRY

Damn.
Laugh or cry, laugh or cry?
Or better yet, just wonder why,
We’re in this goddamned circumstance,
Where decency doesn’t stand a chance,
Ruled by men who can’t keep it in their pants,
Who wield power like a drunken dance,
Narrow minds, small hearts, seem to rule the day,
Unfettered greed finally has its way,
Rights, justice, and Love,
Go sailing on by,
I wonder,
Should I laugh or cry.

Station Birdies

Little bitty station birdies,
Fly to and fro while people scurry
To their platforms, in a hurry.
If you see one, you might worry.
Little bitty station birdies,
No need to worry where they went,
If they flew in by accident.
Through a door or through a vent.
Little bitty station birdies,
Are not here by happenstance.
They do their happy birdie dance,
And nest inside the hanging plants.
Little bitty station birdies,
Live in the station house, you see.
Not out in the cold, not in a tree.
There’s no place they’d rather be.