I will tell you this for nothing:
The infomercials and slick one-page ads
Are all true.
You can lose those forty pounds.
You can tone up those abs.
You can have a dazzling smile
While dressed in the latest designs.
But of course you won’t,
Even if you try,
And if you try it won’t be
Long enough or hard enough.
Something always gets in the way
Of the workout and the preparation
To skitter you off the rails
And back to the wreck of your life
Where the carpet collects stains
And the mold takes over the cold salad.
A lovely Saturday morning. I had things to do, time to do them, and nothing of any urgency. That’s one of the many perks of retirement — no need to rush.
It was a holiday weekend and I wanted to prepare myself for the racket I knew was coming in my neighborhood. Fireworks (illegal, but what the hell, right?) and neighbors blaring their cars’ bass until the speakers burn out.
I went to Best Buy, a place I normally avoid because Amazon.com offers nearly everything cheaper, but I didn’t want to wait because of the holiday mail schedule.
Giving permission to search the car,
forgetting the three pounds of crack cocaine in the glove compartment,
and smoking a joint while he pretends he’s not
driving a stolen car with expired tags and a broken brake light
and two 38s in the back seat.
He’s cooperating with the law. See how gracious he is
to open the passenger side door?
He says he’s never been arrested, not mentioning
those six times down in Florida which don’t count
because it was last year and in another state.
He lifts his hands in amused astonishment when asked about the
The few non-bird-owning friends I have left often express surprise, even alarm, as to what I might be doing in my spare time. I was once known as a woman who was always prompt, who accomplished whatever tasks needed doing, the one who always organized the next yard sale or gathered signatures for a petition. Someone you could depend on.
Now? Well, let’s just say that now I bear more than a passing resemblance to one of those fascinating individuals whose lives have shrunk to orbit a much smaller universe, a world they have created to support the one all-consuming…
During the darkest days of the plague, I would often don my mask and go to the YMCA nearest my house. This essay came out of those days.
The first thing I always notice is the water fountains, the spouts tightly wrapped in plastic with hastily printed notices not to use them until further notice.
The wrapping is always neatly done and securely fastened with zip ties. In fact, everything I see at the Y is neat and clean, organized just so. Nothing is done halfway.
Before I step onto the second-floor walking track overlooking the gymnasium, I tuck my…
After a couple of serious illnesses left me, in part, with impaired balance, I decided I’d have to get serious about my health. I have no intention of moving into my next decade wheelchair bound or stumbling about with a walker or lying on the couch gaining an extra hundred pounds.
In late January 2020 I began going to our local senior center to try out some of their exercise classes, though I dislike exercise and exercise classes. The classes were fine, but I knew they weren’t going to be enough.
The senior center offered personal trainers for members at…
During the state of the union address tonight I sent out query letters to agents and listened to my favorite songs on iTunes, especially those with good solid brass to bring us along. I considered the near-constant butterflies in my mid-section that I can’t seem to talk myself out of these days. I thought about pieces of poems I’ve written and pieces of poems I’m working out in my head. I’m finally old enough and strong enough to speak my mind without, or in spite of any fear, yet I hold back on some things because of hard-won wisdom.
I haven’t mentioned it much to any of my friends, but I am tired of worrying about my mother and COVID-19 in a far-off nursing home. I’m tired of worrying about some dear friends in LA who are probably being evacuated as we speak. I’m tired of worrying about some close friends in Florida who may or may not be exposed to COVID-19. I’m tired of hearing about COVID-19 deaths here in Kentucky, and I’m tired of Facebook posts beseeching me to pray for their loved ones who’ve tested positive.
I am tired of forgetting and having to go back…
They came in a cheap box,
thin plastic band posturing as ribbon,
cheap gold lettering on the brittle cover
that cracked with our first touch.
Chocolates from Belgium curved
into shell-etched creatures
swirled brown and white, caught
and waiting in their plastic beds,
waiting like sin waits
for that first turning.
Melted from the heat
of our hand, smeared
across the whorled tip of finger,
we took them slowly
As thick and heavy with pleasure
as the secret we never spoke
but practiced all the same,
they spread over our tongue,
filling our mouth like comfort,
dark and whole…
writer, editor, poet, parrot person, author of four books (available on Amazon, of course)