We laughed. Chuckled while swimming in the YMCA pool. In my kitchen or yours. During our walks. Shopping and smiling. Over coffee.
Dad often asked, “How can you always have so much to talk about? What the hell is so funny all the time?”
Constant conversations. Endless phone calls when we lived only a few miles from one another. And now, I can’t remember much. What did we talk about, mom? What was always so funny all the time?
I’d give anything to hear you laugh again.
I remember when Caroline was five months old. You and I decided to try my first born in her new high chair. She was a tiny baby, and had what we called a minnow-head. We placed her in the chair. She tilted sideways and that bitty head slid to the far corner. There she sat grinning with those sweet bow lips. From that moment, whenever either of us said, Remember the high chair, we’d laugh.
This morning, you keep spitting out your meds. Don’t seem to remember why you need to swallow them. With a despondent voice I ask, Remember the high chair?
Your eyes crinkle as drool dribbles down your chin.
There are parts that work well rolling on the floor. Leave me be. I will find my footing. Unlike her. Don’t you hear the screaming. The window, open like the door but less welcoming. Endless sobs hitting the birds outside. What is she crying about this time?
How she just can’t do it anymore.
Hell, who can?
There are no places to hide when you know all the rooms in your home. I wonder if she’s dying while standing on her feet. My ears are chained to this self-inflicted malaise. Perhaps the plasma screen will extend its curving armature and whisper encouragement as she continues moaning. Wrinkles. Too many.
Forgotten in the dryer, shirts crinkled like a baby’s ass.
Cotton shits wrinkles.
when you close your eyes and fall asleep
your mouth changes
your lower lip sets back
like the life holding it in place has let go
can’t help but imagine this is the face whose cheek
I’ll tenderly kiss
when your body ceases
behind this thought comes another
I desperately hold
your beautiful face not defined by age
rather your brilliant smile and eyes
infused with the will of a thousand newborns
She tells me childhood stories as pool water laps our mouths. Her words grow flippers and soar to the steel beams above. A lifeguard duo with prismatic baby blues. Cerulean so clear, their angular faces disappear beneath water. Both brothers displaying the rock-hard swagger of overtaxed muscles. Gluteus sauntering along Raven Hall’s perimeter causes much chlorinated gulping. Mouth-to-mouth the prize.
I understand water is the best place for many reasons. Below the surface you imagine heaven. This pool is old. Its white edges gray. The ceiling is missing a few tiles where words can get trapped. If the roof spoke, it would have a lisp. Yet the water sparkles like her stories. Here all are weightless. I’m thankful the world is mostly water. In salt-aqua things older than the universe continue on. I’m sure she cherished Raven Hall Pool for the same reason. And those lifeguard brothers. She dated the younger and was infatuated with the older. Not difficult imagining two handsome lifeguards all the way down to their bulging confidence. And her first kiss.
The water temperature is perfect. Never over-chlorinated. I keep my eyes open while swimming beneath. No goggles or cap, not ready for those. When we lift our legs up the steel rungs, it’s with grateful exhaustion. Until the next time. And there will be more swimming sessions. Many more I pray. To hear stories and watch her words grow flippers. This pool is worn, but in the underwater silences a dream makes its best escape. The world is mostly water. Imagine, all those words swimming to the sky.
ghosted background photo you see is my gorgeous mother showing off that movie star smile of hers!❤️
back when men were men silent pain and strong hands I remember other agents gathering around him at parties women telling him what a handsome figure he cut he smiled in his broad shouldered frame of 6’2 eyes piercing as was that deep voice terrifying as a child now remarkable listening to his life stories mesmerizing in detail, poetic in delivery, exciting in fact an agent for the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a kid staring up at him I believed any criminal in my father’s path
immediately surrendered themselves rather than deal with this larger than life, slice of human friends called him Bill, the rest–Vito judicious and fair before earning the law degree an amazing and prolific career mafia cases and colorful gangsters the temper, he still has it no patience for silliness, but all the time in the world for family not a day goes by when I don’t think of him of the exceptional driving force his charismatic personality has infused and continues to… Happy 84th Birthday, Dad
shy party dog
top photo – Brooklyn Tech, 2nd – Coast Guard, 3rd – firearms practice, 4th – my mother-in-law on left, dad center, mom on right
Shy Party Dog created last year for his 83rd B’day 🙂
illuminating the atmosphere
she leaves a room
her brightness remains
how blessed are those
sharing the light of her company
I’d love to believe
moments live on forever
I’d like to be remembered
for my mother’s breathtaking smile May you dream of all selfless mothers everlasting…
Photos taken from two entertainment shows my mom’s community center put on. In both pics she (I think) lip syncing Peggy Lee. In real life my mom has lovely brown hair and doesn’t wear plastered makeup, but she gets a kick out of these pics. I hope you do too. In the top photo (most recent) she is 79 years old, photo below she is 78. Below is one of my kooky graphics from a few months back. Done in Prisma pencil.
Life is like gooey jello: add hot and cold water to something sweet then hope it solidifies into a fun shape. We view our lives in terms of taking shape. We view our bodies as changing shape (some more shapely than others). The glorious upside of aging (besides getting all jiggly), is the ability to look back with humor. Peering into our chilled jello bowls, we have the luxury of laughter as we recall our youthful lime-green messes. Perhaps that is why at 50 years of age, I can now giggle at pirates with eyepatches. I too wore an eyepatch. I was in fourth grade – my patch was pink (a bad tomboy color). My eyepatch had an elsatic band much like a costume eyepatch. The eyepatch covered my right eye ‘casue the left had astigmatism.
My adult jello bowl also allows me to chuckle at food handlers’ plastic gloves. I too wore plastic gloves. In fourth grade a weird skin rash decided to take up residence between my fingers. First thing every morning, my red-itchy hands were slathered with cream then stuffed into plastic gloves as to not smear my school mates.
Today, I can gaze deep into my jello bowl and say with confidence it’s okay to be jiggly. I can affectionately recall the lime-green messes. I remember the little chubby girl with the pink eye patch and plastic gloves and can honestly say – 4th grade really sucked.
If I can admit all this while smiling, I will not live my life shaping goo.