Silent Screams (and other odd sounds)

This is what I'm thinking RIGHT NOW. It may not be what I'm thinking tomorrow.


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A Renewed Faith in Youth

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Not too long ago I saw an advertisement for two local boys who wanted to do some landscaping.  I viewed the advertisement skeptically thinking that two boys, juniors in high school, would even know how to weed and mulch flower beds much less be any good at it.  After a long discussion with my husband, he won and we hired the two boys to weed and mulch my flower beds and do some landscaping.

The boys arrived when they said they would and I took them around to the areas I wanted done.  I showed them that the beds along my driveway, both sides of my sidewalk, the beds in front of my porch and on the south side of my  house along to the west side of the house and then the area along my deck.  To me it looked like a daunting task and I was sure they would decline to take the job.  I told them I would not pay by the hour but by they job; they were in agreement much to my surprised.  I told them I’d leave them alone to discuss the price and after they had one in mind they should knock at the door.

It wasn’t long before I heard the timid knock on my door.  They had a price.  “I want to be fair so if you think it is too much please tell us.”  The price was more than fair and I told them they had the job.  Thinking they would be starting the next day, I was surprised when they got the equipment they needed to do the job out of the back of their car trunk.

The boys told me they thought it would take 8 solid hours of work and told me when they would be at my house doing the work.  They said, “we will be here 4 hours today and 4 hours tomorrow.”  I nodded, maybe even grinning to myself a little. that these two 17-year-old kids would be pulling weeds for 4  hours in a row and come back the next day to do it again.  Needless to say I was more than a little skeptical.

They worked steady that first day, stopping only to take a few gulps of water and ask me if I wanted certain dead flowers removed or was I wishing they would spring up again.  At the end of the 4 hours, they cleaned up the debris and assured me they would be back the next day.

Walking around my house I was surprised at how much they accomplished but I was still skeptical that they would be back that next day to do more.  Once again they arrived right on schedule but the job took longer than they expected and the 4 hours passed into 5 and then 6.  They were working with flashlights in the dark when I finally came out to send them home.  “No ma’am, we promised you that it would be done today and a promise is a promise.”  I shook my head, these two boys becoming more and more endearing to my heart.  “No,” I said, “finish up tomorrow or the next day.”

The boys left and I smiled to myself thinking, “now these boys have integrity.”  They did indeed return the next day and worked about 1 hour longer to finish up.  Afterwards they asked me to do a “walk through” with them to see if I had any more suggestions or if I wanted it done differently.  I didn’t.  It was perfect.

Yes, I know all they did was pull up some weeds, move some dirt around and spread some mulch.  That is all they did physically, but the lesson in life they gave me was far greater than the money I gave them.  They renewed my faith in our future and the youth of America.  There is more to our youth than the negative stories we see on the news; there are eager young boys slowly turning into wonderful young men.


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Bumps in the Night

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Vivid images flash; one more intense than the last.  The heart rate increases;  pounding out of the chest and bounding into the ears.  Small droplets of moisture begin to form around the curves of the lips and between the breasts.  Slowly at first and then more rapidly the mind begins to fire electric charges across its synapses allowing the brain to connect the sharp images to emotions.  The final electric shock fires harshly across the gray matter and bolts its victim upright.  Tears mixed with sweat burn the eyes and flow over the soft flesh of the cheeks until they reach the chin, dangling momentarily before falling onto the  heaving chest mixing with the sweat gathered there.  The surrounding air breezes across the deep rising and falling of the chest; a slight chill over the damp flesh as the sufferer begins to take in the surroundings.  Slowly the eyes adjust to the darkness, making out the surrounding images.  The poor wretch shudders as if to shake the images from both body and mind.  Ever so slowly, the night terror dissipates, the heart rate lowers, the skin dries in the morning air. The respirations return to a slow and steady pace.  All is calm.  Or is it?

While nightmares of the Zombie Apocalypse or the Walking Dead may be easy to dismiss from the mind; not so of the nightmares of the “things” that could actually be or come true.  It is the bump in the night of being jilted by a lover or experiencing the death of a child or even the fear of being involved in a devastating accident that linger into the day and disrupt the waking thoughts.  It is those nightmares that can raise the heart and respiratory rate during the day that are not so easy to shake off.  Yes, those are the worst.

 

 

 


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My Mere Presence

My eyes survey the room for a face familiar
That I hope not to find.
How would I greet them?
What would I say?
I’ll take the chair in the corner,
It’s comfortable but stiff.
I can hide there quite nicely
and
just look away.
Read my book in earnest,
Or pop my headphones in my ears.
I can ignore the whole world
As well as all of this.
My mere presence mocks them.
Bald heads fill the room.
Some covered, some scarred.
Empty holocaust eyes piercing
With lacrimal glands restrained,
Wanting to steal the very life from within me.
Sallow flesh covering emaciation
Hanging loosely from brittle bones.
My skin in contrast, is tan and firm;
My eyes clear and bright.
I am out of place in this land
My mere presence mocks them
They are a family of strangers.
Thrown together by similar destinies
All different; yet all the same.
Touched by the malignancy of life.
Each with their own set of hopes and dreams;
Most of which will never be realized
Each wanting to tell their own story
Of who they are; who they hoped to be.
Each talking loudly with soft quiet voices
Saying “Don’t forget me, I was here.”
Still, my mere presence mocks them.


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America the……

Headlines stripped from pages tattered and torn,

Not a damn thing have we learned.

Echoing a time past that man swore would never come again has reared its ugly head taking a stronghold in a country on fragile ground.

His rancid words like golden bile fill my throat; burning the tender flesh from within. If my eyes are closed I might even feel that fine gray ash drift from the furnace and touch my eyelashes; sticking to my cheeks as I cry for what was and what I thought would never come again.

But some of America smiled and embraced all that this self-proclaimed wise man had to say.  They breathed in every vile word spoken from his pursed lips.  Did he not have wealth and splendor far greater than most of us could gain? Didn’t his silver pen give him the right to make all he spoke true? And some of America bowed to his wealth and his words while others dropped to their knees in honest prayer.

A country, born on the ideal that all men are created equal, is on the verge of making all that our forefathers paved, seem lame.  Who would have ever thought that the poem of greater than 200 years inscribed on our icon of freedom “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me: I lift my lamp beside the golden door,” is slowly being morphed into “two legs good, four legs better”

But some of America smiled as those “yearning to breathe free” were suffocated by a man whose mantra belied his words, “Make America Great Again.”  Once again, the white Anglo-Saxon people will rise as it is meant to be and those with alternate skin colors, religions, and beliefs are herded into encampments which we are told will make us feel safe but really is intended to keep their spirits from soaring.  My soul screams out, “save from the native Americans, aren’t we all immigrants born to mothers and fathers who left a homeland to make our lives better?”

I am not looking for a revolution. I am seeking a resolution.  My mind can only imagine a country moving towards an evolution of all that is diverse, living harmoniously in what used to be a great country.  But a trump card has been played and many have laid down before it, eating all that has been spewed before them.  Perhaps this belief that the King of Spades has laid at their feet is merely a reflection of what many people have held in their hearts.  I shudder at the thought.


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Watermelon and Memories

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I woke up this morning and saw the watermelon on my kitchen counter.  Trevous gave it to me about 1 ½ weeks ago and I just couldn’t cut it; so it sat there, staring at me.  Its various colored light green covering just looking at me from its perch on my kitchen counter.  I wanted to cut it and taste the sweet red flesh from inside but I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  Just like my father working in his garden, I wanted the watermelon to last forever but I knew on some conscious or unconscious level that keeping them forever was an unrealistic goal. 

My father gave Trevous the plant that bore the watermelon.  When Trevous gave the watermelon to me my eyes filled with tears but I brushed them quickly away.  There I was, hiding my pain once again so that nobody would feel sorry for me, but they did feel sorry for me whether I cried or not.  My face has held the pain from my father’s death the moment he stopped breathing.

Trevous told me that the watermelon had been the only one that grew from the plant that my father had given him.  Now I don’t know if watermelon plants bare more than one fruit but it didn’t seem to matter; the watermelon was a link to my father and I didn’t even say “No, you go ahead and keep it, my father gave you the plant,” I took it greedily. 

And so it sat on my counter, the watermelon; a fruit that nobody in our household held a passion for as my father and I did.  Much like a hunter waits for the first day of deer season to snag his first buck, my father and I hunted the produce stand for our first taste of a locally produced watermelon.  Of course, out of necessity, we’d critique it as to its color and sweetness.  We’d examine the edges, the rhine to see if it had caught a frost or become frozen during its growing or shipping stage.  Our expertise in watermelon scoring was unique at best. 

This morning, my father’s voice rang loudly in my ear, “Are you going to cut the damn thing or are we going to look at it until it rots?”  Yep, I’d heard those words spoken many times when I didn’t cut the watermelon in a timely fashion.  I’d smile back at my dad and say, “okay, okay, I’ll cut it.” 

Today, I cut it.  The watermelon spits its pink juice onto my shirt as I plunged the sharp steel blade into it and I silently cursed.  I sliced the watermelon in two and tears immediately swelled up into my eyes and rolled down my cheeks.  I missed my father so much in that moment as I looked at the red sweetness that had been hidden by its thick green rhine.  I removed the flesh from its covering and tasted it.  It was sweet but warm; nothing a refrigerator couldn’t fix.  When my father would reach into the container for his first piece of watermelon he would jokingly yell at me for ruining a perfectly good watermelon by removing its rhine.  “Watermelon is meant to be eaten with the rhine left on not removed like you do,” he would remind me. “Oh well, maybe next time I’ll keep it on,” I would tease him but he knew I wouldn’t.

My tears are wiped from my eyes now and the watermelon is safely tucked away in the refrigerator until it becomes cold.  As I eat it, I suspect I’ll remember my father lovingly with each and every piece.  Thank you Trevous for giving me such a tangible memory.


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Young and Impressionable

I used to proudly light my sparkler
On the 4th of July
And wave it back and forth to celebrate
The freedoms all of us shared
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met Rosa Parks
Who was riding on a bus
And all she really wanted
Was to rest her tired feet

I used to wake in the dawn’s early light
So proud to be a part
Of this great country we call Americia
That spread from sea to shining sea
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met Michael Shepard
Who was sitting on a fence
And all he really wanted
Was to live his own life

I used to believe what our leaders said
When they proclaimed these wonderful words
God has made all men
With equality and love

Please, please let us rejoice
Rejoice for we are truly blessed
Because it is in God we trust
He will take care of this mess
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met a Muslim woman
Who wore a hijab upon her head
And all she really wanted
Was in her own way, to practice her faith

I used to believe that the Promised Land
Was in my own back yard
And all were welcome to enjoy
The milk and honey that flowed from within
But I was young and impressionable

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Then I met the Reverend King
Who had insight and grace
And all he really wanted to do
Was to mend a fractured country peacefully

Now you tell me things are different
And I tell you things are the same
You say we are more compassionate
But our actions remain unchanged
You wave your colors and shout out loud
“Don’t you dare stomp on my flag.”
But in the same breath it’s still okay
To kick a nigger or a fag

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My hair has turned from black to gray
And I am less inclined
To follow blindly behind your parade
As you wave your precious flag
So please don’t wave your flag in my face
And tell me I am free
I’m only free if I live my life
The way YOU think it should be