HeartSpeak

Second Pandemic Spring

By Birdee and me

And in the second pandemic spring, new growth was seen in southwest Charlotte that stopped traffic.

The grass was golden yellow with pink violets sprouting from purple bladed leaves growing wild.

There was pink corn with cherries on top.

The oak was red this year with blue foliage.

The sun was it’s normal self, but the clouds were white tinged with turquoise feathers.

It was a beautiful sight to see.

Mother Nature’s way of giving us hope.

~ Sheila 2/23/21

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HeartSpeak, Simply Sentimental

Visits with Jerry

No car, but a bus token took us to visit friends
Mama’s friend Louise and my playmate Jerry
Another neighbor was there changing a boy baby’s diaper
Mama made me leave the room rather than see
That a boy baby had different plumbing than a girl

Jerry and I were told to play outside and stay out of trouble
He got out his bag of marbles with the cat’s eyes
And we found a barren spot of dirt in the backyard
Jerry knuckled down and flicked the shooter marble
I tried but preferred to sort my cat’s eye marbles by color

He proudly showed me the watermelons growing
And gave me some seeds to start a garden
I put them in my pocket to take home
Planting them in the backyard to be just like Jerry
But Daddy unknowingly mowed the vines as weeds

When Jerry jumped off the front porch,
I jumped off with the same fearless leap
Just like Superman without the red cape
Broke my collarbone and tore my dress
My oldest sister said I cried for a week

This was my life in 1952 at age 4.

HeartSpeak

Remembering Billy Joe

We played board games many a summer day
On my front porch with other kids
You and one of your little brothers
We were scrawny, dirty kids and didn’t care

Sitting on my front porch facing your backyard
I saw your family’s lifestyle and knew it was sad
I watched you and your brothers play ball
In your barren backyard littered with car parts

We were grammar school kids at the mercy of parents
Mine were loving and kind, yours were verbally and physically abusive
I didn’t understand but knew there were eight people living in your house
No privacy and no personal rights were granted

I heard screaming and yelling from your open screen door
And knew when your father was on a drunken warpath
Each time you kids ran outside and scattered to hide
Seeing you stooped under a shrub made me cry for you

Then one day your dad singled you out for punishment
Making you wear a girl’s dress
And sit on the back porch for everyone to see
Expressing his distaste that you weren’t manly enough for him

When we went to high school, we walked the twelve blocks home together sometimes
You had grown such a lovely heart and kind words flowed from your gentle spirit
One would have thought you might be bitter and hard hearted
But you were becoming your own person

Twenty years later, I was an evening college student
And decided to attend the theater group production
It was ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ and you were the star
I passed a note to the usher and met you back stage

Hugging you after all those years was wonderful
You were happy and touring as a musical actor
But sadly later you passed away from AIDS
I am thankful our paths crossed in life one more time

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

HeartSpeak

Night at The Bistro

Sundown wandering through the coupled streets
Me with hands in pockets while their fingers intertwined
Nothing makes me feel more single than walking alone
I hoped the day after Valentine’s Day would be safe

Trying to shake off the chill inside of me
I followed my nose and stepped into The Bistro
A popular spot recommended by a friend at work
Tonight I need something special to shake this blue funk

I scanned the room as I pretended to read the menu
And my ears picked up laughter four tables away
Laughter of three women flowing like Chardonnay
I watched you tuck a few blonde hairs behind one ear

My trout amandine and vegetables were delicious
But for every morsel I tasted, my eyes watched you
The three of you shared one lemon curd tart
While I had a glass of sherry

When you parted ways with your friends under the canopy
The rain began in earnest and you tied your trench coat belt
I offered to share my umbrella and introduced myself
Explaining how we live in the same building and jog the same trail
As we walked home through the park, I was glad it rained tonight

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

February poetry club assignment was to write an ekphrastic poem.

HeartSpeak

Special Valentine Friend

Maybe I haven’t expressed myself
And maybe you don’t know
But it’s hard to tell a very good friend
The things you want to show

Friendship is a possession dear
And you are dear to me
There is no other
Whose friendship’s so true

At this time of year,
We recognize our friends
This is my thoughtful recognition of you
May our friendship last to Eternity.

~ written in 1965, age 16, for my best male friend

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

HeartSpeak

The Clothesline

At age 7, I tossed the garden hose
Over the clothesline and turned the nozzle to spray.
I didn’t have a bathing suit so I ran in my underwear
Back and forth to cool off on a hot Atlanta day.

At age 12, my most dreaded weekly chore
Was to collect the towels and sheets on the clothesline.
I even used a totally lame excuse to Mama,
”Just don’t wash my sheets, I like ‘em dirty!”

At age 30, I remembered the hot summer days
Being an innocent second grader with no bath suit,
No pool or car to be taken to swim anywhere,
And how lucky I felt to have a garden hose with a spray nozzle.

At age 50, I apologized to Mama in heaven
For saying I wanted to sleep on dirty sheets,
For always complaining about getting them off the clothesline,
I would love to sleep on sun-dried sheets tonight.

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

HeartSpeak, Simply Sentimental

Blue Ridge Motorcycle trip 1987

Jeans, leather jackets and gloves, boots, and a full-face helmet
A change of clothes in a duffle bag and a few drinks and snacks tucked into the luggage compartments
A warm sunny day with nary a cloud in view
We mounted the Goldwing backed out the driveway and away we went

Our goal was to ride the entire Blue Ridge Parkway
From the end in Cherokee to the beginning near the Shenandoah Mountains
My very first motorcycle trip at age thirty-nine
And I loved the sound, the speed and the adrenalin

My friends were surprised to know I rode a motorcycle and had no fear
I teased them about how I liked getting bugs on my teeth
And seeing the dead possums up close and personal
I liked shocking my friends and coworkers who thought they knew me

The rain started and we pulled up under a bridge
Where we rested and put on our yellow rain suits
That rain followed us to an Asheville theater
We stood under an awning and laughed as we emptied our flooded boots

The storm passed and we rode higher up in elevation
Stopping as the road curved with a scenic overlook
For a cup of yogurt and water
We watched a curtain of rain come around the curve

We rode out of the rain and into sunshine
And right through a cloud of blue butterflies
For a few seconds that was all we could see
It seemed there were a hundred pairs of wings

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

HeartSpeak

1953 Daddy and me at the Park

A sunny Saturday it was to walk to the park
My five-year-old hand dwarfed in Daddy’s big sailor hand for protection
Stopping for a drink of water at the fountain
Daddy stepped on the hard pedal and held me up to quench my thirst

We walked under an endless canopy of trees,
past mothers with babies on bench swings
and boys chasing giggly girls
Down the hill to the roundhouse arcade
for a cherry snow cone
and one play at the pinball machine with flippers

We decided to record songs for Mama and surprise her
Both of us squeezed into the recording booth
and Daddy sang “Kiss me once and kiss me twice, and kiss me once again”
just like Bing Crosby

I sang my favorite radio tune, not exactly like Patti Page
“How much is that doggie in the window (arf, arf) the one with the waggly tail”
I loved getting to bark like a dog in that song
Daddy let me carry the thin lacquer-coated records as we walked back home
I daydreamed I was a real singer and recording star

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

Little did a five-year-old know that in her future she would have a musical son become a recording engineer.

HeartSpeak

Saturday Matinee 1961

Four thirteen-year-old girls dropped off at the neighborhood matinee
Wearing peddle pushers, blouses and tennis shoes
We borrowed pink lipstick from our older sisters
Dabbed a little Ambush cologne behind the ears
And slept in giant hair curlers the night before

We were new teenagers and wanted the world to know
Our bodies were already there and our attitudes were not someone’s little sister anymore
We turned to watch as boys scouted seats behind girls
Fine-looking Butch Hair Wax flat top boys sat down directly behind us
We tilted our heads and smiled shyly as they introduced themselves

Yes, we are fifteen, we said, lying through our teeth
With phony names and other friends’ phone numbers we faked our way into their hearts
Holding hands and stealing glances in the dark
Having fun and feeling brave for just one Saturday
We each put a toe in the world that was just around the corner

© 2021 All Rights Reserved

HeartSpeak

Gray-haired boredom

Just a normal 72-year-old bored at home
Sitting on the sofa playing brain games
And listening to music.
Trying to pass my isolated time.

When an oldie I like plays,
my shoulders twitch,
my hips start twisting,
and my toes wiggle.

Suddenly I am 16 again.
Baby love, my baby love, I need you
oooooh I need you love…
Forget the game, let’s dance!

~ Sheila/princess2ears