Haiku Horizons, DECLINE

Time, age, loved ones howl

Grandmother

sharp decline, ghost eyes, scared, sad

Lost memory weeps.

 

 

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Spicy woman laughs

Feria happy ladydeclines help, dances with joy

eyes sparkle with hope.

 

 

 

 

 

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Jobless, hungry, poor

Poverty:  "Damaged Child," Oklahoma ...

Decline of country’s spirit

We weep for children.

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Haiku Heights: Age

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th ce...

Old woman pouring tea, unknown artist, 19th century, OP582 (Photo credit: Black Country Museums)

Old woman

Old woman (Photo credit: justin_vidamo)

Crept up,  wrinkles, jowls

gasping air, oatmeal, tea, cat

stranger to myself.

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Rocked, cradled, baby

back and forth, cooing songs, sad

Is mom my child now?

all photographs are the property of the photographers.

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Free Write Friday- Kellie Elmore

#FWF Free Write Friday: Image Prompt
Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured ...

Rhythm, a sequence in time repeated, featured in dance: an early moving picture demonstrates the waltz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

They tell me it was a memory I never had, but of course, I am not convinced they are telling me the truth. I am so sure I remember reaching my long, skinny fingers and stroking the soft texture of the speckled leaves on the ground. Wasn’t it just yesterday that the leaves had been vibrant dancers in, yellow, red and orange, pirouetting for us from the upper limbs of the trees, beckoning us to admire them? Our group of friends sat on the dry ground in a circle and we clapped our hands heartily for their lovely show and whistled our love and appreciation. What a lovely dance they put on for us! We talked about it at dinner at the Inn, all of us feeling so lucky to have seen the beauty of art and nature coexisting. We felt blessed.

When we awoke the next morning, after inhaling strong cups of coffee and eating our sugar dusted, apple-cider doughnuts, we headed back eagerly for the early show of the dancing leaves yet something felt different to everyone. We all felt unsettled, out-of-place. It seemed that overnight, all the glorious leaves had slid to the floor, wet, subdued, stepped on, laying on the ground, curled up and crumpled, dead, on a pile of the old, worn, rusty bridge that should have been torn down forty years ago. The bridge had no use anymore except for photographic opportunities, no cars could travel on it, people felt unsteady walking on it. It was unsafe.

You and I, darling, had danced beneath those breathtaking leaves, we waltzed over and over again but you said you could NOT remember that. Well, I remembered it, with perfect clarity of young love, breathtaking beauty, birds sweetly chirping their melodious songs, and our picnic lunch. We waltzed underneath the bright sun, many years ago. I don’t know why you don’t remember it because it is so clear in my mind and SO IMPORTANT. I don’t understand, it meant so much to us then. Please try to remember, at least something, of that magical day, for me, sweetheart, for me. You look blankly at me or am I looking blankly at you? I don’t remember much of anything at all anymore. I was young once, that I know but weren’t you too?

Haiku Heights – Snow

Sepia Snowflakes, Arizona

Sepia Snowflakes, Arizona (Photo credit: cobalt123)

Dancing its way down

Snowflakes!

Snowflakes! (Photo credit: nutmeg66)

Spiraling in frosty turns

Catch flakes, tilt back, laugh.

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Mud, slush, freezing rain

Shoes are wet, mind is weary

Sunlight, my savior. (alternate ending: get me out of here)

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Big, puffy, snow flakes

Etchings in blue, red, yellow

Capturing the art.

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The mountains of white

glimpsing the silver, ice tips

the igloo of love.

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Snow is for children

Romps and sleds, hot chocolate

Marshmallow dreams.

NaBloPoMo #4 On Marriage

time.

time. (Photo credit: .through my eyes.)

Two young people with promise in their first kiss, laughter in their eyes,

a glance becomes a knowing look.

Everything is new, different, hard to acclimate, two people struggling to become a couple.

Years go by, like milk chocolate tasting slightly stronger, and less sweet

dark chocolate melting more easily on your tongue, surprisingly less bitter.

The intertwining of the two after many years, differences not so apparent anymore.

Habits that used to annoy me, about you, I find don’t matter quite as much

In fact, I find myself doing it sometimes but keeping it a secret with a sly grin.

Twenty-four years of marriage, we reach for each others hand

to thread our fingers together like an embrace.

Reassurance is a holy gift.

I don’t want to think of one of us gone but someday

one of us will be forced to live alone.

Live in the moment and with a deep, deep breath I try to push my thoughts away.

For a second or two,

I am fearful of the thought of living without him.

Growing old is hard enough, but if I grew old with you

I think I would be able to handle it a little more easily.

But, we don’t know the story of the rest of our lives, do we?

Stay with me, old man, and I will try to stay with you too.

Once in a while, panic overwhelms my courage and I become paralyzed in cold ice.

Along with gratitude and grace,

I am so humbled to have you in my life.

Your booming voice and stomping steps,

I don’t care about them anymore,

I just care about you and me, together.

For as long as forever will be.

Mellow Yellow Monday – My Home

Yellow Flowers

German Shepherd
German Shepherd (Photo credit: Rennett Stowe)

Yellow flowers

Yellow door
Yellow door (Photo credit: LondonAnnie)

Finally, I live in a small white house that has a yellow door. Imagine just locking and unlocking my door every day, several times a day, makes my smile light up like a jack o’ lantern. I don’t like too flashy or bright colors but rather, warm and welcoming. Framing the house, and in the small garden, are yellow flowers, all different kinds, but easy to take care of and maintain. In the warm weather, I sit in my garden and slowly  sip my hot tea, with cream and sugar, and I take a few moments appreciating this lovely bit of a place. My big, rescue dog, named Shep, lies beside me and I stroke his fur and he puts his head on my lap. I marvel at how wonderful my older life has become, feeling the sunshine on my face and how much I appreciate my simple life here, at home.

Carry on Tuesday: “Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must; just never give up.”

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВА...

English: a little shy girl Русский: ЗАСТЕНЧИВАЯ ДЕВОЧКА (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

She had always given up too easily. As long as she could remember, she chose not to fight but to deflate, like the air sizzling, slowly, out of a big brightly colored blue balloon. Why, she wondered now? Was it just her character or was she never able to feel safe and confident as a young girl even in her own home? It was hard to differentiate one from the other. Nature vs. Nurture?  Was it because she had  been six weeks premature and had to stay in the hospital for that long in a heated crib? She had always been a shy girl, an anxious one too.  Whose fault was that, she asked herself, in her older years. Surely it was not hers alone? Did her parents not think this was unusual enough to warrant some extra attention?

She didn’t like “playing board games”like Scrabble because there was no game that she thought she could do well in and she was easily embarrassed and ashamed. Had she dug right in, like others she knew and practiced feverishly, she could probably have been on top in at least one or two things but she never stayed long enough. It was a shame, she thought, later on in her life. No one had ever encouraged her to keep trying, it was almost as if they expected little so she gave them what they expected. She felt just like a tiny speck against a world made up of giant red rocks and icy mountain peaks, even large green valleys. She could disappear easily and no one would notice.

She tried to disappear one day when she was about thirteen or fourteen. Their family had a shared cabana at a beach club and one day she took off walking a very long distance and stayed away for hours. She wanted her family and friends to worry, to look for her, she wanted to be missed but when she eventually started walking back, and came “home” no one said a thing; they never even knew she was missing. She was upset, and mad that no one had even noticed.

She gave up all the time, but it didn’t seem like giving up when she was doing it, only years later, while looking back at her youth she figured out that she had been too scared, too fragile, too afraid to try new things. She gave up before she could fail; that was a very lonely and limiting life. She pushed boyfriends away before they became too close. She knew they weren’t serious, so she ended the relationship, knowing it would never be more than what they had then. She regretted that only once in her life but she didn’t have the emotional capacity, at the time, to communicate well.

Looking back forty years, she could see when her life had come to an emotional halt. It’s as if the brakes were firmly pushed and there she stood, alone and apart from most of her friends. Her husband still teased her about playing with Barbie dolls at fourteen with her friend, Linda. She was definitely a “late bloomer,”  her comfort companions were stuffed animals that surrounded her bed for many years. Even now, one or two are tucked under her pillow.

Now, as an older person, she sees the world in a different way. While physically she cannot run anymore, her mind jogs like the wind, as fast as possible. She is no longer shy and introverted but strong in her opinions and in her intuitive feelings. When she walks now, she walks with a brightly, colorful cane to help her balance issues but that does not stop her from walking, it fuels her with confidence, a confidence she never before had. Lastly, if she doesn’t like the sound of something she has written or a photograph she has taken, she will take another and another and not give up, until she knows, in her heart that it is exceptional and only she has to love it for it to be magnificent and divine.

Broken

English: Blue Baseball Cap

English: Blue Baseball Cap (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I saw old Mr.Tom in the produce section of the gigantic, glitzy grocery store; all bright lights and big orange”sale” signs. I hadn’t realized I had gasped inwardly so sharply that I felt a stabbing pain in my chest. This is not the man I remembered at all: the jovial, beer-bellied friend of my mother’s, the man with a hearty laugh and a baseball cap was now just a whisper of his former self. His pants hung low on him, his eyes vacant yet deeply troubled, his complexion was pasty. He was running on auto-pilot and even though I tried to say “hello” and ask about his wife, who I knew was sick, his whole tone of voice had changed completely. “She’s terrible” he spoke sharply and I feared he would yell at me as he had once but he didn’t seem to have the energy or the inclination. He just pushed his grocery cart away and told me that he was “behind schedule and that he could not stay and talk”and then he slipped away through the aisles, like a ghost.

I knew there was nothing I could do,  I knew that there would be worse, much worse things that would happen before,  IF they got better at all. I had been more friendly with Mr. Tom’s wife, a good friend of my mother’s. Mrs. Rae had been ill for years, very slowly weakening, but now she could no longer walk, or eat, or move by herself. She refused help of any kind except for her husband’s help and he was killing himself to accommodate her.

My mother always said they had “the perfect marriage.” I always answered that “no marriage is perfect.” As Mrs. Rae is left dying, taking care of her is killing him too. Is that a perfect marriage? The term “hospice” is never uttered in their house. He is killing himself to care for her and I pray he doesn’t kill himself first. It is a definite possibility. She has every right to die at home if she wishes, but she refuses for anyone to help him too. That is not the perfect marriage, I would not want my husband to die for me while taking care of me.

I don’t know how much Mrs. Rae is suffering from dementia and how much is control. I’m sure it is some of both. He has taken care of her for a very long time, years. Their children stay away. “Why?” my mother fumes and judges? I ask her not to pass judgment but she doesn’t listen to me. I tell her again and again that there are always “two sides to a story” but when her mind is made  up, she will not consider any other thoughts. She never has.

I see Mr. Tom as I peek through the aisles. He doesn’t look at anybody just carefully and slowly lifts one item off the shelf with two hands and places it gingerly in the cart. He doesn’t see me, he doesn’t see anybody. What he is going home to is his loving, dying wife, whom he watches, day and night. She sleeps with her eyes half closed and her mouth open. He has to go over to her sometimes, bending his head over her chest to see if she is breathing. She wants to die and he wants her to die to get them both out of this long, horrifying painful process. It’s a real life horror movie. If only he could get someone to help him it would be better but she will not allow it.

Nobody will listen to them, especially the doctors. So, he sits next to her, night and day, cooking and cleaning and smiling for her, pretending that everything is alright. He will do that until she takes her last breath, this beautiful, dying sparrow, and he will be there to watch it leave her frail, weak, body.

Haiku Heights – Wisdom

HooHaa 52 - Looking In-Looking Out (Week 48)

HooHaa 52 – Looking In-Looking Out (Week 48) (Photo credit: Grizdave)

Age, like fine red wine

makes us learn lessons to hold

in our memories.

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Try, fail, start again

I wish I had known that then

I was too frightened.

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Look in my blue eyes

they store the secrets of life

ask, I will tell you.

Carry On Tuesday – I Can See Clearly Now

JAMES MOES

JAMES MOES (Photo credit: btm)

“I am so, so pretty. People stop me on the street to stare at me and smile; the feeling inside me is one of great joy and wonder. I’ve never felt like this, I think to myself, in my dream but it feels delicious and I am incredibly happy, the happiest I have ever been. I am light on my feet, I dance in time, swirling around in my pink and black lace dress. I can wear high heels that don’t hurt that match my dress impeccably. I am loved, I throw my head back with its brown tendrils perfectly curled and laugh.

I met James when I was fifteen and he was sixteen. Once we met we were inseparable; we went on picnics all the time. He knew how much I lived going on picnics, our hands getting sticky from the sandwiches, thickly sliced multi-grain bread, sharp cheddar cheese, smoked ham, stone ground mustard, small, sweet pickles and those salty potato chips that we bought at the store. Dear, sweet, handsome James. James, the grown-up man with the sly, boyish grin whom I met by chance, two years before. His car was stuck and I was with my new puppy and he seized upon my puppy like a child seeing Santa Claus. Apparently, his own dog, also a German Shepard mix  had recently been euthanized, and I think his pure love and excitement to see my puppy made him light up from the inside out.  He picked up my dog and held her in his arms, laughing and the dog loved every second of the attention. I liked watching them together. More than that, I liked James, putting his arm around my shoulders, his fingers combing my hair, sniffing my hair and murmuring how good it smelt, like flowers and the ocean and sunshine. We were meant for each other, James and I, it was a love that was so good and pure, based on friendship and romance and companionship.

We would grow old together, we promised one another but before that we were busy!  We had three children together, two boys, Tom and Eric and then we had our baby girl, Nicole. Oh, my, we all made a fuss over the baby girl. In fact, she was called “baby girl” for most of her life. She was just the sweetest thing and oh, how she could just get everything she wanted out of her daddy, why he would just fall to mush if she asked him anything, why anything at all.

We had a good life together, he and I. We were destined to be together until the last breath he took. I can see clearly now that not everyone has this type of love in their lives. I know we were meant for each other the first time I saw him. He used to kid me about that saying I was such a “romantic” and he would shake his head and laugh but I knew he thought the very same thing.

Now, I sit, alone, in the hospital. I lie in the white bed with the nurses who come clucking to take blood and do tests and all I hear are the clang clang of bells and the pager screaming names of doctors. Lord, the last place to go to get some healing is some damn hospital, that’s for sure. I try to think of the good old days but when I try to talk about it, people just look at me like all sorts of crazy.  “There was no James” they say. “You were never married” they say firmly.  “You have no children, does anyone visit you, they ask?”Why do they say these horrible, mean things to me? I don’t know why, but I always shake my head and scream when they do. Last time I did that they put some stuff in my mouth and held my arms and I slept for a long time. I didn’t feel like me when I woke up, I was all confused for a real long time.

I don’t understand why they say these things. I just know that I was happy once. Once, long ago. Maybe in another world, maybe in my imagination, like they say. It just sure beats living my last days here, in a small, dark room with no light. I have no spirit left inside me; I lie very still hoping that death will take me quietly because I’m scared of pain, very frightened indeed. Just let me go, Lord, just let me go.  I want to be with James, we will be together again. I know, what I know and no darn fool can tell me otherwise. Please, Lord, just take me now.”