Posted on Poetic Asides 8/09
Forgive Yourself, Marie
As far as offending people
it is too often done
not because of what we say,
but how someone interprets it.
You have no control of that.
It would have been better
if this someone dear
asked you first of your intentions
before making a conclusion
about what you meant.
Remind them of your years together,
building to a lifelong story
so different from what they read.
At least you have learned
where the glass breaks easily
and that can give you
a safer place to walk.
You have some control of that.
Better Safe Than Leftovers
Throw it out.
Don’t even lift the lid
poking your nose in
taking a whiff that might
send your head reeling
with a grimace of pain
and a gag of revulsion
trying to get a reaction.
The reaction has already occurred
in mold more blue than green,
re-identifying forgotten items
as something inedible,
as former food.
Don’t allow the stench
to poke through the atmosphere
taking down all living creatures
sending skunks scurrying
with a shock of remorse
and a hint of guilt
trying to get away.
Just throw it out.
Last Name First, First Name Last
Men can’t appreciate
the identity crisis in a name
when women say they must try
to find out who they really are.
How can I return to the name
I was before I became
Mrs. Hawkenson, your Teacher?
Some call me Mrs. Lavota,
the name of my first marriage,
but divorce, a time in-between loves,
and I became La Vota,
a symbolic mistake that lived for a while.
Before then, Holvick,
my Daddy’s girl
who answered to Patsy
but add then Anne,
a middle name of no purpose,
until middle school
because I can dot the i
with a little heart,
a confirmation name
that Catholics must have
until college forms insist
on Patricia, my full given name.
I am Patsy, Patti, Patricia Anne Elizabeth Holvick, Lavota, La Vota, Hawkenson.
Call me what you like,
but mingle in
daughter, sister, wife,
teacher, artist, and poet.
It’s not hard to get confused.
Starting at the top, you let it go
banging against obstacles, fast or slow.
Changing your direction as you go
having no control of where it will flow.
Finally landing where it wanted to go,
a prize of the poem you wanted to show.
Wishing for comments, you post and go
waiting till later for a woe, or WHOA!
Beyond My Control
I can’t blame the brandy
because of my high spirits,
laughing and reliving the past,
I remembered what I lost.
I try to control myself
knowing my limitations,
the facts so clear, no speculation,
no spirit of compromise.
I have no exceptional abilities,
no clairvoyant skill with rods or cards,
connecting me beyond here
to the side where the spirits walk.
I have no way to find the things I lost,
no sobering blame to distill.
Just return my grandpa’s footprints
that you spirited away.
He won’t return to his early days
where his mother cut his hair
into severely distorted shapes,
summer buzzes of uneven depth,
her accidents of loving thrift.
His rebellious strands of hair
now twisted from his scalp
down to the disordered tips,
a copied style of Rastafarians
and lovers of ordered chaos,
shouting his anarchy of youth.
Dreadful things that teens can do
would look foolish on the old,
like Grandma in a mini skirt
or Grandpa talking smack.
Mom cuts the cheese with pride
while Dad grills out with bling.
Conduct yourself with dignity
before you think to answer me,
but what kind of twisted mind
could think of things like that?
I lost my place
when you interrupted me.
I can’t go back to the moment
before you kissed me
to find those signals
that you must have read
and turn them off.
We are crossing the bridge
over the chasm of our mistakes.
There is no return
to the place where we
were just friends.
Now as I look for a place
to take hold within your eyes
I breathe in our past
knowing I must run
before our future disintegrates
In time this moment
will fade from my consciousness
with no awareness
of my sensitivity
like arriving at the store
having no memory
of how I drove there.
But I drove on a different road
so I must attempt to acquire
the out-of-body Zen experience
needed by prostitutes
and battered women
who must detach themselves
from what men are doing
to their bodies.
I lie here
swollen and drugged
from a hypodermic needle
in preparation for a root canal.
The dentist drives the drill home.
I took a pleasure trip to a far away place
with a knowledgeable host
who gave me information that I needed
to understand what I was looking at.
Similar to the ritual in my part of America
that requires me to take a house tour
where the homeowner guides me
room through room
pointing out whose room is whose
and where the dogs like to hide.
Like I care.
When I go back to visit my mother
to her home that I have lived in,
I am still taken on the tour
room through room
to see the new to her knickknacks
recently acquired at the flee market.
Like I care.
Back at my house when visitors come
they stay in the living room.
There is no tour
room through room.
Instead, I carry everything out
showing them my artistic creations.
They must care.
They didn’t go hide with the cats.
OSHA Fatal Fall Accident Numbers
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration
reports the truth of hazardous practices on the job.
A painter spray painting the inside of a water tower
slipped from a fixed ladder 40 feet to the riser floor,
and 2 employees painting the roof of a barn fell
when the crawling board broke, at approx. 35 feet.
A brick layer on a 3 story building’s scaffold
stepped on a rotted board and fell 30 ft to his death,
and another laborer, on a scaffold at the top of a smoke stack
when a section of concrete fell, was dropped 250 ft.
A plumber was being hoisted in the bucket of an excavator
when it jerked causing a 14 ft fall striking his head,
and 2 plumbers setting pipes on the second floor of a house
didn’t cover over the stairway opening and fell through.
A railroad foreman climbing over to inspect a bridge railing
stepped on an unsupported beam, slipped and fell 150 feet,
and 2 railroad workers died days after the bridge collapsed
while demolishing it, falling 23 feet above the track.
But fall, to me, means back to school and 30 eager 6th graders,
a seriously dangerous business.