Meet my mother - Miss Mary Margaret Mobley...
Most mothers make muffins,
Mary Margaret makes messes.
Many mothers marry military men,
Ms. Mobley mocks monogamy.
My mother meets millionaires monthly,
makes money mysteriously materialize.
Mary Margaret Mobley mutilates morality.
My mother’s makeup meticulously masks
Maybe my mother must meditate,
Meet my minister.
Maybe my mother made me malicious,
murdered my mild-mannered mentality.
My moodiness mirrors Ms. Mobley’s,
makes my mouth misbehave.
Mary Margaret’s mania mutated
That’s All She Wrote
One hundred syllables of prose I must write,
One hundred syllables of prose...
I’ll take my time and clap it out,
for a hundred syllables of prose I must write.
One hundred syllables of prose I must write,
One hundred syllables of prose...
I’ll sing and I’ll count,
I’ll laugh and I’ll gloat
to the tune of the marvelous prose I just wrote!
Come sing with me, we’ll clap with glee,
To the tune of the marvelous prose I just wrote!
Ready or Not, Here I Come!
Santa fired me last Christmas! Can you believe the nerve of that jolly old
Sooo I liked to drink a little eggnog on the job... so what? I only forgot a couple parts on that bicycle I assembled that one time!
And is Comet not the more fitting reindeer to light up the night sky and guide that old coot’s sleigh?
I may have made Rudolph cry for old times’ sake and strapped some lights to Comet’s butt, but they were BRIGHT LIGHTS. Far brighter than that honker of Rudolph’s that Santa has been trying to spin in a positive light (no pun intended) for so many years.
Listen, the fat man is no spring chicken and if his goal truly is to have help guiding his sleigh, that spotlight on Comet’a butt saved the DAY. I should have been applauded, not canned!
But I am not bitter. Ok, maybe I am a little bitter. Maybe I have devised a plan to make Christmas 2020 the worst nightmare ever for my old boss.
I have been watching all the gainfully employed elves through the workshop window for several hours now. Soon, they will start dropping like flies from exhaustion and I will be able to rifle through that fat sack of neatly assembled toys and play a little game of hide and seek with Mr. St. Nicky-nick.
Ready or not, boys, here I come!
All I Want for Christmas is YOU
It stays quiet and glows when I put it in the corner.
It lights up a room with the touch of a button.
I need a ladder to place something on top of it.
An angel is a fitting accessory for it.
Cats love to climb it.
I store it in the attic 11 months out of the year.
Dance with me sweet girl,
Twirl and leap and smile.
Love your life dear child,
Grip it snug and tight.
Use the rain to cleanse
And the sun to shine,
For night will fall fast
And the end will come.
I suffer from night terrors. It is far more unsettling for those who have to bear witness to my midnight musings than it is for me, as I rarely have any recollection of these episodes.
I felt it important to let you in on that before I let you in on this: Hitler is currently perched on the edge of my bed. I jumped a little at this discovery. Sure I did. For I live alone, and any nighttime, foot-of-the-bed surprise guest would be unwelcome. Make it the apparition of a long-dead tyrant with the blood of millions on his hands and well... I’m going to need a minute.
And my bowels, you might ask?
Miraculously intact. He isn’t speaking, and for that I am grateful as “verruckt” and “scheissekopf” are the only two German words that have managed to shake off the three decades of dust since my last German class and join me here in this moment. Fitting as they are, they don’t make for great (or lengthy) conversation, so I, too, remain silent.
He is tall - much taller than I expected for someone among the likes of Mussolini, Stalin, and Napoleon.
I’ve always imagined those with unfathomable reserves of vile to be disproportionate in their stature causing spontaneous combustion and a flooding of evil across international boundaries.
“Wo bin ich?” he whispers, looking up.
Where is he. I almost laugh. It appears Herr Psycho has landed on the *wrong* duvet cover in tonight’s game of Musical Dimensions. I smile and reach for the lamp on my bedside table eager to illuminate both the Star of David tapestry hanging on the wall before him and his subsequent reaction.
Aside from a brief widening of the eyes, he does not flinch. His gaze drops to his lap and for the first time I notice he is clutching a copy of Mein Kampf in his trembling left hand. My Struggle. Hitler’s Struggle. *My* Struggle. I would imagine right now they are one and the same: he is in the bedroom of a menopausal Jewish woman.
“Ah, I see you brought a little light reading. Perhaps we should follow it up with a documentary on the Holocaust?”
“Heil Hitler!” he barks.
“GO to Hell, Hitler!” I exclaim.
Normally I don’t believe in hell. But right now, tonight, in the middle of this night terror/delusion/psychotic break I find myself in, I can’t imagine a more suitable place for this man than an eternal, fiery pit.
He gestures wildly toward a pen on my bedside table and I stare incredulously as he opens the front cover of his manifesto and begins to scribble an inscription. I’ve got Hitler, Hitler’s book, and a pen - it’s a book signing, folks. 2020 style.
The faster he writes, the more he begins to fade. I can practically see through him and I shut my eyes against the absurdity of it all. I feel the weight of the book beside me as I drift off to sleep and pray for the light of day.
I was two hours into my 12-hr shift at the long term care facility when the inner musings of my 91-year-old charge crashed into my psyche in wave after telepathic wave.
Dementia had long ago adhered to his faculties like a Siamese twin, rendering him a ghost of his former self to all who had once loved and visited him.
His thoughts coursed through my veins with such clarity I thought surely I had been mistaken from whence they came.
I steeled a glance - once, twice - into his unseeing eyes before clamoring to his bedside, afraid the IV of his bygone lucidity would be ripped out and expelled from me as quickly as it had appeared.
I saw him all at once - the son, the brother, the friend, the husband, the dad, the patient. Each character he’d played in the movie of his life had lost its counterpart to Death’s inevitable clutches. His parents, his wife, his siblings, his friends, and his children had sustained him. And for one whole day I bore witness to the hydrated soul who lay before me in a motionless, dehydrated shell.
Before I died, mommy was always telling me that children should be seen and not heard.
My proclivity for laughter and insatiable curiosity in the nine years leading up to my departure from the land of the living, prohibited this proverb from sprouting wings and becoming a reality in her day-to-day. But her dedication to the notion deserves an honorable mention, nonetheless.
The spirit is eternal. If you believe nothing else, believe that. My mortality gave up and ran out of steam two years ago next week, but my zest? It permeates the barrier between the living and the dead.
I inhabit mama on her bad days. I lift the weight of the world from her head and heart with a strength that only a nine-year-old spirit can muster.
Now, more than ever, I know she wishes she could hear my voice, my laugh, my relentless inquiries into the wonders of the world. When that longing liquifies and escapes her eyes,
I reach inside my toolbox of soul balms and lavish her as is fitting: a good night’s sleep, a tucked away memory, a snuggle or a kiss on the cheek.
I cradle her in the afterlife as she cradled me in life. In death, I have gained a true understanding of faith:
we do not have to be seen to be heard and we do not have to be heard to be felt.
Blanket of Justice
"That prosecutor is a shark! He has skillfully and aggressively suffocated the burden of proof with his heavy blanket of circumstantial evidence.
I admit, it is a pretty blanket. And it is tempting to cover ourselves in all the hearsay and eyewitness accounts. It is especially tempting to tune out the ring of truth in the accused’s testimony!
We, the jury, were handpicked. Make no mistake - we were purposefully planted on this panel to act as puppets in the litigators' horse and pony show.
As I see it, there are two layers to life - the justice system being no exception. The top layer is the superficial bullshit layer in which appearances are everything and we placate ourselves by playing house under the pretense of the golden rule, displaying photos of our pearly white, exotic delusion for all to see. The foundation layer... now that requires brain cells to manuever, for it is fortified by manipulation, corruption, and the imperfect underbelly of humankind.
I challenge each of you to dive beneath the face value of this case. Excavate your gut instincts and intuition. Listen to what is not being said just as keenly as to what is.
I know who the real killer is.
And I also know that not one of you wants to believe me because my neatly-pressed designer outfit, regal posture, and academia-tinged speech does not fit your image of evil.
So, fellow puppets... let's go deliver our unanimous guilty verdict to the court so that the entire surface layer of our great city can rest easy tonight."
As Sunlight and Feathers Collide
I learned to hug without touching while my country was grounded.
I notice it now in the smallest of things.The red bird, a staple on the feeder in my side yard, was once spotted as a mere blur in my perphiral during the morning hustle.
Today, as I am released back into society to resume "normal" activity, my gait is slower, more deliberate. My gaze meets the red bird's head-on, and I marvel at the vibrancy of color that bursts forth as sunlight and feathers collide.
Behind me, I hear my daughter's car engine rev to life, preparing to transport her away from the virtual classroom that has become her new normal. I shift my gaze from the wings of the red bird to the invisible wings of my newly- adult child. She will be leaving soon. She arrived in the world as US soil was still shaking from the tremors of terrorism, and she will be flying the nest as the ground still shakes from the pandemonium of a pandemic.
What have I learned? I have learned that 'shortness of breath' is more than just a symptom of a virus that has sheltered the world. It is a by-product of the hustle and bustle that many are so eager to return to.
The world's cities, communities, and neighborhood streets have now received a steady infusion of mediation, yoga, and prayer, and We the People have never breathed so deep.