“Bang, Bang”

 

She stood outside the window looking in;

Her parents and the colored lights recall

a celebration known as Christmas when

all hearts are light and people’s cares are small.

She stood outside the window looking in

but dare not leave the shadows. There’s a pause;

her hair entwined with twigs; her knee is skinned.

Her lips are bruised ; new boots are scraped with claws.

Four schoolboys offer her a ride that night.

Her devastation comes from shame within; 

she cannot face their laughter and her fright

has frozen her emotions with her sin.

Age fourteen, her naivete now dead;

her girlhood’s over; older life now led.

(Age of this true story: many years.  Yes, she remembers every detail.  Reason for not reporting:  “they would never have believed me against the 4 of them.”  Remembering that time in history, she was probably correct.  Damned if you tell and damned if you don’t.  Is a new age coming? We need to teach our daughters how to better fight back against abuse.  There is an old Nancy Sinatra song, “Bang, Bang” that is so poignant (1966).  Women have been victims too long.  Maybe we can start teaching our young how to fight back and survive without being murdered in a cornfield in the future.)

The Blue Grass Trailer Park

The Blue Grass Trailer Park

The Blue Grass Trailer Park. A crowded court

where sis and I grew up; played in the sand.

Where summers were a hopscotch and cavort

while list’ning to the sound of Dorsey’s band.

Our home a cosy space for count of five.

A closet kitchen with three rooms beside.

A paneled, sandy floor where roaches hide

a mile from beach where royal palms reside.

My Daddy moved us here in Forty-Four

and we were those who lived across the tracks

from Mar-A-Lago glamour I adore.

That bridge too far was minutes from our shack.

The Blue Grass Trailer Park:  life still a thrill

so close to other worlds that are surreal.

A Dose of Castor Oil”

A Dose of Castor Oil

A dose of castor oil was once the trick

our fathers often said we must imbibe.

Then gagging does embrace the mucous thick

as down it goes so foulness may not thrive.

A stuttering, red evil here is strewn

as AR Fifteens shatter all the love.

We need an antidote from heaven-hewn

yet no such medic issues from above.

Oh, world of endless joy and ruthless pain,

we’re crying out ; please send a cure for us

before dead children drive us all insane;

before this globe and hope is turned to dust.

Yet, comes no answer for our sickened sighs

or family of man. Cold blood defies.munch_edvard_3

“Two Sisters”

two sisters 001Lithograph: Miguel Martinez

But we are strangers, always. Two sisters, so close in age. Time separates like two wet leaves cling, dry, then snap away with the wind. What causes human partings? Does there need to be a cause?  Like sleepwalkers holding hands, we slowly wander off to opposite lives. No need to look back or try to fathom what happened. Nothing at all. Once, a call to share with me her medical. I listen with empathy; apparently unable to offer the sympathy she needs. Once I post a letter_ loaded with spousal problems. She responds with feelings of disgust for a sister that is nothing but a “poor me” cry baby. Neither of us able to give what the other needs or wants. Time forms a lost, hurtful relationship.  Strangers, we answer with numbness until the scab finally leaches off and leaves a clean, clear perfect skin beneath. But somewhere in that perfection, just beneath the skin;  a bloody, mysterious half-forgotten longing.

“Settled In Alabama”

Ida James(Photo of my Grandmother, 1892-1979, by J. Casey)

 

“Settled In or Life in Alabama”

We plant ourselves on hard, red clay out back.
A dusty game of Jacks set our hearts free
but near mid-morning, we are hungry birds
and stand outside our granny’s country store.
We shuffle dirty, bare feet; outstretched hands:
Six little beggars wait at open door
We hanker for an Orange Crush, Moon Pie.

Her checkered oil cloth table later swells:
the smell of steaming, hand-tilled butter-beans.
Her cornfield lay in back near railroad track.
Fried chicken was a staple from her hens
who clucked and pecked, roamed ’bout without a pen.

I marvel how they must have fed us all.
So many children, grand, with mouths to feed.
No Social nor Security was known;
the option was to work or else you starved.

Late afternoon, we ran the mile of road
to meet the city bus brought Granddad home.
And we, his soldiers marching happily
we settled in behind him, homeward, free.