Scrubbing the years away
With barkeeper’s helper,
Shine like new
Glossy enough to show
On a shelf at
Close to home,
Yet far from sight,
My pots and pans
Sleep in a museum as
Revereware on parade.
Should I be sleeping there, too?
First placed in a dresser drawer
Migrated to a shoebox
Burgeoned to a steamer trunk
Hidden away in a space in the wall
Letters kept safe over 50 years
Uncovered in a renovation
Home owners open them one by one
The story of two lovers unfolding on paper
Over time, through wars, marriage
And children born and died, the letters
Filled with life and hidden passion
Secrets that only lovers share
Those who discover the musings
Seek to find the children, now grown,
With no inkling of correspondence
Between mother and father, letters
Revealing struggles, patience, deep love
And devotion one to the other
Email is not wrapped in purple ribbon
Nor kept in a dresser drawer, perhaps
An iCloud drawer to be savored later
Or uncovered like Ashley Madison clients,
Not quite the same as thin Air Mail paper
With the familiar red, white and blue logo
I am coming out of the closet, little by little, as time permits. It isn’t easy to admit to yourself. I started small. A word here, a rhyme there. It felt so comfortable and reassuring. Then one day, I started a blog. But nothing was posted. It was a first step. An inch toward reaching a lifetime goal. A year later, still nothing there. I had to renew the blog subscription or lose it. So I started to post my poems for all the world to see. I was sure that no one would read them. They were there for me more than anything else, a storage place where they would not get lost in the clouds. I didn’t promote the blog, nor even tell friends it was there.
Poet. I pronounce the moniker over and over in my head. You are a poet, I tell myself. Being just a plain writer seems easier, not quite so bold. Poets are different, after all. They are funky, wear multi-colored hats, strange perfume and turquoise eyeliner. They look like cowboys or those girls in high school who only wore black. They drink Turkish coffee while writing at cafes … or mumbling to themselves. Poets gather in groups to listen to each other read. They cringe at some lines, applaud others. They always make a knowing “hmmm” sound when the reader finishes as though a universal understanding of the deep meaning just occurred. Poets spend hours thinking and writing about the good, bad and ugly of life. Their life. Poetry is, after all, a memoir in rhyme. Poets are in pain. I will fit right in.
I am somewhere between the Castro Valley and Bay Fair stations. The BART train schedule is on time today. I have to change to the Richmond line in order to arrive at Oakland City Center-12th Street. There I will find Frank H. Ogawa Plaza and the seminar I am to attend.
I am reading an article in The Atlantic about how women can’t have it all. As I flip to page four of the lengthy article, I look up periodically not wanting to miss my stop. I did that once on another train and woke up to find myself in Livermore. I have learned my lesson.
The magazine article has captured my attention, yet I am semi-distracted by the garbled train announcer telling me something I cannot fully comprehend. I am confident that I can multi-task. I glance out the window for only a second and then my gaze returns to the magazine. I press my pointer finger to move the digital page up for a better view of the next paragraph. Only problem was the magazine was paper.
I will not be ruled by my cat. No more is he allowed to curl up in the warmth of my lap. No longer is he invited to live under my roof. I brought him home five years ago when he only seven weeks old. The cute, little champagne kitten stood out from the rest of the litter in the cage that day. I only needed one kitten. That’s all. But the volunteer with the pet shelter convinced me I should have a pair. This kitten would need a playmate, she advised.
I have had cats for over half a century. I know all about cats. Or so I thought. I did know the volunteer’s suggestion had merit. Kittens like to play with one another, especially when I am off at work and they would be otherwise all alone. Having a playmate helps keep them from climbing curtains, scratching furniture and other untoward behavior.