The bright purple house
in the pristine neighborhood.
The yard is a mess.
It is true that Angelina Jolie and I have never met. And we shall never meet,
but every time I see her lauded for being beautiful, smart, and sweet
I fume. I mutter. I shake my head vehemently.
Right now she speaks about the virus. I am shuddering quite frequently.
Yes, it is uncalled for. It proves I am self serving.
But listen while I tell you why I find her so unnerving.
Early twenty-thirteen brought my breast cancer diagnosis.
I studied all my options, and developed a slight neurosis
as I fretted about deciding which way to chose…
Full mastectomy or lumpectomy? which would make me lose
the greatest sense of confidence heading into the future?
Which would leave me stronger, as they completed each suture?
I chose the complete bilateral. It seemed the surer choice.
My doctor’s and my friends’ concern were given full, deliberate voice.
And so it was done, and all is well. Life continues without a stall,
Except for moments when some famous chick lays claim to know it all.
See, unbeknownst to me, I mean, I was focused on healing rest,
Angelina famously announced she too had cut off each breast.
She made the announcement, she said in a manner quite bold and brave,
to inspire other women and men to stand up, themselves to save.
At first I thought, that’s good. She’ll inspire people to be healthy.
She would share her story around the world with the poor and the very wealthy.
She shared the genes that killed her mother, and she wanted people to know,
that they can have preventative surgery before any cancer will show.
I have no doubt her announcement made people stop and think.
It had to, I am very sure. I even raised a drink
to her good health and our sisterhood – survivors, dressed in pink.
After I recovered, though, I began to stew.
I ran into friends not recently seen. Not one of them knew
about my diagnosis, or my almost certain cure.
Most were surprised, and very kind, I am very sure.
But then first one, and then another asked had Angie’s choice influenced mine?
What? Like I’d cut my body up to mimic her at any time?
Like I would even consider taking such a drastic step
based on the words of a rich, fear filled darling and her marketing rep.
How stupid did they think me, that I was such a sheep
That I would follow Angelina Jolie ’bout anything so deep.
I actually had cancer, and I made my very personal choice,
with input from my daughter with her steady, thoughtful voice.
So I grew to dislike Angie with her life out on full view
She does not speak for me, that’s sure. Me thinks she speaks for few.
We all have a story, we all know things.
We all must stumble on ahead without input from kings,
or, as in this case, a highly lauded queen,
who made a choice like we all must make when life is cruel and mean.
I know…it’s a sad state of affairs when I fashion an argument with a face on the telly…
but…what the hell
My first inclination was to jump up and run down the stairs and scoop up the boy,
quiet his wailing, and calm his crying brother.
I had been only half listening as they played on the sidewalk below my balcony
while I read the latest NY Review of Books, stretched out near the fireplace
toasting my toes, enjoying the homey afternoon quiet.
They had been laughing, and hollering, and perhaps riding a bike or a scooter
when suddenly one bellowed a distress call for everyone to hear.
I stopped before I began to run, realizing his mother would likely not like it,
some strange old woman with this ratty hair and these crooked yellow trifocals
scooping up her boy to comfort him.
Perhaps he is always dramatic, and she would want him to stop immediately,
no sympathy allowed.
Or maybe she would fear I had the virus, or some other crud that could infect him,
stranger danger avowed.
Whatever my hesitation, I let it take command, and I listened to him screech
as his voice wandered down the sidewalk, expecting she would hear.
He most assuredly found her; his shrill voice calmed slightly by a soft murmur.
I admit I chuckled slightly when I heard him SCREAM
“WHAT? It’s BLEEDING? OOHHHH!”
No doubt he had just noticed when she examined his scrape.
His brother was speaking urgently in the background, a scolding no doubt imminent,
warranted or not.
“I said I’m sorry. I said I’m sorry. I said I’m…”
Their door shut.
She knocked on my front door,
that wicked, wicked child
who screams at her mother
and often goes quite wild.
She knocked on my front door,
and then she rang the bell.
She was a bit impatient,
insistent, I could tell.
I stomped across the living room
so she could hear me coming;
opened the door just a crack,
to not appear too welcoming.
“Hi there, ” said I
as I surveyed her face.
She looked at me with huge dark eyes,
TO BE CONTINUED…NEEDS A LOT OF WORK
Jesus the man knelt alone; tired, in pain and great fear.
He called out for his Father whom He could not see or hear.
Engulfed in deep anguish, He shook as He pleaded,
then no doubt wept as His prayers seemed unheeded.
My God! where are you? Why, why, why?
They want to kill me! I do not want to die!
I am your son! I am God!
or maybe not. I am so flawed,
and oh, so weak, and tired and lame.
Please let this cup pass – release me from its claim.
But it did not, would not, could not pass.
God’s plan would never change, alas.
His trial and and punishment, unwarranted, it is true,
were carried out as the mob wished until His life was through.
Then Jesus God rose from the dead, and walked back through the sun
and proved that through His faithfulness His Father’s will was done.
rJo Herman EASTER 4/12/2020
There is a line now to get into King Soopers
You must enter one by one
and stay six feet distant while in that line.
It becomes kinda fun
to find a way to pass the time
some people hold their phones
while others fiddle, rock back and forth
speaking in loudly whispered tones.
…. to be continued…
I pulled it out today. Thought to make a mask for shopping.
I have carried it around with me all these years of house hopping.
Though its case is sorely battered, I have duct-taped it tightly.
It works really well. Needs a tune up, but just slightly.
It zig zags, and buttonholes, and sews a straight line.
It does all I need, and it does it quite fine.
But, of course, it set me thinking, as always and ever,
’bout the day I first saw it. I shall forget that never.
On April 17, Dad bought Mom a surprise
A present, something new, a sure fired prize.
See, Mom sewed our clothes on her faithful old White;
Made our wardrobes and hers, always just right.
Not a fancy machine, it got the job done,
But Dad picked out a new one for a little more fun.
It was shiny and sleek in a gorgeous console;
It worked ever so smoothly with its push button control.
It was delivered next day to my Mom’s shocked surprise.
The salesman had thought to see joy in her eyes
As he explained who he was, but she heartbrokenly cried.
The day that Dad bought it was the day that he died.
To know he had thought of her that very last day
must have burned through her soul. She never did say.
She sent back the console, but kept the machine.
Now fifty years later it is mine to keep clean.
rJo Herman 4/8/2020
Tonight 8 PM
in full solidarity
we howl at the moon
rJo Herman 4/8/2020
I know it drives him mad, and I feel a little sad, kinda.
He IS my best buddy, ‘specially now with all this isolation.
but – the proverbial “but” that negates all the preceding words –
but, I get such a kick out of playing bird songs on my laptop
and watching Emil Catt go mad trying to pull those birds out of the screen.
HA! poor boy!
There it is. My perverted pleasure for all the world to see.
Bless the beasts and the children
There is a brat child who lives down the stairs.
She’s really quite naughty, tho’ she never, ever swears (yet).
She thinks she’s cute. Someone told her, no doubt,
But I find her awful when she stamps about,
Screeching at her mother, pulling plants out the pot,
throwing and leaving her toys out to rot.
How I’d love to get hold of her ratty black hair
and sit her quite firmly in a small corner chair.
And leave her alone there for an hour or two
cleaning all of the mud off each and every shoe
she threw out the door when it started to rain.
She laughed and she stomped, caused her mother great pain
as her shoes filled with muck, her lace stockings were stained.
Yes, if I think I would spank her, and put her to bed.
That’s not what we do now, I’ve heard it said.
Especially a neighbor glaring down from above,
It’s good that her mother showers her with love.
rJo Herman 4/6/20 day 6 NaPoWriMo