why am I surprised
to see her mom on crutches?
kicked by her wild girl
I am white.
I cried to see the murder of this man on the internet.
My stomach still churns, days later.
When a child, I was taught to respect my elders,
to respect my peers and my superiors,
to respect my neighbors, ALL my neighbors,
to celebrate all our differences,
to acknowledge our similarities,
and to let live.
I believed everyone was taught the same basic principals.
I believed everyone should live and let live always…and that everyone believed that.
Now I am old.
I have come to know that all the learning in the world
cannot, will not, does not ensure safety, respect for basic decency.
I understand that all the belief and trust in others can prove to be poorly placed. That the life I have lived and live is different than the life of others, that common sense as I know it exists in my vaccuum.
I have no idea what can be done, because I do not understand how evil is allowed to exist by God Almighty. I cannot grasp how one man can kill another so coldly, blindly…
Still I believe in God and in Good,
and still I pray for peace.
June 1, 2020 rJoHerman, Littleton, CO
The sun is out and very bright.
Flags are flying everywhere in sight.
Barbecues coals are starting to glow.
We’re all dressed up with nowhere to go.
The freedoms our heroes died for
Are currently quite out the door.
The government controls are in place
to keep “healthy” masks on our face.
We must keep ourselves distant
so we are all virus resistant.
It is getting to be too much
to hear we must live in fear and such.
My tolerance is at zero.
So I plan to honor a hero
today by taking a long walk,
then finding someone with whom I can talk
about how great life can be every day
because of the lives our heroes lost for the U.S.A.
She walks her yappy little Laso often. I would say,
early in the morning, again at noon, then later in the day.
Regardless of the hour, come rain or shine,
She gets him out to relieve himself which really is quite fine,
She is no spring chicken; is at least as old as me,
Which means her skin is sagging round her eyes and either knee.
Nothing to be done about that, I am perfectly aware,
But you would think at least once a week she would comb her morning hair;
And pull on a robe, perhaps, to bind her pendulous breasts;
and continue wearing her blue face mask as she reports on her positive tests.
“Oh, don’t mind me,” she said when we met out walking a couple days back
“I’m still in my (short) nightgown. I just don’t care…” I gave her little flack,
But I do wish I would have some warning when she is out and about,
so I could be ready to cover my shock when we meet along the same route.
Forty years I worked in busy offices
longed for days of peace and quiet and privacy,
dreamt of uninterrupted hours to read and read and read,
to eat when hungry,
to nap whenever.
This prescribed isolation of two or three or more months, though,
is more than respite,
brings on the insanity of rocking back and forth while sitting in place.
This is more than quarantine,
more than looking out for my fellow man.
This is solitary confinement
as in prison.
It is the eighth of May
What year does not matter.
The sun is out, the air is fresh
The squirrels are full of chatter.
They rush from branch to limb
chasing each other like mad.
I always expect at least one to fall,
They don’t. That makes me glad.
The chickadees and robins
are busy, busy nesting,
and chirping, and scolding, and holding forth.
They have no time for resting.
The garden fills with bright, new green.
Baby shoots appearing.
Peonies, poppies, iris, too,
Every sprout endearing.
The glory of the Maytime Spring
can never quite erase
the loss of Ruth so long ago.
I miss and miss her face.
I miss her laugh, the things she’d say
that cut you to the core.
But for every snide, sarcastic quip,
there was so much to adore.
She died too young, but did her best
to make it through each day,
Until she actually gave up the ghost
that sunny ninth of May.
I choose to celebrate the eighth,
when she was with us still,
Loving her boys, giving her all,
dying against her will.
So, here’s to you! My little sis.
I know you’d have something to say
’bout me moping around, crying about you
when I’m faced with a beautiful day.
So, I’ll water the plants, and sing something silly
and dance around the deck,
If you will send down some small, simple sign
That you’re still around, by heck!
I know you are! 😉
rJo Herman 5/8/2020
He sleeps, but not where I’ve laid out a comfy bed.
No, he sleeps on top of the fresh, yet to be folded laundry. He snores on the jacket I tossed across the back of the sofa when I came in from getting the mail.
The smooth, cool surface of the coffee table seems a favorite spot, oblivious to the magazines sliding onto the floor when he stretches out his hind legs.
Yes, he sleeps where he will, and he surely will most of every day.
But come evening, just as the sun starts to settle behind the hills, he yowls, then streaks through the house, bouncing off the walls, dragging at the shutters, chasing shadows of who knows what… low growls and butts heads with toy mice strewn near the fireplace.
Then suddenly exhausted, he lies across the comforter, imagining that he will be allowed to sleep there while I find a spot on the couch.
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.