At first, I was afraid, I was petrified…. I Will Survive, Gloria Gaynor

I fail in my embrace of Ms. Gaynor.
She empowers me
for only as long as the music still plays.
I am unable to translate her song into action.

Or resolve.

Time and again, I crumble
just as she vows she will not do.

Unsteady on my feet,
in every way that matters,
heart not (yet) forged in steel,
I feel almost broken.

I am always alone
and fear a future,
forver unwanted
never loved.

Still, fraud that I am,
I sing strong and proud.
But it is only for show.

Why can’t I be enough?

Vermin of verse
rise up against the wind
steady among every remnant of language
needlessly tossed aside.
Streetlamps shine at synchronized intervals,
providing cover for naughty girls
and those who seek them.
Cigar smoke chokes the minds of young boys
oh, so eager to become men
even as riderless beasts thrash
through emerald forests
uncertain and unafraid
waiting for lightning
to calm their outrageous skies.

Summer smiles,
highway miles.

Two rash and reckless
twenty-somethings
ensconced in a white
’76 Mustang,
with a thin red racing stripe
to match its plaid cloth interior.

Manual transmission,
chrome wheels
and Glory Be to God:
an 8-track player,
the center console
laden with The Hollies,
Hall & Oats,
Golden Earring,
Jethro Tull
and The Knack.

Launch it!

Our Girl Power
pit stop
battle cry,
a necessary prelude to Rolos, Pringles,
and Diet Cokes,
travel tackle for the ages.

With state lines yet to cross,
we savored every kick-ass song —
in its entirety.
Once that ignition key stoked the carburetor,
and my wing woman
pushed the tape back into the slot,
we watched those white lines melt away
in our side-view mirrors,
destinations unknown.

Saxon poets chanting canticles of praise
from icy rooftops sloped toward the sun.

Bards of commerce
draped in fealty to the divine,
their fractured bones
whitewashed
discarded
unadjudicated.

Vassal peasants
dregs of feudal injustice
subordinate to William their liege
play the part,
both benign and beseeching,
for mere pennies on the hypocritical dollar.

Hearts quake in the tsunami of misspent opportunities,
Understood only now in retrospect —
Minds unhurried to follow.
Once in synch,
Bodies quake over — and over — what might well have been.

Magda wrote her name in purple
while standing on her head.
Unsteady on her feet,
this way worked best for her.

The flour mill whistle blew
the day before tomorrow.
Comrades filed by, lunch bags opened wide.
Icy brews waltzed in their heads.

Brown-suited guards upright and stiff,
eagle-eyed for pilfered paper, pens and the like.
Blind to back pockets bulging
with white powder.

House wrens from sleek high-rise apartments flew past,
silver-gilded memes seeking shelter from wayward storms.

Waiting for the ink to dry,
Magda tap danced to Hey Jude,
those sha-na-na-na’s she knew so well by heart.

Warmth of hot chai
in my favorite mug
sitting in a comfy chair
in the morning sun
the grind of Veranda blonde roast
coffee for husband’s day off
while puppy plays killer
with a teal-blue teddy bear

I’ve always wished for a real, true friend
several hits soon became lonely misses
mama’s legacy fed my fears
and thus my non-belonging….

sisters make it look so easy
laughter, smiles, shared confidences —
downy feathers lying soft on chenille.

sustained connectivity,
somehow not my forte.

the snow was deep
deeper than I’d anticipated
I had a long, long way yet to trudge.

sinking to mid-thigh,
heart making do despite the shock
to its otherwise dormant existence,
the whiteness around me,
the stillness,
beheld a loveliness
too profound to imagine.

if I died out here,
alone,
it would be a death
couched in serenity.

and who could argue with that?