Sharing


After I’ve taken my last breath
Share the memories of me with
your children and grandchildren
Pass the love along that you felt
with me even when we loved in anger.
Share me in the way I gathered
all to my table to feed when hungry
The way I gave a blanket
and a pillow to lay
their head
Do this to share me.
If you begin to miss me
and you feel the need to cry
go ahead, then rise up too
wipe another’s tears
Feel the suns warmth
See the moon’s light
Listen to the blowing wind
Relish the crunch of  snow
Hear the thunder, smell the
rain, I am there washing the grief
from your heart.
When you wish for my hugs
reach out and hug another
With your arms around them
You are sharing a part of me and
I am hugging you through them
Hugs are healing give them often
Share me.
The greatest gift I leave this earth
are the bits of me in how I treated
others how I loved and treated each one.
Remember me the way I spoke to
you and others in their pain.
Share me
Share the way I loved with an open heart
Keep the memories of me inside you
But share them with those you love and
I will love them with you, love is only
made to be given away, I gave you
my love, I gave you all I had
Share me in this way.
© Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

What You’re Made For


When you’re five
lying in bed waiting for
the wood floors to creak
you lie so still
so he’ll think you’re asleep
When you’re ten
you think here he comes again
you start to shake
so scared you pee the bed
At twelve you begin to develop
his friends begin to say you are so pretty
as they give you a wink and slobbery grin
By now you’ve heard it all
as they grab and pinch or
push you against a wall
the hardness of their privates
pushing like a stick again and again
It hurts but not as bad as what
happens at night
Now you’re in high school
and a jock spikes your drink
taking you to his car pushing
you in the backseat
muffling your screams
his whisper of if you tell
I’ll say you gave it freely
You cry all the way home
sneaking quietly up the stairs
too ashamed and scared to tell
conditioned by the “no one will
believe you” or “I will hurt you more”
They are the many, besides
no one will believe you.
You tell yourself you’re not
really a whore or an easy fuck
those pretty names meaning
You deserve what you get
So you get high with the shit
bought on the street
to forget for a little while
this is what you are made for.
© Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

Time


All by myself
looking out on the square
from my window up above
wine glass in hand empty
again
I drink too much I say out loud
I am tired and worn out
living all these years

Cars whisking by tires crunching
snow, making slush
people rushing about like mice
scurrying
for crumbs
Everyone has someone
Me I have my wine and
an empty pack of cigarettes

The girl next door
leans against the door of her brownstone
entwined with the latest beau for
a goodnight kiss
The memories stir
better left alone as I shake them
from my head

A tabby cat runs across
the street narrowly missing
becoming road kill
just a moment in time
a moment and his life
would cease

All by myself
looking out on the square
from my window up above
wine glass in hand empty
again
Filling it again
drinking deep forgetting
to savor the aroma and
tasting the deep spices
Just drinking to forget the
younger years when
life was wild and free
All by myself
© Copyright 2017 All Rights Reserved

DAD


Lady Antebellum sings this song “DANCING AWAY WITH MY HEART” which has inspired me to pen a few lines in tribute to my father as it is close to his birthday and his death date. I first heard this phrase from my Daddy more years ago than I really want to remember, but this is my way to honor the man who fathered me. He was not the best Dad in the world but he was mine and I miss him terribly.

I looked up at my Daddy so handsome as he leaned against the door jamb on one of his rare visits home, tapping his foot to the beat of the music on the radio playing in Grams kitchen. When the tempo changed and Patsy Cline began to sing ” I FALL TO PIECES”,  Daddy reached out his hand and said “May I” as I giggled I put my hand in his and felt  the hand of a working man with its callous’  busted knuckles from bar fights, as much as from the nails and boards he worked with every day, and stepped on the tops of his work boots.

He said “Step on up there good now,”  as he held my hands tightly but gently so I felt secure.  We began to dance he moving his feet slowly but to the rhythm of the music, turning, twirling, gliding across the dining room into the living room on Grammies waxed floor singing the song along with the woman on the radio. As it came to an end Daddy dipped me and I laughed as he said: “Daddy’s girl dance away with my heart!” I twirled away and he called me back to tell me he was leaving for work in California and he would be back as soon as he could.  It was many years later as a grown woman expecting my first child that I visited my father in California, he took his girl to Disney Land and treated me to dinner after.  He placed the order at the restaurant while I visited the loo and it was a wonderful joy filled dinner and conversation was full of the days’ events and the years past, catching up but feeling like we had not been apart. As we exited the restaurant and waited for the car,  Daddy asked if I had enjoyed the meal then proceeded to tell me I had eaten rattlesnake.  Now I don’t know with expecting his first granddaughter or the real idea of that meal did it, but suddenly I was stepping to the side of the building to lose my dinner. That night Daddy played that old Patsy Cline song on his record player, holding out his hand he asked “May I?”  this time I laid my head on his shoulder and enjoyed the security of being held by my father after so many years apart. He asked after my happiness and the baby and her father. And when the song ended he said:  “You will always be my little girl now dance away with my heart”.  I laughed as did he, those are the only two times I ever danced with my Dad and I am so glad I have those memories. I love and miss you so much, Dad.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY and take care of my little girl, dance with her among the clouds and stars as you did with me.

Keith Carlos Williams
May 3, 1928, – May 19th, 2003

AGAIN


Men, women, children, pregnant women, 24 at last count.
Their blood splattered across church pews
puddling on the floor as they stare with
open eyes at nothing and no one.
Again just over a month of the Las Vegas shooting
where 58 people bled to death and 500 were injured.
Shopping at a Walmart in Thorton, CO.
Three more lost their lives, again.
Austin, Tx yesterday 4 injured by shooting
LaComb, LA. one dead 4 injured
Halloween, Hammond, IN  one dead, 3 injured
Toledo, OH four injured by shooting
Clearlake Oaks, CA. two injured, two dead
And there is more that have bled out on sidewalks, parking lots,
restaurant floors, coffee houses, floors of homes, churches…
On and on, again and again
35 mass shootings in the last month, resulting in 141 deaths and numerous injured again.
Yet all our representatives in Washington seem to do is
offer up thoughts and prayers.
Well, you know what those 26 dead in Sutherland Springs, Tx
were doing they were PRAYING for all the good it did!
So Members of Congress shove your “thoughts and prayers”
where the sun don’t shine and pass legislation to restrict/control
the type of guns used in these killings.
Do it so we don’t have to offer up thoughts and prayers, so we don’t have
to keep burying our family members. So we as a nation can stop
grieving.


 

Bringing the last cup of coffee to her deck on the back of the house, she lights the citronella candle but sets it under the table,
the smell bothers her but it is necessary to keep mosquitos from having her as a midnight snack. Walking across the deck, down the stairs she
double checks the lock on the gate around the pool, locked but doesn’t hurt to check. She notices as she goes back up the main stairs that
her knees are a little more achy than usual, age and wear catching up. She sets down and takes a deep cleansing breath of the country air, the smell of
freshly cut grass,  the oxygen and scent of green leafed trees, lilacs beginning to bloom and fill the air with that unmistakable aroma.

Leaning back taking a sip of her coffee she slips off her shoes and pulls another chair closer to rest her feet. She listens
to the night sounds, the rustle of small animals as they hide from their predators, the rabbits under the garden shed have learned
to stay in the center so the strays can’t dig out to get them. She listens with eyes half closed and as the sounds of the night begin to soothe her,  nerves and burdens wash away.

Big fat bullfrogs in the  old pond having a midnight snack of mosquito larvae with their burps of “brooaaack” when they need more room,
lightning bugs darting in and out of the trees, playing tag much the way the children did when younger, trying to catch them in jars.
Hearing the fish jump as a big turtle slides into the pond looking for a meal, these are the sounds of serenity for her.

Suddenly she hears coyotes yipping and yapping, howling at the moon a little too close for comfort,  disturbing all the animals from dogs, cattle,  chicken, and sheep.
She rises quietly from the deck chair walking to the back door easing it open so as not to wake anyone, she lifts up her shotgun and makes sure it is loaded.
Hoping she won’t have to use it but she can’t afford to lose any more stock. Her husband comes out asking “coyotes again?”  She nods her head as he grabs a chair scooting it close to hers, he walks over lifts her
feet from the chair, sits and begins to rub them for her, ” umm I knew there was a reason I married you” she laughs. They continue to sit on the deck in the comfortable sounds of the night and long-term companionship, love for their life and each other evident. She begins to hum then sing her favorite hymn, then like crazy teenagers they belt it out together. Contentment.
© Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved

TAMMY ‘N JEB


Tammy stands over the old red and white enameled pot set on the old boards she had found and put together as her table, her hands in the steaming water washin up fast as she can. The ache in her back is hurtin something fierce and she knows it’s time for the baby, lawd she’s scared.

Jeb’s daddy let her stay here in this ol shack since her pa kicked her out, but he ain’t been back since he showed her where it was at. Said that was all he could do fer her since he dinna know for sure if’n the babe was Jebs, but he knew, her and Jeb been together since they was the size of newborn pups. Their mommas had been best friends here in these hills all their lives, Jebs momma passed from that lung disease and her momma not allowed by pa to see her if she even knew where she was a stayin.

Oh the aches getting bad need to hurry, she had the bed all sterile and clean, her knife ready to cut the cord, old rags, and blankets, plenty of hot water. Sure wish momma was here Lord, sure I do, she wrung out the rag dried her hands on the apron stretched taut across her belly, turning to eyeball her surroundings and making sure she had all she needed. The thaw had come and there was a leak or two in the tarpaper roof so she had moved the bed closer to the wood stove, which also made it easier to keep the fire going from the bed. Ohhhh, time to lay down the pressure getting heavier, the ache was sharper pains now and had been for a while but she had to make sure all was ready. She moved the small wash basin closer to the bed and sat down on the side of the shuck mattress she had made. Lying back she tried to remember how she had seen the animals do when it was their time, so she slowed her breathing and began to relax.

Time passed and the pain became more intense, like the water lapping up on the dirt at the fishing hole when they all jumped in rushing up then fading back again and again. Tammy soon began to writhe with the pain drawing her legs up and twisting back and forth. She began to dream of a cool cloth and soft hands on her face and forehead, someone making shooshing sounds as she cried out.

“Jeb, Jeb where are you?” she heard not realizing it was she crying out for him. The day became night as told by the oilcloth-covered window with a half- moon shining through, the cool hand on her brow again “shhh, child shhh,” soon a piece of cloth was placed in her mouth and she was told to bite down and push. Push hard she did as somewhere in the recesses of her mind she knew the pain would end soon if she did. Minutes later the soft mew of a babes cry was heard and Tammy fell off to sleep without knowing boy or girl or who the angel was that helped her.

Three months had passed and Glorianna Tamara Logan lay in the basket her Moma had weaved and built for her, Tammy tended her small garden planted and grown from seed gathered last fall. Tammy had a rabbit she had caught that morning for their supper cooking on the wood stove and a few fresh vegetables were all it needed. She gathered up the few carrots she had pulled, reaching for Glory in her basket she felt someone watching her. She turned quickly to the tree line and back around to the shack, looking but seeing no one, nothing, only the wreath of wildflowers hung on the door and the two old chickens she had traded wood for.  Gathering up her slingshot, the babe and her vegetable bag she felt a shiver run down her spine and the hair on the back of her neck and arms stand up. Scurrying as fast as her bare feet would allow with her burdens she raced to the shack she called home now and slammed the door dropping the old fence post as her makeshift lock to keep critters out mostly across the door. Going to the window she dropped the oilcloth then pulled back the corner to peek out, still not seeing anything she backed up to get her slingshot and knife when she bumped into someone, screaming as strong arms wrapped around her and held her, Glory joining in with her cries.

“Tammy hush, hush, it’s me Jeb, ah my girl hush tis alright.” With that Tammy turned and fell in closer crying out “Jeb, Jeb oh my Lord it is you.”
Later after settling and feeding Glorianna, they began to talk about all that had happened, with Jeb telling her of the Kansas prairie and the thousand acres he had claimed for them planted it with wheat as golden as the sun. He had built a log house just three rooms but it would be home. He had worked day and night at anything he could find and now he was here to get his family and take them home.

Their journey from the hills of Alabama to the flatlands of Kansas began the next day in the year of 1930.

GLORIANA’S STORY
“Glory, Beth ya’ll get in here an git your pa’s lunch.”
Beth my four-year-old sister and me, I’m six, ran from under the shade tree in the front yard into the kitchen where momma had us to fetch lunch.
We came from Alabama in 1930 to the golden state of Kansas for some prairie land that Pa said would keep us for life. He showed us pictures on a paper that the railroad had brought, it had grapes as big as watermelons and tomatoes like the sun and far as an eye could see fields of wheat all gold like momma said Jesus’ crown was like, it sparkled pretty.
Momma hitched up the team of horses and Beth caught her dress on a nail getting in the buggy scratching her leg and tearing her dress she started cryin like an old baby, it was just a lil blood, I’da spit on it, wiped it off and gone on but Beth just kept crying. Momma said, “Glorianna, take your Pa his lunch tell him we will see him at supper.”
I was so scared I ain’t never drove the horses by myself afore, what if I go the wrong way I asked momma, she just smiled patted my leg and said: “you know the way, just listen to the sounds they will guide you.” I clicked the horses and off we went I was excited but oh so scared, pretty soon I noticed how the sun was so warm and the breeze so cool. The land for acres and acres was just rich and loamy smelling, the birds overhead just sailed on singing their songs to one another, once in a while swoopin down to grab a worm or bug.
Wasn’t long I heard pa’s new International tractor and knew I was close, I heard him tell momma once he wanted one of them John Deere’s but they was a mite costly, momma said she liked it cause it was green, I ain’t never seen a green deer afore.  Pa said that was okay he could plow forty-fifty acres a day with the tractor no matter what kind, beat 2-3 acres with the old team we brought from ‘bama.
I finally reached where he was a plowin, it sure was pretty that tractor so shiny red and white, turnin green into a river of liquid chocolate with each turn of the earth. Like God had said “here is the valley of hard work but rich with reward if you’re willing to do it”,  pa and momma was.  I sat on that buggy watchin as swirls of wind danced across the fields with little pockets of dust in the heat of the noonday.
Pretty soon pa turned and saw me sitting there waiting on him. He came chugging up fairly close but not enough to spook the horses then walked on over, I handed him a water jug he took a big swig then whipped off his hat and wet his kerchief wiping his face afore putting his hat back on, the kerchief back  around his neck making his collar all wet but cool. “Where’s your momma and Beth?” I told him what happened, he just smiled taking a big bite of the ham sandwich momma had made for him. “You better head on back for the rain starts,” he told me nodding to the north  and then I realized that the sun had clouded over and the wind had picked up a bit, a lil shiver ran over me and I kissed his cheek and he grabbed the water jug trekking off towards the tractor. I turned the buggy back towards the house, thinking of writing my letters when I got back. Momma made sure I studied every day she said a woman can never be too smart in case she ever has to take care of herself. I wasn’t too sure what she meant but I liked my writing time.
I heard thunder and saw a crack of lightning just as I came over the knoll, momma and Beth were taking wash down, well momma was Beth was laughing and looked tangled up in some of it. Heading for the barn with the team I could see my mommas momma, my gram sittin on the porch she was a rocking kinda fast, she said storms here in Kansas made her nervous. She had been with us since I was a baby she liked to say how the night I was born she found momma alone and needing her so she delivered me. I am kinda confused on that one cause pa says he found me in a turnip patch, but why would momma leave me in the turnip patch?
Momma came to put the horses away, I got them some feed and we both ran for the house just as the sky opened up and the rain came. Laughing we ran up the porch steps and Beth scooted off Grams lap and ran to momma so I took her place.  I love my gram she is so soft and her face has lots of lines, her eyes are the prettiest green and momma says her hair used be the color of cherries now it is so long, thick and she wears it in a long rope-like braid that goes to her bottom to sit on when she takes the pins out.
“Momma, tell the girls how you came to be here with us.”  Momma looked at me and winked then I knew she was just trying to get Grams mind off the storm which would pass soon. Gram started rocking me and Beth stuck her thumb in her mouth and climbed on mommas lap. Momma grabbed a light quilt from the rail to toss over her little legs, she would be asleep before long.
“Well, let me see now” gram started. “I had found your momma in Logan’s old shack and helped bring you into the world Glory and when I went back home your Grandpa was mad as that old wet hen,” she nodded toward the chickens out in the yard running for the coop or the porch to get out of the rain.
“He was sick by then with the lung disease knowing he didn’t have much time left and he was still mad at your momma too for taking up with your Pa. By the time you were a few months old Glorianna, your grandpa had passed and I was just about ready to go get  your momma and bring you both home when your ma and pa pulled into the yard one morning with all the belongings they had, headed for Kansas, when your Pa asked me to come with ya’ll I couldn’t say no now could I?”

Gram died that year of 1935, her lungs were bad and the dust, oh the dust how it got to us all.
We buried her out by the stream where the willow trees shaded her. Momma planted wildflower seed we had gathered earlier so that next spring it would be pretty for gram, Pa carved her a really pretty cross with even her name written in it, we all sang Amazing Grace, Grams favorite hymn.
We loved and played and grew, Momma and I planted sweet peas along the fence row by the chicken coop that next spring. Momma and Pa went to town one day and came back with two old sows one that was expecting momma said. “Expecting what?” I asked Pa laughed when momma turned red and stammered “Us to eat her I guess” wasn’t long I figured out what she meant.
Beth had been outside and she comes running in hoopin and a hollerin that there were baby pigs…sure nuf ten of em boy they were cute but when Pa heard me say that he just laughed sayin “they’ll look cuter with a couple fried eggs and as a slice of ham”.
Life went on and the wheat came in there was a great threshing bee, men came from all over to help and seemed to me for miles all you could see was big bunches of gold,  Mom and Pa just smiled whenever a wagon load left the farm. It was fun watching all the men work, like watching ants scurrying about.
I especially liked visiting their camp, well the cooks’ wagon mostly, Cookie made the best cookies and sweets ever.  Then at night we would sit out on our porch and listen to the guitar and fiddle playing, the music coming up the hill and right to us. Momma said she wished they could have brought her moms piano from Alabama, she missed being able to play, I didn’t know she could play and didn’t even know what a piano was or looked like.

The end of summer came and Pa had some of the men from the threshing stay to help him add two rooms to our house so now Mom had a proper parlor. My birthday came and I got a new dress and some new shoes but the most exciting was a book of blank paper and a new pencil so I could write all the stories in my head. Momma said I had good story sense so I should write them down.

It had been awhile since we had rain but we sure had wind it blew and blew strong, wasn’t long and pa was complainin how he would no more get the seed in and the wind blew it away. The winter wheat was coming in but it was thin and sick looking without moisture.
Pretty soon men with their families loaded on wagons started coming by asking for work and telling how the wind dried up everything in Oklahoma, Colorado and even family farms right here in  Kansas but a different part.
I watched as my pa’s hair started turning gray at the sides and momma had a furrow like we planted in on her forehead. And the wind kept blowing and dust was beginning to get everywhere.  Momma,  Beth and I would do up the wash hang it out then here comes the dust so that we had to rewash, again and again, finally momma just gave up and we let them dry then shook out what we could before putting on the now rough, gray colored clothing. It seemed the more the wind blew the more of the earth is exposed and the more that grit from the earth ended up in and on everything. Even in our food and our teeth, momma kept brushing our hair braiding and pinning it to the tops of our heads trying to keep as much dust out as possible. Our well dried up and the animals began to suffer, Pa had to put them down to keep them from suffering. We shared with the others Pa had allowed to stay on the farm and camp, the only fun part was momma had other women folk to talk to and we had other children to play with.
There was a lot of quilting and some canning, not much it was so dry nothing much grew. The hot winds blew and the menfolk counted days without rain as they walked the dry gritty fields.

Rain didn’t come and didn’t come, Pa hired a man that walked around with a stick like a ‘Y’ turned upside down, he called it a ‘divinen rod’ said it could lead to water but he couldn’t find but a trickle here and there.  A traveling preacher come by a time or two he preached hellfire and brimstone saying only prayer could bring the rain one time, next time he said it didn’t rain cause we was all sinners. I just know rain didn’t come and we needed it desperately.  I could hear pa and the men talk about how bad it was and pa said we may have to up and leave go back to Alabama. The other men talked about going home too.
The final straw I guess come when the wheat was up enough to cut one last time, it wasn’t much just enough to feed a small herd or make them beds but Pa was determined to get as much as he could, then one day the air just above ground level began to darken.
Everyone was shading their eyes looking at this dark cloud that seemed to be getting closer and closer, then all at once a great cacophony of noise like we had never heard before. Then we were being hit hard by grasshoppers swarms of them their hard shells bursting when they hit and their life’s blood like tobacco juice running everywhere and the noise oh my the noise. We barricaded inside but they seemed to find a crack and get in, we stomped them hit them with our hands and the more we did the more there were.
The grasshoppers left as quickly as they arrived and left pure devastation to what little we had, not a stalk of wheat nor a green living plant anywhere to be found just yards and yards of dead grasshoppers.
Wet roads are rutted but the grass and trees are green the air is cool and the breeze blows mommas thinning gray hair into her eyes. Beth is lying in mommas lap sleepin Pa whistlin as he drives the wagon it’s almost like he’s happy to be back in ‘bama.
Pa says he left his life here to make a new one and now it’s time to start a new chapter in an old part of his life back in the same place he left, he laughs as he shakes his head.
Momma reaches over and takes his hand they both smile as he gives her hand a lil squeeze.
I can write and dream anywhere so I’ll be ok here in this place I was born but don’t remember.
© Copyright 2017, All Rights Reserved