Friday, May 2, 2008

I Heard Grandma in the Tea

I wonder where that teapot is
the wedding gift
god awful olive green
circa 1970
like my marriage
also circa seventies
eventually lost its steam.

In the back of my mind
that green whistle shrill
mimicking grandma’s pot
and bringing back
a capsule in time
her two room flat
train whistle in the dark
the tick of the clock
the new pendulum grandpa made
when that timekeeper lost its tock.

The sound of sirens
from down in the street
the squeak of the springs
climbing up on the bed
nestled in the corner
of the living room
and the plaintive wail
of the barely weaned puppy
she brought in from the cold
and kept.

The scratch of the squirrel
with claws on the glass
looking for nuts
through the window
she fed them from.
The sound of a waif
who finds sanctuary
and wishes life were easy as that
while sobs find their way
from a chest that hurts
and is too small
and too young
to contain them.

The squeal of the hinges on the oven door
as she takes out the pie to cool.
The ice box door clicking shut
as she pours cold milk for me
and sips her tea
while telling of the apple picking
rhubarb and sugar
and sensory stories
sweet and robust
much like the liquid
and to a sensitive child
drinking very much like love.

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A few Thoughts...

When I think about it, my own life is no less rich and the living no less inspiring than my pioneering ancestors and I come from a long line of Indians and outlaws so don't ever turn your back on me!

Life is, after all, a slice of human consciousness lived from its place in human evolution. "From here to eternity" as it were-- from earth to the stars, from personal space to cyberspace, from a small local footprint to the world reduced to the size of a notebook and sitting on your lap!

As a child I lived with the perpetual and immenent threat of annihilation. That's child abuse! It wasn't a kid-friendly world and I couldn't understand why the grown-ups who were in charge weren't doing something?

So at age seven with my face in the window eyes turned up into the night sky and staring at the stars I made a vow: "When I am a grown-up, I will do something."

My writing is that something and I write to "simply change the world." If that sounds like a lack of humility it isn't because I know that one person absolutely can change the world and I've met some who have.

Kay Kennedy put together an anthology that puts the reader in the midst of history to view it from the inside out.

When I was in high school and even college, history classes were stale and boring featuring memorization and regurgitation of dates that coincided with events that had no human face, certainly no magic, and no life!

Anthologies are great fun and stores are rich remembrances. History books chronicle; stories are little narrative slices of living. History comes alive through story. I often think of my grandmother and her story, her life-- the history she lived. In her lifetime she saw humankind evolve from horse and buggy to man on the moon.

I was a sixties kid and for the youth of the sixties, turmoil, disillusionment, and revolution were everyday 'business as usual'. Like a radio perpetually on low volume, fear and death dronned on in the background. The superpowers threatened to extinguish all life on the planet, the Vietnam War was escalating and peers were being escorted home under American Flag blankets. The civil rights and equal rights movements were testing human civility, and faster than one could recover from one shock another real life hero would fall to yet another assassin. Despair was commonplace. Contrast that with a man on the moon... we could conquer space travel but couldn't make nukes or war obsolete! It was a time when youth needed hope because hope was scarce. When it was finally resurrected, it came in the form of idealism and a philosophy of brotherly and universal love. Perfect principles; imperfect execution.

For others who contributed to "Looking Back," the history is different for each because the "times" were different as well as the perspective of the individuals. The stories of human societal evolution are enlightening, heartwarming, poignant and spellbinding. They put a human face on the past.

And there are people now who are putting a face on the future...