Joy, Jargon and Justice

The prompt for Day 12 was to use alliteration…this entry is extreme.  In fact, I considered not posting, but hey…  My daughter enlisted in the Marines just about a year ago, so I guess she is on my mind.

Already awesome Anne
Barely back from Bath & Body works, basketball
Camp and community college
Decidedly displayed determination with
Extra self examination and
Foresight into fabulous new frontiers.  My
Grateful, glorious, goal-setting girl
Hurried happily to
Improve, inquire and inject her life with a
Jolt of joy, jargon and justice.
Kinship keeps you kicking, she finds.
Loyalty leveraged and loaded by every
Motivational morning Marine Corps., masters of
Notorious but noble
Objectives of orientation and obeying.
Practice, prepare, protect and partner, because
Quantifiable and quantitative results are expected.
Recruited, responsible, reliable, real, robust and raucous
So simple, silly…Semper Fi.


A Billion Tiny Hearts

It rained last night.
The cushions on the patio furniture are wet.
I spend a lot of time on the patio
watching the birds.
The birds do not give a hoot
(Ha!  Get it?)
or a tweet
(Oh!  I can be so funny.)
if I watch them.

I do not drive very much.
I fly
like the birds.

This nonsense is brought to you by 3:41 am.

And speaking of time,
it took my blonde
which my husband insists was red.
Maybe he is color-blind
or imaginative.

And speaking of imagination,
there are 7.49 BILLION hearts beating tonight.
What if we could touch them?
What if 7.49 billion tiny, delicate paper hearts
came floating down from heaven?
Just to remind us we have one.
A heart, that is.

What causes so much hatred?
Rain makes everything wet.  Everything.
Time takes everyone’s blonde.  Everyone’s.
(It is 4:08 am.)
God.  I am tired.

When I was a girl
I did not think about god much.
Then for a while I did.
Now.  Not so much.

Now I think of tiny paper hearts.
And I fly
like the birds.


Wild Violets

In the spring in the suburbs
the lawns start to grow and
the neighbors peer
over their fences to compare
dogwoods and daffodils
and errant dandelions.

Civilizing an unruly season

The lawn services appear
to spray “emergent” before
thunderstorms can wash the chemicals away and
the pool guys arrive in their
vans that say Aloha and
Paradise while a teenager
drags hoses and chlorine to the
green, murky mess in the backyard.

Civilizing an unruly season

There’s nothing wrong with
a few dandelions, clover or little wild violets
except they are just that, wild
and if growth cannot be fenced,
bordered, contained or corralled,
it does not belong in the suburbs.

Civilizing an unruly season

Listen Close

My mother said he didn’t talk enough.
Yes, he did.  You weren’t listening.
My brother said he wasn’t a good teacher.
Yes, he was.  You weren’t paying attention.

He was a minimalist in outward expression.
A master at observation.

You could just be with him.
Fish with him.  It was probably a series of re-hooking, line-tying, bull-head removing frustration.  He never showed it.
Walk with him.  If he went off alone, he would come back with a couple apples from some secret tree he knew of.  We would eat them right then, juice running down to our elbows.  One time he came to get me.  He found a litter of feral kittens in the hole at the base of a tree.
Pick blackberries with him.  He would surreptitiously hand me the biggest, ripest ones, the gift of an August afternoon.

Everyone said he was very lucky
at dice and cards
in the Navy.
Always thought I was
the lucky one.


Ronovan Writes Weekly Haiku Poetry Prompt Challenge #144

Simple childhood game
I spy with my little eye
Innocent wonder


A thousand sequins
Shimmer in the deep dark sky
The stars must wonder
As they spy on earth below
Why heaven hangs so very high


Grandpa bent in the grass
Searching for a four leaf clover

During the lazy lull of summer
He found dozens

And bird feathers- one hundred or more
Pressed in books

Casual tokens from afternoons
Spent in slender green meditation

Or was it to escape my grandmother?


Cedar Waxwings

Cedar waxwings perch
Black masked birds in the maple
Sunny morning gift

Cedar waxwings flock
Fifteen beauties, nature’s art
A Saturday sight

Cedar waxwings fly
Grandfather’s favorite bird
Feathered memories

Cat Haiku

Sweet gray cat sleeping
Closed eyes, pink nose, white whiskers
Sweet gray cat dreaming

Cuddle with me please
Soft strokes, chin scratches, cheek rub
Contented purring


Outlier Worries

To be an outlier in a retail environment means a.)  Your store is so far out of the district’s main territory that the DM does not visit much and b.)  Your store will have to be on an outlier call, which is a “come to Jesus” thrashing where you better explain why the store did not meet sales, did not meet credit, did not meet payroll, did not meet receiving, did not meet training and generally did not meet, just, well, “did not.”

Retail is more than shopping.  Retail is more than Black Friday.  Retail is more than racks of clothes, shelves of toys, appliances and electronics all set to a corporate plan-o-gram.  Real people with goals, hopes, dreams and families work retail and sometimes their lives do not fit in a plan-o-gram.

Here is what it was like to work HR in an outlier store of a major retailer:

An all too common and, sadly, often repeated conversation with my married, 47 year old boss who perpetually and pathetically pursued 20 year old women associates went something like this:
Me:  Why is she texting you?
Boss:  I don’t know.
Me:  How did she get your number?
Boss:  I don’t know.
Me:  This does not reflect well on you.  This is making other associates uncomfortable.
Boss:  -blank stare-
Me:  Well, just stop it or it will need to be documented.
-I leave-  His behavior was documented on more than one occasion, but corporate did nothing.

Every month the P&L would print.  One sheet, tiny print.  The store stubbornly entrenched in the bottom 10% of the company.  Every month I would stare at this paper with the tiny print looking for something positive.  Every month I would bring the paper with the tiny print to my boss who would wearily smile, because he knew what was coming next.  I would proceed with my thoughts on how we could, maybe, with hard work and dedication, get ourselves out of the bottom 10%.  Every month he would tell me the same thing:  “You don’t need to be worrying about this stuff.”
Toward the end, in desperation, and totally disobeying the company policy of not giving proprietary information away, I brought the P&L home to show my husband.  My husband knew we were breaking rules looking at this paper with the tiny print, but he was probably as weary as my boss and simply decided to take a look.  My husband has a finance degree, 30 years of management experience and has mentored dozens of interesting, fabulous people, so surely he could help me lift the store up, set us straight and, if nothing else, for God’s sake, tell me what all these tiny numbers mean.  With his best patient smile, he went line by line, category by category and percentage by percentage until he finally said, “you don’t need to be worrying about this stuff.”

When former employees see me in Kroger, after they give me a hug, they say, “you probably don’t remember me.”  Oh, but I do.  Your daughter was getting her master’s degree in education.  Your husband was in a car accident.  You had to leave at two o’clock to pick up your grandson.  You liked working in jewelry, but not returns.  You had diabetes, but still drank a liter of Pepsi at lunch.  You wished your ex-husband would reconcile.  Your mother-in-law fell and broke her hip.  Oh, yes, I remember.  I was with you.

I was in charge of attendance records.  Your dog died.  Your aunt died.  Your third cousin died.  Your neighbor’s hamster died.  Any relative, friend or acquaintance you ever knew, did not know or even remotely heard of died.  All of them.  Everyone of them died four times over.  I was with you.

I was in charge of store morale and psychiatry.  Would I call someone to cover your shift?  Can you take a leave of absence and still get paid?  Do I think you should buy a house or get a dog or have a second baby?  How do I establish my credit?  Would I look good as a blonde?  What would you do, Ms. Diane?  I called corporate looking for employee assistance when we had a tornado.  I called corporate looking for medical bill assistance when a baby was born premature.  I bought birthday cakes, retirement cakes and anniversary cakes.  I was with you.

I worried myself into a promotion.  A promotion I did not even apply for, because I spent so much time worrying about whether I should apply…or not.  And when I accepted the new position, I was told I would need to do my old job, too.  When a new individual was hired for my old position I would need to train them, and by the way, it would be great if you would coordinate the corporate volunteer program.  But there was still that pesky P&L with the tiny print.  When I expressed concern about the challenges of trying to attempt three jobs and raise the tiny print of the P&L, I was nonchalantly told, “oh we never meet those goals. You don’t need to be worrying about that.”




The Old People I Know Remember Five Digit Phone Numbers


The old people I know
tell stories
about finding parking at the Christmas eve service
about (mis)adventures at the AT&T store
about why they won’t go to Charleston, because they are afraid they will fall and break a hip.


The old people I know
paint with watercolors
read poetry
and go to the doctor.


The old people I know
eat at McDonald’s
follow baseball
and remember Guadalcanal.


Uncle Harry fell asleep
at my father’s memorial service.
Death becomes so common
that you fall asleep
at your brother’s funeral.


The old people I know have
a marvelous, silly grace
a quirky insight
and a decaying body.


How wonderful, the old people.
God save the old people.
But he doesn’t.
The old people I know go to church, though.
Maybe they are saved
and I don’t even know it.


The old people I know
remember five digit phone numbers.
RE 4-2543 is what my mom used to say.


The old people I know have driveways.
And when I back away I wonder.
Is this the last time I will see this house?
Is this the last time I will see you?
But we act casual.
Like it is nothing, really.


Good bye old person who I love so much.
With forced smiles and
guilty good byes
we make it seem like
no big deal to
the old people I know.