I’M NOT DONE YET … AND OTHER RESPONSES TO THE LAST WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

“When I was young and miserable and pretty
And poor, I’d wish
What all girls wish: to have a husband,
A house and children. Now that I’m old, my wish
Is womanish:
That the boy putting groceries in my car

See me. ”
Randall Jarrell, Selected Poems



What a generous and engaging response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, I Am Beautiful Now, February 6, 2019. I guess we all have something to say about aging: poignant, wry, wise, well considered. You’ll find a lot to munch on here today.

Thanks to Julie Standig (and a warm welcome), Paul Brookes, Irma Do, Jen Goldie, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Marta Pombo Sallés (welcome back), Mike Stone, and Anjum Wasim Dar.  Well done, poets, and thank you!

Enjoy this stellar collection and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt.


I’m Not Done Yet

I lost my ovaries a week ago:
no, they were not misplaced,
like my keys, cell phone and eye
glasses. They were unruly
so, like that bad student years ago,
they were removed. Don’t miss ‘em.
Don’t need ‘em.

Heads no longer turn when I walk
down the street,and when I meet
my daughter on Columbus, the waiter
barely takes my order, but quickly
knows to hand me the cheque.
I expect it.

I’m the oldest woman at work.
My earrings don’t hang as long,
my heels are not too high,
and my hair is quite short.
I wear pants, and if they’re tight
is more around the waist.

But I love nights filled with music,
wine and friends. Amber necklaces
and oversized rings that still slide
over my knuckles.
Words are comrades, still, and so far
they have not deserted me.

The lines around my mouth and
creases at my eyes, I wear like medals.
Not for bravery, or a war that was won.
I can’t win this war and I know it.
I have lost, I miss, yet I have no regrets.
Beware.
I’m not done yet.

© 2019, Julie Standig

JULIE STANDIG was born in Brooklyn, grew up in Queens, lived on Long Island. She now splits time between New York City and Doylestown.PA. She has studied at the Unterberg Poetry Center,participated in Writer’s Voice and is an active member of a private workshop in NYC.  Published in Alehouse Press, Arsenic Lobster and Covenant of the Generations, Then and Now Issue of Sadie Girl Press, as well as the online journal, Rats Ass Review. Her first chapbook, Memsahib Memoir  has just been released by Plan B Press and is currently working on her next project.

Poetry is her voice and it has taken a long time to find it. She works her way through loss and dementia and her love of life. She writes on trains, in cars, Central Park walks, late at night and always somewhere between New York City and Doylestown.


Old Are Young

My wrinkles disappear,
No more crow’s feet.

Knees lack pain when I get up,
or walk stairs. Mind so pin sharp

it hurts. Touch my toes,
cartwheel, run marathons.

I’ve had to throw away my false teeth,
As I’ve grown new ones.

Age means less struggle.
Life should be struggle.

Age means less pain .
Everything should hurt.

I tell my wrinkled grandkids.
Never grow old. Wish it on no one.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow. Inspiration / History / Imagination)

My Decrepit Is Good

Bring on grey hairs turn to silver.
Bring on sharp pain in the knees
as I hobble downstairs, deafness
is my body’s editor.

Bring on memory loss
as I know no different.
Bring me my stick,
my arrow of desire.

Bring it all on, fuzzy brain,
misty sight, zimmer frame,
adult nappy’s, oxygen through
plastic tubes, a knowing.

Bring on wrinkles, laugh lines,
tang of autumn, radical spice
of spring, footskate winter,
wild summer, all natural process.

© 2019, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow. Inspiration / History / Imagination)

Biddy To A Young God

Have you some anti aging cream
in your warm skin young god
for as you caress these ancient hands
this bent body wintered
the wrinkles smooth out?

You have planted fresh
delight in these eyes
that sprout visions again
as when I was a young girl.

You have breathed
through my cold embers
and stroked warmth
into this thin skin.

My face has plumpness
and reddens
as your hands find flesh
for my angled skull.

My limbs no longer bare
begin to dress themselves
with buds and colour
for your lustful eyes.

Perhaps these changes
are only in your eyes,
and this puddle reflection
may be false, a false Spring.

From forthcoming book “Stubborn Sod”, Alien Buddha Press, 2019

© 2019, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow. Inspiration / History / Imagination)

Bairns Are Old Codgers

Before I get taken to play at my soft playcentre,
my one year granddaughter toddles with her zimmer frame.
Later we will take her to the memory cafe
where she’ll remember her past lives.
“Hard”, of before dawn and midnight hours:
A welder in the Clyde shipyard, 1942.
“Stinks that,” she says of the steel shavings, and Swarfega.
“Heavy”, of the hammer…
A kitchen servant in a big house.
“Hurts”, of calloused pestle and mortared deferment…
I’m all giddy at tumble down
slides, scramble nets and ballpools.

From “A World Where”, Nixes Mate Press, 2017

© 2019, Paul Brookes (Wombwell Rainbow. Inspiration / History / Imagination)

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes


Chive On – A Limerick

There once was woman, aged forty five

Who felt her life was somewhat contrived

Despite her face being full of lines

She still wrote some pretty good rhymes

So she just stayed calm and continued to chive.

If you haven’t heard the phrase, “Keep calm and Chive on,” there is a link in the limerick explaining this saying. The last line was originally going to say “So she said “F#%& that” and continued to thrive” but I thought the modern reference was a “cooler” ending.

I’m turning a significant age this year (five years until half a century!), and like Jamie, I too feel quite comfortable at this age. Maybe it’s because despite my advanced age (thank you for that phrase, medical community!), I actually don’t feel “old”. I feel more secure in myself, more confident, more daring – all characteristics that are related to gaining experience and self knowledge, which can only come with age.

So this fun poem reflects the fun that I’m having now – being a mom, a runner, a partner, a friend, a writer – despite of or probably, because of, my advanced age!

© 2019, poem and photo, Irma Do (I Do Run … And I Do a Few Other Things Too)

Fighting Age

Combing through darkness

Five stand, admitting defeat

Plucked out – victory!

I’ve written a lot of poetry lately, but I’ve also done a fair share of running this past week. Thursday’s short 4 mile run was so hot that I couldn’t even even run the last two miles of it. My head was pounding and I was starting to feel dizzy. I felt defeated and annoyed at my inability to do these minimal miles.

Saturday, I ran 11 miles in cool weather with a slight drizzle and I felt great! I felt like I could have finished another 2 miles for an impromptu half marathon (I didn’t though, as coffee and a bagel was calling my name). I felt elated and victorious, ready to conquer the rest of the day.

Poetry and running keep my soul from getting old and stagnant. I never know what to expect but the range of feelings I experience before, during and after every run is similar to my writing experience. What a blessing to have both in my life and to also have a community of wonderful people to share it with!

© 2019, Irma Do (I Do Run … And I Do a Few Other Things Too)

Details

I zero in

On the cracks in the walls

The spaces between the tile and grout

The layer of dust on the grand piano

The peeling Formica under 80’s sought after giveaway cups

The places where your innovative nature took precedence over getting the job done right.

I zero in

On the grays in your hair

And the spots on your hands

The slowness in your cane aided walk

Your mouth agape during your afternoon nap

The hand me up shirt you’ve been wearing for decades because it still fits

I zoom out

And see the humor and kindness in your eyes

The hands that lovingly prepare my favorite meal

The 20 year old bed that fits generations

The clock where time has stopped but happiness lives on

The struggle of remembering and honoring and forgetting and accepting.

I zoom out

And notice what you do without

What you’ve sacrificed

What you’ve preserved

What you’ve done with love

What you’ve done for love.

I zero in on that detail.

© 2019, Irma Do (I Do Run … And I Do a Few Other Things Too)


Come,
see me now.

I am, the wind in your sails
when storms cause you fear,
I am, the love on your skin
when complexion gives in,
I am strength in your bones
as your bones become thin,
You will know me by sight
when your sight isn’t clear,
When darkness is near,
You will deny any fear.
I am the warmth
of your Sun.
and the light
of your Moon.
I am everything
you know,
I am everything
you knew
Who am I?

I am you.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Jen Goldie, Poetry and Short Stories)

Scorched Bones

Gathering thoughts
of remembrance
Time stood still.

My kind eyes
Muddied by a world
Full of hate,
We see everyday.

This is not
Where I want to be
This is not
What I want to see.

My gentle, trusting
Nature being worn
Away by the news
The confusion I see.

This is not
Where I want to be
This is not
What I want to see.

Beauty dying In front
of me not naturally
But gradually, and
strategically on course.

This is not
Where I want to be
This is not
What I want to see.

I and my friends
losing Grace, misplaced
Days dwindling by
Shortening time.

This is not where
I want to be
This is not what
I want to see.

Gone is the wonder
Gone is the trace of
Smiles erupting
on this aging face.

This is not where
I want to be
This is not what
I want to see.

God give me grace.
When the loving warmth
Of the final fire
scorches my bones.

This is not where
I want to be
This is not what
I want to see.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Jen Goldie, Poetry and Short Stories)

The Tallest Tree

Graying hairs, and
Weakened bones
Could snap as the fragile
Aging branches
Of the tallest tree.
I am now as tall
As I’ll ever be.
Time is mine to keep.
My eyes have opened
Though I can hardly see,
my limbs have
taken me the distance
and no longer carry me.
I am wind and I am sea,
The heavens tenderly
Beckon me,
My arms are open.
Please
look
at
me.

© 2019, Jen E. Goldie (Jen Goldie, Poetry and Short Stories)


.the rain came suddenly.

sun, was done and dusted.

by the slate they talked, shining.
faces older now, friendship retained.

learned a little more on life, the small
things, wisdom rings
the generations.

i did not need all the mange tout.

how beautiful

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.angel.

sit with me, talk to me
about yourself and things
surrounding.

i am older now, look
like this, and will harm,
no living thing.

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.these days these days.

are longer now, i feel younger now,

i am older. we do so many things.

we are no longer afraid.

make the best of summer days,

winter follows.

he remarked that it was

good enough

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher


Girl, my little pearl

Girl, my little pearl
you swirl in golden waters
when you wear the highest heels
when you show your slim body
when you put on that lovely dress
when you wear that perfect make-up
when you exhibit those expensive earrings
when your fingers and toe nails are so carefully painted
when you completely remove all your hairs
(except those on your head)
when your hair is dyed accordingly
(never forget to dye it when you grow older,
you should always look younger)

Girl, my little pearl
you still want to swirl in goldern waters
when you exhibit those piercings and tattoos
though they are not still enough,
so you will want to have some more, perhaps
some botox and breast size operations too.

And girl little pearl says:

I do not want to wear high heels,
they’ll ruin my feet and back forever.
I was not born with a slim body so
why should I want to have it?

I do not want to wear that lovely dress,
it’s terribly uncomfortable, unpractical,
has no pockets and it’s too cold now,
so why should I wear it?

I do not want that make-up made of chemicals affecting my health.

They always want to sell
and so they never tell.

The same with nail polish. I do not want it
unless I buy these things at the organic shop
just in case I changed my mind.
I do not have earholes for earrings.

Why does almost every girl have them
to mark their gender as soon as they’re born?

My mum has those earholes and wore once
some unexpensive pair of earrings, bad metal,
and ended up with red skin, red spots and allergy.

No, I do not want earholes to mark my gender differentiation.
I want to choose if I want them or not when I grow up.
As for my hair and its natural color,
I am perfectly satisfied, well, perhaps
some streaks to highlight a bit of color
together with shades of greys and whites.
I want to look my age, why younger?
I am getting older and have grey hairs.
So what? Will I be less of a woman
if I don’t dye my hair anymore?

I refuse irreversible things
like piercings and tattoos.
Some other women and men
may like them very much.
Perhaps they’ve been the luckiest ones
who had no health problems so far
after piercings and tattoos
marked their bodies
forever.

I do not want this on my body
I do not want to be obsessed by esthetics
I do not want to do something just because
it’s fashion, everyone does it.
I do not want to be who I am not
I want to be myself
I want to be appreciated for who I am.
And if somebody wants to love me
I’ll say, please, look first at my inside
and then you’ll be able to decide.

I am no girl, little pearl
to swirl in golden waters
I am simply who I want to be
now you just take me or leave.

© 2019, Marta Pombo Sallés (Moments)


A Dying Light

Raanana, July 14, 2017

Once when your light was at its zenith
We could see the possibilities of poetry
And now, and now,
Your light is swollen and bloodred
As it sinks below the crags of the far horizon
We would not venture to explore,
But even in the dying of your light
And the cold night that it portends,
You show us the way we all must tread
Through dreaded mindscape
That leads us lemminglike to fall free
Through the nothingness of nonexistence.
Though you would bid me follow you
Showing me the beauty here
Or the danger there,
You can only point at them
For words have deserted you,
Adjectives no longer describe
Nouns no longer are
Verbs no longer act,
And time itself was ever only deceit.

© 2017, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Retirement

Raanana, April 30, 2017

We sat at the kitchen table
The two of us as we did most evenings
Her eyes tear-brimmed.
I reached over and touched her arm
Why? I asked although I knew.
She had retired just a few months back
But I had kept on working
Til now.
We’ll turn into a couple of old people
It’s the last chapter of our lives, she said.
Both of us turned around and looked at Daisy
Snoring softly from her mattress
As she does most days now.
Neither of us could imagine life without her
But I sensed my wife’s sadness
Spilling and spreading out towards me
And I promised her
Wherever we’d go
We’d go together hand in hand
Til time’s far-flung end.

© 2017, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Wisdom

Raanana, April 4, 2017

And in the end
They’re right, you know,
The Hindus and the Buddhists:
All life is illusion
Cut adrift from the shores of reality
With a logic of its own
Like the shells on the beach
That my mother remembering
When she was a little girl
Picked up and put to her ear
And heard the sea in them.
This was the wisdom they talked about
Sitting around the fires
Toothless grins under a full moon,
A wisdom that is not a wisdom,
At all.

© 2017, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Trembling Hands

Raanana, October 8, 2016

My hands,
I look at them now
Trembling
As they are wont to do
And I wonder why
They do,
My hands.
My father’s hands trembled too,
More toward the end,
How I loved them,
His hands.
I think maybe they know something I don’t know,
My hands,
That starlight trembles in the night
From distance and the coldness of it,
That strings on violins tremble
From Sheherazade’s beauty,
Or remind me how my vulnerability
Lets me listen to your heartbeat.
O captain, my captain,
Perhaps your hand upon the wheel
Trembled before the port that was your destination.

© 2016, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Little Things

Raanana, January 3, 2019

The desert hills behind me
The white-flecked sea in front of me
Clouds roiling on the horizon
A chill wind shivers old bones.
That’s when the clementines are best
And a steaming cup of mud-black coffee.
The sky is golden just before dusk,
What more could one ask for?
My hands age while I watch,
I suppose, like everything else here.
Slowly,
It’s hard to tell,
If you don’t pay much mind,
Little things
Get subtracted from your life
Until there’s not much left
But I guess it’s simpler
To keep track of
What’s important
And what’s dying.

© 2019, Mike Stone (Uncollected Works)

Mike Stone’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Age Is An Unknown Thing

img_20190210_162610.jpg                                                      Photo Credit  CER  ©  2019

age is an unknown thing
in silence  passes by
begins and ends with a cry
has honey and ‘a  sting’

Age is but a shadow dark-
why shadows are always
dark ? as night and day
– it’s all time, at play-

age is but a phase
called child,adult, old,
beauty grace wrinkled
body, bent slow and cold

age is but wisdom, 
in metallic sounds, a
a syzygy of time and life
a digital pattern

age is but a state of
mind, manner and matter
‘as old as one thinks’
a gauge of strength’

age is but ‘no age for love’
immune to all seasons
mobility gifted, a graceful cage 
 of  moments measured.

IMG_20190210_162504
Photo Credit  CER  ©  2019

Age is but beauty even in  
withered state, often ‘over
or under’ or right grade,yet 
praised or un praised,

all must fade…

© 2019, poem (English and Urdu) and illustrations, Anjum Wasim Dar  (Poetic Oceans)

 ءمر کیا ھے

اک انجان  ھقیقت  
اک خاموش راہ گزر 
اک آنسو اک مٹھاس
اک تیز چبھن اک ڈنگ       

،اک سایہ گہرا ،سایہ
 گہرا کیوں ھوتا ھے؟
جیسے رات اور دن
جیسے وقت کا کھیل

ءمر اک دور ھے 
بچپن جوانی بڑھاپا
خوبصورت جھریاں 
قمر  جھکی ھویؑ

عمر عقل کا نام ھے
عمر اک سوچ ھے
عمر اک وقت  ھے
عمر اک زندگی ھے 

اک  زہن  کا  تصور
اک  طاقت کا  اندازہ
عمر بس پیار کی عمر
اک وقت مقررہ عمر 

 عمر سب خوبصورت
عمر   سب  کی کہانی
عمر   بڑی  یا  چھوٹی
عمر     سب  کی   فانی

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


ABOUT

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Poet and writer, I was once columnist and associate editor of a regional employment publication. I currently run this site, The Poet by Day, an information hub for poets and writers. I am the managing editor of The BeZine published by The Bardo Group Beguines (originally The Bardo Group), a virtual arts collective I founded.  I am a weekly contributor to Beguine Again, a site showcasing spiritual writers. My work is featured in a variety of publications and on sites, including: Levure littéraure, Ramingo’s PorchVita Brevis Literature,Compass Rose, Connotation PressThe Bar None GroupSalamander CoveSecond LightI Am Not a Silent PoetMeta / Phor(e) /Play, and California Woman. My poetry was recently read by Northern California actor Richard Lingua for Poetry Woodshed, Belfast Community Radio. I was featured in a lengthy interview on the Creative Nexus Radio Show where I was dubbed “Poetry Champion.”


The BeZine: Waging the Peace, An Interfaith Exploration featuring Fr. Daniel Sormani, Rev. Benjamin Meyers, and the Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi among others

“What if our religion was each other. If our practice was our life. If prayer, our words. What if the temple was the Earth. If forests were our church. If holy water–the rivers, lakes, and ocean. What if meditation was our relationships. If the teacher was life. If wisdom was self-knowledge. If love was the center of our being.” Ganga White, teacher and exponent of Yoga and founder of White Lotus, a Yoga center and retreat house in Santa Barbara, CA

“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.” Lucille Clifton

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16 Comments on “I’M NOT DONE YET … AND OTHER RESPONSES TO THE LAST WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

  1. Loved reading all these poems.They are wonderful.
    I found Wisdom and Age is an Unknown Thing particularly meaningful to me, but was a great first experience for me here. Thanks again!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Dear Respected Jamie Ji
    Thank you for this challenging prompt which brought forth multiple avenues to move through with words thoughts and experiences, personal worldly and classical. With a few more lines , I say that it is your amazing inspiration that leads to wonderful poetry shared here.

    Over my life
    I have drifted,
    along, with the flow-

    I came to know
    I have to go, be slow
    To move step by step
    shed tears drop by drop,

    Over my heart I found,
    nothing was my own
    It all had to be gifted,
    to known and unknown,

    Over my heart I saw,
    as inside I bled
    outside all was black ,

    as the invisible was red,
    love’s return, hard to find,
    to complete a good age

    we ourselves must be
    loving caring and kind.

    Thank you and Jazakallah Khair

    Liked by 1 person

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