Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Five Dollars an Hour

I've got the Neil Young of "Harvest" and "Comes a Time" in my head, impossible tasks at hand, and late night coffee on the way.  There's a heartfelt post waiting for the courage of a button-push that likely won't come.  In a majorly disappointing show of personal weakness, I've allowed people who toss around the word "love" and "God" as the predictable preface to condemning me to those warmer climes of fire and brimstone into my space, even into the holy interstices.  More personal weakness -- I fed the "love/God" Trolls.  These Trolls are already overweight, either in body, in malice, or in avarice, so I did at least limit their kibbly treats to low cal, tartar control, high protein pork products.

What has their "love" and public references to "God"schtuff taught me?  Well, there is the reminder that stress is terrible for CRPS, and derails my neverending efforts to control soma with psyche. It might be better put to say this instead of alluding to "control": Nothing can squelch my ardent desire for soma and psyche to so ardently entwine as to fog the view from these formerly sparkling big baby browns.

Actually, the glaucoma meds have these neat side effects!  No, not the itchy, redness and blurry vision, you jokers!  The double ring of beautiful greens that now surround my previously ordinary iris of backroad mud.

If you've never indulged, indulge -- take a look at your iris in a hand mirror.  It's a thing of beauty, no matter if brown, blue, or some exotic blend.  There are feathers in there, and light.  Infinity. The iris of a living eye puts the most masterful kaleidoscope to shame.

This will sound morbid, and for the longest time the memories were used in morbid fashion against me by that previously mentioned actor, psyche, but if you ever are with a being as life leaves his body, keep talking, and keep watching the eyes.  They are always beautiful and they always fade, sucked inward, subsumed, gone, at the moment of true death.  Keep looking as long as the situation allows, for the iris remains beautiful, and a marker, worth remembering.

In any event, maybe I just wanted the distraction of Trolls -- they're easy; they're stupid; they feed that misguided sense of "mission." Anything to avoid thinking about whom and what matters.

I don't think I've published this poetic effort before.  Don't much care because it brought me joy and back into contact with, as just stated, that which matters.

It was written "for" an unimportant poetry contest about three years ago. There was a time when my brother Bob ("shrink, tunors, shrink!"), my stepsister, and I were, all three, of "babysitter" age. Our dad was in Vietnam and, sad to say, that was the happiest year of our lives. The street we lived on -- off base, in civilian freedom for the first time ever -- was full of fun, young families. A big need for babysitters!

My sister and I earned a fair amount of spending money as run-of-the-mill, adequate sitters, but you know who everyone really wanted? Bob! Six foot four, a pony tail, and a kid magnet. The softball games he organized after dinner were the stuff of legends. A fielding position for everyone in the neighborhood, a turn at bat that always produced a play, if not a run. Sudden new rules!

He would pick up toddlers, carry them over his head and run them around the "bases" -- a telephone pole, the fender on The Rabbi's station wagon, the Smith's holly bush, and all the way to someone's front door home. He cooked, he cleaned, wore everyone out (clientele or not), and even groomed pets. I used to stay awake, waiting for him to come home and turn his evening into a bedtime story. I remember falling asleep to the soft cadence of "Meanwhile, back at the ranch..."


Five Dollars an Hour

My brother Bob was the most popular sitter,

the Vicar of Fitzgerald Street,

as baseball runners coasted home, zig-

zag tagged lamp posts, car bumper bases,

magic places, all, triumphant!

Hitters held their crouch,

proud of his boast of "way to watch

the ball, there, buckaroo!," suburban

cowboys and girls, night's gloam

softened even in Baghdad, believing

beloved and loving because of his six

foot four, pony-tailed dominion

over locusts and Pentecost.

The birds, most house sparrows, moved

stumbling, criss-cross clawed and closer

to his soft "hey, batter,

hey, batter" banter poise of noise,

to roost and erase the day's

gateposts, attacks, door

posts, counterattacks, lacy graces,

and atlases with their gridded ghosts.

Because Bob was big and strong, scooping

gurgle-bubble babies, carried directly

from danger straight into fun [aloft! the roosting

birds approved with rustles!], to dunk them

in bathtubs and sinks, have them dreaming,

scrub-dub, of outrageous happy endings

to farflung bedtime stories

begun before tater tots,

strumming guitars through broccoli

-- "the giant's shrub" -- and after asking,

"Are the pets all fed?" -- it was off

to bed, exhausted, safe, fear quashed,

memories of catching, hitting, chasing

balls, and phrases of soft praise.

Monsters and thieves ran fast away

when Brother Bob flew front doors open:

Dismayed and afraid -- though a few came to stay,

reformed by joshing scoffing and the fun

of washing cookie sheets and tossing

foil wrap in the trash, "Three pointers!"

But then they'd loiter, unsure, until by his pied

piping, terror's buffer, they slipped, too,

far from suffering, ushered, sliding into dreams'

home plate, like cloud cover, while he surveyed

the kitchen, stowed the butter,

and swept the floor. Big-handed

tender, he was the favorite, too,

for brand new babies, newer-than-new

preemies, who soaked the august promise

of sun, chrome fenders, and one-

day line drives from his slender fingers.

I would wait at home to hear the tales

of naughty boys and bawdy daughters,

dogs that nipped and cats that scratched,

or -- giving up all that -- I would

wait at home for my turn, my viewing,

my comfort at his comfort, my turn

at his standing tall, the flash of

his "I know you" smile,

his "What are you doing up, kid?"

My beloved own once-in-a-while,

never bitter sitter...

© 2013 L. Ryan

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