I would have been a feminist before
the term had currency, but I could not
create or join a movement – I abhor
the politics I’d rather we forgot.
I knew I was bohemian, except
the definition came to be confused
with hippie peace-and-love – specifics swept
beneath the rug of jargon overused.
But then I balanced in life’s middle span,
as if cocooned within a hurricane,
from which I saw my generation ran
away from bright ideals and bold disdain
and left me here, upright, alone, and free
to comprehend my personality.
The middle of her lower back is sore
from coughing or from hoisting too much weight.
Her belly’s full of gas – but that and more
discomfort’s her dessert, the way she ate…
She’s made herself a promise overdue,
to take things easier and worry less.
She vows to focus more on what is true,
by jumping ten years forward to assess
through backward glance the sweetness of today,
before another decade stakes its claim.
She future-leaps to turn the other way,
and aims her sight beyond the mirror’s frame.
Resolving so she rises from her bed,
and promptly stubs her toe and bangs her head.
An antsy liberal of 23
resolved that she’d continue growth and thought.
She hunted what she termed integrity,
and may have earned in time more than she sought.
Her husband said he had a different goal;
“I like me now,” he claimed, “and I won’t change.
I want to smoke and dance and laugh my whole
remaining time.” And don’t you think it strange,
provocative, and evident that now,
a score of years since stating their intents,
when we evaluate the which and how
of those two disparate experiments,
we see consistency in all her strife,
and he who stayed the same has squandered life.
I used to be a sedentary child.
My father called me vegetable, the noun
both apt and mean, for though my thoughts were wild,
romantic fantasies, I hunkered down
inside my room, declined activities,
and read-&-ate and dreamed all through my youth.
Such stillness now contains too little ease,
too thin a rest, and turns me to a truth
about myself I think must be received:
Along with rising earlier, I’ve found
I’m liking action more than I believed
before, and wishing most to move around.
Fastidious fanatic, I may yet
evolve to value all that makes me sweat.
Remember peace-and-love, and stringy hair?
Insipid daisy-giving? Dancing gauze?
Encounter groups and love-ins everywhere?
The tendency to make each thought a cause?
I recollect them with the same contempt
engendered then by every banal pose;
it seemed so few were making an attempt
to reach for truth, or work with what they chose.
And as our generation aged, those souls
appeared to foster other views, as much
as ever seeking ease in acting roles.
But here’s a group still meeting just to touch!
You tell me there’s an enclave still? Again?
I’m feeling just as skeptical as then…
Emerging from a chronic lassitude
I thought for seven months was creeping age,
I danced this morning vibrantly, imbued
with brimming energy, my rug a stage
for showing me myself in my own light.
I stretched my arms and neck. I raised each knee
and kicked my leg until my foot was quite
as high and energized as rising me.
A little ill for all too long, I thought
that signified another downward phase,
another fee I’d pay for added time.
A few things happened recently that brought
to me vitality. These days amaze
and hearten me about my own decline.
Those syllables connote the opposite
of what we all agree is common speech.
You tell me “boring” is appropriate
as synonym – exactly as we teach
the kids, but now consider otherwise:
the “ho” is yawning to inhale more air
and “hum” is how we safely exercise
our vocal chords. But more than these, this pair
of syllables requires looser jaw
and laxer mouth – you cannot clench or purse
a yawn, or snap a hum – that’s just a law
of physiology. No bitter curse
can issue thus. Repeat the neat refrain
to manage stress and soften aging pain.