My First 5-Day Quick Write

This month’s 5-Day Open Write at EthicalEla was led by Kim Johnson. Here are our poems for May.

I Remember

I remember when my newly-married sister brought home hippie gifts.
I remember the year was 1965, tumultuous and troubled. I was seven. I jumped for joy when she presented her gifts.
I remember the gifts were only something I had longed for.
I remember never thinking I would really own my own. They were more stylish than anything I had ever worn before.
I remember the granny sunglasses and maxi dresses for my ten-year-old sister and me
I remember them as if I were holding them in my hands now.
I remember mine was sunny yellow with small white designs. My sister’s was identical to mine, except it was sky blue.
I remember racing in to put on our dresses.
I remember slicking my straight pixie hairdo to my head so I looked like Twiggy.
I remember my sister with her longer unruly waves, opted to be more Janis Joplin.
I remember standing on the sidewalk, pretending to smoke cigarettes, head tilted to peer over my glasses.
I remember watching over many rooftops and across the river as the smoke rose over Watts.
I remember vaguely wondering if the world was going to end.

Duplex Poem

What if we never make it back home?
Will the sky remain blue and the sea tranquil?

The sky will be blue and the sea tranquil.
And the hope in our souls will not be lost.

Hope and love and joy will not be lost.
Even if one of us gets sick and dies?

No, even if one or both get sick and die.
The flowers would flourish, birds will call

Remember the blossoms and birds will call
They won’t be susceptible to viruses

Our cells can be infected with viruses
Might Covid give our nation’s soul a cleansing?

Maybe, but I need my own soul’s cleansing.
It may be a deep journey to get back home.

The Way I Felt poem

The Way I Felt
when my dad died
was befuddled.

My dad was
a hundred miles away
taking a shower.

My mom and the young ones
were at Grandma’s house
for the weekend.

My sister and I stood
under the window
listening to a conversation
we were not invited to.

Mom and Grandma sobbed.
“He was so young.”

My sister mouthed,

Mom and Grandma
drove away with her brother
Uncle Bruce and Aunt Lola.

We were left with
Aunt Lola’s sister.

“Aunt” Dorothy
would have to do
to break the news to us
and take us home.

Turn From inspired by Whitman’s Song of Myself, Stanza 32


I think I could turn away from dirty diapers, they are so fetid and disturbing.
I stand and look at hundreds of crammed nappies that, in many cases, haven’t been changed in decades.
They do not work for 99% of the people, but are hollow gongs.
They do not serve, but are crafty, selfish liars.
They do not care about dismantling systemic racism and wealth inequality.
Not one is honest or empathetic, but rather cold and venal.
Not one feels the pain of the people they came to serve.
Not one is willing to walk a road of suffering to love others.
So these Pamper piles must be voted out of office.
They bring disgrace to our nation.

I wonder if I overgeneralized my disdain
Did I miss any worthy to retain?

“Politicians are a lot like diapers. They should be changed frequently, and for the same reason.”
~Tom Dobbs, Robin Williams’ character in Man of the Year (2006)

The Right Words at the Right Time

“Congratulations, life will get tougher!”
Title of fear at my high school
Baccalaureate service
Already worried for the future
Defeat, anger, discontent, failure
What did my future hold?
I was unprepared for college
I was unprepared for work
I was unmotivated, yet scared

In church for the first time in years
I left that night still afraid
But this “tougher” sermon
Went out the door with me
Somehow gave me a future

God found me in my angst
And placed me in peace

Click here to participate in the 5-Day #QuickWrite poetry challenges.