Today's thoughts

Category: POEMS (Page 1 of 25)

Rhymes of all kinds

Old Sport Shorts: March Madness #1843

I shouldn’t be thinking about basketball. The Braves and the Astros are tied at one game each in the 2021 World Series. NBA basketball is just underway and college ball begins in a week. The NFL is in full swing but I’m already tired of football. Thankfully, before we know it, March Madness will finally arrive, with the same hoopla as a kid anticipating Santa Claus. I stumbled upon a half-written poem that I started a few years ago when the tournament was cancelled because of Covid. It was like the end of the Earth for a basketball fan like me. In fact, I was on my way to 2020 Spring Training in Scottsdale when the shocking news was announced, along with the end of baseball for awhile. 

As things are beginning to return to the new normal, I took a few minutes to finish that long overdue poem:

March Madness 

March Madness,
Bracket time.
My team just lost,
What a crime.

All my picks,
Have gone awry.
Some years I wonder,
Why even try?

Poor seed,
Little chance.
May I have?
This Big Dance.

At last there are,
Fans in the stands.
Tough pass,
Good hands.

Moving screen,
Bad call.
Flagrant foul,
Jump ball.

Free throws,
Won’t go.
Rimmed out again,
Oh no.

On a roll,
Slam dunk.
Double Dribble,
Scoring slump.

Favorable bounce,
Lucky break.
Spin move,
Head fake.

Tickle The Twine,
Beat the Clock.
Go Team Go,
Cheer Block.

Last second swish,
Cut down the nets.
If your team wins,
Collect your bets.

Lead changes,
Shots won’t fall.
Crowd chant,
“Airball…Airball.”

Buzzer beater,
Full Court Press,
“Over-rated” cries,
Mood depressed!

Another Brick,
Critical Turnover.
“Shining Moment,”
Means It’s over.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement Is Not Without Hassles: The Pitts #1839

It’s been so busy since we got back from Pittsburgh two weeks ago that I haven’t had time to write the traditional commemorative poem. These poetic recaps will help us recall some of the Bridge City memories years from now, along with the daily diary entries I make. Since our return, we’ve enjoyed back-to-back visits from my wife’s sister and a best friend from Indianapolis. The Pittsburgh trip included my son and his family of five, who stopped in Savannah for a ghost tour on the long 16-hour drive, while my wife and I flew Spirit from Tampa. Our cramped quarters for four days was the downtown Pittsburgh Fairfield Inn. You can go back to Post #1818 thru Post #1820 for additional details on our family adventure. 

The Pitts

Of all the places,
We planned to see.
Only Pittsburgh,
Came to be.

Forget Bali, Egypt, or Kauai,
The virus cancelled all.
No St. Kitts to start the year,
With Tahoe fires this Fall.

But nothing stopped,
Our Cubbie appeal.
In seeing Bridge city,
Made from glass and steel.

Hardly a Mecca,
As travel goes.
But nonetheless doable,
Despite Covid woes.

Not “The Pitts,”
That I expected.
Waterside development,
That should be respected..

Duquesne Incline,
And Warhol Museum.
Carnegie Science Center,
Hopping off to see them.

From Primanti Brothers,
To The Cheesecake Factory.
We found the pickles,
To be satisfactory.

The kids by car.
While we flew.
Got dollar dogs,
And the “W” too.

A stop in Tampa,
Just us two, at last.
But company’s coming,
Got to get home fast.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not with Hassles: What will Life be Like? #1837

Another attempt at poetry to express my feelings. I’ve crossed another decade of life and wonder what is ahead in the twilight of my life?

What will Life Be Like?

I’m slow and out of balance,
When I try to run.
What will it be like,
When I’m Seventy-one?

It hurts to bend over,
Just to tie a shoe.
How stiff will I be,
When I’m Seventy-two?

In three more years,
Where will I be?
And what will life bring,
When I’m Seventy-three?

I would like to know,
What the years have in store.
What will it be like,
When I’m Seventy-four?

How much longer,
Will I be alive?
What will I be doing,
When I’m Seventy-five?

Time remaining,
Slowly ticks.
Who will be left,,
When I’m Seventy-six?

Life can be hell,
Is there truly a heaven?
Will living still matter,
When I’m Seventy-seven?

Midnight’s approaching,
It’s getting late.
Will the clock keep ticking,
When I’m Seventy-eight?

So many questions,
As I run out of time.
What’s left to offer,
If I turn Seventy-nine?

Suddenly I’m eighty,
Have I done it all?
Another decade,
Any way to stall?

Will I make it,
Past 100 years?
I find little pleasure,
In outliving my peers.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com 

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Rusted Pipes #1811

I finally got my new passport in the mail, so I’m ready for International travel once again. I find it odd that there’s not a more secure way to apply and receive these documents other than the U.S. Mail. I was worried when I had to return my current passport that had yet to expire, concerned that it might get hijacked, lost, or stolen. It’s like having a colonoscopy, good for another ten years. Thankfully, everything went smoothly. Now, if there was just someplace to go. 

We got a few more home decorations hung yesterday as we continue to prepare for October guests. Friends and family are headed this way, starting in just a few weeks. Today, would normally be “Tourist Thursday” but my wife accepted a friend’s offer to go shopping and visit a Selby Gardens, a place I’ve already been. That clears me for lunch with my son and granddaughter while the cleaning crew does its work. As long as my wife stays busy, she’s happy, plus we’ll have an extensive touristy experience together in Pittsburgh next week. 

I’m all set for my CTA scan in a few weeks. Computed Tomography Angiography is what it’s short for, combining a coronary angiogram with an injection of dye to track blood flow though the heart.  It’s like taking your car in for a routine service check, it seems like they always find more to fix. I’m sure that after seventy years I have several rusted out parts. It reminds me of a poem I wrote many years ago (See Post #17):

Rust In Peace

People say I’m younger,
Than others my age look.
That my body’s youthful,
In any fitness book.

They like the way I dress,
And my childish grin.
My hair’s still there,
My figure thin.

But trapped inside,
Many years of stress.
Anger and pain,
I must confess.

Disappointment,
Pain and loss.
Troubles at home,
A demanding boss.

Looks good outside,
But rusty inside.
So many cracks,
I’m able to hide.

Like a vintage auto,
Shiny and sleek.
But my undercarriage,
Is rusted out and weak.

Blood pressure high,
Reflexes slow.
Another gasket,
About to blow.

Used to be fast,
Much in demand.
Cocky and confident,
The world in hand.

Just a few wrinkles,
Teeth still white.
A couple of dents,
From a fist fight.

Tan and fit,
You think I’m lookin’ good.
Just wait until,
You look under my hood.

Looks good outside,
But rusty inside.
So many cracks,
I’m able to hide.

Like a vintage auto,
Shiny and sleek.
But my undercarriage,
Is rusted out and weak.

Rev up my engine,
And hear it sputter.
My arteries clogged,
With too much butter.

A little beer gut,
But you should see my liver.
A little soft in spots,
But I can still deliver.

In no time flat,
Zero to Eighty.
Driven only on Sunday,
By an old lady.

When my time runs out,
They’ll look at me and say.
What a good looking corpse,
He even hid the gray.

Looks good outside,
But rusty inside.
So many cracks,
I’m able to hide.

Like a vintage auto,
Shiny and sleek.
But my undercarriage,
Is rusted out and weak

johnstonwrites.com
Copyright April 2009

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Camp Islandwalk #1806

It’s been about two months since I’ve written my last poem. This will be number 244 that I have included in this blog. (See Poem  Category). My wife likens our new retirement home to a camp where she spends her mornings doing various activities like the dog park, water aerobics, yoga, tap classes, or just water walking. I go off and do my separate schedule of running, swimming, and writing. In the afternoons, while I try to retreat to the TV in my office, she plans what she calls “cabin activities,” that might include making a restaurant reservation or a field trip to a nearby historical sight. She’s very busy in her new retirement life…I’ve tried to capture it in this poem:

Camp Islandwalk

Imagine being a child,
Way back when.
Would you go back,
And live that life again?

Summers away from home,
With other kids like you.
New Friends to make,
So many things to do.

Activity schedules,
Swimming in the pools.
Canoeing in the river,
Fewer adult rules.

Games and singalongs,
Sneaking out at night.
Campfire smores,
Fresh air, starlight.

Ghost tales,
Scavenger hunts.
Talent shows.
High dive stunts.

The years have passed by,
We’ve grown more mature.
Or are we just like,
The kids we once were?

We no longer have jobs.
Just like back then.
School’s out,
We’re at camp once again.

Resort community,
Blue skies and sun.
We do what we want,
Days filled with fun.

Side-by-side cabins,
Retirement bliss.
Those working days,
We’ll never miss.

Pickle-ball matches,
A park for dogs.
But watch out for gators,
And thumbnail frogs.

Water aerobics,
Clubs for us each.
Tap dancing, yoga,
Or go to the beach.

Here we are in Venice,
Where life is good.
At Camp Islandwalk,
Our second childhood.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Highway 41 Blues #1746

We went for a drive yesterday, up and down Highway 41. What a mess – and it’s not even tourist season.  My wife mentioned something about a song she heard on the radio and thought maybe I could do better. I might just have to collaborate with the neighborhood band – Paradise Pickers.

Highway 41 Blues

Stop and go,
Construction cones.
Distracted drivers,
On cell phones.

Another stop sign,
Right lane closed.
Sunday drivers,
Nothing flows.

Expecting to get there,
Well, I’ve got news.
Start Singing the Highway,
Forty-One blues.

It gets even worse,
When the snowbirds arrive.
Sitting on phone books,
Trying to drive.

The line of cars,
Is like a parade.
When these part-timers,
Start to invade.

Jacked-up trucks,
With Confederate flags.
Souped-up golf carts,
Equipped for the drags.

Like the Daytona 500,
Some make it a race.
While others crawl along,
At a sea turtle’s pace.

Pale-skinned families,
Put their toes in the sand.
And suffer from red necks,
Instead of getting tanned.

Down the Gulf Coast,
They come in droves.
With their beach chairs,
And Jimmy Buffet clothes.

Fireworks and booze,
Are bought along the way.
And it’s best us residents,
Stay out of their way.

Think this traffic,
Is perhaps over-hyped?
After a month in town,
I got side-swiped.

Start spreading sunscreen,
And the bumper car news.
By singing these Highway,
Forty-One Blues.

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

As you can see, I’m starting to think like the natives in making the switch from tourist to resident. I did, however, just get my car back from the body shop after my Highway 41 incident. Be careful out there!

Retirement is not without Hassles: Heavy Metal #1728

I was back at the chiropractor yesterday, but feeling relatively good. When I got back home, I bent down to touch my toes and felt a twinge in my back. This used to be a daily routine – nose to each knee – but not since the move. I need to be careful not to throw my back out of whack again. The running and swimming continues but I’m definitely fragile and my feet feel like blocks of ice, concrete, or heavy metal depending on the day. This little poetic ditty says it all:

Heavy Metal 

I’m sore and stiff,
Not a muscle left to flex.
Layers of fat cover,
What once were pecs.

I can barely bend over,
My back’s out of whack.
I used to be fast,
I once ran track.

As each year goes by,
I get a little slower.
Cholesterol higher,
Arches sag lower.

Out of alignment,
Little sense of balance.
Not much left,
Of any of my talents.

Fleet of foot,
No longer applies.
My once skinny ankles,
Swollen twice their size.

At least I can laugh,
And keep on going.
Despite some weight gain,
And wrinkles showing.

Day after day,
I lace up my shoes.
And hit the pavement,
Cause it’s what I choose.

With Age my greatest enemy,
That’s the way life goes.
When your feet are heavy metal,
And you can’t feel your toes.

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Happy Birthday…Again #1715

The Beatles managed to cushion the sting of getting old by creating songs like “When I’m Sixty-Four.” But, what happens after that? Sixty-Five is still a milestone even though 66 is now the official retirement age. My wife’s 65th happens to come at a time when Bucket Lists tend to be on hold. In the past year, our trips to Bali, Egypt, Hawaii, Norway, and Russia have all been cancelled. So, what do you do to celebrate in these troubled times? You rely on family, so this is what this year’s birthday poem is all about, hidden inside another Limoges box gift. We’ll travel back to Portland via San Francisco and officially celebrate at the ballpark. My wife is not a baseball fan, rather just glad to spend time with her two daughters.

Admittedly, both of us are a bit reluctant to leave our new Florida home, especially after just getting situated. However, we’ll gladly sing “Happy Birthday” over a Ghirardelli chocolate sundae and dine at Sonoma’s Wit and Wisdom restaurant. We’ll return to our seven-year home of Portland and visit friends and relatives, say hi to Tally’s little dog buddy Falco, and think about our long journey down to Florida that included several hospital visits for kidney stones. There will be no stylish jewelry or other lavish gifts on this occasion, just time with loved ones and the traditional French box. 

As an appropriate tribute to our nearby Florida Gulf beaches, this year’s porcelain BD box is a colorful beach umbrella with chair and cocktail. On our 10th wedding anniversary (diamond), I somehow got away with buying her a Charlie Brown Baseball Diamond Limoges box in lieu of the real thing. She thought it was a clever way to avoid gifting her another pricy stone (although other gifts were involved). I also once took her on a 50th birthday trip to San Diego and ended up in the ER after a kidney stone attack on the beach, claiming to have given her a special stone. Well, this year it was her turn for kidney issues, but with the much more serious consequences of surgery. Rock and Stone jokes have become a part of our conversations on many occasions. They once again appear in this poem:

More Than Sixty-Four 

You’re celebrating,
Sixty- five years.
Looking much younger,
Than your peers.

With two girls,
One barely forty.
Driving a Lexus,
Considered sporty.

Life is good,
A brand new home.
You’ve seen Tahiti,
And even Rome.

Early retirement,
A nearby beach.
Sun and surf,
A little of each.

Dream kitchen,
Back yard pool.
But a husband,
Who’s low on fuel.

Water aerobics,
Dog Park friends.
The fun at Islandwalk,
Never ends.

I’m sure you envisioned,
A bucket list location.
To mark this Birthday,
Milestone occasion.

But the Covid bug,
Took that all away.
So here we are,
Where the Giants play.

Cities by the Bay,
With those you love.
But don’t forget,
To bring your glove.

Or maybe some bling?
But the way I see it.
It’s been a year when,
“Stones” aren’t appropriate.

At the very least,
It’s a “diamond” setting.
Next year’s 66th,
Will be better-I’m betting.

Instead we’re gathered,
At Miranda’s new home.
The background for,
This Birthday poem.

Some Sonoma Sipping,
And Ghirardelli.
Wit and Wisdom,
Will fill your belly.

Megan is next,
Who we left behind.
More birthday love,
That you won’t mInd.

Party in Portland,
Stretching your big day.
Then back to the beach,
And more Gulf play.

Under the umbrella,
Toes in the sand.
Coast to coast,
Isn’t life grand.

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Venice Smiles #1671

Limoges Box giving this year has been limited to Valentine’s Day, with all of them now packed up in a Portland warehouse. In the twenty-two years since my wife and I have been together they have always had a place in our home, It only seemed appropriate that I splurge on another, a fitting tribute to our Venice home. Travel has also been restricted this past year, with three years having passed since our memorable visit to Venice, Italy and the famous Rialto Bridge. We then went on to tour the Greek Islands and the city of Greece, our last Viking Cruise. Plans for Bali, Egypt, Barcelona, Kauai, and Russia have all been since cancelled due to the pandemic. 

Most of these lost travel adventures have been invested in our new home in Venice, Florida, where we have daily reminders of the Venice, Italy adventure. We actually often talked of moving to Italy for a year in retirement, so this housing addition of Venice-like bridges near the Gulf of Mexico is likely the closest we’ll probably ever get. The turn-around point of my daily runs is at the crest of one of these neighborhood bridges. They reflect in the numerous canals that give most of the homes in our new neighborhood a water view. 

It occurred to me that the curve of these structures form the shape of a frown, but the reflection on the water’s surface is a happy smile. Perhaps the architects knew this when they designed the famous Italian city, six-thousand miles on the other side of the Atlantic. It’s Florida namesake is now our home town, and a porcelain replica of the Rialto Bridge now sits on our mantle, signifying happy times ahead. I wrote this poetic tribute to the newest addition of our Limoges collection:

Venice Smiles

After thousands of miles,
We’re finally here.
Twenty-two years,
Of lovin’ you dear.

Our forever home,
Is now complete.
Even though,
We’re without a seat.

From Venice to Venice,
Six thousand miles.
Crossing that bridge,
Brings memorable smiles.

I bought for you,
Rialto Bridge.
And a brand new home,
With an extra fridge.

Though empty now,
Yet filled with love.
And blessings from,
The heavens above.

Though North American,
Has let us down.
And bridges can form,
A gloomy frown.

But the water reflects,
A sunny smile.
And gives our addition,
Italian style.

The waterway canal,
Takes that frown.
And turns the curve,
Upside down.

The magic of Venice,
In our neighborhood.
Where love is strong,
And life is good.

copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Stints and Stones #1659

Some might celebrate today as national Pot Day, but for us it’s twenty years of marriage. 20 years on the 20th – the only time this will ever happen – another reason to mark the occasion. The last month, however, has not been easy with packing, loading, closing  on a new house, kidney stone pain, driving 3,500 miles, and the most recent stress of not having our possessions.  The chandelier that we bought to honor our china anniversary is somewhere in a warehouse. The purchase was a far cry from our original plan of traveling to China. Only domestic excursions have been possible during this year-long pandemic. 

Here we are in Venice, Florida with a new bed after six restless nights of sleeping on the inflatable. My back feels better already. At least we’re done with hauling our bulky, heavy luggage and boxes in and out of hotel obstacle courses consisting of stairways, elevators, and parking valets. Portland, Ogden, Burlington and St. Louis were all overnight hotel stays, followed by five nights in Indy with my wife’s sister and her family from Indianapolis to Atlanta. This provided the opportunity to rest from out-patient surgery and the insertion of a stint. We also got a little more time to visit with friends since we weren’t rushing to beat the moving company. They have yet to find a plan to get our things to us – and we’re getting nervous. 

Tally watched me swim this morning. Hopefully, the drier, sunny weather will keep her feet from smelling like Frito’s Corn Chips (scientifically known as Brevibacterium) thanks to the dampness of seven years in Portland. All of us are done with long car rides and fast food stops, with plans to stay home as much as possible, despite the relatively empty living space. I wrote this poem as a tribute to our cross-country journey and twenty years of marriage that started with an impromptu date at Eddy’s restaurant. There were no sticks, stones, or broken bones – just stints and kidney stones. 

Stints and Stones

Twenty-years of marriage,
Went by in a snap.
But these last few weeks,
Have been full of crap.

Paperwork to sign,
Notary to hire.
The woman I love,
To further admire.

Boxing and loading,
Took its toll.
Venice, Florida,
Our retirement goal.

I got new shoes,
Packed by mistake.
And ear buds once lost.
As your back began to ache.

A chandelier not China,
Our anniversary treat.
Anxious to leave rain,
For sunshine and heat.

Little did we know,
That all that we own.
Would sit in Portland,
For how long? – unknown.

From kidney stones,
To our missing stuff.
Crossing the country,
Was more than rough.

Though not like the Donners,
We had Freddy’s to eat.
McDonald’s and Arby’s,
Tally’s Frito Feet.

She was a trooper,
Bored with the ride.
Anxious for stops,
And to go outside.

First night Ogden,
Second Burlington.
Where hospital visits
Had just begun.

Closing by mail,
But no close Chase.
Six-hour drive,
Open Kansas space.

St. Louis stairs,
Atlanta even more.
Cumbersome carryalls,
And baggage galore.

Missed out on Amanda,
But found some “green.”
As we checked out,
The Hot-lanta scene.

In-between surgery,
Debsie’s to heal.
Meeting with Susan,
MZD gals meal.

Cole’s 3rd birthday,
He meets his GUM.
Murphy’s tenderloin,
Tom gets me numb.

French Lick puzzle,
Stint for a stone.
A custom home,
Now ours to own.

Together with Peter,
Elliott and Berry.
Tally found this adventure,
To be quite scary.

From Nampa thru Tampa,
The Solara led the way.
Memories of Eddy’s,
That flashback in play.

Who would have guessed,
Where this would all lead?
As we picked up our “keys,”
And the Warranty Deed.

Happy 20th Sweetie Pie,
A kiss on the threshold.
I’ll love you forever,
It will never grow old!

Copyright 2021 johnstonwrites.com 

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