Today's thoughts

Category: Poems (Page 1 of 22)

Retirement is not without Hassles: Magic Carpet #1379

With news of our trip cancellation to Egypt, I tried my best to keep a positive perspective. This is always tough for a pessimist like  myself. I had a porcelain box hiding in the Limoges closet and composed a short poem for it. Writing was much more constructive than moping about another three weeks of stay-at-home boredom when we should be going to the Valley of the Kings. My wife collects Disney boxes, so Aladdin on his magic carpet made the day memorable rather than disappointing. 

Magic Carpet Ride

The Corona bug,
Has taken a toll.
Delaying another,
Bucket goal.

The Pyramids,
Will have to wait.
We’ll settle on,
A future date.

No Canada,
Or Bali Hai,
Travel dreams,
Have been denied.

To sit at home,
Most every day.
Builds an urge
To get away.

“See the U.S.A,”
Goes the song.
But going by car,
Takes too long.

We need a way,
To move with speed
A Magic Carpet,
Is what we need.

Aladdin’s ready,
If Viking’s not.
Until we visit,
It’s all you’ve got.

So, come with me,
On a Magic ride.
Open the hinge,
There’s a lamp inside.

Despite the fact,
This bug has bit.
Maybe an extra,
WISH we’ll get?

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Apple #1372

Every once in a while I try to surprise my wife with a gift. She collects hand-painted Limoges boxes, so I ordered one that looks like a sliced apple and hid it in her fruit bowl. At one time, she would make me an egg every morning before she went to work. Once she retired, the daily routine changed to a sliced apple for lunch. My tradition has always been to tuck a poem inside the hinged box:

Apple

You’re the apple.
Of my eye.
‘Cause I Love You,
Sweetie pie.

“I Love You,”
To the core.
You say back,
“Love you, more.”

You’re my slice,
So much Ap-peel.
Awesome Sauce,
The Real Deal.

As your daddy said,
“You didn’t fall far.”
He made you,
Who you now are.

It stems from love,
And blossoms pink.
Oranges can’t compare,
Most people think.

The first bite happened,
In The Garden of Eden.
The Forbidden Fruit,
Was it worth eatin’?

Sleeping Beauty,
Ate a bad one.
If a witch offers,
It’s best to run.

An Apple a day,
Keeps Microsoft away.
If Stephen Jobs,
Has his way.

What is that,
On your head?
William Tell,
Might have said?

“Something rotten,
Has fallen on me.”
How Isaac Newton,
Found gravity.

A Golden Apple,
For the teacher.
Was that wormhole,
Made by a creature?

Why does Bob,
Have to work for his?
If you don’t like cider,
Try Apple Fizz.

If you don’t
At first succeed.
Johnny on the spot,
Was Appleseed.

Dip mine in caramel,
Put it on a stick.
Is Green Apple candy,
Worth a lick?

“How do you like em?”
The expression teases.
A shiny red apple,
Always pleases.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Yes, You’re Sixty-Four #1358

Thanks to Lennon and McCartney for making everyone’s sixty-fourth birthday less painful. “When I’m 64” has finally arrived for my wife. For me, it’s a distant memory nearly five years ago. “They say it’s your birthday, well it’s my birthday too, yeah!”

No one looks more forward to their birthday than my wife and I try to make every one special. It’s a little tough this year with stores closed, travel restricted, and restaurants shut down. I was not responsible for her 40th celebration. On her 50th, we went to San Diego, but I ruined that with a kidney stone attack. I did manage to make it up for her 60th with a ocean hut in Bora-Bora. Birthday breakfast was served by canoe. Tonight, dinner will be to-go. Her daughter and husband will join us, along with their dog, our Tally’s playmate. My gift was delayed in shipment and hasn’t arrived yet. The poem that goes with it will be read anyway. 

“We’re gonna have a good time.”

Yes, You’re 64

For a memorable Birthday,
In this time of Isolation
You just might need,
Some Imagination

The jewelry stores,
Are still shut down.
And we won’t be wearing,
A suit and gown.

There probably won’t.
Be fireworks.
Or a hotel,
With special perks.

With theaters closed,
There’s not a show.
And we’ll have,
Our dinner to-go.

We won’t be going,
To the beach.
With warmer ones,
Soon within reach.

No Bora-Bora,
Or Kidney stone.
But you won’t,
Celebrate alone

There’s a Limoges,
And lots of flowers.
But your sunny day,
Might bring showers.

Wish for a rainbow,
And peace on earth.
On this anniversary,
Of your birth.

At least each dog,
Has hat in place.
With dreams of cake,
On tongue and face.

Sing the birthday song,
While washing your hands.
And hope that fans,
Soon fill the stands.

Next year,
We’ll be in a house.
Not too far,
From Mickey Mouse.

The greatest gift,
You didn’t get.
There’s still no need,
For a testing kit.

Despite we’re on,
A weight loss diet.
This year’s birthday,
Might be a riot.

Will you still need me?
I love you, more.
And still feed me?
Yes, you’re Sixty-four.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Creature Features: Shaggy #1331

Everyone in our household is getting a little shaggy. At least, Tally our fuzzy schnauzer gets groomed today. She’s been growing her mustache for three months now in these pandemic times. The spa that we took he to for years, Urban Fauna, has sadly closed its doors for good. We’re taking her this afternoon to Coats and Tails, just down the block. Provided they do a good job, we’ll at least have convenience on our side. Hopefully, Supercuts will reopen soon and I can get rid of my shaggy appearance. 

One of our favorite neighborhood taverns is the Blue Moon. My wife is drawn by their mini-corn dogs called Scooby-Snacks. They’ve been a welcome to-go choice over the past month, after they were closed during the initial stages of the virus. I’ve written about Scooby-Doo recently (See Post #1310), but failed to mention his lazy cartoon companion, Shaggy. As described by Wikipedia, “Shaggy Rogers has a characteristic speech pattern, marked by his frequent use of the filler word “like” and, when startled, his exclamations of “Zoinks!”. His nickname derives from the shaggy style of his sandy-blond hair. He also sports a rough goatee. His signature attire consists of a green v-neck T-shirt and maroon bell-bottom pants, both of which fit loosely.”

Both Scooby and Shaggy are readily bribed with Scooby Snacks due to their mutual large appetites, insisting that ‘being in a constant state of terror makes us constantly hungry!'” I guess they have a lot in common with our family, hoping the Blue Moon Scooby-Snacks can ease our terror of Coronavirus. Casey Kasem, of American Top 40 fame, was the original voice of Shaggy, while Don Messick was Scooby, while also voicing The Jetson’s Dog, Astro. “Ruh-Roh!”

Tally, of course, is a fan of snacks, too! She’s not particular, having enjoyed fortune cookies last night from our Chinese take-out order. They always throw in extras for her! It reminds me of one of my favorite poems that I wrote years ago and have adapted for today’s Creature Feature post:

 

Tally

We have a dog named Tally,

Eats everything in sight.

She wants a treat each morning,

Gets ham most every night.

.

She’s at my feet when dining,

Just waiting for her share.

I simply can’t ignore,

Her impatient stare.

.

When we take her on a walk,

Her nose is on the ground.

Searching every crack,

For a morsel to be found.

.

Ice cream is a favorite,

She licks it off the stick.

And if you want some for yourself,

You better eat it quick.

.

When we order Chinese,

Her tail begins to wag.

And she starts to whimper,

When she sees the bag.

.

She wants her Fortune cookie,

In no mood to chase her ball.

She’s been known to eat them,

Plastic wrapper and all.

.

On the morning after,

When I went to scoop.

You’ll never guess what I found?

A fortune in her poop.

Copyright 2009 johnstonwrites.com

The original was written for Tally’s sister, Tinker, that we lost five months ago at age 15. She was “The Poopingest Pup on the Planet.” (See Post #33). Tinker, although a schnauzer, reminded me of Disney’s Shaggy Dog. Tally, on the other hand, will no longer be shaggy after this afternoon.

 

Retirement is not without Hassles: Gangster Wanna-Be #1298

I’ve been watching Hunters on Amazon Prime starring Al Pacino, among others. It made me think of his loosely-based role as Tony Montana (Al Capone) in the 1983 movie Scarface. I watched it several months ago after a visit to the Las Vegas Mob Museum. As a Gangster Wanna-Be, it was part of an informal tour that led me from Chicago to Manhattan to Vegas to Phoenix. Rat-atat-tat.

Al Capone and Nitti ruled Chicago, while John Dillinger died there. He was captured in a Phoenix hotel after innocently offering a generous tip. Nitti lived in the building that is currently the site of Harry Caray’s Italian Steakhouse. A stairway in the bar leads down to a hidden vault, surrounded by the history of The Chicago Outlet, framed in pictures on the walls. In Manhattan, I next had lunch at Spark’s Steakhouse, where just outside, Gambino boss Paul “Big Paulie” Castellano was gunned down by hit-men hired by his soon to be replacement, John Gotti. For more detailed Gangsta’ information see Posts #1124, #1067, and #907.

The cross-country thug tour will resume when we’re all able to travel again. In the meantime, I offer this poem:

Gangster Wanna-Be 

I’ve seen a lot,
Of crime scenes.
Read some books,
And magazines.

In the movies,
Hollywood portrays.
Killers are stars,
And Crime pays.

It’s fascinating history,
Of murder and betrayal.
Men, women, and children,
Always seeking bail.

There was not much love,
On St. Valentine’s Day.
After the Chicago Mob,
Had their way!

I can also guarantee,
That you won’t float.
If you’re wearing,
A Chicago Overcoat.

Scarface went to prison,
Reign passed to Nitti.
John Dillinger’s legend,
Ended in the Windy City.

These are a few,
Of the obituaries.
Near the basement vault,
Below Harry Caray’s.

When “Joe Batters” swung,
It wasn’t at a ball.
And “The Lady in Red,”
Was no innocent Doll.

If you didn’t pay,
Your Teamsters’ dues.
You might end up,
In cement shoes.

In the Big Apple,
There was Murder, Inc.
Lansky, and “Lucky”
Controlled illegal drink.

Gambino boss “Big Paulie,”
Once ran N.Y.C.
John Gotti got him,
But prison was to be.

“Bugsy” drawn to Vegas,
Made it a gambling town.
Home of the Mob Museum,
A “Hitman” took him down.

The museum tells the story,
Of these overrated thugs.
In display are WANTED posters,
Featuring their ugly mugs.

The bullet-riddled wall,
From the St. V’s Massacre.
With Outlines of the dead,
Is by far its biggest lure.

I’ve dined at Spark’s,
Where a bullet was dessert.
Saw Nitti’s escape route,
Wearing my Cub’s shirt.

I’m a gangster wanna-be,
On the surface it looks fun.
I would gladly dress the part,
But couldn’t fire a gun.

I could tip like Dillinger,
Live in a Flamingo Suite.
Gamble with House money,
Drink, eat, repeat.

“Bugsy” made the claim,
“We only kill each other!”
Where did he go wrong?
You’d have to ask his mother.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Anniversary 19 #1296

A few months ago my wife and I visited the Bellagio Wedding Chapel in Las Vegas the site of our marriage nineteen years ago. We had planned to celebrate in San Francisco tonight over dinner with her daughter and husband. Instead we’re having a fancy, dress-up dinner at home. With every special occasion, I present her with a porcelain Limoges Box and poem. Considering current travel restrictions, I thought it would be appropriate to help her envision our original sight-seeing plans, including a visit to the Golden Gate Bridge. “The Golden” also served as the backdrop for her daughter’s wedding last year at the Presidio, commemorated with a similar painted box of crooked Lombard Street. 

Golden Beholdin’

We missed out,
On Spring Training.
This viral threat,
Is quite restraining.

No Alcatraz,
Or Golden Gate.
I guess it all,
Will have to wait.

Bali breezes,
Delayed in May.
Instead at home,
We’ll probably stay.

For now we’re still,
Florida bound.
And taking steps,
To break new ground.

Surf and turf,
A little wine.
With so few options,
On where to dine.

Chocolate-covered berries,
Our traditional dessert.
I’ll even wear,
A dressy shirt.

I offer to “bridge,”
These “troubled waters.”
Instead of celebrating,
With one of your daughters.

A Limoges reminder of,
Where we would have been.
Until we can travel,
The World again.

Happy Anniversary,
For our nineteenth year.
Through thick and thin,
So lucky you’ve been near.

I Love You More,
And more each year.
Thanks for putting up,
With me, my dear.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Grounded #1295

With all due respect to those who are truly suffering, I offer a little poetic humor. I think it speaks for itself. 

Grounded 

Not sure what I did,
On St. Patrick’s Day.
But when I got home,
There was heck to pay.

It was serious,
The way it sounded.
When I was told,
“You’ve been grounded.”

No friends could come over,
Forced to stay inside.
“Social Distancing” rules,
I was told to abide.

I was locked in the bathroom,
Scrubbing my hands.
I wasn’t even allowed,
To see games or bands.

My use of toilet paper,
Was restricted to squares.
I tried to apologize,
Over my errs.

I thought they were going,
To wash out my mouth.
Can’t visit the kids,
Who live far South.

I sought explanation,
Got confusion instead.
Could have made it simple,
“No dinner – just bed.”

I looked out the window,
Masked intruders in the street.
This all makes me hungry,
“Is there more to eat?”

People are sick,
Maybe I am too?
My sympathy symptoms,
Turned out to be flu.

Celebrities were dying,
I began to understand.
We all had to cancel,
Trips that we planned.

Everyone was in trouble
Not just me!
We were all grounded,
No one was free.

It made us all paranoid,
Reluctant of a hand.
It was all reminiscent,
Of reading, “The Stand.”

We gorge on snacks,
Binge on bad TV.
Over this evil enemy,
No-one can see.

“We’re in this together,”
Wishing it was only me.
I’m used to being grounded,
Since I turned three.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Concrete Slippers #1294

Without sounding to morbid, I’ve written a sequel to the “Concrete Shoes’ poem from the other day. (See Post #1292). There’s obviously still a lot of frustration in once again finding relative comfort when I pound the pavement every day. Clearly, there’s a lot of wear and tear when your feet meet the street, as mine have after many years of running. I expect it to be challenging, but instead it continues to be uncomfortable. It also occurred to me that I was relating it to a Mafia-like burial known as putting the victim in concrete shoes, cement shoes, or a Chicago overcoat. In a way, I guess I’m a glutton for punishment but it’s not in me to simply stop. Consequently, I’m changing my analogy from shoes to slippers, hoping that I can soon “slip” out of this “heavy” funk. 

Concrete Slippers

I feel my body,
Just might crack.
If you wound up,
And took a whack.

I’m like a statue,
Stuck in place.
I’m lucky to move,
Let alone race.

Flexibility,
I already lack.
Laboring as if there’s,
A piano on my back.

Feet like bricks,
Muscles tight.
Something’s wrong,
I’m far from right.

Is it old age?
Or medication?
My concrete feet,
Need a vacation.

I run like molasses,
My springs are shot.
Calves and thighs,
Have gone to pot.

Energy low,
Little drive.
I’m moving forward,
But may never arrive.

I’ve tried new shoes,
A heating pad.
Should I respond,
To a Low-T ad?

Caffeine or Energy drinks,
Might give me a boost?
But I’d rather sit back,
On my retirement roost.

Yet, every day,
I beat the street.
With cement slippers,
On my feet.

Copyright 2010 johnstonwrites.com

I thought about my days playing media league slow-pitch softball and the speed at which I could run the bases. I was once a track team sprinter who dreaded having to run more than 100 yards. I prided myself on a quick start, but would fade badly after about 60 yards, yielding to those who finished strong. It was disappointing when the 60-yard dash was eliminated from inter-school competition, so I tried to switch to the 60-yard hurtles. I just didn’t have the spring in my legs or the form to effectively compete. Vertical leap was never one of my strong-points. I avoided the mile run like the plague, let alone 5,000 meters, and it wasn’t until my late 20’s that I tried my hand at distance running. The primary motivation was to run a marathon, and I accomplished it at a respectable 8-minute mile pace. Training for it was much harder than doing it, so after the second time it was been-there-done-that. At 68 years of age, my current average mile time has deteriorated to an embarrassing twelve minutes. I try to pick up the speed but anymore it feels like I’m wearing a Chicago overcoat and concrete shoes, along with a virus-proof cement mask.

Retirement is not without Hassles: Concrete Feet #1293

I’ve only been out of bed for an hour and a half, and have already scrubbed my hands seven times. It’s a sign of both the times and living downtown. Going up and down the stairs of an apartment building, you tend to worry about the common touched areas like railings, doors, and walls. Between the dog and my daily run, I’ve already tackled the three flights four times. Even though it’s only been a month now since the Coronavirus began to affect my life, it seems like years of germaphobia and isolation have painfully passed. When will this nightmare end?

Typically, Sundays are my favorite day to run. There is less traffic on the streets and I can listen to my favorite radio program, Sunday Brunch, on KINK-FM, one of the stations owned by my former employer.  I was worried as I tuned in this morning, concerned that the host, Peggy LaPoint might have been a casualty of recent “temporary” cutbacks. Fortunately, she was still “spinning the tunes,” like Neil Young’s Harvest Moon that brought back memories of his 1972 studio album, Harvest. A friend and I went into the Bloomington, Indiana store that I believe was called Tracks Records on Kirkwood Street, hoping to get one of the first copies. Their delivery truck was not operating for some reason, and the owner sent us to the distribution center in Terre Haute to pick up his supply. Not only did we get our albums hot off the press, plus they were free for our trouble! Those were the “Good Old Days” when music was more valuable than gas, time, or money.

This was the only good thought that came out of this morning’s 5k run. The time span usually consists of ten songs, but with little advertising on the air lately, it’s been more like eleven or twelve. This is the reason for the employee lay-offs. Knowing Peggy, I’m sure she’d do her job for free (or at least a few albums, CD’s, or downloads). From my standpoint, running even when accompanied by good music, has not been easy over the past few weeks. I might have to make some adjustments in my medication. I’m feeling sorry for my aging self when all I have to do is look around at those poor souls who can’t even stand without the aid of a walker or wheelchair. Realistically, I’m fortunate to even be chugging along anymore at age 68. With all due respect, I wrote this silly poem to reflect my current struggles:

Concrete Feet

Growing old,
Has got its cost.
The price I’ve paid,
Some feeling lost.

My toes are numb,
Ankles swollen.
Youthful energy,
Has been stolen.

Not as flexible,
Balance failing.
But tie the laces,
Even when ailing.

Muscles tight,
Stiff and sore.
Even with Advil,
Hard to ignore.

A lot more steps,
With shorter stride.
But the finish line,
Instills great pride.

Pace has slowed,
Endurance waning.
Those once passed,
Are quickly gaining.

I’m no longer,
Considered fast.
Eight-minute miles,
Well in my past.

Yet I go out there,
Every single day.
Can’t let anything,
Get in the way.

Rain or snow,
Dark or light.
And when I’m done,
All seems right.

It’s hard to run,
With heavy feet.
Like they’re stuck,
In set concrete.

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

Retirement is not without Hassles: Secure A Cure #1270

Poetic words were hard to come by in this viral crisis, as emotions waver from tears to laughter, depending on how you can best handle it. Versions of my ramblings have ranged from too angry to very silly as I struggled to find something in between. I’ve tried my best to express the feelings of frustration in these stanzas, after weeks of blogging about it – just hoping there’s a cure. 

Secure A Cure

Just wake me up,
After this is done.
The fat lady sings,
Once recovery’s begun.

These nasty germs,
It must be said.
“Kill them dead,
Before they spread!”

If I live on,
Beyond this threat.
I hope there’s things,
I won’t regret.

Social distancing,
Will be just history.
Once we solve,
This viral mystery.

Greet me with a hug,
Or shake my hand.
Then side-by-side,
Close we’ll stand.

This worldwide mess,
Will come to pass.
An infestation,
Spread in mass.

Maybe a cough,
A bit of a fever?
Are you a giver,
Or a receiver?

The first symptoms,
Are just like the flu.
As bad as the plague,
But something new.

An invisible enemy,
Like nothing before.
It steals toilet paper,
From your favorite store.

It took March Madness,
All fun for that matter.
Comfort food in isolation,
Made us a little fatter.

You have to keep,
Six feet away,
Or this bad bug,
Will have its way.

It makes some hoard,
Then strikes you sick.
Wash your hands,
And do it quick.

Masks can’t cover,
This silent threat.
Staying home,
Is your best bet.

Stop touching your face,
Hide your ignition key.
Just sit on the couch,
And binge watch TV.

These past few weeks,
Have been a blur.
Someone please,
Secure a cure!

Copyright 2020 johnstonwrites.com

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