If Mom were still alive she'd give me a look and say, "Now don't be gettin' the bighead!"
Nope. My mom was never one to dole out needless praise or flattery. I'll never forget the time she and I went to hear the Crazy Crooners down in the reception hall at Merrill Gardens assisted living facility where she lived. They weren't really called the Crazy Crooners. I can't remember what they called themselves. It was a country-western group comprised of three old fellows and a lady. I don't think they practiced much. If they did...their short-term memories were shot because they kept getting the lyrics mixed up. One person would be singing the first verse while the other would be singing the second verse... like they just threw all of the lyrics into meat grinder and served up whatever came out! Musical Hash, that's what is was! Fortunately for them, they were hard of hearing, so it didn't phase them at all. And while I can't be absolutely certain--I'm pretty sure that the woman singer was tone-deaf. Ever heard cats mating? Given a choice, I'd go with the cats. I 'm pretty sure I saw some of the folks in the audience remove their hearing-aids about half way through this musical extravaganza. After listening to them for an hour I started praying for a temporary case of tone-deafness!
The performance was finally over after a rousing finale of "You Are My Sunshine." (Dear Lord, how can you mess this one up? By golly, they did! Tell me, can you really make someone gray when skies are happy?) The residents who were still there (and still awake) all applauded appreciatively as they fumbled to re-insert their hearing aids. All, that is, except my Mom. She just sat there with a thin smile glued onto her face, hands clasped tightly in her lap, staring at them coldly.
"Mom, aren't you gonna clap for them?" I asked, thinking maybe she was lost in thought or something.
"No I am NOT." she retorted.
"Because they were terrible. I may be old, but I am not deaf. I will not encourage them by clapping. They need to be stopped."
Well alrighty then. We didn't stick around for cookies and Sanka. We headed right back to her little apartment and channel-surfed for Lawrence Welk. She wanted to hear Norma Zimmer sing some champagne music...maybe a little Myron Florn on the accordion.
So I don't think I've got the bighead yet...but all of that flattery has got me to thinkin' that maybe I should post a few more poems. This is what you all get for encouraging me... a little literary hash I wrote for a poetry class some years ago. Maybe you should take off your glasses; it might sound better that way...
ON WRITING GARBAGE
Roll out the wheelbarrow and don your neoprene barn boots with
the red stripe around the top,
slip on your Playtex gloves and stick
a clothespin on your nose because...
I've been given permission
to write garbage.
Lots of it.
bad poems that don't rhyme,
not because they shouldn't--
I just can't think
of a single word
Pages and pages of nothingness,
like a Seinfeld sitcom
I write on...
Stinking, horrible putrid stuff
I sift through the tragedy and comedy of my life,
what's the word for that--
Looking for a glimmer of ...
even cute would do;
but it's all garbage.
Not that there's anything wrong
with writing trash.
Heaven knows I've read my share
of trashy dime-store novels,
and tabloids of 3-headed babies of rock-stars-turned politician.
Why those guys get paid evades me...
(The writers, I mean,
not the politicians.
Well them too,
now that I think of it!)
My stuff, on the other hand,
is like a cardboard box
of dusty broken what-nots
abandoned by the curb...
yard sale rejects.
"Don't bring it back into the house," I yell.
"If you try to lift the box
the bottom will fall out.
Leave it there--
the garbage man;
will take it on his Monday run.
It's nothing but
But I'm undaunted by this mediocrity;
'cause my teacher's given me
the big 'thumbs up'
which as I recall
didn't turn out so well
when I waterskied.
I help up my thumb
I was being dragged through water
at 60 knots...
afraid to let go,
I bounced across the waves
like skipping stones on a pond.
When my instructor reads this piece
she'll probably feel like that.
she'll take a metered breath
and choose her words with utmost care.
"Perhaps you could
edit this...or that?"
So Thursday evening after work
I'll be there,
sorting through my rotten verse
and stories with
whose substance is like
a straw man in a windstorm.
I'll share unsupported ideas and
and make grammatical faux paus
of every kind.
Looking for a nugget--
which; if we should find...
we'll wipe it off and hold it to the light.
Does it reflect ANYTHING at all?
Why yes, I think it does...
in a quirky sort of way!
I'm not really sure just what it is...
but it isn't garbage.
Yeah, it isn't garbage!