2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

For today’s prompt, write a good old days poem. Sometimes the good old days were actually good or not, everyone has a good old days poem in them (even if it’s someone else’s good old days story). So dig deep and pull it out.

Here’s my attempt:

“Here we are”

Those were the good old days
when we only had two lamps
in the whole house and we
all slept in the same room
and one day my parents
went out to pick potatoes
leaving me home because
I was young and it was
cold outside and back then
there was only a fire place
to warm yourself and they
said I said I was only
poking at the fire with that
poker and set it aside
on the curtains and when
they returned it was gone
or mostly gone but no one
was hurt and here we are.

*****

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312 thoughts on “2011 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 26

  1. pmwanken

    THE GOOD OLD DAYS

    sometimes I lose myself
    in thought, wondering
    about the good old days

    have I already had them?
    am I living them now?
    are they yet to come?

    I decide that the best
    thing for me to do, is to live
    like they are every day

  2. zevd2001

    GREEK COFFEE*

    It was a summer night on Brooklyn Street
    In a simple wood frame house the other side
    of the Curling Club, not far from Warren Avenue,
    kitty corner from the Ford Freeway we sat
    on the porch thinking about a cup of coffee . . . Let’s go
    to Greektown, I said.

    It’s not far from here
    beyond the overpass, downtown.. My watch told me It
    was approaching midnight, the sky was clear blue. Nobody
    around to bother us. A perfect time for a walk

    to get a cup of coffee. Past the police station
    the billboards told us about the beautiful ladies inside
    who would dance with you as much as you wanted
    as long as paid up front. Across the street Father Divine
    held forth, then the all-night movies,

    after that the used book stores. Closer in the White Tower gleamed
    in the street lights with late blooming customers
    looking for a burger. Three giant steps and, Louis the Hatter
    offered his haberdashery in moonlight
    not far from the Fox. We were downtown, but
    still a way to go. Grand Circus Park was just down the street,

    we turned left to the East Side. The Steak House was lit and
    open for business. Crossing the street, on the other side, United Artists
    stood in all its glory, the Old Opera House, too. Bill’s Shoe Laces
    was the turn off for Monroe, and on to the restaurant. It
    was a few blocks down. The shops, the coffee houses, and

    Hellas, where we drank our coffee. The juke box told this was
    not Michigan, as long as we were inside, nor was it
    Michigan along the street. The bakery was open, but
    we weren’t looking for souvenirs. It was going on one o’clock,

    walking slowly along Woodward Avenue . The strong sweet brew in
    the demitasse, the backalava that broke
    apart when the dessert fork touched it,
    the stars above took us back to the porch,
    one more enchantment in our memory bank.

    Zev Davis

  3. Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Sometimes I Yearn
    by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

    Inside the old place,
    there are ghosts who whisper
    about of the good old days
    when men had jobs to keep ’em busy
    and womenfolk kept the country going
    by the sweat of their backs
    and kids respected their elders,
    when grandparents still rocked on the
    porch with the rest of the family,
    back before the brain jaundiced
    and Dad shriveled up before my eyes.
    The Aunts and Uncles are now
    mostly gone as well, the Cousins
    too far removed to bother
    phoning or sending Christmas
    cards to anymore.
    Sometimes I can’t help
    but still yearn
    for the good ‘ol days.

    © 2011 by Juanita Lewison-Snyder

  4. Sibella

    Old Songs

    There’s music my brother can’t listen to anymore. It belonged
    to the marriage; no one got custody. Our mother long gone,
    I can’t remember the lullabies that were our oldest songs.

    Once, I dreamed that we lay in our twin cribs
    as our parents gazed down, in Lucy-and-Ricky
    black and white, and sang “Pass the Plate of Happiness Around.”

    All those old couples uncoupled, all the lo-fi songs forgotten.
    My brother has no memory of that old song. His stylus is stuck
    on the first dance, the backseat stereo.

    I don’t know what to find to ward off the melancholy.
    Shall I stone him with reggae, out-blue him
    with blues? Shall we kneel with the Gaithers?

    In the end, we return to junior high, a time
    when every spotted soul was united in abject misery,
    a time of no hope. As he stirs the marinara

    for our dinner a deux, I crank up Donna Summer
    and we stand, fraternally, against my flower-flocked wall
    and sing “Last Dance.”

    Pamela Murray Winters

  5. Domino

    Someone Else’s Good Old Days

    Over the holiday
    I got to see some old slides
    on an old slide projector.
    (An archaic idea these days
    but still fun.)

    And it was a revelation
    to me
    the way other people’s
    childhoods
    were so very different
    than mine.

    It was like a window into
    the past,
    seeing the faded images
    of vacations
    and graduations
    and weddings,
    all of the people
    seemed so young
    and new, though the slides
    were yellowed and
    blurry.

    I imagined living the life
    of the people portrayed.

    Going to school with the same
    neighborhood kids
    for all twelve years.

    And having no step-parents
    or step-siblings
    or step-grandparents.

    But the thing that struck me most
    was the idea of
    living in the same house
    ones whole life
    until it was time to grow up
    and move away,
    a way of life alien to my own
    gypsy
    childhood.

  6. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 26 11-26-2011

    Write a good old days poem.

    These Are the Good Old Days

    For one day we’ll look back on them
    and wish we were here instead of there.
    We’re making the memories that we’ll reminisce,
    and then we’ll miss these good old days.
    But if we breathe in the moment that happens
    right now, right before our present senses,
    we realize they’re here:
    These are the good old days.

  7. PSC in CT

    “Used to Be”

    Used to be she had unlimited energy;
    woke up early, stayed out late,
    went on forever and never tired out;
    nothing hurt – no aches, no pains;
    stiff knees, sore joints, achy back –
    all myths, rumors, old wives’ tales
    that she needn’t pay heed.

    Once upon a time, that face
    in the mirror was firm, smooth;
    eyes bright and clear, but

    “laugh lines”
    that’s what she sees now,
    when she dares to look
    in the mirror these days –
    if she can see anything at all; and

    energy’s a legend, fable, fiction –
    or a movie, maybe,
    she recalls having seen
    once, long ago;
    but, then again,

    her days are her own;
    no one tells her
    what to do or when,
    or how, and so,
    it’s not all bad, this
    growing old, and besides,
    it still beats the alternative.

  8. Tracy Davidson

    1939

    My dad’s good old days
    didn’t sound that good to me –
    seven kids in a three bedroom house
    and only one loo (outside).

    War was declared
    on his 4th birthday,
    his earliest memory
    hearing Chamberlain
    on the radio.

    Put on a train soon after,
    heading out of London
    for the safety of his
    Aunt Nellie’s arms in Scotland.

    A long time before
    he’d see home again.

    And yet, he recalls these
    days as happy ones,
    full of love and laughter,
    everyone pulling together,
    helping each other through.

    The spirit and the bonds
    that couldn’t be broken.

  9. iainspapa

    Tough Row To Hoe? And How!

    Back in the day
    (As no poet would say)
    If the rhyme wasn’t perfect
    Well, that was okay.
    As long as the spelling
    Was similar, you
    Were allowed to plough through
    And rhyme you with, say, thou.
    With all due respect
    To great poets like Blake,
    Symmetry rhymes with eye
    Just as hoe goes with rake.
    Burning brightly, Blake’s tiger
    Stalks forests most fiercely,
    But text me that rhyme,
    I’ll write, “OMG srsly?”
    I won’t say one style
    Is better or worse
    (And I’d much prefer riding
    A horse to a hearse)
    But telling my ear
    That the sound in my head
    Is supposed to defer
    To the spelling instead
    Of the way, when you say
    It aloud, the word’s heard,
    Is absurd! Every time,
    I’m left scratching my beard.

    http://trollpants.wordpress.com

  10. KathyintheWallowas

    a penny for your thoughts

    I am the holder of your good old days
    for all those times when it has gone to –
    you know where or what. remember
    when? and then? and after that? oh
    little sister, big brother, and the one
    beloved who never did give back, at
    least in the places we had hoped – I

    hold that thought, that lovely memory.
    you, too, are the holder of my good
    old days, new days, past days, blue
    days. there is no fault though there is
    a considerable amount of might have
    been, here and there. it’s all said, done.

    we are the holders of our good old days
    we hold the direction of the ones to come.

  11. cstewart

    Omena Lake

    Someone had saved their great grandfather’s,
    Model T Ford, in an old barn.
    You bought it for fifty dollars.
    And fixed it so it would run.
    It was black and had no seats.
    We had to stand up and hold on.
    We used a cane to push the gas pedal.
    And drove like crazy around the lake’s
    Dirt roads flying in the margins of
    Fear and fun.

  12. DanielAri

    granddad poem

    My grandpa’s coupe had a four-ninety-five
    air conditioner: crank down four windows
    and drive ninety-five. I knew him through jokes,
    his wheezy guffaw and the affection
    of a grandpa as sharp as whiskey neat.
    Nights went timeless when he played mandolin
    picking “Michigan Rag” with Uncle Mike
    on guitar. After he died, I heard Spike
    was the nickname all his friends had for him.
    I found out he was something of a sport.
    Mexico in the 30s, Yucatan
    vacations shooting Gusano Rojo.
    The line I draw backwards to him from now
    infuses such romance into his lives.

  13. PKP

    In response to an earlier comment that being ” offended” is part of being “human”

    The problem is when young men are killed against fences….and others driven to take their own lives to end unrelenting pain…there is a difference between being ” offended” and being dangerously hurtful…. I refer you to the cinders of six million who “offended others”. as but a paltry example of a historical consequence where the freedom to hate those who “offended” led, while others in silent agreement or silent fearful horror stood by. This cannot be an America or Canada, or India, or Spain, or Wales, or Germany or England or ANY of our Poetic Asides contributing nations that ANY of us could possibly want or defend.

    0kay folks before I am tempted to write about the “good old days, of slavery and lynching, inquisitions, gas chambers, apartheid and on and on in a legacy of what people can do to each other…. Let’s remember the poetry…the power of the pen, and the joyful freedom of expression not only for those with whom we agree but for those with whom we powerfully disagree. Yes it takes only for good men to “do nothing etc. etc. but we do no good when hatred is forced underground…. To paraphrase Brandeis , I believe, sunlight is the best disinfectant…. Let the sun shine 🙂

    1. Marie Elena

      “Let’s remember the poetry…the power of the pen, and the joyful freedom of expression not only for those with whom we agree but for those with whom we powerfully disagree.”

      Amen, Pearl. I am going to quote you under Joseph’s message above. I hope you don’t mind.

  14. Buddah Moskowitz

    Reruns

    Growing up,
    life wasn’t abusive or neglectful,
    but it was staid, Spartan
    and security minded.

    My parents were too busy
    trying not to lose their status
    in the lower middle class
    that there was rarely
    time for laughter,
    time for joy.

    I don’t look back and see
    the good old days.
    I see reruns,
    mostly sitcoms.

    All I was allowed
    to do was watch TV
    so I did.

    I even learned to read
    by matching the synopsis
    to what was on
    in the TV.

    Now I use
    DVR technology to watch
    shows I saw as a kid
    and I recite the scripts,
    perfect in memory and intonation,
    I even know the rhythm
    of the laugh tracks.

    To this day,
    some of my fondest memories
    are found in episodes of
    “All in the Family”
    “Sanford and Son”
    “Green Acres”
    “The Honeymooners”

    and better than family,

    they will all
    outlive me.

  15. Marie Elena

    The Tressel Years

    Jim Tressel was coaching
    A great year approaching
    Man, do I miss the old days.

    Our offense, impressive
    Our defense, aggressive
    Man, do I miss the old days.

    Now comes the revival
    Of O.S.U.’s rival
    Man, do I miss the old days.

    And as I write of ya,
    My Bucks, I still love ya,
    But MAN, do I miss the old days.

  16. PKP

    PKP says:
    November 26, 2011 at 11:22 pm….. THIS WAS A RESPONSE TO JOSEPH HARKER POET LAUREATE OF POETIC ASIDES WHO WAS VERY DISTURBED EARLIER TODAY BY THE TONE AND TENOR OF SOME “POETIC” CONTENT

    Joseph, I was busy with NaNo and was not here…the only way to deal with vitriol is to admonish and then ignore…..imagine the world if Adolph had truly been admonished and IGNORED … this is not turning a deaf, ear or being a kumbayah idealist ….. It is absolutely refusing to give traction or validity to the slippery slope upon which free speech slides into hatred. There are many perhaps who agree with those who write hatefully and others perhaps, you are correct, fewer in number who do not. I struggled years ago when a person repeatedly provoked and penned vitriol….but ranting remains powerless when no one listens. I do not believe the opposite of love is hatred I do believe the opposite of love is indifference. I have no interest in responding to those who believe I, or anyone else is or shall be damned because of who we are or who we are not or what we believe or what we do not. I stand for freedom. I stand with your right to be you – and my right to be me and our collective right as long AND THIS IS IMPORTANT no one is hurt or disenfranchised for others to hate and for us to be indifferent to hatred …. and watch it die for lack of sustenance….I will not feed hatred on this site or anywhere…. please my talented young sensitive poetic friend…WRITE ON…. and never feel you stand alone. You have admonished and been supported in your admonishment….let us now turn to the power of indifference… Banishment and censorship and leaving only serves to feed the hatred….let it starve …. With love
    Reply

    1. seingraham

      Oh Pearl – I wish I’d scrolled down here and read this beautiful and spot-on note you wrote to Joseph before I scribbled my rambling bit of incoherence to him – this is exactly what I meant to say Joseph but in a much more articulate fashion – as you can see, people on this site are speaking out … take heart and do keep writing –

  17. JanetRuth

    The Good Old Days…(Written on June & 2011, just for fun:))

    I bet you think today I am going to write
    About birthdays and getting old
    How I just can’t remember quite
    What I have or have not been told
    Bet you thought that this was the day
    I would celebrate and lament
    But all I can really think to say
    Is I am ‘middle-age content’

    I don’t mind the years that are slipping by
    As my youth slips farther away
    I don’t miss the dream that shone in my eye
    In some by-gone yesterday
    I really enjoy the ache in my bones
    I’ve earned it, don’t you agree?
    Lamenting my age is like kicking stones
    And who wants to be twenty-three?

    If I look in the mirror to bemoan its truth
    I would not trade it away
    For a couple more years of brimming youth
    Without words like ‘stiff’ or ‘gray’
    It’s a great day to be alive
    If I could I would not turn back the page
    To be something other than forty-five
    Or, in other words…middle-age

    No, I’m not crazy or losing my mind
    To middle-age insanity
    But if you believe this…may I be so kind
    As to suggest that you might be?

  18. Bruce Niedt

    I’m posting a very short poem, a lune, for two reasons: (1) It’s been an extremely busy holiday weekend for me, with little time to write, and (2) Some of the dialogue on this blog this weekend has, frankly, left a sour taste in my mouth. Amazing how things can deteriorate when Robert’s away for a few days.

    good old days:
    old, but not as good
    as we remember

    1. JanetRuth

      Yes. I think it is important for all of us to remember…this is a poetry site…A place where poets gather to read and share POETRY, not doctrine. I really like this poem. It sums up those days perfectly!

        1. PKP

          Poets have always included and been in the forefront of political and all sorts of passionately held belief…. We have been here before with some speaking hurtful “truths” as they “believe” them and misreading a lack of condemnation as acceptance. We do not need monitors just poems and readers. I think there are occasional flare ups here BECAUSE. this site has such sn intensely supportive sensibility…. We have come through such sour patches and shall do so again …in peace, in love, in poetry 🙂

  19. Michele Brenton

    The Good Old Days

    Danny La Rue in satin and feathers
    lipstick and make-up
    dressed to kill
    all ideas that only women
    could sparkle and sing and wear
    corsets with style.

    The only act I remember
    on The Good Old Days
    Variety Show
    I used to gaze in wonder
    and wish somehow
    I could grow into
    something as exotic
    and spectacular.
    But my future was
    more caterpillar
    than the butterfly brittle
    dazzle and delight
    of Danny La Rue
    on his Saturday flight.

    The Good Old Days was a television show running from 1953 to the 1980s and featured variety acts in a re-creation of the Music Hall variety shows that were popular in the late Victorian and the Edwardian periods in the UK. The audience dressed in period costume and it was very much a part of the popular culture for four decades.

  20. richard-merlin atwater

    Poet’s Note:
    My explanation in yesterday’s poem is in the several REPLY boxes following those sent to me in various places down through the drift after my poem on Consumption was severely and inappropriately attacked with complete FALSE interpretation and violent commentary. A later Poet’s Note of commentary I wrote down the scale was also commented on and my explanation given. Fortunately Janet Ruth as a true LADY came to my defense and prior to the “bash” against me she posted a very nice REPLY in proper order of the day. My poem today reveals the TRUE me in context of “the good old days” as they actually unfolded. I hope EVERYONE had a Happy Thanksgiving weekend in progress with FAMILY. And I hope our POET ASIDES experience ends with a Happy Flavor for all in the four remaining days left. Rich Atwater

    1. JanetRuth

      Nice to ‘meet’ you…Yes, I agree. This is a site to share poetry. There is a saying which I thought of as I read everything’ A truly humble person, and one who is at peace with himself and the world, is not easily offended’…may we all experience Peace both in the remaining four days of Nov. and through-out the Christmas season!

  21. richard-merlin atwater

    Tales Smoked from My Grandmother’s Pipe
    Rich Atwater Nov. 26, 2011

    Maggie Jane Drake really never smoked, it was Grandpa who did (not on a pipe) and choked,

    I never really met them because they were dead, long before I was born in my mother’s bed.

    But my Dad told me about them, and about his own early life too, like the story of the old woman in a shoe,

    She was born in 1860 (yes my real own Grandma says:) when Abraham Lincoln was Civil War Prez.

    Way up in Maritime Nova Scotia, whence they came, She from Indian Harbor, Guysborough by name,

    He a farm boy of Pictou on the opposite side, to go see her– a horse and buggy he would often ride,

    They were married in 1890 in Captain John Drake’s home, My great Grandfather of wooden leg fame,

    The clipper ship sailor of Drake line genealogy sheet, related to Sir Francis Drake, my Great Uncle keep.

    Grandma Maggie gave birth to three daughters in the late 1800’s, a boy who died, then my Daddy 1904 wonders!

    At 3 years of age he immigrated to Maine from Antigonish via train, He converted to Mormonism, went blind, only to gain–

    An orphaned wife who bore him twelve kids, of which I’m number four, So thus you have “my roots” before I left out the door,

    But a door we didn’t have, only a flap, since we lived in a tent, Poorer than a church mouse, who at least had a church where he went.

    Eighteen years I grew double-dipped as a Protestant Christian of sorts, because Mom and Dad had very different Faiths as cohorts,

    She was 7th Day Adventist, he a Mormon by belief, so I went all day Saturday with Mom, and Sunday with Dad like a Christmas wreath,

    I was full blown Christian all weekend long, singing the hymns of different songs, in two different churches, back and forth like ping-pongs!

    We had no running water, so my Dad in a pail took from a spring in the woods, We lived like the Big Bad Wolf and Little Red Riding Hoods!

    Later the Mormon missionaries helped build us a three room tarpaper shack, there I lived with siblings and mother as “Jill’ and Dad as “Jack”,

    We read from the Bible by kerosene lamp, kept warm by wood burning stove, But “those were the good old days” I declare proudly, by Jove!

    We washed in a round steel tub from catalogue Sears-Roebuck, and used it again as toilet paper in the outhouse, outdoors surrounded by ducks!

    But Dad, as an immigrant, proudly flew the American flag on a tall pole in the air, Oh, what a life to recall and review as I sit in my poetic chair!

    I rode the yellow school bus seven miles into town as a “hick”, and I was known by my family nickname “Dickie”, but some called me “Dick”.

    Now I’m Sir Richard-Merlin Atwater by literary name, with 700 poems to my call, my great surname ancestors arrived in New Haven in 1635, ya’ll

    May not know it, by they founded New Haven Colony under the Connecticut oak tree, on Yale University grounds before it even came to be,

    During the Revolutionary War they became Tories in support of the King, thus good old George Washington drove them out to a Nova Scotia fling!

    David Henry Atwater, my Dad, took Eva Viola (Dyer) as his wife and I’m glad, otherwise i would have never been born in the great state of Maine,

    With eleven other siblings as a Family of Fourteen, But Oh what a life of fun and joyful rompous times we had for they were King and Queen,

    Even in the depths of poverty they were living their dream, to have lots of children, praise God up above just for life like cherries and cream.

    At Christmas time we lived royally from Salvation Army toys, and gifts from Robin Hood, and charitable offerings that kept us in a happy mood.

    My Mom died of cancer at age 73, and Dad died past age 100, like a wise old owl in a tree, they lie side by side back there in a Maine cemetery.

    Today at 65 I now recall how “The Blind Man and the Orphan” had a great call, to bring the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST to twelve children, that’s all,

    What more can you want than a spiritual life, with happy children, and a loving wife, money meant nothing for we had absolutely NONE in this life,

    The rags that I wore were the robes of a King, for they were shed upon me from a manger child, we lived life conservative and never went wild.

    My spiritual “roots” run quite deep in the Lord of forgiveness and compassion too, because I’m the son of a blind man and the old woman in a shoe,

    They had a heritage and left a legacy of “the good old days” that may never again be, for the times that they knew has been over run by technology.

    I’ve long since retired as a 30 year career military intelligence officer with many a degree, my life on the line so many times to keep America free,

    But I’ll never forget what they gave to me (Mom and Dad)-stories and “Tales Smoked from my Grandmother’s Pipe” that make me who I am– me!

    Poet’s Note:

    This is the TRUE story of my life and of those who gave it to me as a legacy back in “the good old days”. I was born in the back woods of Maine October 6, 1946– in a blaze of glory of Autumn falling colorful leaves, on a Sunday morning (my birthright–like the poem of birth on which of the 7 days of the week says–happy, joyful with glee), a mile outside Canton Township (Oxford County) “Down East” New England Yankee Maine–along the Androscoggin River along with moose and bear as my brother, and i bear the partial blood line of the narive Algonquin Indians who are partly my forebears along with immigrants on all four lines of my FAMILY grandparenets names from England back in the 1600’s— now nearly 400 years in America, the native homeland I love, and for which I gave my life in service of to defend the freedoms God shed upon us as his gift. May we all live in righteousness so as to deserve it. Sir Richard-Merlin Atwater (Obi-wan “Merlin the Musician” as poet)

  22. Michelle Hed

    “Rootbeer with Jive” (A Blitz Poem)

    Orange Soda
    Or Rootbeer
    Rootbeer floats
    Rootbeer malt
    Malt Shop hops
    Malt Shop bop
    Bop on the face
    Bop on the head
    Head home
    Head to the drive-in
    Drive-in movies
    Drive-in love
    Love poodle skirts
    Love rock-n-roll
    Rock-n-roll all night long
    Rock-n-roll is here to stay
    Stay close to me
    Stay in my dream
    Dream angel
    Dream car
    Car hops
    Car race
    Race to the start
    Race to the finish
    Finish last
    Finish first
    First love
    First kiss
    Kiss me senseless
    Kiss me one more time
    Time after time
    Time stands still
    Still waiting for you
    Still on my mind
    Mind your manners
    Mind your cheating heart
    Heart ache
    Heart broken in two
    Two turtle-doves
    Two o’clock rock
    Rock –n- Robin
    Rock in my shoe
    Shoe of blue suede
    Shoe in the hand
    Hand in your pockets
    Hand jive
    Jive on the streets
    Jive in the soul
    Soul
    Streets

  23. Judy Roney

    Good Old Days

    These are the good old days.
    The golden years were in the summer
    of my life, when the sun was shining.
    I met my husband, held my children’s
    wiggly bodies for the first time,
    had a houseful of laughter and activity.

    The good old days are now. I’m old,
    but there are riches to be found
    in the love of this same sweet man,
    the mountain top in fall, or a winter
    scene when I write or paint to my content.

  24. Dan Collins

    They never left

    The good old days?
    You know I don’t like
    to choose favorites.
    Besides, how could I pick
    from this endless
    cycle of days?
    If I must, I’ll say
    that it was where
    our mythology began.
    Were we Qin or were
    we Zhou? You called
    me another name.
    I only know that I loved
    as we watched
    the first black-faced
    spoonbills arrive
    early to the fen.
    Your laugh, full of white
    teeth, was borrowed
    by the sun setting
    over your shoulder,
    and we flew our red kite
    late into evening.

  25. taylor graham

    YOU CAN’T GO BACK AGAIN

    I drove down the four-lane
    that used to be two, undivided.
    Where was the little dirt road
    that took off into canyons
    where I’d ride my big black mare?
    It wasn’t there – the dirt road,
    the canyons. Nothing was there.
    Only houses, freeway, convenience
    stores. The ridges bull-dozed,
    flat places paved. I kept on driving,
    to a deserted spot that no one wanted
    yet. I stopped, got out, and felt
    the knifing winter-wind off ridges.
    through dry arroyos. I closed
    my eyes and cantered bareback
    on a big black mare. Then
    I got into my car and drove off
    into the transformed world.

    1. JanetRuth

      This poem brought a lump to my throat. Years ago, as my dad was driving my grandpa, Grandpa was looking for landmarks with anticipation, but they no longer existed because four-lane highways ran through what once was a peaceful farming-country side…and I remember grandpa saying sadly, ‘It just doesn’t look like it used to…’

  26. mikeMaher

    Fogged Up Lens

    We keep adjusting the volume to hear Al Pacino
    and then to not hear him as much,
    and when it is too low we look around the room
    and you can see different interpretations of the good old days
    on the eyes of the others looking around the room,
    but if we were to go back everything would be too small.
    If only we did not possess the ability to turn around!
    2011 and still some make a living by digging up gold,
    looking not backward or forward
    but down at pans of mud and water.
    Who has that kind of faith?
    Water is a lover which lets us do whatever we want
    but even water reaches a point where it screams.
    You’re a gangster now, says Pacino,
    and we all look back to the screen.

  27. Sara McNulty

    Then, and Again (a Nove Otto)

    Women did not frequent bars.
    Few were seen at wheels of cars.
    Housework was not done by men.
    Oh there were ladies of the night
    with skirts and tops sinfully tight
    for barflies in cars with a yen.
    We still fight for equality
    It’s been an uphill climb, yet see,
    equal jobs, unequal pay, now and then.

  28. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Those Were the Good Old Days

    “Ba-NAN-ios! Five cents a dozen!” was
    the cry that woke my father as a boy. So
    he told us. He loved to tell us all his tales.
    He loved to thrill us with his stories: how
    his friend’s father, a mortician, let them
    play inside the mortuary; how he’d walk
    home alone at dusk, skin a-tingle, for he
    knew a neighbor liked to choose a fat tree
    from those that lined the walk and stand
    hidden, waiting for a passing youngster.
    Then he’d jump out and scare the child
    who’d run off screaming as the neighbor
    laughed until he couldn’t catch his breath.

    “Those were the good old days,” my father said.

    When I was young, no summer day could
    be too hot for us to play outside where we
    would climb our tree and pick green apples.
    Underneath, the grass wore thin, the perfect
    place to park our scooters, trikes and bikes.
    A dime would buy a comic book; a nickel
    bought an ice cream cone – but only one
    and not a dozen – like my dad’s bananas,
    purchased for the same five cents. Better
    yet we could see a movie for a nickel. That
    was quite a buy, for no one owned a TV yet.
    But if we were penniless, we’d join our friends
    to caravan by bike to the library. Back home
    we shared our borrowed books all afternoon.

    Those were the good old days that I remember.

  29. Jane Shlensky

    Forward, if You Believe in God

    I must delete a dozen emails a day from her,
    all surely well-meaning, but annoying as hell,
    her assumption that all her family members,
    believing as she does, must be willing to forward
    her messages to like believers who will take them
    global, an army marching from her keyboard.

    This one today is about school prayer’s being subverted
    by atheists, communists, and liberals, children being
    denied a connection to their maker in the name of inclusion,
    the anti-Christ; pinkos, rotten teachers, and democrats
    ruining the fine old days of yore when America grew up
    bearing arms and waving flags in the guardianship of saints.

    I am sensitive to educational issues, having spent over
    fifty years as student and teacher, educated by thinkers
    and judgmental bastards alike. I see my students’ faces,
    of many races, national origins, sexual preferences, faiths
    and non-faiths, cultures and language groups who have
    come to me seeking a life of the mind, literature and research,

    grammar and scholarship, each student a singular self, unique
    and wondrous in the world. I feel within me the lessons we taught
    one another, their best writings still in my “Save” folder for second
    thoughts and lunches years hence when we meet again
    as old friends. I feel I must defend them from a well-meaning
    email I will never forward, but that I will respond to rather

    than silently deleting. And so I pen a well-meaning letter
    to her, assurances that while the good old days may have
    suffered necessary revision, tolerance, kindness, acceptance,
    and love are readily available in schools, as surely any god
    might approve. As for prayer, I know all too well that around
    exam time, prayers for success waft upward like doves.

    And since I’ve taken the time and energy to respond to this
    one email, I ask her if she would mind not forwarding so
    many such angry accusing emails to me, that in fact
    I don’t agree with them and that they just bum me out,
    but I’m always eager to see her holiday pictures and
    hear of her family’s trials and successes. We are family.

    1. Patricia Anne McGoldrick

      Well written, Jane! It is a big diverse world we live in, a school community is clear evidence of so many varied individuals; the “singular self” is each and every one in a classroom or in life outside the classroom. Your response is one of those small individual responses that helps to make a difference.

  30. barbara_y

    Back, Before

    there was a hawk,
    sat on the ladderback chair,
    sat up on the chair back,
    like a crown for the table.
    there was a hawk
    held quiet for the blessing
    never snatched the best fried chicken
    or interrupted conversation.
    there was a hawk
    once on a time
    said: this is getting old–good-bye.
    once on a time
    there was a hawk.

  31. posmic

    In Kirkland, 1977

    Those were the days when
    my father wore a powder-blue
    leisure suit that matched our
    velvet chairs, in whose surface
    I traced endless patterns with
    index fingers, four years old
    like the rest of me. We lived
    in a suburb of Seattle, with

    a view of lake, mountains,
    and, somewhere between them,
    a sparkle of city lights that one
    great aunt who visited always said
    was like a jewel box. We owned

    all the jewels then, velvet and cedar.
    Even polyester doubleknit can sparkle
    if you look at it just right, when it is
    a suit on your father, who is still

    so young and world-beating,
    his hair still black as that sky.

      1. posmic

        Thank you, Jane! We moved around a lot when I was a kid, and I think that house is where we felt most at home. Somewhere, there’s a picture of my dad in that suit, and when I’ve looked at it in recent years, I’ve realized how young he was then — a few years younger than I am now. 🙂

  32. J.lynn Sheridan

    “When the world had no color”

    What a difference a couple
    of decades makes— I now know
    that age is a badge of honor to
    wear with pride, though these

    children I dare to call mine, often
    smirk at these gray hairs and ask
    me what it was like to live in a
    world that that did not yet have color,

    I narrow my eyes, then pause
    long enough for them to squirm,
    then say, you guys think you know
    so much, it just so happens that the

    world is still black and white; there
    must something wrong with your
    eyes. They chide me, but for the
    next seven days, I’ll catch the little

    darlings rubbing their peepers as if
    they believe me.

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