Tag Archives: parents

no, we won’t “see what happens”

Another day,
another dollar,
another week,
the kids are taller,
another month,
my figure’s fuller,
another year,
my mind is duller.

And so they flow,
future to past,
this present instant
cannot last.

All these years,
my face can’t hide,
all these months,
can’t be defied
all these weeks,
soon put aside,
as all these days,
wash away with the tide.

But I’ll face each one
head high with pride,
and I’ll choose the path
down which I stride.

 

I’ve been thinking about aging a lot lately, because I’m spending a lot of time trying to sort things out for my parents who never did any planning beyond “we’ll see what happens”, which is my mother’s catch phrase.  That phrase has become such a trigger for me – I just want to slap anyone who says it now, and yell “no! take some responsibility for your life!”.  My parents have always been irresponsible. They’re truly dreadful role models. But brilliant cautionary examples.  Anyway, trying to sort things out for them now, from interstate, in a pandemic, is a nightmare. Not that it would be much easier if I was there – they simply have no records, no paperwork, no plans, no ideas…  And it’s made me think about where I want to be after I retire, and what happens when I can’t manage on my own anymore, advanced care directives, administrators and executors. It’s a bit depressing. But at least if my kids do want to slap me in 30 years, it won’t be because I’m just waiting to see what happens, but because of what I’ve chosen to do. I hope they want to slap me for blowing their inheritance on a sports car and a toy-boy and really expensive champagne.     

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no(w)where?

Our phone calls are become a travelogue:
last week she was at the beach,
on Monday she was visiting her son,
on Wednesday she was at work,
and today she’s in a restaurant waiting for lunch.
But she’s thinking of going home soon.

I don’t query or correct,
Why would I?
when her mind is giving her better stories
than the truth.

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a tear could attract birds of prey

I’m picking up on a line here from Ngina that really spoke to me “a tear could attract birds of prey”.  Although I’m not actually sure which homonym of tear she meant. 

It is not harsh words
or sad news.
It is unexpected kindness
in the midst of sorrow and cruelty
that tears a sob
gasping from my chest
and pours tears down my face.

Because tears could attract birds of prey –
honed talons spread
obsidian beaks waiting to gorge.
Or worse, carrion crows,
black rag-scraps fluttering and fighting
for a carcass morsel.

It is only in solitude
or in the company of kindness
that tears can be safely released.

 

Things are a bit shit at the moment. My father was recently taken into care because his dementia got so bad he started wandering and getting lost. My mother then had a fall and is now in hospital and doesn’t know where she is. One of my kids hates me and takes every opportunity to tell me how much – and it’s a lot, and he tells me continuously.  And we’re flooded in so I can’t get away from him. And most of my job is dealing with problems – people’s problems and problem people. I’m feeling assailed by negativity on all sides.

So at the campus end of year function today when a colleague thanked me for inspiring him I completely lost it and bawled my eyes out for the next half hour. Lucky it was online so no one could see me.

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not now

I shan’t cry now,
not in the glare and noise of the supermarket,
between the breakfast spreads and the cereals.

I mustn’t cry now,
not in front of the children, flown from their school-day,
chattering urgently away, of lessons, games and he-said then I-said.

I can’t cry now,
not when there is no time, no time of my own, just the stove,
the table, and dinner waiting to be cooked and served.

I won’t cry now,
not when I am so tired, that my eyes close before the tears fall,
and there is nothing left of the day, and nothing left in me.

And maybe tomorrow, I wont need to cry.

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fragments I: stones

I
Sun glitters on the ferry’s wake.
Its wash tumbles another cairn,
the clack of the stones
scatters amongst his laughter.

II
I gave my father a stone,
to hold him here,
to remind him.
I heard, yet I neglected to do the same.

III
Intricately wound and ornamented shells
shatter among rough glass and smooth stones.
Littoral becomes pocket kipple,
soon-forgotten, scattered and lost.

IV
The sharp edge planes the surface,
raising a glittering curtain, falling
as the stone skips onward.

 

Collected for the dVerse MTB prompt “picking up some pieces” – gathered partly from an old poem, with some new shards to form a fragment poem.

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then who?

I question whether I could be kinder. Whether I should be kinder. Whether, once (twice?) rejected, I have the right to simply opt-out now.
I am tempted to say nothing, or to speak only platitudes. That would be so easy, to nod and abide by her mantra of “we’ll see what happens”.
But we’ve seen what has happened. What has happened, on the golden child’s watch. The golden child who only ever tells her what she wants to hear. Until the police and social workers are listening.
Silence might be a kindness in the moment. But his complicity in the fantasy that everything is alright is how we got to here.
So, I make the phone calls, I make the decisions, and I take her complaints and accusations. I am bombarded. Yet I stand. Because, if I am not my mother’s keeper, then who?

Written for the dVerse prosery prompt: no more than 144 words of prose including the line “I am bombarded yet I stand”.

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compost mentis

The decades have collapsed in on themselves,
those strata of experience, knowledge, skills,
compacted down
into a thick amorphous layer of decay
in which malice and mistrust have sprouted
feeding on the last remnants of thought
their clarity turned to caustic white sap
twisting about themselves for support
tangled, twining and thickening
into a thicket impermeable to reason,
leaving me thorn-gauged and stung
at each attempt to approach.

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a slurry of ashes

The guardianship application says Mr…
Not Dr…

I could ask for it to be corrected.
But why bother?

He doesn’t remember he held that title.

Alcohol didn’t feed the flame of his intelligence.
It doused it,
leaving nothing but a pale slurry of ashes.

 

A quadrille for the dVerse “ashes to ashes” prompt: 44 words exactly, including the word ash or a variation.

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spitting it out

I am angry.

I am angry because… Continue reading

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