Off we go to France
where ils parlent tous en francais
where we will eat fromage and drink du vin.
I will celebrate!
but first I must not procrastinate,
the bags call to be filled
with undies, pants and frills,
we must get ready to go!
I'll take a vacation day from writing
late into the night.
the dental floss is whining and
the toothpaste is oozing through the cap,
my pajamas would be dancing but they are damp
in the laundry,
I just remembered.
the flowers are wilting from lack of water,
the dishes are undone,
so I'll take a vacation from writing
and floss and brush my teeth, hang the
laundry, summarily dump the flowers
off the back porch and climb into
bed with my beloved.
bike shorts - two pairs: check
bike shoes and jerseys, a raincoat
in case it rains.
some blouses and a skirt, a scarf
to wrap around my neck on a chilly evening.
yes, a toothbrush, etc
I'm starting to pack so early this time
having sorted laundry
having found my suitcase
and when the climbing gets tough
my left hand will reach for the electric assist
and I'll fly past my beloved,
waving as I go by
I will wait at the top of Alpe d'Huez,
glass of wine in one hand
cheese and bread in the other.
there were three groups of them,
two older women with bad teeth, heavy, dressed in rags,
another group of four men, handing a bottle back and forth
and another group of men, I didn't see what they were doing
as I rode my bicycle through a cloud of cigarette smoke.
this morning, I watched them pack up their bedrolls
from under the bridge
and yesterday, a man was sleeping against the fence,
wrapping his arms around himself to keep warm.
they are everywhere
and no where, hidden in bushes across the creek,
talking to themselves and squatting behind trees.
they will not go away and even after three glasses
of wine and the best wishes, we find no solutions
for them except to keep them from starving or freezing
at least, hoping some will find their way.
an accent aigu,
musical expression, dynamics,
bright, mellow, accents,
the sound of "u" in "tu" and "tribu"
the memory of drum beats in the earth.
all foreign, all to be learned, incorporated
into my skin, my tongue, the movement of
my body, my face, my lips,
flute and French in one evening,
a bottle of champagne, mozzarella cheese,
garden tomatoes and cucumbers, candlelight,
offers of friendship,
the passing of words and non-words,
friendship and the passing of
ships in the night
only to dock in the
we changed seats.
the chair was too tall and the
bench seat too low.
I'd rather be taller than her for
a change so I gave up the cushy bench
for the chair, uneven as it was on
the old floors of the Boulderado.
she is not old enough to recognize
the value of the perfect mix, the unique mix
that can makes an individual a standout.
maybe not the smartest, the one with the most drive,
maybe not the perfect communicator or the single
one with the most charisma, the most insightful,
the hardest worker, but that perfect mix
makes the top performer, the life best lived,
the most talented teacher or the most
innovative, the most adored.
she may not recognize this in herself
or that of her brother,
but I do.
the late summer garden
wheat straw grasses.
the dog has disappeared into the trees
and is not responding to calls,
what else is new besides the endless
railing that we can't trust Hillary and we
don't know her, except for her last 25 years
in the public eye.
and knowing that such disingenuity would
never be launched at a man,
it's hot out.
am I slouching again,
and perhaps I should cut back on cookies
but they taste so good
I'm tired after the trip,
and work takes too much time.
it's hard work to train the mind.
my eyelids are drooping.
the eyelashes brushing against
glasses pushed hard against my face
in an attempt to see better
understand a confusing world with
would-be assassins and hacked emails,
the new California boss pulling the lifeline
from the workers,
I'm seeing and hearing it all
as well as the thunderstorms in the distance,
rays of light shining through gaps in the clouds
a distant rainbow.
how can I see clearly when there is black next to white
oranges, lightning, the sound of sirens and the
hum of the tires on the road, turning
to take me home,
my eyelids are drooping,
my brain too tired to understand
that which will never be
he's smart but oh so pushy,
interrupting your thoughts with his own
substituting your words for his own,
the rosy picture.
it's not my own, darkened with reality.
I don't trust him
and I need my own verification,
not his silky words and slick justifications,
I was the minority.
I'm not sure if I was welcome or not,
their dark faces, their gleaming beautiful white teeth,
their black black hair
they are stunning and glorious in their blackness
and I am white.
I indulged in
Grilled shrimp perched on a blanket of avocade covering a plantain bed.
If I could eat that every day, I'd be the happy minority
instead of Ceasar salad in a white bar with a $12 glass of wine
I went back there tonight
and I brought my white friends
we were the minorities
and I ate grilled shrimp perched on a blanket of avocado covering a plantain bed
I was happy.
best not to know it was 97 F
at the start of the ride
uphill, my legs pumping for France.
small roads twisting and turning,
hidden in forests and byways, the lure
of riding them, picnic in my basket,
a friend at my side
but I need to train for these three weeks
I need to feel the burn, feel my lungs exploding,
feel the heat on my skin, feel as if I can't breathe
enough, that my legs will turn to jelly on the next turn.
maybe I can make it up the mountain, with
my picnic basket and a bounce in my heart.
maybe, just maybe
if I try in this wretched heat,
if not, I won't.
that's for sure.
the problem with work is
it interferes with play
and cooking, hiking and shopping,
from doing anything else but
exhausted before vacation,
too exhausted to think of vacation,
to plan for vacation, to look forward to
that is the problem with work,
it interferes with life, the life my
brother is having taking off anytime to
ride a bike, drive a car, take a boat,
hike a trail, have a lunchtime BBQ,
well, it inteferes with a well thought out
poem, a well played flute sonata, a beautiful
garden, coffee at noon, reading in bed,
work interferes with too much life.
the windows had no curtains
like the Stanley Hotel in the Shining.
I've stayed there and I was booked to stay here.
the innkeeper and I climbed three sets of stairs,
each set narrower than the previous
arriving at my room, a small iron framed bed
adjoining a living room shared by three suites.
I dropped my bag and left for the evening.
My friend and I came back late and we
reminisced over our last adventures together
not to be repeated.
I settled in alone for a needed good night's sleep.
Awake, awake, the party has started!
the inn keeper and her family laughing and
talking, I try to sleep, blocking the sounds the
best I could, and again, AWAKE, AWAKE!
the party continues.
if not for my pajamas and embarrassment for
the hostess, I would have marched out and demanded
and in the morning, sleepily descending the three
sets of stairs, each one less narrow than the last,
i am puzzled to see a single lonely setting at the table.
an older gentleman, no doubt the husband looks back
at me, quizzically.
and where is your wife and her family who arrived
last night and were talking and laughing upstairs?
his face turned white.
no one was here but you, miss.
even we were sleeping elsewhere.