Thursday, December 29, 2011

Pot Luck

Little Felka watched as her mother painstakingly prepared the New Year’s Day dinner. Her mother, Desdemona, saw it as her duty to hand the tradition down to her daughter.
Desdemona removed a shiny silver coin from a velvet bag and held it in the palm of her hand. “This silver dollar,” she said, “was first used by your great-great grandmother. We’ve been passing this buck for generations. It’s important that you boil it with the black-eyed peas.”
Little Felka frowned. “I don’t like black-eyed peas.”
Desdemona used the back of her hand to brush away a sweaty strand of hair from her forehead. “I don’t care much for them myself. Your father hates them.”
Little Felka nodded. Being of a curious nature, she asked, “Then how come we do this, Ma?”
Desdemona shook her head and blinked her eyes, trying to knock a big enough hole in her incredulity to allow her voice to escape. Like it was a universal truth that everyone was aware of, she said, “Why, to keep the bad luck away in the coming year, of course. Everybody knows that. What planet have you been living on?”
Little Felka fell silent, her eyes cast upward and to the left.
Too much silence unnerved Desdemona. After a few moments, she said (trying not to shout), “Penny for your thoughts!”
Little Felka focused on her mother, a tad irritated at having her reverie arrested. “Say what?”
“What were you thinking about, Sweetheart?”
“Oh, I was just thinking that you and Papa both hate your jobs. What time we have together you spend snoozing or cussing your fate. You get along with hardly any of our relatives; you can barely even stand each other. You take pills we can’t afford to alleviate your neuroses and depression. Bill collectors call constantly—when the phone hasn’t been shut off—and we panic if the cable TV goes out—”
Desdemona flapped her hands. “Lord, don’t I know it! I shudder to think what life would be like if we didn’t boil that dollar every year.”
Little Felka’s shoulders rose nearly to her ears. “Maybe we could, I don’t know, try something different?”
“Oh, don’t be silly, Sweetheart.”

Years later, when the silver dollar was passed on to Felka, she took it to a numismatist. The rare old coin was worth thousands. Felka took the money and invested it in black-eyed pea futures. She’s doing quite nicely.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Facebook Flashback

I got friended by an old flame on Facebook. I’ll be damn.
She asked if I was still alive; well, technically I am.
Gettin caught up on three decades, I suspect as we explore
She remembers a me who’s not there anymore.

In my profile picture, my bald spot doesn’t show.
Oh, wait; here’s a better one from twenty years ago.
Twixt the wrinkled wrath of now and the cool cat of before,
It looks just like the me who’s not there anymore.

That old flame and I burned the candle at both ends.
While some said, “You can’t do it.” we exchanged winks and grins.
Here’s a toast to the tingle, the rumble, and the roar,
And a prayer for the pair who’s not there anymore.

She recalls the balls-to-the-wall give and take.
But lately I’ve been yankin the emergency brake.
The spirit and the flesh once had a ravenous rapport;
Glory be, where’s the me who’s not there anymore?

She’s retired and bored. Why don’t I fly up for the day?
I’ve got Fiddlers and Pipers and Hell yet to pay.
I appreciate the invite, but I’ll just click “Ignore.”
Fond regrets from the me who’s not there anymore.

An albuterol inhaler, assorted salves and sprays
Are what pass for an intimate relationship these days.
I might could still get down, but could I get up off the floor?
Two trick knees and a me who’s not there anymore.

My reward may be in Heaven; in the end we may fare well;
Meanwhile it’s my memories of raisin holy Hell.
Maybe not indeed, but in my heart and in my head,
She remembers a me that she’s raised from the dead.