OUCH

Sewing instead of taking my afternoon nap

I yawned causing the sharp needle

To prick my gnarled finger

Aha my charming prince must be on his way

Bringing true love’s awakening kiss

He’s late

Short legs perhaps

Do I want him

A woman of my great age

Can easily handle little pricks

By Fran Fisher

No Stress

OK, I know that I'm old

But yet I've often been told

"You're looking really good."

Do people say this just because they think they should?

I sure have lived a lot of life and had my share of peace and strife

And cannot adequately measure the support and joy that still comes from my very dear wife.

My two daughters and my son stand out in any crowd,

They make me so happy and justifiably proud

That I could easily walk on a soft white cloud.

Our lovely grandchildren's pictures are displayed throughout our place.

We'd show a lot more if only we had the space.

What has happened, what brought me to this stage?

Could it be a result of my rather advanced age?

I felt amazed when I celebrated eighty years

And went through the normal concerns and fears.

Now that I've reached ninety I no longer feel stressed

Because, whether or not I deserve it, I have been truly blessed.

By Jerry Belenker

There I Am

I am looking at a tattered and

worn 1930s family photo album

where I find a photo of me when

I was six or seven

it is summer on an Iowa farm

because that's the only place

I ever was when I was six or seven

I am barefoot, wearing bib overalls,

no shirt grinning

sporting a bowl haircut parted in the middle

pointing a toy six-shooter at the camera

What am I thinking?

What do I know?

Who is holding the camera?

height of the Great Depression

cares are for others

I am smiling and look happy

not a worry in the world

the shadows tell me the sun is high

plenty of time before chores

By Cal Lambert

CONTEMPLATION

We drift through our lives

regularly inventing

new versions of self.

Many of these new-found "selves"

are just something to try out.

All living humans

enjoy this to some degree

and therefore enjoy

the “liveliness” of living

in an exploring manner.

The options dwindle

as one's hair becomes silver.

That's when we each ask,

"What can I possibly do

with this surfeit of leisure?"

Having accepted

that death is like a stopped clock

with a snapped mainspring,

I realize that my last

tick-tocks are precious to me.

I calmly treasure

the relaxed state of musing

about those moments

in peaceful contemplation

of how to express them well.

I like to reckon

that capturing my day dreams

in tanka verses

is worthwhile for the moment

and good for my legacy.

I suspect it's rare

for nonagenarians

to leave behind

records of their final thoughts

as amateur poetry.

But writing in verse

somehow helps me clarify

confusing ideas

that an aging mind "plays with"

while its pendulum winds down.

By Richard Ramette

Coyote Contempt

out from orchard cover

they crossed the river east

into the waning moonlight

to glimpse upon the beast

approaching in the distance

upright ears they’ve heard

with warnings of its coming

a disturbance is assured

iron tracks upon the earth

shining brightly on this night

the ground begins to tremble

and instincts call for flight

but deep within their nostrils

the smell of diesel foul

had nature find within them

the makings of a how-how-howl-l-l-l-l

By Don Gregory French

Them Ain’t Mountains!

South we drove from Tucson to Nogales,

'Ninety six was the year.

“Why would anyone want to live,” I mused,

“With fake mountains so awfully near?”

Mile after mile of geometric tailings.

Pyramids belong in Egypt, not in AZ.

Wedding cake tiers without celebration —

No, this place would not be for me.

Fast forward to the year twenty sixteen:

What? Green Valley is now our home!

Four more tiers added, yes, sunsets are sooner,

But surprisingly contented we’ve become.

The Valley of Green isn’t green, very much

But lo! what a sweep going east.

First named “Long Mountains” they were —

Now the Santa Ritas — our daily feast.

Look east, old folks, from which we’ve mostly come.

Recognize there’s nothing that we lack.

Simmer in the hot tub, absorb true mountains

And know the mine pits, yes, they have our back.

By Marilyn Jaeger

Christmas Dilemma

My head is spinning like a top on a string.

I can't seem to remember if I've done everything.

Are the gifts all wrapped with ribbons and bows?

I really think so, but God only knows.

So what do I do?

I think about you.

The stockings are hung, but there are lights to be strung.

The cards are half done, and the baking's begun.

So what do I do?

I think about you.

I've got tinsel in my hair and flour on my nose,

And I can't seem to remember where this holly wreath goes.

Did I plug in old Rudolph so his nose really glows?

So what do I do?

I think about you.

I should put the star on the top of the tree

And make some more pies; we'll need more than three.

Yes, Christmas draws near, and the world's full of cheer,

But my heart is blue just because you're not here.

So what should I do?

I'll think about you.

By Joey Thompson

Shew Biz

The famous Incognito.

Benito Incognito.

And do you know what happened to him?

No one does know.

That's why they named Incognito

After Benito.

He was the best there was.

Just don't loan him

Your pen!

By Michael Chernik

Cookie Man

I bragged to my aging brother, about a good, good longtime friend.

Explaining how we’d traveled, roads, over hills, and round the bend.

I said his name was Keith, and he sold products on a route.

Told of things we had in common, and stuff we cared about.

But age plays dirty tricks on folks, and brother lost the name.

I repeated how Keith sold cookies, and that fact might be his fame.

So years flowed by and visits ebbed, the distance was the thing.

But brother would search his mind, and then very happily he’d sing.

How’s your friend the cookie man? Gosh — I can’t recall his name.

You guys still friends and share a drink, darn — I can’t recall his name.

I’d retell my tales of Keith and I, old brother would smile and wink.

He’d say he’d had good friends also, thou nary a one would drink.

Six months later we would talk, again his memory he would scan.

And ask his often spoke phrase, How’s what’s his name, the cookie man?

I think old brother figured it out, if the same stories I then told.

We’re happy ones and full of fun, he could measure up our gold.

He would hear of our bonds, and figure out everything was fine.

How’s the cookie man, for him was more than just a simple line.

By Richard Cox

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