Thursday, April 17, 2008

First Spring Day

Not the first day of Spring
Because it's still cold then.
But the first Spring day.
A day that's warm
And Spring-like.
Today is it!

How can I tell?
First, no boots or coat.
That was last week.
Freedom from bulk.
We all transform ourselves
From looking like
Army of Michelin tire men
To showing ourselves
As men, women, boys, girls.

Today people wear short sleeves
And just plain shorts.
They jog.
Their dogs pull them faster:
Jaunty, smiling together.
And... on subway
They exude distinct
Smell of sweat.

Ah, yes.
This is the Real Thing.
We'll get busy now
Mowing, raking, planting.
Bike riding.
Picnics on the beach.
In a fortnight
We'll complain
About the heat.

17 April 08

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Tacos y Mantequilla

Carmen taught my mom
How to make tacos.
For that I am
Profoundly grateful.
I was four at the time.
I still make tacos
The way Carmen
Taught my mom...
So do my son and my daughter.

Carmen was happy
When we moved next door.
Mother to seven kids
In San Benito, Texas,
She sent first six
To kindergarten to learn English
In time for school starting.
Her youngest, Juanita,
Didn't have to go.
She learned English from me.
Unfortunately I learned
Very little Spanish in return.

What I did learn
Proved effective.
Once when Juanita
Refused to play
The way I wanted her to,
I shouted Mantequilla! to her
At the top of my lungs.
Apparently she
Understood using the word
Butter as an expletive.
She acquiesced
And played my way.

That was 1947.
Today in Toronto
I work on package
For Wal-Mart in the US.
I type: B-U-T-T-E-R

I wonder if they know
I put swear words
On their little
Bilingual box?

8 Apr 08

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Happy 2008

That's me practising
My tap dancing.
The music's Sweet Georgia Brown,
Sometimes in Dixieland
But most often a simple piano solo.
I can't remember who played.
But I do remember
The steps...
And I do remember
The smells.

I tap and tap,
Change combinations
Ad infinitum.
Childhood home
Comes equipped with
Screened porch.
Perfect practice room
Away from television
And reading parents.
I crank up
That music and
Tap with all my might.

Oh, yes
I did say "Smells,"
Didn't I?

Hot summer sun is filtered
Through live latticed walls of
Honeysuckle and Jasmine.
Vines are thick with tendrils
Heavy with blossoms of
Unforgettable fragrances.

I tap and tap.
Wipe face
With towel that
Lives 'round neck.
I gulp air filled
With sweetness
Stirred by breezes.
Each gust mixes new
Potion with
Variations on
Nectar's theme.

How can I describe
Maybe you've known
Maybe you've known
have you known them

Then smell of
Sun and
Dancing dust motes.
They smell of
Joy and movement.
Then smell of
Nature's hopes
And promises.
They smell of
Effort to be better:
Quicker and slower.
Shuffles and flaps.
Leaps and turns and kicks.
Black tights.
Gold lamé Cuban heels.
Capezio taps.
They smell of
Sweaty terry cloth.
They smell of
Soft rustlings.
They smell of
Butterflies and
Oh yes,
And bees.
Of course.
They smell of
They smell of
Memories in my bones.

I'm showing you some of my memories,
Carried here by
Honeysuckle and Jasmine.
Just kick back and drink them in
With me...
While I invite you
To notice
The smells around you...
To remember smells past...
To find new ways to enjoy...
And describe
Your smelliest year yet.

Happy New Year!

Dec 2007

(Jasmine and Honeysuckle photos © 2004 fleursfrags)