Janis and Mom

Happy Mother's Day y'all. I wrote these two poems as I thought about my mom, Judy. Made for More attempts to capture a moment I shared with my her, way back in 1966. I was 6 years old. Some memories we make and keep forever. They provide an opportunity, a window to our past. My mom has been gone for over a decade, but writing this poem allowed me to look into her eyes a little deeper and have a nice visit.

Shorthand was a Longshot, is about the forgotten written language of secretaries. My mom was an expert shorthand taker. This poem looks at our missed opportunity to take over the world with a language that only women could read.....It's not too late!


Made for more

Fire and heat

turn to ash at the end of my mother’s pall mall

resting between her fingers

Effortlessly

Fingers made for cigarettes

I knew those concave places on the sides of her two fingers

Like a perfect puzzle I could rest my small finger there

Looking like a stalled shooting star

the embers lit her face

Her eyes looking way past

the broken bottle field

I sat next to her

knowing to be quiet

by the way she smoked

I learned

the inhale and exhale

The slow trail of smoke

sharing the light breeze with the rock music

echoing across South Dixie Highway to where we sat

On our warmed Florida cement stoop

but she was not there

I could tell by the way she smoked

Her long sighing exhale

clouding her view

inviting distant thoughts

blurring possibilities

She was 30 years old

Broke

with 4 kids

5 if you counted my dad

My eyes rested on hers

Trying to find her I asked

“Who is that singing Mom?”

A reluctant smile from lips made for cigarettes

“Janis Joplin” she blew

returning to our stoop

I could tell by the way she moved

circling my shoulder

inviting me closer

that her arms were made for hugging

and that she was made for more than this




Shorthand was a longshot

We had our chance

the secret language

Ours

Their small words of greed and power

in our studied lines

Woman’s work to them

the illiterate Madmen

We took their letters

processed messages

to human

then back again

to their suit type talk

Did we ever hesitate on a slope

an upward swoop

Pause at the sound of ink

and lies

A slight arch falling  toward the line

a single dot above

with a swift line curl away

the same arch touches the line

The difference between

War and peace

truth revealed

Love

They didn’t know what we knew

Spiral tablet resting on cross legged mandatory spiked heel

legs encased in their panty  hose

Skirt length and width prescribed

We could have done anything with those lines

We were the carriers of the code

It was a longshot

an opportunity missed

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