The Death of Me

Something is killing
My love of the printed page.
I try hard to delve
Into a good book,
And end up shelving it.

When did it go wrong? Did it happen
In stages, catch me unawares?
I long for those days of yore
When I waited patiently
For the book-filled truck
Bringing volumes by the score,
Every Wednesday.
When I would load my arms
With as many as I could,
Carting them home to pore through,
And take each word to heart.

Is it this device
I have afore me now?
These easy keys allow
The sharing of all my secrets,
Trying not to bore
With what might make
You turn elsewhere?

Is it brain-circuits, not
Firing as before, unable to absorb
Anything of length or strength
Or train-of-thought?

I ought to shut this down,
Pick up a tome that rests in dust
Upon the weighty shelf,
Or else, I’ll lose myself.

Or else,
I’ll lose
Myself.

Kathleen Mortensen ©2016

Advertisements

When Sidney Came To Tea

Illustration by Jessie Wilcox-Smith, 1914

I’m sharing this today with my friend Janette, who blogs her fantastic art and haiku HERE.

Janette recently made reference to illustrations she recalls from childhood books and it made me think of this. I hope you enjoy my foray into the juvenile realm.

 

When Sidney Came To Tea

One day, when I was lonely, a monkey came to tea.
(We say “a monkey”, don’t we, when we mean a chimpanzee?)

He wasn’t like my other friends who were a frightful bore;
When Sidney came to tea, he simply never made one snore.

He poured a spot out just for me; he wanted to be “mother”,
Then gulped his down with monkey-glee, and poured himself another.

Before he’d even asked if I would “lemon”, or would “lump it”,
(He thought I didn’t see him, but I did—he swiped a crumpet!)

But maddest thing, he smiled and begged a jar of Grey Poupon,
And when old Smithers brought the stuff, he spread it on his scone!

We had ourselves a topping time, tho’ Sidney spilt some crumbs.
I cannot hold him to account, he really is all thumbs!

Kat Mortensen©2012 Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Checker

This poem is the direct result of an image at the now-dormant, “Monday’s Child” poetry site. Such a shame that lack of interest has caused its demise.

Sex Ed

Ooh, yeah!
Hey, remember that time
we found that stack
of Playgirl mags
all wet and raggy
in the middle of the wood?

Slick, but wrinkly,
sun-kissed bods,
appendages…
dangling.

Woowee!
Juice-inducing stuff.

And then
there was that blue movie
(when I stayed the night)
with the slattern
in the sleek car
her silk scarf
caressing her tresses—

slipping out of
her dress
letting it slide
to the floor.

What they were up to
on the bed
went over my head,
but it was so cool
the way she wrote
in lipstick
on the mirror.

Kathleen Mortensen©2009

Sometime Summer

Pinched moth-wings release orange fairy-dust on fingers—
chasing hoppers through new-chopped grass
you get stained knees too
bees-buzz, bees-buzz, buzz-bees, buzz
a green whip-snake writhes, as the water surges through,
ice-water sprays, making rainbows
flip-flops flap and slap down the damp driveway—
standing in a downpour in your swimsuit
small mouths sucking the hues out of icy tubes,
bowled strawberries bleed into a sugar-bed
Beefsteaks, so red, on white bread with white spread
chalks, colouring the sidewalks,
talk, talk, talk—endless talk,
giggle, giggle, giggle—screech! giggle some more
walk, walk, walk—to the store for Bazooka Joe
and bags of chips and rubber lips
running to the park, towel slung over a shoulder,
whizzing down a day-glo mellow-yellow water-slide—a short ride,
down a small hill, but what a thrill!
spinning spokes, clicking straws, streamers trail-blazing—
quick stop! agony-jolt, bike-pole-swollen
hot car seats stinging leg-backs, back-seat sleeps, road-trips,
road-games, tit-for-tat, battles and tears
the aroma of Noxema, creamed on burned backs and noses—
roses, roses, roses!
scratching itchy bites in bed, (they bled and stuck to the sheets)
hide and seek at dusk—raucous cries,
rising in the coming-night air.
life without a care …
so rare, so rare.

Kat Mortensen copyright 2010

Sometime Summer

In Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, circa 1965, with cousins and friends.

pinched moth-wings release orange fairy-dust on fingers—chasing hoppers

through new-chopped grass.
you get stained knees too
bees-buzz, bees-buzz, buzz-bees, buzz
a green whip-snake writhes, as the water surges through,
ice-water sprays, making rainbows
flip-flops flap and slap down the damp driveway—standing in a downpour
in your swimsuit
small mouths suck the hues out of icy tubes,
bowled strawberries bleed into a sugar-bed
Beefsteaks, so red, on white bread with white spread
chalks colouring the sidewalks,
talk, talk, talk—endless talk,
giggle, giggle, giggle—screech! giggle some more
walk,walk, walk—to the store for Bazooka Joe and bags of chips and rubber lips
running to the park, towel slung over one shoulder,
or whizzing down a day-glo mellow yellow water-slide—a short ride, down a small hill, but
what a thrill!
spinning spokes, clicking straws, streamers trail-blazing—quick stop! agony-jolt, bike-pole-swollen
hot car seats stinging leg-backs, back-seat sleeps, road-trips, road-games—
tit-for-tat, battles and tears
the aroma of Noxema, creamed on burned backs and noses,
roses, roses, roses.
scratching itchy bites in bed, ’til they bled and stuck to the sheets
hide and seek at dusk—raucous cries rising in the coming-night air,
life without a care …
so rare, so rare. 
Kat Mortensen copyright 2010


Kind of a Christmas Story. (Cheating with an old post from one of my other blogs.)

Kind of a Christmas Story 
 
To look at me, you would never assume that I have a thing for cars, but I do. It’s strange, this fascination of mine, but it goes back a very long way–back to the early 1970s and a highly unlikely Christmas present under the tree.

As a child, I was what you would call today a “girly girl”. My mother would dress me in finery – matching coats and hats, satin-sheened dresses and gloves, black patent-leather shoes and spic and span Buster Browns. Despite once being caught next to a trash can in the act of creating a “home-cooked meal” using a piece of stale bread and a near-empty bottle of Heinz ketchup, I was, to all intents and purposes, the model little girl and rarely did I get all grimy in the sporting arena. Being petite, I was uncoordinated and gangly and had no aptitude for athletics of any kind, save folk dancing.
I have always had a good memory for numbers and things. I still know my old student number from university by heart, I remember my best friend from grade school’s phone number, and I can tell you all the best picture Oscar-winning movies from 1960 to the present day. I can recognize just about every breed of dog, and I can point out different cars on the road. Why would a “girly girl” care about cars? Thank Santa Claus and Red Line “Hot Wheels” and the miles of orange track with its loop-the-loops all lain out in the front hallway of the bungalow on Pyramid Crescent.
My sister, Nancy and I would spend hours running our Camaros, Firebirds, Corvettes and even a Ferrari down those plastic tracks. We’d watch, mesmerized as they flew down the raceway and wound round the bends. Our cat, Fourchu was fascinated as the tiny cars ripped along and often sprawled out in the path of oncoming vehicles. Although I know my dad once owned a 1958 Mercury Monarch, the first real car I remember was my parents’ aquamarine Ford Galaxie 500. It was all square edges, bench seats and a huge trunk we often used to carry my toboggan in winter. We made trips to Nova Scotia in that car and I recall sleeping on the long back-seat with my pillow under my head, my orange and white teddy-bear tucked under my arm.
We had that car right through my childhood until 1975 when my dad came home one day with a brand new Midnight Blue Chevrolet Impala. That was a car! It was monstrous, really and could fit our family plus the family next door if we all scootched a bit. I learned to drive in that behemoth. It took me until I was 21 because my dad insisted on teaching me and our lessons were fraught with frustration on the part of my father at my not following his instructions, and fright on my part as I dreaded going on the highway. One grey day, we were out for a lesson when my dad insisted that I head to the on-ramp for the Queen Elizabeth Way (QEW). I balked. Like a mule, I blatantly refused to do it. We were on the service road that flanked the highway and my dad told me to stop the car. He made a fatal error when he got out on his side to come round and chastise me on my own. I saw my chance and I took it. I tore off in the car and left him standing at the roadside where it had now started to rain. I drove to our church. (I’d heard it was a good place of refuge). The priest eventually convinced me to go home where I ran in and promptly locked myself in the bathroom. An enraged father on the other side of the door didn’t convince me to come out for quite some time, but when at last I did, he had calmed down considerably.
The sheer bulk of the Impala was amazing. One night in 1986, while driving home from a club with my friend Marianne, we were stopped at an intersection on a back road. Suddenly, we heard a bit of a bang. I said, “Did you hear that?” Marianne replied, “I think it was behind us.” We turned around to find that a Chevette had actually ploughed into the back of the Impala. When we got out to inspect the damage, there was none–to us, but the Chevette was a mess.
I’ve driven other vehicles. In 1979, I was at a party with a new family just moved in to the neighbourhood from Argentina. Their daughter was my friend and she had two gorgeous brothers with whom I got on well. One of them let me take a spin in his deep purple Mustang. That was wild! Then I ran up on somebody’s boulevard and almost took out a hedge. I drove a boxy, pedestrian Reliant, K-Car home from another party in Etobicoke under the watchful eye of my boyfriend. The car belonged to his mother, who was none-the-wiser. It took me back to the “Galaxie” days. On another occasion, in 1989 (with yet another boyfriend) I drove a Subaru station-wagon back from Toronto because said boyfriend and his buddy were too drunk – they spent the drive home on the highway, chucking cassette tapes out the back window! Our relationship didn’t last much longer after that.
I didn’t get my “own” car until just a few years ago. Technically, it belonged to both my husband and me, but I did the majority of the driving and he took the bus to work, so I considered it mine. It was a black, Toyota Echo Hatchback. I loved that car! It had no power steering, but was automatic. It took might and brute force to make turns, but I loved the feel of the wheel and the sense of being part of the car. The only problem with it was the climate controls. More than once, I ended up at the side of a snowy-road with a windshield fogged on both sides.
My girlfriend Lynn once purchased an ancient Italian Fiat. It was a sexy car, if ever there was one. We drove north to cottage-country one summer weekend, with the top down and the wind blowing our hair into mats. Driving a car like that is a real guy-magnet; it’s the equivalent of a man walking a cute dog that’s irresistible to young women. Rudy, (one of my last boyfriends before I met my husband), drove a white low-slung Mazda with bucket seats. He was Italian and rather an aesthete (he always had fresh flowers in his apartment and a colour co-ordinated closet). He also wore leather driving-gloves, fancying himself Mario Andretti or something. My mother got a great kick out of those gloves. It was a great little car though.
I’m a big fan of the show, “Top Gear” on BBC. I can look at those cars for ages and dream about what it would be like to drive a vintage Jaguar like Inspector Morse or even a Peugeot like Columbo. Truth is though, if I won a packet of dough, I’d be at the nearest “Porsche” dealership to pick out my “911 Carrera” as fast as my Versa would take me. I have some consolation, however; my husband just purchased a silver “Mini Cooper”(from Mr. Goldie in London, Ontario) with black racing stripes and chrome-appointed interior. I’d be content with that–if I could ever get him out of the driver’s seat!
To think it’s all down to “Hot Wheels”.

Kathleen Mortensen©2008 Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

Childhood, remembered

SOMETIME SUMMER

 

pinched moth-wings release orange fairy-dust on fingers;  chasing hoppers through new-chopped grass,

you get stained knees too

bees-buzz, bees-buzz, buzz-bees, buzz

a green whip-snake writhes when the water surges through,

ice-water sprays, making rainbows

flip-flops flap and slap down the damp driveway—standing in a downpour

in a swimsuit

paddling with plastic Barbies, their hair gets sucked into the pump

small mouths suck the hues out of icy-tubes,

bowled strawberries bleed into a sugar-bed

beefsteaks, so red, on white bread with white spread

chalks colouring the sidewalks,

talk, talk, talk—endless talk;

giggle, giggle, giggle—screech! giggle some more

walk, walk, walk— to the store for Bazooka Joe and bags of chips and rubber lips

running to the park, a towel slung over one shoulder

whizzing down a day-glo mellow yellow  water-slide—a short ride, down a small hill, but

what a thrill!

spinning spokes, click-straws, plastic streamers trail-blazing, quick stop! agony-jolt, bike-pole, swollen

hot car seats stinging leg-backs, back-seat sleeps, road-trips, road-games, tit-for-tat, battles, tears

the aroma of Noxema, creamed on burned backs and noses;

roses, roses, roses.

scratching itchy bites in bed ‘til they bled and stuck to the sheets

cycling to the school to check September’s posted lists – who’d you get? who’s in your class? shrieks of delight or

groans of despair

hide and seek at dusk—raucous cries rising in the coming-night air

life without a care … so rare, so rare

 

Kat Mortensen©2010 Protected by Copyscape DMCA Takedown Notice Checker