Those who know me somewhat well, know I am a huge fan of The Beatles and Sinatra. Neil Diamond and Billy Joel. These are the artists that stir me. They keep my heart pumping. But, if there was any music I could consider the soundtrack of my life, it would be the music of Chicago. When they first came onto the scene, they billed themselves as a “Rock band with horns.” They were a different sound (an acquired taste). They were off the beaten path and they were not afraid to re-invent themselves on many occasions. (The source of my affinity to them!) Though their line-up has changed over the course of over fifty years, they are as vibrant as ever, as they are still performing. I had the good fortune to see them live 15 times in my life.
From “Color My World” to “Beginnings”, “24 or 6 to 4” to “You’re the Inspiration” (a great piece for a poet to love!), they have been able to make memories with their sound. Two of their other works are “Old Days” and “Take Me Back to Chicago.” These both reminisce about times that were simpler and when values were more… valued. Look at what they sang about. Drive-In movies, comic books, blue jeans, Howdy Doody… memories. Simpler times – street corners and Tastee Freeze… life was free and easy. Childhood moments, respect for one another, courtesy, empathy all seem to not matter much anymore. I guess you can tell I’m a misplaced soul born a bit too late. The animus that rules these days makes us long for the old days, of simpler times.
What do you miss from those times that you would bring back if you could? Deceased family members and friends notwithstanding, what are these days missing in that regard? Something that gave you pleasure. Something you wished you had again. Something that would make you “sing” and give you some peace of mind in this troubled world (no political diatribes, please! We’re not THAT place.) Take Me Back To Chicago or wherever that place was and write your poem. We’ll all hum along!
BONUS PROMPT: Being today is Mother’s Day, any poetic tribute to Mom is welcome and will be much appreciated.
MARIE’S WISTFUL AFFECTION:
nos·tal·gia /näˈstaljə,nəˈstaljə/ – noun.
A sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past, typically for a period or place with happy personal associations.
I’d say that everyone looks back on their childhood fondly.
But the unfortunate truth is that is unfortunately untrue,
and that unfortunate truth means I was truly fortunate.
In spite of that wording being almost comically convoluted,
it is written through tears of genuine gratitude.
My parents were simple and loving.
They infused me with a love for simple things.
Perhaps it was the times. Just the way life was.
But I don’t think so.
I think if they were to start over,
this time would be no different.
Family would still be priority.
There would still be no such thing as coming home
to an empty house.
Music would still fill the soul.
All my love, and love me always would still grace every note
in every house we call home.
I love you. You know that.
Yes Mom. I do know that. You lived it every day,
even when Alzheimer’s threatened to erase us
like chalk on a board,
leaving only ghostly swipes.
Longing to return to childhood
for one more day. One more hug.
One more chance to watch Mighty Mouse
T-boned on the floor with Dad,
my head using his tummy as a pillow.
One more turn to curl up in Mom’s lap,
rocked in the very chair that now sits across from me
as I write this poem, longing to hear her voice.
“I love you. You know that.”
© Marie Elena, 2019
RESPECT: GIVEN AND EARNED
A generous heart with the capacity to love unconditionally;
despite our flaws and our foibles, everything left on the table
came from a deep seated respect for life and my place in it.
Disagreements were never fights, and rights were something
that were never followed by lefts, or any combination thereof.
He gave me my space; room to grow and learn from mistakes
made with regularity early on; less frequent when he needed
a competent aid and caretaker. The inheritance came as an intangible,
a right of passage that gave every woman and man their due
in lieu of their station in life or place of origin. Giving me all
that he knew I could handle because he believed you earned
everything you wanted and were given everything you needed.
Respect always came at equal value. You only got what you gave.
I’ve saved it all these years, treasured and heart bound,
found in a generous heart with the capacity to love. Life’s lesson.
© Walter J Wojtanik – 2019