Tag Archives: Youth

MEMORIES

Tell me again
those stories
of what is was like
years ago.

When youth was in
your favor
and summer’s were
a dream.

When nights seemed
unending
and time stretched
for your fantasy.

To grow up
running along dirt roads
and dreaming of futures
with the girl
you didn’t yet know.

The memories are distant
but it seems
with age
they just keep
coming on.

I like to learn
these secrets
of foolish childhood thoughts.
Even more,
I love the smile
it brings you
and the laugh
that warms
my heart.

Advertisements

THE FUTURE

You weren’t always like this.
Were you?

You were young once.
Full of some dreams.
You had an imagination.
An ambition.
Going somewhere,
beyond the borders that
tried to define you.

Then something happened.
We’ll call it
“Life,”
to make it feel ordinary.
To make it feel normal.
It happens to everyone,
doesn’t it?
We all go through
“Life.”

You know that’s not right?
Don’t you?

That’s just an excuse.
A way to blame the world
around you,
instead of looking at yourself.

“Life,”
didn’t happen.
But reality did.

Things got harder.

Responsibility became a hounding force,
not an exciting endeavor.
Freedom still keeps you bound,
more than it ever did before.
Dreams were strangled
by sarcastic faces and wasted time.

You know you can still change it?
Don’t you?

Those things didn’t disappear
or become unreachable.
It’s only yourself that stops
the future you crave
from happening.

So don’t sit there
and complain to me
about this “Life” and that.
These are all your choices.
And this is your outcome.

Take hold of what you have left
and move on with it.
Move forward.
Move further than you think you can.

JUST FINISHED: The Cat’s Table

Author: Michael Ondaatje

Genre: Fiction

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

I first saw this book at a new and used bookstore in the Raleigh airport. After spending a few days on the coast, I was in the mood to read something along the nautical lines. Seeing the black and white photo of the ship on the cover and reading the sleeve, I was intrigued. (“Cat’s Table” is the indication of the least liked passengers of the ship that are seated together as far from the captain as possible.)

The Cat’s Table is a youthful tale of a Sri Lankan boy named Michael who boards the Oronsay to head for England where he is to meet his mother for the first time in the 1950s. Loosely watched over by his cousin, Flavia, he often wonders the boat with his friends, Ramadhin and Cassius, getting their selves into trouble. Like most minds of that age, everything holds a curious fascination as you discover the people and events that begin to surround you. Michael, nicknamed Mynah, becomes directed by daily revelations about people and life in general.

The story is told from Michael’s perspective, looking back at his time on the ship and occasionally fast-forwarding to events that occurred afterwards, often shaped in some way from this important part of his past. Ondaatje’s writing is often poetic at times and has a smoothness to it that makes the reading feel very light. While the boys do engage in adventures on the ship, the sense of it is slightly masked by speed of the storytelling.

Overall, this was an enjoyable book. I couldn’t say that it was awesome or that it stunk, but it was a nice read for rainy afternoons and long flights. If you are in the mood for a quaint sea tale involving the boisterous wit of young teenage boys and a nostalgic sense of time, you will enjoy this one too.

AN APPROACHING CURVE

The smell of gas fumes the air.

I watch Jones glide the lawn mower back and forth over his jagged lawn. Pada-ping-pada-ping.  The machine grumbled at its work. A rock flew from its blade, just shy of my yard.

Daisy, Jones’s old boxer, eyed the mower with suspicion, lowering her floppy face and baring her teeth every time it swished by.

I leaned back in my lawn chair, tasting a cool sip of beer on my tongue. It was only nine in the morning but this August day was already at ninety. Today would be a scorcher.

I caught sight of Ms. Bell scurrying out her door. She was in a blue floral dress with a bible tucked under her arm. She scowled at me as she hopped in her car.

I snickered. Must be Sunday.

I let my head drift back to gaze at the sky, a thundering blue with no cloud in sight. I could feel the sweat starting to bead on my face, my cotton tee soaking it all in.

“Hey, mister.”

A tiny voice yelled at me from the sidewalk. I lowered my eyes to find a short little tyke on a scooter. He was covered for any accident. Boots, gloves, helmets, and knee pads. Some mother loved him.

“Are you dead?” he continued.

My eyes widened at this one. I contemplated for a second on letting my tongue loll out to give him a show but then I thought of that mother that had armored him. I could see it playing all out. Her coming over here yelling and lecturing me about the frailty of children. It wasn’t the threats that scared me. It was the fact of how much she really believed it.

I sighed. “Do I look dead?”

The boy scrunched his eyes, thinking. “Well, you’re really old. You have wrinkles and stuff.” He fidgeted. “And Peter says you smell like poop.”

I leaned hard onto my elbow. You have to earnestly try to not get offended by little folk sometimes.

“So wrinkles make you dead, eh?” I asked.

He nodded quickly. “You have to be old to die, sir.”

I smiled. To be so ignorant is some kind of blessing. Life is so simple; if only it would stay that way.

I twisted my finger at the boy and beckoned him closer. He laid his bike gently on the sidewalk and tip-toed on the grass, giving glances to his backside. His knee pads let out a squeak with each step.

“It doesn’t bite, you know?” I told him as he took a place next to me, motioning toward the grass.

He eyed my bare feet and shifted his weight. “Dad says little boy’s feet will make the grass angry. It will get so angry that it will turn white and then it’s not pretty.”

“Ah, well don’t worry about my grass. It only gets mad at girls.” I winked.

I settled back in my chair and took another sip. “Now I had you on over here because my hearing’s not so good cause, well you know, I’m old. But I also had a special thing to tell you too, I had to make sure you were listenin’.”

The boy squatted closer to me, anticipation spreading across his face.

“I’m not dead. Very much alive in fact. My hearts a pumpin’ and my mind is going. Just like you. Just cause I got a funk to me and some grey don’t mean I’ve gone to the underground, understand? Some folk would find it rude from what you just said to me you know. You got to watch your words.”

He nodded.

“You are going to get old one day too. You’ll be out in your lawn watchin’ the neighbors, enjoyin’ your beverages.” I raised my can. “It’ll be good time, I promise.”

He smirked. “I’m never going to be old. I ate fairy dust.” He raised his eyebrows, waiting for a response.

I knew what I could say.

But I didn’t.

I let my jaw drop open. “All be darned, you’re one lucky boy. I searched for that same dust when I was your age. Never found it though. And just look at me,” I tossed my hands up.

He shook his head in pity. Suddenly, a wild look passed over his face and he bolted towards his scooter.

“Where you going so fast there?” I yelled.

“I just remembered that I have some left over. I mean, I can’t bring you back to where you were, but I can save you now, before you get really old.” He started pushing off toward the street.

I laughed, wondering what defined really old. I stood up and shouted, “You better hurry along then, who knows how much time I’ve got!”

He shot me back a thumbs up as his little legs pushed against the asphalt with a crazed excitement.  I watched as he crept out of my sight, back from where he had came.

I nestled back into my chair and pulled out another cold one. I wondered if he would bring me sugar from his mother’s cooking jars or salt even. If only it could really save me.

He could never understand life the way I did now. With age comes more responsibility. More truth. More lies. People cherish you until you are a burden. Then they toss you aside like any used item. They don’t have time for you and your needs. It doesn’t matter how much of your life was spent tending to them. In the end, you’re just another carcass waiting to be buried underground. To be shared with dirt and worms.

I sighted recalling the similarity found in both him and me. By the time he gets home, he will forget why he even came.