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Other Works

Children’s Home

 

Vibrant-hot nail polish on poetic, long fingers,

a matching red-outlined smile lights her face.

Chanel No. 5 implicit in her familiar garments,

Hazel must have been a beauty in another time.

 

Unabashed Sara, a toothless 100-something Southern belle,

carries her baby doll and blanket in one-shoe wonderment.

Like royalty, she walks erectly without cane or wheelchair,

greeting anyone in the halls like subjects in her court.

 

Jack, a 104-year-old New York Jew, sharp as a hungry merchant,

wins bingo, talks politics, eats pureed foods, sips herbal tea.

Positive each day, making mud pies into sweet turnovers,

never forgetting how to survive, he is still a young immigrant.

 

A 90-year-old curious toddler, Wilbur stubbornly explores,

bouncing into unlocked cupboards, drawers, and others’ rooms.

Throwing pea soup and fighting diapers to assert his manhood,

he bites and kicks and scratches, to make sure he is not forgotten.

 

Leo, a world-war veteran, proudly wears his tattered VFW ball cap,

a badge of courage, a reminder of youthful manhood and significance.

Hair-salon youth and manicured nails mask his 95-year-old health,

marathon smiles and barrel-chested will – his real badges of honor.

 

Without invitation, poor memory and infirmity have moved in,

like unwelcome relatives who stayed too long but are tolerated.

The children wander the home searching for family and friends,

forgotten like dusty souvenirs, replaced by events of the day.

Love Conquers All

        True Story

 

asleep, my whole

body     smiles     broadly

   unconscious

but aware he rests near

an     unspoken comfort

with a partner

   who shares

my extant fingerprint

 

companionship     cushions

old bones     confronting    time

   my foggy vision

guided by his     headlight sight

   his fumbling feet

supported by my     steady pace

   his dulled hearing

enlightened by     my good ear

 

yet ageless    hearts thrive

in common ground

we dance     to music

   most     don’t remember

walk on     familiar clay

   from kindred childhoods

laugh     in one breath

   without words exchanged

 

our love     cannot     be stolen

                   by mere facts

   fallible limbs    unfaithful memory

             nor by blunt events    

   Black-White bias     hungry heirs

our hearts    cannot     be emptied

The Truth About the Fact,

an international journal, 

featured Patsy Asuncion 

at the LA launch.

Global Spectrum

 

Different skin tones     scatter us,

dandelion seeds     toss

in the wind.

Primary colors live

in less segregation,

isolation is softened to     muted truce.

 

Boxed absolutes

raise questions,

jumbled tints

challenge     old truths.

The cronies of     barbed

rules retire,

new jobs arise to     mixed multitudes.

 

Increasing range of flesh tones

breaks ground,

levels field for     all shades of children.

The color-blind eye of

diversity

frames a portrait of

one world family.

empty fridge

 

 

 

our old Harvest Gold GE housed

invisible villains     lurking in the litter 

  

gummy peanut butter

   disguised     as faceless mold between shelves

open white bread

   transformed     into furry pet rocks 

half-eaten slice of pizza

   abandoned in an extra-large delivery box

a single slimy black banana

   left for dead under putrid fruit

half-consumed mega-sized colas

   lying helter skelter     like wasted partiers

gray bologna

   hardened twisted     like a career criminal

 

my empty-nester Whirlpool features

politically-correct labeled cuisine

 

condiments pure as unsullied soldiers

   in recyclable bottles     at attention in the doors    

happy-heart meats and cheeses

   triathletes of salt sugar fat

breads buns with no make-up tricks

   doing roll-ups on the middle rack

local all-American produce

   squeaky clean     aligned in drawers

bikini-dream-driven drinks water

   without weight or unreadable chemicals

organic spreads touting

   virgin purity like a presidential hopeful

 

I prefer our old fridge grumbling like

   a rude teenager

brimming with the leavings of life

oh, I much prefer it to mine now

filled with its lineup of tidy emptiness

               

Arrow of Time

in her shadowy sketches

            few details linger

mowed feelings     stained ages     faded signs

 

a singular voice

            let her cry       haunts

but the trace too thin

to bring to light

 

she was told dad came

for her     not him

the baby boy too pale   

not mahogany like daddy

 

the arrow pierces five years

            she’s shakin’ the hokey-pokey in kindergarten

and cuts to another frame     crossing busy LaSalle Street

            all by herself     big girl     step-mother home drunk

 

then rockets through her remaining childhood

            she’s pretending sleep     during boozed battles

next pauses at the edge of womanhood

            she greets her birth mother and brother     strangers

 

the arrow flies faster and faster     past weddings and kids

to years caring for dad     never her mothers

her past remains her backbone

her present filters and forgives

 

Rainbows

   Tanka

 

Red heart, yellow mind

Green thumb, purple soul, blue light

Flow from pot of gold

It takes all to make white light,

To complete and make us whole.

Math for Girls Counts                 

 

Before they were great-great-grandmothers, they stood

in lines for singular equality, for one scale blind

to gender, creed or color. But, their right

 

to vote was delayed until 1920 – 144 years after

propertied White men, 51 years after Black men,

as if women were mere household amenities

used as conveniences.

 

The vote hoped to move the line closer

to a public voice in fiscal and sexual values,  

but it took sixteen more years to change

birth control methods from obscene

 

to legal mail (hidden in plain brown envelopes)

to head-of-the-household husbands,

a married man the only

Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

 

Connecticut’s 1965 defeat freed the pill

only for the sanctified wedded. I remember

unmarried, pregnant girls,

shamed and blamed for bad choices,

while boys were just being boys.

 

The 1982 ERA defeat subtracted sixty years

of female rights. One hundred years since suffrage,

fifteen states still have not ratified ERA,

now a dusty museum piece.

 

Defeat meant I had no credit, no bank account,

no property without my husband’s name, addressed as

Mrs. John Doe, my first name unimportant,

a nondescript dustpan beneath spousal steps.

 

The recent Hobby Lobby Act fractionalized

1973’s Roe vs. Wade by granting corporations

religious rights to reduce reproductive choice,

lost winnings to poker cheats.

 

Despite the centuries-old male monopoly,

women have done the math –

equal means equal, not less than.      

 

Patsy Asuncion 

                                       Reprinted in Nasty Women,  from Cut on the Bias                                                  

Bridge, Not Walls     April 2017
click for essay on diversity

2020

Footprints

    haiku

Footprints are not prejudiced.

Race

Age

and Gender

make no impression.        

Words Fly Off The Page
  April 2017
click logo for essay on public speaking

Other Publications

Click on most for website information.

Spring 2018

Three poems, 2018

Indiana University NW's Art & Literary Journal

Three poems, pages 76-78

Five poems, 2015 - Unbound Content

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