Losing Control

You know how you can desperately need something, and then when you walk into a room to get it, you automatically forget what it was that you needed so urgently?

My sister used to wait tables when she was younger, and says that she and her fellow wait staffers would say that they had just “crossed the stupid line” whenever they did that.

I’m not sure if someone’s been surreptitiously installing stupid lines in my house while I sleep, or whether I’m just experiencing early-onset senility, but I’ve been more absent-minded than ever lately. Some of the things I’ve misplaced include my keys, sunglasses, checkbook, dog leash, phone, hammer, purse, laptop, Kindle, camera, jacket, sweatshirt, running shoes, and the subject of today’s poem.

And that was just this morning.

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Losing Control

It isn’t by the TV
or over on the chair,
or on the coffee table –
can’t find it anywhere.

It isn’t on the sofa.
it isn’t on the floor.
It isn’t by the bookshelf.
It isn’t by the door.

It isn’t on the ottoman
nor underneath that coat.
It’s nowhere near and thus it’s clear
why we call it a “remote.”

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©2011 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

Top-Down Day

Yesterday in Austin, Texas, was what my daughters and I call a “Top-Down Day.”

Several years ago, when their dad used to drive a fire-engine red 1965 Thunderbird convertible, a gorgeous spring day would have all four of us out and about, tooling around in the T-bird with nothing but blue sky above us. Whether we rode to our tiny neighborhood sandwich shop or took a longer tour through the Texas Hill Country, riding with the wind in our hair and sun on our cheeks never failed to delight.

Those sunny-day convertible rides inspired this poem, told from the point of view of a little girl. Here’s wishing you a season filled with Top-Down Days!

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Top-Down Day

All winter long,
I’ve been waiting for this day
When the cold’s been chased away
And the sun’s come out to play
And the sky’s no longer gray
And I hear my Daddy say,
“Looks like we’re in for a top-down day.”

When he pulls the car around,
I watch the roof come folding down
With a whirring, purring sound,
And our convertible is bound
For an adventure out of town
On this tip-top, top-notch, top-down day.

All the neighbors that I see
Smile and wave and call to me,
Riding by so fancy-free,
Gliding by so full of glee,
(There’s no other way to be!)
On a breezing, pleasing, top-down day.

With no roof to block my view,
All I see is brilliant blue
And a cotton cloud or two
That has sunbeams streaming through,
And the world looks bright and new
On this glorious, outdoorious, top-down day.

I fling my hands up in the air
Like on a rollercoaster dare,
While the fresh and fragrant air
Fluffs and ruffles up my hair
And Daddy laughs to see me there
On our free-wheeling, no-ceiling, top-down day.

We pass fields freshly mowed,
And stop for turtles in the road –
From beneath their boxy load,
They both seem to nod “Hello”
To this traffic that they’ve slowed
On an unhurried, no-worries, top-down day.

Spotting windmills by the score,
Counting cows and goats galore,
We see a tiny country store
That sells “Milk & Bait & More,”
So we hop out to explore
On this high-flying, I-Spying, top-down day.

I find a treasure chest of cold:
Icy treats a hundredfold,
(Two of which are promptly sold!)
Plus a pinwheel that I hold
As along again we roll
On our nice, dreamy, ice-creamy, top-down day.

While my pinwheel spins on high
And the miles go twirling by,
Sunset colors paint the sky
And the stars I start to spy
Mean that soon we’ll bid good-bye
To our fair-weather, wherever, top-down day.

In the growing chill of night,
Daddy bundles me up tight
With a quilt stitched blue on white
And we make our homeward flight
Beneath a million sparks of light
On this big-skied, starry-eyed, top-down day.

Under moonlight’s milky stream,
Headlights twinkle, blink and beam
And now our home’s a welcome scene –
But as I’m drifting off to dream,
In Daddy’s eye, I see the gleam
Of a soon-to-be, you-and-me, top-down day.

©2011 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz

Laundry List

The saying goes, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.” As a lifelong flea market frequenter and second-hand store shopper, those words ring ever so true for me.

When I was a girl, my eyes were often toward the ground as I traversed our neighborhood, searching for the Bazooka Joe Bubble Gum comics that I collected to redeem for prizes. If anything else remotely interesting caught my eye, I’d scoop that up, too. There were buttons that doubled as plates for my Malibu Barbie and crayon nubs that I made into candles for her romantic dinners with Live Action Ken. Pennies were always picked up, because back then you could still buy something for a single cent. Sparkly rocks, bits of hardware and plastic rings all made it into my collection. To the childhood me, everything was a treasure.

As it turns out, my youngest daughter shares that philosophy.

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Laundry List

The washer stopped
with a buzzing sound;
I pulled out the clothes,
looked down, and found

  • a melted crayon
  • a whistle
  • a string
  • a barrette
  • a shoelace
  • a fake ruby ring
  • a marble
  • a button
  • a ball of lint
  • a foil wrapper from a restaurant mint
  • a hair tie
  • a pencil
  • a bottle cap
  • a shell
  • more string
  • a fabric scrap
  • a bit of ribbon
  • a couple beads
  • a piece of chain
  • sunflower seeds
  • a screw
  • a wire
  • a twisty tie
  • a penny
  • a pebble
  • a plastic fly
  • a bobby pin
  • an earring back
  • a safety pin
  • a rusty tack

all collected in
my washing machine,
scattered about
and sparkling clean.

I guess next time
laundry’s on the docket,
I first should check
my daughter’s pockets.

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©2011 Carlotta Eike Stankiewicz