Wednesday, 2 May 2018

the oasis


you should sit for a bit:  my septuagenarian spouse genially suggests – 
a proposal he has taken to advancing, when he notices my wonky back
begin to bend, in the midst of errands ... and I embrace the offer
with the glee of an energetic child allowed to run fast and free


                                                  ~ ~ ~

as is, ofttimes, the way of the genetics lottery, the arthritis that

tarnished my mother's  golden years – has swooped down  upon me,
as the final act commences ... like a lead bearing albatross, that grows
considerably heavier – and more annoying – with each passing season

the wooden benches and leatherette couches that dot the mall, have
become welcome oases, where I, periodically,  hunker down, while
my obliging mate zips from drugstore to grocery – with nary a twinge –
looping by me, at intervals, with a nod and a cheery smile

but for the occasional mother and child, or tween or teen
basking in the glow of fresh-from-the-rack purchases,
the seats are mostly filled by fellow ancients ... usually, alone ...
the ones, with mall-go-fers, like me, wait with pleasant expectancy 

the ones, who wait for no one, look about, indifferently ... in unlit stares ...
often there are remarks about the weather ... sometimes,

I am asked if I'm having a good day ... since I began using a cane,
knees and backs have become a hot topic of discussion and opinion


                                                  ~ ~ ~
 
my personal shopper circles round the oasis and waves at our little
band of wayfarers as he beetles off to the bookstore ... I wave back ...
as does the, somewhat, older woman beside me ... I'm all alone, now,
she whispers, in breathy sadness ... I hate it, she adds, matter-of-factly


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On a personal note, I am truly honored to have one of my poems 'passersby' included in Issue 27 of StepAway Magazine - an Award Winning online English literary journal.  The Magazine showcases flâneur poetry and flash fiction about walking in an urban environment, from cities all around the world.  

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photo (photo edited): oasis bench - W. Bourke

© 2018 Wendy Bourke

25 comments:

  1. Very poignant poem, Wendy. I often look at people who are sitting on the benches at the malls. I do think some of them are people who come to these places because they have no one in their life to relate to & at least this gets them out with people. I guess these benches serve good purposes really. I will look with even more empathy now after reading your poem. Kind of sad when life moves in this direction, but then again hopefully there is some joy.

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  2. She must have envied you having your husband, remembering better days. Very poignant.

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  3. P.s. i love your husband's cheeriness and thoughtfulness.

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  4. This is so real Wendy... the experience comes across strong and personal...wonderfully written...loved it.

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  5. A poignant moment among the aches and pains, and 'the wooden benches and leatherette couches that dot the mall'.

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  6. Last year I would have sympathised with you as I too gallivanted about the shopping mall but today I do little and sit whenever possible and converse with fellow sufferers on benches or in coffee shops watching youngsters of 60 or 70 dash about like mad things.

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  7. That last part drives home that of all the changes that can come with getting older, no joint aches as much as loneliness does.

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  8. A bittersweet viewpoint, so poignantly expressed...the aches and pains of aging sure make us humble.

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  9. I have heard, "Ageing is not for pussies." I guess it is up to us, to find "the good of it," hiding. I am so sorry to hear of this in your poem.

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  10. "the wooden benches and leatherette couches that dot the mall".. this is such a poignant image!

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  11. This is fantastic. I loved every word of it. Your voice and writing style are exceptionally strong.

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  12. I can relate to this ... having a similar affliction those oasis are becoming more frequent over time

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  13. You gave this brief community a lovely & evocative moment, generous attention to each person who came into the oasis. It makes me want to linger.

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  14. Luv that matter-of-factly ending. Puts everything into perspective

    Happy Sunday

    Much🌼love

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  15. Your last line packs such a melancholy punch! Very well done!

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  16. Many congrats on your poem being published.

    I feel your pain as I often times have to sit and not do much or work out what I can do as my wonky back, shoulder etc remind me I have abused them too much! What would we do without the go-fer spouses....feel much like your seat-mate.

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  17. Yes, congratulations on the publication! I love the concept of "flaneur poetry" and that someone has given it that name (which somehow seems to convey the mood of it so much better than the English). And this poem – with you being out and about, observing – is almost one of them too. It's very real and totally engaging! Sorry for your pains; glad my own arthritis is (obviously) milder and well controlled. Your hubby sounds delightful; glad you still have him. Yes, for some old age is very sad; your descriptions are poignant. Your poem has me counting my blessings: that I can still get about fairly easily, and although I miss my late husband I have adapted to being alone and have found that it has compensations.

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    1. Thanks Rosemary! Yes indeed, Michael is a wonderful guy - a beautiful human being. The day our paths crossed was 'my lucky day'.

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  18. Very poignant....captured well.

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  19. firstly, congrats on your poem's publication. today, i have learned what a "flaneur poem" is. and i may have been writing some all along without knowing it's name. :)
    i think this poem is very real and honest. this is what i see in our malls, and our stations and streets and hospitals. i really enjoyed reading this, because it relates to the environment i am living in.

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  20. Oh dear, what we all have to look forward too. Very well put across with just the right amount of emotion.

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  21. What a beautiful and sad ending for your poem. And honest. So honest.

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  22. I loved the story (blessed be the benches) all the way to that bitter end... may your personal shopper be with you.

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    1. And congratulations on the publications.

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