Prompted by Blake’s Question

4/5/20

Prompted by Blake’s Question

in this time of mandatory stay at home

For Stephen

We do what we can
to laugh, to love
to live another day.

And when we learn better
hopefully we do better.
How have you and I stayed

together 48+ years—still friends?
Once the question is out there
I’ve been thinking back

to the roller coaster
our constant notes written and left
to find, funny, sometimes thoughtful

sometimes informative, touching base.
The times we might have split
but worked through it

the relentless medical challenges
job stresses, raising two kids
personal growth, changing, not always

in perfect parallel aligned
“and if I fall behind, wait for me.”
But here we are together

almost half a century after that first January
when we sat side by side in the front row
the first day of a college literature class

had our first conversation of countless many.
Here we are still interested
still laughing, watching out for each other

still loving.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2020

From my poetic journal, a reminder that this week (Jan 17, 1972) is celebrating 49 years together. The quote is a reference to a Bruce Springsteen song.

Unexpected Wave, CA Beach, by M D Mikus, Copyright 2013

After the Wave, taken by Stephen Mikus 2013

Only Me, Only You

Only Me, Only You

If
you tried to write these poems
you couldn’t and
if I try to write them
I can’t, but
if I let them flow through me
mix and meld with my life,
deeply still and listening
allow the pen to move
with the words that come…well then.
But
if you
let the words flow through you
you will write in your own voice
not mine and it will mix and meld
with your unique perspective and experience
creating your poems, so
Don’t…
try to
copy anyone
Let, allow, flow
with what message
only you can deliver.
What we’ve been desperate to hear.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2017

After Midge and Catching Up on the News

After Midge and
Catching Up on the News

Every day now
an endurance test
how much can I stand
before I fall
Despair though understandable
is not my friend
No going back to then
ahead the only direction
what we do with
what was broken
maybe always has been
To know enough
but not too much
to buckle the knees in sorrow
unrelenting, unresisting
No, I say again, No
I did not come for this
I did not endure up to now
for this
yet here we are
and yes we did.

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2018

Chicago O’Hare International Airport by M D Mikus, Copyright 2010

Tough Cookie–Ethel Polk

8/12/18

Tough Cookie

Last night at dinner,
animated and laughing, she said
her cheeks were swollen and red
with a sinus infection
the time she was supposed to
meet Billie Holiday.
And a guy, possibly a musician,
maybe a manager, in any case,
he had a remedy that involved
smoking something, which she did
and it made her nose run,
but Billie Holiday did not come.

This was after Ethel had fallen earlier
that evening, injuries unknown but stiffening,
after the folk concert to which we all had gone,
after the extra help to get out of the car,
the painful short walk to the table.

After the century of living,
working, remembering, loving, and losing,
picking up after each fall, healing,
continuing to live, to connect,
relishing food, red wine, people, music,
near blind, but the next day
having a guest for brunch.

After the congenial dinner at Shokran
one woman got her standing,
kept her from the broken glass,
two strong men helped her walk out,
carefully, no rush, to the waiting car at the curb,
one woman carried her bag,
one willing woman held the door,
another kind man drove the car.

“Why do so many people help me?”
she said she’d asked
and the answer came back:
“because they love you!”
And she’d replied, “Am I worthy?”
And I would say to that:
We are all worthy
we are all loved.

As you ask, it is answered,
whatever you’ve sent out
returns multiplied.
And…people like to help—
makes us feel less helpless.
Grace is not earned but given
freely to everyone
not just to Ethel at 101.
Who knows the purpose of a day,
every astonishing one
until our allotted time is run?

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2018

And the rest of the story: Ethel Polk ended up in the ER that night where they found she had broken her hip! She had surgery and recovered, continuing to live vibrantly.

Until yesterday, when she died at the hospital from several things, including COVID. She is already dearly missed.

Sun Through Orchid, Copyright 2013 M D Mikus

To Take My Own Advice

To Take My Own Advice

Some wrongs you can make right
some are not your job to fix
your life to live
Letting go is all you can do
(doing nothing is harder than it looks)

You do what you can
from what you have and where you are
You scan the horizon
and on the good days
you do what you can

And if you remember you are not
the god of anyone
and if you remember no one is like you
and what you might advise
are strung words strained through your filter

flung words flowing on a river
and you have no control whatsoever
of whether or who or when or where
All you can do is breathe out, breathe in
and right what wrongs you can

Be kind to someone
comfort, breathe with them, hold a hand
be gentle, do unto others as…

Margaret Dubay Mikus
© 2016

From my poetic journal