Baggage

“Excuse me, is that your bag?” she asked. “No,” I replied, “that’s my wife.” The woman’s face wrinkled in the familiar expression of disdain I have become accustomed to from that same said wife. The stranger scoffed and walked away muttering, “Jerk.” I guess most people cannot appreciate my humor. My wife can’t. I stared at the woman’s back and wanted to call after her, “Hey! Why don’t you mind your own business, you busy body!” I held my breath instead. I looked for my wife.

She had wandered off from the shopping bags to browse some antiques. She expected me to stand there and protect her purchases. It was just another example of how disconnected we had become. She didn’t notice when I was gone. I didn’t notice when she was gone. Yet we stay married. I think she hates me because I never gave her children. I think I hate her because she is chronically ill. Just another detail that makes me a jerk. You heard the lady.

This flea market is the one habitual activity we meet up for every weekend. She likes to shop and get bargains which she fills our house with and gives away as gifts whenever family comes to visit. They don’t come often. I think she is filling up our home as an external attempt to fill the space in her heart where she wanted her children to be. Too many trips in and out of the hospital. Too little energy to chase a toddler.

I work too much to have been any help to her. I thought more money would make her happy. I thought taking care of her frail body so she never had to work would make her happy. I thought buying her all this crap would make her happy. All it has done is make me old and bitter.

If she left me to find another man because I’ve turned into such a jerk, I would likely never find another companion. Because I am such a jerk. And she is an old bag, stuffed with crap she doesn’t need but won’t let go of.

Maybe that’s why we stay married.

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, July 2008

Closing time

They orbit
Whatever their reasons
Looking for easy access
Fascination freak show

Mysterious familiarity
They love or hate or both
But cannot reconcile

You act as a prod
Sore spot
They’ve been rubbing
Their whole lives

Draws them near
Pushes them far
But always in orbit

Never coming
Never going

There is an opening
They cannot see it
Until it is closing time
Until it is shut

Wonder years later
What happened
Another sore spot to rub

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, August 2015

 

1st World Problems

Long distance running
To where, exactly?
Persistent roar
Dissatisfaction

Expressed through
Various media
Punctuate an otherwise
Mundane life

“Ain’t nothin’ going on but the rent”
Wisdom from a black woman’s mouth
I do not understand
Explain it to me

Yes, nothing going on

Work and home
Work and home
Weekend and beer
Work and home

Punctuated by anxiety
Of my friends and family
Set on uneasy ground
Sold self-dissatisfaction

Told to blame their neighbors
Different ones
For whatever their current
Woes may be

I cannot change the world
I can only change myself
Only in small ways

I can focus on the
Gaping maw of greed
Ever hungry for what
My flesh
Can and will produce

Or, I can

Sit by a hospital bed
Hold the hand of the helpless
Tell the people I love
I love them so

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, August 2017

Life Is

To explain to someone
Yes, I see you
Yes, grief has terrible power
Yes, the closing window of opportunity
That time inches shut is real
But maybe, just maybe
Our dreams and expectations
Of this life are not real
Not realistic
You have good reasons
But the complexity of their birth
More than a two-minute conversation can explain
So, you are left
With judgement from others

People will come
People will go
It’s OK
At the end of today and every day
It will all begin and end with you anyway
Giving the gift of freedom
Is an act of love
Giving the gift of a second chance
Is an act of love
Anger will always be
A close companion
But it can exist, then go away
Leave you in peace, to rest
To enjoy a little, laugh a little

 

-Copyright C.M. Mounts, June 2017