“Easy to Forget,” “Sometimes,” and “the other road”

easy to forget
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Easy to Forget

It’s really easy to forget

To put it all out of your mind

That you might be living with a debt which could be called in

Any time by that unforgiving debt collector

The doctor reminded you last visit your case was serious

And you know others like you who have succumbed

And as you begin your tenth year beyond diagnosis

You resonate with gratitude

You have sailed like a free bird skimming the water

You have adored cerulean skies and soaring redwoods

You have treasured the first pink cherry blossoms in February

You have laughed loud and danced hard

You have kissed the downy heads of four new grandbabies

But it’s good to be reminded every so often

When you forget how you got here

When you forget all you endured

That you need to welcome each golden sunrise

And stop to smell the vermillion roses at the corner house

Revere every day and hold it fast

Love like there will be no more tomorrows

In case

They run out

Too

                    Soon

Sometimes

That pretty little beast, a poem, has a mind of its own.       Mary Oliver

Sometimes you want to be profound,

write poetry like Mary Oliver,

rhapsodize about wild geese and the family of man,

but the words don’t come.

They stall like a rush hour traffic jam.

You want to wax on about violet sunsets and double rainbows

hope and possibility,

but your attempts crash like blue paint thrown on a wall.

You want to muse about life and death—

with reveries that will stick in someone’s craw

that will be read and read again

in salons and workshops,

from dogeared pages of well-worn books,

but they get no purchase

stumble and falter,

echo with hollow recriminations across blank pages.

On those days you have to let them chill,

kick back, put their feet up on the ottoman.

But it’s not to say, you can’t be

pissed at them for almost missing the party.

They usually manage to make an appearance,

even if they strut in fashionably late

when you weren’t expecting them.

You thought they were a no-show.

Maybe you just have to accept,

it’s all to be expected...

but you hate surrendering to that notion

that you’re not a poet. After all, Mary Oliver had her moments too.

So get over yourself—

even when your muse leaves the building

for a cup of Starbucks....

the other road

on this cold rainy day, looking out the kitchen window

stuck inside with nowhere to go

laundry to fold just sitting in the basket

ironing not getting done

I’m lost in my thoughts

musing about my life while sipping a cup of herbal tea

sometimes I wish I had strayed off the path

gone down the other road

opened the rickety gate

deviated from the expected

climbed the impossible mountain

went on the back of the motorcycle

with that really cute long-haired guy

was a bad girl

was a disappointment

dyed my hair purple

got a butterfly tattoo on my right ankle

lived in a third-floor walk-up on the Left Bank

I chuckle over the list of what I didn’t do

that were not really me, not who I was

and in the clarity of this day when it comes down to it

I don’t regret for a minute the choices I’ve made

the paths I’ve clambered on

the roads I’ve taken

reveling in the life-long love I’ve been so blessed to share

with my husband of fifty-three years

and any sacrifices I’ve made, really not many in sum

the three children I’ve raised, the seven grandchildren I cherish

the places I’ve been, the places I’ve missed

my only regret is that life is slipping away, way too fast now

and on some rainy days, I suppose I’ll still wonder about

those roads I didn’t take

About the Author

Joanne Jagoda

Joanne Jagoda is a longtime resident of the Oakland hills. After retiring in 2009, one inspiring workshop, Lakeshore Writers, launched Joanne on an unexpected writing trajectory. Her short stories, poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared on-line and in numerous print anthologies including, The Write Launch, Burningword Literary Journal, Third Harvest, Snapdragon, A Journal of Art and Healing, Quillkeepers Press, The Awakenings Review, The Deronda Review, Dreamers Magazine, Passager, Better After 50, and Still You, Poems of Illness and Healing. Joanne has received two Pushcart Prize nominations and has won a number of contests including first place in the 2022 Gemini Open contest. She continues taking Bay Area writing workshops enjoys Zumba on-zoom, and spoiling her seven grandchildren who call her Savta. Joanne’s first book of poetry My Runaway Hourglass, conceived while she was home sheltering-in-place, was published in summer of 2020 (Poetica Publications).