Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

By Leslie Noyes

This weekend I didn’t decorate my house for the holidays, but neither did I run naked through the neighborhood.

On Saturday I didn’t bake cookies, but neither did I shave my head and paint it berserker blue.

I don’t think I cried, but then I really don’t think I laughed, either.

I purposely did not attempt to slide down any banisters; although, I was tempted to throw myself down a staircase.

I’m trying hard to balance the good with the bad, you see. I’m still here. Wondering if that’s good. Or bad.

Canopied Road

No destination in mind, I was free to choose. Flip a coin, left or right, or perhaps bear straight ahead where a 

Canopied road beckons, shadow-stippled, playing footsie with the sun. No artist painted this. Slow down,

Patterns shift with the slightest whisper of wind. Blink, and the world has changed already. Dark to light and back

Again. A forest green turtle ventures a crossing. Hurry, little guy, not all who travel here will care if you safely reach your

Destination. He ignores my wave, but soldiers on, tiptoeing persistently across this canopied road. His choice matters, too.

Oasis 

On the other side of the desert, behind the third dune on the left, lies a patch of emerald

Lushness surrounding a small, irregularly shaped pond of surprisingly bright turquoise 

Wanderers of every type have marked this oasis on their maps in bold strokes of ebony

Lest they venture off course and forget to count the dunes or consult the compass rose

I traveled there once, in the days of my youth on a humped beast, coarse hide of camel

Down hearted, discouraged, my lover lost to another, and I trapped by the monster green

In paradise I languished until roused from my reverie by a note written in crimson

Return home, my love, the words inscribed, without you here all the days are turned to gray

The choice was mine, remain in the land of dunes eating figs or settle for black and white.

Just for grins, here’s Maria Muldaur’s Midnight at the Oasis.

https://g.co/kgs/Fskwhv

Trade Offs

Boxers or briefs,
Salad or soup,
Ranch or French
Alone or a group?

Introvert or extrovert,
Country or rock,
Canine or feline,
Piaget or Spock?

Switchers or fighters,
Whole milk or fat free,
Harley or Yamaha,
Democrat or GOP?

Star Wars or Star Trek,
Beatles or the Stones,
Connery or Craig,
Han Solo or Indiana Jones?

Life is full of trade offs
Everything’s a choice
So hurry, close the menu
And give yourself a voice.

Privilege

we’ve all
been there,
done that;
inadvertently
chosen
the wrong path
or even worse,
knowingly picked
the greater
of two evils,
and still
others never
had the chance
to see the
paths of
separation
distinct for a
few, a blur to
many.
why for some
are such choices
ruinous,
unforgiveable,
irredeemable?
and for others,
merely sleeping
police in
destiny’s way?
happy accidents
of birth,
color, and
privilege
create a
line delineating
the merely flawed
from the
tragically
ill-fated.
we know our place
even if we refuse
the claiming.

To Myself at 18

What’s the rush?
Why the urgency?
Just a few years
Ago you were 12,
Riding a bicycle
Pigtails flying
Elbows scraped.

Take a moment to
Be a young woman
Out exploring in
This world alone.
Don’t be hurried
To plunge headlong
Into domesticity.

Your choices won’t
Be easy, my friend
Perhaps they aren’t
Meant to be clear,
But you’ll make it.
You’re strong and
weird and wonderful.

Yesterday I caught myself thinking about my grandchildren and how quickly they’re growing. The oldest two are on the verge of becoming teenagers. I became a little weak in the knees thinking that when I was that age, unbeknownst to me, I was a mere six years away from settling into marriage with Studly.

Six years was the distance between goofy slumber parties with my friends and keeping house for a husband.

My choices weren’t
Clear back then,
Perhaps they never
Were meant to be.
I do love my life,
Even while I wonder
What might’ve been.

  

Shelved

I. Heart beats, races on

Barely restrained, uncontained

Then forever shelved. 

Illustration by Travis Bedel

II. She sometimes wonders

Had she chosen differently

Would he even care?



III. Shelved hearts hold the key

Unlocking blocked memory

Whisk away the dust.




Three Doors, One Choice

Today’s prompt from The Daily Post: You’re having a nightmare, and must choose between three doors. Pick one and tell what you find on the other side.

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In darkness I navigate the narrow maze.
Behind me I hear the labored breathing
Of an unknown predator. I cannot stop.

Two left turns, hands pressed flat against
Rough walls of stone. Abruptly stumbling
I find myself facing three towering doors.

Slim candles in sconces flicker, offering
Little clue as to which door provides for
My salvation from the rampaging beast.

Door one is painted red. The deep, hue
Of blood. Orange flames shoot across a
Wooden lintel, daring me to cross below.

Angels grace the second door accented
Against an aerial array of cumulonimbus
Clouds in a sky of heavenly aquamarine.

As the beast draws near I observe the third
Door. Ancient and carved with Celtic runes
Beckoning me to throw caution to the gods.

The choice seems simple: Forsake doors one
And three. Door two seemed a haven, but then
Out of darkness roared an unearthly demon.

With some hesitation I step inside the door
Most mysteriously carved. Fevered drumming
Was my reward. The third door held strong.

Otherworldly chanting to the steady beat of a
Bodhran reverberates within my chest, pulls me
Onward relentlessly toward the echoing sound.

An ethereal luminescence illuminates my steps
Into a forest populated entirely by wee folks
Who gently guide me into a circle enchanted.

A faerie dressed in finest silks alights beside me
And gracefully bids me sit within the mystical
Ring. A guest of honor for their celebratory meal.

“What brings you here?” Faerie asks. I feel certain
She reigns as deva within this forest primeval.
“A beast chased me into your realm,” I explain.

“Three doors you had from which to choose: One
Hell, another Heaven, yet you selected the third.
It isn’t often that mortals wager their lives on us.”

“I had little time to decide my fate with a monster
Close behind. Hell I rejected. Heaven seemed too
Safe. I could not resist the call of the unknown.”

Then we danced and drank far into the night. The
Faerie folk sang songs that resonated in the very
Depths of my soul. My heart expanded with love.

I awakened with tears on my cheeks and a smile
Teasing the corners of my lips. A lovely dream
Born from a nightmare. Beauty from the beast.

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