I Love You

I love you.
Say what you will about me
I love you.
Say what you think is my truth
I still love you.
Tell me things that aren’t true
And it’s all about me
Yes, I love you.

Nobody knows anyone completely
That’s not possible.
It’s easy, oh so easy
To take what people say or think
Or to twist things known and surmised
Into something else and apply them.
I love you.

Tell me you won’t be my:
Mother
Father
Sister
Son
Daughter
Lover
Coworker
Friend
Acquaintance
Stranger
Because of whatever you think
You know about me or
How I think
Okay.

I don’t understand,
But okay.
I love you.

Everything I do for anyone
I do for their best interest
Understanding that:
I have a family
I have a life
I have dreams
And most importantly
What goes on behind closed doors
Are privy only to those that are there.

You may think I’m a fool
Or selfish or crazy or weak
Whatever.
I love you.

Cut me off
Force me to cut you off
From unkind words and actions
Okay, I understand.
I may not like it,
But I understand.
Still, I love you.

And that’s all
You need to know.

Catherine M. Harris © February 2018

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Children of the Snow

New Brunswick New Years week
Snow falling hurricane style
Nor’easter they say – it’s just
White and swirling and
The flames on the log in the
Woodstove dance to the
Music of Leonard Cohen playing
In surround-sound from a
Tribute concert and I’m alright
Now.

Thoughts of when I first heard
These words come back in
Snap shot glimpses of my children
My daughter holding a snow globe
Up to the falling snow and wishing
Her grandpa could come home
Angels in the snow
Ice skates on a polished
Mississauga rink.

Son on skis up and down a
Pakenham hill flying free
In goggles and bundled against
The cold and snowshoes on
Trekking to the ice caves where
A small troupe of Cubs and
Tic Tac and I curled up in
Sleeping bags while the ground
Shook from an earthquake
That we survived cold and wet in
Parc Lafleche Quebec.

Seems I blinked and suddenly
I’m in my 50s boldly going
Forward on my own and
Those days seem so long ago
And just like yesterday
So for now I treasure
Those small moments
Warm percolating
Back through time
Each of us in our grown up
Far flung spots in Canada
We
Children of the Snow.

©January 4, 2018 Catherine M. Harris
All rights reserved.

#MeToo – A Poem

Hidden memories, buried darkly
Best not to ponder over, just move on
That’s what I grew up with.

Little girl me who said she was a tomboy
Two unknown young men
Attempted something to a friend and I
We were six or so.
They didn’t really get to try
What I think they wanted
Before we got away
But I saw enough to know:
This is dangerous.

Later on, modelling was my thing
Dreaming of acting, it all went well
Until I was told I’d have to be nice
To clients so I asked what that meant
I was told it was do what they want.
Thanks but no thanks said I and
That was the end of the modelling career.

Buses have been places
To stand on guard
From hands on my bum to
A hand on my thigh
Not a nice way to go home at
The end of the day.

One going home meant
Being followed by a stranger
From the elevator –
I ran and got in the door
But he kept trying to break in
The police could do nothing
Eventually they said I
Must be making it up
Because he was always gone
Before they got there.
I moved.

How about the stranger
In a store who
Asked a question
Then copped a feel?
The clerk told me they’d
Call the police.
Don’t bother I said,
I know how that goes.

One gigantic boss took a photo then
Pushed me into a filing cabinet
And grabbed my boobs and
I froze, terrified.

Another coworker liked to
Grab a cheek as I walked
Upstairs in front of him.

Another thought a Christmas hug
Meant a kiss and shoving a tongue
Down my throat.

Yet another gleefully told me
Of the wonderful dreams he had
Of me.
In detail.

Those are the ones at the top
Of my head.

If it’s any consolation this
Has died down a bit
Since I’ve gotten older.

Sadly just reading all the
#MeToo posts I’m sorry to say
No, it most definitely
Has not gone away.

Here’s my small voice to the pile.

(c) Catherine M. Harris, Nov. 3, 2017

 

 

Won’t You Buy My Home

Buy My House

It’s 6 a.m. and there’s
A viewing again
The place has been cleaned
Within an inch of its life
And yet

One more spot
A hint of a scent
Of something that isn’t
From bottles or cans

We are paying for having
The crime that is cats
Growing children
And a dog
All over time
That was this house.

This is an old place
With glass doorknobs
And seconds used for
Various door frames
And oddly shaped places
There’s 30 year old carpet
Glued to the basement floor.

This is a well loved place
People have lived and died
And grown up
Some have got old
Animals have come and gone.

There are new windows
And sash windows
A couple are cracked
And carpets from
Back when we bought it.

Some walls are fresh painted
Others not
There are trees that need chopping
And grass that is older
Than I am
And I’m not saying how old
That is.

The real estate people
Ever so helpful
Keep saying that someone
Doesn’t like this
Or doesn’t like that
But most of all
It smells like a cat.

Which one?
I’d like to ask.
The ghost cat we see
On the staircase sometimes
Or the visiting cat
That’s stayed for 3 years
Or perhaps our
Pudgy orange cat Moe
Who thinks he’s a dog
And loves everyone going
Be they human or quadriped
Or is it the mighty Bengal
Who hides so you don’t know
He lives here at all?

Carpet is cleaned daily
Mattresses gone to the dump
Wallpaper and paint ongoing
I starting to believe that
A one hundred year old home
Should behave like a youngster
No older than two.

It’s not going to happen
For as hard as we try
The more that we clean
And dejunk the more that we
Find like the bottle of screen paint
From around 1920 that hid
Way back on a shelf.

The bird cage is gone
Which is okay
So are the birds
And the children
That owned them
Off to greener pastures
In some shape or form
So the unsightly scene
Of a home made aviary
Much loved for years
Lies in pieces at the dump

I’m running out of dump passes
And things to throw in it
That could possibly make
A difference.

Tell me
Why a place with
A big yard
And bright windows
A century old
Needs to be perfect?
With charm and character
A house,
Just like people
Will show signs of age.

A home that’s been loved
Has quirks and signs
Of all of its previous
Occupants.
If you want new,
No offense but
Perhaps that’s what you need.

For me I’ll keep buying
My crazy old places
With transoms and sashes
And
Bright spots for the cats.

So, won’t somebody
Buy this place
That’s full of love?
Come, buy my place…

Catherine M. Harris
(c) 2013-07-28 All rights reserved
No reproduction without permission.

Mother Hen

Mother hen, they called me, laughing
I wondered what they meant by that
Only you, they said.

I don’t think so –
There must be
Plenty of others who
Lend a helping hand
When perhaps they shouldn’t
Even if it makes no sense
To do so.

Yes I know it’s almost unsupportable;
The broken Jeep parked sadly in the driveway waiting
Has reminded me these past few months
Daily that I really can’t afford such kindness
The dollars for repairs aren’t there
I know. I miss my Jeep, especially now it’s winter.

And when, in deep frustration
You utter oaths of leaving
To find a place less cluttered
By detritus and people
I must apologize for not consulting
But then again, this is my home
Who lives in it is for me to decide
As annoying as that sounds.

I’ve worked hard to get just where I am
It isn’t hard enough right now
A hamster on a wheel I am
So are you
While others idle is maddening
In this I certainly relate
And once again I’m sorry
I’ve made it all so hard for you.

I don’t know if you will go or not
That’s for your heart to say
And if there’s anything I’ve learned
In life is not to hold another down
I wish there were another way
To help I just don’t know how
Right now.

The irony is, were you to go
So must house guest for legal reasons
I’d just have prolonged the inevitable
I suppose, for him.

I can’t begin to verbalize
What lies inside my heart
What feelings your words
Conjure up in me right now
Memories of nine years shared;
How quickly time’s gone by.

I do know that sharing space
With the person I am helping
Simply just reminds me more
Of why I said goodbye before
Nothing’s changed on that account
That much I can promise.

Before you say you’ve had enough
Please think back to when
In times gone bad before for you
Whose hand was there to lift you up?

And since you and many others
Simply cannot fathom why
I do these things for other people
I’ll let you in on a little secret
For it is simply this:

In all my life when I have yearned
For that magic soul to stand behind me
Lend a helping hand when times were darkest
More often than not I get criticized
Left to my own devices;
In this lonely place I’ve sworn
I’d never do the same
Unless there were no other option
And so I do as I would have done
Unto me as the saying goes.

It’s as simple as that,
There’s nothing more than that.

So all I can say now is
I will always believe a person’s life
Is their own to live,
With me or without me,
It’s not my place to say.

Yours sincerely,
Mother Hen.

(c) Catherine M. Harris, Dec. 12, 2010 – all rights reserved

Nineteen

At nineteen you stand wide eyed with wonder

Slightly touched by experience and yet

Not enough to be jaded – that’s a good thing

A lifetime stretching far in front

A close and yet so distant childhood

So near you can still feel it.

When you are nineteen

You can be all the things

You wish to be if you want to, maybe.

There are roads to take

Paths to follow

Words to read (so many!)

And listen to

Then evaluate

Forms to fill

Classes to take

Dreams to fulfill

Or not, as is your will.

‘Cause the dreams you dream now

Are what become your tomorrows.

Words of wisdom are wonderful

If understood they are filtered

Through lives lived by others

Good to heed but not to lead

For your road is the path

Not taken yet.

Have faith.

Believe in yourself

Remember always

The days and nights given

Are numbered to you and you only

Those shared are special

But in the end

Have few regrets

Those anchors weigh you down.

Life your life with all your heart

And all your soul

For what matters most is

Not how good you were

But the good you did for others

And for yourself.

Live, love, be happy.

Be smart, work hard, study.

Most of all, be true to yourself;

Everything else falls into place.

Nineteen, for all its wonder and its angst

Is a truly incredible place to be.

(c) Catherine M. Harris, July 5, 2010 and we all know who this is for.

The Cat On The Stairs

The cat on the stairs
Is a magnificent creature
A wonder for the eye to behold

Silken and spotted
He answers your questions
Talk and you think
He understands

Like any cat
You know he knows
With a glint in his eye
Inscrutable
A word of wisdom
Fixed on what?

That’s the question.
If it’s a mouse
There’s a twitch in the
Swishing tail
Chatter from tiny teeth
Sharp

Not one to be messed
Around with.
Unless of course you
Are a dog.

Then all bets are off.
Big puppy horses
With hearts larger
Unbelievably
Than the stomach

They all  say all he wants
Is to play
Be it with a rubber bone
Or with a tiny tire

But as any wise cat
Will tell you:
A dog is a dog
With gnashing teeth
And a gleam in its eye
Large, so very large indeed
Not something
To trifle with
Even if

As we all know

The cat is the one who
Rules the roost.
No.
When faced with
The prospect of brute force
Loving or not
It just isn’t dignified
(or so he’d have us believe)
To be chased by
A big black dog.

And so he is
The cat on the stairs
Standing behind the gate
His kingdom waiting
(and he won’t mention
the other big orange cat
who just doesn’t care
and just ventures everywhere
anyway)

No.
Instead our big strong cat
With wild blood
And polka dots
Banned in places
Who just don’t know
A bengal is a spotty
House cat

Doesn’t.

The secret’s safe with us
Until and when
The feline world is safe again
With sleeping dog trapped
Behind the little mental bars
Of his cage
Where he lies sleeping
Oblivious

Of wandering cats proclaiming
The territory once again
Until it seems,
Its daytime.

For you must know
As every cat does
That daytime is for dogs
And squirrels.

Night time is
The domain of cats
On the prowl
And that’s that.

So spotty cats
Will wait upon a stair
Expentantly.
Not impatient, no
Without a word or notice
That would be unseemly
For such a noble cat.