Clifford, The Big Red Truck

The big white van, a.k.a. Big Bertha a.k.a. airport limo, was traded in for a red truck, a.k.a. Clifford. As more of our children fan out to put their own dents in the world, ours is shrinking. I remember when my mom had to learn how to cook for less. The crockpot was downsized to a pot. What a bummer. Crock was one of my favorite meals. Barbara continues to adjust to only five kids at home. Six, including me.

            Anyway, my plan was to get a pickup and a dog of my own and cruise around town really slow. One of my favorite movies is Grand Torino. In it Clint Eastwood has an old Ford F-150 and a dog. Strangely, the guy I buy autos from looks like a young Eastwood. “Do you feel lucky, punk?” he would say as he showed me around the used car lot. Not really.

            While peaceful transfers of power are fresh on our skulls, my transport of power shifted down to an extended cab where my 18 year old, 6’5” son, looks like “Elf” squeezing into the back seat. I have to admit that new things don’t carry the excitement they used to. Must be over time our sensors get a bit worn out. New doesn’t satisfy like it used to. I’ve talked to my peers and find they carry the same attitude.

            Don’t get me wrong, I’m thankful to have a red truck. The fact is, the thrill isn’t the same as getting a red Radio-flyer wagon as a pre-pubescent, skinned kneed boy. Why not? I mean, where have all the flowers gone, long time passing? Have I become one of the walking dead? Is youth really wasted on the young? Is desire thrown into the glove compartment?

            Let’s get more dumpy, shall we? Every now and again I think of all the packages I’ve set on porches. The next day, there was empty boxes set out. I’ve been at it for over thirty years now. I’ll wager that much of what was in those long ago deliveries are now in the trash bins of the world. At the least, Goodwill is cranking out a living from all the material girls…and boys.

            Is there a point, or poignancy? Clifford gets me from point A to point B. Yesterday I threw the remnants of a new wood floor in the bed of the pickup among many other dilapidated items to haul to the transfer station. I look forward to going for drives with my honey. There’s something about seeing a couple in a pickup truck that spreads a smile across my face.   

Honestly, Clifford is the object of my affection for now. It’ll wear off soon enough. That’s okay. Things are to be appreciated, taken care of, utilized, etc. It’s a used truck and it is designed that way…to be used, not as an object of idol worship. Except maybe when I’m idling at a light next to another truck hoping they’re envying me rather than the other way around. Just joshing…kinda.

            Keep on truckin’ ya’ll!

Note: Not me in picture above…I wasn’t that cute.

Verse for 2021: “Come unto Me…” Jesus

My Mother’s Heart. Every Mother’s Heart.

It is a muscle that flexes,

always.

 

I break open her chest

with the sign of the cross

 

and knead gently between

the tightened beats.

 

It is toned

but rarely down.

 

When it is pulled and

ridden like a Charlie horse,

 

I pray for the hands of a masseuse

and elbows of grease.

 

I search for the pressure points

and work on the knots,

 

my praying hands

the only conversation between us.

 

My fingers rub in warm oil

on the sticky hinge

 

and her valve swings

freely open.

 

My mother’s heart rarely

skips a beat,

 

but at times carries a murmur,

a fluttering through each chamber.

 

My mother’s heart enlarges

and at times adopts an arrhythmia.

 

I pray for a peace-maker

to be sewn in to set a new pace.

 

I pray for the steadiest of hands

and the guidance of the Great Physician.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My mother is now with the Great Physician. Although I gave her Charlie horses at times, God was gracious to give me moments of massage with her before she died. I am so grateful for my mother’s heart which represents the hearts of all mothers.

Back Seat Love: Come on, it’s not what you think.

I know,

is the back seat really a place for love?

In one respect, I think not…

But hold on a minute,

I’m talking about love.

 

I dreamt I was a taxi driver,

in and out of traffic and jams.

My light was on, waiting for a whistle or a hand.

She got in and sat in the middle back.

The rear view cropped her face.

Her brown eyes caught mine in the mirror.

 

“Just drive a bit,” she said calmly.

I nodded and pulled back out into it.

She smiled her eyes and

I think I smiled mine back.

 

“So, any destination in mind?”

“Life.”

“Ah, sure, is that near West 42nd Street?”

“You never know.”

“Well, I will never know if you don’t tell me.”

 

She winked and fully opened her eyes,

briefly exposing the whites like teeth.

Somewhere, I heard the eyes are the window to the soul.

What a beautiful window.

I thought I saw her soul…even more beautiful.

She leaned forward with her chin

nestled in her forearms.

 

“Don’t worry,” she said, “I am not in a hurry.”

“I’m starting to get that.  What about the meter?”

“Keep it running, where I want to go is priceless.”

 

I took one hand off the wheel and relaxed a little.

“A taxi driver not knowing where he is going…”

“…is a nice diversion,” she whispered.

“Wait a minute, you just hinted at a destination.”

“I suppose I did, but you are the driver.  Without you,

I am not going anywhere,” she sang with a smirk.

“What kind of Jell-o logic is that?”

“Oh, let’s not get strapped too tightly into logic.”

 

I took a cleansing breath.  “Jell-o,” I said flatly.

 

She sat back in the seat and stared in the mirror.

“What?” I said.

She brushed the band of brown hair from her eyes

and tucked it behind one ear.

She said softly, “Look into my eyes.

I know you saw it the first time.

That’s right. It’s the beauty beyond the eyes.”

I did see it.

I pulled over and the tears in my eyes magnified

the beauty I saw in hers.

I felt something jump into me.

“That’s where I was hoping to go,” She said as she

handed me the fare and walked away.

 

God is love and is closer than you think.

“I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you;

I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh.”  Ezekiel 36:26

Pull over, out of the traffic for a moment and look into the eyes of the lover of your soul; Jesus.

Enlarged Heart

It is a muscle that flexes,

always.

 

It is toned

but rarely down.

 

When it is pulled and

ridden like a Charlie horse,

 

I pray for the hands of a masseuse

and elbows of grease.

 

I break open her chest

with the sign of the cross

 

and knead gently between

the calcified beats.

 

I search for the pressure points

and work on the knots,

 

my praying hands,

the only conversation between us.

 

Every fiber is stretched

and the blood that flows

 

through the squeaky ventricles

is the same that restores them.

 

A mother’s heart rarely

skips a beat,

 

but at times carries a murmur,

a fluttering through each chamber.

 

A mother’s heart enlarges

and at times adopts an arrhythmia.

 

I pray for a peace-maker

to be sewn in to set a new pace.

 

I pray for the steadiest of hands

and the guidance of the Great Physician.

She Knits

I sit with her while she knits.

She casts on and off those things

to bring a piece together.

Needles of grace and mercy

pearl of great price.

 

May her curled hands

wield through the emptiness

to draw comfort together.

 

May her unraveled heart

find a covering once again.

Hope, like wool, natural beads.

 

I will sit with the clicking, ticking,

like a beating of brokenness

and sleep lightly in love.

 

Come, Great Shepherd

and offer her the shearing’s

of a precious lamb.

 

Remind her of when you

carried her when she felt lost.

The very threads that hung on her

became a scarf around your neck

until she was brought home.

 

Yes, I will sit with her while she knits.

Redemption will fit perfectly

as she brings a peace together.

 

For Barbara

 

© Gerald Allen Barrett and parentheticallyspeakingin3d, 2012.

 

 

 

 

I Didn’t Ask

I didn’t ask to be born.

Love crashed together.

Love pushed me out.

 

I don’t will my lung’s inflections.

I don’t whip my ventricles

yelling “stroke, stroke, stroke.”

 

I won’t ask to die either.

Love separates my self.

Love pushed me to you.

 

Each breath it’s evidence

as chambers syncopate

murmuring “you, you, you.”