Resolutions Schmezzolutions

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year’s resolutions.” —Joey Adams

I wish you supreme mental health
in the pleasure of being yourself
for there’s nobody else who can do it.
May you boldly decide to come through it
unscathed by the false expectations
imposed upon new generations.

In the futile commitment to change
as if thinking alone could arrange
your unique DNA to work better,
there’s a trap that serves only to fetter
your link to the fullest extension
of you without vain intervention.

So before you fall prey to the guff
that your essence is less than enough
to equip you for finding fulfillment
released in the deepest distillment
of innocence, peace, and humaneness
within, just say no to insaneness.

2023 Mary Boren
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Preacher’s Pay

The year was Nineteen-Fifty-Three.
No matter how they fought it,
the serfs were at the mercy of
a revenuer’s audit.

With pinch-nose glasses, black bow tie,
and humorless demeanor,
he sorted through two shoeboxfuls
of records:  Lean Years/Leaner
“Aha! Looks like I’ve gotcha now!
the tax man squealed (excited).
“I don’t see any income claimed
for weddings.  Where’d ya hide it?”

The preacher said, “Let me explain.
I’ve made it a tradition,
when payment’s offered by the groom,
to hold my hand out, fishin’
as if I’m gonna keep it — then
as speedy as a rocket
I hand it over to the bride.
It never hits my pocket.”

“Tradition, humph — the bottom line:
You earned it, preacher.  Pay the fine.”

~ ~ ~

It was a new millennium.
A couple celebrated
their golden anniversary.
A trip was due; they made it.

Rejoicing in the fellowship,
like beans with macaroni,
they thanked the man who’d joined the two
in holy matrimony.
The erstwhile groom, a preacher too,
proposed a toast.  (He’d planned it
for fifty years.)  “Now listen up,”
he winked. “you’ll understand it.”

“I offered money once,” he said,
“for services well rendered —
ten dollars, half of what we had.
You turned around and tendered
it back to her.” (The woman’s eyes
were misty.) “We still owe it
with compound interest due, so here’s
a hundred bucks.  Don’t blow it.”

A proud tradition needn’t stop.
You’ve earned it, preacher.  Reap your crop.

2003 Mary Boren
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Based on a true story involving my dad, who is shown in the photo with a different couple. More, including his own poetry, at Hal Upchurch Chronicles

Meet Me in Seattle

You said, “Don’t come when winter’s on the ground
in slushy piles of gray beside the road
from SUVs and eighteen-wheelers bound
for stations where a guy can drop his load.

“Don’t come in April when the yellow haze
of cedar pollen permeates the air.
Don’t come in shoulder season — humid days
are not conducive to a love affair.

“But come instead when everything is right,
when waves of magic cast a perfect spell
to cure the atmosphere of human blight
and all the people wish each other well.”

That’s when I knew your summons was a stall.
It’s clear that you don’t want me there at all.

2021 Mary Boren
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Resilience

There’s a corner in the basement
where nocturnal creatures spawn
mortal fear that renders optimism sparkless,
but the balance born of nature
in the crucible of dawn
is reserved for those who waited through the darkness.

Human history is littered
with unspeakable events
that would justify eternal condemnation
but a nucleus of dreamers
rising up to love’s defense
can emerge from any faithless generation.

As the curtain falls on freedom
through the apprehensive night,
may a unifying spirit find us banded
with rejuvenated purpose.
Let it lead us to the light
where impossibility is countermanded.

2021 Mary Boren
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From Versailles to Valdosta

When potentates arrived at Louie’s gate
they frequently
were treated decently
from carriage to the crux of the estate
through spacious links to be
connected to the presence on the throne
that blanketed the monarchy alone.

But only those whose social pedigree
was highest shelf
according to their wealth
were met with individual esprit
and ushered by the king himself
through each palatial post from in to out
at every station on the winding route.

A remnant of the ritual remains,
a quiddity
that, like a whispered plea,
still echoes from the rural Georgia plains
with matchless hospitality
in gracious deference to who you are:
“Allow me to escort you to your car.”

2020 Mary Boren
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Social Pariahs

My friend’s a statistician. He relates
when I describe the aptitude we hold
to steer a train of thought that resonates 
enough to stop a conversation cold.

I once revealed my fondness for the craft
of poetry, and instantly the room
went solid. No one whispered; no one laughed;
each heartbeat thundered with a silent boom.

Comparing notes, my friend and I, in turn,
recount the times we’ve staked our standing on
delivering a topic fit to spurn,
and in the process stoked a common yawn.

For poets’ prattle absolutely numbs
his brain, and I’m averse to ciphered sums.


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2002 Mary Boren
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Oh, My Children

With the power to penetrate
the mystic guise and orchestrate
each mortal decision and consequence
I’d be a god you despise.

But with peace to liberate
all whose acts incarcerate
forgiveness and empathy deep within.
I’d show you how to relax.

And with joy to activate
the spirit’s lust to luminate
the dubious shadow on every face.
I’d be the knowledge you trust.

Boundless love to incarnate
with no intent to violate
respect for your license to co-create
rises on wings of consent.


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2020 Mary Boren
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Fasting for Lent

I’ve pledged to stifle negativity
for forty days. In striving not to judge
another for the treatment given me,
I’ll dodge the bait to whine or hold a grudge.

It shouldn’t be a challenge to achieve
an altered state of transcendental bliss
if I can find the secret to deceive
emotion with a promise and a kiss.

But Ego has a credo of its own:
“Don’t give an inch in sowing discontent.”
Perception hangs as heavy as a stone
between the poles of stuck and free ascent.

With thirty days to go, I’m half inclined
to chuck it all and speak my monkey mind.


2020 Mary Boren
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Enter Head, Exit Mouth

bouche-et-levre-de-chameau

Watch out for falling filters
as you navigate the maze
of dearly special people
living in a mental haze.

Spontaneous eruptions
of uncalculated word
can range from ultra-shocking
to adorably absurd.

(“You’ve got a booger hanging.”
“That’s an ugly baby!” Or,
“I need to lick your elbow
to authenticate the score.”)

Uniquely wired and cobbled,
limitless synaptic arcs
can reach beyond the norm and
leap to unexpected marks.

And though, in common circles
viewed as socially uncouth,
there’s magic in proclivities
to speak untethered truth.

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2016 Mary Boren
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Conversation with a Saint

“Let your women keep silence in the churches; …” – I Corinthians 14:34

I shall witness heaven’s glory,
learn the meaning of the story,
smell the sweet celestial roses,
have a dialogue with Moses,
meet the other saints and martyrs.
Whew! And all that’s just for starters.

After years of hugging Jesus,
I’ll go drifting on the breezes
over to Apostles’ Tower,
bastion of enlightened power,
where I might politely query
God’s devoted missionary:

“Brother Paul, I find it troubling.
Don’t you like us frilly, bubbling
girls? I mean no disrespect, sir,
but within the female sector
your instructions are a puzzle.
Women born to wear a muzzle?

To Corinthians and Romans
did you mean to say that woman’s
proper place is in submission,
or was that your own rendition
of the Spirit’s implication,
subject to interpretation?

Yield to men and mutely follow?
That’s a bitter pill to swallow.
Was that just how Jesus said it,
or should we give you the credit?
Well, at least I aimed to try it.
Sorry, though, I couldn’t buy it.

Was it really your intention
to encourage deep dissension?
Spouting rules in such profusion
generated much confusion.
Mightn’t things have turned out better
if you hadn’t mailed that letter?

Please excuse me. I’m confessing
ignorance, not second-guessing..
I don’t mean to be judgmental —
my opinion’s incidental.
I just couldn’t help but wonder
if you made a zealous blunder.”

… But before my last word’s flung,
He’ll cry, “Woman, hold your tongue!”

———

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1998 Mary Boren
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Child

I’m saving treasures in a dresser drawer:
a diaper pin, the little shoes you wore
with jingles in the laces, a barrette
still clasping strands of wispy hair. They whet
my hankering for things I can’t forget.

Before our paths converged, I held a view
of easy, unobstructed passage through
the challenges of motherhood. I knew
exactly what to do at twenty-two.

But that was long before my stumbling feet
were pressed into the coals, the searing heat
of constant battle forcing my retreat.
And though you’ve plunged my heart into despair
a thousand nights, I can’t forget to care.

———

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2013 Mary Boren
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