Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Poetry At Work Day - 2021

 Today is Poetry At Work Day. Since I've been working from home for months, I have easy access to a lot of my own poetry, some about my work, some about another person's work. This one is a particular favorite and was previously featured on the web page of an NPR show the no longer exists in the particular form it was in 2000. I think it prety much sums up the first work day of a new business in my town.


Image by Please Don't sell My Artwork AS IS from Pixabay

Opening Night at the Jamesburg Dunkin Donuts


“We’ve been crushed all day,” says the man behind the counter

who unlike the other workers, wears a crisp, embroidered, denim shirt,

denoting his position as a higher authority, maybe even the franchise owner.

All day long they’ve been doling out coffee, doughnuts and ice cream

like Atlantic City card dealers- here’s your hand, let me scoop up your money.

By 8 PM, the stock is depleted, not a chocolate doughnut in sight

but the ice cream counter can make up for that

even though the night is unseasonably chilly for June

big dollops of mint chocolate chip tantalize the lips of customers

some who stay to revel in the clean newness,

sitting at the burgundy tables, scraping the floor with the heavy wooden chairs,

leaving chocolate sprinkles, doughnut crumbs in their wake.

A huge van equipped for cross-country travel tries to park outside the window

back and forth it goes trying to fit, while the children inside

illegally unrestrained, press their faces against the window.

Finally they are in the space and the door slides open

and out bounds Dad with three in tow - pale blondes,

one for each hand, and one to hold his shirt tail.

Inside he picks up the youngest and stands him on the counter, leaning far over

to see what doughnuts are left.

Hidden behind the line of coffee drinkers, soda buyers and ice cream lickers,

the other two children discover the freezer and it’s all too easy to open the door,

inside, a wonderland of ice cream cakes, complete with sparkling trims

little plastic graduation hats, diplomas and glitter.

It seems perfectly logical to help daddy out and bring him the cake

and they drag it by the box until the corners give out

and the ice cream cake with its chocolate top

and frozen roses and crunchy bottom

rolls out of the box and onto the floor,

in front of amused coffee drinkers who have no idea that the cake is real.

And daddy, who notices at last, shoves the mutilated frozen treat

back into the box, and back into the freezer,

and quickly departs with his  purchases, and his three little blondes,

two of whom seem confused that they have no ice cream.

Finally some one asks, are those real cakes, or just displays,

and finding out they are indeed consumable,

tells the tale of the upside down cake -

which is immediately removed by the teenage girls

who dish out the ice cream in their white shirts and hats

and the glitter is swept up and the melted ice cream mopped up

as the dealers at the counter don’t miss a beat

pouring the coffee, wrapping the donuts, collecting the money,

smiling and hoping this crush of business

continues after opening night.


©2000 Noreen Braman

It is 2021 – Where has the time gone?

15 Years Ago

Can it be 15 years since I published my collection of blog entries about turning 50? Not a winner of literary awards, but an accurate time capsule of the things that caught my attention.

I look at the photo of me on the back cover, and wonder what that version of me would say if someone had told her how those 15 years would play out, and how fast they would go by? Six new people have been born to my own children, I found the Love of My Life and have been together 10 years, I lost a job and quite a bit of money in a recession, reinvented myself more than once, discovered a new focus on the importance of laughter and humor, and had lots of personal “adventures” in physical health, mental health, home ownership, work life, family life, love life, finances, friendships, and aging. Some of it has been funny — at least in my philosophy of “today’s disaster can be tomorrow’s funny story” — but some of it not funny at all. In fact, these past few years have, at times, really tested my ability to live on “the Smile Side of Life.”

The CoVID19 pandemic has changed life as I knew it, and I am not sure the changes are temporary. I’ve been “working from home” since March 2020, and don’t see an end to that anytime soon. I’m encouraged by the creation of vaccines, but disappointed in the slow distribution, and lack of confidence some people have in its safety. History may define this period of time as “before masks” and “after masks,” a line of demarcation similar to the Industrial Revolution. And — while only 12 days into the New Year of 2021 — the year has already started off badly, and is reserving the right to get even worse. I don’t anticipate that the recent events will ever become tomorrow’s funny story, at least not during my lifetime. As a mother and a grandmother I feel the heavy weight of these past few years and want to spare my children and grandchildren from the consequences. However, at this point, I am feeling a bit powerless.  

2021 ©Noreen Braman

My best recommendation is to remain aware of what is going on in the world and in our country, but to take mental health breaks. Go outside for fresh air, sunshine, and bird song. Make time for laughter by watching a favorite comedian or comedy. Express gratitude to someone – it is one of the strongest ways to enhance your resilience and happiness. Be present in your daily life, using mindfulness to keep you centered and protected from ruminating too much on either the past or the future. I don’t know what the next 15 years will bring, but let’s do our best to live them to the fullest. 



Noreen Braman on 30seconds.com 

Noreen Braman on Medium