Solitary With Mushrooms - Poem by Herbert Nehrlich
Solitary in the electric chair,
she called it that, it had
a tiny motor inside its stuffing
which was quite capable
of overwhelming, vibratory
and humming stimulation,
for aging backs of grannies.
She played her silly cards
while keeping one green eye,
the one that had been
operated upon for cataract,
on all activity down in the
wondrous world of cobblestones.
And there I sat, strapping
but timid, due entirely
to heavy-handed folks
who would not tolerate
the slighest whisp of
budding freedom thoughts.
The motto being sheer oppression
would always save the day,
tradition simply did demand
that hand-me-down philosophy
and status be upheld, so
the words bonjour tristesse
would have been most appropriate.
Yet, highlights happened on occasion,
hot milk and honey - what a treat -
and chestnut cookies with
blackberry icing and a dollop of sweet cream.
Depending on the season, though,
grandma, the lady of...idiosyncrasy
would ask us boys to ease discomfort,
the pain of age which lived inside her feet,
demanding strong massage by well-trained hands.
And so, with natural reluctance, we would strip
her woolen socks off, baring dimpled ankles,
which then exposed a somewhat aromatic aura
of edible, long-cellared fungi, noticeably.
It was the fifties and my older brother Otto
had coined the term just for these rare occasions,
it was our 'mushroom cloud', to be endured.
A distant relative, by name of Oppenheimer
was NOT amused, though he was fond of little boys.
A notice was received last week from the director
of God's Green Acres, where they're running out of room.
For fifty bills she gets another twenty years,
there was a small notation, longhand, underneath,
alerting us to a decided overgrowth
of aromatic mushrooms, would we kindly pick those weeds.
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