She was a Beautiful House

A model house once stood where I stand now
Two stories with stunning rooms inside
The roof and brown shutters
Defended from the outside
Smooth bricks shrouded
Vibrant wallpaper inside
When warm breezes swept across the curtains
Two girls in white dresses and long hair
Burst out of the front door
Spinned cartwheels on the tidy lawn
When the lawn turned brown
The girls wept, and then were gone
Termites buried deep into each crevice
Boring holes that consumed the gentle wood
Angels sang for her crown
At first she resisted
But the tumor persisted
And finally wore her down
There’s a crumbling old shed crouching in back
Screened by an overgrown hydrangea bush
Unpainted and untainted
It stores chairs with sagging canes
And cracked vinyl records
She’ll never listen to again
For Kristine

© 2015 Renata Manzo

Old Man Walking


He’s a grumpy old man but his dog still loves him. Picture by Ed Yourdon

Old man, where do you think you’re going
Nowhere in a hurry, that’s for sure
You don’t have much to do any more
Once you retired, they put you out to pasture
You’re angry all the time that much I can see
But don’t take it out on me
No, don’t take it out on me
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Gloria Steinem Lied to Me


Gloria Steinem how could you lie to me
You told me how my life could be
A worthwhile career
And a marriage too
But what I’ve discovered
Is that it’s just not true
Is it a myth that I’ve uncovered
Or a fantasy from my own youth

Gloria Steinem you defied convention
But somehow you failed to mention
Someone has to keep
The home fires burning
Someone has to be home
When the kids arrive from school
If both of us are out there earning
Who will drive the cotillion carpool?

Gloria I heard what you used to say
But who will to go to the PTA
The girl scout meetings
And swim team practice?
Who cooks the kids dinner
When we both have to work late?
Someone has to help them practice
For their high school debates

Gloria these childhood times are so fleeting
I won’t miss them for a meeting
If I try for both
Will I somehow lose?
Or do I have to choose?
If I put my job on pause
Will my mom have burned her bra in vain?
Will Betty Freidan turn in her grave?

(c) 2015 Renata Manzo

My Renaissance Career

angelousI don’t want this life anymore
Truth be told
I never wanted the picket fence
Or the station wagon
Why did I settle for
The path of least resistance?
Was I lazy or
Was it just expedience?

From the inside looking out I’m
Still nineteen
I’m quick and taut and free and thin
My body still takes flight
No wrinkles weigh me down
When did my maturation begin?
How did I not see
My gray hair and double chin?

Is there still some time left for a
A new career before I’m too old
When I begin again
This time I won’t settle
The steps I will take will be bold
No hesitation
No ling’ring outside the hold

(c)2015 Renata Manzo

Down from the Mountain

Down from the mountain
Out of the storm
Into your car where
The seats were warm
I felt like a puddle
Where the mosquitos swarm
Where did you think
I would end up that day
Did you think I was watching
For you to come this way?
Did you know I’d be wanting
Someone to love
Were you always there waiting
For me to show up?
I leaned on your shoulder
As we drove along
A bucket of beers
On the seat though it’s wrong
Your habits cleaned up
As we traveled in time
I sharpened your edges
And you softened mine
(c) 2015 Renata Manzo

Winter in the City (gives me the blues)


Winter is much easier to take when I’m hiking on the trail.

At the corner
Of Three Chopt and Wright
The traffic rushed past me
As I waited for the light
I’m on the way to work
It seems I was just here
Waiting for the light to change
Was that yesterday?
My life’s an endless circle
The scenery’s the same
The traffic light the only thing
That ever seems to change
Yet even it
Repeats itself
The weather cycles too
From winter to winter and then
While I sit here looking upward
The sun shines through again

And Now for Something Completely Different: Lawyer’s Love Song

Before we met
I thought my partner
Would be a lawyer
Just like me
Except he’d be a man
We’d speak our special language
Only lawyers understand
By day we’d argue subject matter jurisdiction
At night we’d lie in corporeal possession
This is my lawyer’s love song
The words are mostly latin
And I’m afraid they’re rather long
The main thing I need to express
Is res ipsa loquitor
Our love speaks for itself
With you I find
Accord and satisfaction
There’s no way to deny
Our mutual attraction
We should get into privity
I’d love to see your briefs
You’re my motion in limine
A prima facie case of masculinity
We all know love
Comes without a warranty
It might last forever
Or it might end terribly
But I’m sure my love for you
Supersedes my doubts and fears
With you, a covenant of love
Cannot possibly disappear

(c) 2014 Renata Manzo


The Cork is Sinking

Like a cork bobbing in the sea

My emotions float with me
I’ve had a burden in my soul
Since I was young
It’s still with me as I grow old
And it doesn’t help to know
I have a long way to go
Before the burden is set free

It lies across my chest

A dense, disturbing mass
The doctor says it’s just stress
And the feeling won’t last
But I don’t know
I’ve had this burden in my soul
Since I was young
And it won’t let go
All around me others are jumping ship
Suicide notes are posted on the net
If they can do it, why can’t I
But I don’t want to say goodbye
Not yet
I want the burden to disappear
While I stay here
Because I know
It’s not my time to go

(c) 2014 Renata Manzo