Alien Nation, poem by Betsy Mars (ME, DURING THE HOLIDAYS Poetry and Prose Series)

Silver Birch Press

MarsAlien Nation
by Betsy Mars

In isolation, a consolation,
prized: the Chanukah bush
attended by a stuffed tie-dyed snake
masquerading as our surrogate–Santa,
without beard or belly, bearing
bags of good will.
May it follow us all the days of our lives.
Candles duly lit, dreidels spun.
Latkes fried, the golden pot won.
The annual miracle, snake oil
medicine to treat our family ills.

Eight days: a week and then,
around the corner,
Christmas is in full swing.
Shining tinsel hangs, silver icing
atop a flock of
sheep in the manger. Knee deep in
popcorn and cranberries.
Stringing along while singing a song.

It’s starting to look a lot like
the little drummer boy sat in the corner
forlorn. Like me, an outsider.
A witness to incense and pine tree scents,
hot cider bubbling and families juggling
strands of lights on shaky ladders.
Three kings arriving on camelback to meet…

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Ash backwards, poem by Betsy Mars (My Meta-morphosis Series)

Silver Birch Press

Ash backwards
by Betsy Mars

I hear the shofar singing:
ashes to ashes, dust to dust,
announcing a new year.
The frequency of the sounds breaks the shell of my cocoon of self-      doubt,
I stand on the edge observing

Tentative wings spread wide, still flimsy and muscles stretching.
No longer flattened with atrophy, shielding a fragile core.
Antennae reaching here and there, sensing
Into the possible, relentless

Old ways infiltrate, voices insinuate.
The jobs you didn’t get, the people who abandoned you,
the publishers who rejected you. The insultingly low expectations of
Incompetency, a need for external protection.

Refuting your latent lisp and baby fat, your thick glasses.
Your secret crushes and puberty
full of magnified flaws and hair follicles sprouting.
Hormonal tendrils creeping into your childish freedom,
strangling the breath with strange excitement.

Back in the present, with a new presence of mind,
a new stage…

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Youtopia, poem by Betsy Mars (My Perfect Vacation Series)

Silver Birch Press

by Betsy Mars

My perfect journey: headless.
Heedless of my thoughts, mindful and mindless.
No should or woulds. No sense of unworthiness.
No thought for things done, or not done, or undone.

Strolling through places of beauty sublime,
greenest meadows or fern-floored forests,
leading to peat-filled distilleries where they make
small batches of nectar, transcendent
on craggy outcrops at the end of continents,
with no risk of falling off. No acrophobia or claustrophobia.
No phobia. Safe treks down dry-boned paths
littered with shards of domestic pottery
where the volcano blew
Life in pieces.

Or time travel to the past, clearing dark places
mined with trigger spots and wrongdoings:
Poorly handled breakups or ill-advised makeups,
child-rearing disasters: the nucleus of neurotic reactors,

Then celebratory trips to champagne caves, riding on riverboats
where movement and stillness coexist. Sober and intoxicated,
as the bank flows by. Or through Rousseau jungles

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Heavens to Betsy, poem by Betsy Mars (SAME NAME Poetry and Prose Series)

Silver Birch Press

300px-Betsy-RossHeavens to Betsy
by Betsy Mars

Seamlessly stitched into my schoolgirl psyche,
dull and domestic, Betsy waved the flag,
helpful and submissive
as all Good Girls were meant to be.
Entering the new Age of Aquarius
the stars were realigning;
at thirteen, like the colonies,
I fought for independence.

Fabrication is not my way as I tend my double standard,
bearer of few domestic skills. My cloth is
threadbare, patched and coming apart at the seams.
Trying to redeem myself:
another Betsy lost in space and time,
weaving symbolism as I go.

Plucky, practical, and patriotic the famous Betsy was.
Apocryphal, a tale charming but unsubstantiated.
Me, by George, another subject altogether.
An unfolding story still striving for substance.
Living precariously under a charmed star,
striving to earn my stripes.

IMAGE:Betsy Ross (1752-1836), the woman credited with making the first American flag after a visit from George Washington in…

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Sub Rosa by Betsy Mars (All About My Name Poetry Series)

Silver Birch Press

betsy mars
Sub Rosa
by Betsy Mars

What’s in a name? A tale of many things
past and present
As it happens, when I think
I remember childhood taunts
and oft-told stories of
the origins of my names, juxtaposed:
On the one side,
a beloved grandmother/mother surrogate
and on the other, an incontinent doll, Betsy Wetsy.
A savior, a cow, and a seamstress
all merged together under pressure to form
a multifaceted but conflicted image of what a
Betsy was
Davy Crockett’s gun. The woman who nurtured
the woman who nurtured me. A magic bus.

Betsy was expected to be rejected
for my middle name, Andrea.
More sophisticated, I was told,
but also indicative of dysfunction:
a tribute to my mother’s psychiatrist, André,
the man who nurtured the woman
who was neglected by her father
and rejected by her mother.
Not a common story in my white collar,
aerospace engineer, stay-at-home mom…

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Hair Ball, poem by Betsy Mars (MY MANE MEMORIES Poetry and Prose Series)

Silver Birch Press

Betsy purpletips (2)Hair Ball
by Betsy Mars

My hair has always been my manestay:
consistent and resistant to changing fashions,
the muted wallflower at the ball.
I refused to part with my part.
Harangues about my bangs met disdain.
Like Samson, my strength was in my length  —
so I believed, and so never made the cut.

In my twenties, a flighty fling with a perm proved temp.
I scurried back to the tried and true,
where my hair remained, unaltered.
I had never stressed about my tresses.
A bad hare day meant a wild rabbit ruckus,
outracing Mr. McGregor and his lethal shovel.

But then, through three winters, I hibernated,
wrapped in a cocoon of my own making.
I emerged with my heart in a web of uncertainty.
I coughed up the tangled hairball strands
and entered the body of my true self, now visible.
Back to my roots my mane…

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