Sunday, January 9, 2011

No Red Shoes for me

[image from] [sparked by the writings on many of the blogs right now about red shoes]

I know about women and shoes,
but I seem to be
missing that gene,
so any poem written by me
on that topic
has to be about not-shoes.

What I wear on my feet:
for slipping on
to run the dogs in and out
and down the street,
calf-high mud-boots
for heading to the barn
in rainy weather,
a battered pair
of running shoes
with clunky laces,
that have to be
wide enough
for comfort
-rather like
a flat-bottomed boat-
to accomodate
my egg-sized ankle cyst,
and which I replace
when the soles fall off
every three years,
give or take
whether they need it or not.
(Note: this month
the bottom sole
of my left shoe
was actually flapping
before I noticed
it was Time.)

I have a daughter
who wears
a fascinating array
of footwear,
including combat boots
for Kicking Ass,
cool strappy things
for dressing up,
anything from platform heels
to fitness shoes,
and all that lies

She did not get
her sense of style
from me.
When we go out,
beside her
tall, beautiful elegance,
I feel like the frizzy-haired
Witch Down the Lane,
in my baggy sweatshirt
and only pair
of jeans.

Yesterday I met
an old hippy
over in Coombs.
Our laughing eyes
recognized each other.
(It must be something about
The Frizzy Hair:) )
He told me
he was in Haight Ashbury
Back in the Day,
that he wore
thigh-high leather boots,
with buckles,
in which he promenaded.

Back in the Day
I wore polyester
and pushed a buggy
with three little kids in it
inside the strait jacket
of a conventional marriage
where I didnt fit,
with my big unwieldy
unconventional spirit,
that kept bumping up against
the edges and the confines
I was kept in,
till the madwoman finally
burst out
from her prison
and was no longer mad.

In those days,
while in desperation
I pushed my buggy,
I watched,
with awe and envy,
the benign, coolly-dressed and
totally FREE-spirited beings
wandering smilingly
up and down Fourth Avenue,
wondering how
they learned
to be so free,
to be so much Themselves,
while I still felt
such a non-person,
trying on a role
that didn't fit.

I just missed
that  freedom bus
by five seconds,
pushing my buggy along
a parallel street
just one block down.

When I broke free,
I remember pushing
my giggling babies
in that same buggy,
as I hippety-hopped
down the hill,
laughing and leaping,
heading us all
towards a happier life.

I made up for
missing the 60's
in coffeehouses
in the 80's, and in
the Land of Refugees
from the 60's
in Tofino
in the 90's.

My spirit never tried
to stuff itself back
into that little box

The only red shoes
that ever spoke to me
were Dorothy's,
on that journey she made
away from
and back to herself,
where she found
she had always
had the power inside her,
and found her home
where she had started out.

I have worn out
a lot of running shoes
this lifetime,
walking through
some of
the most beautiful
in the world.
All I ever needed
was a pair
that fit me,
that can carry me
into the wilderness
I love.
A  pair
I kick off
at the door
when I come home
slide back into
every time
I'm heading out.

How many more pairs
and pathways
are there left me?
There's no knowing,
but there's one thing
I know for sure:
when music
from those years
calls to my spirit,
I can still kick them off
and dance a lick or two
across my empty room.


  1. And there's something wrong with Crocs???

    Nice window on a life, Sherry. My poem on the red shoes kind of expresses how I feel about fashion. ;)

  2. Sherry as always I love your reflections on life.
    I love shoes and I got that from my mom:)

  3. Thank you, ladies:) I so appreciate your stopping by. I am enjoying this shoe discussion among the various sites:)

  4. I love this poem. I love you crocs or no crocs. I am very happy you broke from the conventional life and spirit was freed. It let you breath and be the beautiful woman I know today. I suppose I should post my shoe story. :)

  5. So much here besides shoes. This is more than one poem, it is several stuffed into a closet full of shoes. All of which I relate to deeply. I did have a few years that were splurged on a shoe fetish, now I stick with the easy on and off like yourself. Good stuff here, lots of thought and vivid imagery. Thank you,


  6. Another one of your deeply wondderful pieces of writing!

    I so loved ...
    "where I didnt fit,
    with my big unwieldy
    unconventional spirit,
    that kept bumping up against
    the edges and the confines
    I was kept in,
    till the madwoman finally
    burst out
    from her prison
    and was no longer mad."

    - brilliant and I identify with the inconvential spirit too.

    By the way, I'm with you on the shoes! Comfort first and then I wear them till the soles fall off. :-)

    Comfortable shoes let us focus on the path we're walking...

  7. This is really wonderful :D

    Now. The thing about the combat boots, which I must share is: not only do they 'go' with everything (not that that is a prerequisite anyways) they NEVER wear out. Basically I am set for footwear for the rest of my LIFE. Soles never flap off. Also, they aren't really accessorizing outfits - they are more an extension of self AND possible weapons. I have stuck my foot on the counter at work and threatened the drunk men segment of my customers. I will wear combat boots til the day I die.

    I really love the bit about Dorothy in your poem. I love the madwoman part too. What a rich poem!

    MOM!!!!!!!!!!! Those runners are the most horrid things I have seen EVER. Cannot at all see any comfort in them. :'( It is a situation that would make any daughter weep. Am SURE there must be something much better out there that would love your feet with the respect they deserve. Ones with soles and with proper laces??


  8. PS: I sure love where your shoes have taken you :)

    AND, your mudboots rock. :D


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Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!