Saturday, November 30, 2013

In My 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:
Crocs, 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-
which I replace when the soles fall off
every three years, give or take,
whether they need it or not.

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 between.

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, cackle,
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 didn't 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 hippies
wandering smilingly up and down Fourth Avenue.
I wondered how they had 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 later,
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 again.

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 within,
where she had started out.

I have worn out a lot of running shoes this lifetime,
walking through some of the most beautiful
landscape on the planet.

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 tired,
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
that 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

Shanyn over at dVerse has us writing about shoes tonight. I had already written the above poem in 2011 for Annell Livingston's Red Shoes Project and, since I am very tired, decided to haul it out, dust it off, and post it, as it fits the prompt so nicely.

The photo is four year old Sebastian, trying on his new "finger gloves", which cracked me right up. He is hilarious!

Jasmine is laughing, too!


  1. Whew, this poem has us walking a long journey with you in shoes that are best for walking and even better kicked off at the door! I love the pic.

  2. You have such a rich inner life that it spills out! Goodie!
    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    =^..^= <3

  3. You have it all within you. Put on your dancing shoes at the end is the clincher. Great write Sherry!


  4. amazing journey of life through shoes.

  5. Wow - memoirs written through the imagery of shoes. I like that a lot. So much to like in this piece..

  6. Hiya Sherry,
    The stanza 'Back in the day....' is a crystallized poem in its own right, a gem amongst the pearls of wisdom from your life.

  7. the walk to find who we are and how we want to live can be a long one and with many detours as well... glad you managed to break free from a life that wasn't you and found the "shoes" that fit you...smiles

  8. Very cute picture! And a sweet poem. I also have never had the footwear gene, but probably because I have very large feet. K.

  9. I love how your attitude to shoes and your own shoes tell us so much about you Sherry! I enjoyed the tone of your poem, especially that of the last stanza.

  10. i hope that they carry you on into quite a few new adventures....what a cool glimpse into your sotry...from your ass kicking daughter to your friend you ran into who used to wear thigh high boots....hey long as my shoes can get me there...i dont care what they look like....smiles...i do appreciate them walking me into the woods though....

  11. I love your poetry, and this one is a heartfelt favorite! What an amazing story you've shared here! Much love!

  12. those are some smiles! ~

  13. I don't get the 100 pairs of shoes thing and hate shoes as it is. I find something comfy and buy it in several colors and cry when they go out stock. Slip ons, sandals, funky socks. Yes! We must share a gene.


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