‘Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes,’ by Maria Mazziotti Gillan

‘Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes,’ by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
A friend sends me a picture of herself
from the 70s—bell bottoms, platform shoes
a patterned button down shirt,
hair puffed up from a perm.

I can see the outline of the person she is now
and she reminds me of myself in the 70s—
married for eight years to a man
I knew I loved the moment I saw him,
two children who seem to me exquisitely
beautiful because they look like my husband
and not me.

The picture reminded me of all those evenings
When I dressed in bell bottoms and silky patterned shirts
and shoes with chunky heels. Those evenings
we’d invite friends over for drinks and conversation,
our children asleep upstairs. Those clothes, the perm
I got, because I wanted to be cool, though my hair
was already kinky, so the perm made me look
like I’d stuck my finger in a light socket.

I look at a picture of us from that time—Dennis and I
standing together at the head of the dining room table,
friends seated around us. Dennis’s face is flushed,
his eyes shining. I wonder if he is tipsy.
He is wearing a fitted shirt with little flowers on it.
I am grinning and looking up at him. I might as well be
wearing a neon sign that says I love you.

Looking back at us. I would like to tell
my younger self—look how fortunate you are,
the man you love beside you, your children sleeping
in their safe beds, your friends around you.
Listen, be grateful for the moments
caught in these photographs,
the world full of possibility,
the sky not yet darkened.

This Quivering Speck and I

This Quivering Speck and I
A gnat, this drunken helicopter hovering with
spasmodic tremors a foot from my face,
This quivering speck and I,
the two of us curious of each other.
I sent the slightest breeze from my lungs, a blow catching it like an unexpected strong gust of wind, a surprise,
Imagine the shock on its face, the look in its eyes.
Yet, this tiniest speck remained adrift nearby, the two of us holding attention, sharing space, seemingly face to face
But thirty seconds, or so, was enough for this
Small, delicate dot fluttering a foot from my face,
swirling like a tornado, a corkscrew twisting wider, up, then away;
With a lifespan of a mere four days, there were other things to do.
Thirty seconds is valuable time …  especially to a gnat.

2 Poems, 1 Song

‘Complacency Kills,’ by Loren W Ebeling
I need to write a happy song
Something to break through this
Grey fog of emotion
This putrid state of
“Meh”
This perpetual cycle of internal mental apathy
After all
Complacency kills.
Apathy, complacency, and monotony are among the deadliest of poisons

‘Complacency,’ Mo Frederickson
The curse of complacency
Is all in my mouth,
I’m choking
On its bittersweet taste.
I want to cut the ties
To the sandbags holding me down.
I want to float away
Across the seas,
Drink up countries
To quench my wanderlust.
I want to discover the mysteries
Each continent has to hold.
To relish
In uncertainty,
But complacency
Is just so comforting.

Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes,’ by Maria Mazziotti Gillan


‘Bell Bottoms and Platform Shoes,’ by Maria Mazziotti Gillan
A friend sends me a picture of herself
from the 70s—bell bottoms, platform shoes
a patterned button down shirt,
hair puffed up from a perm.

I can see the outline of the person she is now
and she reminds me of myself in the 70s—
married for eight years to a man
I knew I loved the moment I saw him,
two children who seem to me exquisitely
beautiful because they look like my husband
and not me.

The picture reminded me of all those evenings
When I dressed in bell bottoms and silky patterned shirts
and shoes with chunky heels. Those evenings
we’d invite friends over for drinks and conversation,
our children asleep upstairs. Those clothes, the perm
I got, because I wanted to be cool, though my hair
was already kinky, so the perm made me look
like I’d stuck my finger in a light socket.

I look at a picture of us from that time—Dennis and I
standing together at the head of the dining room table,
friends seated around us. Dennis’s face is flushed,
his eyes shining. I wonder if he is tipsy.
He is wearing a fitted shirt with little flowers on it.
I am grinning and looking up at him. I might as well be
wearing a neon sign that says I love you.

Looking back at us. I would like to tell
my younger self—look how fortunate you are,
the man you love beside you, your children sleeping
in their safe beds, your friends around you.
Listen, be grateful for the moments
caught in these photographs,
the world full of possibility,
the sky not yet darkened.