Smile as often as the Second Hand Ticks

Smile as often as the Second Hand Ticks

A Poem by Shelly Bell

This is dedicated to my grandmother

be tamed in day
wild at dusk
lust in purple
laugh in yellow
resist mediocrity

ramble until color becomes paint
until paint becomes shape
until shape becomes form
until normal fades behind orange
blink new
inhale light
exhale night
smile as often as second hand ticks

smile as often as the second hand ticks
smile as often as the second hand ticks

we watch my grandmother's grin
slowly deflate 
cancer sucks
it makes reality squeal
hospice beds screech
takes the hour hand 
out of our hands
turns clocks into merry go rounds
cancer makes night come sooner
ties the hands of time
behind her back

No matter the man made
measurement of moments
when I see my grandmother
it's day
She created the manual for my

1. Always make sure your house in on the bus line.
2. never turn down donations just nod your head
say thank you, then trash it once you get around a corner.
3. Playing duck, duck goose with means you have to touch
every head. Why be loose, baby you can just choose?

She was a sensual woman
quick witted and aware
birth 10 children
through card playing drinking 
good times on friday nights
through two marriages
unexplained separations
through situations only
she could discuss
but family would find it
too harsh to ask.

no, she can't catch a speeding bullet
no, she can't move at the speed 
of a rushing train
no, she can't fly

that is 
not yet.
as life begins to fade
her back arcs
soon feathery bright white
wings will burst through her back
her smile will stretch like the strings
of a harp
her voice will soften
as her spirit becomes music

Her memory will be soundtrack
of my horror flick
the underlining drums crashing through
my melodrama
the trumpets of my happiness

Maybe we really become superhero's at death
morphing into surreal beings
leaving life happier than it was
missions undone
battles unwon 
making room for more super people

it's taboo to ask
my grandmother to say hello to God for me.
but she will see him two months sooner than
I will so why not use reality for what it's worth.

Grandma, when you see God
ask him 
if my life will be enough for mine
like yours is enough for me
ask him if tossing caution to the wind
means it travels down an empty road 
breezes through the hair of a child
and fondles the leaves of the old man's tree

because you lived free
and cancer became you
now I don't know what to stop or start
flag on the play
call a time out
this game is a fluke.

Tell him that once you move on
I am not sure if I
am equipped to save the world.
I feel like I need more of your stories
I need more of your rules
to guide me
I don't know what to do

Then God whispered
smile as much as the second hand ticks
smile as much as the second hand ticks
smile as much as the second hand ticks

Copyright 2010 Shelly Bell

© 2010 Shelly Bell

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Added on November 22, 2010
Last Updated on November 22, 2010


Shelly Bell
Shelly Bell

Alexandria, VA

To merely refer to North Carolina native and Alexandria, VA resident Shelly Bell as a curious and talented consumer of life’s most positive energies would only tell half of the story. An award-w.. more..

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A Poem by Shelly Bell


A Poem by Shelly Bell