I Bet She Better Not Forget (Again), But If She Does, I'll Hurry Up and Finish My Time Machine Yesterday

The '50s through the Fab Four leaving London (Playing With the Boys)
She played baseball when
Ike made freeways, and Beatles woke up little Susie.
I'm not done inventing my Time Machine (yet)
so I can't yet go back and watch my mom
playing with the little boys,

her mom, waiting for daughter to braid
dolly's hair and keep knees clean.

I bet she woulda liked to fly a fighter jet
across the ocean (without fighting anything)
and I bet she woulda liked to 
land in London, maybe eat croissant with 
a Royal Guard and talk about life.

I hope she still does, if she doesn't forget.


The '60s (Rocket Man)
She was studying and bookworming when
Buzz Lightyear Aldrin roadtripped to the moon
and she forgot to hop in the trunk.

I bet she woulda liked the ride,
and the conversations would have gravity,
and I bet Buzz and Neil woulda let her
take the first giant step for humankind.

Maybe when I finish the Time Machine, I'll
build a spaceship for her; hopefully I won't

The '60s

The 70s (Little Lies)
She was a newlywed when
Tricky Dicky Nixon lied about not being a liar
and Bob tag teamed with Mr. Deep Throat.
If she wasn't with Tricky Dicky Lee's Long
I bet she woulda loved to scoop the story, and
I bet even Mr. President woulda liked it,

and everybody woulda forgiven everybody
punk rock wouldn't had anything to 
shriek about
(which would actually be sad).


The 1976 (Delta (Little Boy Blues))
She had a kid, who was me, which I feel a 
little bad about,


I bet she woulda enjoyed hopping a train to 
Montreal, to cheer on Nadia scoring perfect 10 at
Olympics, and I bet she woulda cheered so 
loud that England woulda asked her to be their
Official Best Fan Ever, and asked her to travel around 
Europe cheering on their soccer teams,
especially when Liverpool battled Juventus,

but my Mom forgot,

cause I was putting on a gymnastics show
in my diaper, and projectile pooping on
Mr Downstair Neighbor's shiny Harley
underneath our deck.

Need to work out the kinks with
this Time Machine (sorry, it's tough reinventing the laws of physics).


The 1979 (Sweet Child 'O Mine)
She had another kid, a girl.
Was bittersweet because I just about
guarantee she woulda knocked that bird Thatcher
off for P.M. if
she hadn't forgotten to row across the
Atlantic and actually campaign,

instead of letting cheeryfaced Baby Bo Peep
milk away.

Once my Time Machine defeats the
bold arrow of time,
my mom's totally gonna go rock Margaret off
her rocker; but I bet they'll all
be friends, conversing and tea-ing at
purple Round Table.


The 1981 (Child Psychology)
She played with Lee the Long, and
made another toy, a little Dutch Boy,
which derailed her plans to solve the 
whole British/Irish debacle; she had
a good plan:

     she was gonna have 'em talk it 
     out, and think of nice things to say
     about each other, maybe
     lay off the pipe bombs,

but it's tough to travel in a submarine
with a newborn, which is how I bet
she'd love to travel.

So it'll be nice when I can send her 
back to fix all that, and maybe enjoy
a beer in Dublin with Michael Collins.
Or a tea.


The 1985 (Take Good Care of the Poor Boy)
The girl played with fire, again, and ended up with
Number Four, grinning Nureyev personality,
preventing her from joining Ron and Mikhail
at Geneva Summit;
woulda been a blast to get there
via hot air balloon.

When I finish The Machine, I'll send her
back for a Swiss holiday
(she'll need to learn Russian) and
figure out how to melt warheads
into 4-D televisions and nuclear pogo sticks.

I bet she hopes she doesn't forget.


The 1987 (Kids)
She was set to strap kids in Impala,
drive east to quiz Ollie North,
au Contraire to Capitol Hill: I ran to tell her that Dad
had made her belly big, again,


here's another, a little dictator
himself, unarmed with two arms
and big stick.

Immunity for Ollie, immunization for Jonny
nixed cross-country trek for her.

You'll get another chance, Muh-ma,
once I fine-tune the science portion
of my Time Machine.


The 1992 (Hey Boy Hey Girl)
L.A. riots, Prez Bill in White, I leave ball to be with #6 boy
and Mom.

I bet she forgot to cancel her 
D.C. trip that
she never bought a ticket for.

When I'm done building my you-know-what,
I'm gonna send her to Martha's V-yard,

1993 rewind, I'm gonna throw a 40th bday bash, for her

Kennedy, Carnegie, Vanderbilt,
they'll beg for tix 
to the party (it's gonna be
at the F. Lloyd Wright pavilion I'm having built special).

Seriously, my Time Machine will have that capability.

Von Trapps will harmonize with
Abba on Happy Birthday
in Deutsch,
and she'll get a piano lesson 
on her new pink baby grand from


or someone else.

I bet she'll really love it.

The 1996 (Girls and Boys)
She missed an English holiday, a trip, a vacation
by only a decade, or several.
Good year, until a seventh: Little
blonde Miss Muffet, born
in the freezing storm rain of Oregon.
British Isles on standby, still.

Crumpets and Piccadilly,
theatre and seashore,
blurring Blair of Anglers
in King Art's old country
for old men and
beautiful babe visitors,
my Mom,
who missed her aeroplane flight, again.


I am sending her back, soon. Realistically,
the first Model will be constrained to
roving second half of the 20th century

(sorry Mom, you'll have to wait on duking it out with Sigmund)

I'm doing my best.


The Now (Things the Grandchildren Should Know)

She plays baseball still,
as the world turns forward

(until I wind it backward for her).

With smile and verve,
purpose, regretless,

     Yet I know,
     we know
     of her dreams to roam the open road,
     fly the friendly sky and unstranger people,

to tread the ends of earth
and befriend the world

Sorry we took up your life Mom, most of
it so far.

You've been pretty good about being available to:

     your family
     and friends
     and strangers
     and everyone

during your regularly scheduled hours
of twenty-four seven.

Kinda took a break from your adventuring plans
and showed your family how to lead
the adventurous life
at the end of a cul-de-sac.

Probably got some fascinating
books for yer birthday; maybe mittens 
or money, a massage table,
box set of Bones maybe,


just wanted to let you know,

we know all the stuff you missed out on
(still smiling)
cause of us.

"I wouldn't trade those memories 
for all the tea in China!" I hear you say.

Uhh, yeah Mom, you don't even like tea that much,
and scientifically, you can't trade memories for 

Also, that phrase is a cliche, which I have taught 
you to hate.

You don't do hate very well.

Too much practice with love, I guess.

I am working hard on the Time Machine,
so you can have some of your time back.

I'm working really hard on it; I'm really sorry
it's not done for your birthday.

So if it's alright, this year, instead of
sending you back to your alternative
histories, I thought we could

try, try hard
to make some more good memories 
in the present.

and I want you to visit England soon,
and the world.

Well, goodnight, and back to the laboratory.

Have a million more birthdays, please.



Playing With the Boys / Kenny Loggins
Rocket Man / Elton John
Little Lies / Fleetwood Mac
Delta (Little Boy Blues) / Badly Drawn Boy
Sweet Child 'O Mine / Luna
Child Psychology / Black Box Recorder
Take Good Care of the Poor Boy / Sloan
Kids / MGMT
Hey Boy Hey Girl / Chemical Brothers
Girls & Boys / Blur
Things the Grandchildren Should Know / the Eels


  1. Fabulous: Sue and this post.

    (bonus points for mentioning Nadia's perfect 10.0)

    1. Thanks Jennifer - still one of my favourite Olympic happenings. Whatta ride Nadia had...

  2. You are such a tremendously gifted writer. I love it, and our Mother. Thanks for writing a wonderful little tribute that has put quite the smile on my face. Well done, corporal.

    1. Thanks Jonny - I like you with a smile on your face. You've got some significant gifts yerself, Shooter.

  3. The irony of life. A mother births her child and gets life in return. I received far more than I ever "gave." In "giving up," I got far more in back. Time machine--just make sure it goes forward--I want to have a million more+ birthdays--the past propels that dream! I love you. LOVE your writing--I travel places I've never been. I am so honored to be your mother. I will NEVER forget the awakening in my soul to a life and love I never imagined on the day you came--and the brothers and sisters who followed. Forever, your Mom xoxo

    1. Wow. Sue, I think you just made me cry! I love your family.

      Jon -- soon to be your son

    2. I like you, Mom. Ya didn't do too bad. Thanks for being like no one else.


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