Cute Girl Blowing a Bubble on a Pink Background
Bubble Gum Meets Zen
by Carol Keenan

Saliva greets sweet cherry flavor.
Mouth fills up, watery.
Tongue stretches
as hot air presses against juicy mix.
Pink ball floats upward,
expands until thin skin,
bursts and retreats.
Ahhha ¦
          BREATHE
                              REPEAT
Gum gooey,
pops back into mouth
chomped between teeth.
Tongue slides forward merging
with hot breath blowing harder.
Bubble grows larger.
Pops!

Ahhha ¦
Ahhha ¦
          BREATHE
                              REPEAT
Fingers gather, stretch, and folds Bazooka
Slips between teeth.
Crunch and pressed
against tongue.
Breath fills bubble
rises
floats,
rises
until skin’s thin membrane explodes
spreads sugary film across face.
Eyes widen into surprise.

Sticky lips part.
Mouth widens and
Laughter tumbles out.
          ZEN

Keenan
PHOTO: The author in Vallejo, California (November 1947).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I recently shared “Bubblegum Meets Zen” with a poetry group. The group members thought the poem might be appropriate for the Silver Birch Press MY SWEET WORD Series. Among the enjoyable activities I engaged in as a child was chewing gum and blowing bubbles. While contemplating Zen one afternoon, it occurred to me that blowing bubbles was, in fact, an act of Zen. Writing a poem about it seemed to be the perfect intersection of the two and brought me to laughter. Thus, “Bubblegum Meets Zen” was created.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carol Keenan developed an interest in poetry as a young mother while reading children’s poems to her daughter in the 1980s. Her curiosity about the genre grew, and she began to squeeze in snippets of time to read adult poetry. Soon, she began writing her own poems. It was very satisfying. Then she took a writing course for teachers at Columbia University in 2002. The course prepared her to teach the writing process to young children. As a result, she taught writing to first-graders for 10 years. During that period, she neglected her own writing. However, a recent retirement freed her to return to the process. This is her first attempt at getting published.