Sammi’s Weekender #228 (portmanteau)

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Little Blue Suitcase

Mom’s sister,
Lorry, was so apropos,
most correct old maid aunt
in navy blue turban with pin,
granny glasses,
self-assured in sensible shoes,
purse over left forearm,
her small portmanteau
gripped right,
I loved Lorry, now I know.
But then one day,
I had to let Lorry go.
Back then,
what the hell did I know,
long, long ago?


Look both ways, to the past for memories,
to the future for better days.
Mind the gaps in memory but hold on to what you can.

Sammi’s Weekender #226 (yard)

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My Fantasy

Like old, faded white, torn, photographs
faces with names I forget, family
I never met. Dead people still
physically and mentally part me.
Memories. Pulpy puzzles without pieces.

Forgotten years of backyard child’s play
where I fell for the girl next door,
Tootie, older than I at three or five,
my first fetish. Desires I never
understood or confessed till now.

Grass, dirt, fences, porches,
clothes drying, neighbors.
My first snowman.
I remember her name,
how I felt, nothing else.
No Tootie photo.


Look both ways.
The past equals no future.
Mind the gaps and fill them with memories of whom.


 

Sammi’s Weekender #225 (newspaper)

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Delivery Pros

Times Leader trucks stopped
at Butler and Main
around four each day,
any season, any weather.

We carried bundles,
cut binding wires,
counted papers,
rolled them and stuffed full
our heavy canvas bags as only
experienced newspaper boys can,
for precise throwing
onto porches passed
on our route.

We knew customer’s names,
addresses, dogs, gates, and fences.
We collected cash, paid the Times.
Made profits. Businessmen at twelve.


Look both ways and remember the days when print was king.
Mind the gaps, bumps, hard work, and headline news.
Collect politely to keep customers.

 


 

Poetry: Moving Forward


The boy hid quietly in the back,
never raised his hand, got low grades
for lack of class participation. A shy,
quiet, introverted mama’s boy—
a child, it was his nature.

Adults criticized that he cried too easily.
He cared too much.
Felt too deeply. For a boy.
They would not let him be.
His siblings knew
and encouraged another side.
He learned to deny
his own deep-felt emotions.
Authority ran his life,
maybe his spirit.

He listened, learned, observed,
and grew; first, into a troubled teen, then
he became a young man.
Gradually, he moved
closer to the front, like a warrior
toward danger. Down range.

Today, an old man walks in and sits
front and center. Sharp tongued,
the quick-witted septuagenarian,
with a grin of secret wisdom,
is ready to advise any damn fool
playing games of authority.


Look both ways in the spirit of the young
and the eyes of the old.
Be careful what you wish for,
watch your step, and mind the gaps.
Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.

Sammi’s Weekender #222 (glow)

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Felt Humanness

We see and seem to know nature from first smiles
to the sound of a baby’s giggles
there is a special happy glow in the hopeful eyes
of helpless, needy life.

And as years pass over, our senses tell us more,
who they are and who we’ve become,
and we learn there is light because of darkness,
that happy grows from sorrow and loss.

When the child looks back
do we see through the years, the fears, and the tears?
Into the now aging eyes to find the hopeful baby,
still there, now aware.


When we look upon others, do we see with humanness?
Do we look both ways to either a distant history or a promising future?
Look both ways to the very young and very old.
Mind the gaps where perfection is a trap.

Poetry: It’s August Again


It’s August again. Just another
one of twelve named collections of days
to mark our planetary position
relative to our Sun, called sol, in our
solar system spinning reliably about
in some outer spiral arm
of our Milky Way galaxy. Our home.

August is supposed to mean something important,
like some Roman title signifying reverence;
to hold in high regard. I don’t do that for August.

As a child, school started next month,
I was often bored, sunburned, a year older.
Halloween and Christmas were far off.
I feared some raging red-faced nun’s pounding footsteps
and bone rattling beads storming my way,
with some weapon of horror in her hellish hand.
Hormones made me feel things I didn’t understand.
I still don’t get all that. Crazy life.

As an adult, August now means hot and dry. West coast
wildfires raging on while US Forest Service bureaucrats
either fight or fiddle for smarter management
policies for mother nature to ignore.

I try to be respectful of August.
It’s the end of summer, the gateway for September
as promised glories of Autumn soon fall upon us. Coolness.
And color. And feelings. October promises more.
My apologies to summer lovers, tanned bodies,
teacher’s times off, vacations (because kids), and to Caesar.
I say it every year. Only Christmas can save August.


Look both ways to seasons past and yet to come.
Mind the gaps in government policies.
They’re only human, even if they can’t admit it, until the mic is hot.

Poem: Black Diamond Banks


They were big, ugly, dangerous,
and ubiquitous to us. Black piles
of sandy slag, hundred foot high
hills of grief daring us
to climb to the top, for no reason,
sometimes at our own peril.

This stuff was soft like black, dry
quicksand. My foot would sink
and the slag would rise above my ankle,
sometimes to my knees,
allowing the scree into my shoes.
Each step was a challenge.
Maybe that’s why we climbed,
for the challenge, the thrill, the view,
perhaps the danger.
We’d been warned not to go.

Sometimes culm banks caught fire.
Children fell into their sink holes
and suffocated. Anthracite coal
was the black diamonds of the barons,
deadly job resources for citizens.
All overlooked, denied, or shrugged-off,
both human exploitation and environmental
degradation. They were witnesses
to the need and to the greed.

I didn’t know it then,
most of the world’s anthracite
coal supply was crushed by eons
of pressure beneath my feet. It was also
why we were there: the sons, daughters,
and grands of the men who built the banks.


Look both ways with two perspectives, theirs and ours.
Mind the gaps as you watch for the traps.

One of several historical societies in Northeastern PA is the Luzerne County Historical Society

Friday Fictioneers 7 – 16 – 21

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

Untitled flash fiction for Friday Fictioneers. 100 Words.


We were fifteen and looking for a place to shoot. I carried the pistol.

We walked railroad ties near idle coal mines.

Jimmy saw abandoned warehouses and ran ahead.

I heard him scream. I clicked off the safety and saw two men kicking Jimmy.

I yelled, “Stop!” One guy charged. I shot. I’d dropped the gun when it recoiled.

The other guy charged. I picked it up and shot two more times. He tried to run away. I shot again.

We pushed the bodies down an old coalmine shaft.

Jimmy is gone. I alone know where those assholes are buried.


Look both ways and keep your powder dry.
Mind the gaps between the ties.

Poetry: Mello Bill (NaPoWriMo day 14)

The NaPo prompt for today was to write a poem that “delves into the meaning” of my first or last name. For me, that’s about family history.


Mom couldn’t remember her mother,
but her father lived much longer. I,
while given his name, never met him
or any grandparent.

Mom’s family propensity
for female progeny meant that I
could have been baptized Wilhelmina.
But the presence of a penis undermined
her best planned pronouncements. I was William,
after my maternal grandfather, yet Mom and Sis
often teased by directing that female alias at me.

For my name, more meaning
requires German or Norman research,
the discovery of which
has nothing to do with me.

Neighbors often called me Danny
after my Dad or older half-brother, but
I told them, “I’m Billy.”
They often seemed confused.
Mom said I was demonstrative (whatever that meant).
Wilhelmina probably would have been histrionic.
Today it’s curmudgeonly snarkastic, but they love me.

I don’t know if so-called meanings of my name
have squat-all to do with who I am, or this William.
It’s Bill that I prefer to go by although our first born
is also named William and goes by Billy
(or Bill when I’m not around).

As for that “strong-willed warrior,
protector, or helmet” stuff from the dictionaries,
regarding the meanings of my first name,
none of it has anything to do with me,
or who I am.

Yet, some who know would call me stubborn.
And there were all those years in uniform
for which people insist on thanking me,
as if I’d been an underpaid volunteer.
Maybe so, maybe not. I guess we’ll never know.


Look both ways and inward.
Does your name define who you are, or is it the other way around?
Mind the gaps in family history, you might not be who you think you are.

Sammi’s Weekender #197 (call)

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I wrote two poems because I liked this prompt.


Happy Raspy

The young, talented, beautiful Irish busker’s angelic voice,
unique and indescribable, called to me from Grafton Street.

Her glancing smile and raised brow calls all to pay homage
to the gift that brings me to resonated tears. My raspy old poem.

***

Yo, Billy Boy

When we said, “Call for me,”
we invited a friend, always a boy,
usually Jimmy, to stand outside and yell,
“Hello, Bill (or Billy)” loud enough
to be heard from any part of the house
and responded to, if anyone cared.

***


Look both ways on Grafton in Dublin.
Mind the gaps in such a marvelous voice.