dVerse prose: A Time

Thanks to Merril (from New Jersey) for hosting this dVerse bar challenge: Prosery Monday: A Time, to which I am responding on Tuesday. Merril says to write prose of less then 145 words in response to this line from the poem “A Time” by Allison Adelle Hodge Coke.

“when it is over said and done

it was a time

and there was never enough of it.”


Genre: flash memoir
Word count: 143
Title: L’esprit de l’escalier

***

Last Fall, I wrote a poem about watching my father drink coffee and smoke when I was a young child. Our father-son relationship improved slightly later in life.

I’d received good reaction to the piece, so I considered its potential for submission. I requested further feedback from a critique group (mostly fiction writers). I was aware of the potential risks, but I wanted to know their thoughts.

One person asked, “I did not understand the last few lines where you said, ‘I figured it out. He did too. In the end, it was just the end.’ Can you explain what you meant?”

Stumped for a good answer, I copped-out with, “He died”—a true but poor response on my part.

Now I could simply say, “When it is over, said, and done, it was a time. And there was never enough of it.”

***

Look both ways for answers.
Mind the gaps in the poetry of others,
it’s where we may find answers.

Poetry: dVerse Poets Pub 8/4/2020 (window)

Today’s dVerse Poet’s Pub prompt for poetics is Looking out the window, provided by Peter Frankis. While the challenge was to take a picture, post it, and write about it. I adjusted time a bit. I used a picture I searched for and found that my wife took of me through a window, 48 years ago. This idea came to me quickly and I could not let it go.


Circa 1972, through front window of house I grew up in.

The Window Behind Me

A window from the parlor to the covered front porch
of my parents’ home, a memory of chewing paint off the sill,
of watching adults sit and talk and wave as neighbors walked by.
For eighteen years, my view of the world outside
where wind blew, rain fell, thunder clapped, people sang,
cars passed and honked. Life beckoned me to the stage,
through that window.

What was I thinking 48 years ago? My young wife and new son
in the window behind me. Our future? Was I talking or listening to
a passerby? Was I thinking of losing that hair as it turned gray?
Four-years military—done! College degree, done! Responsibility
branded me an armed man. Was I up to it? Did I have life,
or had it taken me?

Would the photographer still be my wife after 54 years? Would I have two
more children and would they be in their forties with more kids?
Would I build two careers and retire? Would I write poetry?
I had time. I knew I would live forever. I did not even know what I didn’t know.
Now, I know. Some I wish I didn’t discover. A window from the past
reflecting the future. The present me, right here, right now, today.
I want to say, relax, you’ll be fine.


Look both ways through every window.
Mind the gaps and cracks.

Poem: dVerse quadrille #108 (bramble)

The dVerse quadrille is a 44-word poem, excluding any title, using some form of the prompting word: Bramble. Click here for link to the party at the pub.


Small troops of proud pickers pounce
and probe with plastic cups and buckets seeking
drupelets of prey, searching brambles
to score secret sweet’n sour ingredients
plucked from aggressive blackberry tangles.

Juice-stained fingers hunt hearts of cobblers,
tarts, buckles, crisps, and jams.
Perchance, some wine?


 

The Springtime blackberry forest background.

Look both ways even when picking berries.
Mind the gaps,
we share all of this with more natural consumers.

Poetry: dVerse Open Link Night #270 (my first)

Thanks to Mish and the folks at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, for Open Link Night #270 (click for link). This poem messes with where my head’s been lately.

***


Combatant

It could have been me.
A nod, a blink, an okay
and the next forty-five
years …

had I not been killed, maimed
or driven insane
(as many of us were)

… would not have been anything
like what I look back to today,
fifty-six long years hence,
with contrition, feeling the loss;

Personal, hidden, illogical
survivor syndrome. I can’t
make sense of it. The feeling
of a warrior who wasn’t.

Life choices often made
thoughtlessly, in a blink.
I could be dead. Change the past?
Not on your life or mine.


***

Look both ways at guilt for life: fortune or folly.
Mind the gaps in the mindless wars with reality.