Thursday’s Rune: Candles in Darkness

Thanks to Dale for the photo.

(Time to go home)

The streetlight was
outside my second-floor bedroom window,
about sixty feet away,
kiddy corner from me,
but right across from Packy’s Bar.
At night, it dimly lit my bedroom.

(I didn’t like the pull-chain single bulb
that hung from a chain in the middle of the room.)

There was another light
a block farther up on Main Street,
and another was down on Washington
where a traffic signal clicked
when it changed to another color (all night long).
It had to be late and quiet to hear.

I didn’t care.
When I pushed my bed next to the window,
I could feel and smell smoke-free night air.
I saw and heard street and sidewalk sounds,
I watched the glorious night rain,
and sometimes people who were quieter at night.
Summertime I could see bugs flying around the light
as I listened to the raucous people up at Packy’s.

The light was near enough
to work with my mind adding drama to boredom
as the nearby maple-tree limbs and leaves
silhouetted diabolical shapes and shadows.

That’s how I saw them.
Frightening then. Old friends now.
Along with rain, the streetlight showed me
falling snow or eerie fog on dark nights.

Streetlights comforted me.
Now, when I get up before sunrise, I look out
to see another lonely, bored streetlight father away
on a much quieter street with no bars (just houses with old people).
I recall the days when I looked out for the light to tell me things.

I still do.


Look both ways to see the light.
Mind the gaps, the bars, and the interesting shadows.
Watch people.

Friday Fictioneers 11 – 19 – 2021

Today, two of my favorite people conspired to inspire Friday Fictioneers. Magnificent Rochelle teamed up with photographer extraordinaire, Dale, to throw us on the old woodpile.

We write micro-stories of 100 words or fewer given ideas mused by a new photo each week, provided by other creative and imaginative compatriots. You can read the rules over on Rochelle’s blog and join in the fun. Here is the photo and my story for this week.

 

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson. Click it to fly on over to Rochelle’s blog to get all the hot words on how to join up.

Genre: Gonzo journalism
Word Count: 100
Title: Chainsaw Hammer

***

I cut logs all day with my new chainsaw. After dark, I drank a beer in the yard with my new toy. I thought when all you have is a hammer

I heard footsteps, then voices. Two burglars! They jimmied a window. I worried and drank more beer.

I grabbed my chainsaw and jerked the start cord. She sounded off. I gunned her a few times before yelling, “prepare to die, mutherfuckers.”

You never heard such a commotion. Yelling and running for dear life. After they left, I finished my beer and went to the house to change my pants.


Look both ways if you’re gunna burgle in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Mind the gaps where crazy old farts sit drinking beer with their favorite new toy.

Click on Gonzo, The Mordant Scribe to read some other stories from the same picture prompt.

Sammi’s Weekender #232 (question)

Click graphic for new tab link to Sammi’s blog.

The Weight of Truth

Your question cuts to my core.
You long for unnuanced truth bathed in heavenly light.

Who am I, naked, closeted?
Yet, you ask for the dark light, to know my vulnerable,
captive, and bound heart.

Will my truth set you free?
Shall my vulnerability be set back upon me?
My silent deception belies both truth and trust.

Long sleepless nights.
Regret, haunting wonders of who I am.

If I answer your question the world will hate me.
My truth is heaviness mankind cannot hold.


Look both ways before you answer.
Value truth but weigh the gaps and consequences.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #220 (oasis)

Click graphic for Sammi’s Blog

 


Sanctum or Asylum?

Refuge comes
at great cost.
This oasis shades no reality.
Sanctuary offers
only twisted truth.
Each prison is of my making.
I must move on.
I’ll never be free
of my past.
Change
or paranoia will hand me
fearful death.


Look both ways for any port in a storm
but learn to dance in the rain.
Mind the gaps as you seek the road less traveled.

Poetry: How did it feel? (NaPoWriMo day 23)

This morning, NaPo challenged me to write a poem that responds to another poet’s poem. I chose one titled “Natural History” by Leroy V. Quintana, one of five of his Viet Nam poems featured on PBS. But I could have responded to any, or all, of the five.


How did it feel?
To know you must go to Nam, to maybe die,
or go to jail, or to Canada?
To go there to kill any enemy, VC, NVA, or…?
To be overcome by fear, and to be forced
To kill anything that moved?
You’ve felt such fear I’ve never felt.
Not just some fight or flight twinge,
but big, sweaty, trembling, shit-your-pants fear,
both rational and sometimes crazy,
a fear that never goes away,
fear mixed with phenomenal anger,
when everything slows down, or stops,
where all you see, hear, feel,
smell, or taste wants to kill you, to maim you?
To suck the blood from your body?
And you can only live by killing him first,
or by not fighting, or shooting into the darkness,
or not, for fear of being exposed, or by tossing
grenades, or by friendly artillery fire so near you,
it may kill you? And most of all, how did it feel
to leave your comrades behind, to fly home
to clean clothes, a steak dinner, and
a thankless nation ignoring you,
wishing we’d all just go away? Trying to forget?


Look both ways along the path of a warrior,
that person sacrificed for the good of some system
like Capitalism, Communism, or Catholicism.
Mind the gaps for the fears and tears of real people,
both the living and the dead.

Poetry: Fear of Poetry (NaPoWriMo day 18)

The eighteenth day NaPo challenge was to write a poem based on the title of a chapter, as a prompt, in Susan G. Wooldridge’s Poemcrazy: Freeing Your Life with Words. After reading the “look inside” on Amazon, I bought the book at 4 AM. Then I selected Chapter 51, “Fear of Poetry.”


Fear of Poetry

They say, poems find us.
They say, we cannot teach how to poem
words, to think one, or to write one.
They say, we are not all the same,
but we are all equal, or should be,
simply different I suppose. King
thinks writers (poets) are born.

I fear no rainforest, not electricity,
nor my own subconsciousness;
yet ocean depths, being too high,
or the worst of my fears, being a fool
can imprison me: body, mind, and spirit.

Unlike others, poems came to me ever since
I was forced to memorize “O Captain! My Captain!”
at age 13, long before I understood much of anything.
But I hid my love of it for fear of what
poetry might mean to me. Like repressed memories
or unrequited love, I hid from, ignored what I loved.

Now behind that mental dam of fear is stored
years of unexpressed ME (or is it I?) – poetry.
Only in demonstrative anger
or stoically hidden sorrow did I feel safe.
Since owning that,
since calling myself poet,
then writing and thinking,
I let them out. One poem at a time.


Look both ways to see where it began and where it might end.
Mind the gaps because it’s never to late to be completely you.

Poetry: Fear and Dread


Fear and dread
have settled like two large stones
into the pit of my stomach,
depression diving sudden and deep
into my gut.

My mind is occupied
with thoughts of impossible
lifesaving attempts.
I’m unable to focus.

Tears press against my eyes
wanting to be released,
my composure is thread bare.
I want to live without
such deep desperation or
just to fucking die.

I feel such a sadness
like I’ve never known,
like others have suffered,
some in shock, some like me
a slowly turning poisoned
pair of pits, burning
stones within my body,

Making me the saddest
of men, of fathers or mothers,
some sons or daughters
feeling helpless and worthless
unable to save the things we love
the most. Such agony
is the human condition.

***

Look both ways on good days and bad.
Mind the gaps of the bad on good days,
and good on the bad.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekend Prompt: Draconian

***

My heart sank into deep depression when I saw
sitting in front of me, blocking my way,
between self, freedom, and happiness,

Draco, the symbol of inequity, of unfair
rule, of the man, of draconian reality,
life dulls when the dragon appears.

He has all the power. I have none.
Draco must be who and what Draco is,
a cancer, a deadly error of nature.

The dragon does no harm, it looks
without emotion or caring, without malice,
Draco kills from silent idleness.

Nature serves an onerous messenger—
truth, there is no life without death.
The dragon cares nothing about how I feel.

***

Look both ways and mind the gaps, but
if you see the dragon nothing else matters.

 

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekend Prompt – Liminal


The Pall of Fear

Sometimes, when I lie down and relax
I feel senseless liminal fear stir inside me
until it gathers and settles
at my core. I become desperate to
deny the tension, or I will die.

Depressive mental illness is taking
control of my mind, filling my body
with this awful sadness.
What is left for me to do?


If you don’t look both ways, someone may die. Mind the liminal gaps.

Poetry: Mr. Bill’s Dream Logic (NaPoWriMo) Day Twenty-one

My poem challenge today was to write a poem that incorporates wild, surreal images. I was to use writing that doesn’t make formal sense, but engages all the senses and involves dream logic.

Well-known strangers speak
without talking, to us much younger
than before when it was me,
but not I; colors of unseen
monochrome images of unlimited
limitations. Chases by odorless fears
of panic unharmed—yelling out into
this empty reality of unfolding challenges
without beginnings or ways to an end.
Movement without effort, watching
as space and time pass unchallenged
by a pointlessness of futile efforts.
Yell out! Why? The dogs.

A colorless kaleidoscope of
meaningful meaningless images,
sounds unheard, spoken with
windless breaths. Fear seeing
through closed eyes, hearing with
deaf ears, brown hair on bald men,
run, kick, yell, stop, breathing.
Fight back!
Awaken,
let go. Rewind. Dream On!
Dream real.

© Bill Reynolds 4/21/2019

Is this a dream within a dream?
Look both ways for unseen meaningless threats, gapless gorges, and mindful mindlessness.