Mistress Rochelle gave us a double dose of reality today as she announced her recovery from the dreaded COVID CRUD with one of her photos. Nothing can keep her down for long. But the lovely flowers and get-well balloon should inspire us to find the words to tell our own story.
Click on Rochelle’s bouquet for a lift to her page to scope out the rules and regs of the game.
Genre: Military Fiction
Title: Friendly Enemies
Word Count: 100
Timo and I were life-long enemies. We always argued and fought. Didn’t know why.
Fatefully, after graduation we ended up in the same platoon. One night on recon walking about ten feet behind the point man, Timo shoved me and whispered, “You’re too close. Spread out!”
Just as I put distance between us, the point man tripped a mine. I remember the flash and loud blast.
I awoke in the hospital to a bouquet of flowers: yellow carnations, white snapdragons, buttercups, purple and violet petunias, and orange lilies.
The card read, “Keep friends close, enemies closer. Get well soon. Timo.”
Look both ways for friends and enemies, discernment is key.
Mind the gaps, it may not be what you think.
What would you send your enemy? To know why I used those flowers, click here.
Today’s NaPoWriMo.net four-part prompt was borrowed from poet Betsy Sholl. This assignment tasked me to write a poem within which I recall,
someone I was close to, but I am no longer,
a job I no longer do, and
art that I saw once and that stuck with me.
I was to close the poem with an unanswerable question.
Side by side in many ways
our lives were intwined by profession,
friendship, and meaning. Only now,
looking back do I see that when
you went right, I vectored left,
fast friends now virtual strangers.
Maybe I no longer do those things,
I don’t walk or talk the same,
my goals and purposes are past,
yet my butt is a branded identity.
From that long ago past, my dreams
are still me then, me when I was
part of a thing bigger than myself.
I saw the cowboy of a distant genre
who rode one horse of divergent
color, who ranged and wrangled west.
I’m unlike him; no horse or saddle
sits beneath me. I’m just a deliberate, defiant,
dying breed with a protective attitude.
He sits, and stares. I wonder where.
Why the tie? Is the past part of me?
Am I still part of the past?
How do those people and things
have me in what they are today?
Does any of it matter?
Look both ways, but juxtapose the past with the present,
especially if both are greater than the future.
Mind the gaps because memory is notoriously unreliable.
To balance my blogosphere life, I shall henceforth post my unprompted poems (or prose), called runes, on Mondays (formerly Thursday) so I can plan to post about every other day.
I claim King’s X for April because I hope to be working my way through 30 poems in 30 days with National (Global) Poetry Writing Month (napowrimo.net). I try to write to the daily prompts/assignments (it’s optional, I’m not that masochistic).
Thus, I shall post every day in April. When possible, I will combine or do a second post on Friday Fictioneers and Sammi’s Weekender. I will also try to read and comment on those challenges when I can.
Why Can’t We Be Friends?
What is the difference between
genocide, slavery, life,
It’s war. Granted. War is bad.
It’s literally hell on Earth.
Innocents and soldiers are killed.
War’s destruction is
without logic or proportion.
But pacifism is worse.
Evil cannot be appeased.
War is the symptom.
Humanity is the cause.
Hate is the disease.
Choose well but take a side.
Peace is a dream guarded
by nightmares. History proves
we always get the war we want.
There may be no winners in war,
but there are losers. I’d rather not.
Look both ways in the real world.
We must always fight for what is right.
Mind the gaps for seeds of hate and find the first casualty of war: truth.
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.
Happy Saturday, y’all. Today I am supposed to write a poem based on language as it is spoken in real life, as opposed to more formal “poetic” speech.
what is it with you — nothin’ man, what choo you talkin’ about — that chick — what about it — we’re friends — fuck that shit, man, you’re tryn’a save her —
she needs help, man, that’s it, i help my friends — how many other chicks you helped, you gotta stop, man, ya can’t help them all, you can’t fix everybody, and where are they now —
get off my ass, just helpin’ a friend, that’s all —
you got some sorta complex, dude, sir galahad or something,’ like yer a knight in shining armer or somethin’—
bull shit, man, you dunno what yer talkin’ about, it ain’t like that — look man, i know it ain’t like yer tryna’ get laid —
you need to stop, it’s not yer business.
maybe he’s right — maybe i’ma sucker — i help guy friends too, if they ask — besides, it’s done and she is ok now— i admit it feels good to help — is that a complex, it seems normal to me — she asked and ah said sure — there’s no problem and it’s not his beeswax anyway — but maybe he’s right about me.
Hey, how’s it going — livin’ the dream man, how ‘bout you — it’s all good, you goin’ to the game tamarra, it’ll be a good one —
i dunno yet, but I think so —
hey, how’s that chick we were talkin’ about —
who, oh her, she called me, said thanks, it’s all good now, she’s sending me a check, i’m glad i helped her, she’s good people —
good that you were there for her — yah, it feels good to help, you might try it sometime —
hey, look man, ima sorry fer what i said —
it feels good to help people, you oughta try it sometime —
fuck you, i help peeps, i’m jist more careful —
sure, whatever man, i’ll get back with you about the game, i may have a date —
oh, who with, you got a date, with who — talk at cha later man.
that’s great, now he thinks i’m seein’ her, let him think what he wants, he’s a dick anyway — but he is my friend — sometime i’ma gunna have to tell him, she set me up with her sister, we hit it off — i’ll tell him when i’m ready — for now, he can wonder — i can be a dick too.
Few of us are born with an inaccurately low self-esteem, but the potential is there for disordered self-image. I may have inherited my mother’s negative opinion of personal abilities (hers and mine), but the passing of the flaw was socio-cultural, not biological. How I got that way is unimportant. What is important is that while humility may be a good thing, too often people miss much in life because they found their way to the “I’m not good enough, I can’t, I am too scared, or nobody loves me” quagmire.
Jack was my teenage friend, and the first to motivate my turnaround from I cannot, to I can. I’ve met others who helped me see my greater potential to achieve. They always came into my life at the right time. My post on synchronicity tackled the phenomenon. Some are still involved in my life, and some inspirational souls have recently landed in my patch of life.
When I first met Hilton M. Kennedy he was a Master Sergeant in the US Air Force, and he would soon be my boss and direct supervisor. The man I eventually called Ken, but many called Mac, had olive colored skin, lots of jet black hair, was several inches shorter than I, and smoked too many Salem cigarettes. I don’t know if Ken was a hyper-active child, but he was one for the most effervescent men I had met. Ten years my senior, Ken reeked enthusiasm. Other than being married, where we worked, and the Air Force, we had little in common, at first.
Ken’s personality included talking fast, a trait one seldom finds in a Louisiana native. I enjoyed our many chats where he made me believe that he was interested in me, and that I would have a successful future. Many of those discussions were accompanied by measured amounts of fine liquor. Living in Ankara, Turkey, ensured financial advantages for Americans in the late sixties. Of course, fine liquor required equally fine cigars.
I began to see good changes in myself. I was becoming more confident. My self-opinion and hopes began to unfold from whatever dark recess of my mind they were held captive. I attribute any success and goodness in my life to many people, some from my past and some in my life today, some from almost 50 years ago. Hilton Kennedy was the right guru at the right time in my life.
We became personal friends and our families got close as he kept tabs on my career following the end of my enlistment and his eventual retirement. We went to visit him, and he and his wife visited our home. Eventually, our relationship was more friendship and less his being my mentor and advisor. One of the last times I saw him, my wife and I were guests of he and his wife in Rome, New York. He played the harmonica and I thought all was well. But it was not to be.
In the late eighties, I learned that my friend and mentor had been diagnosed with Huntington’s Disease, a dreadful genetic illness with no cure. The mental and physical degradation was disastrous for someone who was such a fast-paced, high-stepper in life.
It was horrible. I didn’t know what to do, what to think, or how to feel. While I felt bad for him and his family, I regretted the worlds loss of one of the good ones. Fortunately, the regressive disease was stopped when Ken died of a heart attack at the age of 55. I faced the loss feeling that any suffering by Ken and his family was aborted.
Ken has been gone for over 25 years. I remember, and I’m grateful for that man being in my life and the difference he made in me simply by believing in me, showing his faith in me, and his eventual friendship.
Look both ways every day.
You may be the long remembered difference is someone’s life.
But, mind the gaps.