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: Bless My Nurses


They want my brain snot,
and why not? Rosie Rhona Corona
all around, and my blood, IV
goes in and out, needles
in this arm then that. Ouch!

Pressure checked, too high,
stand up and it’s too low.
Count to bloody fourteen,
“pee or we’ll drill for it”—
to prove I’m a well man.

Testing, testing, testing.
Looking good but bend over
butt rush hose to the glory hole.
They’ll fix me man, if they
don’t kill me first.
More blood? Ouches.


Look both ways.
The well-traveled road is the smoothest.
Mind the gaps or no discharge.

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.

Friday Fictioneers 7/24/2020

Many thanks to Rochelle @ Rochelle Wisoff-Fields-Addicted to Purple for orchestrating Friday Fictioneers. The challenge is to write a story based upon a photo prompt (today she gets extra credit for providing the photo, as well). With fewer than 101 words we are challenged to contrive a beginning, middle, and an end.

Credit @ Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

***

Title: Pleasure Palettes
Genre: Romance (autobiographical) Fiction
Word count: 99


I was at my easel trying for a loose, semiabstract, colorful urban cityscape.
Conjetti walked in.
“Did I hear you talking to someone?”
“It was your boyfriend. He’ll call back later.”
She cleared her throat.
“Okay. It was Julie. We discussed art. She said watercolor is a metaphor for letting go.”
“And you said?”

“I told her it was like herding wet, angry cats of different colors that don’t mix well.”

She reached around and grabbed me, biting my neck.
“Follow me,” she said with a sultry gaze.
I smiled, “At your service m’lady.”
“You’d better be.”
“Yes, Ma’am!”


***

Look both ways as
“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life” (Oscar Wilde).
Mind the gaps of romantic truth.

Click blue frogs for link to the party @ inlinkz

Poetry: Love Sounds

Thorns are in gardens,
And colors from pretty flowers,
Rose pedal jellies are sweet.

This world of sounds,
Voices heard, long before birth—
Mother, father, sister, brother.

Sounds of nature,
So sweet and quiet,
Some warn of danger,
Others safe passage,
Voices of friends,
A love,
Some grumpy old men.

In time,
Life’s pleasures wane and wither,
Music comes not as before,
Beautiful sounds are
Nothing to waste.

Disallow atrophy
Of lust
For a wondrous life.
Be alert.
Sounds. Enjoy them.
Be aroused
By smiles and touches
Of troubadour drums.

Surround yourself with pleasures.
Hear every note
With silences between.
Waste nothing.
Mind our gifts.

Take care,
my love.
Some things shall not
Always be there.


Look both ways with eyes and ears.
Mind the gaps between notes and words.

Poetry: Sammi’s Weekender #163


Unwanted Help

Invited to the Inspector General’s team
following years of experience,
known as the dreaded, unwelcome, I.G.,
our evil trope: “We’re here to help.”

Hated and despised, our team
of untrusted inquisitors and fault finders
were greeted with feigned welcomes,
red carpets covering fire and brimstone.

Treated well with subtle urgings, indirect bribes,
kindly disguised distractions and rarely,
outright hostility; like emotionless automatons,
“We are only here to help you do better.”

Fear and respect swam in the same swill.
We were as pleased to leave as they
to see us go.


Look both ways for the best and the worst.
Mind the gaps, therein are found hidden weakness.

Poetry: Big Red

When I first wrote this, I intended it for Sammi’s weekender. She had set a  prescribed limit of 88 words for the prompt word downpour, “no more, no less.” I was 95 words over. While Sammi has loosened up some of her rules, not that one. So, let’s call this poem, “A Second, Longer Downpour.”


She was a hog, bitchin’ red and heavy,
a real dresser on our outings.
Rider down, I could not lift her load.
I never gave her a name.

Straight pipe loud till I fixed her,
but on road trips, she was
my sweet ride. No hyperbole to say
she hugged road from between my legs.

Headin’ up busy highway north of
Fort Walton Beach when Ma Nature
hawked a torrential loogie thunderstorm.
As we headed back south, we got soaked.

The downpour first felt cold in my crotch.
With soaked windshield, visor, and glasses
I couldn’t see shit. I knew they (cars)
could not see me, or us, maybe not each other.

With us in the middle and idiots in cages
driving seventy while blind, we finally got home.
I cut her motor and dropped her stand.
Lovingly I leaned her left, slid off, and stopped shaking.

Walked into my garage, stripped naked, and
dropped soaked biker cloths right there. Yolonda
asked, “What happened to you?” The storm had passed.
I look at her and said, “I think I wet my pants.”


Look both ways. See and be seen.
Mind the gaps. Mind everything riding your hog.

 

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 29)

Day 29 prompt: write a paean to your pet.


Hey, Cat

The mice at the vet’s
always made me feel guilty
when they’d ask me your name.
You were abandoned, neutered,
declawed, and basically fucked
by previous pin-headed possessors.
A bit of a nutless dick,
you bitched and whined
more than any dog, but you were
my cat. I was your human.
We understood each other and
those whiny-ass special
snowflake syndrome sufferers
of your name at the vet’s office
couldn’t believe we appreciated
each other on a level no man’s
best friend could understand.

Your name was Cat. You were The Cat!
Any Salem or Heathcliff worth knowing
would hang with the moniker, — Cat.
Clear, concise, and common.

You were my cat cuz
no one else wanted you. I did.
And you me. (Sort of.)
Rest in peace, Cat.


Look up, down, and both ways for cats and dogs.
Find and mind the gaps in every relationship.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 28)

Day 28 prompt: describe a bedroom from your past in a series of descriptive paragraphs or a poem.


Noreen got Married

Circa 1899, a row of ten two-story homes were built. On the second floor of the third house down from Madison Street, toward Washington, we had four bedrooms, and one bathroom like the other nine, faux-fronted; leaky, flat, black-tar roofed, wood construction row, or block homes, in local vernacular. Now townhomes go up for sale.

Mom & Dad had a front bedroom. Danny was ten and had the other. Down the hall Shirley, about 14, had a room to the right, next to the one small bathroom. The largest room was Noreen’s, who was twenty. I cribbed in my parent’s room.

The house to the left had 11 (9 kids, mostly girls). To the right, a multi-generational family group of about eight, depending on who died or committed suicide. We were a lucky few.

I got Danny’s room when Noreen married and moved three blocks away, and Danny moved to hers. I recall feeling special. My own room, one size up from the bathroom, but mine. And a bed. No crib.

My room had a window but no closet. A chest for things and a small brown metal cabinet. I recall the room larger than it is. I don’t recall the wallpaper. Dad used a steamer to remove it. He painted over bare plaster and lath walls with textured green or blue paint that scratched if you rubbed against it.

Each second-floor room had one lightbulb hanging down in the center with a pull-chain. The only wall switches were push-buttons in the hall stairway, dining room, and going down into the cold, wet, filthy cellar. Electricity was an afterthought.

Rooms had capped, stubbed, pipes sticking out of a wall from when gas was used for lighting. Stubs were convenient to hang things but were live gas lines.

Wood plank floors were covered with linoleum in designs and colors I forget, but all showed traces of wear and the plank flooring beneath. Each ended about a foot from walls.

My room was directly over our living room, or parlor as they liked to call it. It had a vent for heat from a nineteenth century, coal-fired furnace in the dirt-floored cellar.

An old, unused chimney stuck out from my west wall. That prevented my bed from being against the wall, thus leaving a gap on one side, a place to hide magazines and things I did not want Mom to see. They were not nudes or porn, but risqué enough for me as I recall. I never told the priest in confession about the hiding place or what I stashed there.

The street was close below my window and Packy’s saloon was only two houses up, making noise a constant when my window was open, only a bit less loud when not. After we got TV, I’d fall asleep listening to the music of Perry Mason or whatever they watched.

When Danny finally left for the Marines, I moved to the back bedroom – a rite of passage. It had a door to the outside used to sneak out at night until I got caught. But my first bedroom has many stories, some remembered, most forgotten, many denied. It was a big deal in my life, until it wasn’t.


Look both ways in houses with more past than future.
Mind the gaps for cold drafts and loose boards.

Sammi’s Weekender (154): Fabric


It was almost olive drab once,
now faded OD, but green,
the back says, Nothin’s Easy.
A well-worn tee from my days
running or trekking Government
Canyon, near San Antonio. It’s
not a canyon at all.

On the front you can make out
the drawing of the hills,
the name ends with, State
Natural Area
. The crew neck fabric
is tattered from use and washes.

It’s size large to hang loose,
but no longer does.
Do you think it shrunk?
Or have I expanded
my physical surroundings?

If I had a favorite tee,
this might be it,
but I don’t want others to feel
helly-jelly. It’s just a shirt.
Like the brown one I’m wearing now
from my second Cowtown Marathon
that says, opposite the front,
I’m Back. Cuz I was.


Look both ways for ties to tees and memories.
Mind the gaps or it’s the rag bin for sure.