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.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 25)

Day 25 prompt: write a poem using Hymn to Life, a long poem by James Schuyler as a guidepost while following the prompted suggestions of Hoa Nguyen. Write for at least 20 minutes.


The Big Event

It is morning. Friday morning. It’s the day. The day when I risk my life.
Sitting up, I remove my c-pap mask. I walk to the master bathroom.
After peeing I wash my hands. I walk to the living room.
Yolonda says, “It’s going to be 94 today. Walk outside soon to be cool.”
I make coffee, black, with a red wine-colored maker. I add milk.
I move things in the sink and on the counter. I wash my hands.
I say, “We must complete the list. I go to the store today.” I take
the last orange. A happy fruit for a poem. I sit and type on my laptop.
The sound of The Price is Right is distracting as I read about oranges.
Back in the kitchen, I do inventories of shelves, fridge, and freezer.
She rewrites the list, an orderly plan for the store. I add milk.
I don’t see her list vanilla ice cream. I wash my hands.
I review the list for items and order. I plan movements and wonder
if alcohol or disinfectant will ever be there again. I take morning pills
with coffee and pour frozen blueberries into a bowl, then some granola
I made yesterday, and I top with sliced half-a-banana. I wash my hands.
I check the list for frozen blueberries. I go back to my lappy to read more
about the fruit and the word for the color of orange while eating cereal.
She comes in and we talk of things like food, adult children, grandchildren,
politics, and humor. I take my empty bowl to the kitchen and rinse it.
I wash my hands. I look at some sketches. Draw lines. I look at my painting.
I add green, purple, brown, and blue. I wash my hands. I get dressed.
I inventory my pockets; wallet, handkerchief, pocket-knife,
notebook and pen, keys. I put on gloves to retrieve the trash can
from the curb, leaving the still full recycling bin. I remove the gloves.
I wash my hands. I wash my glasses with shaving cream.
In the car I notice the full gas tank is on week three. I don sunscreen sleeves
and sunglasses. I back out and drive to a grocery store. I park.
I wear a blue surgical mask and darker blue, almost purple, surgical gloves.
I pull up a bandanna-like scarf over the mask. I notice others
with masks and gloves. I feel like a team player. I retrieve a cart.
The young man at the door hands me a wipe.
I wipe the cart and trash the wipe. It begins. I risk my life // for food and drink.
No rubbing alcohol or disinfectant. Too many close calls // less than six feet.
I see men without masks. Republicans, I assume. Why do they believe that?
And not this? Which checkout line is shortest? I follow the rules. I thank them
and go to my car. I load it and return cart to a stand. In the car I remove masks,
realize I wore my sunglasses the whole time. I carefully remove gloves. I wash
my hands with sanitizer and drive home. I put on different gloves
to check mail, carry in deliveries, and retrieve the recycling bin.
I remove those gloves, then I remove store items from plastic bags into cart.
Yolonda takes the cart into our house. I open delivery boxes. I wash my hands.
We discuss the overall condition of store, the virus evasion, what they had,
and what not. We buy real food. Ice cream is real. It’s too hot to walk.
I write and sketch and paint. I didn’t see a text she had sent.
I feel like I cheated death one more day, one more time. I wash my hands.
Our internet and cable TV are down. I write anyway. It is Friday.


Look both ways while shopping.
Watch for people, carts, and items on lists.
Mind the gaps before they fill with carts and shoppers.
Wash your hands.

NaPoWriMo: 30 poems in 30 days (day 20)

Day 20 prompt: write a poem about a handmade/homemade gift.


What Matters

For the man who has everything
or who could, if he would,
make (don’t buy) to please.

Amazon does not have your heart
nor your hand, and Bezos does not
need your money. In the end, it’s you
that is my gift, so keep it simple
and easy. Go underboard, if you’re able.

Spend less. Write or read, sketch or draw,
don’t buy me a book. Read one and tell me
all about it. Write me a four-line poem.
Sketch a joke caricature of me.

Write a note that says you love me,
put on lipstick, kiss the paper, and send it.

What I want from you is a bit
of your time and attention. Just briefly.
From you to me is all that I need.

Here, let me hand you this notebook
and this pen, in the time it would take
for you to scribble a quickie phrase…

I’ll be happier, no internet search required,
a treasure like no other will I have,
and you will feel better too. Trust me.
It’s not that I ask little,
it’s that I want you. I know what matters.


Look both ways and slightly behind.
Be safe. Mind the gaps in your masks.