Monday’s Rune: Standing Down

It was unthinkable, back when
my without-resumé or bona fide
job was Dad: our father,
leader, wizard, fixer of all
things and people broken,
savior of my tribe; shaman,
vet, and driver out of all demons.

Despite my foibles,
hidden as many were—
we managed to cope.

Burdened with adversity and misguided history
we owned our piece of the world,
we held the keys that controlled the universe,
wherein I was (am?) suddenly
no longer the center to which they would turn.

Call it what is, that’s life, dismissing
whenever shit happens, when I’m forced
to admit I don’t know why. To say
I was wrong about so much.
I think and think again about it all,
the ultimatum. It wasn’t you. It’s me.


Look both ways when seeking the mysterious purpose of life,
or finding of the true self, or taking on the vocation mantle of service.
Mind the gaps for the distractions of relief are dear.

Friday Fictioneers for May 13th, 2022

Today is Friday Fictioneers’ photo prompt release day, posted two days prior to Friday the thirteenth, an inauspicious Gregorian calendar arrangement in the superstitious minds of many.

Central to Mistress Rochelle’s well-chosen pic from the artistic eye of our friend to the north, Dale Rogerson, is a red rose. “O my Luve’s like a red, red rose/That’s newly sprung in” May; is partly from the famous Robert Burns poem.

What can one do with the flower of love on the most traditional day of western bad luck? My go is below Dale’s photo. My gratitude to both wonderful, bonnie lasses for giving direction to this week’s micro-fiction collection.

Click on Dale’s red rose for a ride over to Rochelle’s rockin’ blog for how it’s done.

Genre: Padded Journalism
Title: Guns and Roses
Word Count: 100

The blonde was his beauty. He was her beloved beast. They struck out for freedom armed with guns and motivated by love.

“We’ll never blend in, Casey. You’re too tall.”

“Vicky, look! It’s them laws. Let’s die like Bonnie and Clyde. We’ll be famous.”

“But dead as hell. Drive fast, Babe. If they get close, they’ll flip us.”

There was a loud bump. Casey’s driving skills failed to keep them from the grassy Indiana ditch.

Her last words were, “I love you, Babe. See you in hell. They could have at least waited until Friday.”

A gunshot, then cops everywhere.


Look both ways when on the run in the Alabama sun.
Mind the gaps and ditches.
Keep in mind that at six-foot-nine, you’re not that hard to find.

Click on Casey & Vicky for your risk free ride to more marvelous stories.

Monday’s Rune: Hurry & Wait


Call Alice or Jody Call

Hurry up! and then wait
might be a cliché to some.
Army’s GI Joes claim it
as their own,
but we’ve all been rushed
and rushed, hurried along,
forced into quick-step like
anthropomorphic white rabbits
through Alice’s wonderland story
(not Arlo’s restaurant one)
and Grace’s slick psyche-song.

Rushed to somewhere
only there to wait,
and wait some more,
and then wait longer.
(‘twas no rarity, either.)
On top of that,
just like the mad hat,
they’d (we) add five minutes,
early
plus five,
and then five more,
(if not ten) minutes early.
A military obsession
greater than want of
any weapon
or crazy-ass war.

Embrace the suck
if it makes it
better how ya feel,
about it all,
been there,
done that,
was not late,
but had to wait.
We’ll all be early
for our own
funerals, unless
it’s Oxford
(not Tulsa) time,
when late is just fine.


Look both ways if you’ve had “some kind of mushroom.”
Mind the gaps and “remember what the dormouse said, feed your head.”

 

Sammi’s Weekender #258 (impromptu)

Click on Sammi’s graphic to open her page in a new tab and read other 48-word wonders.

Pointless vers libre

I wrote this poem
impromptu, an
extemporaneous literary
ejaculation written to a prompt,
which, oxymoronically, means
improvised unprompted.

An unemotional, virtuous
pronouncement, to wit, I was
fully unprepared
by the fulness of time
to provide profoundness
of contemplation.

In my vernacular,
I pulled it out
of my ass.


Look both ways even on one-way streets.
Some contrivances must be assembled quickly.
Mind the gaps because the Russians are coming.

Friday Fictioneers for May 6th, 2022

Na’ama Yehuda’s lovely flower garden picture posted by the incomparable Rochelle, mistress of pools of water and writers was both inspirational and challenging. A rose by any other name is a tulip, even on Friday Fictioneers, right?

 

Click on the flowers to get more info from Rochelle’s. The PHOTO PROMPT by © Na’ama Yehuda.

Genre: Murderous Fiction
Title: I never promised you a
rose tulip garden
Words: 100

We were so much in love, hotly in lust, blindly infatuated—the perfect couple. I decided I could trust him with my biggest secrets. We just clicked.

“Hey Babe, I need to tell you one more thing.”

“Oh, Sweetheart, you can tell me anything. Without trust, there’s no us.”

“I worked as a hooker when I lived in Reno.”

“Okay, Love…that’s over now.”

“I also shot a man there just to watch him die.

“You did what? You’re a murderer? We need to get that mess cleaned up.”

“I’ll be packing tonight. Don’t worry about me leaving. I’m already gone.”


Look both ways to see that no one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, we can only be who we are. Mind those gaps so you don’t forget that your truth may be none of my business.

***

My story was musically inspired by: (I Never Promised You A) Rose Garden by Lynn Anderson, Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash, and Already Gone (also maybe the line, And there’s some rumors going round, someone’s underground from Witchy Woman) by Eagles (sic).

Click on the flower gun to link up with more marvelous stories by the Friday Fibbers cast.

Monday’s Rune: Sudden Snake Story


Watch My Step

On a recent sunny Spring morning I walked comfortably along the yellowish-brown path of a meadow trail. I thought I saw a snake stretched calmly across my path. The trail ground cover and snake were much the same texture and color. I removed my sunglasses, moved closer, and looked directly at whatever it was.

Sure enough, a three-to-four-foot-long Texas rattlesnake, one of our ten species, was calmly holding its head up and making eye contact. It was not coiled-up or making threatening rattle noises. I noticed its tongue sensing the air. Otherwise, it was motionless.

I decided the snake was probably a female, not that I could tell. I’ve always had better luck with female mammals, why not reptiles? It’s difficult to determine a snake’s sex unless you are an expert, a snake, or have a sexing kit. They cost about $70, if you have a need to know and are willing to get more up close and personal with snakes than most folks are, be my guest. That optimistic conclusion helped to keep me calm.

However, I was shocked when the snake spoke to me. She said, “Please, don’t make me move. It’s early and I’m still cold.”

I stepped back and looked around. I tried to speak but I only stammered stupid nothings. I wasn’t afraid and thought it might be a trick. Imagine speaking to any animal. My skepticism must have showed.

“Oh, please,” she hissed, “everyone knows snakes talk. The Bible? Eve? Don’t make me do that bite thing. Humans taste like soap. We don’t like doing that.”

No way! A talking snake. Unbelievable (except biblically).

I hoped no one would hear me, “So, what is your name? What should I call you?

She seemed to smile, “Call me Metaphor. We don’t use names. But, since I’m blocking your progress for a while, it’s apropos, don’t you think? What is your name?”

Holy shit. A philosophical, talking rattlesnake.

“I’m Bill. Do you want me to leave?”

She answered, “Not really. If you’re uncomfortable, walk around me and get on with your life. I’ll do the same. If someone else comes by, it may not go this well. But if you have a few minutes, let’s talk. Think of it as a game.”

Good grief. A fucking philosophical, bible-wise, talking lady-snake who wants to play mind games with me.

She seemed to like me. Other than Eve, who has ever encountered a talking animal? Ok, maybe the fish in that Hemmingway book. Wait. No, never mind. Now that I think about it, talking animals are everywhere in literature, TV, and movies. I couldn’t just up and leave without regrets.

She asked, “Which do you fear more, other humans, aggressively growling dogs, or snakes?”

I admitted it. Snakes scare me. “No dog has bitten me since childhood. People seem safe enough.”

“Why is that?” she asked, “Have you ever been harmed by a snake?”

I could see where her ‘game’ was headed. “I don’t know why. That is how it is with most people. No. I’ve never been harmed by a snake.”

She asked, “Has any human being ever harmed you in any way?”

“Of course.” I said, “Many times. We’re not very kind to each other. Humans have harmed me or threatened to do so.”

Then she asked, “Of the three, you fear least your own species even though they are the ones who have harmed you most?”

“That’s true. But most people seem harmless. I feel safe, most of the time.”

“How many people in your life have been killed by dogs?” she asked.

I replied, “Certain breeds and certain dogs can be dangerous. Most animal pets are innocuous, including pet snakes.”

“That’s my point, Bill. Some dogs, people, and snakes are dangerous. But everyone and everything is not out to get you. I can tell you are not worried about me, nor need I be concerned about you. It’s called discernment. You do that with people and dogs. Try it with snakes. Now we both better get going before someone comes. I enjoyed our little game. Goodbye, Bill.”

We maintained eye contact as I walked around her, getting no closer than she was long. I turned and walked away. It’s always best to let nature, dogs, snakes, and other people do the talking. When I listen, I learn.


Look both ways crossing meadows and encountering other beings in life.
Mind the gaps and learn your lessons well.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 30)

Click for prompt page and more poems.

My final 2022 NaPoWriMo challenge was to write a cento. This is a poem made up of lines taken from other poems. For my cento, I took lines from various poems in Donkey Gospel and What Narcissism Means to Me, both books of poems by Tony Hoagland.


Heavy Humor

We were drinking beer with the sound off
Greg said that things were better in the sixties
when I was pale and scrawny

and we soar up into the summer stars
but I admit that in the dark
(where a whole life can be mistaken) cavern of that bar

where men throw harpoons at something
costly, beautiful, but secret
jockstraps flew across the steamy

rickshaws gliding through the palace gates,
an act of cruelty which we both understood
the dreams rising from the sleep of children

far out from the coastline of America
a ten-foot sign says, WE WILL NEVER FORGET.
which makes us wonder if Time loves Memory back.


Look both ways (forward to May, back at April) and wonder.
Mind the gaps for those chores left undone.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 29)

Click for the prompt page and more.

Today, I was to write a poem where I muse on the gifts I received at birth.


Forbidden to Miners

I call for my childhood muse
to whisper of the child, to
remind me, as Mnemosyne, goddess
of memory, me within and without,
of sorrows and gifts and that I am

a coal miner’s son, given blessings
and burdens, Irish Catholic (then),
yet named for mother’s father,
a Welsh Presbyterian, a coal man; me,
youngest with three half-blood sibs.

First of family raised by both parents,
by father’s discipline tempered
by mother’s love; I, imperfect in this
less perfect world, a boomer now,
some say a most hated gen.

No special gift, proudly average,
a boy being a boy, some friends,
learner of the hard way, too afflicted
by others, not an unhappy child,
but happy to have survived to 75.

Kismet, space dust, late bloomer,
they gave me life, what happened after
was up to me. Made good and done bad,
but here I am writing about it. A poet?
That was neither planned nor expected.


Look both ways. Try to remember.
But, above all, tell your story.
Mind the gaps and fill them as best you can.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 28)

Click for more.

Today’s prompt was to write a concrete poem. I wanted to do all 30 prompts.

What I did instead was intended to be a black out poem in lieu of the prompt, I’ve done concretes before. Not today.

I decided that rather than black out unused text to create the poem, I would extract the lines from the first few paragraphs of a longer story. If I had more time, I might have attempted some art to overlay the blacked-out area.

If I included the entire narrative, it would have been too long with entire paragraphs blacked out. So, I extracted the parts/words/sections that made up the poem.

I selected the first few paragraphs from the titled section, “On the Rainy River” from the book, The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien © (published in 1990 by Houghton Mifflin).


Drafted

one story I’ve never told,
it would only cause embarrassment,
a confession…
makes me squirm,
I’ve had to live with it, feeling the shame,
it’s a hard story to tell.

if evil were evil enough, if good were good enough
I would simply tap a secret reservoir of courage…
Courage, comes in finite quantities,
it offered hope and grace to the repetitive coward.

I was drafted to fight a war I hated.
(You can’t fix your mistakes. Once people are dead, you can’t make them undead.)
…I assumed that the problems of killing and dying did not fall within my special province…

The draft notice arrived on June 17, 1968.
I was too good for this war.
Too smart, too compassionate, too everything.
I was above it. A mistake, maybe…I was no soldier.


Look both ways for reasons why and why not.
Mind the gaps. That’s where the booby traps hide.

NaPoWriMo April 2022 (Day 27)

Click for prompt and more poems.

Today, I was to write a duplex poem, a variation on the 14-line sonnet form (also echoes ghazal and blues) developed by Jericho Brown. While I did not make the last line the same as the first, I think it still fits the form near enough.


Look Both Ways

In my seventh decade I can sense
How the shortened horizon stimulates me.

As near horizons power my desire
I feel impatient and curious.

Curious about much, impatient to learn
As my memory seeks its own beginning.

Like flashing movie trailers of memory
I feel a revival of haste when I see

Time is not long, and my need is urgent.
Reality has broken though my dreams

And my dreams bow to stark reality.
From this end I see better my beginning,

My story told from beginning till now.
My seventh decade has finally arrived.


Look both ways regardless of how near or far the horizon is.
Mind the gaps because memory is tricky business.