Category Archives: Uncategorized

Demolition


Submitted to: Imperfect Prose on Thursday

 This week’s prompt: Falling

How sad the demise

of brick and

stone

falling

a noble place

where people went

and stayed

a few hours

weeks

or days

Shelter-inspired ideas

provided work

promoted dreams

yet now

no Thing

remains

not even shadow

Instead I see

busy

nothingness

where people park cars 

empty shells

of themselves

on wheels

left for minutes, or hours

not one moment

taken to reflect

once this place

housed their dreams

No affection remains

leaving 

no possibility

of garden or weed

settling, seeding earth

no identification with

“This is ours”

this structure of pride,

mortar and stone

momentary home

now

leveled

flat and dry

dead cement

tarred black

white-lined, divided

inglorious

storyless

unnoticed space

no longer structure

just a place

to park

and

walk away

 

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Just for Fun: The Secret Life of a Writer’s Gum


Pristine wad of pressed paste,

sleek, soft

and neatly placed

in silver 

unfolding sweet aroma,

enticing with ease, a sublime

salivic response.

Then, undressed and plucked from foil,

drawn through space and

touched to tongue

while

rolled over knobbles

of taste buds,

inspiring

words.

 

Indentions shaped by warmth and wet,

jaw-clenching frustrations slip away

dimpling, twisting densely

into leaf-like lumps,

it cracks when chomped 

crushed

between semi conscious teeth,

dispersing winter’s green.

 

Exhausted sap of black birch,

extracted from mouth

and secretly laid to rest,

bears witness

to winter’s waxing words,

an unsung hero

hidden

stuck

beneath the

white ash mantle

of a budding

poet’s desk.

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In Memory of Libby


Break dancing on the green

Redheads Rock

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Suspended


For my friend Terry

A one-word poem in pictures

Suspended

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Introspection


What if I were God

and you were just a part of me?

 You, the corn on the bottom of my foot

an irritation that hurt when I walked

Would I rub you out with an emery board

or clip you off, and drop you on the floor

then sweep your bits under the rug?

What if I were God

 and you, a breast that disappointed

by being too small, too flat, too thin

Would I slice you open, fill you with gel

and hoist you into a wire-rim

then strut you around – my parceled goods?

What if I were God

 and you, a beggar who walked my street

a living reminder of There-But-For-Fortune

Would I cast my eyes the opposite way

and pretend you didn’t exist

then demand the police move you on?

What if I were God

 and you, a kidnapped slave taken for sex

hidden from laws, devalued as human scum

Would I say it was up to you to fight back

that you should have known better

than to walk alone at night?

 What if I were God

and you were part of me?

 Would I love you?

 

 For Poetry Potluck Monday: http://jinglepoetry.blogspot.com/

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One Shoot Sunday – Photo Inspired Poem


This photo, taken by Rodger Allen Blaut and offered to poets as inspiration for writing, along with his interview on meditative photography, inspired me to offer this piece, written several years ago in the form of a sonnet, and re-written in free-verse this morning.  Feel free to visit One Stop Poetry if you haven’t already. A great site for poets, writers and lovers of the art of words.  http://oneshotpoetry.blogspot.com/2010/09/one-shoot-sunday-interview-with.html

Ice Retreat

Four trees like soldiers stood

to bear her arms

Tears carved

wet, black trails

down weathered bark

a sigh released

breath-trace of love

once full, now stark

a promise smashed

Eyes that once held warmth

scraped angry scorn

ice against her face

She ran into the copse

where song of lark

and trail of fox

led through the realm of hart

where fallow doe could trust

wood’s gentle form

In the rough bark embrace

her heart sensed the tree

rooted in loam and leaves

decaying history

witness to her shame

absorb her despair

surge and throb

pulsing empathic beat

One wafting copper leaf

landed

caught in a strand

gentle

like a mother’s hand

upon her hair

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Some things just shouldn’t happen


Now I lay me down to sleep

I pray dear Lord our house to keep

My Daddy looked for work all day

The tow truck took our car away

and Mommy cried in front of us

She said we’ll have to take the bus

Dad came home; he looks so mad

When Mommy cries, it makes him sad

All I can do is sit and pray

that they’ll not take my dog away

He makes me laugh; he’s lots of fun

I play with him, we skip and run

He’s my best friend, and I am his

We made a pact, and here it is:

Where ever you go, there I will be

Cause you’re my dog, and you love me

So help us Lord to stay together

On sunny days and windy weather

He’s more than dog, he’s more than friend

He’s my brother lord, and his name is Ben

 

Today as I dropped off another van-load of rescued golden retrievers at the Homeward Bound Golden Retriever Sanctuary, I saw a family in tears. Mother, Father, daughter and son. I didn’t need to ask – I knew why they were there. It happens all too often. Job goes, house goes, family goes, and no place left for the dog. At least this family did the right thing. They brought their beloved pet to a shelter where it will be well taken care of and a new family will be found. When I found this old photograph of my friend’s son and his dog, it made me think of that boy today, red-eyed and crushed, and I wrote the poem for all those kids out there, and all their much-loved pets.

This piece was submitted for Imperfect Prose

Feel free to visit their link:

http://canvaschild.blogspot.com/2010/10/imperfect-prose-on-thursdays-poverty.html

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Sacrifice and Silence


He was in London earning their keep,

making what he could, stashing it away

for the things they needed

while she waited, frustrated

wishing she were there, or better yet,

that he’d come home

Together was so much better

even if it did mean less

Together was more to her

It was everything

She pondered so long in the silence

that the sun slipped unnoticed

behind the hill

that space where she could sit

with enough view to be still

think and sink deep

away from the loneliness

the solitude of dreaming

and wishing his return

Heart spilled so willing into those hills

she never saw the creature’s approach

she, quiet as a stone, except for breathing

until something moved in the dusk

and walked across her feet

heavy against her toes, light and quick on his;

Two black bands, flag of his species

marked the intense white face

and thick fur, the char-grey body

brushed past in an instant

unaware of the human he trod on

knowing only himself

bull badger

Responsibility on his mind

tread out and forage for food;

bring it back to the sett

be rejoined with mate and cubs

but the diggings are better

on the other side of the hill

a night’s walk away

Leaving them behind, he went hunting

All they need is food, she thought

unlike us

In the dim evening light, her only company 

an infant nursing at her breast

She stood and stretched

pushed blood and breath into her limbs

and walked down the hill

back to their empty house

wishing it took less to be human

glad at least of her one sweet cub

and of toes, trampled by a badger

Badger Image courtesy of: http://www.borderpics.co.uk/badgerpics/images/badger_emerging_4232.jpg

Posted for One Shot Wednesday

Posted to http://onesingleimpression.blogspot.com/ Prompt 172: Long For

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Walking the Sun Awake


6:00 a.m.

Sound shreds the gentle dark

the anonymity of sleep that held me 

lulled me through unconsciousness

for eight blessed hours

shattered, ruined and tossed

in piercing shards, daggered awake

high pitched, throbbing and insistent

mosquito on a Red Bull binge

the sound refuses to stop

6:01 a.m.

My blind hand reaches for something

before my brain slips into gear

the ridged plastic bar fills my fingers

I, a well-trained rat in Pavlovian experiment

press the bar 

censor the sound

opiate waves of relief flood my body

struggling clothes at the foot of the bed

donned in the dark

6:05 a.m.

Like a burglar leaving the scene of the crime

my hand slides the screen door silently back

don’t disturb the neighbors, my sweetheart, or my dog

escape into the dark before anyone asks

Is the coffee ready

Did you remember to pack my lunch

My dog dish is empty and Take me with you

Where’s the toilet paper

Can I have a biscuit

Do I smell bacon burning

I slip out before all that starts

6:10 a.m.

Bright, white and glowing

a Cheshire cat grin

claims the indigo sky as its own

yesterday’s gritty moon

 washed by dew

and night

The soft padding sound

my feet playing a pavement drum

careful to avoid the cracks

though my mother died long since

and the only back I can break

is mine

6:15 a.m.

Street poles spread orange light

A-line skirts against the night air

urge my walking-running toes

first to this pole, then the next

breaking it down so that

all I have ahead of me

are accomplishable goals

the quiet peace still surrounds me

dawn grows less dim

6:20 a.m.

Two figures, one tall, one short

pumping hands and feet in rythym

approach and pass, not even smiles

somehow aware of the unspoken

rule of the pre-dawn walker and runner

we don’t break the spell

we just nod

and keep going

6:25 a.m.

Slipping past houses of black and grey

lamplit windows giving away

those whose occupants have risen

or maybe never went to sleep

walls turn from grey to beige

and charcoal lawns spread green

revealing the sun has risen

my heart beats faster

pumping feet carry me

round the last corner

6:30 a.m.

Light fills the sky as sound steals the road

throbbing wheels and engines

full of people heading into the day

oblivious of my quiet world on foot

and of the robin who woke

as I passed his branch

he sat still, trusting

that I would not disturb him

streets lights sign off duty

one block from home

6:35 a.m.

I slip inside the quiet house

and close the sliding door

an alarm clock rings upstairs

feet hit the floor above me

and the shower door slams open

then closes to the sound of screaming water

my dog’s tail thumps in greeting

I missed you

Where have you been?

“Walking the sun awake,” I tell her

as if she might believe

that is one of my responsibilities

 

Photo courtesy of Google images: http://claire.nu/day/001.jpg

 

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The First Time We Met


When I entered your space

you stood in the corner

Your dark dove eye

sought my gaze and waited

not knowing if I had come

to comfort or hurt

though I had the power for either

You, expecting nothing

except perhaps that I might

reach out to touch you

but I didn’t

 

I squatted inside the stable door

drew your eyes to my body by gazing

at your shoulders and back

waiting until you

came to me

curious and open

You smelled my hair, snorted

massaged my scalp

velvet lips and the whiskered

soft pad of your chin

all the while me wondering

if you’d challenge

this strange invader

with your teeth

but you didn’t

 

I rose to my height

nestled my shoulder

into your neck

deep as an overstuffed chair

and my cheek against your mane

crisp heavy sharp-strands

You nuzzled my back

Then, and only then

I touched you

 

My palm smoothed

by the grain of your neck

human skin met silken hide

sliding down the iron-grey

slipping across warm wrinkles

that gathered at the meeting

of breast and shoulder

soft like a puppy’s muzzle

My skin craved more

 

You stood, listening

my hands traveled

the continents of your withers,

back, sides and belly

wide like a baby whale

twitching when invaded by fly

stilled for my exploring hands

yet not ignoring

your senses never sleep

 Fingers rounded the curve of your leg

sliding down, smooth glide

I found the velvet vessel

feeding forearm to frog 

pulsing and soft 

under tendon and flesh

hidden in the groove

between bones

splint and cannon

You shifted, passed your weight

to the other locked leg

lifted one tidy hoof

into my hand

 

Planting your head

on the bend of my back

you exhaled across my bottom

hay-sweetened breath

our introduction

complete

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Green


Green

the scene,

so restful

on eyes, mind, and soul

Balancing desire

between heat and cold

never feeling old

just

accomplished

for merely

being

Green

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In the Heat of a Summer Night


It takes more than a fan

and four hours of sunless dark

to erase the heat from the day

and you from my mind

At times I yearn just to pick up the phone

and listen to the sound of you now

Out in the black of this August night

the full moon sprays passion in silvered light

upon everything it touches

the madness of lovers and poets

the crazy thoughts that skip across the dark

and the years that forget: time passes

It is then that I remember hiding in the barn

waiting for that silent silhouette to appear

that black form of you

framed by the edges

of weathered,

horse-kicked, age-battered doors

you, standing against the dusty stars

a milky way that you said you couldn’t see

yet so broad, it banded the sky behind your shoulders

and drew your body, larger and larger, upon its porous canvas

as you drew closer to me

Those warm soft nights of nickle-sheened light

spilled across the silence of arms enclosing

sweet naked sweat

born in shadows, straw and hay

and our breath

your watchful dog’s wagging tail

our only opponent, giving us and our secret away

The fan and the heat have fought this day

though neither have won the night or me

it is sleep that now begs this poet to bed

where passion will flicker

into tomes of dreams

and ashes of broken lovers

 

Thursday Poets Rally week 27

Photo: Google images at www.bjvicks.com/exposed/index.php?showimage=5

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Labels – A Ghazal


 

        

Senior Volunteer’ pasted in black across yellow back, gave the elder a respected Name label;

Actively Aged, Useful Though Old, Worthy, Mature, Wonderfully Wise or another Refrain label.

Girls skipping ropes, rush in between beats – Double Dutch – such treats are only for those whose feet can time, while voices sing rhyme, and stay within rules of the Jumping Game label.

Teen declares, with disdainful stare, a desire to be independent, though dresses alike, no matter the sight: exposed underwear, displayed with such care, to earn his cohort’s Same label.

Disabled: the symbol that flashes to mind when wheelchair goes by with human inside; observers cry should they speak or go there, to the person with chair and the lumbering Lame label?

 Hundreds pass by the bewildered, hungry eye of the mange-mangled beast on the leash; though beaten and abused he remains to amuse at the circus; he wears a Tamed label.

 Scarlet letter on breast of woman – at best a victim, not witch; alone and bereft, her mores were left behind. Wanting to touch her lover so much she risked the taunts of notorious Shame label.

 “Munroe, Marilyn” said the tag on the red-painted toe as the body was rolled by gurney outside. They would hide motivation for suicide and disguise the truth with a Vain label.

We praise those whose beauty surpasses their duty to offspring that suffer neglect; in their endeavors to glitter and gather, we sanction their chase of the elusive Fame label.

 Politicians and presidents strategically plan and play War while they fight without bleeding; though brawn is revered and courage endeared, a hero goes home as a Remains label.

 Would Cindy exist without a sweet tryst, or a story, or some category, to prove she belongs to the pulsating throng of people whose aim is just to maintain some terribly Mundane label?

 

Image: Google: rlv.zcache.com/writer_shirt-p2356882776358568 

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Imagination


 

Do you remember when you were four, or maybe six,

it was summer

and you entered that empty room –

that wonderful space 

beneath the weeping willow?

 

Long strips of rippled green

hung in a circle around you –

a dancing wall when the breeze blew,

it waved the sunlight into shadows

and cooled your body

and you said,

“Let’s play house,” or

“This is my fort,” and

No one can find me here.”

 

Shivers of excitement ran down your spine

filling the air with a sense

that something

was going to happen – right here

and you were in it

whatever it was.

 

You waited and watched

and while you waited

you discovered a way to make rope.

You braided stems and leaves

then tied the curtains of green back,

but everyone could see you

so you untied the curtains

and made a belt instead.

 

You found a sharp twig

that would make a good knife

but when you tried to dig the soil

the blade broke

so you pretended it was a pen

and that you could write.

You made up stories, lots of them,

and they were so good,

that you scared yourself

out from under that tree.

 

You never could go in there again.

It was too darned spooky.

 

Claude Monet’s Weeping Willow, 1919 – Google images

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Libby Needs a Toothbrush


The smell of a rat’s death

from my panting dog’s breath

keeps intruding upon my thinking

 

How can this author write

clever tomes in the night

when the air she breathes is stinking?

 

My companion has a brush

It makes her fur shiny and lush

but her mouth has nothing for grooming

 

If I could, I’d use paste

fresh with mint, it would taste

for dog-halitosis consuming

 

If I turn on the fan

and allow it a good span

of time, just to cool down the air

 

perhaps she’ll stop panting

then I can stop ranting

and pen a few words with some flair

 

Note to authors with similar faithful-dog challenges: I tried the fan remedy. We blew the stink away!

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Discussion of author Annie Dillard, Nature and The Writing Life


Annie Dillard walked by my side when I lived on the northernmost tip of Vancouver Island in 1975. My isolation was no less than hers, although I was surrounded by people: loggers, fishermen, trappers, hunters, chefs, waiters and a bar full of whiskey that I was in charge of. During my hours off-work, I hid in a cove down by the harbor, or I went to the dump to be entertained by the bears. Always, Annie came with me. “Pilgrim at Tinker Creek” gave me everything a solitary girl needed. Her words were my refuge, my delight, my confusion, my comfort. When I think of the six months in Port Hardy, I think of Annie.

“The Writing Life” is full of her parables: a man who rowed against the current until the current changed and brought him home; chopping at alder logs like a crazed woman until she learned to chop through the wood and the logs relented; watching Rahm roll his stunt plane through the air, making beautiful patterns like the precise blue-green swallow, and learning that it was all about sticking with the rhythm and paying attention to the lighting. All her stories trap the reader’s attention and pull them in until they realize she’s teaching about writing.  It makes me wonder if Annie has ever written about anything else. Aren’t all her books, when you get down to her basic message, about the writer’s life?

Annie secludes herself. She goes where she cannot be distracted by the usual daily din, finds a small, often cold and somewhat dark, shack of a room to write in. She tells me to “spend it all; play it, lose it, all, right away, every time.” She warns me not to hoard a good phrase for a later time, for in the hoarding act, it will be lost. It must be freely given, she says, reminding me of what my Dad used to tell me, “Nothing is yours until you give it away.”  She bids me to “examine all things intensely and relentlessly. Probe and search each object in a piece of art.”  She describes watching parallel rows of ocean waves breaking up, as if they were “reproducing the sensation of reading, but without reading’s sense.” (Brilliant, Annie – just brilliant observation!)

Annie wrote a whole chapter in one and a half pages. She warns that the writer’s life is wrought with danger – especially when the writer leaves the work. She uses an erupting typewriter and her struggle to prevent the room from catching fire as the only scene/event in the chapter. Her final statement, instead of giving explanation, assured the reader that though she’s had no trouble with it since, she knows it can happen. She never says if it ever really did happen, (she might have dreamt it), or whether she invented the whole scene as a metaphor for the labor a writer goes through, only to face complete destruction.  It doesn’t even matter that we don’t know. She pulls off another parable, so powerful, that it took less than 2 pages to leave me contemplating the scene for half an hour, playing with her words and wondering what gave her the courage or even the idea, to write a whole chapter in five short paragraphs and teach a lesson about sticking with it no matter what.

I love you, Annie.  Show me that trick again.

I want to tell Annie my parables; about the bears I watched, and how I learned that you have to respect the mother. I want to show her how the rescued bird looked out for his brother and saved him from starving. I want to show her how the English robin’s hunger, keen sense of hearing, and his successful hunt convinced me that I could return to America and make a new life out of nothing. I wonder, when Annie ponders the world she secludes herself in, does she have a question in mind that nature answers? Or does she gaze and observe until nature teaches her the question? Perhaps the result of every writer’s work is in reality nature’s own act of learning.

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Arlo’s Garden


 

My first old golden planted himself everyday

in the garden by my patio chair. That’s where he took his nap.

At thirteen, all Arlo needed was water, food and tennis balls

and, of course, he needed me.

It wasn’t until he died that I realised

how much I needed him.

If he’d been a man, I probably would have married him.

That dog set roots in me,

roots so deep, that even after he was gone,

within a week, they sprouted another

homeless old golden named Shadow.

Shadow lived to be fifteen and a half.

Then one night his eyes looked into mine, and they said

Thank you.

The next day he died, and I missed his golden

shadow beside my chair, and under my feet,

but I felt his soul staying right with me for six weeks.

I buried some of his fur in Arlo’s garden.

Then it took root, blossomed and brought me Libby.

She’s thirteen and real chipper. Kind of bossy too.

She’s not like the boys, but I love her anyway.

I understand her. We both think like girls.

Libby lays on the lounge chair cushion

that I took off the chair and put on the patio floor

so she could lay beside me as I write.

She likes her comforts and I like her company.

Today I looked up, meaning to say a word to Libby

let her know how much I appreciate her help,

but her cushion was bare.

She didn’t raise her head to smile.

I saw some dirt strewn on the ground; I gazed across

to the strip of garden where Arlo planted roots

and where Shadow’s fur blossomed.

There Libby had planted herself, fast asleep and dreaming.

I couldn’t help but wonder as her paws twitched

and her muzzle nursed a bark

if two big goldens weren’t running beside her,

chasing balls, catching skunks,

and swimming the deep spring river.

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Farley’s First Poem


 

The shining leaves

mysterious windy path      

shining grass

dazzling glittering sunshine

 

 (NB.  windy as in winding, not wind blowing)  Farley is 6 years old, and he made this poem up without help – it’s all his own words, stanzas and ideas. His mummy will help him read all comments and feedback.  This photo is one of the lanes that Farley walks on nearly every day.

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Blue


I love being surrounded

by the one color

that slips through the spectrum

and refuses to be lost or buried in space

always there

like the presence of God

holding a bird

in his hands of air

Holding me,

entranced

the color blue

like a perfect prayer

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Memories


“This was your mother’s,” the coroner said, handing her the homeless woman’s only belonging.

“Guess she couldn’t part with it.”

Inside the carefully wrapped parcel was a lock of hair.

The young woman embraced the lock.

“Looks the same color as yours,” he said, a kind, sad smile in his eyes.

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