Category Archives: After Midnight

Patterning Sunset

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Patterning Sunset

Nights out I once found glorious,
exciting and uproarious,
I now just find laborious.

Without a doubt,


it is more fun

when day is done
to mime the way the sun

goes out.

Instead of donning dancing gown
and going to light up the town,
to drink and dance, to get it down

’til I perspire,

I brush my teeth, gargle and cough.
My clothes I shed, my shoes I doff.
I find the light switch, turn it off,

and just retire.

 

For a bit of a contrast to this poem you may want to go here:
https://judydykstrabrown.com/2017/02/10/first-steps/

The prompt today was glorious.

My Day So Far

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My day started with a visit from Ellie, who came to do her weekly cleaning.  While I made us coffee, she washed windows, and just as I sat down with my cup and my computer, she held up this little fellow.   He was so tiny.  Also, unfortunately, he was not alive.  I hope by natural causes and not by Ellie’s hand!

Next on my agenda was my Saturday writing group.  There was a huge group this time–23 by my count.  We’re planning a reading for next week.  Here are two shots of the group.

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Next was a party at a new friend’s house on the mountain directly above the bull ring where the rodeo will be held for the next three days.  I met Jan when she came to my house to see my work at the end of the day right after the art walk. She brought pictures of her own work which is fabulous.  She, too, uses found objects.  As you can see by these photos, both her home and her work is unique.  We are planning a materials-gathering expedition together.

(Please click on first photo to view enlarged gallery.)

 

 

 

 

 

The Moon is Full and Waiting

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The Moon is Full and Waiting

The moon is full and waiting,
but the night is full of chill,
though my true love expects me
over yonder hill.
His ardent calls invite me
to join him for the night,
and yet I dread the cold cold wind
and the night air’s bite.
If I were only twenty
I’d have no choice to make,
but I have guests arriving
and sweet bites yet to bake.

My true love lies waiting
over yonder hill,
but he’ll return another night.
I’m confident he will.
For he has no other
to overlook his flaws:
the roughness of his ardor,
the power of his jaws.
His embrace often bruises,
though this is not his intent.
In the excess of his ardor,
only tenderness is meant.

The warm cave of our meeting
still carves out yonder hill,
but tonight I will not join him.
It may be I never will.
Tomorrow night the full moon
will partially be spent,
and perhaps by next month’s equal,
I will once more not relent.
Perhaps I’ll find another
closer to my kind,
though an equal to his passion
I’m unlikely to find.

A mild wind blows the clouds away
to clear the shrouded moon.
My guests will be arriving.
I know it will be soon.
I stir in leavening powder.
I stir in heavy cream.
Across the hand I stir with
falls the moon’s broad beam.
I drop the spoon and go again
to open up the door.
I hear the gentle song of wind,
my lover’s beckoning roar.

I answer with a beat of blood.
A spasm in my thigh
invites me to be climbing
over distant hill and high.
The crumbs fall from my fingers
as I run into the night.
I do not feel the bruising stones
or the wind’s cold bite.
My lover calls me onward,
and once again I go.
For when the full moon calls me,
not once have I said no.

 

 

IMG_0562Both of these photos were taken on Christmas Eve, 2015, from my sister’s back terrace in Peoria, Arizona.

The Prompt: Earworm––Write whatever you normally write about, and weave in a book quote, film quote, or song lyric that’s been sticking with you this week. (The song lyric I was inspired by was “Baby it’s cold outside,” but when I finished, it had no actual place in the poem other than to be its inspiration.) https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/earworm-2/

Freudian Slip

Freudian Slip

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Caught in the tangles of last year’s castoff wreaths in our local cemetery, I found the following words. They were scrawled in  a frenzied adult handwriting in fading purple ink on a curled yellowing slip of lined  paper with one jagged edge, as though it had been ripped from a journal:

Behind the door of my dream, I heard a knocking. I walked down a tree-lined corridor to the door at the end. As I drew nearer, the knocking grew louder and more frenzied. I struggled with the bolt, which would not open, but as I finally drew it back, there was an explosion of sound—organ music playing a dirge in such a joyful manner that it sounded like a celebration instead of the reflection of death.

As the door creaked open, I heard the crash of glass breaking and then the tinkle and scrape of this glass being ground down to shards and powder as the door opened over it. There was such a bright light shining from behind the figure standing on the other side of the door that I could make out only her silhouette—a woman with an elderly stance wearing a long skirt. She was large of bosom and had thin wisps of hair piled untidily on top of her head. In one hand, held down to her side, was a basket. In the other hand was a jar.

I drew closer to the woman, to try to get her body between my eyes and the source of the bright glare—to try to see who she was. When I was but six inches from her, I finally recognized her as my grandmother. She was wearing the same navy dress with pearl buttons and gravy stains down the front that she had been wearing the last time I remember seeing her. In the basket was a mother cat with three kittens nursing. In the jar was chokecherry jelly, if its handwritten label was to be believed.

As I drew up to hug her and kiss her cheek, she started humming a song—some church hymn, perhaps “Jesus Loves the Little Children.” It was hard to recognize because she hummed it under her breath—with little inward gasps at times that made it sound like she was eating the song and then regurgitating it.

Her eyes were vacant as she looked over my shoulder. “Grandma, it’s me!” I said, but she still didn’t look at or acknowledge me.

“Do you want to play Chinese Checkers?” I asked. It was the one activity I could remember that both my grandma and I enjoyed.

She expressed a long intake of breath, shook her head no and held out the basket to me.

“Is this a gift?” I asked.

“No, it is an obligation,” she hissed, and as the basket passed from her hand to mine, she seemed to deflate—whooshing backwards out of sight—until only the basket of cat and kittens and the jar of chokecherry jelly lying sideways on the trail she had vanished down gave testimony to her presence.

“Bye, Grandma,” I called wistfully down the trail she had vanished down. “I love you.”

But I didn’t love her. I had this memory of sleeping with her in her feather bed and almost smothering trapped between the thick feather pillow and comforter. I have an explicit memory of holding the pillow over her face and her struggling to get free. It was a joke and I hadn’t meant to smother her, really, but there was such power in the fact that she could not fight off an 8-year-old girl that it made me hold the pillow over her face for a few seconds longer than I wanted to or should have. She was all right. Just frightened as I had been frightened so often by her stories of poor little Ella and all the wrongs done to her in her lifetime. It was as though I had to choose sides—her side or the side of the people who had done mean things to her. And like the little devil she always made me out to be—I chose the other side.

 

The Prompt: Everything Changes––You encounter a folded slip of paper. You pick it up and read it and immediately, your life has changed. Describe this experience.https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/everything-changes/

After Dark: Shannon’s Creative Photo Challenge, Nighttime

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To see an accompanying poem to go with these photos, go HERE.

http://abstractlucidity.com/2015/10/28/shannons-creative-photo-challenge-nighttime/

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Devil # 3

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.” Helplessness: that dull, sick feeling of not being the one at the reins. When did you last feel like that –- and what did you do about it?

Okay, I was going to give this prompt a “miss” and went to the new prompt generator I’ve been using for the past few days.  I hit the button and was served up the two-word prompt: “Ill Devil”.  At first I read this as #3 Devil, and I must admit, I got a chill, because what I immediately thought about when I read the prompt was the third time I was in a near-death situation where I felt totally helpless.  What are the chances, I thought, that these two prompts would line up?  This must be something I’m meant to write about.  But then reason stepped in and I realized this prompt always gave an adjective and a noun.  What they probably meant by the prompt was ill Devil. (Changing the capital to a small “i” clarified the prompt.) But then I realized that ill devil described the occurrence I am trying not to talk about as much as #3 devil did, so I guess, prodded on twice by fate or coincidence or synchronicity, I will try.

I have written to a similar prompt twice in 2015, so probably most of you who read my blog have chanced upon one of those posts, but when I wrote to a similar prompt in June of 2014, I wrote a different piece and since I had few of my present-day readers then, I’ll mention that THIS is what I wrote.  It may not be obvious that the topic given in today’s prompt was what I was really talking about then, however, because it was a poem where I actually stood to one side of what I was really remembering and wrote about the subject as an onlooker rather than a participant.  I only alluded to the real subject, which is what I’m going to attempt to write about today. That real subject is Ted Bundy and how otherwise respectable women sometimes fall prey to such predators.  Okay, deep breath. I’m going to tell to the world something I have actually told to very few people. Yes, this is a true story.

Devil # 3

Nineteen seventy-something. In the bar with friends.
When you are in your twenties, the partying never ends.
It was rodeo season  and the big one was in town.
As one by one they ordered drinks, I couldn’t turn them down.
We were a rather rowdy bunch of teachers in our prime
Devoted in the classroom, but wild on our own time.

The bar was crowded hip to hip, the music barely heard
over the loud cacophony of laugh and shouted word.
It was my turn to buy a round. I struggled towards the bar.
My polite “Excuse me’s!” really hadn’t gotten me too far
when a guy appeared in front of me and moved the crowd aside
as though he had appointed himself to be my guide.

As I returned with eight full drinks, again he stemmed the tide
by walking close in front of  me and spreading elbows wide.
He smiled and then departed, back to the teeming mass.
Impressive that he had not even tried to make a pass!
My friends all wondered who he was. I said I had no clue.
Tall and dark and ivy-league, he vanished from our view.

This story happened long ago. Some details I’ve forgotten,
and any memories he retains, you’ll learn were ill-begotten.
I think we danced a dance or two. I know we talked awhile.
I liked his fine intelligence, his low-key polite style.
At three o’clock the barman’s bell commenced it’s clanging chime
and I made off to find my friends, for it was closing time.

Two lines of men had split the bar, lined up back to back.
Their hands locked and their arms spread wide–they moved into the pack.
One line moved east, the other west, forcing one and all
Either out the front door or towards the back door hall.
I was forced out the back way–out into the alley.
My friends and I had made no plans of where we were to rally

and so I walked around the block, sure that was where they waited,
but there was no one there at all–the crowd had soon abated.
I went back to the alleyway to see if they were there.
but all was dark and still, and soon I began to fear
that both carloads of friends had thought I was with the other.
I had no recourse but to walk, though I prayed for another.

I combed my mind to try to think of anyone at all
living in this part of town where I could go to call
a friend to come and get me and furnish me a ride
for 3 a.m. was not a time to be alone outside.
There were no outside phone booths and I lived so far away
I simply had to rouse someone, but what was I to say?

But since I had no other choice I thought I’d check once more
if any single soul was waiting at the bar’s front door.
And as I left the alley to be off to see,
I saw a new familiar face looking back at me.
It was my dancing partner, his face split in a grin.
It seems that he was going to save me once again.

He had asked me earlier if needed a ride,
but I had told him wisely that I had friends inside
and so I thought he’d left, but I could see he was still there.
Yet, ride home with a stranger?  Did I really dare?
And yet I had no other choice, abandoned as I was.
And so I said I guess that yes, I would, simply because

I knew there was just one of him and I was young and strong.
And he seemed kind, polite and gentle.  What could go so wrong?
His car was just a block away. Our walk was short and brief.
And when he pointed out his car, I felt a great relief.
For it was a convertible–and easy to escape
If I detected the first signs of robbery or rape!

He opened up the door for me. I got in the front seat.
But as he started up the car, my heart skipped a beat.
For from the bushes, two more men emerged and jumped inside–
one man in the backseat, the other at my side!
He pulled out into the street, though I protested so.
I didn’t really want a ride, so please, just let me go!

(And here I have to beg off and say I’ll finish this story tomorrow.  Right now my heart is pumping and my head throbbing as though I’m re-enacting this whole tale physically as well as mentally.  I’m totally exhausted.  Why I decided to write this in rhyme I don’t know. Perhaps I thought it would be easier, or more fun or more lighthearted, but there is simply no way to write this from any other frame of mind but the terror I felt that night. So, sorry, but I will resume tomorrow. You all know that I’m here telling the story, so be assured that the worst didn’t happen…but the story is by no means over, so join me tomorrow for the rest.  I, for one, could really use a drink, but it is only 1:40 in the afternoon so I’ll find some other means of escape.)

To see the conclusion of this poem, go HERE.

If you’d like to try out Jennifer’s new prompt generator, go HERE.

The Dance

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The Dance

Cheek to cheek and toe to toe,
whenever graceful dancers go
smoothly passing while I stand by
feet motionless, with dancing eye,
jealousy may rear her head
as I wish that it were me, instead–
held securely in my partner’s arms,
guided surely away from harms
of other dancers’ straying feet
or jutting elbows I might meet.

Steered through dangers into bliss
barely meeting the floor’s long kiss
as I soar and bend and sway and glide,
giving way to what’s inside
the music coming to live in me
setting all that’s in me free
stirring sadness at my core
and leaving it upon the floor
for other dancers to kick away
while only light parts choose to stay
within my heart as I dance on
from dark of night into the dawn.

I might feel sorry, sitting there,
no arms around me–only air.
Then I remember in the past
dancing nights I thought would last–
how all those partners have stepped away–
even the ones I hoped would stay.

Life has a way of leaving us
like hopeful riders passed by the bus
as it soars away with no seat left
those left behind feeling bereft.
Then I look deeper and clearly see
one day that bus will stop for me.
Something heavy grows inside
where it’s not good for it to bide.
I scoot back my chair to shift that stone
as I get up and dance alone.


The Prompt: The Green-Eyed Lady–We all get jealous now and then.  What awakens the green-eyed lady in you?

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_prompt/green-eyed-lady/