Category Archives: Goodbye

New World Miracle

The Prompt: An Extreme Tale—“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” — Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities. When was the last time that sentence accurately described your life?

Note:  For the ninth day in a row, I (along with several other bloggers) have not been able to pingback to the Daily Prompts page.  If you are able to, can you mention this poem in your blog and pingback to me?  WordPress doesn’t seem to be doing anything about this problem, although we’ve written numerous times!  Thanks.

I’ve told the second part of this story in an earlier post.  Now, here is the beginning and the ending.  One day I’ll tell the in-between.


New World Miracle
(Ethiopia, 1973-74)

Black Tiger in safari jacket
you told me
hyenas in the hills
would attack the mule if I tried
to ride alone
from the lowland landing field
to Lalibela.

By
sunset
we had reached
the high plateaus
sheep crying
miles away
shepherds calling
mile on mile.

In this high air
heard from mountaintop
to mountaintop
from valley
lifting to plateaus above
you with Afro out to here
admitted the hyenas were a lie
took my picture
tucked my camera in your pocket
pulled me up
to you
and
there was no
resistance
in
this
air.

I was
enamored
of the falling sun
the cries of shepherds
your hair
your jacket
your clean mouth
white teeth
black beautiful
tall rest of you.
I had always needed
to feel like this.
Giddy.
Your kiss pulled me in then
ricocheted
to valleys
under valleys
under valleys.
Always something
under
something else.

We were at the edges
of the world.
We were at its
cracking rims.

And I can believe
in you
standing
on the rifted rock
above the canyons
still
I can’t imagine
you
in the valley
deeper in the valley
than the valley floor.

I can’t imagine you
dusted hair
eyes closed by clods
growing trees from your navel
pomegranates from your fingernails.

When you touched me
I grew
then I grew too far.

But nothing
since
has touched your warm
your brown
your hands
your mouth
where you touched
nothing since
has quite
touched.

In your country
where names
are only words
strung together
your name
Andu Alem Tamirat
meaning new world’s miracle.

You could have come with me
to grow invisible in California.
Instead you
died a hero
of the revolution
seeding
memories.

Remember
how you used to climb
out of my dining room window
to the back yard compound
to pick orange waxy blossoms
from the pomegranate tree—
how you used to
tuck them
in my hair?

(I’ve tried many times to format this as it should be, but it always changes it back to left justified when I update, so I will center it and make it the way neither of us intends it to be!

HOLLOW E’EN

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The Prompt: Trick or Trick—It’s Halloween, & you just ran out of candy. If the neighborhood kids (or anyone else, really) were to truly scare you, what trick would they have to subject you to?

Hollow E’en

They pound upon my door and wait outside my wall.
One climbs a tree to peer within. I hope he doesn’t fall.
I cower here within my house. Perhaps they’ll go away.
Though I am not religious, eventually I pray.

Their little voices raise a pitch. They start to bay and howl.
There’s a flutter in my heart region, a clutching in my bowel.
I purchased Reese’s Pieces and miniature Kit Kats
just for all these masked and costumed little brats.

My motives were unselfish. The candy was for them,
for I don’t eat much candy in efforts to grow slim.
And yet that bag of Reese’s, those small Kit Kats and such
called to me from where they were sequestered in my hutch.

It started with a whisper, hissing out their wish:
“We would look so pretty laid out on a dish!”
I knew that they were evil. I knew it was a trap.
I tried hard to resist them, my hands clenched in my lap.

I turned up my computer, listening to “The Voice.”
Those candy bars would not be seen till Halloween—my choice!
My willpower was solid. No candy ruled me.
(If that were true, no kids would now be climbing up my tree.)

Yes, it is true I weakened. I listened to their nags.
I took the candy from the shelf and opened up the bags.
Their wrappers looked so pretty put out for display
in one big bowl so colorful, lying this-a-way

and that-a-way, all mixed and jumbled up together.
No danger of their melting in this cooler weather.
I put them on the table, then put them on a shelf,
so I would not be tempted to have one for myself.

When people came to visit, I put them by my bed.
Lest they misunderstand and eat them all instead.
Then when I was sleeping, one tumbled off the top.
I heard it landing with a rustle and a little “plop.”

I opened up one eye and saw it lying there
just one inch from where I lay, tangled in my hair.
Its wrapper was so pretty—foiled and multi-hued.
Some evil force took over as I opened it and chewed!

This started a small avalanche of wrappers on the floor
as I ripped & stuffed & chewed & swallowed more & more & more!
This story is not pretty but has to be confessed.
My only explanation is that I was possessed.

They pound upon my door and wait outside my wall,
but I have no candy for them. No treat for them at all.
Surrounded by the wrappers, bare bowl upon my lap,
I think I’ll just ignore them and take a little nap.

I hear them spilling o’er my wall and dropping down inside.
I try to think of what to do. Consider suicide.
They’re coming in to get me. Beating down my door.
They are intent on blood-letting—the Devil’s evil spore.

I guess it’s not the worst death a gal could ever get.
I’ve heard of much worse endings than death by chocolate!

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Two Poems from a Night with No Moon

This Night is Broken

With all of its sounds
spilled out,
someone else’s sounds
echo around it.

The space inside of it
is broken, too.
Only the constant rain
seeks to fill it.

————-

Falling Practice

Twice on the stairs last week
and once in the kitchen.
Lately, these falls
have been coming in threes.

Tonight in the dark, I tripped
over the low metal bench beside the hot tub.
Then a loud bang sent me searching
to find the heavy husk fallen from the palm tree.

I do not venture out alone again,
but sit on the patio
in the light of my laptop,
hoping to escape the third fall.

Your face on the screen turns green
from the reflection of the string
of Chinese lanterns
as we succumb to hard truths.

I fell in love with you so quickly,
but even all these falls
have not taught me how
to fall out of love with you.

 

The Prompt: Howl at the Moon—“Follow your inner moonlight; don’t hide the madness.” — Allen Ginsberg  Do you follow Ginsberg’s advice — in your writing and/or in your everyday life?

Poetry by Prescription: Goodbye Old Paint

Image

Goodbye Old Paint

What have you eaten that we have forgotten?
What lost earring resides
in the deepest recesses of your front seat?
What coins shaken and pushed into your crevasses?
And do you remember the song made up on the spot
and sung just once, then left forgotten in Nevada?
Do you still carry the dust of Tonopah
or that yearning to actually see something extraterrestrial
on the Extraterrestrial Highway?
Do you carry shards of his boredom while driving
mile after mile of Utah beauty?
Do you still carry her expectations of sharing
the giant faces of Rushmore
and echoes of the fact that he expected more?

What of molecules of the Mississippi crossing
or dreams of the memories of Hannibal?
What sweat from those Mississippi hours
waiting outside the B.B. King Museum?

Salt grains and chocolate crumbs
and DNA of those few souls who rode along in you—
all parked in a parking lot waiting to be bought
by someone who will never know the hidden you.
Just like the rest of the world,
frequented by interlopers.
Only we, leaving you, will murmur “Goodbye Old Paint”
and know that although you neither hear nor answer,
somehow our past is locked up inside of you
and there a part of us will stay
while we depart without it.

The prompt today was by Forgottenman, who wanted me to memorialize his faithful automobile companion, Old Paint (pictured here to his right). To his left is his new love, Soul Red.  To see his prompt, go to his blog here.

NaPoWriMo Day 30: Ciao, Adios, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

Ciao, Adios, Auf Wiedersehen, Adieu

To NaPoWriMo we must say
a fond “Goodbye” on this last day.
I‘m able to, for I have found
the strength to say it the whole world round.

When I was young, I traveled far
from Germany to Zanzibar.
Australia, Bali, France and Spain,
to Africa and back again.

And though I mostly loved them all,
from Venice to the Taj Mahal,
as my departure time grew nigh
I had to voice a sad goodbye.

To Ethiopia I strayed.
For eighteen months I stayed and stayed;
and when I had to leave too soon,
I had to say “dehena hun.”

In college days, when I was young,
German was my foreign tongue;
but when to Frankfurt wir mussten gehen
I just remembered, “Auf Wiedersehen.”

The French were rude and cold and snotty.
They mocked my accent and were haughty,
so while I had to bid “adieu,”
I’d have preferred to say, “pee-ew.”

Florence thrilled me from the start.
Their lasagna is a work of art.
When I left, they all said, “Ciao.”
Their kitties, though, all said, “Miao.”

I never went to Israel
but nonetheless, I’m proud to tell,
the rabbi books? Read every tome.
So I know how to say “Shalom.”

Though “Arigato” is bound to do
when you want to say thank you,
Sayonara” is the way to go
to bid farewell in Tokyo.

Bali’s full of dance and art
that treat your eyes and fill your heart.
I must admit, I had a ball
before I said “Selamat tinggal.”

Mexico was saved for last
And now I fear my lot is cast
Since “Adios” I cannot say,
I’ve decided I will stay!

(for the sake of pronunciation, I have taken the liberty of adding an extra “e” to “dehna hun.”)

You might have already guessed that on this last day of the NaPoWriMo challenge, the prompt was to write a farewell poem.