Category Archives: memories

Sweet Clover

Getting ready to leave for Minnesota in an hour, so I’ll rely on a poem written two years ago that meets the demands of the prompt word today, which was “honk.”

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Sweet Clover

Before our dad told us its real name,
we used to call it wild mustard.
What did we know about sweet clover except for its color
and that summer smell, cloying in its sugared perfume.
It filled the air and smothered the plains—
bright yellow and green where before
brown stubble had peeked through blown snow.

On these dry lands, what flowers there were
tended to be cash crops or cattle feed.
Sweet clover or alfalfa.
The twitching noses of baby rabbits brought home by my dad
as we proffered it to them by the handful.
Fragile chains we draped around our necks and wrists.
Bouquets for our mom
that wilted as fast as we could pick them.

Summers were sweet clover and sweet corn
and first sweethearts parked on country roads,
windows rolled down to the night air,
then quickly closed to the miller moths.
Heady kisses,
whispered confessions, declarations,
unkept promises.
What we found most in these first selfish loves
was ourselves.

The relief of being chosen
and assurance that all our parts worked.
Our lips accepting those pressures unacceptable
just the year before.
Regions we’d never had much congress with before
calling out for company.
That hard flutter
like a large moth determined to get out.
Finding to our surprise,
like the lyrics of a sixties song,
that our hearts could break, too.

Hot summer nights,
“U”ing Main,
cars full of boys honking
at cars full of girls.
Cokes at Mack’s cafe.
And over the whole town
that heavy ache of sweet clover.
Half promise, half memory.
A giant invisible hand
that covered summer.

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The prompt word today was honk.

Cacophony

Over the years, I’ve written many pieces that make use of the word cacophony. This is one I’d forgotten, but having reread it, it is my favorite. Written more than three years ago, I’d like to share it with you again. Go HERE to see it.

 

The word today cacophony.

Snap

 

Snap

You flavor my memory with common tastes: Spam and corned beef hash.
You wanted to be the common man, but you were anything but.
The bold aggression and the subtle feminine sweep of what you formed—

beautiful. Your hands never clumsy as they sculpted wood and stone.
Metal bent and melted into beauty at your touch,
and colors lifted the wings you gave them.


I floated, also–– too independent to be formed by you,

but still uplifted that a man like you could love me.
It validated something in me—those hard choices I had made
because I listened to something vivid in myself I had not yet found a name for.
Dreams taught me. And synchronicity.

I had always wanted to be a wanderer­­­­—to try to quench those yearnings
that had haunted my daydreams since I was a child.
I cut the ties that bound and wandered West to find you—stable man
pinned by your wings to obligation all your life.
Instead of pinning me down, you wandered with me.
The gypsy life of making and selling art. The easy camaraderie of that circus life.
The vans and wagons circling every weekend in a different convention center parking lot.
Nights pulled into the woods or by the ocean.
Short nights in transit, parked in neighborhoods where we’d be gone by six.
The song of tires on the road, Dan Bern and Chris Smither. Books on tape.
Pulling quickly off the road to lug a dead tree or a well-formed boulder into the van
or to engineer its route up to the roof,
so we returned home as heavily laden as we had departed—
bowed under by the fresh makings of art.

The texture of our home life was silver dust and wood curls.
Its sounds were the stone saw and the drills and polisher.
The heat of the kiln hours after it had lost its art.
The fine storm spray of the sandblaster,
the whine of drills and whirling dervish of the lathe.
The smell of resin, redwood, stone dust, paint.
The sharp bite of metal. The warm bread smell of cooling fired clay.
Every bit of my life was flavored by what you loved––what I loved, too,
our interests merging so completely that for awhile
we had no separate lives, but one life welded end-to-end.

These remembraces are not organized or filed.
They flutter into my mind like hidden lists blown off tall shelves.
That life now a scrapbook of the past with certain photos plucked out
to be tucked under bedroom mirror rims or carried in wallets.

Snap. You put yourself into my mind.

Snap. Another memory follows,
and I am an old woman replaying her life.
Snap. The creak of the tortilla machine across the street in the early hours.
The loud rush of the surf, the rattling startup of a motorcycle.
The raspberry seed between my teeth,
the scent of the dog’s bath still on my hands,
sand gritting the sheets
and art projects taking over every surface.
Snap. I am me, looking for the next adventure.

 

Below photos snapped a few minutes ago. Proof of the tale.  New projects.
Click on first photo to enlarge and see all photos.

 

 

The prompt today was vivid.

The Things We Leave Behind

Amazing that I was just going to suggest this as a prompt to Cee and then saw in the reader that it was a WordPress weekly prompt.  ESP working overtime lately.

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In this first photo, my friend in the foreground of the photograph is visiting the town she left behind over fifty years ago.  I love the repetition in the backs of the two women as they walk away reflected in the crossing light logo.

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This elderly gentleman has been visiting the beach at the same time I do for a number of years.  I once tried to involve him in a dice game, but he wasn’t much interested unless it was for money!  Instead he told me about his past as an artificial inseminator, which led to a few stories of my own about my dad who was one of the first ranchers to make use of this process on his cattle ranch.  I thought he had a bit of a twinkle in his eye as I expounded on the topic.

It was two years later that I met his daughter and related to her the topic of my earlier conversation with her father.  She looked askance.  Her father had never been an artificial inseminator!  What had been his job?  He was with the CIA, she explained.  Now, was that a twinkle in her eye as well?  Guess I’ll find out this year.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/the-things-we-leave-behind/

Layers


Layers

We store our truths in layers,
peeling back the amount we can stand to see.
Each year peels away some layers and builds others
until we grow in furrows and in hillocks.

Smooth truth is for the very young.
The old need their protections
as memory, like flesh and misfortune,
begins to bury itself to cluster underground

in cliques and hidden passageways,
lurking like guests in a British mystery play,
searching for us as we search for them in kind.
Old beaus, lost children and beachside vacations

sealed shoulder-to-shoulder in a too-small room––
a pantry, perhaps, or closet––
waiting waiting
to be peeled away.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/layers/

Ashes and Dust and : NaPoWriMo 2016, Day 25 and “Whisper,” WordPress Daily Prompt

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“After all our years have settled like dust . . .”
                                           ––okc forgottenman

Ashes and Dust

When that cruel wind
blows against memories
that have settled like dust
on our lives,

what  will remain
sealed in our crevasses
––fine furniture that we are
of a bygone age?

What remaining minutes
of a long life of years
will define us then?
A kiss? A child held in arms?
Regrets? Terrors?

In those storerooms
where people  sit
stacked in silent cubicles,
what zephyrs whisper through
to stir the embers
of their minds?

Is there music in those currents
or are they the sad
whining winds
that curl over headstones
and lament the dust that settles there,

moaning through cracks in attics
and around hanging eaves troughs,
causing them to swing and bump
lonely against the fading
wood of abandoned houses?

LIfe builds us and wears us away
like the mountain.
Like sand on the beach.
We are not above it all.

No matter how much power
we think we gain,
Nature is a wind that breathes
into us at birth,
then blows itself away.

The NaPoWriMo prompt was to write a poem making use of the first line of someone else’s poem.  You can find the poem by okc forgottenman that I drew inspiration from Here. The WordPress prompt was “whisper.”

 

http://www.napowrimo.net/day-twenty-five-2/

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/whisper/

 

Suitcase

Suitcase

Like a worn suitcase
so stretched from countless trips back and forth
between the scattered parts of my life
that there is always room for one garment more,
I close around your memory.
Tomorrow I will take you out
and fold you like an old comfortable shirt
over my shoulders.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/suitcase/