Category Archives: Travel

Testing Affection

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Testing Affection

When I booked a sea adventure with a lover, I confess
that traveling together put our passion to the test.
It’s true I grate on people. I’ll attest to this one fact,
but it’s also true at times that my guy could use more tact.

When he kept daily tallies of the cookies on my plate—
a definite statistic I preferred he not relate—
he meant it as a joke, but I considered it as snide.
Comments about my appetite are ones hard to abide.

He maintained a steady pace and told me not to dawdle,
and even though his rapid steps made him sort of waddle,
I should have kept that to myself, but I fear I did not;
and that is why things got as heated as they finally got.

I said I’d zero tolerance for what was going on
and before he knew it, I was off that ship and gone.
And this is often how it goes when new love goes out traveling.
It’s often hard to face new climes without romance unraveling.

 

Full disclosure: Although the imagery in this poem reflects a recent sea voyage taken with my sister, the content is purely fictional. Well, except for the cookies harvested from the abundant buffets, which we both consumed in rather embarrassing numbers, but really, no one took a tally and no one waddled!! Nor did it put sisterhood to the test.

The fact that traveling together can put friendship or romance to the test, however, can be all too true. The first European driving vacation I took with a certain lover, I couldn’t wait to get home so I never had to see the jerk again, and at one point I really did tell him to pull over and I got out of the car and vanished into a forested tract for awhile. Thankfully, he waited patiently and I eventually emerged and got back into the car. Things evened out when we got home and within a year, we were married. Nonetheless, there is a reason for the old adage  that “true love (and traveling together) never did run smooth.”

Guided by the needs of these prompts, I have combined the two stories and the frictional lovers’ driving misadventure has been transformed into a cruise.

 

Prompt words for Aug 25, 2019 are friendshipexcursion, snide, attest and zero.

The Wager

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The Wager

When I was a mere teenager,
my dad made a little wager.
Could I manage to exist
by guile and craft and will and fist

without allowance or assistance?
It was not at his insistence,
and in no way was I miffed
at his challenge aimed at thrift.

I packed a bag and caught a lift.
For one year I would simply drift.
Quietly would I abscond 
and win my keep as vagabond.

I’d leave a life humdrum and canned
to live a life less gray and bland.
And thus I started my vacation
around our great and varied nation.

In California, I mowed lawns,
in Texas, worked at shucking prawns.
Combined wheat in South Dakota.
Then made off for Minnesota.

Washing pots and dishing curry,
worked my way down to Missouri.
In Tennessee I met with luck
and crossed the whole state in a truck,

but by D.C. and Baltimore,
grunt labor had become a bore,
so when I finally reached the ocean,
suddenly I had the notion

to make a call to dad from son
telling him his son had won.
The call I made was not in vain,
for next day I was on a plane.

Tattered, back-sore, sunburned, chapped,
I showed my dad the miles I’d mapped.
He slapped my back and said, “Well, son,
you’ve done what I wished I had done

before I did each of those things
that doing what one ‘should’ do brings.”
He slapped a check into my hand
and promised college, job or land.

I would be sent to school or hired—
whatever now I most desired.
I told my dad I’d let him know
but for just now I had to go.

I hit the bank and cashed his check,
bought new clothes and washed my neck.
Grabbed my passport, kissed my mom,
let her feed me, dropped the bomb.

Hugged my dad, then counted coup
and hopped a plane for Katmandu.
I hadn’t traveled my last mile,
but from now on, I’d go in style!

 

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The prompt words today are drift, humdrum, abscond and wager.

Venetian Dreams

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Venetian Dreams

The year we did the Grand Canal,
I came home feeling humble.
My own life just seemed so banal.
My dreams began to crumble.

My life was filled with piety
of very little note.
None of the notoriety
could my First Baptist quote

compared to all the beauty
I’d seen in St. Mark Square.
I felt it was my duty
to be living over there.

I needed no incitement.
My life here seemed so rote.
I needed the excitement
of traveling by boat.

Though it seemed an overindulgence,
I sought to be alone.
I needed the effulgence
of sun shining on old stone.

I could sell my small red Honda,
put my jewelry in hock.
(I had visions of a gondola
waiting at the dock.)

I imagined a “For Sale” sign
in front of my small home.
It seemed a “Get out of Jail” sign.
This housewife sought to roam.

If it sold within two fortnights
I could take off, traveling solo.
I could trade in Sunday sportnights
for a flight to Marco Polo!

I would feel I was at home again.
I’d missed the sights of Venice.
I wanted to be where I’d been,
free from all the menace

of getting three kids off to school
and ironing hubby’s shirts.
I sought to trade the Golden Rule
for romantic nights and flirts.

I’d give up school bake sales
for pannetone and gelato
eaten with Italian males.
“Me First” would be my motto.

I tried to conjure the Rialto,
but I saw the Bridge of Sighs
as my sound track’s rich contralto
assumed a different guise.

“Mommy, Mommy! was the chorus
of my shattered dream.
My stone fantasies were porous,
issuing a frantic stream

of nightmare shrieks and pleadings.
I started down the hall.
My daughter’s midnight needings
my most urgent call.

The canals were left in shambles
as verity flooded in.
So much for fantasy gambles.
My real life won again!

The prompt word today are canal, overindulgence and humble.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/rdp-friday-canal/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/your-daily-word-prompt-overindulgence-february-15-2019/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/02/15/humble/

Journeys

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Journeys

Every conversation is a quest two people enter
from opposite  directions to converge at its center.
The hard part of the journey commences with their greeting—
an intricate endeavor not completed with first meeting.

With each new associate, we visit a new land.
With each conversation, our horizons expand
into lands exotic, tragic or entertaining.
Perhaps enemy territory—often with no training.

Do we take umbrage with their words or enter, unprotesting,
the world that they offer—experimenting, testing
new mental mountains, jungles where vivid birds might call,
beckoning us onwards, or do we meet a wall

that offers us no access—sealed up, rigid, cold—
closed to all explorers, nearly obscured with mold?
What journeys do we offer ourselves to those we meet?
Do we offer easy access or promise sure defeat?

Life was designed for journeying. Daily, new vacations.
Some conversations novels and others mere quotations.
Some trips an experience you wouldn’t choose again—
just another whistle stop on life’s commuter train.

 

The prompt words today are quest, umbrage, intricate and associate.

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/rdp-wednesday-quest/
https://fivedotoh.com/2019/01/16/fowc-with-fandango-umbrage/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/intricate/
https://onedailyprompt.wordpress.com/2019/01/16/your-daily-word-prompt-associate-january-16-2019/

Acapulco Bound

Click on first photo to enlarge all and see full captions.

The Smell of Curry

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The Smell of Curry

Would that sentiment were only
positive and never lonely––
but all emotions of the world
in sentiment are tightly curled.
Every memory we cherish
is doubly edged with “live” and “perish.”
In every city, country, land––
bad and good go hand in hand.

The blend of cardamom and lentil
always makes me sentimental.
Odors of turmeric and its ilk,
garam masala and coco milk.
Curry spices being roasted,
degree of peppers being boasted,
chickpeas, carrots, potatoes, rice––
stirring in each thing that’s nice.

What do I think of when I smell
and taste that it is going well?
Bombay and wedding saris thin
sliding down my youthful skin.
Visions of a midnight ride
to cages with young girls inside
sold by their parents and then resold
nightly for a bit of gold.

Traffic, sitar music, fingers
scooping curry––all this lingers.
The beauty of that winsome song
that showed me where the world’s gone wrong.
His action, swift, unthinking, curt
of small coins cast into the dirt
to deflect those who beg and bleat,
surrounding us in every street.

Palaces and then the clash
of children in a world of trash,
the refuse of this giant city
the world they lived in—what a pity.
Back when traveling was new,
experiences were so few
that India changed my life forever.
So, will I forget it?  Never.

Since it was a journey that changed my life forever–both the physical journey through the streets of Bombay as well as that journey of the senses I go though every time I cook or taste a curry, I’m rerunning this poem written two years ago for the dVerse Poets’ Pub prompt of “Journeys.”

Guanajuato

I finally whittled my thousand photos taken in Guanajuato down to 135. Both my grand nephew Ryan and I had a fabulous time.  We really didn’t know each other as he was born when I was 49, and by that time, I’d been married for 10 years and had inherited 8 stepchildren.  We were doing arts and crafts shows which kept us on the road 278 days of the year one year, before we found our niche and settled down into it. In our 13th year of doing shows, we were doing 4 to 7 shows a year and doing better than that year when we were almost constantly on the road.  I’ve strayed away from the point, that being that Ryan was in Iowa, we were in California, so when we did see his folks, the visit was fleeting and he was a little boy playing with his brother in the basement.  Then later, when I went to visit my sister (his grandmother) he was in college or away doing apprenticeships.  So, when he graduated from college, I gave him this trip to Mexico as a present.  It was really a present for myself as he turned out to be a charming, enthusiastic, smart young man with a penchant for travel.  This was his first trip out of the States and he was thrilled with everything. The fact that he is vegan turned out, in his words, to be less of a problem than in the states. More about that later.  Here are the photos of our 4 days in Guanajuato. We were on a fabulous tour with nine others and luckily Ryan found a couple of “playmates” in the group…one the 28-year-old son of the tour director and the other a seventy-something trickster named John. You’ll see him in a hard hat next to Ryan. You can click on the first photo to enlarge all photos and see them as a slide series.  Click on the arrow to go on to the next photo.  Some will have captions. Go get a coffee or a martini, settle down, and share our trip:

Please note you have to click on the first photo and then the arrows to see captions: (If your wifi speed is slow as mine is, give them a few minutes to download and then all the images will be clear.  I didn’t and had to wait for individual photos to clear up as they appeared fuzzy at first. I’ll be interested in hearing if any of you had this problem. I published them at a high resolution so they could be increased in size but made for a big file, I’m sure.)

Click on the first photo to enlarge and see all of the captions.