Category Archives: Writing

QUERY

Query

Have you a pattern for your life
wherein you’ve cut out stress and strife,
only allowing perfection?
Is every day a new confection—
cherry pie and chocolate cake?
No rejection? No heartbreak?
No erstwhile friends or jealous crazies—
your entire life a field of daisies?
It must be great, without a doubt,
but what have you to write about?

The prompt word today was pattern.

Leftovers

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Leftovers

New words fly at me in a swarm.
They do not mean to do me harm,
but still I feel beaten and battered.
They might feel they haven’t mattered
if I do not use them all,
and yet I feel the beach’s call.
The dog is clamoring to be fed
while I am writing this instead.

The guilt of it cuts like a knife.

I’ve got to go and have a life!
I save the words already used,
and lest the others feel abused,
I leave them on the page as well
to tell the stories they might tell
If I had the time to use them.
I hope you’ll take time to peruse them:

fife  strife excel tell bell yell cell

The prompt today was swarm.

This Poem is a Sort of Street

(Click first photo to enlarge, then click on arrows.)

This Poem is a Sort of Street

This poem is a sort of street.
I wonder who I’m going to meet
as I walk down the dust of it––
plod along the “must” of it.
I do not know where I am going.
I follow it while never knowing
what’s around the next blind bend.
I do not know how it will end.

Each line is a new adventure
leading to acclaim or censure.
The GPS that’s guiding me––
determining what I will see––
is lodged so deep and far inside
a road stretched out so long and wide
that it must guide or I’ll get lost
in ruts of words and pay the cost

of trying to control by mind––
a street that’s meant to twist and wind
guided by a force within
that is intuitive and yin.
It is a guide that’s mostly lost
in this world so tempest-tossed.
The drop of it that I infuse
in rhymes that others then may choose

to read and ponder is the way
that I have chosen to try to pay
the toll for this tremendous gift
of life where I have learned too well
the lessons of the school bell.
I’ve learned to turn a deaf ear to
what pedants say I need to do
and take each day a road that’s new.

I’m led by dreams and intuition
down streets with no thought of fruition
but instead careen and ramble
without an outline or preamble
into places I’d never go
if I just reported what I know.
Then I record all that I see
so you can learn along with me.

 

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

Hidden

Hidden

The parts of us that we conceal
as well as parts that we reveal
make up who we really are.
Our eye fixed on that distant star
in dark of night that no one sees
and what we think while at our ease––

these hidden aspects of our lives
that we tell neither friends nor wives
might be more of our history
than what you hear and what you see.
We recognize that special sense
that some let slip when feeling tense––

an energy that goes unseen
during life’s banal routine.
It hints perhaps at inner life
divided from the roil and strife
of doing what the whole world does
from day to day simply because

its what moves our world along––
the business, be it bread or song
that we produce to fuel each other––
what we provide to give our brother
in trade for what he gives to us––
the “stuff” of life–the trade and fuss.

Our inner gardens we keep inside,
their harvests richer if we hide
them deep within to grow and thrive.
They are what keep our souls alive
to grow more bountiful day by day
until we choose to give away

all we’ve grown there in the shade––
theorems and the sonnets made––
all those thoughts and sounds and seeings
that seem to come from other beings
living somewhere deep inside
where they have chosen to live and hide.

These hidden parts that we conceal––
that through our art we may reveal––
these parts reached by our daily delves
into what feel like other selves––
these places that produce the yield
are treasure houses we’ve concealed.

So at those times we break the seal
and let out how we really feel––
sing the song we’ve kept inside,
paint truths from our inner guide?
It is not God, muses or elves.
We’ve simply shared our hidden selves.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

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

Mutability

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Mutability

Farthingale and flour glue,
catamaran and kangaroo,
lamplit lizard, croquet pie,
tyrant’s glare and jam on rye––
there is nothing I can do
when words come marching two-by-two
but grab a pen to herd them in,
then quiet down their awful din
by separating them with commas.
Sitting here in my pajamas,
I refuse to start my day
in any other sort of way
than stacking words into neat piles,
sorting them by usage styles.

Verbs in rows where they might jostle
nouns like cupcake and apostle.
Adjectives like proud and pretty
aggravating, stuffy, petty––
have to line up in a row
and go where I tell them to go!
Sometimes I feel it is absurd,
how I imprison every word,
take it from its family
to serve me here on bended knee.
Do my bidding, tell my tale,
imprisoned here in each poem’s jail
’til other writers come along
to use that word in book or song.

Then once more the word’s set free
to go where it wants to be.
We pass each word—a bouncing ball––
to be exchanged between us all.
The words that Ogden Nash has used?
The very ones that I’ve abused.
Walt Whitman owned not one word more
than the pile in my store
of wordy possibilities,
to use however I may please.
I gather words from here and there––
words stark and silly, profound, bare.
The order that I put them in,
how often they appear and when
is the power I execute––
the sword I wield, the horn I toot.

I crack the whip and words line up.
“Naughty” shoulders “new” and “pup.”
“Sand” drifts over “bird” and “sea”
as words flow in to be with me.
New words invade my memory,
augmenting “seen” with what I see,
so old stories change a bit
accordingly, as I see fit.
History is made and changed,
altered, prettified, deranged
by new words slipping in to alter
facts where memory might falter.
The gore of war is changed to glory
as time steps in to tell the story.

The power of words might then be seen
to coat facts with nostalgia’s sheen.
A simple word like “maybe” might
distill the impact and the plight
of those whose suffering and pain
should be remembered as a stain
on the world’s humanity.
“May have been” should never be
confused with “was” in history.
Those of us who bandy letters,
using words to joust with betters
sometimes with hilarity,
need also heed their verity.
For words I fear are spoken in vain
if truth is altered to entertain.

The Prompt: Not Lemonade. When life gives you lemons… make something else. Tell us about a time you used an object or resolved a tricky situation in an unorthodox way.

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/not-lemonade/

That Point

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That Point

It was at that age
of worrying about others
of feeling not enough
of looking for a pattern that was myself
that I put words down
fearing them
or if not them, fearing those who read them.

At that age when I didn’t know what I thought,
I was astonished that the hand that wrote
knew more than I did
and taught that I must be brave,
fearless on the page in a way I had not yet learned to be in life
so that I became a writer to teach myself.
To have someone I trusted as a guide.

It was at that age when I wanted to be admired––
that age when I sought to be loved––
that age when I yearned to be thought a thinker,
important, listened to––
that I somehow was led to listening to myself.

There are these times we are led to by life
that become turning points
so long as we continue.
That sentence. That first sentence stretching
into the future, into now.


I found this poem on my desktop, and although I vaguely remember writing it, I can’t find any evidence of having posted it on my blog.  For some reason I feel it ties in with today’s prompt and so I’m going to post a second response to the prompt today.  Happy 2016 to all.  I hope we all come closer to discovering our best selves in the year to come!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/a-brand-new-you-effective-tomorrow/

 

Roar

 

Roar

The ceiling fans turn above five women. One holds an almond cookie in her mouth as her hands adjust her notebook and reach for her pen. She moves the rest of the cookie into her mouth with the hand that has finished turning to the correct page, then brushes away the crumbs from the glass table. Another woman sits hunched over a tablet in her lap. She is wearing a black swimsuit and sits on the white canvas cushion of a rattan couch.

A third taps on her computer—a fact that has driven her former sofa neighbor out to the terrace to write––that tapping too distracting. Next door, the crash of chisel on concrete furnishes a counter-tempo to the gentle tapping of the keys. The ocean swells in a continual basso…the notes and words of a plaintive Mexican song straining in over the fence as well. The sparseness of the view––sea dunes, succulent ground cover, crashing ocean and sky–– is augmented by so many sounds that they blend into a cacophony that can be overlooked…or underheard, as the case may be.

I am the fifth woman, and as the other four write about whatever world each is in, their imagined voices fill my thoughts to a point where my own voice is lost. I can only record what I see and hear. It is as though my own imagination has been sucked up by the morning, lost in the profusion of thoughts of others that grow like liana in my mind.

The blades on the fans spin. Tiny upside-down crosses are formed by the bolts that secure the glass globes of the lights below the fans. Like crucifixes the tortured have slipped free from, they stand useless as metaphors but necessary in actuality. All of the crucified have scurried away…survivors of someone else’s bigotry or fears or cruelty.

Some of the survivors climb up the legs of the coffee table and pull themselves onto my computer keys. They jump on keys to say, “We have voices that will not be stilled. We sacrifice that bullies may be overcome. We expect you to resist as we do. Frightening as it is, it is the only way. Life is choice after choice and those choices, if easy, are not worth making.”

I take over. Brush them like crumbs from my keyboard.  I get to choose how profound my life will be, at least on the page, and I don’t want to write about crucifixion, church bombings, the Paris massacre, the San Bernardino shootings. I have six friends who live in San Bernardino. I haven’t checked Facebook. I don’t want to know.

I want my senses filled with tappings and poundings and too-loud strains of music and where the fridge will go in the tiny new sleeping/feeding room I’m having constructed for my dogs. I want another almond cookie, and a sip, two sips of hazelnut coffee. Some of us have to have a happy life. Some need to go on in spite of the slaughter, greed, small-mindedness. We win in this way. Something exists in spite of the horrible chaos some would make of the world.

We win by fighting, but we also win by being. By remaining. By choosing to be happy. The ocean roars and sometimes I must roar, also. But not always.

Note: No, my essay above was not written to the prompt.  I did start a poem on the WordPress  life-line subject of fortune-telling, and I’ll publish it later, but on my way to posting it, I found this snippet written in response to a prompt at the three day women’s writing retreat I went to last week, so I want to publish it, too. (HERE is a link to my poem on the subject of fortune telling.)