Tag Archives: Daily Prompt

Stink Think

 

Stink Think

Scotch broom makes me nauseous. Roses make me sneeze.
I abhor the scent of jasmine on an evening breeze.
Room deodorants should be banned, as should scented candles.
I’d rather smell my brother’s sneakers or a vagrant’s sandals.

Now that we want each thing to smell like something it is not,
there’s a different odor on everything we’ve got.
There’s perfume in detergent, in dryer tabs and soap.
Scented toilet paper makes we want to mope.

Unscented’s getting almost impossible to find.
It leaves allergic folks like me in a real tight bind.
Gardenia in my hand lotion or chamomile or peach.
Hairsprays  smell as fresh as air or like a summer beach.

Floor cleaners smell like forests of freshly gathered pine,
as though without this pungent scent our floors would smell like swine!
These odors leave me gasping and running for some air.
Their vapors make my eyes run, causing much despair.

I do not want my table waxed with lemon or “fresh scent.”
I believe that everything should smell as nature meant.
I’ve done a lot of research, and  I’m fairly sure
that perfumes out-stink everything they’re meant to obscure!

 

The prompt today was fragrance.  I found at least five old poems about fragrances and odors.  Here’s another one that goes waaaay back. Image of Scotch Broom from the internet.

back when we were baby birds

back when we were baby birds

feeding each other
cold spaghetti worms
in grass clipping nests
empty summer stretched in front of us

stale plastic wading pools
pressing yellow circles
into grass
that smelled like wet bandaids

during a game of hide-and-seek
dust bunnies behind the chest
full of old prom dresses
in the upstairs hall

mouse droppings
in the basement
pits from sour cherries
scattered on the back steps

scraps of soggy paper
dried into small sculptures
under the weeping willow tree
revealing part of each original message

mommy is . . .
. . . ate my cookie
I hope Sharon . . .
my doll doesn’t . . . your doll . . .

summer just an empty cup
we filled each day
with the long summer rains
of daydreams.

 

The prompt today way fragrance. Since I have to leave soon for the first day of Campamento Estrella, here’s a poem I wrote so long ago that I’d totally forgotten it. I’ll post photos of camp later today.

Sweet Harmony

Two years ago, when I visited friends from my childhood that I hadn’t seen for scores of years, we had a wonderful time  going through a box of mementos and then gathering around the piano to make  music as sweet as the memories.  Susan is a wonderful pianist and Karen a professional-level singer with a lovely soprano voice that always sends chills down my back.  Patti and I, good high school altos that we once were, created the harmony.  A perfect day with three of my favorite people whom I don’t see often enough.  Sweet Harmony for sure.

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Small Reunion

The pianist deftly presses out her chords.
The soprano’s voice slides smoothly from her throat
while we others strain until “Dear Heart” syrups our vocal chords
and we slip with less effort up and down the scale—
old friends singing even older songs.

The small dog snuggles in,
balancing on the plush chair back.
The mother of the pianist and the soprano
observes from her frame atop the piano.
All husbands out and about on other business.

Old letters reread, old memories pulled from forgetfulness,
each of us is left at the end richer—hearts refilled
from a shared past. Every word
has been a song of its own—
our notes blending together
in perfect harmony.

The prompt today was harmonize. This is a rewrite of a piece blogged two years ago. I’m getting ready for Camp Estrella so there won’t be much time for blogging for the next week!  

Appetite

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Appetite

It is the appetite we wrap our skin around like clothes—
that we push down but that squeezes out around us
in spite of our best efforts—
that appetite we run from and run to.

It lies waiting for us
behind the cold glass windows of stores,
coils in our cooking pots
and curls out in their steam.

Appetite sits under the Christmas tree
wrapped up in red paper and green ribbon.
It is the appetite of the Barbie Doll and the erector set,
the jigsaw puzzle and the bouncing ball of the jacks game.

It is the appetite
that lies dormant in our gonads,
jumps in our semen,
sleeps in an egg.

It vibrates in a vocal cord,
trembles on the fingers of a lover,
swims on the tongue of a nursing infant,
catapults off the slingshot of a seven-year-old boy.

Appetite kinks out from the curling iron,
chews itself from the tips of our fingernails
and spins itself from our feet
during a jungle rhythm or a southern reel.

Appetite pipes from the end of a flute
and shakes off the edges of a tambourine.
It is sealed in a tube of paint,
carried by a brush to the canvas where it dances its own dance.

It is appetite that hides in our computer keys
and in the tips of the fingers that tap them,
appetites lined up on our paper
where we have assembled them in unaccustomed order.

They are what bring us here,
these appetites that can never be catalogued or collected in their entirety—
our appetites better presented in a brown paper bag,
jumbled like penny candies, tumbled over each other like in a junk drawer.

Appetites that can never fully be defined
or neatly wrapped up in a moral or a surprise ending.
Appetites that can never be satisfied,
because our appetites want everything,

and gaining everything, reach out for more.

 

The prompt today is dormant. The prompt word today brought something up in me that has lain dormant for many years.  That is, this poem which was actually written in a MUCH longer form twenty-five years ago. “. . .that lies dormant in our gonads” kept running through my mind, and although I knew I had written it, I couldn’t remember where.  Finally, I did a search in my poetry file and found this poem. The original I submitted to a national poetry competition and won first prize for.  The judge said it was for my pure audacity in submitting a poem that took 12 minutes to read!  I published it in a shorter form two years ago in my blog, but even that tightened poem was probably too long for most viewers to read. At any rate, here it is in its newest and shortest form–a poem from within a poem, where it has lain dormant for twenty-five years.

Pick a Pickled Pepper

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Pick a Pickled Pepper

Some girls lick on lollipops, but I never will.
I prefer the piquant taste of vinegar and dill.
Pickle up some peppers  and shove them in a jar.
Put a label on it to show them who you are.
If a cute boy eats one, he will pucker up,
and perhaps you’ll plant a kiss where he deigned to sup.

Pick a cherry pepper, press it to your lips,
and that spicy boy might want to steal some sips.
Do not tell your mother. Do not tell your dad,
or that might be the only pepper that you ever had.
Lollipops are sweet but just a little coy.
Pickles work much better for picking out your boy.

 

The prompt today was lollipop. Strangely enough, the song “Lollipop, Lollipop” has been going through my mind for the past few days.  I even made up different lyrics to the tune of it to sing to Annie, my 15-year-old ill cat,  as I drove her (meowing all the way) home from the vet the other day. The men who stand in the road to wave people into the fish restaurants near San Juan Cosala must have wondered at me as I hollered out the strange song at the top of my lungs, just like my dad used to do to startle a howling baby into silence.  Ah well.  We get odder as we get older but have more of an excuse for it!

Do it Yourself

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Do it Yourself

The ending was disastrous though it started out just fine.
I don’t have anyone to blame. The fault was purely mine.
I thought I knew the way to do it but was surely wrong.
I should have heeded the advice my friends gave all along.

But my father was a Dutchman. I inherited his genes.

To figure out most everything, I think I have the means.
I made and hung the kitchen shelf.
I installed my towel bars by myself.
I patched the wall
and then, y’all,
fast as a wink,
unplugged the sink.

As you can see, I’m competent. Sufficiently sufficient.
In household matters A to Z I’m startlingly efficient.
But—
I guess I should have asked for help with my last operation,

for now I have to stay at home and feign I’m on vacation
lest every friend who sees me delivers an oration
about how I should read instructions,
not depend on pure deductions,
ask for help, request advice.
I heeded not, now pay the price.

The instructions that I never heeded
were probably the ones I needed.
The hair dye warning I failed to see
is in fact what ruined me.
For though I am really fond
of hair a lovely hue of blonde,
I fear I’m unfit to be seen
now that my hair’s a vivid green!

So for a few months I’ll be heard
by Skype or telephone or word,
but no one will ever see me
until repeated shampoos free me.
You do not have to say a word.
I know my actions were absurd.
I might have had lovely blonde locks
if only I had read the box!!!

The prompt today was disastrous. Image from the internet. Thanks, “Psycho!”

Dakota Dirt

 

Dakota Dirt

My father toiled for fifty years,
facing the worries and the fears—
the gambles that a farmer faced
when all his future he had placed
as seeds beneath Dakota dirt.
Every year, he risked the shirt
right off his back. With faith, he’d bury
his whole future in that prairie.
Sticky gumbo, that fine-grained silt
upon which his whole life was built.
Then, closer to our summer home,
near the river, in sand and loam,
he hoped he could prepare for ours:
our clothes, our college, and first cars.

Then came those years that brought the change
that altered fields and crops and range.
The rain that formerly turned to rust
plows left untended, turned to dust
that, caught up in the wind’s mad thrust
caused many a farmer to go bust
as a whole nation mourned and cussed
black clouds of dirt that broke the trust
that nature would provide for all.
What formerly fed, now brought their fall.

It broke the men who couldn’t wait
for the drought years to abate,
but my father kept his faith in soil.
Found other paying forms of toil
building dams to catch what rain
might later fall on that dry plain.
And though others thought his prospects poor,
he kept his land and bought some more.
He learned to vary furrow line,
believing it would turn out fine.

So when good fortune returned again,
bringing with it snow and rain,
he welcomed and was ready for it.
That April it began to pour, it
filled his dams and nourished what
soil remained. He filled each rut
with clover, alfalfa and wheat.
Allowed the summer sun to beat
and change them into fields of gold—
into grain and feed he sold.

Bought cattle. Planted winter wheat.
Once more secure on his two feet,
expanded and as he had planned,
bought more cattle and more land.
Some said that he had just exploited
those whose land he’d reconnoitered
and purchased after they’d given up,
empty hands transformed to cup.
He was a hero unsung, unknown,
until long after when I was grown.

At the centennial of our town,
I learned a bit of his renown
when others told to me how he
shared nature’s generosity.
He sent three daughters to university,
then shared with his community 
to build a church and give more knowledge
to those young men he sent to college.
Then made loans without fame or thanks
to other farmers denied by banks.

I’d always known how rich my life
was made by all his toil and strife—
the insurance he gave his family
that enabled us all to be free.
But, aside from daughters, wife and mother,
I’d never know of every other
soul he’d helped  to prosperous ends:
neighboring ranchers, sons of friends.
Could my father have known he’d also planned
all these other futures when he bought the land?

 

This rich Jones County gumbo on the treads of my tire at one of our all-town reunions a few years ago is what sent me to college!

Not enough dirt for you?  Check out this story: https://judydykstrabrown.com/2015/01/26/south-dakota-gumbo/

The prompt today was soil.