Tag Archives: Judy Dykstra-Brown Poems

Sport Retort

Sport Retort

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When faced with talk of games and sport,
I seldom have cause to retort.
For dribbling, sparring, touching  down
raise no emotions but a frown.
The games I play are just of mind
Less physically taxing and more kind.

Using tongues and brains to spar,
I am more likely  under par
than when I hit a pock-marked ball
off of the course to hit a wall,
bounce off and into someone’s car
to be transported to regions far.

I have not thought to scream out, “Fore!”
My terminology’s as poor,
I fear, as my coordination,
I will not, ever, stun the nation
with my prowess with balls or bats,
parallel bars, hurdles or mats.

Likewise, I have no interest in
watching others skate and spin,
touch balls down or thrust a fist.
When it comes to sports, I must insist
when the tube depicts each bout,
I am forgiven for running out!!!

 

(Thanks for the loan of the golf balls, Jan!)

The Prompt:  Are you a sports fan? If not, tell us why.
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/fandom/

Rating Dating

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Rating Dating

Some men seem to run their dating game like it’s a race,
whereas for their date this doesn’t seem to be the case.
If so, I must advise the guy to try to slow his pace
lest the lady feel that she must slow him down with mace!

She may be superficial, while he is way too smart;
or he may adore motocross while she’s a fan of art.
She’s olfactorily sensitive and he just let a fart.
Such opposites do not attract in the affairs of heart.

In chick flicks when a date goes wrong, it is always funny.
She runs into a former love or he runs out of money.
But no matter how things go, the endings are all sunny.
By the credits, she is “dear” and he is always “honey.”

In real life, when it comes to love, I prefer to view it.
Much easier to say you want it than to really do it.
The problem is if either of you chooses to eschew it,
then the other one of you must admit that they blew it.

So for the couplet, I’ll admit that yes, true love is groovy;
but when it comes to dating, I’ll just settle for the movie!!!

 

The Prompt––Third Rate Romance: Tell us about your funniest romantic relationship disaster. https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/third-rate-romance/

Why Blog?

Why Blog?
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If I didn’t have this blog to do, I’d probably wash the dishes
or do the other daily chores that go against my wishes.
I’d have to clean my desk off and put everything away–
tasks that more or less consume the best part of my day.
I might have to mend or clean or sweep or dust or cook.
But mainly, I’d have no excuse for putting off the book
that has been in my computer for a year or more––complete,
waiting for its formatting. Everyone I meet
asks if I have finished it, so I can just repeat
the excuse that’s easier than falling off a log.
“I’d like to but I have no time. I have to write my blog!”

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Million-Dollar Question.” Why Blog?

No News is Bad News

As I eat my morning toast,
I like to read the Morning Post.
But often, once my toast is browned,
The Morning Post’s not to be found.
I brew the coffee and have a cup,
willing the newsboy to show up.

As I eat my morning eggs,
my husband sputters, nags and begs
until I fantasize a muzzle.
He wants his morning crossword puzzle!
Yet that newsboy still delays
as breakfast passes without a phrase.

We leave for work sad and bereft,
looking to the right and left.
My husband prods and pokes and pushes
in case the news lies in the bushes,
but only finds an errant bee
and a missing front door key.

All day that sense of loss still lingers
as I crave newsprint on my fingers.
Somehow the day just isn’t nice
when it passes without advice.
No comics page? No horoscope?
All day I sit alone and mope.

Others ‘round me may be seen
watching news upon a screen.
But it isn’t quite the same,
so please excuse me while I blame
my bad mood once more on the kid
who brings the news––but never did!

By evening when I arrive home,
that rolled up, backless, coverless tome
has finally shown up by our door;
but day-old news is just a bore,
and comics read to a setting sun
somehow do not seem so fun.

As our puppy greets me, paws and muzzle,
I extract the crossword puzzle,
then smooth the rest and scoop it up
to place it under our wiggly pup
who lifts his leg and pees upon it.
News is not made to sup on it!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Connect the Dots.” ––Scour the news for an entirely uninteresting story. Consider how it connects to your life. Write about that.

Lucky School: JNW’s Prompt Generator

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Lucky School

I don’t often write of it since it is such a bore,
but bad luck’s had a hold on me since nineteen eighty-four.
The tragedies that equal mine are just the stuff of lore:
sad tales of loves and lives lost–tales of heartache, blood and gore.

Don’t beg to hear my stories, for I won’t tell you more.
Thinking of my problems has me tired to the core.
I want to concentrate on now without the past’s loud roar,
and banish former labels such as “victim, tragic, poor.”

My friends all chipped in for me to go to Lucky School–
believing positive thinking might prove a handy tool.
They figured they’d transform me into wizard from a fool,
so that drawing fortune to me would become my daily rule.

I found a four-leaf clover and a heart shaped like a stone.
I got the longest section when I broke the wishing bone.
I found a silver dollar and rubbed it ‘til it shone,
then gave it to a beggar—a hump-backed aged crone.

The lessons that they taught me in my Lucky School
were that stones may be more valuable than a precious jewel.
Good luck’s never garnered from actions that are cruel
and to never save our gift-giving for birthdays or the Yule.

The way we gain good luck is just to give it all away
every single moment of every single day.
Our trying to hoard it is what keeps good luck at bay.
The luck you give to others is the luck you’ll get to stay.

Good luck is not for finding. It’s simply what you do.
When you hand it off to others, somehow it sticks like glue;
first adhering to the lucky one that you gave it to,
then doubling so an equal part remains right there with you.

The way life keeps the truth obscured sometimes seems most cruel.
How many years I wasted playing the selfish fool.
My friends needn’t have squandered their money on my school,
for all I really needed was to heed the Golden Rule.

The prompt provided me by JNW Topic Generator was: Lucky School. Go Here to receive your own prompt. * *

The Dating Game

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The Dating Game

The prompt I generated on JNW’s Prompt Generator was: “tender opportunity.” I hit the generator button again and got “repulsive industry,” When I saw both prompts together, a perfect topic came  to mind. These prompts, in tandem, seemed to describe the two sides of the online social-introduction industry perfectly, so I decided to try to use both prompts. Although this poem sounds a bit bitter, it is really meant tongue-in-cheek as the first phrase was tweaked a bit by the second. I’ve met some really nice guys in the past six years I’ve been on social sites, but just none where both of us wanted to make it permanent.

In the past couple of years, OKC has changed a lot and doesn’t seem to be the special place it once was. They’ve taken away journals, forums, awards, search engines and erased the first few years of information. I’ve pretty much replaced it with blogging, which seems to work better for really getting to know people and the focus has changed from searching for love in all the wrong places to forming real bonds with words, not faces. A few good friends have even followed me from OKC. You know who you are. Here is my little ditty on the subject of the two prompts mentioned above:

When I Joined OkCupid

I considered it to be
a tender opportunity.
Instead I fear it just became
a sort of endless dating game.

Crabby grandpas, lying spouses,
hermits shut up in their houses,
voyeurs looking for a thrill,
twenty-somethings with time to kill.

Men who say they want to talk
who, when asked questions, merely balk.
Whatever it claims to be,
It’s a repulsive industry

a place that doesn’t want to match us
but rather just to try to catch us
in a web of constant circulation–
a type of lovelorn masturbation.

Years later, I’ve made special friends
and yet the cycle never ends.
Though I’d like love with every fiber,
I fear my love life remains cyber.

 *

Punishment by Pillory

The Prompt: Red Pill, Blue Pill. If you could get all the nutrition you needed in a day with a pill — no worrying about what to eat, no food preparation — would you do it?

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Punishment by Pillory

No potato chips, no chocolate cake?
That’s a mistake I’d never make.

The only time I’ll take a pill
is when I’m dieting. Or ill.

You can’t chew a pill or lick it,
so why on earth would you pick it?

What dinner guest would linger late
with just one pill upon his plate?

In short, I find them unfulfilling.
So no! I don’t desire pilling!

For more answers to this question, go here: Red Pill, Blue Pill.

For Red: The Summer Home

The Summer Home

Decaying Farmhouse in Missouri Soybean Field

Photo by okcforgottenman, aka flycatcher

THE SUMMER HOME

When my dad bought the land
where the Big White River and Little White River joined,
I couldn’t believe that we owned land with trees on it.
While he plowed the small field,
I walked the woods and found the abandoned shanty.
Its door was open; in fact it could not shut.
Inside was a mysterious, sweet and fecund smell–
a mouse smell new to me
that I couldn’t stop myself from breathing in.
The mildew and the dust,
the musk of warm linoleum,
every new smell and sight was magic.

I was enchanted by this house emptied
of chairs and tables and beds,
yet full of the accumulated energy of past tame lives
and present wild ones:
the moving of leaf shadows
across the chipped linoleum of the L-shaped kitchen,
the dents on the floor where the kitchen chairs had set,
as though someone had taken care each day
to line up the legs in their holders.
Upstairs I found crayon scribbles halfway up the wall–
the arm reach of a three-year-old.

When I asked about the house,
my dad said that it was our summer home,
and the next time we went to the field,
I brought a broom.

I cleaned out the mouse droppings and the tumbleweeds.
I collected the peeled tile fragments,
imagining gluing them back again.
I washed out a quart canning jar at the pump
and filled it with spring water
and sweet clover,
putting it on the floor
between the kitchen chair holes
in the exact middle of the vanished table.
With the old shirt I found in the corner,
I rubbed mud and river sand
from the linoleum counter tops.
More sand worked as Ajax to scrub out sinks.

All summer long I worked on our summer home,
and for that summer and many summers to come,
I waited in vain for our move to the river house.

I sat on its screened front porch.
Outside the screen grew spearmint and peppermint.
On the top leaf of the tallest branch was a grasshopper,
the kind that left tobacco stains in your hand
when you held it.
All around me were the trees–
the swaying shedding cottonwoods
and scrub chokecherries.
It was a wealth of trees I’d never seen before
in the town where we lived on the bare prairie
nor on the roads we traversed for hundreds of miles
to see a movie or a dentist
or to buy clothes.

Around the screens buzzed the heavy flies,
their motors slow in the heat of July–
all the flies on the outside
wanting to get in
and all the flies on the inside
pressing the screen to get out–
like I longed to get out
to the freedom of trees
where black crows
and dull brown sparrows
rustled their wings
and flew from branch to branch.

In the distance, meadowlarks called
the only birdcall I ever recognized.
No squirrels, no chipmunks; but, rabbits? Yes.
My father said no bears,
but he’d told me the story of Hugh Glass,
mauled by a bear,
walking this river for a hundred miles
past this very joining of the Big and Little White,
in search of help;
and I could imagine one last bear or two
hidden in my woods.

So at night, at home in our winter house in town,
when he told the story I loved the best,
I was the one who discovered the bears’ cottage,
and the cottage was our summer home.
The chairs–too hard, too soft, just right—
I sat upon in turn,
taking great care every time to nestle each leg
back into its correct place on the kitchen linoleum.
And when I lay in the perfect bed of the little bear,
I could touch the crayon markings on the wall.

So when the three bears found me asleep
in the little bear’s room,
they weren’t really very scary;
but I ran anyway,
into my dark and shadowed owl-calling woods,
my woods still echoing the day lit fluted calls of meadowlarks,
their music shaken from the snarled leaves
in the evening breeze.
I ran to trees–
their leaves frosted by moonlight and the Milky Way,
vibrating with the power of the Big Dipper and Orion,
the Seven Sisters and the North Star.

Into the trees
to where I stored my memories
in the frog-croaking depressions under clumps of grass,
in the tangles of Creeping Jenny
and the fluff of dandelions,
in the sand hollows
that crept up from the riverbanks,
in the cocklebur and the chigger-infested grass,
in the crooks of cottonwoods and caves of thickets,
in the tiny cupped palms
of sweet clover and purple alfalfa,
in the wheat grass and the oats and trefoil.

The year my dad decided to expand the field
on the river bottom,
I pleaded, I cajoled, I promised, I prayed
for the summer home
where I had lived for neither one summer
nor one night, in actuality,
but where, nevertheless, I’d had faith
I would someday live.

Of course, there was no saving the woods
and summer house.
It was rich river land, prime for irrigation.
The trees were a waste of soil.
The summer home–everybody’s gentle joke on me.

After the cats and bulldozers were through,
I went with my dad to see
where trees had been ripped out,
the house burned to the ground,
the soil turned and planted
with crops that would build the land.
Their woods now furrowed soil,
the crows and sparrows
had gone to some other shaded place;
the mice, back to the fields.

My former references of trees forever gone,
the present references of sky and fence posts
too wide and new,
I wasn’t sure where my summer home had stood.
The house’s ghost destroyed by the bright sunlight,
the woodland paths replaced by tractor treads,
I watched instead a meadowlark
soar over brown fields and settle on barbed wire,
claiming the new field for its own.
With no house or forest left,
my only shade was chokecherry bushes,
my only chair, the pickup running board.
And so my summers at the river
vanished in the smoke of my summer home
and smoldering tree stumps.

But every night, my woods again threw still shadows
over the summer house,
and I ran once more the corridors of moonlight
cut through dense trees
like parts in a small girl’s hair.
I ran in the wet dew of the condensing summer heat.
I ran on the fuel of my need for magic
and wildness
and rivers
and trees.
I ran fueled by my need to be with something
that lived outside my window
as I passed long nights in my winter house.

It lay in the dark tapping of the trumpet vine branch
against my window
and the crunching of gravel
as someone walked by on the unpaved street–
out past midnight and I couldn’t tell who.
It lay in the pricking of the hair on my arm
as I stuck it out from the bed
and pressed it to the screen.

Always, in town, it lay outside of me–
except for when I floated the paths
of the woods surrounding the summer house,
joining it in dreams,
night after night and then less frequently
until the dreams came once a month
or once a year–
in darkness, always recognized;
but nonetheless forgotten in the light.

So by the time I saw the river field grown lush with corn,
I was a teenager in my first grownup swimsuit,
floating the milky Little White in an inner tube,
down to its junction
with the clear and colder-running water of the Big White,
my best friend next to me,
our cooler full of Coca-Colas and ham salad,
our conversations full of boys and music.

At the border of the field, to get to the river bank,
we crawled over the border of large tree trunks
laid horizontal, half-buried in sand.
I guess I knew they were the bones of my midnight woods.
I guess some part of me felt
the ghost of my summer house.
But, as I lay on my back on the submerged sand bank,
the warm water flowed so sensuously over my shoulders
and down my legs
that my suit seemed to peel itself
from my shoulders, breasts, thighs, calves.
And in a dream I floated the muddy water
of the Little White,
turning in the current
until the water seemed to flow inside of me,
floating me down
to the cool clear water of the Big White,
farther and farther away
from the summer home.

This poem was posted specifically as a response to THIS post on Red’s Wrap.

“The Summer Home” is excerpted from Prairie Moths–Memories of a Farmer’s Daughter, which is available Available on Amazon in Print and Kindle Versions and at Diane Pearl Colecciones and Sol Mexicana in Ajijic, MX

 

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 Just as moths rise from prairie grasses to fly away, so did the author yearn to be free from the very place that nurtured her. Judy Dykstra-Brown’s verse stories and accompanying photographs give a vivid portrayal of rural life in the fifties and sixties, evoking the colors and sounds of the prairie and the longing a child with an active imagination feels for faraway places. From a small child curled up on the couch listening to her father’s stories of homestead days to pubescent fantasies of young itinerant combiners to her first forays into romance in the front seat of a ’59 Chevy, her memories acquire a value in time that she did not acknowledge while living them. Lovers of good poetry and those who miss the magic of childhood will relish Prairie Moths. (Excerpted from a review by Harriet Hart)

 

Crowded Secret

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Crowded Secret

This secret
shared with only you
has become crowded.

Like a party with too many guests,
it spills up the staircase
and into private rooms.

This secret with only room for two
has nudged you out of my confidence
as this one and this one and this one

crowd in to offer advice
just as though
they had been invited.

This prompt “”Crowded Secret” was generated by a new prompt site.  Go HERE to use it.
Today’s WordPress prompt may be found HERE.

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Although this is a picture of my childhood friend and me, it is used for illustrative purposes only. The poem is fictional and in no way describes either one of us.

Fidelity

“We’ve been friends since we were skinny!”
–Anonymous

Yes, we grew up friends and stood up at each others’ weddings.
She was there for all my break-ups. I was there for all her beddings.
And though she thinks I’m poorly dressed and I think she’s a snob
who only talks about her “things,” fashion and her job.
And though she lets her eyes stray, like she finds my talk is boring,
and puts polish on her fingernails  while mine are apple coring.

Though she prefers the opera while I like the Avett Brothers,
and dines on caviar while Burger King is more my druthers.
While she shops for Michael Kors, Yves Saint Laurent and Fendi,
Ross Dress for Less is where I shop for clothes that are less trendy.
She drives a new Mercedes while I drive a beat-up Chevy.
While she works out at her health spa, I have let myself get heavy.

Yet none of this has ever put our friendship in the skids.
I pat her little yappy dog. She puts up with my kids.
For though we’ve evolved differently,  she still is my best friend,
and the history between us means our bond will never end.
Though she lives in a mansion and my house is a dump,
Just one thing could divide us. That is–if she votes for Trump!!!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Delayed Contact.” How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time — if you only met them for the first time today?