Tag Archives: memories

Lovesick

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                       Lovesick

Memories of her
stretch out like a voluptuous lover
over the couch of his mind.
He takes refuge in them in his loneliness,
gathering a sequelae
of the aftereffects of her loss
around him
like a scratchy woolen blanket
drawn by habit,
offering little comfort.

The prompts today are sequelae, stretch, voluptuous and refuge.  Here are the links:
https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/rdp-sundaysequelae/
https://fivedotoh.com/2018/10/07/fowc-with-fandango-stretch/
https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/10/07/voluptuous/
https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/10/06/daily-addictions-2018-week-40/refuge

I Took a Picture of Your Name

 

I Took A Picture Of Your Name.

After so many years, seeing it again on the screen,
I took a picture of your name.
Not written by your hand,
it had a strangeness–
featureless, revealing nothing.
It had no voice,
no breath.

Out there sharing itself with the world,
it has formed a wall around
that intimacy it birthed when you took my hand in yours,
using your name to pull me closer,
powerless against its strength on your tongue.

Everyone wanted to share a part of what made you you,
but I only wanted to be with you, back when,
scrawled in your careless hand,
you were written on my soul.

Wanting to be perfect for you,
remembering that tattoo you traced across my back.
Your name and mine.
“Always,” you wrote.

My trip to Guanajuato with my nephew Ryan was wonderful–just about as perfect as it could be.  Since I was 49 when he was born and living two thousand miles away, we had never really spent any time together, other than 4 short overnight visits I’d made to their house enroute to other places or for graduations or other celebrations, and he was always a kid with the other kids, I an adult with the other adults.  This was our first meeting as adults and with an entire week to get acquainted, we walked and looked all day and talked all night. Ryan did fine taking in the sights with people about fifty years older than him and formed a particular bond with one member of the group–a bit of a rascal at 76–really a kid who never grew up.  Ryan was actually better behaved than this man who could serve as the pattern for a trickster.

As our tour bus pulled into Ajijic at the end of our four-day tour, Ryan asked for his name and information so he could send him this photo I’d taken of the two of them. I pulled out pencil and paper, but the man had his own phone in his hand with his contact information on it  as he was spelling out his name so I could copy it , so Ryan merely reached over, clicked his phone over his, and said, “I’ll just take a picture of your name and look you up on Facebook.”

“I Took a Picture of Your Name” popped into my mind as a wonderful beginning line for a poem and although the resultant poem  is not about them and has nothing to do with our trip, here is a photo of them in recognition of the fact that their overheard conversation was really the prompt for the first poem I’ve written in five days.  My Internet-less vacation is over, but I’m going to try to remember the lesson it taught. Less time on the computer.  More time out in life.  Ryan and I are already planning our next adventure. I’ll show some photos later after he’s gone.

Ryan and friend about to descend into a silver mine in Guanajuato.

Play Date

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Play Date

 

My sister’s house has sold and they are cleaning out her attic. My niece and I make one trip more and I find my old dollhouse, collapsed, in the garbage can. I take the pieces out—some of them—and stash them in her trunk. I’d thought them gone forty years ago when the tornado took the roof off my parents’ house, but now, here they are like the leaves of memory blown miraculously back to me.

When she sees I’ve taken them, my niece asks what she should do with the dolls she found in the back recesses of her mother’s attic storage room—the one I hadn’t got to on my last visit—perhaps because of the roofing nails sticking through the wood which made reaching back behind the eaves a physical danger.

I find them where she has stashed them In a suitcase in her garage, and when I open the case and see the first doll staring up at me, I think it is a “find” from some antique store, like the dishes in my sister’s China cabinet or the tiny figures on her shelves. One rubber arm, sticky with age, has burst open and streams kapok like a froth of bleached and fermented blood. Other limbs have decayed to nothing but empty puddles of congealed rubber. Only the torso, held in place by a sagging pink fancy gown; and the face, stained red in places from some surface it’s been pressed against for too long, are still intact. As I lift the first doll from the suitcase, the other doll—the size of a toddler—stares up at me, one eye unhinged, her hair in pigtails sealed with rubber bands. When I lift her by one arm, her head turns, her legs pump and I realize this is my Ideal walking doll. When you raise her arms, one at a time, she walks toward you and her head swings, side-to-side. Hard and beautiful, she was not a doll to cuddle and she would not sit. She stood propped up against one corner of my room, rarely played with. What, I wonder, has happened to the bright blue dress she wore? Then I look closer and see that she’s still wearing it—faded to paleness even in the dark. What is here is original—her hair, her limbs, her dress, her petticoat—but her shoes and socks have been lost to another little girl, perhaps, or have jiggled off in some trunk and been left behind.

I’m 1500 miles away from home, yet I load the child-sized dollies into my boyfriend’s trunk: my sister’s doll in it’s fancy pink floor-length formal, my doll with her eye gone wild in its socket. They won’t make it home to Mexico in my suitcase this time, but it is impossible to leave them there in the suitcase to be thrown away by someone who has no memory of them. They are not collector’s items. They have been too neglected in their lives since they stood propped up in the corners of our rooms, then in the corners of our closets, the basement, my sister’s trunk and then her attic 800 miles from where they called us their owners and stimulated our imaginations to the extent they were able.

They’ll now reside in my boyfriend’s garage in Missouri until the time comes when I can carry them back in an extra suitcase or he can mule them down for me. If they were miniatures, I could include them in a retablo or a memory box, but each head is larger than the largest assemblage I’ve ever made. The closets of my house are full and overflowing, as are the wall-to-ceiling cabinets in my garage and studio and every area of my house where I’ve had room to build a closet. But I must use them. Give them some purpose for still existing other than to fill up room in some box on some cupboard shelf.

I imagine a memory box of gigantic proportions and suddenly, I have to make it, even if it takes up all the work room of my studio, and I start to plan how I could take my own doll back with me and what I’ll have to leave: the case of books that I’ve just had printed or my clothes or all the cartridges for my laser printer? If I wear a baby carrier, will they believe it is my baby, sound asleep? And what sensation will I cause when I try to stuff her into the overhead rack?

When I start to plan what else will go in the memory box with her, I remember the metal dollhouse sides and suddenly, I’m planning another trip back to Missouri, where I will make the mother of memory boxes—four feet square—and I wonder how my boyfriend will react to this and what I’ll do with it when it is finished. But somehow all these practicalities do not matter, because this dolly, relegated to corners for its whole life, is finally going to get played with!!!

This is a reblog from a 2014 piece. Since their prompt was “Play,” I’m reblogging it for the Ragtag Daily Prompt.

Fallen Memories

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The monsoon rains come like a blessing, relieving the hot humidity, building the lushness of the rice terraces. Green everywhere. Energetic monkeys in the sacred monkey forest grab my postcards from my hands, leave teethmarks that will delight your children more than anything  I might say in the postcards I send as recompense for the father I have taken off with me to another part of the world.

We grow into these long hot humid afternoons that are washed away for a mere hour or so by the seasonal rains. Shedding clothes like years, we live naked underneath sarongs wrapped tightly for security. You sit on the porch, your soon-to-be-old man’s furry pot belly proudly obscuring the tightly wound tuck of your sarong. Over twenty years later, it is that sarong made into a jalaba that I now wear almost daily,  hiding my soon-to-be-old lady’s pot as well. 

How I cope with growing old without you is to sift through these memories like playing cards or photos fallen from old albums that have lost their ability to secure. As gullible as upon our first meeting, I wipe away your inadequacies as I’m sure you would have forgotten mine if you had been the one left sorting the fallen memories in the bottom of the album box.

Monsoons, I have been told, blow both moist and dry, as we did over those fifteen years. But we endured and built each other, coping as all of those in marriages judged successful by their lasting power do. Today you are the photo fallen from the album to the floor.  Quickly, as you fell from my life, I tuck you back securely into your correct place, placing on top new albums with new memories built on the foundation of you and all those memories a life, in the end, is made of.  You slip into that middle place old loved ones eventually  are relegated to. Our way to cope. Our way to live life instead of merely remembering it. Because that is what life is. We keep trying. We keep on.

 

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The grab bag of prompts today were cope, monsoon, gullible and energetic. Here are the links in case you’d like to play along:

https://dailyaddictions542855004.wordpress.com/2018/06/06/welcome-to-daily-addictions/ (Cope)

https://ragtagcommunity.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/rdp-62-monsoon/

https://fivedotoh.com/2018/08/01/fowc-with-fandango-gullible/

https://wordofthedaychallenge.wordpress.com/2018/08/01/energetic/

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

 

jdb photos. Click on any image to enlarge all.

Swimming to Sandy Bottom

Working my way to sandy bottom,
through murky waters growing clear.
Through all the things I daily think of,
I hone in on what I hold dear.

Swimming down to sandy bottom,
down to past truths and future fears.
The daily details float behind as
I face old matters in arrears.

If my whole life should tell a story,
how do the details all add up?
I’ve always thought time was a sieve, but
perhaps I’ll find it was a cup.

Working my way to sandy bottom,
the flotsam of my years floats near.
All the past terrors and past glories,
and future truths I’ve come to fear.

Trying to reach that sandy bottom,
no oxygen to draw my breath.
Working our ways to sandy bottom,
we spend our lives to buy our death.

All the glories and the triumphs.
All the failures and the fears.
All the trophies we’ve collected,
and all the tattered, used-up years.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
will there be gold grains in the sands?
Too late to spend discovered riches,
they slip like lives right through our hands.

Working our ways to sandy bottom,
our lives lift up as we swim down,
As we leave the past behind us,
we find our future all around.

 

This was actually written as a song.  I had a melody in my mind as I wrote it, but it awaits a more talented composer of music than I am. The daily addiction prompt word was “hone.”

Longing: Non-Wordpress Prompt for the Day

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Knowing this was the first time in over 4 years that I haven’t had a WordPress daily prompt to follow, forgottenman gave me this one.  If you’d like to join me, just post your blog and then give a link to your blog in my comments section. Being that this is also Open Link Night in dVerse poets, if you are writing a poem, you can also link it HERE. Be sure to use the Mr. Linky bar given on this site to link your poem.

I will list links to other new prompt sites as I discover them tomorrow.

Longing

This morning’s church bells’ constant bongings
woke me to familiar longings.
Coded as they were in dreams,
when I awoke, they split their seams
and spilled into my conscious thought.
Futile to yearn for what I’m not.
No longer young or lithe or trim,
no passions spilling from my brim.
No husband, mother, father, lover.
No guardians to watch and hover.
I’ve grown away from most of life,
connections severed as with a knife.
Still, I do not long for these.
I do not pray on bended knees
for what is past or what is lost,
for I know pining’s pain and cost.
My longing, now, is just to see
what life’s plot is left to me.

The prompt today was longing.

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.