A pen her only weapon, she brandished it at life. From within her cave of thoughts, she used it as a knife. Cutting out the sadness, filleting the pain, she served them out on pages sacrificed to rain. Let the press of water wash them clean again.
An inherited tendency that rendered him pugnacious was a quality that caused his friends to label him audacious, but luckily this acting out, though maddening, was fugacious, because they’d found his surly mood was frequently contagious.
In between his pouty moods, he had a great ambition to write great works and stun the world with his erudition. He’d be a star. The Pulitzer would be his life’s great crowning. Sadly, his words rarely occasioned moods other than frowning.
In the end he turned to a lifestyle less vivacious than the pen. Alas, he chose a comfort more herbaceous. His solace was that healing weed that smoothed out disappointments and made action barely possible—let alone appointments.
He stopped visiting taverns to hang out with his mates.
Did not return their phone calls and cancelled dinner dates. His doors, once open, stayed sealed tight with vapors only seeping under their cracks to hint at the company he was keeping.
He ceased to be pugnacious, erudite or anything. Dust blanketed computer keys. He heard his cellphone ring as friends all tried to reach him but I fear it was in vain. They tried a dozen times before not calling him again.
Sometimes, cures are worse than the thing that they are curing.
To have their crusty friend back would make bad moods worth enduring, but, alas, it was too late. In life it is allowed to make our own decisions. Thus, he vanished in a cloud.
I wrote and published this poem last year, but Christine Anfossie has set it to music and if you click the link below, you can hear her singing it.
Pen and Ink
The pen that stands, clipped and inert in the pocket of your shirt has no power on its own so long as it is left alone, but once held upright in your grip, free of cap and free of clip, it forms a partnership of sorts that spews out pithy, smart retorts.
It snaps the present into line with words that easily combine in sentences that, once unfurled, have the power to change the world. I ask you, who would ever think that two joined objects—pen and ink— could form a perfect synergy to spew out jokes or tragedy?
Guided by a hand like yours, a pen can open many doors. A simple point, an ink-trailed line, could link your heart with one like mine. Unclip it now. Uncap its point. Let ink your paper now anoint. Let words turn somersaults and caper. Let words flow from your heart to paper.
Let ink flow rampant from its cage to dance across the naked page. No telling what it might report as words go wild and cavort. “I” and “love” and “you” might do a sort of line-dance or soft-shoe. Words just might and words just may leak out and give your heart away.
Words by Judy Dykstra-Brown, Music and Vocals by Christine Anfossie.
If I were a golfer, I fear there’d be no putting, for my grass is lush and verdant— badly in need of cutting. Meanwhile, the bougainvillea has gotten out of hand. It’s like a barbed wire jungle—every twisted strand. If I were more rambunctious, I’d grab work gloves and scramble to gas up the mower and to tackle every bramble, but those days of industrious gardening are far back in my past. Those Olympian feats of plant and tend simply didn’t last. Instead I lie here in my bed growing and trimming words. Outside, through the curtains, I hear the wakening birds. I hear the front gate opening, make out the squeak of wheels. Is there a single reader who detects how good it feels to just fluff up the pillows and type on throughout the dawn as Pasiano trims the thorny vines and mows the blasted lawn?
I am alive. Loud morning birds give testimony to the fact, and I have started again to write this book after a lapse of one year. I sing to celebrate two miracles, my backup chorus fading out behind me as I warble my extreme pleasure in being chosen to participate in this wonderful world and in having the luxury to write about it.
Only a fool waits for a poem to come to him. You have to call for it like a proper blind date, knocking on its door and seeing beauty in whatever opens it.
Take it dancing. Twirl it around the floor, letting words fly off in all directions.
Leave what flutters off alone. Someone else will pick it up and dance with it. No word is a wallflower, although some are chosen more frequently to dance. Those are the words to avoid. Do not always choose the prettiest words. In the dance of the poem, the ugliest of words acquire a charm.
Do not insist that you yourself lead. Let the poem, instead, draw you off the dance floor, out the door and down the path to deep woods where all the wild words live.
Gather them in bouquets or weave them into chains to crown your head–– that head of the poet who follows where the poems go and collects them by armfuls to share with the world.
The prompt word on this Valentine’s Day is, fittingly, “passion.”
Each morning when I wake to shrill alarm or sweet bird song, depending upon the requirements of my day, you are the first to greet my opening eyes. You rest there on the pillow next to me in the bed where first I, then you, have fallen to sleep the night before too soon, too soon, before half our words were said.
It is the first stroke of my fingers that brings you finally to life. Your countenance lights up and the same love words I revealed to you last night are returned to me.
My hands caress and new words come easily first to me, then to you. I touch gently all your fine smoothness, getting back everything that I give equal measure, continuing our long love story of give and take as I shift your light frame onto my lap to stroke your separate parts from question mark to exclamation point.
Could a PC ever rouse this passion in me? No way, MacBook Air. Thou art my love!