Tag Archives: poem

Five Bananas

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Five Bananas

I was on my way home from the weekly market today, going to my car to get a thermal bag to buy ice at the corner liquor store,  when I passed a big truck selling fruit and vegetables.  I asked if they had bananas that weren’t green.  He got up in the truck, showed me some and I said “How much?”  He gave me a price for 2 kilos (about 4 lbs) and I said, no, I didn’t need that many and thanked him.  I realized then that he probably just sold in bulk to small grocery stores in the area.  I got in my car and drove a block away to another small fruit market and just as I was going to open my car door, the truck pulled up beside me.  The window next to me was rolled down and the man held out a bunch of five bananas.  I asked how much and he smiled and said, “It is a gift” and they drove away. Later, I saw them in another store and asked if I could buy them something to drink from the cold case, but they both said no.  

Some days are worth getting out of bed for!!!

Listless

Listless

I don’t have any strategy, I don’t have any plan—
no recipes for muffins, no plots to meet a man.
My life is so unstructured that I have nary a list.
With no clearcut tomorrow, my future’s in a mist.
If I were only twenty, I guess they’d call me fickle.
To be so directionless would land me in a pickle.
At seventy I’ve joined the list of lives that are expired.
I’m finally giving up and saying I’m fully retired!
My alarm clock’s in the cupboard––abandoned. I don’t need it.
I gifted this year’s calendar to someone who will heed it.
No meetings on my calendar. No notes upon my fridge.
I don’t attend aerobics. I gave up playing bridge.
How do I fill my life out now that I’ve come unwired?
Now that it’s gone unplotted and its furnace gone unfired?
I’m letting every day I meet just unwind and unravel.
Letting fate determine what pathway I will travel.
My compass needle disengaged, I’m floundering in “free—”
All things now determined by serendipity.

The prompt today is strategy.

An Evocation

(Enlarge all photos by clicking on any photo.)

An Evocation

Your life catches in its static house.
Nothing but the lightest footfall betrays its presence.
The door to escape, the ocean’s edge,
tempts you to leave yourself and enter.
This echo of the ocean is the dove in you
that carries the message that you want to fly.

Motionless dove, I want to flush you
to the crack of sunrise—to its flower.
Forget your lone compulsions.
Leave your comfort.
Desert the logic that has frozen you.

If you could let this sick time pass,
you might grow less diverted as your distance from it grows.
Time’s ricochet might drive you to the canyon’s rim,
revealing to you that you no longer fear the fall.

The stress of guilt slows down and if you choose to let it, lags behind.
You will pass and repass it on your round journey,
until its memories finally fall away.

Time will devour your guilt, no matter how grand its scale,
revoke its sentence and set the guilty free.


This poem, much edited since I first wrote it five years ago, is a “distilled poem.” The distilled poem can have any  line length or meter, rhymed or unrhymed. The only “rule” is that each stanza must have one less line than the stanza before it.  If you want to play along, send me a link to your poem.

The prompt word today is evoke.

for the dVerse Poets Pub

Torn Love

Torn Love

Still standing close,
each on our own side of this terrible rending,
how can we see things so differently?
This little flap of skin
you keep pulling open
wants to close.

This is how cancers start—
this worrying and worrying of an old injury.
My darling. Leave it alone
and let us heal.
This is only a biopsy
of our changed love affair.

If it is cut out of us,
it will be by your decision;
and no number of late-night arguments
will ever change that fact.
What you need to remember
the next morning,
you will remember.

If it were up to me,
we would still be friends,
but if you need an enemy
to console you in your actions,
I guess I must be that too.
I always was a figment
of your imagination.
Believe that
if it makes this easier for you.

II

Cicatrix

I know better than you
what lies buried under
my healed-over self.

The raised part of me
grown to protect the wound
creates this distance
that I once warned you of.

I need to thicken that part of me
where part of you remains,
and if for this time you gasp for air,
it is my thick skin growing over you,
like an orb spider winding you in my web

until you become
the one in me hidden so deep
that even you
believe you’ve disappeared.

 

Yes, another reprint of a poem from over four years ago. The prompt today was torn.

Winged Elegance

Anyone who has seen the flight of a frigate bird knows that it is the epitome of grace and elegance. This is a poem I wrote three years ago at the beach in La Manzanilla.

The Magnificent Frigate Bird

They polonaise up higher,
far above the rest.
Not once dipping to the land.
Do they ever nest?

I never see them fishing,
foraging or chewing,
as though their wings are made for art
but are not made for doing.

A gentle crease within their wings
looks folded and unfolded,
but keeps its shape no matter what,
as though it has been molded.

This rhyme is not so fragile
nor so graceful as these birds.
I guess such elegance as theirs
cannot be caught in words.

The prompt today is elegance.

The Knitted and the Purled


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The Knitted and the Purled

Nothing in this world can exist happily ever after.
A house is built of lows and highs: foundation before rafter.
Up and down’s the truth of it, the brilliant and the dark.
No week is composed totally of Sunday in the park.

Existence is a pendulum that sweeps across our lives.
Worker bees die every day in service to their hives.
Good seems finely balanced by a constant lurking evil.
Roses have their aphids.  Cotton has its weevil.

There is so much that’s wonderful in the world we live in,
but no one wins at every game. Sometimes we have to give in,
playing with the cards we’re given—flush or straight or fold—
sometimes in the heat of luck, sometimes out in the cold.

Ups and downs create the whole of our amazing world,
its surface formed by contrast of the knitted and the purled.
Sometimes we’re given what is sweet, at other times the bile
as we choose moment by moment to live happily for a while.

 

Rewrite of a poem from three years ago. The prompt today is knit.

CFFC Challenge: The Letter “J”

Judith

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Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week directs us to post a photo of something beginning with the letter “J” that contains at least six letters. Believe it or not, it took me a good ten minutes to come up with such a word!  I was about to resort to the dictionary when I spied this photo on my desktop. I had used it just a few days ago, but earlier, when I went to put it away, my eyes fell on the purse and I started to wonder what I would have carried in a purse when I was three years old. It seemed like a good subject for a poem, so I left the photo there to remind me to try to do so after I did Cee’s “Fun Foto” post. It didn’t occur to me for a long time, that since my name is Judith and it was a photo of me, that I could do both at the same time. 

Cee’s “J” Challenge.

 

Church Purse

What does a three-year-old put in a purse she takes to church?
Held primly on her lap as legs swing freely from their perch.
Feet dangling from the pew above the varnished floorboards where
fifty years of townsfolk have walked enroute to prayer.
Small straw purse grasped tightly in two nail-bitten fists,
too little for a lipstick or store receipts or lists.

If perhaps the sermon stretches on too long,
what can she find inside this purse that she has brought along?
Black plastic strap she’s twisted securely ‘round a finger—
once she has unwound it, how long will the marks linger
pressed into her chubby flesh, like four little rings
she surveys as she unsnaps her purse to view her “things?”

A single piece of Juicy Fruit in case she gets a cough.
A snap bead and a single bud that happened to fall off
the rosebush of that big house as she ran ahead to linger
on their way to church and squeezed it with her finger
(and perhaps her thumbnail) until it finally snapped.
She’d peel off its petals later as she napped.

She knew she shouldn’t do this. They’d told her this before,
but her parents walked so slowly, and those naps were such a bore.
God may have seen even the smallest sparrow fall,
but were single rosebuds seen by him at all?
That lady they belonged to was so bossy and so haughty
that she provoked the saintliest children to be naughty!

A single plastic wrapped-up toy she worries to and fro
from her last night’s Cracker Jacks bought before the show.
She softly rustles cellophane between her restless fingers,
then sniffs them to determine if the caramel smell still lingers.
Mama gently elbows her to say she should desist––
fluttering her hand a bit, loosely from the wrist.

She looks for things much quieter in her little purse.
Her snap pistol is noisier. This marble would be worse,
dropped upon the church floor where it would roll away.
If she caused such a ruckus, what would the preacher say?
Something at the bottom feels so round and sticky.
Probably a Lifesaver gone all soft and icky.

A little lace-edged hanky that Grandma tatted for her.
She said that she would show her how, but she’s sure it would bore her.
A folded piece of paper. Crayons––one blue, one red.
If the sermon goes too long, she can color instead.
Mama will not mind and neither will her Dad.
Sister will be embarrassed, but she cares not a tad.

Later on her Daddy’s eyes will start to close,
but she’s sure her mom will nudge him before he starts to doze.
That’s why she is sitting right there in the middle
to correct his snoozes and her daughter’s every fiddle.
Sister is so perfect she needs no reprimand,
so she sits on the outside, removed from Mama’s hand.

After the sermon’s over, the collection plate
passes here before her, certain of its fate.
She’ll unsnap the little purse and reach down far inside it
to try to find the quarter where she chose to hide it
stuck in her silly putty in a little ball.
Now she wonders whether she can remove it all.

The people farther down the pew look in her direction
to try to see the cause of the collection plate’s deflection,
so her quarter is surrendered to join the coins and bills
piled there around it in green and silver hills.
It is the only quarter blanketed in blue.
It is a nice addition, this unexpected hue.

Sister looks disgusted, but her parents do not see,
That quarter cannot be traced back to her now, luckily.
Church will soon be ended with a prayer and song,
and when the music starts up, she will gladly sing along.
 She still dreads church but she gives thanks, for it could be worse.
She could be forced to live through it without her Sunday purse!