Tag Archives: Word of the Day

Big Hair and Histamines

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Big Hair and Histamines

“These Kleenex are too flagrant,” they always make me sneeze,” she said as she added yet another wadded puff to the pile in the trash can beside her bed. “Why in the world would they add perfume to something people with allergies blow their noses into?”

“Yes, it’s a fragrant abuse of medical logic,” I said, but she didn’t get the joke. She was too miserable and so I just let her malapropism slide by as I had so many times in our long friendship.

The air in this season of new growth was full of pollen. We indulged our roommate by keeping the windows of our college quad closed at all times and we had long ago relegated all our perfume to bottom drawers or trash cans. In those long-ago days of “big hair” when there was no such thing as unscented anything, we took the calculated risk of using hair spray, but only by climbing out onto the fire escape, pulling the window shut behind us and waiting a good five minutes before entering the room again. And this only if our allergy-prone friend was not in the room.

Occasionally, she caught a whiff of us as we passed in the game room or dining room, but she didn’t mention it. We knew that look, though. Only vanity won out over our need not to irritate the nasal fibers of our good friend. No one would miss our perfume, but in terms of hair, no girl dared to defy the norm. Bubbly, big, smooth and helmet-solid—that was the hair-fashion decree of the sixties.

Prompt words today are flagrant, indulged, quad, calculate and air.

Wardrobe Change

Image by Ivan Dodig on Unsplash. Used with permission

Wardrobe Change

Her sequined dress, once fabulous, has lost its shape and glitter.
It lies beneath her window, reduced to roadside litter.
She might have been more charitable—donating the gown.
They would have earned a pretty penny for a dress of such renown.
But she needs its story ended. She could not bear to face
another woman’s body and another woman’s face
pictured in the tabloids in that gown made just for her.
Its memories ran through her mind, quickly, in a blur.

Trips down long red carpets, the flashbulbs and the fuss.
Minding how she sat so its gathers would not muss.
How its beauty cut into the soft mounds of her flesh.
The sharp knives of its edges. The fine silk of its mesh.
How it paralleled her life—the pleasure and the pain.
His gentle kiss and how, at last, he left her life again.
The lovely words once spoken that turned out to be just script.
The dress tugged off in anger. The dress she’d pulled and ripped

to be free of all it brought to mind—the glamour and the pain.
Best it be diminished by harsh sun and rain.
She flung it out the window, not caring where it rested.
Rid of it, would painful memories be bested?
Covered up by road dust, bogged down by stormy weather,
sequins floated gutters, each weightless as a feather.
Threads loosened and seams parted as the garment ceased to be.
And its combined pains and pleasures were consigned to memory.

Prompt words today are charitable, litter, fabulous and dress.

Opening Night at the Theater with a Famous Screen Legend’s Guest Appearance

photo by Jordhan Madec on Unsplash. Used with permission

Opening Night at the Theater
with a Famous Screen Legend’s Guest Appearance

There’s an air of raw excitement in the theater tonight.
The ingenues are nervous and the grand dame wants to fight.
Her makeup isn’t done right and her hairdo is a fright.
The set is way too yellow and the stage lights are too bright!

She regales them with stories of when she was at her height.
They wonder just how many great successes she will cite.
It is a frosty evening, yet they brave the cold wind’s bite 
to stand out in the alley to escape the much worse plight

of the thirtieth retelling of the star’s first opening night.
The male lead finally gets here, but, alas, high as a kite.

The orchestra begins their opus, hoping to incite
the audience to wild applause as they get their first sight

of the famous lady, surrounded by pink light
that obscures those telltale wrinkles and a costume that’s too tight.
The ingenues are all in place, ready for the fight,
waiting for the star to speak, then exit to the right.

Then all their minor lines they are ready to recite.
It will be a war of words, and they’re ready to fight.
This era, it will be their turn the audience to excite.
Will they outshine the brightest star? Yes, perhaps they might!

Prompt words today are excitement, stage, frosty, regale and yellow.

Scrooge and Your Christmas Vacation

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Scrooge and Your Christmas Vacation

Scrooge has turned surfing waves to ice and ski slopes into water.
Now he’ll ruin the rest of Christmas for your son and daughter.
He’s hacked into Kris Kringle’s map and hijacked all the toys—
the dolls and basketballs of girls, the hockey sticks of boys.
He’s eaten all the cookies—just stuffed them in his face.
The mistletoe and holly? Vanished, without a trace.

Yes, Scrooge is up to his old tricks, spreading brimstone and acid
over all your Christmas plans that seemed so set and placid.
If you want to thwart him, take your surfboards to the slopes.
Go skiing at the oceanside. Ruin all his dark Scrooge hopes.
Make merry with no mistletoe. Traditions rearrange.
Give Santa Claus a hotdog. He’ll appreciate the change!

In our modern screwed-up world, we’ve gone a bit astray.
We’ve forgotten the real purpose behind our Christmas Day.
That first Christmas was as humble as a Christmas scene could be.
No holly and no mistletoe. Much less frivolity.
The original gifts of Christmas were not placed beneath a tree,
for those first gifts that were given were not meant for you and me.

How the message has been altered as it came down the years
is that Christmas is for getting and disappointed tears
if we don’t get what we wanted. Expectations of perfection.
When we think of giving, we don’t see our own reflection.
Perhaps Scrooge brings the point across that joy is in the living.
So instead of what you hoped you’d get, concentrate on giving!

 

Prompt words today are Scrooge, map, tasteful, placid and water.

On Display

On Display

He’s so ostentatious. He turns up his nose
at other folks’ houses, vehicles and clothes.
He only wears Lagerfeld, Lauren or Kors.
His decor is elegant, but he hates yours!

Your neighborhood barbecue starting at twilight
will never be his calendar’s highlight.
Picnics to him are truly the pits.
He dines at Spagos. Slums it at the Ritz.

In his microcosm, he reigns as the king
of all refinement. Each exquisite thing
that resides in his house is an objet d’art,
but, concerning your taste? Darling, don’t start.

When it comes to decor you have no idea.
He buys antiques in Paris. You shop at IKEA.
Of his sense of design, you know not one iota.
Do you need further proof? You drive a Toyota!

 

The prompt words today are microcosm, barbecue, twilight, ostentatious and nose. Photo by Kevin Bhagat on Unsplash

White Knight

photo by Moss on Unsplash. Used with permission

White Knight

His choice of her as wife must clear enough betoken
that he has a predilection for the damaged and the broken.
When they met, ’twas clear she was a maiden in distress.
She’d tipped a cocktail over and ruined her favorite dress.
He furnished first a hanky, and when it proved ineffective,
he replaced the sodden garment with a new one less defective.

She seemed to have no talent save for partying and shopping.
Her credit cards were all maxed out, but still she wasn’t stopping.
Prada, Hermes, Target, Ross—she loved to shop them all.
After Amazon, her favorite was, of course, the mall.
She never checked the price tags. Didn’t money grow on trees?
But she had a fatal beauty that brought him to his knees.

Enchanted by her problems, he sought to solve them all.
He’d demonstrate his prowess. He’d get right on the ball.
He fixed her dripping kitchen sink and jacked up her foundation,
solved her termite problem and her rodent infestation.
And once her house was perfect, his role clear as her savior,
he settled in to trying to solve her bad behavior.

Language lessons, charm school, manicures and waxing.
It’s clear she found these self-improvement strategies most taxing.
She flunked out of the classes and grew back all the hair.
And yet he felt no let-down. He was feeling debonaire
as he came up before her and sank down on one knee,
produced a six-carat diamond and a “Will you marry me?”

The advent of their wedding found his family full of wrath.
They prayed she’d trip upon the stairs or drown within her bath.
But fate did not oblige them, and soon there was a wedding—
the showers and the ceremony, honeymoon and bedding.
He had bought a bride as though purchasing a house.
A little money down and the rest when she was spouse.

She brought her problems with her and once he’d paid her debts—
her bills and parking tickets—then there were the pets.
A cockatoo, a cobra, a Saint Bernard, a kitten.
They filled his living room, his den, and yet he was still smitten.
After a month, his house in tatters, patience growing thin,
her extended family started moving in.

Her father was a gambler, her mother fond of gin.
Her little brother played the drums, which set up quite the din.
Yet not a friend felt sorry for these things that disconcerted him.
His servants soon gave notice and his family deserted him.
They’d all given their warnings—advice he hadn’t heeded,
yet he marveled over where friends went when they were really needed!

The moral never occurs at the start, where it is needed,
probably because it knows that it won’t be heeded.
Experience works better than any threat or warning
to curb initial excitement in favor of deep mourning.
The end is most predictable. The marriage didn’t last,
and with no prenuptial, the lot was surely cast.

They split his fortune down the middle. She made off with half,
but she had to take her family, so he had the last laugh.
The animals went to a zoo. The drums went with her brother.
He packed up all her cousins and her father and her mother
and left them on the doorstep of the mansion that she’d bought.
And so ends our story with its moral clearly taught.

All dragons were slain long ago and white knights are passé,
so solving maidens’ problems is clearly déclassé.
If you wish to save the world, try starting a foundation.
Send needy kids to summer camp or fund their education.
Chivalry, I fear is dead, so don’t try to revive it.
For as I’ve demonstrated, there’s a chance you won’t survive it!

 

Prompt words for today are enchanted, damage, advent, predilection and bath.

Dog Language

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Dog Language

It’s true I can decipher after all these years
every little wiggle, each twitching of their ears.
See that head’s uplifting? The garbageman is near.
That ruff of neck spells danger. Tail between legs means fear.

One whine warns of a squirrel invading territory
intended for two dogs alone. Then barks are mandatory!
Sirens were meant for harmony—their plaintive howls a must.
Head bowed down submissively signals respect and trust.

They also know my language. When I move to the door
three rooms away to feed the cats, I hear their hungry roar.
Up against the back door, starving paws commence to scrape.
If I had plans to skip their meal, now there is no escape.

It is their task to let me know when feeding time is close,
and when I move at snail’s pace, they become quite verbose.
The younger dog, much better trained, awaits me in his cage,
surprised at how the older dog dares to jump and rage.

Ordered outside, he edges closer, full of twists and flounces.
The minute that the bowls are lowered, he charges in and pounces.
Then each is most fastidious in licking clean his plate,
fearing that starvation is a likely fate.

They keep a vigilant watch on me, peering through the bars
between the terrace and kitchen, as I open jars.
They hear the fridge door opening, they see each morsel fall.
If they ever get inside, they will devour them all.

And when perchance they sneak inside, against their master’s wishes,
take on the chore of licking clean all the old cat’s dishes.
How else might they show gratitude, with no words to express it?
They simply have to wag their tails and hope that I might guess it!

Prompt words today are fastidious, task, uplifting, decipher and snail.