Walk with me . . .

Warning: Pack lightly when traveling abroad. Leave ethnocentrism at home.
Cultural biased cataracts blur the view of many.

Come walk with me in Busan,
savoring South Korea’s largest fish market.

My eyes espy wriggling, clinging, squid and octopi.
Cartiliaginous skates with long dead eyes,
phallic shaped Gaebuls beside sea worms,
long slithering swarm-swimming eels.

I jerk back reflexively
as red knobby sea pineapple
squeezed slightly by seller,
shoots its swallowed water at me.

So many live fish, tank after tank,
humongous to small.
Dried. Pickled.
Crustaceons. Amphibians too.

Offered sannakji to eat,
small “baby” octopus barely chopped,
some not.
Dipped in sesame oil,  swallowed like that.

I would feel them
squirm down my throat.

I remind myself silently –
Things are not better. Things are not worse.
They’re just different.

Then politely I simply say,
no thank you
and smile . . .
and stroll away.

Sarah hosts Poetics today at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She tells us about her love for visiting markets – especially when on holiday. It’s something we always do when visiting another country…..visit markets and grocery stores. It’s always so very interesting to experience culinary culture. And yes, Sarah wants us to go to market today!

Photos from our April trip where we did indeed visit the amazing fish market in Bousan. Over 500 booths — so many kinds of sea creatures!!!

Prosery I

She stumbled through life, nomadic in her search for meaning. Somehow alone when surrounded by others. Even more alone with the one identified by many, as her true love. She finally fled the good life in New York City, to homestead in Montana. Cleared the land, blisters budding on calloused hands. Days passed into nights and nights into days. She savored their rhythm, beginning to understand who she was. Only then did she put pen to paper . . .

. . . Please know, we never could be, even when we were. My voice was too matched to yours. I am not who you heard or saw. I never was. Do not search for me. When far away, an interrupted cry reminds you of that last night, please know that cry, from wherever it comes, is my spirit thanking you, for letting go.

Word Count: 144. Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today Bjorn hosts, and begins, a new category of writing for dVerse: Prosery. Prosery is similar to Flash Fiction, but with a dVerse spin! Writers must write a piece of fiction with 144 words or less, that includes a particular line of poetry, provided by the dVerse host. For the inaugural Prosery prompt, Bjorn asks us to include the line “When far away an interruped cry” taken from the poem acquainted with the night by Robert Frost.

Eulogy

Lost too soon . . .
gathered in pews
eyes tear-glistened,
memories spill from pulpit.

Amazing Grace reverberates
voices swell in unison.
Hear us missing you,
lost too soon.

Written for Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Amaya prompts us to “Cry Me a River” — write about a song that brings us to tears or makes us melancholy. 
Photo from Pixabay.com

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth, you are weeping for that which has been your delight.
Khalil Gibran

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Juxtaposition

Some say
art attempts to mimic life
represent what is.
Sunrise, sunset, shifting clouds.
Feelings within, so real and so deep.
Elation, grief, giddiness, disbelief.

Innumerable mediums
used to model, massage,
meld, shape,
perhaps punctuate.
To express what is
what was or what could be.

Juxtaposers of the real
and the contrived.
Can we identify the essence,
make that available to another?
Or does the essence change
by the time or while we try?

That moment of utter despair.
Does it curdle
as we convey its circumstances,
its shredding of our soul?
Can we freeze reality
in paint, or clay; words or tale?

Or is all art
but a flicker of perception,
the artist’s, the essence,
and the observers as well.
Never static,
though made apparently so.

Poem was motivated by a walk in Boston’s Public Gardens last week, when I took the first photo of the beautiful and graceful swans with the Swan Boats in the background. 
History: The Swan Boats have been in operation since they were created by Robert Paget in 1877.  He was inspired to make them after seeing Lohengrin, based on a German tale where a character rides on a swan. In 1877 the bicycle was gaining in popularity so he created the swan boat using a catamaran with benches, powered by pedaling, similar to pedaling a bike. The photo on the right is from the late 1800s. Interesting to note: the swan boats are still operated by the Paget family….and still have the original design. Tourists flock to ride them….and my grandchildren love them! 

 

We Gather Again

Fifty years ago,
we wore bridal veils.
Walked past the elders’
with a cursory but loving nod.

Then family reunions,
joyful raucous gatherings
at the twenty
and thirty-something’s table.

Then babies appeared on hips,
high chairs crowded table seatings,
crayons joined forks and spoons
and the elders watched lovingly.

Too soon,
teenagers rolled their eyes,
talked about whatever they do,
made lists for Santa’s exchange.

Someone tried to reproduce
Auntie Maia’s meringue cookies.
Papa Milt’s son took over
his carving-the-turkey role.

Beloved faces,
grandparents,
uncles and aunts
disappeared from the scene.

And now, tomorrow,
we gather again,
a new generation
gracing a bridal veil.

And just for a moment I see their faces.
Generations
who instilled love of family,
no matter the distance or age.

Then quietly
we walk into the room,
smile knowingly and take our seats.
We now, are the elders’ table.

Down under the bridge . . .

she rolls words round her tongue,
mingled with saliva slurs.
Thick words, rich like dark beef-gravy,
some whispered with spicey-hot plots.

She cooks up campfire tales,
huddled over dumpster fires.
Her cronies, eyes glazed,
listen intently, hands over flames.

Homeless, devastating
s’more-less, too-real scene.

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Quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, sans title) written for dVerse where Kim asks us to use the word “rich.”  Photo from Pixabay.com

Faith

Her faith burrows into the folds of her being.
Where there is sadness,
there is never despair.
Where there is hurt,
there is never hatred.
Love and hope shine upon her face
as she lives kindly within her days.

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Photo from pixabay.com

One Moment

Twelve voices soar,
faces aglow.
Response to powerful words.

Reach out your hand
And I’ll be flying home.

Twelve voices soar,
touch us.
Emotions enveloped in yours.

My work is finished
The angel’s command.

Twelve voices soar,
pull us
into a new world.

Carry me on . . .
I’m flying home.

Twelve voices strong.
Thank you,
we heard your song.

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Italicized words in poem are lyrics from Jason Robert Brown’s Flying Home – a song from his musical Songs for a New World. Last night we were privileged to see this show, which is literally a song cycle without any dialogue between performers, sung by 12 students at Phillips Academy at Andover. It was hard to believe these were high school sophomores, juniors and seniors. They literally carried us through a gamut of emotions as they sang (lived) moments of decision by the characters they became. If you’re not familiar with the song, Flying Home, click here and you’ll understand the power of the piece – stick with it to the end. And yes……it was powerful in last night’s Phillips Academy production.

I am . . .

labeled Taurus by sun,
emerald green by hue.
Fire and earth,
my elements.
1947,
year of the pig.

All this I am told.
All this I read . . . and ignore.
You are my mirror.
In you, my reflection
has no labels,
no boundaries.

You release me,
you always have.
I suspect
you always will.
Stalwart, loving,
supportive, accepting.

Together,
two individuals
side by side,
in sync.
Two harmonious melodies
with unique time signatures.

Two strong vines,
you and I, intertwined.
We blossom sans labels,
sans categorizing systems.
We soar in harmony,
Zodiac be damned.

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Amaya is hosting Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to consider cosmology, the various systems that define us by elements, astrology, etc. Image is from a family album of geneology I am creating. That is my writing…and this is actually a page from my father’s desk calendar, ripped out the day I was born; laminated, and carried by him in his wallet until the day he died. He had another one from the day my brother was born. That small block printing “LILLIAN” below the calendar, is his handwriting. A draftsman, he always wrote in block print.

 

Ah Boston, for the record . . .

Hear ye, hear ye!
Listen my friends and ye shall learn
of the accolades so well earned
by one auspicious founding city,
bordered by the sea.

1632: first windmill, erected upon Copp’s Hill
1634: first public park, aptly named Boston Common.
1635: first public school dubbed Boston Latin,
still educating youth today.
1636: first college, Harvard University
originally in Boston proper,
later moved across the Charles,
still today in Cambridge, Mass.
1653: first public library
1704: the first newspaper shared its tales.

Now I’m quite certain,
there are many more,
all of which burnish
that proverbial record book.
But do let me share
one most unusual first,
not oft discussed
amongst delicate Brahmin Bostonians.

Taking a birds’ eye view, as they say,
of Boston’s colorful history,
well beyond its revolutionary ties.

1886: the first known photo  . . .
. . . wait for it . . . ’tis really true,
of someone flipping the bird!

There in grainy black and white
the Boston Beaneaters baseball team
stands tall beside and behind
the New York Giants team of the day.

Look closely and ye shall see
Charles “old Hoss” Radbourn
leaning in, well ahead of his time,
Boston-proud that long-ago day.

Middle finger extended,
obviously raised,
hand rests firmly on the shoulder
of one oblivious New Yorker chap.

Now one can theorize
and I generally do,
this could mark
another auspicious first.

One raised finger, the first of many
shared over years to come,
between Boston and New York.
Long before the Babe walked out!

IMG_6089Written for Tuesday’s Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where we’re asked to write about a theory, or use the word “theory” in a poem, or theorize within a poem. Information for this post is documented at https://www.chaostrophic.com/heres-first-known-picture-someone-flipping-bird/   Old Hoss is far left, back row. Caveat: some have since said he is holding a cigar…but others point to later pictures of him flipping the bird on other occasions as well!