They met late in life. Widow and widower, their rooms were down the hall from each other at Pine Woods Rest Home. He insisted on being called James. Everyone knew her by Sunny. They both despised bland food and working jig saw puzzles. She liked flippy organza dresses and he always wore a tie. While many dozed in front of the blaring television, they shouted out answers to Jeopardy in a friendly competition. That Christmas season, they sat beside each other holding hands during sing-alongs. On New Year’s Eve, they joined in on the countdown at 9 PM. In her silk nightie that night, as the clock glowed 11:30, she heard the pre-arranged quiet knock at her door. “If you are a dreamer, come in” she trilled. This would indeed be a dream come true. Who said lovemaking is the domain of the young?
Today I’m hosting Prosery Monday at dVerse. In Prosery, writers are asked to write a piece of flash fiction that can be no more than 144 words, sans title, and include a specific line from a poem that the host provides. The line must be exactly as written in the original poem, except the punctuation can be changed. The line I’m having people include in their flash fiction today is If you are a dreamer, come in. It’s from Shel Silverstein’s poem Invitation from his book of poetry for children entitled Where the Sidewalk Ends. Prosery Mondays are the ONLY days at dVerse where we do not write poetry – we write flash fiction that includes a specified line from a poem.
Box of colored chalk in hand, hmmm…. how do I do this again? First, pick the perfect sidewalk spot. White chalk, start close, draw one square. Yellow chalked rectangle on top, divide it into two and three. White chalk again, I like consistency. Draw square four, same as one. Green rectangle right above that, evenly make into five and six. White me a seven. Orange rectangle next, divide precisely into eight and nine. Sky blue ten crowns them all, all squares point to heaven. Brush straggly gray hair off face. Ooh yes, scratch nose where it itches. Small rock in hand, stand steady, stand tall. Neighbor man walks by and smiles, stares at my colorful cheeks and nose. “Hi” I say. “Care to play?” “Nah” he says, “but you go ahead.” So . . . stoop and throw . . . hopscotch through my private rainbow right on up to that promising blue.
This human being is . . . stabilized. Once frisky, galloping, romping o’er fields afar. Ran the mighty race too, round the curve, thrilled by the chase. Set out to pasture in 2012 – slowed down, but still free to roam. 2020 came and all hell broke loose. Who knew I’d be corralled? Merry-go-round bound. Same path up and down, days blurred, round and round, going nowhere fast. Even old nags need to be free. Grease this damn pole! Shoot me up and uncarousel me! Little did I know out to pasture or not, the grass was always greener wherever my hooves did trot.
For those of you not familiar with the title, it refers to the tv show Mr. Ed. It aired from 1961 to 1966. As inane as it sounds, Mr. Ed was a talking horse. I never could understand how the show ran for five years!
Kim is hosting Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us to begin a poem with the line “This human being is…” Have no idea why this concept popped into my head….other than the fact that for this past Covid year, we have mainly been corralled into our homes. Probably the most useless item we bought for the year 2020 was a Day Planner! And yes, I did rejuvenate (never say retire) in 2012. Photo from Pixabay.comSo I guess you could say, Mr. Ed had nothing on me….considering my life as a horse!
Reflecting today – don’t know why exactly. Just am. Wondering . . . who has known me my entire life? Requires they be older than me. Parents, brother, grandparents, aunts, uncles, five cousins. But all departed from this earth. Have I known me all my life? Earliest memories, not gleaned from photographs? Me at age five. So no, I haven’t known me all my life. Turns out, no one on this earth has. Odd. Life is just odd.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. I’m hosting OLN today. That means folks can post any one poem of their choosing: no prompt, form or topic requirements. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come on over and imbibe some words!
Photos in collage: Left to right top row – me with mom and dad; my folks and my brother Chuckie (I called him that all his life) in summer; me and my brother before his high school graduation. Left to right middle row: mom and dad; my gramma the year before she died; me as an infant. Left to right bottom row: my brother and I not too many years before he died suddenly at age 51; my brother and I with our grandparents; me, mom, dad and Chuckie at my baptism. He was nine years older than me.
Call me to lie down in the fragrance. – D. Margoshes, Seasons of Lilac
Bare brittle branches and snowless grey pallor, this winter’s reality. Night dawns starless as we slip into dreams. Our bed afloat in riotous blossoms, spring collaged in wildflowers cacophony of colors and scents. There is but one season with you by my side. Calendared through so many years, this season of love.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Laura asks us to write a poem inspired by a final line from a poem. She provides us with a number of lines and we are to choose one. We may use that line as an epigraph, but are not required to do so. The line can not be in the body of the poem; nor can it be the title of the poem. Epigraph: a line from another source, inserted between the title and content of one’s poem. It should somehow complement the poem. Photo: from a visit to Ireland’s Blarney Castle a number of years ago.
the day of and days after and after that’s leftovers
like youthful kisses I love those leftovers too
the you and me season after season, still savory good.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Sarah asks us to write a response to a poem we’ve read in the past year. Below is the poem I modeled mine after. It appears in jelly roll, a collection of poems by African American poet Kevin Young, winner of the Patterson Poetry Prize and Finalist for the National Book Award. I tried to simulate his form and like him, used a type of music as the title. And yes, that’s my husband and I fifty years ago and obviously, much more recently!
I reach for your hand, my love. I seem to do that more often as the days age on. We walk more slowly, notice things more minutely. Outside our window, that jay, perched on winter’s shivering branch. Sky blurs. Sometimes blues to hazy violets. Sometimes shifting reds to soft shades of orange, as day slips into night. There is a truth we cannot deny. The path ahead is shorter than the one we’ve tread. No less glorious, just different. Each time my hand seeks and finds yours, there is quiet reassurance. We are us for another day, another hour, another moment in time.
Photo taken at our beloved annual sojourn in Provincetown, at the tip of Cape Cod.
He sat straight-backed, alert, surrounded by canes, walkers tv guides, checkerboard games and the people that accompany them in a place like this.
Hands folded, he waited patiently for the last strands of that age-old song. Some high pitched warblers sang off pitch, hunched over the tinny piano pulled out for occasions like this.
Balloons hovered above his head as candles dripped life-time moments onto pastel fondant flowers. He spied the festive paper plates, too thin for the thick slab he desired.
And so I asked the centenarian, what is the secret of your longevity? Well sonny, I always say, close your eyes to dream. Just make sure you open them wide to watch where you step.
Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Bjorn will host as we go live today from 3 to 5 PM Boston time. Those who post a poem will have the opportunity to read it aloud, if they choose to do so. Come share the fun, connect names with faces and hear the voices of many dVersers!
Contemplation, gift of the night. Moonlight glazes the sea. Gone are those wild waves of yesterday when nature caroused to youth’s delight. Evening’s darkness, a quiet scene dressed in shades of ebony. I hear the sea’s symphonic hush as midnight nears. So many questions come to mind, most unanswerable by humankind. Why should not the water find delight in the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface? My scent commingles with the sea’s. My toes curl, touching her lapping edge. Her ripples ebb and flow so slowly, shine in gentle arcs of lunar light. Mesmerized, I begin to understand. Yes, time seems shorter now ending chapters closer, looming large like tonight’s full moon. Energy disipated, still beautiful in this later monochromatic scene. I’ve come to contemplate the night and take my leave thanking the sea. Quietly I begin the walk home, sensing the rippled surface I leave behind, and I smile.
Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today we are asked to let our imaginations become a springboard to the mystical/sacred and use one of eight fragments from the mystic poets. I’ve chosen “Why should not the water find delight in the floral fragrance of its own rippled surface?” (Jnanadev) Photo taken while on our last cruise, well before the age of Covid.
Black and white television set with tubes inside blonde console in our little den. My Lone Ranger lunch box. Watching Gene Autry at Junie’s house after playing dress-up with her mother’s things. Hankies with lace edging, rummage sales, and pettipants under culottes. Hooking nylon stockings to suffocating girdles. Mother dressed for Sunday church wearing hat and gloves, carrying her pocketbook. Green Reader’s Guides to Periodical Literature and card catalogues in oak drawers. Typing on a portable Smith Corona, frustrated by holes in paper from erasures. Skimming small print in thick telephone books. Hoop skirts under prom dresses and stretch pants with foot stirrups. Looking at my grandma and thinking Wow, she’s seen a lot of changes in her life! When did I become her?