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?
I drove for hours, listening to oldies on the radio. Six lane highways shrunk to two. My speed decreased for maybe three minutes at a time, as highway turned into Main Street in rural towns.
I found the cemetery first. Scuffed through fallen leaves until I found their headstones. My eyes blurred reading the dates. All just one year apart.
Back in the car, two miles down the road, left at the fork. I found the house. Shingles half gone; flaking paint and boarded up windows. Mama’s rusted clothesline poles still there. The stones we lugged and stacked to separate mama’s garden from our play yard were half-gone. I peered over what was left, imagining Gina swinging and laughing. But there is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.
You can never go back. They warned me. But I didn’t listen.
Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Merril is hosting Prosery Monday.
Prosery? We’re given a line from a poem, and we must use it exactly as it is worded (punctuation may be changed) within a piece of fiction that is exactly 144 words in length. It is similar to flash fiction except it must include a specific given poetic line. The line we must use is “There is nothing behind the wall except a space where the wind whistles.” It is from Liesel Mueller’s poem Drawings by Children. Photo from Pixabay.com
From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of time. Up close, we see now, he should not be here.
He sits alone at the same corner table every day, all day, playing solitaire. Narrating his rational plays, he slaps down cards so hard the table shakes. His sane voice, loud above the moans and snores of others. They sit slumped in wheelchairs or on upholstered couches with protective plastic seat covers. Some have spittle hanging from parched lips. Between hands, he talks to the teenage aide standing nearby. “I lost again. Nobody wins here. Did you see that string of clubs?” She nods, bored with her job. “I want my Science magazine. They didn’t renew my subscription!”
How was this man, an inconvenience to someone, surviving here? We will definitely report this hellhole to authorities.
Written for Monday’s Prosery prompt at dVerse. Kim hosts today, asking us to include the line “From across the room, we look at him through the wrong end of the long telescope of Time” in a piece of flash fiction, exactly 144 words in length. The line is from D. H. Lawrence’s poem Humming Bird.
Early fall breeze wisps over me touches my brow, my nose, swirls ’round the room. Plastic window blinds plink a tune.
Lying, just barely awake, my hand touches yours. Fifty years together, twenty years enjoying this place.
Provincetown’s oceanic lullabies, gull squalls and answering calls, raucous Commercial street walks, and paint-brushed skies to end the days.
Lying next to me, this year’s fourth night, your fingers curve round mine. Your lips puff out some snoozing air and I smile.
Eye lids heavy, I imagine us young again. Dancing in the stars riding on moonbeam tails, and I grin myself to sleep.
Photo taken in Provincetown from our deck, BC (before Covid) in 2019. This year we are hunkered down, still enjoying the ocean and beautiful scenes similar to this, but maintaining our Covid-bubble. We are not walking in to town to galleries, restaurants, and shops. Here’s hoping next year will find us on raucous Commercial street again!
In the wee hours of the morning my mind tumbles faces, places, memories. Little aches ping. Hand holds pen to write, conduit for black words birthed on white unlined page. What is this but a ledger of life?
Dids and dones undones and shoulda-dones woulda-dones, coulda-dones. Little ones raised to move on to raise little ones to move on to raise little ones to move on. Where in this pattern will I cease?
Dawn rises, stains sky in fiery reds oranges, glaring orange-reds. No sorbet pastel hues today. Yesterday’s clouds only wisps today. If they dissipate tomorrow, will their essence still exist somewhere in that indigo sky?
Someday, I shall no longer walk this earth. How many little ones raised to move on to raise little ones raised to move on will recall my name? Know where to find my words, poems once so thoughtfully scribed.
Perhaps I shall be a faded photo in an antique frame, dusty but shelved with someone’s knickknacks between Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet and James Patterson’s final mystery. And when I think about it, listening to the ocean roll in, I’m okay with that.
Click on link above to see video…takes a second to run. Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. OLN means folks can post any one poem of their choosing; no prompts given. Video taken Wednesday, September 16 in the age of Covid….from our deck in Provincetown.
I like my positive attitude my hazel-green eyes my dad’s white-streaked wave in my hair the Vionic shoes I wear to support my feet so I can dance when the mood strikes.
I love that I married my best friend that Face Time allows me to see our son that our daughter still laughs with us and our children still think our thoughts are important.
I love that I’m in my seventh decade and whenever anyone complains about growing old, I always say, “and aren’t we glad we are!”
In this age of Covid, I am blessed to be a recluse with the man I love to walk along the Charles River to be healthy and safe. I am humbled by my privilege.
Written for Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for global poets. Today Sarah asks us to write a self-portrait poem. Last week , we walked along the Charles and then through Boston’s Public Garden, where this photo is taken. Since we do not own a car and avoid public transportation during this age of Covid, we explore and walk within a perimeter that our feet will take us. Can you tell we’re smiling for this selfie?