Lifer

Beneath blood-red sunset
she met her ex.
Tinction blotted sky
with angry cloud canopy,
festered over sea.
She should have known.
Fatal mistake.
His, not hers.
His passion revealed in fists.
Her dignity recouped,
but at a price.
Life sentence.
Sky now cement blocks.

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Posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Linda asks us to use the word “extinction” or a form of the word, in the body of a quadrille (poem of exactly 44 words, sans title). Extinction does appear in Lifer. Do you see it?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines tinction as the act or process of staining or dyeing: coloring matter.

Photo taken in Provincetown, Cape Cod.

Shadows

When it’s very still
and my soul’s at rest,
I see shadows nearby,
waiting patiently.

An ethereal background
hovers . . .
seemingly through them.
As if a thinning fog.

Shadows of people,
all of them gone.
But here they stand,
their profile or back to me.

My brother, leaning in.
My father with wavy hair.
My mother, skirts lifted,
swaying to music I strain to hear.

Time intrudes and eyes focus,
reality presents itself.
Wedges its way into my mind
until I question what I saw.

But everybody sees shadows
on bright sunlit days.
They dance beside us,
follow, or lead the way.

So who is to say these shadows,
appearing to me when I am alone
are not at least as real
as those we see on sunny days?

Perhaps these shadows also lead me.
Quietly waiting.
Unobtrusively.

I’m hosting Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, and folks are invited to post any poem of their choosing. These photos taken this week in Provincetown, at the very tip of Cape Cod….and they got me to thinking about shadows.
Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

There is a waiting . . .

. . . that greets each visitor. A grey clapboard shack-of-a-building at the wharf’s edge. Ferries dock nearby. Disgorge day-trippers to this Cape Cod town. Three rusted, but still operational fishing boats, are moored nearby. A far cry from the fleets tethered to a myriad of docks, back in the fishing and whaling heydays here in Provincetown.

Larger-than-life black and white portraits of Portuguese women are affixed to the shack. They Also Faced the Sea is an art installation, a tribute to the patience and suffering of those who waited. They had no way of knowing when their men would return, until the sailing ships reappeared on the horizon. They waited for their husbands, brothers, and sons. Coastal storms battered their simple homes. Kettles filled with hearty stew simmered as families prayed, then ate at roughhewn tables. One empty chair often haunted their meals. Thunder would roll in and they would silently worry. Was he battling this storm? Would the mast hold . . . or would he be swallowed by a churning sea?

Portraits on a wooden edifice. Reminders of those who still wait . . . still pray.

autumn breeze cools shore
gulls wait, savor shift in wind
as clams, crabs, float in

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It’s Poetics Tuesday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today, Sarah asks us to write about “waiting” — I’ve chosen to do so in a haibun (three succinct paragraphs of prose – cannot be fiction – followed by a traditional haiku).

We are in our last few days of our annual two-week visit to Provincetown. I took this photo on our trip into Provincetown and we’ll see this wonderful art installation again as we leave on the ferry back to Boston on Saturday. This is at MacMillan Pier – photographs by Norma Holt and art installation by Ewa Nogiec. It has watched over the Fisherman’s Wharf portion of the pier for the past 10 years. 

September Memories

It’s been years . . . years engrossed in toddlerhood, PTAs, junior high whims and the highschool weaning – mine, not hers. Knowing she’d leave for college. How’s that possible?

I’m really the single mom now. Dropped her off and just kept driving. Back in time to Provincetown. Famous for literary genius and rollicking good times. My first taste of love had sand above his lip. Took me to places that whipped the breath of my soul. Summer seeds of passion. Literally. Back at University, my belly grew. Summer faded and she became my life.

The beach is different in late September. Standing by the ancient wharf’s remains, deserted by history. All these memories were left here with the trees’ ancient pilings. But I found my true compass in Sandy. No regrets. Someday, I’ll bring her here to see where she began.

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Merril hosts our 4th Prosery session, a new form created by dVerse. It is “flash fiction” (of any genre) that incorporates a line from a poem — and is not more than 144 words long. Merril selected the line “These memories were left here with the trees” by Jo Harjo, the new U.S. Poet Laureate. This is fiction.

Photo taken on our Provincetown walk earlier this week. There are a number of pilings from abandoned wharfs here — in its heyday, Portuguese immigrants settled here and created a vibrant fishing and whaling center.  

Provincetown was a summer home to many of America’s intellectuals, artists and writers  including Eugene O’Neill, Norman Mailer, Arthur Miller, Tennessee Williams, John Dos Passos, and of course the beloved Mary Oliver.

Provincetown is at the extreme tip of Cape Cod. 

Whether to . . .

Layers of putty grey clouds hover on the horizon. Empty masts jut upward from small boats bobbing in waking waves.

Look right: off in the distance, pale blue sky meets roof tops of white clapboard buildings; the town, a twenty-minute walk away. Look left: eyes squint as water glitter-gleams. The sun appears then disappears, valiantly trying to break through slow moving, darkening clouds. A lone gull perched on jetty’s peak, preens itself then sits, nature so statuesque, as waves slap against stone, lap into shore.

Morning pauses, weather waits . . . deciding on its temperament for the day.

early September ~
dalliance between summer
and crisp autumn days

Posted to dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today Frank asks us to write a poem that includes descriptive detail.

My haibun (prose followed by a traditional haiku that includes a seasonal reference) is about what I saw this morning, sitting on the deck of our annual two-week rental in Provincetown. Photos document the view! Provincetown is at the very tip end of Cape Cod. 

Provincetown Serenity

Wooooshhhh . . .
wooooshhhh . . .
waves sweep in,
rhythmic oceanic refrain.
Sun glittered ripple-path
narrow at shore,
widens to horizon by risen sun.
Solitary floating cormorant
stretches sleek neck,
floats . . . then dives under,
resurfaces yards away.
Provincetown serenity
in the nick of time,
news cycle left behind.

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It’s Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Prompt word for today is “nick”. It must be used within the body of a poem that is exactly 44 words in length, sans title.

Photo from yesterday morning — sitting on the deck enjoying our beloved Provincetown…at the very tip of Cape Cod – just beginning our two week respite here.

Industrialization at a price . . .

On a hot summer day, we ventured back in history, on a day-trip to Lowell, Massachusetts.

A small boat took us through part of the 1796 Pawtucket Transportation Canal, with locks so old, their levers are maneuvered above us by National Park volunteers. Green trees reflect in the water marking a beautiful scene. But we’re told that once these waters were polluted thick with textile dyes as industrial capitalists captured hydro-energy from the Merrimack River falls to turn belts and wheels on thousands of textile machines.

In the Boott Cotton Mill Museum, we stand in a long factory room, filled machines, just as they were in the 1830s. Only three of the hundreds are turned on and the noise is deafening. We drip with sweat and imagine women as young as fifteen, standing in long dresses, no electricity for fans, tied to machines fourteen hours a day, six days a week.

sweltering summer
dogs pant laboriously
tethered to leashes

Frank hosts Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Since today is Labor Day in the U.S., a day to celebrate workers, he asks us to write a haibun (2 or 3 paragraphs of prose — cannot be fiction; followed by a traditional haiku with reference to a season) that is somehow about labor. Canada celebrates Labor Day on the first Monday of September and more than 80 countries celebrate International Workers’ Day on May 1.

Photos and video from our recent day trip to Lowell, MA. An amazing step back in time. The Mill Girls, as they came to be known, were some of the first individuals to stage a strike against unfair wages and conditions. They were recruited to this factory city from rural farms in the nearby countryside. Companies required them to stay in the company boarding houses, attend church on Sunday, and live by “the bells” which woke them befroe dawn each morning, signalled meal times, and times to report to the floor. When Mill Girls left their jobs, waves of immigrants came to Lowell, working side-by-side with locals. Lowell did not stay with the times, keeping the hydrology-run factories until they all left for other parts of the country and Lowell fell on hard times. Warehouses were vacant and fell to disrepair. Senator Tsongas, from Lowell, together with Congress, established Lowell as a National Park and the city was “reborn” so to speak, rehabbing and restoring itself as a place to preserve history. An amazing place to visit!

Somewhere in the Catskills . . .

Mr. Bobcat trains wildcats
in his purrfect cat-filled town.
Miss Pussycat educates tiny ones,
eradicating copycats all around.

Devilish hellcats fornicate
in cold cathedral catacombs.
Catholics’ scatter catnip,
as holier-than-thou catchalls.

Mr. Tomcat struts vainly
in the town’s decathalon,
like a catty fat-cat victor,
like he’s the cat’s meow.

Catatonic mayor catnaps, dead asleep
as cat burglars roam the littered streets.
When crime reaches cataclysmic levels
catcalls will be heard, Abdicate NOW!

Cats will suddenly get sick as dogs,
as heat rises and dog days come.
Cats will be dogged by fleas
and this poem shall end . . .

in unbelievable catastrophe!

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It’s Poetics Tuesday at dVerse and we’re asked to write a poem that has something to do with cats in the subject matter, as metaphor, or wherever the muse takes us. My muse took me to the Catskill Mountains! There are twenty-nine cats in the body of this poem….some hidden as in educated. Can you find them all?
Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!
Photo from pixabay.com

Aberrant Musings

. . . I could buy the Sea of Tranquility.
Probably more lucrative than Greenland.
Panoramic views.
Exciting ride to get there.
If a cow jumped over it,
how hard could it be?
Me: The Man on the Moon.
King of the Green Cheese!

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Second posting for Quadrille Monday: poem of exactly 44 words sans title, that includes the word “tranquility.”  Illustration from Pixabay.com