The Darkest Day

Mother Nature chagrined,
shrouded in grey low-slung sky.
Rains gush, pummel sideways
as she weeps beyond control.
Strong oaks uprooted,
her scalp bared in raw splotches.

Gales punish the unrepentant.
We the offenders struggle
bending at right angles from the waist,
plodding toward imagined escape.
Our feeble umbrellas abandoned,
their broken ribs litter the sodden path.

Has her sun forsaken us, our sins too great?
Depression’s black hole inverted,
is this vortex our fate?
It drowns even the most optimistic,
hope abandoned in storming grief.
We fear the apocalypse has begun.

Written for Open Link Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Idea for poem came from yesterday — waking up at 6 AM and finding trees outside our windows blowing like crazy in the midst of a Nor’easter that lasted for almost 12 hours. It downed many trees across the area. Many across
Boston and surrounding area lost power from pummeling rain and wind gusts up to 80 mph. We remained safely indoors. Photo is in public domain in Pixabay.com and is not from Boston.

**I am a positive person – really I am! Sometimes I have no idea why the pen turns to the dark side.


Come, Tituba

Tituba, ‘tis time to rise.
Come thee from thy grave.
Tis one year since last we caroused
‘mongst these Salem fools.
Help me tip the stone o’er my pet, Peeves.
Though his skeleton be small,
his rattling shall join ours this night.
His, the only kindness in that cellar,
waiting for the gallows to call.
No human came to visit that dank hole.
No other animal dared approach.
Feared the noose be looped
round their scrawny neck as well.
Only Peeves, my dearest black cat,
came and stayed,
curled atop my feet to the last.
Come Tituba, our metatarsals
brittle though they be,
shall haunt this town tonight.
Plod these desecrated streets
once again reminding all,
we were unequivocally wronged.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Lisa asks us to consider our pet peeves, some human characteristic that irritates us and then somehow connect that in a poem with a Halloween or Samhain theme. I admit. I struggled with this prompt and so took a bit of poetic license here. This poem is in reference to Salem, Massachusetts’ infamous witch trials and the scores of people who descend on Salem over Halloween night.

Tituba was the first girl to be accused of practicing witchcraft during the 1692 witch trials.

For those of you who’ve never been to Salem, it is replete with witch museums, wicca stores, and even a sculpture of Elizabeth Montgomery as her character in the television sitcom Bewitched. Lest one think that is the totality of Salem, it is also home to the amazing Peabody Essex Museum, PEM for short. For over 200 years it has been dedicated to collecting, preserving and showcasing compelling artwork throughout history and from around the world.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Sunburst

She becomes the sun in his world.
Dazed, stunned, smitten. Emotions whirled.
Fierce sunbeam.

Parhelion in mocking sky,
her beauty shines to mystify.
Burned. Sunstruck.

Moist tempting lips smile to ensnare.
Hips beckon, sway in daylight’s glare.
Felled. Sunstroke.

Obsessed he beds her day and night
primal, neurotic appetite.
Sunscalded.

His money spent, he’d been cajoled.
Drugged. Job over, she leaves him cold.
Done. Sunset.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Grace hosts today and introduces us to the Compound Word Verse:

This complex form was created by Margaret R. Smith:
Five 3-line stanzas. Fifteen lines total.
Last line of each stanza must be a compound word.
The compound words must share a common stem: IE sun, sunbeam, sunstruck, sunstroke, sunbathing, sunset.
Rhyme scheme must be aab.
Syllable count must be 8, 8, 3.

Parhelion: a sun dog or mock sun called a parhelion in meteorology, is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the sun.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Witch Trial Residuals

Hanged in 1692,
they haunt the streets of Salem still.
Blood-drained ashen apparitions
unabashedly bitter,
they wander far beyond their graveyard.
October tourists beware.
They seek revenge from you who gawk,
bring money to town’s coffers.
Fury unleashed, ashcans ready
to harvest your souls.

Written for Quadrille Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sarah asks us to use the word “ash” or a form of the word, in our poem of exactly 44 words, sans title. I’ve used the word “ashen” and the word “ash” is hidden within three other words – can you find them?

Salem, Massachusetts is the home of the infamous Salem witch trials. Begun in the spring of 1692, Bridget Bishop was the first to be hung in June at Salem’s Gallows Hills. Nineteen more were hung that month. Some 150 were ultimately accused. There were other means of execution. Today, almost a half-million tourists flock to Salem in the month of October, frequenting the various witch museums, related shops, and of course, the graveyards.

No Escape

I couldn’t sleep. Walking the streets I came upon a small sign: Séance Sessions. Ten dollars.

“Letting go. Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end to this labyrinth called life. In reality”, said the medium, “you were here before your time and you will reappear many times after your body succumbs.” The lights suddenly flickered. The charlatan’s fingernails dug into my palms. Her eyes rolled into the back of her head as her mouth moved in synch with Jim’s booming voice. “You killed me. I shall never forget. You shall suffer all the days of your lives and . . .” The medium’s body lurched forward. Her head crashed onto the table. She was obviously dead. I could see the dagger I’d carefully buried in my garden, sticking out of her back. Sirens began to wail.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Merril is hosting and asks us to insert the following line from Joy Harjo’s A Map to the Next World: “Crucial to finding the way is this: there is no beginning or end.” Image from pixabay.com

Prosery is a form created by dVerse. One line from a poem must be inserted into a piece of flash fiction, word for word. The punctuation may change but the word order must replicate the line as it appears in the poem used for the prompt. The flash fiction must be 144 words or less, not including the title.. No Escape is exactly 144 words.

Horror in the Hazel Woods

I met her most nights – somewhere between  succumbing to sleep and waking fever-drenched at dawn. Unable to meet the woman of my dreams in reality, I’d created her in my mind. But she was not the image that came to me night after night. This was a half-woman, half-monster, chasing me through horror. There was always a knife. Next morning my bedding was always bloodstained from the self-inflicted scratching of old wounds.  

This night, whiskey drunk, I avoided my bed. Stumbled  instead into the moonless night. I went out to the hazel wood. Because a fire was in my head, I tripped over  roots, crazed to find this she-devil. I wanted to kill her. End these nightmares. Instead, I died that night, victim of her crazed claws  They found me in light snow, hazel tree branches clicking in winter’s wind.

Note: Hazel trees are noted for often having protruding roots. They can be either trees or shrubs.

Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. Today is Prosery Monday where we’re given a specific line from a poem, and we must insert it, word for word (although the punctuation may be changed) into a piece of flash fiction. We must have a beginning, middle and end to our story. It can be no more than 144 words sans title.

Kim is hosting today and asks us to include this line from Yeats’ The Song of Wandering Aengus: “I went out to the hazel wood, because a fire was in my head.”

All Hallows’ Eve . . .

Caldron nearby
she is the enigma,
silver flowing garb
white hair plaited high.
Index fingers encased in wax,
flame extinguished
by gust from fleeing bats.

Eyes heavenward, pointing skyward
she seeks illumination.
Answering nay, consumed by clouds,
lunar glow dims and disappears.
Tear soaked cheeks
dried on thinnest cloth
sHow dwindling faith . . .

     consumed moon
          pearls from tissue
               candle salve
                    skulls of saints
                              spiritual songs


her crooning voice cracks
this hallowed eve.
This burial ground,
last chance
to find her gods.
All sounds, all hopes
cease.

Pleas unanswered
she returns to abysmal cave,
forsaken and alone.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Laura hosts and refers us to the American Poet, Samuel Greenburg. His “…feverish tubercular episodes gave him a verbal recklessness that lent itself to surrealism.” In The Pale Impromptu, written in 1915, he strings words together in indentations and to Laura, they appear like charms on a bracelet. She has listed for us twenty-one of these “charm” phrases from The Pale Impromptu and asks us to use five of them in our poem. I’ve attempted to use his form as well as five of his “charms” which are italicized for easy recognition. My apologies to Laura and Samuel Greenburg if I’ve not explained this very well.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Arachnophobic . . .

I should have known.
She silked the room,
entered with swishing skirts.
Eye-lashed me
in that coquettish way.
Wove words into delights.
Spinning wheeled me,
unlike any woman I’d ever known.
I could not escape her wiles.
I skeined under her spell.
First hands, then arms,
then eyes, then heart.
My senses spooled as one,
tautly captured in her clutches.
She left me,
forever specimened.
Pushpinned my veins
until I was but a dried shell.
Once a vibrant man,
now locked in despair.
I shall never love again.

Written for Meet the Bar at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets from around the globe. Today, Bjorn asks us to “verbify” in our poem. That is, to use a noun, or several, as verbs in our poem. Photo taken a number of years ago at Ricoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires.

Mother Dearest

I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended. My mother taught me love could be turned on and off. As a teenager, I could only go steady with a boy for six weeks. She kept track on her calendar. I hated her every time I fell in love. But then, after about five weeks, I’d tire of the boy and happily blame the break-up on my mother.

When she died, so did my excuse. So I became a recluse. Until I met John. He surprised me with his persistence. We met in coffee shops at first. Then his place. I was a good girl and told him no sex until I got a ring. I marked that special day on my calendar. Now I’m in widow’s weeds with a blood encrusted knife holding this year’s calendar on the wall.

 

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Written for dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today is Prosery Monday.

Merril is hosting and asks us to use, word for word, the line “I don’t know why I was surprised every time love started or ended” in a piece of flash fiction that is exactly 144 words or less, sans title. The line is from Jane Hirshfield’s poem, I wanted to be surprised. 

Back Again

She’d agreed to this assignment. Put retirement on hold for one more case to smoke out a mole. The honeypot. Dumb blonde stereotype. She still had the body for it, so she gave in to their persuasive pleas. And he’d fallen for it.

Now as he snored, she quietly rolled over, about to get up and finally walk out on this life. Until a cold blade chilled the back of her neck. No sounds except her gasp of shock. There are moments caught between heart-beats. Some see their whole life flash before their eyes. She saw only what could have been.

His hand tangled itself in her hair. Jerked her head back. One last look at that god-awful bare ceiling fixture. It looked different from this angle. More sinister than when she was lying on her back. The yellowed light flickered. Then sputtered out.

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Kim is hosting Prosery Night at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets. She asks us to use the line “There are moments caught between heart-beats” from Louis MacNeice’s poem Coda in a piece of flash fiction that can be up to or exactly 144 words. Back Again is 144 words. Photo from pixabay.com. 
YES! Even though dVerse is usually poetry….this is a prompt for flash fiction, using an exact line from a particular poem.