Breaking Point

That was it. She’d had it. Sliced away, leaving a scar on the ancient bark, the tree looked raw. Desecrated. His handiwork obliterated.

That night of infatuation, he carved a heart with their initials right there for all the town to see. “We’re forever entwined” he said. Except they weren’t. He left for college and never returned. It’d been years. She’d waited tables at the Oleander Café. Endured the town folk’s talk behind her back. Their whispers haunted her. They knew she’d carried his child for six months before the miscarriage. People pitied her.

She knew he was never coming back. She dropped the knife and walked out to meet the dusty road. She hailed the first bus she saw. Paid cash and finally got the hell out of there. No matter the bus’ destination, it was her turn to leave it all behind.

Written for dVerse where today Sarah is hosting our Prosery session. She asks us to include the line “she’d had it sliced away leaving a scar” from Michael Donaghy’s poem, Liverpool.

What is Prosery? A Prosery prompt gives a line from a poem and we are to include it in a piece of flash fiction of 144 words, sans title. The line must be word for word, although the punctuation may be changed.

Life as an Hourglass

My life is like a fragile hourglass
sand grains drop through.
Some moments I savor
slip past me before
I can taste them.
Other times
lag behind
move so
slowly
I can
not
stand
it and so
I open my
mouth and
scream aloud.
I want to control
each and every grain
of my life, especially now
in our winter season when the
path ahead is far shorter than the
glorious one we’ve been blessed to share.

Written for NAPOWRIMO, DAY 28. Today the prompt is to  write a concrete poem, in which the lines are shaped in a way that mimics the topic of the poem. Also shared with dVerse, the virtual pub for poets, where today it’s OLN: Open LInk Night where we can share any one poem of our choosing.

Ah. . . Perchance to Sleep

This star lit night my lovely dear,
we lie entwined, our lips so near.
Our spirits joined in dreams to soar
until you break the spell to snore.

You grunt and groan and sputter snort.
I toss, I turn, till last resort
my patience worn from all that sound,
my need for sleep is so profound,

I trippingly flee our marriage bed
collapse undone, on couch instead.
And when the sky is lit with dawn
to your side, again I’m drawn.

Alarm rings loud, you wake refreshed
our bodies once again enmeshed.
While you leap up to greet the day,
I’m just ready to hit the hay.

Originally written in early 2019, tweaked for Open Link Night LIVE at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe.

Click here at 3 PM Boston time today, to join us LIVE at dVerse! Come to read your own poem and hear others; or just to listen. The more the merrier!

A little humor is good for the soul! Also shared on NAPOWRIMO Day 14, off prompt today.

And she asked him . . .

Isn’t what amazing?
Ants tugging five-thousand times their weight?
Fibonacci’s relationship to the nautilus shell?
Humming birds’ wings
beating fifty-three times per second?
Women growing human beings inside their bodies?
Yes. Yes. Yes. And definitely yes.

So what makes you so amazing?
You forcing me to take your name if we wed?
You making laws to govern my body?
You body-shaming me
while you’re lugging around your beer gut?
Yes. Oh please, please tell me, yes.
Exactly what makes you so amazing?

Written for NAPOWRIMO, Day 13. Today’s prompt challenges us to write from the perspective of “everything’s going to be amazing” . . . I admit. I went a little off-kilter with this one!

Choices

I choose flat dress shoes instead of stiletto heels.
My balance isn’t what it used to be.
I choose a romance novel or best seller.
Headlines raise my blood pressure
and I don’t want to take another pill.
I choose strolling the well-worn path.
Young people can push the boulders up hill.
I choose biting into a blushing velvet peach,
sectioning an orange takes too long.
I choose creating my own sunshine
on a cloudy rainy day.
I choose to be me.
My age, right here, right now,
with you by my side.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets where today Sarah asks us to consider anaphora: a rhetorical device that consists of repeating a sequence of words at the beginnings of neighboring clauses, thereby lending emphasis. She gives us a list of verbs to choose from for the word we’d like to repeat. I selected the word choose.

Also posted, off prompt, to NAPOWRIMO, Day 5.

Photo from Pixabay.com

Renewal

During the season of cherry blossoms, after more than fifty years of being separated by more than six-thousand miles, we met again. This gentle man, Kenji, who I knew only for one year, all those years ago. So many changes in the world since last we’d seen each other. Kenji was a foreign exchange student from Japan, during our senior year at my Illinois high school. And now I was a visitor in his home country. There for a few days to experience his beautiful culture. In his hometown of Tokyo for one day. How would it be to see him again?

We sat in a small restaurant over a pot of fresh brewed tea. Shared news about our lives, careers and family. Reminisced too. And somehow, the years melted away and friendship bloomed again.

cold brings frost, stunts growth
trees remain rooted in earth –
blossoms come again

Written for Haibun Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Frank asks us to consider cherry blossoms. A haibun combines prose and haiku.
Photo is from our cruise to China, South Korea and Japan in 2019. Such a wonderful reunion with Kenji Kojima! And how appropriate that our friendship bloomed once again exactly during cherry blossom season in Japan.

The Mysteries of Time

Time slips away, disappears.
Those years of youth,
ours and theirs.

I had a firm grasp on reality.
Even so, the mundane simmered,
repetition melded, numbed time.

Infinitesimal changes crept in,
unnoticed until too late.
What was, was gone.

Those everyday moments . . .
in hindsight I know
were anything but mundane.

Sweet viscous memories
fragments, rarely continuous,
slip and slide in my mind.

I sit, smiling gently,
my head in the past
then force myself into the now.

Pen in hand,
I write as time moves on
faster than my script.

My gait slower, skin thinner
eye sight cloudier,
but joy nurtures me.

Each day is still a gift
for one constant reason.
You are still beside me.

Psychotic Break

And so I wandered. Lonely as a cloud, seeking some break in the darkness you left behind. How did I get to this point?

Your proposal caught me off guard. I craved love for so long, my heart could not believe your words. We spent those next weeks in pure bliss. I asked to meet your family. “Soon enough,” you said. Then one day I came home to an empty apartment. Your clothes were gone. Your side of the bathroom, pristine. You’d stood there that morning, shaving off your beard until a fresh unfamiliar face looked out from the mirror. “I’ll have to get used to that,” I said. Did you want me to? They found me, wandering through the house. Incoherent. The darkness was everywhere.

I’ve spent years in this institution now, wondering if you were real.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. EXCEPT, today, we’re not writing poetry. We’re writing PROSERY! This is a form of creative writing, developed at dVerse. The prompter (today it’s me) gives a line or two from a poem of her/his choosing as the prompt. Writers must then write a piece of prose, think flash fiction, that contains the given line(s) word for word, within the body of prose. The punctuation may change….but the word order must be the same and it must be word for word. The prose must not exceed 144 words in length (sans title). As the pub tender/prompter today, I’ve selected the line “I wandered lonely as a cloud” from Wordsworth’s poem I Wander Lonely as a Cloud. The line must be used word for word within the body of prose (punctuation may vary), and the prose must be 144 words or less in length, sans title. Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

A Carroll for the Ages

With walking sticks in hand
golden agers cross the field
all in the golden afternoon.
The aged aged man smiles,
his love beside him today
and all these many years.

Beach house waits patiently
weathered bench outside.
They stop and look and sigh,
then reach slowly to touch
initials carved so deep that day,
when first they fell in love.

They sit, tremored hand in calloused one,
gaze across the lake.
Vision blurred beyond optician’s help,
still they recognize shapes afar.
A boat beneath the sunny sky
prods his memory back in time,

remembering . . .
. . . remembering . . .
he pats her hand and smiles.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today Sanaa asks us to consider a Candy Crush Saga! One option we have for our poems is to choose three titles of Lewis Carroll’s poems from a long list she gives us. We do not have to include the titles in our poem, but our poem should be inspired by them and we should give credit to his titles. I was most familiar with Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland so this was interesting to see some of the many poems he’s also written! Pub opens at 3 PM Boston time. Come join us!

The Lewis Carroll titles I included word for word within my poem are All in the Golden Afternoon, The Aged Aged Man, and A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky.