Tryst at Pine Woods

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.

Photo by alevision.co on Unsplash in the public domain.

Forevermore

Top of the hill. Treeless.
Wildflowers blanket the meadow
canopied by cloudless sky
bluebird blue.
She stands, shear linen skirt billowing
arms outstretched,
face tipped toward afternoon sun.

Long ago declared their place,
they still meet here every year.
This day. This anniversary of his death.
She feels again his touch,
so real within the mountain air.
Yellow buttercups glad to see her,
wave spritely in spring’s breeze.

Delicate petals succumb to wind,
part from stem and float toward her.
Adhere to tear streaked cheeks
just as his kisses did that final day.
Sandals tossed aside,
dew moistened grass licks her toes
and she smiles.

He is with her here.
Their love was real,
still is, and shall be
forevermore.  

Bjorn from Sweden is hosting OLN at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Tonight the pub is live – poets will gather via the miracle of technology, visit with one another and read their poetry aloud. It’s marvelous to connect names with faces and voices. Everyone reads in English and we usually have folks attend from Sweden, India, the UK, the US, Australia, and other places around the globe. Come join us! Image from Pixabay.com

Snow Globe and More

This is not a snow globe
this is me seeking refuge
slipping mentally inside,
beautiful crystal orb.

This is not a snow globe
but a world disrupted.
Lies pummeling us everywhere
beliefs shaken, in disarray.

Wellbeing, within our grasp.
Shake loose the tyranny.
Set it down firmly
and stop the madness.

This is a snow globe.
Sentries within trust us.
When their world is shaken
they know we will reset the calm.

Written for Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today we are asked to write an object poem and begin with the words “This is not a ….” We are asked not to simply describe the object, but to relate to it. How does its existence affect me….what does it mean to me….how do I relate to it at this moment. Photo is the snow globe on our coffee table … a Christmas decoration I’ve had for many years. I love to tip it and see the beautiful shimmering “snow” swirl inside.

A Christmas Carol

Like sparkling lights
I love you

like tart cranberry sauce
and chocolate mousse

smooth and sweet
and roast turkey

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!

Ragtime
by Kevin Young

Like hot food
I love you

like warm
bread & cold

cuts, butter
sammiches

or, days later, after
Thanksgiving

when I want
whatever’s left

Her Name is Sharbat Gula

You saw me as a refugee.
My piercing eyes your prize.
I was, am more than that.
I walked miles over mountains.
Mountains of earth, violence
hatred and poverty.

You asked no permission.
You saw in my eyes . . . what?
Pain, loss, my future?
My future was with or without
your use of me.
Your lack of concern for me.

Your future, on the other hand
calloused or not,
your future was in my eyes.
And they appeared everywhere
while they were still here.
One click and you were gone.

I became your prize photograph.
I was your prey.

Mish hosts Tuesday Poetics at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. She asks us today to “look into my eyes”, giving us several ways to do that in her prompt for our poem.

My poem is written from the perspective of Sharbat Gula. Her photo was taken in 1984, by Steve McCurry and subsequently used as the cover for the June 1985 issue of National Geographic and the large book National Geographic: The Photographs published in 1994. This photo has been called “The First World’s Third World Mona Lisa.” The photo was published without her consent and the identity of the photo’s subject was not initially known. At the time, she was a child living in the Nasir Bagh refugee camp in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan.

National Geographic later searched for her, not knowing her name. They found her and produced a documentary “Search for the Afghan Girl” which aired in March 2002. In her recognition, National Geographic created the Afghan Girls Fund, a charitable organization with the goal of educating Afghan girls and young women.  In 2008 the scope of its mission was extended to include boys and was renamed the Afghan Children’s Fund. After finding Sharbat Gula, National Geographic also covered the costs of medical treatment for her family and a pilgrimage to Mecca. Hers is an amazing story and can be found at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Afghan_Girl

Provincetown Good Night

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!

Ledger of Life

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.

Love Is . . .

Just twenty months apart, they grew up together. Whispered secrets through a grate between their bedroom walls. Shared stories at supper time. Shared chores on family camping vacations. One tent for the four of us. Four small blue canvas chairs always set up by the campfire site. We sat together talking. Sometimes stared at stars and moon; watched ember sparks glow. They always slept soundly when the lantern was doused, even in their teenage years. Cocooned in sleeping bags.

Years later, they live six-hundred miles apart. Raising their families. Busy with life. Those starry nights are part of who they are. Like deep and long roots sustaining the stately oak, those special times inform how they define family. I wonder if in their dreams, they sleep with the moon shared between them still. Far apart, but always akin.

Written for Prosery Monday at dVerse, the virtual pub for poets around the globe. Today, Merril is hosting and asks us to include the line “In their dreams, they sleep with the moon” in a story or memoir (some type of prose; cannot be poetry). The line is from Mary Oliver’s Death at Wild River.

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.