The Things You Remember

A mint-green cotton dress
With stains on the front
Where the goose knocked you down
And sat on your belly until Mama saved you
It was auntie’s wedding day
And now you were all dirty
And what would people say?
At 4, who gets dirty at 4?

Grandpa leaning down to your ear
Oh! He was a big, wonderful Irish man
Old Spice and pipe tobacco
Lifted his monstrous arm to the sky
He pointed to the soaring hawk
Except you think he said “hog”
With feathers and a screeching cry?
And since when do pigs fly?

White, cable-knit tights
Patent leather shoes
Sunday best, always in a pew
Then to Grandma’s for Sanka and Seven-up
Pink and tan and chocolate Keebler wafers
Sadness–no one ever picked the vanilla
At least not you

The stuffed animals in your bed
How you rotated their proximity to the center
So they could take turns sleeping next to you
You didn’t want anyone to be ignored
On the perimeter
To have hurt feelings
To get cold

You used to wake up in the middle of the night
Frost inside the windows and under
Your fingernails and on your lips
Smothered under a ton of blankets
And a red coat with smelly faux fur
Who wears a coat to bed?
You did
I saw it
I remember it
Like it was me

 

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Inspired at 4 a.m. by a beautiful poem There Will Be Things You Do  by Kim Dower

The Sorrows of The Mediocre

If you aren’t reading Melissa yet, you need to be!

What follows is one of my favorite poems of hers yet – I know the ten or so of you who read over here will appreciate her mindful twist 🙂

Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth

Poor poor Ralphie was a man
Who spent his life an also-ran
And though he tried with all his might
The ‘almost perfect but not quite’
Was heard as a nonstop refrain
And soon to be his sad life’s bane

School passed by predictably
With his average solid B
Involved in sports but to his nettle
His room adorned with silver medals
He never made the football team
Or dated the homecoming queen

He settled with a decent gal
But thought her more a sort of pal
Though long of leg and slim of waist
Just something off about her face
And so she joined him for the ride
And she too bridesmaid never bride

And Ralph he wrote though not the best
He cursed his marginal success
At wisdom some found somewhat sage
Though buried on an obscure page
But all that found it surely would
Agree that it…

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Rhiannon’s Rival Twin

I wonder if Stevie’s white witch ever worried about
laundry or
bills or
Touchdown Club meetings

When she swirled and made magic, did her lacy bottoms
ever schlepp through piles of dog hair, or become
pasted with the mystery sludge seeping from under the refrigerator?

In my best whiny voice: Why does she get to cast spells with herbs and spices
and partake in moonlight vices?
Why do I have to play responsible girl?
Bake cookies for fundraisers and causes and reasons
until I’m blue in the face with my generosity and good attitude
“Oh, Thank Goodness for You!”

She titters at me from her pretty perch
Nobody would ever ask her to help – they wouldn’t dare!
She sucks tequila down, right from the bottle
Tongue in cheek and liquored up, perfect lipsticked lips
Swathed in the red and the black; blood of her victims
wavy, mmmmm hot-messy
periwinkle hair flows down her back
Her breasts heave high while her jeans sling low
I want purple, I want cleavage, I want to show!

I try it sometimes, I can pull it off if I hide my driver’s license
and leave the sensible shoes at home with the scrunchie and sweats
Then my kid sees me at school: drop off another check, a forgotten
uniform, an errant permission slip
He meets me in the office all up in his huff and sick with dismay,
Mom. Those shorts are too short. The other moms don’t dress that way

So, I put on my mom-jeans, and drive my mom-car with the 29 mpg and good tires
She snorts, and tosses back her heliotrope hair
her smirk snarled and toothy and discerning
She slams the throttle to the floor of that hot little number she drives
She sees that I want her; ache for her
Our eyes meet in the mirror every morning and I can’t pretend it’s not true

I attempt to be the Moon’s daughter – her forgotten sister
I grow the Belladona, cast the seeds, light the candles and get down on my knees
But then, I’m interrupted by an e-mail or a phone call or a cause and a good reason
And a laugh, a “to be continued” some other day, maybe next season

Dah-dunna-dah-dun the piano riff tone sounds on my phone
She snatches it from my clingy hands and responds with mouth open and lips licked
Slithers out of her bra and into garters and spiky heels while I find a
professional skirt and flats – I have to look smart, together, all book-ends up
By the time you see her again, it’ll be empty bottles and tangled sheets
all smelling up like him and lounging like a satisfied cat

I only looked away for a minute!Well, because, I had to do that one thing
for those one people on that one day

She bequeaths me a last glance, tosses it over her shoulder at me
You wanna do something about it?
standing in the full length mirror before going down
Fingernails tracing the lines of his torso until she finds
just

the

right

spot

I want to be special Just a little special
With great hair and killer legs and a don’t fuck with me attitude
Maybe a mind-reader, or a healer, or writer or SOMETHING other than what I am
Somebody other than the prude preoccupied with meatloaf and groceries

Who am I kidding? I’m pretty fucking cool

Not the long, cool woman in a black dress kind of cool
Not the cool chick who people write songs about cool
Maybe a different, more responsible and reliable cool
A witchy woman – a witchay woman – more Elaine than Don

She’s skilled with the glances, the perky tits, and the booze and the seduction
but I’m a producer
I get shit done
I push that nasty bitch out of my head long enough to
lure my demon lover away from her grasp and take her spot
and make him howl at the moon for a while

You could learn a thing or two, honey
I’m really good on my knees

*****

Oh friends, what a fun piece of nonsense! It all started after hearing “Rhiannon” twice during a three-hour drive down to the next work assignment. The free write began with something serious, but Rhiannon called for something else–she can be quite stubborn. So, I had to make this ornery, seductive, and waaaaay outside my comfort zone. I’d also just read “Woman of Moderation” at Anna Bequins. The raw, sensual words set a permanent camp in my brain, and I probably copied a bit. Match all of this with the fact that I’m really tempted to color my hair K-State purple…well, the rival twin was born. 

Open to suggestions and tips. This poetry thing escapes me. Most of this was written at 2 a.m. this morning 😉 

I Found a Love Letter Under the Bridge

I found a love letter under the bridge
Under our bridge
The span we crossed and burned and built again
The place I tumbled head first into you
Right when I had planned to run

Your note was wrapped in the coverlet we left behind
You know, last time’s last time
You asked me what we should do with the blanket
Let’s leave it here – maybe a homeless person will need it
You told me I was kind – your heart ached – I felt it
For a homeless person
I’m that person, your person
So, I left the blanket here for me

Maybe you’d be there, too?
Tucked up in that crevice
Next to your love letter hidden in the folds
How did you know I’d come back?
The scent of us lingers, fills my nose
and I want you
Want us

Did I write this or did you?

My fingers trace the letters
The strokes curve and wind into the next, and
I can’t decipher where one word ends and the other begins
The lazy phrase you shouted with abandon
is front and center in black and white
You said it every time and I snatched the syllables from your lips
in case I’d never hear it again
You said it first,
but I meant it more

You hinted at promises – always, someday, mine
Throaty whispers that tie me tethered to you

That love letter…

Did I write it, or did you?
The loop of the Y, the curve of the V
It could have been you
but it was probably me

~~~~

This bit of prose was inspired while running a new trail today. I found an abandoned blanket under a bridge along with an empty bottle of wine and a damaged notebook. It wasn’t long before bad poetry, a swirling story, and a playlist carried me home.

Adding to the inspiration was a memory of reading about the Love Letter Library and Gypsy Journal projects. Check out Nicole’s Love Letter Library and join her in the Stop and Drop Love Letter Campaign.

The Love Letter Library was established on the simple idea that this world could use a little more love. Somewhere along the way we have lost some of the magic that used to exist simply by not taking the time to notice it. 

Stop Drop and Love Letter was inspired by a combination of our affinity for love letters and the beauty of discovering something wonderful and unexpected in the world. Over the past few months The Love Letter Library has been composing hand written love letters and leaving them in random locations in our little corner of the world. ~Nicole Ahr

Imagine how you would feel if you found a love letter written for somebody else – when, in truth, it was written just for you. xoxoxo

I Found a Love Letter Under the Bridge

Her Gypsy Heart

Embed from Getty Images

Some are born with ancient souls
In little girl vessels
Others have foolish hearts
hemmed inside old woman skin

I envy her unruly red, gold-flecked brown
Spring’s Muse that plays on the prairie
While the March grass burns
and verdant life creeps between her toes

With boots and roots buried in a pasture,
Her high heels and hands reach for the next rung

The wanderlust of youth plummets
to the pragmatism of years
And the gypsy heart hides
in letters and appointments

Until its cadence can’t be contained
and blood pulses
and spills everywhere

At board meetings
At church – inside bedroom walls
Her world is a creek bank that becomes wilder with age

Can one tame a gypsy heart?

Why would you?

For my girl: “Stay wild – my wild, wild child”

Let’s lay down these restless bones

Let’s lay down these restless bones
with chamomile
and comfortable silence
Poetry from Mary
and wisdom from Anne
warm blankets and chocolate
and prayers and gratitude

But, if that doesn’t work
then scrub the toilets
plant some seeds
you chop down the God-damned trees
And run, oh, you can run!
Until the knees give out
and your pen runs dry

Why can’t you lay down these restless bones?
Grab my shoulders
Yank my hair
Look me dead in the face
and silence the monkey mutter
with a promise in your eyes
and the same on your lips

Please, help me lay down these restless bones
Place my head in your lap
Trace your fingertips on my face
Caress my lashes
and tell me that the sleep will come
Will the sleep ever come?
Shhhh….
Please tell me that sleep will eventually come

Of the Winter to Come

via commons.wikimedia.org

via commons.wikimedia.org

I tucked in mums among the fading petunias
and prettied the pots ready for Fall.
They are propped up in Summer’s shiny sun
as their faces reach for the rays
Grateful and accepting of their short life.

A fleeting image
in the corner of my mind’s eye
fondant candy ice-covered petals

It was there, like an effigy
just for a second–but so bold
A premonition
an image of snow and bone-chill
isolation and wandering
Dark, dead flower heads spent for another season
Not returning like their perennial sisters

Typical me, always looking ahead
while stuck in the past
never thankful for the moment
The sun on my face, flowers in my lap
hubby in my house, children at apron’s length
Thinking of ice crystals on a
hundred degree day
Already wishing the season away while
begging for it to stay

~~~~

Is it just me, or can you feel it, too? Maybe it’s the slight north wind, a stray leaf among the green or the winter-laden catalogs that are starting to fill the mailbox. It’s coming, my friends, and the Almanac predicts it to be a long one in my neck of the woods. Sending you summer vibes and wishes that yours lasts as long as you want it to.

If you have the chance, look at the beautiful music video by the Zac Brown Band. It inspired this free write and the tilt-shift cinematography is amazing! (Mr. Liam Hemsworth ain’t so bad either!)

Who cooks for you?

Silent swoop
ghost wings
liquid orbs

Hiding from my lens
whispering
your daily inquiry

Who cooks for you?

Tiffany blue
framed in
boisterous branches

I wait for your call

Who cooks for you?
Who cooks for you all?

~~~~

I didn’t get my entry submitted in time, but here’s the challenge I participated in and decided to hitchhike at the end. Click on the Year Write Me icon and see the fabulous entries in this week’s challenge.

In 42 words, answer the question: What is that sound?

Do you know?

Nutscene Twine

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My favorite things

Comfort
Peace
Love
Belonging

Vintage typewriters
Sheet music and poetry scribbles
Corkscrew curls
Grecian urns filled with ivy

White gravel roads
Citrine landscapes under azure skies
Busy bird feeders
Milkweed tufts nesting in terracotta pots

Champagne fluted calla lilies
Mountaintops and river bottoms
Sunlit dust particles
Solitary runs on my secret trail

When I look nice
When I capture someone’s spirit on camera
Squash blossoms
Wicker baskets full of lined leather journals

Nutscene Twine

Corrugated box
Charcoal lettered 1920s graphics
Lined with burlap
Untouched since last season

Perfect rows of woven jute
Muted tones of brick-red, olive-green and ivory
accentuated by a pewter scissors
grosgrain tied around the curved handle

I cut and wrap and fasten glossy green life
to a lifeless arbor
Teardrop rosebuds yield to my hands
blossom in response to support

These tasks comfort me
My mind is clear
My spirit generous
My heart is happy