Looking Artsy

Back at the end of February, which seems a lifetime ago. a friend from my Xanga days mentioned on FB that she had put together an art book and wanted some volunteers to add their art on the pages. I jumped up and down waving my arm in the air shouting “Pick me! Pick me!” And she did. Sandra aka Harpo’s Mark, bound the little book and decorated the cover with a collage. As you can see the cover is beautiful.

She also did the first page with amazing prints and even a poem! Which I realized would be hard to follow.

Thankfully I was not the next to get the book. That honor went to another ex-Xangan, Beth aka Seedsower. She does doodle art that is outstanding! I have a cross she did and have it framed in my guest room. She put together a Valentine themed page (since she had it in February).

I had been thinking about the page for several weeks and had tried to come up with a theme to no avail. When it arrived in the mail I knew there was a time crunch. With the pressure on I was still unable to find something to get excited about. Then I had a dream. I dreamt about mermaids. Perhaps it was watching the movie “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire”. Maybe it was from the anticipation of my trip to Florida. Either way I just knew I wanted to do a mermaid.
This is what it looked like before I glued down all the kelp or fixed the mermaid to the background. This next photo shows some of the details I added – fish and other sea creatures.
This last one shows the addition of the octopus and the senyru poem. I apologize for the horrible photography. Taking photos is not a skill I have developed…

The poem reads:
Tentacles tickle
Melusine mirth-bubbles rise
Waking dreams of depths
As soon as the glue dried (under a ton of dictionaries) I was able to add it to the blank page and send it on to the next artist!

Looking at the Visitation

This Friday my sister was coming to visit. For many people that wouldn’t be a red letter day. However this was going to be the first time my sister had visited and stayed at my home. (She came about 12 years ago for a funeral and stayed overnight in a hotel then was *poof* gone.) She was traveling here with her oldest child (28 yrs old) and a ton of stuff for our neighborhood garage sale! The timeline was a little compressed since her arrival was scheduled for only 12 hours before the sale starts. In preparation of the visit and the subsequent sifting of some of my mother’s possessions I had accomplished the following (deep breath):
1. Cleaned the garage and set up tables. We had to borrow from several family members to have places to stack stuff.
2. Cleaned the house. This was necessary since they would be sleeping in rooms we generally close off. The dust was thick (because I hate to dust).
3. I broke down and bought a new mattress for the twin guest bed. This was something I’d put on the “to do” list after son#2 mentioned that the bed was, in his words, a torture device. So the new mattress has been deployed and hermetically sealed in a mattress cover with an added pad.
4. All the basement junk had been hauled out to the garage to sell. What doesn’t sell will be deposited at the church rummage sale.
5. A menu had been formulated and a grocery list written. My sister is allergic to dairy (as in she carries 2 epi-pens at all times allergic) and maintains a gluten-free diet. This poses a few challenges.
6. A shopping trip to all the goodwill stores had been planned too.

Then she called. She forgot that this weekend is Mother’s Day and her child#2 had planned some special event (with non-refundable tickets) as a surprise. So the schedule is much easier. There is no mad rush to get my mother’s stuff priced or displayed. The menu is open to anything I want. And there is no last minute cleaning or laundry to do. I do understand but I’m still just a touch disappointed. We’ll just have to reschedule the visit. The garage sale will still happen and everything will get done without stressing. There is a much more relaxed schedule. And besides, Sparky is happy that I got most of the “spring cleaning” out of the way…

Looking Blind

Here it comes – the last entry for the NPM Flex Scavenger Hunt using prompt #13 – Write a Rant Prose poem or write about blindness. I haven’t ranted in quite awhile so I might be a little rusty…

Blind ambition
Blind love, blind justice
Blind rage and blind fury
The whole of the human race just stumbling around
I’m there too groping my way through life
A cave spider following a silken thread
Is it my thread or someone else’s?
I want to believe I’m in charge but I can’t see
The future, the past, and the present is
A jumble of sounds, smells, vibrations in the air
Bombs exploding, the smell of death approaching
I delude myself by saying I can see
And I do see – dust and dirty dishes, clock hands
Tasks and chores and age stalking me
Then I realize I’ve kept my spirit eyes closed tight
Because I don’t want to see the hungry and homeless
The poor, the traumatized, those fleeing war,
The marginalized and the corpses left to rot in the street
I am afraid to look because I just might see me

I can’t think of anything quite as terrifying as blindness. The possibility looms. All kinds of things can cause loss of sight. Some avoidable and many accidental and capricious in who will be affected. As afraid of physical blindness I confess to be, there is another blindness that is worse. When we lose sight in our “spirit eyes”. That is when we cannot see the goodness in the world. When we become blind to the divine spark in others. This kind of vision is being eradicated in this world. And it scares the bejeezus out of me. Even when physically blind, the soul can see the glory of creation. When I consider what heaven must be, I think that it is where love, hope, kindness, compassion, sympathy, praise, and thanksgiving and gratitude are made visible. Not to be seen with the eyes but with the heart and soul. My hope is that the eyes of the soul never lose the ability to see clearly…

Looking for Healing

This is my entry for the NPM Flex Scavenger Hunt using the 12th prompt – Write a Waltmarie poem or write about healing. The Waltmarie is a 10 line poem where the even numbered lines are 2 syllables
and the odd numbered lines have no restriction on syllables. There is no requirement for rhyme but the even numbered lines when read sequentially form their own mini-poem.

In medicine disease is a condition
True health
Is conferred by power of salvation
Of self
Blocking havoc and disorder
Through sleep
Illness traps grace at the dream border
My wealth
The gift of honest confession
I keep

Well, this month has been a very busy one what with NPM (writing all this poetry) and Easter and all that entails. I have been zealously guarding my sleep time. When I don’t get my rest I feel out of sorts all day. Although I fall asleep easily, lately I’ve been waking up often. My Fitbit confirms that my sleep quality has been suffering. I think I’ve figured out the issue, I’ve been worrying about things that I have no control over. This worry has now been shrugged off and placed at God’s feet. Relieved of this burden, my slumber has improved in quality and I feel renewed and refreshed. And so it goes – I forget that my physical health is intimately tied to my spiritual health. Once that is restored, the headaches, tension, and uneasiness evaporate.

I also had the opportunity to try out a new recipe for Beer Roasted Chicken. We had this lone can of beer in the fridge since Super Bowl Sunday. Since I’m not a beer drinker and Sparky prefers other brands, I decided to make use of it. The recipe is thus:
1 whole chicken
1 can beer
salt and pepper

Rinse chicken and pat dry. Rub skin with salt and pepper. Open can of beer and place chicken over the can being sure to insert it into the body cavity far enough to stabilize the chicken. Place chicken in baking dish with high sides to stabilize the bird. Cover with foil. Bake at 350F for 3 – 3.5 hours. Remove foil and brown for another 10 minutes.
The only tricky part was getting the beer can out. Luckily that wasn’t too difficult with 3 people helping (granted one was taking the photos for me). The meat was tender and moist and the best part was that it didn’t taste like beer!

Looking But Not Understanding

This is my 11th NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt prompt – Write an Ottava Rima or write on the theme of vision. The Ottava Rima is an Italian form with an 8 line stanza having 11 syllables per line and a rhyme scheme of: abababcc.

All men look to the sky when they cannot sleep
Search the stars and void of space for answers there
Attempt to unravel mysteries so deep
With clear vision reveal God to others, share
In the morning bleary eyes saw angels weep
Hallucinations, demons the crowds declare
In their disbelief they run from what was seen
Calling what the visionaries saw obscene

We are a cynical and skeptical race. We require proof positive and concrete evidence. This permeates all aspects of life from our courts of law to our science labs and even in our relationships with others. And yet we pick and choose what we will believe proclaiming that our version is truth and all other versions are lies. Often our belief is based on word of mouth that would not pass muster in a courtroom. This faith comes and goes, it waxes and wanes. Would we believe based on another’s testimony or do we need to see and hear and feel for ourselves? And even then, having a first hand experience, would we understand what we saw?

I am not having an existential crisis. I am however wondering how I perceive the truth and evaluating how I process information. Is it a shift in my perceptions? I don’t think so but it is a fair bit of navel gazing. Which far too many people forego. I think we need to do a little introspection from time to time and be open to seeing a different point of view.

Looking Wooden

Angry joints held stiff at right angles
Physical attitude tells all
Mother holds the wooden spoon
She’s poised to mete out blows
Compassion stops her
Arms akimbo

This is my latest for the NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt for prompt #10 – Write a Nonet poem or write a poem using the words “joint” and “bent”. The nonet is a count down poem that starts with a line of 9 syllables and each following line is reduced by one syllable. There are no requirements for rhyme or meter.

And now the rest of the story: Sparky has a t-shirt that he found at Goodwill that all of his siblings covet. It has a drawing of a wooden spoon with the words “Wooden Spoon Survivor” emblazoned across the front.

Sparky is one of 6 kids and his mother had her hands full with 4 children in 3 years! To maintain order she was liberal in her use of the wooden spoon. Her reasoning at the time was if one was in trouble it was a sure bet that the others were in on it or were at fault for not trying to stop the activity. The sound of the utensil drawer in the kitchen being jerked open sent terror through the hearts of Sparky and his siblings. Even today the ka-chunk-ka of that drawer results in a sharp intake of breath. The kids would have to line up and put their hands on the kitchen table edge and several swift swats with the spoon would be applied to their backsides. They eventually aged out of that punishment and have straightened up and flown right ever since. This group punishment did accomplish one thing. They all became their brother’s keepers. They were quick to divert inappropriate behavior among younger siblings (mostly for self preservation), were always watching out for each other, and it also gave them a one for all and all for one mindset.

Looking at Passions

The sleepless long for pleasant dreams
Lovers crave the tender embrace
Seeks consent in the eyes and face
The thirsty search for icy streams

The heart’s inferno drives extremes
The primal urge to find a mate
Clouds eyes and reason abdicate
Limbs entwined and thought overthrown
With abandon love’s seed is sown
And wedding vows sealed passionate

This is my offering for NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt using prompt #9 – Write a Espinela poem or write a poem on the theme of passion. This form is Spanish in origin and consists of 2 stanzas with 4 end rhymes across 10 lines with only 8 syllables per line. The first stanza is 4 lines with a rhyme scheme of abba, and the second stanza is 6 lines with a rhyme scheme of accddc.

This is a nod to this date (because I came of age in the late 1970s) and 420 had significance among some of my peers. On a much more personal note, Sparky’s parents are now part of the 420 culture. Both of them have had some significant pain related to various conditions. His father’s spinal simulator isn’t working all that well any more which means he has a great deal of pain preventing him from sleeping. His mother has had a couple of falls and the tests showed some compression fractures of vertebrae. In the meantime she is in a lot of discomfort. After lots of complaining and a ton of questions, some of the grandchildren decided to go ahead and procure some edibles for the grandparents. The results are mixed. It doesn’t seem to alleviate any pain for Sparky’s dad BUT he is sleeping very soundly and feels refreshed upon awakening. For Sparky’s mom it helps sometimes and sometimes not. We think the issue is eating the gummie with a meal versus on an empty stomach. Seems eating with a meal mutes the effect….

Looking to Serve

The 8th prompt for the NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt is to write a Kyrielle or write a poem on servitude. The kyrielle is one of my favorite forms having 4 stanzas of 4 lines with a syllable count of 8 syllables per line. The last line of the first stanza becomes the refrain repeating as the last line in all following stanzas. The Rhyme scheme is: aabB, ccbB, ddbB, eebB. Not too difficult and I find them enjoyable to read aloud.

I heard the taunts and whispered threats
I guess at stakes when you place bets
Peer pressure and you play the knave
I’m as always, your willing slave

You ignore me on busy days
And forget me in bonfire blaze
When attention is all I crave
I’m as always, your willing slave

From your table you toss me scraps
I toil so hard my strength it saps
My devotion on heart engrave
I’m as always, your willing slave

Into fierce battle’s heated fray
By your side, I will never stray
Call me companion strong and brave
I’m as always, your willing slave

If you haven’t guessed, this poem is not about an actual slave. Instead it is a commentary on the human-canine dynamic. Well, at least the way some people see their dogs. Working in Veterinary Medicine I’ve seen my share of owners both good and bad. The good owners generally out number the bad ones, because mostly the really bad owners do not bring their dogs to the vet clinic except out of necessity. And even the owners who treat their dogs with little respect or compassion are greeted with a joyful wagging tail when retrieving their pet from the clinic. Dogs seem to eagerly enter a contract of servitude with their owners – even when people ignore, demand obedience, give little or no thought to the well-being of the dog – the dog will remain loyal. But the person who upholds the contract will be rewarded a hundred times over with that which goes beyond loyalty and servitude – love.

Looking for Irregular Odes

I settle back take breaths deep
Fluff the pillows and sip my drink
Try to read but start to fall asleep
The words pull me in and I swim in ink
Struggle with letter eddies and commas that leap
Gulp down words I never wrote
I spy a refuge as I’m going under
Poetry’s tendrils to keep me afloat
Dream castle oasis with protecting moat
It’s no use as I give into slumber

What liquid languid dreams I find
Run my fingers through sparkling pools
Splashing through my muddled mind
From imaginations’ stream I’m plucking jewels
Such wealth to these waters assigned
Until a phrase of beauty I spy
Poet’s muse shouts “Stop thief!”
Too late gather red roses and the bluest sky
Summer’s rain and Autumn’s fiery leaf
I slip awake to write of love’s sad sigh

This is my post for NPM 22 Flex Scavenger Hunt prompt #7 – Write an Irregular Ode or write a poem using the words “spy” and “deep”. The Irregular Ode is, well, irregular. The line lengths are uneven, the meter is not enforced, and even the rhyme scheme is shifty! To be sure it must have 10 lines per stanza and it has to have at least one stanza (though you are encouraged to have more). The rhyme scheme I used is: ABABACDCCD, ABABACDCDC…

Today is Good Friday. It is a day of prayer, fasting, and abstinence as I enter the Triduum which marks the most important Christian Holiday. I will probably not be here to respond to your comments but I will be back.

Looking to Bounce Back

“Hey babe, can you give me a loan?”
He asks an allowance cloaked as a loan
Carrying him on waitress tips makes me moan

“Naw,” I answer, “the bank’s tapped out
You’ll have to stay in instead of go out”
But he slaps me hard and begins to shout

“Give me the money, all your cash!”
Ransacks the room, “Give me your cash!”
Screams, “give it or I’ll take you out like the trash”

He heads for the kitchen to the cookie jar
Knows I keep extra in that old cookie jar
By the time he returns I’ve started my car

I’m already halfway down the street
Mama’s house is far down the next street
I look back and he’s chasing in bare feet

This was the last straw and he knows
No more chances, I know he knows
I won’t take his temper or his blows

I’ve seen his sweet side and love’s word
But I have my limits so no love’s my word
No more chances this strike’s your third

My mama didn’t raise no fool
You had your shot but I won’t play the fool
I can’t abide a man who’s willfully cruel

Starting over without you
Take it or leave it – you do you
I’ll bounce back because we’re through!

This is my attempt at a Blues Stanza for the NPM22 Flex Scavenger hunt using prompt #6 -Write a Blues Stanza or write a poem using the theme of resilience. This form was derived from late 19th century Afro-American lamentation and sadness but can be either sarcastic or ironic as well. There are no limits to the number of stanzas and there is no required meter. The structure consists of 3 line stanzas in a monorhyme. The first 2 lines are a phrase and a rephrase of the topic and share the same end word. When diagramed looks like: AAa, BBb, CCc, DDd,…

The problem of domestic violence is found in every city, every state, every single country on the planet. I have read so many news articles about women being battered and beaten and yet they remain with their abuser. Too often they have nowhere to go and such a sense of helplessness that they cannot imagine any escape. I applaud women who are able to leave those types of relationships and forge a new life…