Looking for Good News

This week the W3 poetry prompt was set by the Poet of the Week Selma Martin. She challenged us to write a prose poem with some very specific criteria: Format it like breaking news, give it a bold attractive title, write it with a beginning, middle, and end. Make it a Good News account of something that will benefit us all. Use strong, positive verbs and add enough detail to make it believable and relieve us of some stress. It shouldn’t be too short nor too long.

A tall order considering we are all much better at pointing out the negative than celebrating the positive. We have had a pretty mild winter so far (knock on wood) but we are supposed to get snow today. The best thing I can think of is for an early Spring – as in a Spring that started in earnest today!

……………………………………A Miracle Happens!……………………………………
Snow has vanished. Sudden and unexpected. Just when the cold had settled into bones, homes, frozen hearts like stones, there came a thaw. Trees budding, the sap rises. Birds have returned. Animals have awakened from hibernation. Spring rituals begin. New life on the way! The fruit growers are optimistic for a bumper crop – cherries, peaches, plums. Crop farmers are planting – corn, beans. Winter wheat has sprouted! People emerging from their homes greet this new world. Neighbors speak. Dogs bark. One week and green returned to the park. A vernal reawakening, a new beginning, a miracle!

Looking with High-Beams

Yes, another entry for MoonCatBlue’s House of Mayhem of the Mind Scavenger Hunt using multiple prompts. This time I used prompt #4 – Creative non-fiction incorporating: amputation, moose, rosary, doom, ghost, binoculars, #26 – We said good-bye before we ever said hello, #30 – Driving at night, and #31 – Incorporate: Time travel, acne, gasoline, mermaids, hex wrench, corpse flower
I decided to use a prose poem as it would be really difficult to do a more traditional poem while writing creative non-fiction…

I enjoy night driving where the high beams bounce. My mind can wander, see mermaids and pounce. The radio becomes a time travel portal. And I’m acne young and believe I’m immortal. From the rearview mirror my rosary hung. To ward off moose and deer as it swung. All trips have problems, especially at night. The engine sputters as the gasoline stations in sight. Though lit up there’s a feeling of doom. If only binoculars were handy I could see through the gloom. I manage the pitstop, refuel and pop the hood. My kingdom for a hex wrench and there I stood. He sauntered up lanky and tall. Looked me over, asked “can I help y’all?” I shook my head no. Was it his breath or BO? With a corpse flower vibe I turned pale as a ghost. I amputated the meeting and escaped – almost. We said good-bye before we ever said hello. But his smell follows me wherever I go.

As a new college graduate, I had my first job a whopping 3.5 hours from my hometown and family. I would head home at least once every couple of weeks, leaving after work on a Friday and heading back late afternoon on Sunday. I enjoyed the trip. My father had a particular route he’d always driven (since I was living in the same city as my grandparents) that went on back roads and through small towns. It was a familiar route. The city of La Fountaine was the only gas station around and the only toilet (unless you count a mature corn field). It was early fall and it was starting to get dark earlier. I had a Chevy Nova and it had a problem with a headlight that was loose and would need to be tightened every now and then. I decided to make the stop in La Fontaine. The attendant was young and was trying to flirt with me. He didn’t look too bad but it was obvious that he was a pig farmer when he wasn’t at the gas station. The closer he got the worse the smell! I could smell him even 100 miles away – it lingered!!

Looking to Forget About Love

The Skeptic’s Kaddish hosts the We’ave Written Weekly (W3) poetry prompt. This week the Poet of the Week is Britta Benson and her prompt requirements are:
•Write a prose poem. All poetic devices allowed, as long as you don’t break that line!
•Theme: Love, not necessarily in the romantic sense, or: Elephants

Looking into the gloom of late Autumn, I search for the remnants – golden leaves, brown dry promises, the rusty red of love that has lost its luster. Try to forget the thrill of the first leaves green with hope and trust. Love that bloomed. Now those flowers adorn a shallow grave. Wilted, drooping, fatigued beyond revival waiting for winter. I trumpet my dismay. I shake my head, tear away cobwebs of romance, sweep out the dross of infatuation’s spiders and try to forget. I stomp past the graves of possibilities, weddings unrealized, children unmade. I kick stones. Rage at fallen leaves. Unable to forget. Always attempting to forget while I tend the grave of our love. But elephants never forget. Elephants never. Never forget.

I was going to attempt to incorporate the W3 prompt with my scavenger hunt but that just wouldn’t work. (Sort of a square peg in a round hole!) So this is a bonus post on Thursday.

Looking for Lost Graces

There are moments when I wonder if I’ve missed something, dropped an important bauble, and now its gone forever. I can’t begin to number the times I’ve walked out of a room only to forget what was so urgent. It is that imperative to leave that evaporates. Nothing seems so important anymore. Life is lazy. The water flows. The air gently brushes past me. There is no rushing, no doing, no hurry. It is almost as if time has slowed. The heart slows, the thoughts become languid. Perhaps this is a preparation for the inevitable aging followed by death. I remember anesthetic induction. It was the heaviness of the tongue, the wooden muscles, that indicated that I was slipping into a state of unconsciousness. The world slowed and then stopped. Unlike death, I opened my eyes and resumed living and doing and rushing. Is aging a grace? Is this deceleration a preparation and a gift? We spend so much time in acquisition of things that we fail to recognize the gifts we have been freely given. It must be a human failing that we dismiss those things that are free. Free is the same as worthless in many minds. But what if, the free things are the important ones. The graces, the loves, the assistance, the leading us out of danger, the saving, the mercies, the caring and comfort, are worth more than we imagine. What if we are designed to slow down? What if the slowing is to allow us to appreciate all the things we were too busy to see? What if I have missed it all?

So this is a prose poem. I never thought I’d enjoy writing a poem that doesn’t really have any rules or parameters to follow. Some folks suggest that it isn’t poetry. Some others insist it is.

Looking at Snowflakes

It is winter and we have snow. We will get more snow. I used to think of snow as singular. Logically I know that it is plural. Snow is made of a multitude of individual and unique water crystals. I know that a snowflake by itself is a beautiful creation. Yet when accumulating as a group it loses the individual beauty. Many people relish snow. They enjoy skiing and making snow sculptures. Some take advantage of the cold to skate on frozen lakes and ponds. Others look forward to ice fishing. The one thing I enjoy about a good heavy snow is the silence. Snow muffles the noise of this modern society. When I wake up and there is silence, I know we are covered in a deep layer of snow. That muted world appears calmer, slower, more introspective. In my mind we are snowflakes. We are unique or at least with enough variation to consider ourselves as such, yet we are all the same in essence. Whether you think of yourself as male or female or something entirely outside those parameters, regardless of your race, color, creed, or nationality, we all hurt. Tears are clear despite our outer appearance. And like snow when we come together we are a force to be reckoned with. A singular force. A single snowflake. Bound with others that can quiet the sounds of derision, bigotry, division, racism, hatred, violence. Snow just is. By its presence it blankets and cleanses. Let’s be snowflakes. Let’s come together and be snow.

Looking for Laughter

Today would have been my Father’s 88th birthday. The sting of his death is gone. Now I’m just a little nostalgic. The thing I miss most is the sound of him laughing. I’ve written about his laugh before. The thing is, his laugh was missing for the last couple of years before he passed. He was so very weary and weak. The pain from the neuralgia and the toll dialysis took on him meant that all his available energy went to just staying alive. He loved slap stick comedy in general and Jerry Lewis movies specifically. He would tell jokes and I provided him YEARS of hilarity as I pondered “How do you get down from an elephant?” I get tickled reading old Garfield comics, watching most animated movies (Monsters, Inc still puts me in stitches in parts) and thinking about some of the truly ridiculous moments in my life. What makes you laugh?

So in honor of his birthday I wrote the following prose poem:
The funny thing is, I can’t recall the sound of my father’s voice, but his laugh is still echoing in my mind. I can hear it, see his face, see his shoulders shaking, his mouth open with a roar and a gasp. There has been a dearth of laughter lately. Laughing is a kind of communion with the creator. I’m convinced God has a wicked sense of humor. How else can you explain elbows and dimples, caterpillars and butterflies, flamingo knees and kangaroo pouches? I want to think that God laughs when someone farts or releases a really magnificent belch. I want to believe. There is divine amusement when seeing a funny movie, watching babies take the first taste of ice cream, seeing that regal cat miss the mark jumping from chair to bed. The sound of God laughing is all around us in the falling rain, the crunch of dry leaves, the sparkle of ice in winter sun. I can hear laughter when the crow calls, a donkey brays, and when we sing all off-key in church. I bet He has a good chuckle when I sing in the shower. Today I’m looking for laughter. I’ll strain to hear the whisper as my dad has a good laugh with the angels and when I hear it I’ll join in.

Looking at Fungi

I am fascinated by these things, fungi. Neither fun nor male. A plant that grows in the dark and damp spreading spores not seeds. Some delicious and some deadly. The trick is to be able to tell the difference. Sautéd as a treat or a last meal, we take our chances. On these weird forms, little umbrellas or soggy soccer balls, we dream or is it hallucinate. Who is to say? So many colors and textures that catch our eye and we must decide if it is a toadstool or mushroom, benign or lethal, harmless or pathogenic. I wonder if spores released and accidentally inhaled would change me. A parasitic fungus spreads in my lungs, over takes my body, morphs me into something akin to a zombie. Will I seek the dark and damp? If I then ingest portabella is it cannibalism? I never liked to eat mushrooms as a child. Perhaps it was because of a Twilight Zone episode. You know the mushrooms being grown were really taking the place of people, or people were being devoured by the mushrooms. It is hard to tell anymore. I sit huddled next to the space heater on one side and the humidifier on the other trying to get comfortable. We all want comfort and dark and warm and sometimes a little dampness. Like when your hair is wet and wrapped in a towel.

The above is my prose poem about fungi. I have lots of photos as I love to take a few pictures of fungus especially the pretty ones (pretty to me anyway). So here follows a few of my favorites.

This is in response to calmkate’s Friday Fun – Fungi post – please go visit and join in the fun(gi)!

Looking at Buttons

Lost buttons and metaphors for life. That is the unraveling of the thread that holds all things together. Buttons and breath. A stitch in the side and the thread that rubs against the sharp edge of a metal button. Eventually the thread breaks and even with sewing it back on it is only a matter of time before the thread is worn through again. If you are fortunate the button falls off in your hand. Without luck, the button is lost to the snow or dark or the deep pile of luxurious carpeting. No matter it is still lost. In the end it is lost and there is no chance to recover it. We can replace the lost button. It might not match the others. If you want to stay warm it won’t bother you that the coat has an odd grey button among the black ones. I suppose all of life is making due with mismatched buttons and searching for a needle and thread. How often do we put a button in our pocket because we don’t have time to sew it back on? How many buttons fall out of pockets when we pull out gloves? It is all coats flapping open and buttons found lonely on the sidewalk. So many lost buttons. So many lost people. So many.

Looking Older

I was once young. Time moves and my younger self slides further away. I glance over my shoulder and can barely make out the color of my hair. So here I am. One moment I was limber and strong and carefree. Now I find my body does not cooperate as easily. There is dissonance between will and ability. I must cajole the present me into doing what the past me did without a second thought. My 10 year old self is impatient. My 16 year old self is disgusted. My 30 year old self is disappointed. My 45 year old is resigned. But it is my 60 year old self that is angst ridden. I wring my hands and wonder how this has happened. But I know the answer. I am still alive. And that is a wonderful thing. I was once young and it was marvelous. Now I’m much older and life is different but still superb!

Above is my prose poem about aging. I was talking with my sister in law and she was saying that her significant other was doing some modeling. He is making lots of money posing for advertisements. The company is looking for additional models. Specifically older women with grey hair that are slender and active. Seems that here are a dearth of older women willing to look their age. Go figure. I noticed a company was hawking a drug for erectile dysfunction and the man in the ad was silver haired and obviously in his 70s but his “wife” looked like she was a 30 year old that had been made-up to look older. It just didn’t look right….

Looking for the Poem in the Prose

The lighthouse beacon is fickle. I can never hold its attention. I’m seen then it looks away. And I wait. You remind me of that lighthouse. I’m always on the periphery. I’m the drab girl standing in the back next to the fake fichus tree at the funeral. You look at me but you don’t see me. On a grey day I am invisible. A graphite smudge forgotten. I’m not to be trifled with. Your resistance is no match for my persistence. I will soon have your undivided attention and be the sole focus of your eyes. Your light. Your funeral.

The above is a prose poem using the Looking Foolish Scavenger Hunt prompt #8 – Use these words: resistance, funeral, lighthouse, graphite. A prose poem combines characteristics of poetry with the appearance of prose. A prose poem will contain traces of metrical structure or verse and utilize poetic devices such as alliteration, consonance, or sonic repetition.

This poem seems a tad “dark” in tone and topic but that’s how it stands. I have had a rough couple of weeks what with being sick (and the cough lingers) and being a little overwhelmed by work demands. On the bright side, the bathroom remodel is being scheduled. I have stacks of ceramic tiles, faucets, sink and vanity, and a big bathtub in my guest room as a staging area. All we need to do is coordinate with the contractor. And purchase the paint. I’m waffling between a sage green and a dusty blue… decisions!