no baggage needed, a poem



behind the paced metallic clatter of nursing rounds
the mind migrates to a place where solitude is light
and the man in the moon is silent and stubborn, like
the stars refusing to speak english, though old sun,
a free sprit, speaks love in every language

come morning
i awaken to gusty bursts of citrus colors,
lively yellow ginkgo leaves boogie-woogie in the wind,
with pen in claw, a grumpy old crow signs my discharge papers . . .

i’m ready to go ~
my carryall carries nothing

every journey, i have learned,
is a leg on the journey home

no baggage needed
no baggage wanted

Old poem, rewritten © 2018, poem and photograph, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


ABOUT

Advertisements

Two poems and your Wednesday Writing Prompt

 



Bay City, Poem I

San Francisco Bay. Seagulls plant themselves

near heavy metal, making tracks across a bridge.

It’s well know for its span and golden beauty.

Like a gothic cathedral, it spins toward heaven,

stops short, dips and trips to the other side.

Same story. Only the address has changed.

Bay City, Poem II

The seagulls spin and spiral and call.

They fly into the wind and over water.

Dawn catches them wings spread,

hang-gliding over ports and beaches.

© 2018, poems, Jamie Dedes; photograph courtesy of Petr Kratochvil, Public Domain Pictures.net.


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT 

There are many reasons why place is important to poets and writers. The reasons include not just inspiration – though that may often be primary – but also to evoke mood, to underline theme, and often even as a “character.”  Write about a place you find particularly beautiful, meaningful, evocative or compelling in some way. Post your poem(s) or a link to it/them in the comments section below.  If this is your first time responding to Wednesday Writing Prompt, please be sure to email a photo and brief bio to thepoetbyday@gmail.com so that you might be introduced to readers.  This weekly theme-based prompt is all about exercising the writing muscle, showcasing your work and getting to know other poets. Please feel free – encouraged – to join in no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro. All work shared in response to this week’s theme will be published next Tuesday.


ABOUT

“Our Takeaway”…. and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

 



My apologies to all those who shared poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt. I didn’t realize today was Tuesday and time to post your wonderful work for all to see. The reason – not excuse, as they say – is I am totally in airhead mode with this relocation. So, here we go … still Tuesday by me but I know for some of you it’s already a new day …

The last prompt, Wednesday, March 21, after the injera, the way, the niter kibby: tell us about a take away from your travels or vacation garnered us these lovelies. Thank you to Kakali Das Gosh, Pleasant Street, Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher, and Reena Presad. Enjoy! 


Our Takeaway

always on a Friday. A menu
taken out of the kitchen drawer,

unfolded. Dad scribbles what everyone
wants. I choose egg fried rice.

Using phone on the phone table
in hallway Dad rings order through.

Sister and I chorus:
“Can I come when you go, Dad?”

After days of school meals,
meat and two veg. at home,

takeaway is exotic. In the car
usual casual joke “egg flied lice.”

Inhale fragrance of garlic,
soy and foreign voices far above

as we join the queue, Dad collects
a thin white plastic bag that bulges

with sharp edged foil cartons
on kitchen side carefully

extracts each box, bends back lips
releases plumes of spicy heat

to put on already warmed plates,
carried through to front room.

Empty cartons are placed back in white bag
rushed out to a bin so smell does not linger.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

I A Glede

dark wraith,
elegant, rangy,
float russet and goldflash,
above winter’s woodland,

street cleaner,
snatch roadkill from gutters,
pavements, lobbed pizzas, chips,
knickers, jackets, teddy bears,
odd shoes, toy giraffes
rest with my feathered young,
decorate my nest.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

Servant

For a time I do bother
to polish the surfaces,
hoover, wash and iron.

If only for myself,
but then myself is not enough.
Dust piles, crumpled clothes dirty.

I fall asleep among dirty sheets,
empty crisp packets,
half eaten cold pizzas,
stink of mice piss.

Awake to freshly laundered sheets,
clean carpets, clothes washed, ironed.
Surfaces polished smell of Lavender.
How could this happen?

Again I fall asleep while tv on,
amongst discarded chocolate papers,
left over cake on plates,
half drunk cans of lager.

Awake to tv off, rubbish binned,
plates washed, dried put away,
Citrus not stale beer and rotting smell.
I’m intrigued. Curious.

It takes no effort to be a slob, again.
Spill crisps down sides of chairs,
dribble tea into carpet, crumbs.
Energy drinks ready I stay awake.

Energy sup is the biz. Make
Me hyper so I see these two tiny
Folk, man and woman, like regular
Nanites sorting my crap.

Like my old man never were
this one hoovers up crumbs,
packs his black bin bag with cans,
busies, polishes, scrubs to his bones.

His old woman like mam, I guess,
dusts, scours a whirlwind devil.
Part of me says they do as they must,
the other sees what they lack.

Next night I leave them a gift
of nothing to tidy, to put away.
They seem contented as I watch
surrogate mam and dad leave for good.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)

I’m Man Enough

18 in 1980 week afore starting uni,
lads night out and your dressed
in Burton’s bright yellow like a canary,
socks, shoes, shirt, jacket, because it’s cool.

Lads boast they down 11/12 pints
of John Smiths bitter a night,
shag a lass then do same next night.
You’ve never done neither.

Follow lads round like fresh meat,
loud and brash, they talk of shagging
bints, fast cars, live bands you’ve
never seen coddled by your mam and dad.

Four pints in and your eyelids droop,
bitter makes you fall asleep, lasses
in short skirts with intentions nuzzle
up but loud music means you can’t listen

to what they’re saying and wouldn’t know
what to say. Lads jostle you. “We’re off
to neet club. A tha cumming?”. I shout
an apology. “Got to be in by 11.”

They get off. I leave the pub, buy
a pizza and pissed walk home uphill
chomping on greasy slices, cardboard
box too big, one side of road to another.

© 2018, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow)


# I’d depart this land #

His visage is still vivid in this misty evening
Those eyes
Those pink hands
Those lips
Those jowls
Those days in Kashmir
still call me in this lonely evening
That crystal lake
That stream
Those golden apples
Those flower boats
Those diamond peaks
Are playing in my weepy eyes
His words
His kisses
His smile
His last touch
Perhaps still have retained a token of our fancy
In the last cherry tree of that garden
I’d depart -I’d depart this land
To searh for those flying hairs
Those heavenly fingers
Embracing me
in that florid houseboat…

© 2018, Kakali Das Ghosh


. it is a holiday .

they say, and close the stores.

it is complicated, to do with floor space and employees rights.

we had chocolate eggs, worked hard, let our arms loose.

warmer now, the sun shone, people came, visited,

smiled, fondled the wool, spoke of age and weaving.

he said there were many looms in his day.

he is eighty eight, he told me many times.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk)

. permanent traveller .

having had a few days off, no not from honest work,

yet writing, rests the mind, i find that everyday

things, mote well on my behalf.

i heard the cock crow early,

looked for swallow flight, seeing none,

cleaned, tidied, then came to write.

it has been a pleasant morning.

© 2018, Sonja Benskin Mesher (sonja-benskin-mesher.net; Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA paintings; sonja-benskin-mesher.co.uk)


You Do The Math

(what I wrote while traveling
back to the town we met in and fell
in love, and back again)

dancing tall in my living room
to George and Elton
(does it really happen
if no-one sees it
like that tree in the forest)
he says sometimes I never go out
(could tell him stories about 1985
when I lived ten years in 12 months)
and I dance and dance

my head full of 1990
(wonderwall,hammer,hit me baby)
one more time–let’s dance as one
I’ll lead this time–you follow
if you still have that notion
that 1+1=1
and 2+1=no end of joy

perhaps we will find
a new kind of happy-
ness, wrapped in understanding
and lessons learned
(old flames, new rites of passage)
let’s not forget, and dance to now
(rhianna, poison, blended with
the Beatles, Eagles, and 21
pilots, shaken and stirred)

once I thought it was most crucial
to fly without a net
but I believe
the trick
is
to not let go

© 2018, Pleasant Street (are you thrilled)


AESTIVATION

The road is an arid breath
wheezing through barren boughs

I unpacked you on the green bed
My hair flying wild
Bees humming about silken valleys

We left together to explore the trail
of a dust-swept summer
Drunk bees still buzzed in hordes
till a flycatcher caught up with us

Your summer, a mirage
A shimmering wall of sorrow
Dry-eyed, I listened to its howl
They lamented in Nizwa and Sohar
yet you held your sorrow in
waiting for Khareef

The Hajar mountains twisted to get
a glimpse of tourists
fooled by bursts of paper blooms

Parched, we returned
A white eye of a flycatcher followed us
The wall wept then at my infecundity

But in my rucksac, carefully preserved roots lived
To soak in tap water at leisure
and bring forth a trail of sprouting greens

I smelt then
the base notes of a buried south-westerly monsoon
feeling buds of earthy love
from this land of hidden green
burst open beneath dry skin

© Reena Prasad (Butterflies of Time – A Canvas of Poetry)
originally published in GloMag May 2016


ABOUT

The World as I Remember It and 100,000 Poets for Change, 2018



“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a [wo]/man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.” ~ Robert F. Kennedy South Africa, 1966


I was born smack-dab in the middle of the last century when military men and women had come home from fighting the Second World War and when it seemed that most women on the home front took up childbearing and housekeeping again, leaving their paid employment to the men. Many ex-military went back to school – to college – on GI loans. Families moved from the cities to newly blossoming Levittowns and “atomic” kitchens were all the rage. Ambitious young people relocated from the country to the city to find employment and foster careers. In that post-war America, everyday citizens were doing their best to heal and to modernize for both good and ill. Life is never easy or fair though for the poor and minority.

Emmett Till before and after the lynching on August 28, 1955. He was a fourteen-year-old boy in Chicago who went to spend the summer together with his uncle Mose Wright in Money, Mississippi, and was killed by white men for allegedly whistling at a white woman. Photographs courtesy of 5EmmettTillAfter under CC BY 2.0 license

Family farms were still going concerns and our food system was  in the relatively early stages of its current degradation. I don’t remember the morbid obesity of today. Our world wasn’t as rife with allergies, gluten enteropathy, inflammatory disease, auto-immune disorders or diabetes 2 or 3. Our food then was still comparatively clean. So was the air, the land, the oceans and the rivers. We could fish and go swimming in places where you wouldn’t dip a toe in the water now. Roundup – Glyphosate -didn’t hit the ground until 1977.

The big supermarket chains that were founded in the late 1800s and early 1900s were expanding. Our first Safeway arrived when I was seven. This huge, fancy well-lighted store introduced us to TV dinners and frozen food, so-called convenience foods with all their dangerous chemical additives. This monster-sized store was the beginning of the end for the little mom-and-pop neighborhood groceries run by friends and neighbors who would sell to us on credit, using an index card file to keep a tab on each family’s debt. I have a vague – perhaps inaccurate – memory of Harold Robbins writing rather poignantly about the loss of family run groceries in the introduction to one of his books.

First Edition, 1957

The recession that started in 1948 flowed into the third quarter of 1950. Another recession came in 1953. There was the Korean War and the Vietnam War and, unforgettably, that geopolitical tension we call the Cold War. It inspired some thrilling espionage novels and movies. My mother wasn’t a reader and didn’t track my reading habits. Left to my own devices, I cut my spy-novel teeth on Ian Flaming’s work. Meanwhile, poor boys in skin-tight black pants sang a capella on our street corners at night.

As we moved into the ’60s the neighborhoods and occupational arenas were still as strictly delineated as a checker board. Some neighborhoods were referred to as “dark,” meaning browns and blacks lived there.  Shrafft’s hired “Irish girls just off the boat” to wait on elderly white women with silvery-blue rinses in their faded hair. The kitchen “help” was generally “colored.”  At Nedick’s and other food purveyors the food prep and wait-staff were always black or brown. If you could pass for white you probably did. It’s about survival. Management was uniformly white male wherever you went.  Women got low-paying clerical jobs in pink-collar ghettos.

First Edition, 1944

Sometime in the early to mid sixties I read an article about W. Somerset Maughm in Life magazine. The author referred to Maughm as a misogynist. I had to look the word up. How, I wondered, could someone write a good story if he or she hated half of humankind? To see, I got copies of The Razor’s Edge and Of Human Bondage. It turned out, of course, that “misogynist” was code for homosexual and sadly disrespectful of this compassionate and talented man. But the times they were ‘a-chaining.

The African-American Civil Rights movement that began in ’54 gained traction with sit-ins and marches and the continued heroic and dedicated work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and others.  There were heart-rending events but there was also some legal and social progress.

Betty Friedan (1921-2006) American writer, activist and feminist

In ’63 Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique was published by W.W. Norton. The reaction was mixed. Women who were minorities and/or poor or lower middle-class (that would be me and mine) found it difficult to sympathize with Friedan’s privileged suburban housewives. Nonetheless, the book is credited for initiating the “second wave of feminism.”

The late sixties was marked by “consciousness raising,” a style of activism encouraged by American feminists. Things did get better. Not everyone appreciated diversity in their neighbors and coworkers, but many did and learned to work for and with “others” and to hobnob in racially/ethnically mixed neighborhoods and social organizations. Windows opened and employment, education and housing became certainly not perfectly fair but more equitable opportunities then they’d been in the past.  People were aware and vocal in their moral objections to inequality, to racial/ethnic, sexual and sexuality prejudice, to environmental degradation, to wars and conflicts. So many of us were dreamers and we had hope that one day “the world will live as one.”

Though the world continued to reflect human imperfection, we retained a certain optimism. We’d made progress that enabled us to envision and work for even more gains toward peace, social justice, environmental stewardship and environmental justice. These days, we need to remember our history. We can’t let  optimism die in the face of the fallout from the last U.S. election and the violence we see in so many areas of the world. If we do, all is lost and that guy, his cronies and others who think like him will win.

We poets, writers, other artists and our friends and supporters have a powerful vehicle for old-fashioned consciousness-raising and change: 100,000 Poets (and other artists and friends) for Change, a global movement founded by Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion in 2011.  Michael and Terri are wonderful at creating opportunities for activism and advocacy. Link HERE to learn more about what they’re doing and HERE to the official site. Become involved. Touch hearts. Speak truth. Embrace hope. Small steps – as our history teaches us – can lead to progress. Poem on …