With Twice Found Hope and Tender Love, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

“If you cannot get rid of the family skeleton, you may as well make it dance.”
Immaturity, George Bernard Shaw, The Collected Works of George Bernard Shaw: Plays, Novels, Articles, Letters and Essays



We four, we fumbled our pas de quatre on river rocks in
a faraway place of raging Hudson and an antique cloister.
No escape from mutilation but for books and theater,
old stories reborn, told in graceful moves and music made
for those with better breeding, more cultivated minds.

Home, our home, a place of first loves, unfounded hope
where simmering, Sidto* served soup to my sister,
a dark-olive girl-fugue in tar black and char dust.
In that place whirling with church spires and myrtle trees,
grimacing and breathless, we spun along twisted shores.
The mothers buried anger in silence. Cold bile leaked. I
slipped, broke my ballerina legs in a premature grand jeté.
I failed to heal those fissured old hearts.

We were lost, our frenzied dabke* danced in crazy time,
passing green humid summers and silver crisp winters,
swinging the stone shackles of the earth-bound. Home . . .
At home, such a tangled skein of love and lies and ties where,
by the bogey breeze, tripping on river rocks, hysterical
imaginings, one stepped lively in schadenfreude.

Solitary now

Alone above rainforest layers of a lyrical mind, I dance
triumphant, a pas marché on rain clouds, plumbed, bursting
with hard-won poems in roses, willow greens, and light.
With twice-found hope and tender love, I dance for them.

*Sidto (Arabic) – grandmother; Dabke (Arabic) – folk dance of the Levantine peoples 

© 2019, poem, Jamie Dedes; Illustration courtesy of Fran Hogan, Public Domain Photograph.net.

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

This week’s challenge is to juxtapose your life as a child against your life now as an adult. Share your poem/s on theme and . . .

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, June 29 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know and befriend other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

The Darkness . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Jian Xhin, Unsplash

“All of us, whoever we may be, have our respirable beings. We lack air and we stifle. Then we die. To die for lack of love is horrible. Suffocation of the soul.”  Victor Hugo, Les Misérables



And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Hypoxic Moment,  June 17, which invited poets to share poems about situations that are suffocating, literally or metaphorically.  Thanks to Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Irene Emanuel, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone for this collection, which invites you to ponder and to sympathize.  Enjoy . . . 

. . . and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a safe place to exercise your poetic muscle, to introduce yourself to our community, and to meet other poets who may be new to you.


To my Stubborn Father from your Stubborn Daughter

Dearest Dad – You always stood your ground
With standards high above my reach
Standing on that moral hill
Cloistered rules, you did teach
I inhaled it all
Principled breath
Held belief
Until
Truth
Breathed
Knowledge
You don’t know
Of the “Other”
Exhaled, these old rules
No longer hold my views
I have climbed another hill
And stand on ground planted by you
With love and principles – Your Daughter

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . .  


Oxygen a Lifeline

Then in hypoxic moments everyone must be
sometime, in some moments of life, as human
beings, me, a restless soul nurturing anxiety
facing confusion, falling often suffering a neck
injury at the age of six, unconscious, for long, I
survived that hypoxic moment, to live with pain,

a tiny insect that killed a powerful king, entered
my body through the skin, injecting poison that
polluted my blood, caused shivering, sweating
intermittent fever and occasional hypoxic gaps
a severe sudden abdominal spasm would
put me off balance , gasping into oblivion.

unconscious falling into a terrifying hypoxic
moment,I survived,fortunately with help close by
“Malaria can do anything”. The doctor said, “Keep
quinine in your bag”, the sweaty feverish attacks
would drain my energy leave me bedbound for
days and weeks, the tabs prevented but did not cure.

There would be recurrent attacks, more,what caused
them, I never was sure,long time later, one night, a
severe painful spasm twisted the system inside me
nausea intense, vomiting gasps, seconds later collapse
in a hypoxic moment, no breath, no consciousness
lifeless, my head fell from side to side, darkness engulfed

the door of light closed.
“She is all blue, she will not survive”.
All was dark again, no breath, no sound, no movement
I sensed being lifted, hypoxic moment prolonged but
I had time to stay on Earth, a fast falling drip hung by
the window’s bolt, Father’s faint vision appeared before my
eyes, I slipped back into darkness unknown unfelt,

I could not breathe, someone rubbed the top of my head,
someone my feet, this hypoxic moment finally faded away
a new life blessed, my head felt empty I had no voice nor
strength in the eyes. I lay in bed for days, sipping orange
juice with glucose and D.vitamin,
I saw the line between life and death is fragile and thin.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


The Darkness
What blackness pulls me,
protesting that I prefer the light,
but still wrenches my soul
into its glacial madness.
What triumphant tentacle
tweaks my tiredness
into tedious paralysis.
What despicable emotion
delivers my self-respect
into oblivion.
What relentless ribbon
encircles my lungs and
rivets my breath
to my throat.
It is the dull depressive dankness
that deprives my brain
of its life-force
and I die by degrees.
© 2020, Irene Emanuel
Choking
Why is it called a “Heat Wave”
when it doesn’t wave;
it sticks around and burns
up all the moisture within its reach?
It feels like the heat is choking
the life out of everything;
it’s so still and oppressive:
Please let it rain soon
before the World shrivels
into the “Heat Age.”
© 2020, Irene Emanuel
You may read more of Irene’s poems by using the search engine on this site.

..ocean challenge..

1.
write the words, she says
that helps.

it is a drop in the ocean, and cannot
help those already lost.

it was said in depth we drown, and so
it is
so.

we cannot rescue the drowning, record the names.

here.

so we draw dresses.

black dresses do not sell so well.

2.
looks like you are drowning and
hope i am wrong. i can see the
struggle
the turn about in water.

i have done that too
pat says that i have paid the price
but i wonder

i hope

you survive and come clean bare
your feathers.

fly high

if not
i will lay a petal
and think of you

as i think of the others
that drowned before you

3.
to explain to you who cannot see,
the cloy, the quantity of water, tasks, and other
hurts, that fit into a day. the moment
your feet slide into mud, with one word.

heard , read, imagined, the sentence dives and plays
whole, yet as days move on, flotation occurs,
buoys, slowly we face back to sea , swim on.
either that or drown.

4.
will you watch the world treading.
water floats my heart high, reflected red
below, sky above.
will you hold me up when i am failing, no
longer floating . will you play soft music
say
that we are in this together. meanwhile shall
we keep swimming
together?

5. will you save me from drowning?
will you let me breathe?

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..verdict..

she

lay as dead did not speak nor ask for fear

lay quiet did not write nor tell there were

new shoes by the wardrobe at an angle

still

did not move nor participate in anyway

did not breathe nor cry there are new

shoes by the wardrobe new shoes

found

guilty always guilty

there was no charge

there was no trial

there were no photographs

no evidence no one talks of it no more

she no longer breathes

no more

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.. there is a dampness..

they called it heavy

the adults

before a storm

pits hang damp

lips prickling then he said it

he said it

so I hid in the plant house amongst the smell; the frogs

should I add fetid air or will that just be another cliché

look my device added the required accent there

so it was all dripping down reminding of grandma’s kitchen

brown gloss paint & mustard walls running in cabbage juice

she boiled it dreadful

well they did in those days

no al dente then

it was after the war

now where was i

yes hiding

my heart beating my head out

breath catching

oh no is this my asthma or the disease

going round, have you heard of it

if I tell him I have it will he go, leave me alone

should I cough a lot or is that against the guidelines

even in this situation

I hid a long time, maybe days and when I was sure he

had left

I finally breathed out

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Terror

Step by step,
unsteadily clawing
away from the
tentative comfort of my sanctuary –
with even the moving molecules of air
too public, too exposed, too raw,
the corridor too wide,
fingertips touching, clutching,
tapping, groping, palpating
wallpaper, columns, strangers’ doors
before I drag my boulder-like body,
mind lurching from lucidity,
into an inescapable elevator
I’ve waited a maddening current of minutes for,
wobbling in loafers as a dry mouth
panted, praying to God and Jesus and the Virgin Mary
it’d be empty and no one would witness the
trembling and fidgeting of feet and hands and
the heartbeat hammering like the hits I
used to dance to in nightclubs in
less dangerous times
(please don’t stop or retreat into an arrhythmia that’ll make me pass out or die and bang and crash against the tiles with the pattern of sixteen perpendicular lines I’m trying to focus on)
and the smears of sweat on my forehead,
only to scowl or snicker at a scapegoat
perceived as a pale druggie on
coke or meth or heroin or angel dust or bennies,
a stain on sane society,
instead of a frantic agoraphobe
(a shut-in before it became fashionable)
burdened by a daily panic attack
on the way to check the mail.

2020, Adrian Slonaker

You can read more of Adrian’s poetry using the search feature on this site andThe BeZine.


Obsessions

Raanana, November 6, 2015

The obsession of breathing
In out, in out
Quickly
Slowly
It doesn’t matter
As long as it continues
In out
Forever
You think about it
And you dream about it
In out, in out
But then the time comes
And you hold onto it
Until you can’t.

The obsession of thinking
The eternal internal babbling
The great chain of associative thought
One thought leads to another
And another
And
Another
Without end
Without silence.

The obsession of loving
Another
So much that you cease to exist
Against the other existence
And how can you love
If you don’t exist
But your love swallows you
And you try to escape love
But it runs along beside you
Holding your hand.

The obsession of writing
About my obsessions
Because writing fulfills one’s obsessions
In the imagination of following them
And to write about her breathing
And to write about thinking of her
And to write about loving her
Is all that a writer wants to do.

The obsession of reading
About other people’s obsessions
If they are like mine
And they write about her breathing
And they write about thinking of her
And they write about loving her
And you can do anything in the world
But look away.

The obsession of living
Of watching the sunset in the roiling sea
And of watching it rise from behind the eastern hills
Ex Oriente lux just one more time
Of hearing the well-practiced flute
From the open window of an apartment
While I’m walking Daisy
To feel the freshness of rainfall from the sky
Like manna from heaven
And her skin against mine
To taste the tang of tangerines and bitterness of coffee
To breathe the fresh washed smell
Of my granddaughter’s hair
Just one more time
One more moment
And not being able to let go of her hand
Or to look away.

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

©  2015, Mike Stone  

In Cold Blood

Raanana, September 7, 2015

Cold, oh so cold,
The life and all colors bled from the air
Too cold to breathe
My lungs fill up with coldness
And my blood carries only coldness to my dying limbs
But my dying eyes still see you
Moving away from me
The summer warmth of your beauty
The colors of your eyes and your hair
The warmth of your breathing
And the sound of it
Retreating but returning
Your arms open towards me
To keep me from retreating
But I’ve already gone
Too far away
It is night now
And I am lost.

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2015, Mike Stone

Last Will and Testament

Raanana, February 2, 2013

I John H. Doe being of sound body and mind
Do solemnly wonder what it will be like
To have a last will,
Not to will or want anything more
In this life, of this earth,
Not to change my fate or my mind,
Not to stop, turn around, and go back from the edge.
I John H. Doe do solemnly wonder
What it’ll be like to draw my last breath,
To look around for more to breathe
But to find none,
To understand that that is probably that.
I John H. Doe being of sound mind and body
Do solemnly wonder what it will be like
To lose my first marble
My favorite Cats Eye memory of my very first love
Or my last marble,
My best won Dragonfly memory
Of my last and lasting love,
The smell of sunlight on her skin,
The weight of summer against her thigh.
I John H. Doe being of sound body and mind
Do solemnly bequeath my best memories
To the wind whispering through her hair.
I John H. Doe

Excerpt from Yet Another Book of Poetry

© 2013, Mike Stone  

The Mullet and the Osprey

Raanana, October 7, 2018

O what a perfect day
Fragments of dappled sunlight play on rocks
Swimming is effortless as
We fly over and between the smooth rocks
One with the browngreen flow of water,
My friends on either side of me.
Days like these make me happy
For no reason whatsoever.
My friend leaps with joy into the breathless air
And like a ripple, his friend leaps too.
Now it is my turn to leap above the water
O joy!
O stabbing pain!
I can’t breathe, release me, pray!
O horror, stab and crush of talons,
The thud of wings pounds the air
Death awaits me in the nearing nest,
Death, pray, release me from life’s pain.

Excerpt from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2019, Mike Stone

Mike’s website is HERE.

Call of the Whippoorwill is Mike Stone’s fourth book of poetry. It and other books of poetry and of science fiction by Mike are available from Amazon all over the world. Mike’s U.S. Amazon Page is HERE.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

Hypoxic Moment, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

“She closed her eyes and began very gently picking imaginary flowers from the blanket.  Then, peacefully and without any struggle, she stopped breathing.  It was January 1930.” from The Woman Who Remembered Paradise [about Ascencion Solorsano] by Larry Engelmann, San Francisco Chronicle, July 10, 1988 as quoted in A Story Also Grows, poems by Charlotte Muse



anyone who was anyone
was lined up along El Camino Real
waiting his/her/they/them’s turn
i took my place, but dropped off
to visit penny arcade, it was
the day she ran out of quarters
sang “this’ll be the day that I die”
san francisco bay poured
into my lungs, filling them
it preached
life is death
death is life
penny’s head
rattled with plucked stars
and blue june descended
like a spontaneous smile
she chanted
free at last
free at last

then we strolled El Camino Real
hand in hand
waiting our turn
penny arcade
blue june
and me

© 2019, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

This week’s challenge is to write about a suffocating situation. It may be a literal near-death experience as is mine or a figurative one, perhaps something stifling that went on or is going on politically/culturally in your country, or at home, school, or work.  Share your poem/s on theme  . . .

  • please submit your poem/s by pasting them into the comments section and not by sharing a link
  • please submit poems only, no photos, illustrations, essays, stories, or other prose

PLEASE NOTE:

Poems submitted on theme in the comments section here will be published in next Tuesday’s collection. Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published. If you are new to The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, be sure to include a link to your website, blog, and/or Amazon page to be published along with your poem. Thank you!

Deadline:  Monday, June 22 by 8 pm Pacific Time. If you are unsure when that would be in your time zone, check The Time Zone Converter.

Anyone may take part Wednesday Writing Prompt, no matter the status of your career: novice, emerging or pro.  It’s about exercising the poetic muscle, showcasing your work, and getting to know and befriend other poets who might be new to you.

You are welcome – encouraged – to share your poems in a language other than English but please accompany it with a translation into English.


Jamie Dedes:

Your donation HERE helps to fund the ongoing mission of The Poet by Day in support of poets and writers, freedom of artistic expression, and human rights.

Poetry rocks the world!



FEEL THE BERN

For Peace, Sustainability, Social Justice

Maintain the movement.

“Democracy is not a spectator sport.” Bernie Sanders



“Every pair of eyes facing you has probably experienced something you could not endure.”  Lucille Clifton

I Still Recall . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Photograph courtesy of Jude Beck, Unsplash

“I believe that what we become depends on what our fathers teach us at odd moments, when they aren’t trying to teach us. We are formed by little scraps of wisdom.”  Umberto Eco, Foucault’s Pendulum



And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Hello Nazim . . . Hello, June 10, which invited poets to share memories and thoughts on their fathers. Some share good stories and some share sad experiences, not unlike the world’s populations writ large.  Thanks to Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do,  Irene Emanuel, Joan Leotta, Frank McMahon, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, and Adrian Slonaker for this distinctive and relatable collection  Enjoy! . . .

. . . and do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a safe place to exercise your poetic muscle, to introduce yourself to our community, and to meet other poets who may be new to you.


a stern look
the outer resilence
of a man who instills discipline.

2020, Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah

You can read more of Benedicta’s poetry using the search engine on this site.


Dear Father, if you were alive today

Life would have been so different, I would
have spent a day with you, served you hot tea,

Discussed some aspect of English Language
then played an exciting game of Scrabble with you.

You inspired us all, by your elegant professionalism
I admired you in uniform you honored it so rightly.

Up early getting ready for office, I remember the
sweet smell of lather, the small foamy shaving brush

You would lovingly tease me by touching my cheek
with it, your silver table mirror swinging back from

time to time, and had to be adjusted again and again,
the small mug of warm soapy water, I watched in awe

when you changed the blade after shaving the cheeks
a bit of chin, you respected the beard but never kept it.

I remember the brand name Treet, sharp metallic cutter,
wrapped in yellow and purple, while music played on

Radio Ceylon,Triple 5 cigarette tin stood at attention,
uniform clean pressed stiff, brass pips shining, awaited you

How lovingly and expertly you would treat us in times when
we injured ourselves running and falling, or getting fever,

Your love of music always surprised us in joyful suspense
till the needle of Grundig touched the HMV 75 rpm record,

this reflected the musical moods of the Renaissance. The best
collection was of books,every month from England

“The Companion Book Club”classics arrived. I know all that
reading created the writer in me. Thank you Father, I love you,

miss you, I could write so much more, as there is so much more,
with you in heaven, then I talk to you in silent prayers,

I am fortunate to receive so much affection, care, teachings of
true values of life in this world. Your best lesson was:

“Have a big heart, forgive and relax, always try to do good with
patience and courage, to be alive is a blessing”.

Father,  You were a true soldier, served actively in Burma and Java, experienced a brush with death against the Japanese, a healing doctor of humanity, veteran of WW II, awarded the Burma Star, King George the 6th Queen’s Medal 1950, Royal British Indian Medical Service Medal and Pakistan Armed Forces Medical Service and Indo-Pak War Medal 1965.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

I Still Recall

I still recall the moments

when I sat up in bed crying

for how long?

I do not know,no one came

for quite some time, perhaps

because it was

in the late hours of night-

I was hardly four or five

playing more and eating less-

I was crying for food

I guess…

and then he was by my side-

Father sat patted and said,

“What’s the matter dear?

is it something that you fear?

Its not the cold nor heat nor pain,

its hunger you need something to eat”.

And so I still feel the taste so sweet

delicious to the root,full juicy was the

tinned mixed fruit.

Father opened the can right there

made me eat with love and care

what else so ready could he get,as

I felt hungry in the middle of the night…

No sooner had I eaten

when all tears were forgotten

I was overtaken by peace

and fell off into a very deep sleep.

Father your love was profound

it sustains me still.

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Da

Anjum-ji’s sites are:

“POETRY PEACE and REFORM Go Together -Let Us All Strive for PEACE on EARTH for ALL -Let Us Make a Better World -WRITE To Make PEACE PREVAIL.” Anjum Wasim Dar


Details

I zero in
On the cracks in the walls
The spaces between the tile and grout
The layer of dust on the grand piano
The peeling Formica under 80’s sought after giveaway cups
The places where your innovative nature took precedence over getting the job done right.

I zero in
On the grays in your hair
And the spots on your hands
The slowness in your cane aided walk
Your mouth agape during your afternoon nap
The hand me up shirt you’ve been wearing for decades because it still fits

I zoom out
And see the humor and kindness in your eyes
The hands that lovingly prepare my favorite meal
The 20 year old bed that fits generations
The clock where time has stopped but happiness lives on
The struggle of remembering and honoring and forgetting and accepting.

I zoom out
And notice what you do without
What you’ve sacrificed
What you’ve preserved
What you’ve done with love
What you’ve done for love.

I zero in on that detail.

© 2020, Irma Do

Irma’s site is: I Do Run, And I do a few other things too . . . 


FOR MY FATHER

My heart’s bereft
now you have left this Earth.
Just thoughts of you
to see me through the years.
When last did I
see eye to eye with you?
Your World and mine,
by age and time, were different.

As memories come creeping in,
why, only now, do I begin to see your worth?
How dumb and blind;
how closed my mind to everything of you.
You tried your best,
why did I test your love?
Love and warmth were always there,
I just never gave my share to you.

And now you lie beneath the ground,
my words of love are tightly bound inside me.
So all the times I ever had
to say ” I love you, Dad,” are gone forever.
Too late I’ve woken,
the words unspoken remain unheard.
Why did you go
before I let you know
how much I loved you?

© 2020, Irene Emanuel

FATHER

He was otherworld;
othertime, otherplace;
he was othertongue;
otherman, otherface.
He was a Polishman;
strongman; bright and aware;
wiseman, everybody’s friend,
busyman, goodman, always there.
He was a workman;
kindman; animal lover.
He was caring and gentle,
adored his kids, worshipped our mother.
He was a sickman;
weakman, fading away,
he lingered on until he died
one glorious bluesky day.
He was Polish Henek, English Henry,
different names and time—–
for me, he was my fatherman,
my dearest Daddy, mine.

© 2020, Irene Emanuel

You may read more of Irene’s poems by using the search engine on this site.


Dreaming Across the Styx

My father walks into my view.
He is in a long, narrow room,
wearing his tan trench coat.
A finely blocked felt hat
tops his jet-black, wavy hair.
He tamps down the tobacco
in his cherry wood pipe, then turns
to me, his brown eyes twinkling.
He steps back into
a poorly lit hallway I do not recognize.
Dad removes his coat and
sits in an orange plastic chair.
Coat on his lap,
he draws softly on the pipe and
nods toward me .
Cherry -flavored tobacco smoke
soothes me.
Dad is waiting for me,
as always.
Through theatre classes
piano lessons, dance lessons.
Patiently enmeshed in his own thoughts,
he waits without complaint.

Suddenly I wake.
I’m at home.
No hallway. No chair.
No cherry tobacco.
Only the smell of coffee.
My father smiles from his photo.
Some say dreaming across the Styx means
Ferryman Charon will soon arrive.

Not for me.

Instead of Charon,
my own beloved father
waits, patiently, to
ferry me across the Styx
in his white 1960 Thunderbird.

First published, Red Wolf Journal, Summer 2014, this is an excerpt from Joan’s collection Languid Lusciousness with Lemon

© 2020, Joan Leotta

Donut Dialog with Dad

Once a month on an

afternoon when my

dad worked night shift,

he’d pull up to my school in

his white Ford Thunderbird

at one, to fly downtown.

so the orthodontist could poke,

prod, and adjust the cacophony of

wires and metal bands

promising to shape

my teeth into a better smile.

By 2:30 it was over.

Dad would check his watch.

“Time for a donut?”

We headed to the swirly counter stools

of the Mayflower Coffee Shop.

Dad ordered coffee, and I hot chocolate.

Sour cream cake donut—

always his choice.

I vacillated between Boston Cream

and vanilla cake with chocolate icing.

One afternoon, after our donuts came,

I poured out a litany of all the day’s

wrongs – friends, studies.

“Why do I need a better smile, if

I have nothing to smile about?”

Dad sipped his coffee quietly.

When I finished, he pointed to the

ceramic mosaic behind the counter

with its iconic poem and read,

“Keep your eye

upon the donut, Joanie,

not upon the hole.”

Words to live by,

not just when eating donuts.

First published in ovunquesiamo spring, 2020

© 2020, Joan Leotta

Joan tells us: “I still miss my father. He passed in 1988.” Joan’s site is: What Editors Want You to Know


A SEAMAN’S POUCH

R166216
Lost, replaced, now traced at last,
my father’s.
Neat cursive script in different hands,
no wasted words:
ships, dates, evaluations,
a carpenter in a world
of steel and water.

Winnipeg2/ chartered once by Pablo Neruda/ to take from France/
Spanish refugees/ and carry them to Chile/
“The critics may erase all of my poetry if they want/
But this poem, that today I remember, nobody will be able to erase”/

Convoy ON-139
A line of life stretched taut
and fear haunts each keel.
Curse/ bless the storm pounding
against the knuckled rivets;
pray that the head grinding
down against the crushing walls,
pray that the head will rise and breathe,
pray that the engines will not fail,
pray you will not be lost
in the ocean’s wrack.
22/10/1942
U-443, Wolf Pack Puma.
This line of life, men and cargo,
war, time and water intersect.

49°,51’ North, 27°,58’West
Two sudden blows.
The pictures show a ship in a gentle ocean,
scuppers nearly under water, men in lifeboats.
I magnify and peer, hoping I will see him.

21.48. The line of life, a shipmate
who saw he wasn’t there,
who went below, hefted him
over his shoulder. Four days unconscious.

Only once he talked about what he had seen and heard,
annihilating seas and storms, men burning in oil.

A father discharged from life
with honour.

This is an except from Frank’s debut collection, At the Storm’s Edge, (Palewell Press, London, January 2020)

© 2020, Frank McMahon

At the Storm’s Edge is available through Amazon US HERE and Amazon UK HERE.


..father’s side of the family..

it goes deep. they came from malta. maybe gibralta. they rhyme you see.

it was because of her accent, her size and working in the laundry. sun light

was the name.

she could not say electricity nor mattress i believe. thought it leaked through

the wire.

he was deaf when i found him, could not hear my words, so not the right

answers there, wherever it was.

we wonder , we wander in drifts.

even if we knew the truth, it may be wrong.

for us.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..desertion..

my father told me that he was too deaf for the war

so stayed in britain instead

of fighting

my father said he did not understand my mother’s illness

no one told him beforehand

the incidents

said that the doctor advised his leaving; the desertion

he said that he was there at my brother’s funeral;

stood back

where no one saw him, no one heard him

my father said he was always around if we had needed him,

so i said where?

but he did not hear me.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Story in the History of a Man

The name that is also a thing,
What a story in the history of a man,
The man who give me his love wrapped in a name,
Ndeke; loosely translates to Aeroplane,
A bird too, both creatures of flight,
A man married to the soil of his land before a wife,
A man true to the seasons,
Now, firmly rested in the very soil that so amazed his hands,
Every cup of coffee bears memories of this man,
Every bird, every jet and chopper,
A poet melting metaphors of the crops and sweat,
A boon to his brood and provisions,
A legacy of tireless endeavors,
Laughter was a short affair in a grunt,
Discipline came with a stern look and a wave of the head,
When he pointed a finger in admonishment, raised remorseful regret spoke,
For this rough and refined figure of my father,
Led the example with his own ways,
School meant much to him, and rebuke came by way of sample failures,
Never heard a single ” I love you child ” from his tongue,
Yet, never doubted this love withheld verbally,
Only once in my life,
Did I hold my father close to my heart,
A hard time fell on his son,
And age added to great sorrow,
Brought my father to my bossom,
He said nothing, but said everything in that moment,
A year later, he went his sky way,
Now, he lives in my name and bones,
And the wonder of his efforts,
That’s a testimony to this verse.
May all father’s leave something to hold for their children.
I have a name.
And a legacy too.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy Ndeke’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Vinyl Run

In a burgundy Buick LeSabre
stopped before a storefront
stammering “Records! Records! Records!”
waited a professor
with salt-and-pepper hair,
puffing on a pipe
packed with Dutch Masters tobacco,
on a break from weekend yardwork
while his bespectacled kid with brackety braces
lingered inside,
fingering forty-fives and albums and
mulling over which artistes
merited his allowance
and the privilege of spinning on
the stereo supplied
by the chap in the car
watched through a window
by an incredulous clerk who
clucked, “That must be
the world’s most patient man.”
Blushing with shame,
the teen high-tailed it to the till,
swapped crumpled banknotes for
rock ‘n’ roll and
rushed to shower his chauffeur
with contrition and thanks.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

You can read more of Adrian’s poetry by using the search feature on this site and on The BeZine.


Jamie Dedes:

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