War Paint, a poem

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you could trace her travels around that house and yard
by a trail of lipstick-ringed cigarette butts and lost Bics ~

she’d painted a deep red outline with a slender brush
and tenderly she colored inside the lines with a lighter rose,
licking and pouting as she examined her artwork, the bright
bathroom light illuminating the central silky plumpness of
those two perfectly arched wings, reminiscent of
the airline logo of her once-upon-a-time employer . . .

Bon jour, Monsieur!
hair tossed, a provocative shoulder shrug

testing a flirt on no one in particular, aching for the days
when she didn’t need make-up to dare the whole world,
the days when her only war paint was her juicy raw youth

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; Illustration ~ courtesy of morgueFile


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Trafficking in Dreams, a poem

courtesy of morgueFile

courtesy of morgueFile


We sat on the worn stone steps of summer
on salty Brooklyn nights in Dyker Heights,
senior year pending, pregnant with promise.
Hours of sipping cokes, jamming sessions.

Stan on drums. Tony played keyboard.
You sang bass and strummed a new guitar.
Your saucy sister chorine sprinkled star dust.
We were just kids trafficking in dreams.

You’d drive me home at curfew in your
dad’s blue Nova, into a violet dusk, the
maple shadows standing guard by Mom’s.
Now gone. Gone, you and our old roost . . .

No more of your music. No old friends.
Just meandering the strangest streets,
mumbling something off-key, strumming
the memory of you, a new guitar, and the last
of the summers when we trafficked in dreams.

“Of love and summer,  you are in the dreams and in me …”  Walt Whitman 

© 2017, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved


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We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON THIRTEEN: HINDER THE ONE-PARTY STATE “The parties that took over states were once something else. They exploited a historical moment to make political life impossible for their rivals. Vote in local and state elections while you can.” Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century


Go to art, not war.

Poem on …

my ears are deaf, my eyes hear a song – a poem …. And your Wednesday Writing Prompt

mountains rise round, Mother’s ever pregnant belly
and the aspens dance with paper-barked madrone
screeching their yellows and reds, brindle and feral
like the snaked hairs of Medusa, they are warning

looming over me as I lay miles away on a mesa
the bones of my ancestors, the heart of my child
the pelts of the brown minks my father sewed
the vultures circle, mesmerized by my demise

I feed on the pinion and ride mountain lions
down slopes, into valleys, a wanderer, lost and lost
looking eastward, seeking John Chapman
he has something to say, or maybe it’s westward

John Muir, my ears are deaf, my eyes hear a song
emerging from brown bear, a surfeit of salmon
burning sage, clearing America, the wild beasts
are defanged and declawed and I am hawk-eyed

© 2012, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo credit ~ Axel Kuhlmann, Public Domain Pictures.net


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Climate change is on our minds these days – perhaps more than in the past given the regime – and we are feeling one with Mother Earth and all her creatures and gratitude for the people who marched on Saturday. What pictures come to mind when you think of our home? How do they make you feel or respond?  Tell us in prose or poem.  If you feel comfortable, leave a link to your work in the comments section below or leave the entire piece if it’s short enough. I’ll post all responses on this site next Tuesday.


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We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON TWELVE: MAKE EYE CONTACT AND SMALL TALK  “This is not just being polite. This is part of being a citizen and a responsible member of society. It is also a way to stay in touch with your surroundings, break down social barriers and understand whom you should and should not trust. If we enter a culture of denunciation, you will want to know the psychological landscape of your daily life.” Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century


Go to art, not war.

Poem on …

to know well the moments, but nothing of time – a poem

the mindful peace of the cypress beckons,
she bows in the wind but doesn’t fracture,
she knows well the moments, but nothing of time
her poetry is written in presence, not words

in this business of life, of death and of poetry
yesterday is, i think, best forgotten ~
just a figment, after all, an old locked-room mystery,
stored among a million neurons, a trillion constellations,
sound proof, but for the occasional cerebral accident
with its quick crack of a gunshot fading into a yellow eye,
evaluating with a understandable skepticism

life, as it turns out, is a matter of imagination,
or folly, nurturing the seesaw of grief and joy,
the contrapuntal pulls of yin and yang

we can reframe, but we can’t rewrite
there are no encores

this business of life, of death and of poetry is what it is
and the past is not a salve nor the future a savior,
the same sun that warms words poemed into life
will dry our skin to leather and weld it to bone ~

moss, says Emily, will cover up our names

it’s best then, i think, to mimic the cypress
to let go the days, the clutter and the noise,
to bow from the winds but not shatter,
to know well the moments, but nothing of time

© 2017, Jamie Dedes


THE WORDPLAY SHOP: books, tools and supplies for poets, writers and readers


We continue with the current recommended read: On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder. Left, right or center – American or not – it’s a must read.

LESSON EIGHT: Stand Out. “Someone has to.  It is esy to follow along It can feel strange to do or say something different.  But wihtout that unease, there is no freedom. Remembr Rosa Parks.  The moment you set an example, the spell o the status quo is broke, and others will follow.”  Prof. Snyder,  On Tyranny, Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century