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.


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FEEL THE BERN

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Maintain the movement.

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

 

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

Photograph courtesy of Luca Bravo, Unsplash

“We need the tonic of wildness .  .  . At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” Henry David Thoreau, Walden: Or, Life in the Woods



And this being Tuesday, it’s time to share the responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt,The Last Blue-green Spring, May 27, which invited poets to share a singular seasonal (any season) moment that for some reason (any reason) continues to pulse with life in  memory. What made it so vivid an experience? What were the colors, scents, shape, encounters with nature that made such a deep impression?  Thanks to Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah, Anjum Wasim Dar, Frank McMahon, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Ben Naga, Nancy Ndeke, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone for this inspired 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.


Nature in its outmost form
The dryness of the sunny days
Eratic in moments of seasonal outbursts,
Zealous flares of flowery blossoms
Honey from the beecomb
Witheld sounds of colors in yellow whistles; faded fallen dried leaves
Picturestic of the weather
Nature has its own turns
With photosynthesis in play
The blue green Genesis of unknown hours.

© 2020, Benedicta (Akosua) Boamah

You can find more of Benedicta’s poetry using the search feature on this site.


Moon Over Makhadd in Northern Pakistan

In a flash like on angel’s wings,
smooth on the road the wheels
did spin,
moving on through avenues
bordered by elegant trees
we flew,
to the grandeur of Makhad,
mountains brown as pegs
head to head, conical sloping
supporting valleys
protecting with stony strength
bordering fields of mustard
yellow, making peace in spirit and
in heart,mellow-
there is The Quiet The Presence
in the mountains is the secret essence
till the Last Day,
there is no sudd of the Nile
mountains shield the land
the lifeblood of Makhad

and so we stood, protected
we felt in the valley of the North
as evening shadows lengthened
and the moon manifested itself
in glowing white, never so peaceful
a place I had seen nor been to,
when Nature raw and loving
spread its grace and held the place
a holy tapestry woven.

© 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


Family Gathering

This is where we’ve met,
where landscape offers space.

“ Quick, quick, you can’t catch me!”
Oh yes I can, with cunning.
I know where the flower beds narrow.
You’ll never escape me there.
Unless I pretend.
I’ll pretend.

“ Play hide and seek? Count to ten then,
no fifteen!” They’ll find me by water,
gazing on pondweed, deadly green like Sunday
afternoons when clocks dragged their feet,
ticking the echoes of the morning’s sermon.
Wildly we emitted raw blasts of turbulence, braced
to pay the consequential price
for breaking Sunday’s peace.

Aspens whisper, braid the breeze
between their leaves, rumour rain.
Elderberries beaded with drops
of late summer’s dew. A squall of rooks
crashes from the clustered woods.

“ Sorry, I was.” Somewhere between,
somewhere between.“ Here, let me show
you this sunflower, yellow-headed diva,
admitting with grace the butterflies
to hover and partake.”

Tree house is clattering with chatter,
explosive ululations. Who is really listening
and does it really matter as
long as they can have these moments
of unguarded light?

Wren’s ostinato fades to quiet
in the stillness of the birch.
Scrolls of pure white bark, nicks, music-
-box notes, ships plotted on radar,
heading where?

Futures,
mid-life, pondered in currents
of easy conversation. And ours?
as we drift our hands through
lavender and rosemary.
Passion and remembrance jostle,
loss and history, the past imperfect. Old
questions niggle still, leading where?
Simpler to pick apart a teasel
piece by piece.

Hungry calls distract. “Wait, look how
they sway and bow, these reeds, courtiers
before the kingcups. Yellow is
the colour of homage today, do you wear
yellow? No but you are pardoned. Eat!”

Follow the shafts of light: scarlet
rosehips, crimson plums , dusted blue
by night moths’ wings, first blush on apples
skimped by drought.

House wall, solid but evidence
of slip and restitution,
infill and making do.

Present and future,
intertwined, pulsing together.
Let them run on and on,
this day, these days.

Except from At the Storm’s Edge (Palewell Press, 2020)

© 2020, Frank McMahon

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


.liking all seasons.

yet i like the summer fabrics,
crisp cotton with flower
spots, reminiscent of other
days. when all clean, pressed,
we wore the best dress
to town, the museum, aviary,
then down to the beach

to bathe.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.one winter day.

no snow here as yet
though we did have that
flurry late autumn, the day
we went to the cinema

it was very localised

the mountain was rough
with it, a sliding accident
at the top of the pass
that day

yet elsewhere all came clear
and the film was raw

warm here again
logs stacked yesterday

pleased to say the manic
energy returned & much is
achieved

preparing for weather
which may not occur

i heard the crows
a distance away
as i worked

dark lonely sounds

i feel enough has died
yet it seems that power
deems that death can
answer some issues

these days
though it
is wrong

and not for survival

discuss

as i could now argue
another way and become
rattled

qed
that which is to be demonstrated

maybe another way
to resolve things

i suggested chocolate money

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


November Dawn in Northwood

Nature’s fan turns
Fingers sing
Where winter has dramatised the trees.
Beside the drive
Dropped leaves are cupped with frost.

In six o’clock light
Dawn comes.
Thin songs are jerky, interrupted
By chattering
Of birds’ beaks amid ruffled sleepy feathers.

The milkman’s step.
Gravel crunches up the drive.
The house
Suspended above is quiet.
The holly is still as the wind drops.

The bang of glass bottles
Against the step.
The faint sigh as the float slips into life.
Rattles
And disappears …

© 2020, Ben Naga

Ben’s site is Ben Naga, Gifts from the Musey Lady and Me. “Laissez-for loud recanter ma brake histories.”


Half Way the Mountain.

Africa is summer land, rare for degrees to dip below zero,
Unless atop the mighty Kirinyaga.
A child of the Arabica coffee terrain,
A kilometer from the forest line,
Many a man and woman from distant land and lingo,
Would hop atop the villages loaned landrovers,
Transport to the base of the mountain,
Tales of Jumbo’s and moor’s large,
Lakes with dazzling whiteness to blind,
Tricky terrain and freezing cold,
Silence to spare energy to climb,
Tales I carried in my growth,
As I, enjoyed the spectacle that the mountain was,
From the ridge where my father’s coffee crop swayed,
Teenage led a leg to schools far,
College danced the cities new flavor,
Marriage and children tending,
Career swing and switch,
Till, a visit did a rhyme,
On a soul at peace with itself,
And suddenly, my feet ached to do the climb,
And what a trek!
First was the forest unpretentious,
Mahogany and teak,
Then bamboo in all its clustered glory,
Amid careful skirting to keep wild owners at peace,
First night at camp,
Rolled onto a sleeping bag,
A fire merrily singing it’s warmth,
Cold was real, but pleasure too was,
And before sunrise, with eggs and bacons tucked,
Second leg began in earnest,
Sunrise that blinded one to the way,
Was the mood treck to great,
Expanse of whites amidst blues and purples,
God’s own mountain Eden,
The freshness of nature so real, music formed itself,
A hunter of something or other we did meet,
Keep your eyes down, the leader said,
By mid-day, a quiet did settle,
As guts got fuelled,
Then rain like ice fell in sheets,
Pushing us into a cave,
Where stones arranged like an old empires dinning room,
Afternoon merged with night as tales of the mountain rose and fell,
Sleep and aches came fast,
And soon morning popped, another wonder of nature’s splendor,
East on a fire brilliant beyond believe,
Roast rabit and smoked Salmon waiting,
Why pretend to be Ninja when muscles spoke in firely tongues,
A porter led a much needed hand,
Handing me two spikes to score the climb,
Air was getting thinner, walk was slower,
And tales subsided to grunts and the occasional curse from tripping,
A light lunch and a quick match,
Lake Nicholson we must make for the night,
Pitching tents and lighting evening fires,
Time for catch up with days events,
But up to this point, I had to reign my wits,
Yes, I loved the excussion and would love to trudge on,
But the vagaries of age were telling a different tale,
From a life of easy and untested car rides,
To go any further was a noise most unwelcome,
Watching the dark sky with it’s millions of stars,
The coward of the village took a bow ,
And the next morning,
While every one else hefted their bags up for day three up,
I, and my paid hand, took to the lower grounds with our rations,
Heaven is real, heaven is sweet to smell and spectacular to watch,
And it’s in the very nature that so far we haven’t “Tamed”
A testimony of a mountain climber who climbed a quarter way.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy Ndeke’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Snapshot of an Autumn Afternoon

As the tenth month instead of the eighth-
despite its moniker-
October is pregnant with pranks,
so vivacious shades of leaves
merely mask their imminent demise,
some already crackling to arid dust under the
sneakers of backpack-burdened kids
finishing their first quarter before sniffles and flus
and Remembrance Day poppies
start to pop up.
The supermarket down the street
hawks the honeyed nuances of candy corn,
as polarizing as the pleas of political candidates-
the consummate jokers-
just weeks before
the polls open.
Mass-produced slick plastic costumes
rival the versions crafted by parents cursing over
the hum of sewing machines and the snip of
scissors while glitter scatters in a diaspora, only
to be spotted in dust-bunnies around Easter.
Jack-o’-lanterns get stabbed next door
not by Jason or Michael, but
by hands moist with mushy gourd guts
and seeds reserved for roasting and snacking
during thriller marathons thrusting screams
and sinister soundtracks out of rooms as dark
as the cats and bats plastered on pendulous paper decorations,
and, through my window, the weather wavers
between the hangover of
sweaty torpor and the promise of polar chills
that will predominate when
apples for bobbing
become apples for pies.

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker

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


Primary Colors

Raanana, June 5, 2009

Between the palm and weeping willow
It’s the sudden confrontation with beauty
That kills you every time.
The palettes from which the skies are painted
And the grasses and the seas
Must once have belonged to children.
In my country
Even the primary colors
Are mixtures of
Birds flowers and sadness.
The edges of shadows under the trees
Are sharp like a knife against your throat.
The sky is so bright it’s like
Looking into the face of God.
And the silence,
It’s the silence
That finally betrays you.

Except from The Uncollected Works of Mike Stone

© 2009, Mike Stone 

Winter Rains

Raanana, December 6, 2018

Winter rains rat-a-tat-tat
On the cold tin roofs of cars.
Cats crowd under any car
With engine warm, watching
Daisy and me with suspicious eyes.
Daisy, oblivious to my umbrella
Or the rain, looks back at them
With calculations of inbred hatred
And limits of leash length.
Back in our apartment,
Cats forgotten, if not forgiven,
Dripping Daisy unfurls her wetness
With a shivering wave.
I dry the remaining dampness from her fur
And we appreciate the lightning and thunder
Approaching our window,
As rain becomes thought
Which becomes rain again.

Excerpt from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone 

The First Drops of Winter

Raanana, September 8, 2018

This morning
The first drops of winter
After a long drought,
A farmer raises eyes heavenward
Even the sandy soil,
The nibbled petals,
And the green-brown leaves
Raise themselves in silent toast –
To life, God,
To life.

Except from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone

Wintry Sabbath

Early morning
The nonbelievers dreaming still
Under thick comforters,
Old men walking to the synagogue
Against the blustery rain
Without umbrellas
And a dog-walker with umbrella
Taking small slow steps
In sync with an old dog
When love is not enough
To keep her dry and warm.
I look over at the old men
Walking their God on an invisible leash
Or is He walking them?

Except from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 2019, Mike Stone

The First Rain

The first rain of the new year
The drops are more like soft pinpricks
Pointillistic with a taste of dust
When you open your mouth to say something
To Daisy, but she tastes the dust too
And sniffs the warm air with wet nose.
It’s the encroaching desert
Playing with our emotions,
Not enough yet to warrant an umbrella
Or to cool the body with its wetness.

Except from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 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

 

To Run, No Chance to Dream . . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Illustration courtesy of Serkan Turk, Usplash

“People around the world may be physically separated in pandemic lockdowns, but they are joined in at least one way — many are experiencing vivid and bizarre coronavirus dreams.” Why so many people are experiencing pandemic dreams, Helena Humphrey, NBC News



I find myself much engaged by the brave and honest responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, COVID-19 Lunascape, May 20, 2020, which asked poets to share their pandemic-driven dreams. Thanks! and Bravo to mm brazfield, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Nancy Ndeke, and Adrain Slanaker.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets. This is a friendly, nonjudgmental opportunity offering the chance to exercise your poetic muscle, to display your work, and to “meet” other poets who may be new to you.


states

birds chirp
the last
song heard
before going
into shallow
restless sleep
pipes clank
neighbors laugh
dogs howl
window cloaked
in moon
sliced Roman
shades cardinal
red i
then find
the cacophonous
earth fading
from me
there is
a river
in the
anemic star
light its
ripples a
veil of
opal and
brass the
pit in
my throat
slowly calls
a chant
a prayer
of sorts
to any
available mother
to take
me in
the arms
of anything
before the
poison of
the hyacinth
breath of
the deep
seated night
will drag
me in
the undertow
of her
charms while
the nymphs
dressed in
Coco Channel’s
post C19
gray suits
flirt for
a like
enmeshed in
electric forgery
unnatural i
the feel
in this
cage of
bone nothing
but mud
midnight news
reporting blues
and the
porous truth
that soon
a derivative
of Pi
will flow
through my
blood to
buffer the
pandemonic messiahs

© 2020, mmbrazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken, Gen X’er chrnicles the art from of living the the Angelino metropolitan environment through writing, art, photography, and culture


To Run, No Chance to Dream

Sweat drips down
my brow
my chin
my arms
my back
Onto the treadmill that has had better owners
it rumbles
it squeaks
it grinds
it whines
But it can’t be heard up two flights of stairs at 3 AM
it won’t disturb my quietly sleeping children
it won’t disturb my quietly snoring spouse
it won’t disturb the quiet illusion of life as it should be
Here in the basement cave with it’s napoleon ceiling
I do not want to sleep
I do not want to dream
I do not want to figure out how to stay safe from something that can’t be seen
I do not want to figure out a “new normal”
If I am moving, I am not dreaming
of things that I can’t control
of things that I shouldn’t hope for
of things that could be or should be
of things that start with “what if”
So I run but not away, just enough to sleep
without dreaming
without pretense
without aspirations
without the energy for my brain to continue the run

It is now 5 AM.

© 2020, Irma Do

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


..were we dreaming?.

as i passed i saw the room, coal on your table,

spread neatly. wondering i glanced around,

saw the snowy underwear on hangers,

the chandeliers.

it all showed pride and i know

you have seen it too. raddled

face in mirrors, knowing that we

are all much the same, without

meetings and disagreements.

so,

must we write about it before we forget,

before people come and disagree?

they have small waists and a national costume.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

..bad night dreaming..

dreamed of devastation, flew miles low

over concrete . skeletons, bones of the thing.

all is dust, as dust we have become. slow.

grey. nothing moves here no more. no sighs.

they have forgotten us. we have forgotten them.

are we now the bones of what we were?

bad night dreaming.

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Teaching Me

Of the classes my father paid,
Of the classes I paid for me,
Nothing tops like the classes I teach me,
Am the pupil,
Am the tutor,
Notes compare the mood,
Yesterday does shine quite a bit,
Today has it’s shadows,
Tomorrow seems a decade away,
My score sheet blurrs,
May mark pen draws exes in excess,
A staccato of dreams zig zags on the edge,
Every human smote rides my eyes,
I mourn with ease what mornings bring,
Vacation vacated it’s pull,
Reading tells better news,
Afraid is quite real,
Reality is traumatic,
My own voice sounds alien,
And prayer raised it’s volume,
My bridal hopes still dreams of a sunrise,
My groom is every human with a sigh,
Am reaching out to myself more,
Am negotiating with mind more,
Am recounting scars with a smile more,
Am learning from own lessons and tutorials,
And my score though not high,
It’s above average truth be told,
For priorities are ever clearer,
Rif raf and procrastination has exposed themselves.
I have met me and sat with me besides sleeping with me,
And I dare say am pleasantly surprised at who I saw,
A creature who thought they knew but now know they didn’t,
For what had mattered all those wasted years is simple,
Love life as you live it in the moment,
Enough is the best stock to keep,
Health is wealth of a kind and matters a lot,
The mind has great capacity to adapt,
And Humanity is just one part of the universe, and not the universe,
That all men are basically the same and their needs are simple.
And I woke with the smiling sun,
Thankful for such a class that taught me the simplicity of life.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE.


Please Complete in Triplicate

Yellow ties snake out of
brown bin liners
like thin layers of leather
with static cling that
accommodate copious quarts
of unrecognized
refuse, be it
a shattered sex toy or
a shiny tray splattered with spaghetti.
In the “new normal,”
I’m denied discretion as
it’s deemed an anti-contagion
civic duty to
fill out forms
listing every last
object chucked into each
garbage bag sagging
by the curb.
I nitpick over the papers,
plunged into panic as to
whether I’ve revealed
all my trash truths
in ink black enough and
fearing I may find myself
fined or detained or
banished to a rubbish blacklist
because I’ve unwittingly breached
the bureaucracy theater
thought up to thwart either COVID-19
or the bearers of virtual torches and
pitchforks turned viral
on Twitter.

© 2020, Adrian Slanaker

To read more of Adrian’s work, just do a search on this site and/or on The BeZine.


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

Surrender. . . and other responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

Image courtesy of Simon Matzinger, Unsplash

“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.” Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451


Depending on where in the world you live, it’s already Wednesday. Here in Northern California it’s still Tuesday, though a late hour for this weekly post, an indication of the weight of the day’s deadlines and editorial responsibilities. Here now are poems that face the reality of living with dying, as we all ultimately do. These poems were inspired or shared in response to the last poem and prompt, Almost Time, May 6. Enjoy the lyric wisdom of mm brazfield, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Tamam Tracy Moncur, Nancy Ndeke, Clarissa Simmens, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone.

Do join us tomorrow for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt. All are welcome: beginning, emerging, and pro poets.


my trip with Azrael

you know the time is nigh
you won’t need anything
would you agree
yes i’m prepared
while we travel can i tell you
how i loved the cool walks
the strong espressos and
the smell of fresh baked croissants over at Figaros
and when i was young
i loved the life that was
fast hard strong and brutal
was that when you felt invincible
Azrael asked
i suppose i didnt really feel anything
can i tell you about all of the beautiful people
dressed in all the colors and walk
step by step
and the children
they the true celestial thousand points of light multiply in God’s eyes forever
did you incur any regrets after all you’re just a human Azrael reminded
time lost revelling in my hatred and my pain first of self then of my nature of my sins and my enemies my inability for many years to feel with all of me
and seeing that i was about to cry Azrael lifted me with warmth and ease as my last breath sweet with smells of incense drew from me a soul unique and we clasp hands into the light of eternity

© 2020, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken, Gen X’r chronicles the art from of living in the Angelino metropolitan environment through poetry, creative writing, art, photography, and culture


Death-Mediocrity is Everywhere

Dedicated to Mary Oliver

Life moves in time in moment sublime
in moments painful in moments divine

life begins so joyfully with smiles yet
ends cuttingly, bodies scatter for miles

a month of obligation abstinence patience
teaches lessons of resilient tolerance

end a celebration a gratitude for completion
festive for some for some fatal cremation

horrible terrible killing fear murder cruelty
enemy advances ending lives brutally

Death Death Death all around ,will come
If it be not now, yet it will, for sure, come’

when the hearts bleed beat slowly slowly
when kids are burning dying, what is Holy?

what festivity what feast what happiness
what is Eid ~ what is care for family ?

a moment joyful reveals life is temporary
next, we should know heaven and eternity

Ah how truly said the great romantic poet
‘ In the very temple of delight resides veiled melancholy’

© 2020, Anjum Wasim Dar

And When Death Comes

And when it comes
I will meet the Angel and smile
and say ‘you came before, lifted me,
quietly, I felt the pull,

I saw my self flying straight up high
it was so swift, in flight a few seconds
and as I looked down- I trembled-

‘oh where are you taking me?
my children are so young
and my parents are in later age
they need me too, see,they are alone,

And Oh Angel you were so kind
You let me go’
You had permission to do that
and I heard you say something’ ?

Now if I have been good
have looked after my parents
and have guided my children,
on the straight path,

I hope and pray that
my way, will be illumined
each day of life ,scented,
colorful like daisies and pansies,

life will begin afresh, pure, peaceful
as the Almighty is Gracious and Merciful
“I am precious to The Earth’,
I need not be frightened’and definitely
not as simply having visited this world’

© 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


Surrender

I will stare into your eyes
As the poison drips into my arms
And laugh when I tuck plane tickets
To Europe in my suitcase

I will make faces at you
As I lay on the operating table
And laugh when my shirts are looser
And I see how much weight I’ve lost

I will flip you the finger
As I’m holding my kids
Celebrating graduations and birthdays
And even just regular days

I will slap you as you try to steal
The warmth of my blankets
And the heat of my lover
Wrapped in promises of forever and never

Yet when the time comes
And I know the difference between beignet and brioche
And I’m down to my high school weight
And the kids have gone back to their full lives
And my lover has fallen asleep on the couch

I will look you in the eyes
And smile sweetly
As I beckon you to me
And lay my head on your shoulder
Holding tightly
As you carry me across the threshold

© 2020, Irma Do

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


.prompt.

yes i think of you fondly

all of you gone this while

we continue thankful in that we knew you

a while

while

feeling fortunate

in that we have been here a while during the good bits,

learning from the other bits

there are a few of you in the garden while others are

elsewhere

some too far to visit

with one down the lane

handy

i keep that tidy & maybe the gardener is now unecessary

i will not attach photos

i see you all in mind

& i thank you

my life continues

& i thank you

© 2020, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


Looking Back
Standing at the threshold suspended between life and death doing my best to capture the fleeting images flashing before my face in this race which for me is about to be over…gone forevermore…never to be again.

Early childhood memories in Berkeley, CA. Harmon Street to be exact…my grandmother pouring out buttermilk from a jug just for us to go with our lunch…ugh…yuck. Delicious pies cooling in the window overlook the yard as chickens peck at the dirt unaware of their fate.

A middle schooler headed to Camp Timbertall totally enthralled by the Redwood trees…trunks a mahogany red stretching high into the sky…up…up… up…green leaves ballooning atop the elongated trunk declaring summer fun has arrived in all its anticipation and expectations.

Piano lessons from age six…scales…arpeggios mixed with the classical…playing in the Jr. Bach festival…brother the boogie woogie king of the neighborhood…always some good piano music swinging with singing having fun ‘til the day was almost done.

High school graduation…civil rights demonstrations…relocation to the east coast…falling in love with New York City…Harlem nights, jazz, poetry…meeting the man who was to become my husband…trombonist…composer deep-rooted in the avant-garde revolutionary music.

Marriage vows…jumping the broom in a small room in front of a self-avowed minister declaring “until death do us part”…days and nights filled with wine, filled with art…then suddenly burnt out…new start…change of heart…God becomes my all in all.

Newark, NJ… our new home…my husband’s home town…going back to school…six children…the absolute rule for three decades wading through the deep waters of raising children…music education/ elementary ed certification…teaching is now my life.

Diary of an Inner City Teacher, my story about the glory, the good, the challenges in the honorable profession of teaching…reaching out to, and understanding students regardless of learning styles…regardless of emotions, just learning to go that extra mile for each and every child.

Fifteen hour flight to Johannesburg South Africa…a trip home to my ancestral land…Africa the motherland…family and cultural ties severed by slavery but reconnected through the church to the drumbeat of my soul to a whole nother aspect of my being.

Images have been captured…will I be raptured? My breathing now labored…my vision blurry….although very cloudy I feel a hand enclose mine…a voice in the distance says “it’s your time”…the melodic sound of voices draw me into the realm of absolute silence.

© 2020, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Tracy’s book is Diary of an Inner City Teacher, a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line.


AT THIS MOMENT,
Reaching out to my transport yonder, seconds reel to hug thoughts, one more time,
The flood of joy of creations gift in a child, O what a miracle!
Seeing the innocence and trust as only Heaven must know,
That first cry announcing birth, what mystery!

Reaching out to my transport yonder, seconds play an old tune,
Mother’s gentle hand massaging away a dreary fever, while,
Father held heaven to a session of hope for the child,
The bliss of safety anchored in the pillars of parentage,
Knowing for sure nothing would be spared for my sake.

Reaching out for my transport yonder, seconds rushing to close my eyes,
Deep heaves over that sorry never given, and silence when speech would suffice,
Pride of anger and bastard hoarding of hurts so useless,
Time fleeting and I so sad,
That when chance availed itself,
I now leave without embracing the fulnes in the beauty of peace,
One that comes from full acknowledgement,
Of the frailty of not letting go when time allowed.

Reaching out for my transport yonder,
Time closes the divide and erects a wall
I look at the agony of love and know nothing matters than love,
And though tears are beyond recall of my journey,
These hurriedly scribbled words should alert you of your time.
Nothing matters in matters of life but goodwill, love and care for those in need,
For as I soar away from what held me captive,
I bid you do good for it’s sake,
To beat the vanity that I now know to be,
As my last breath expires and material drops to dust.

© 2020, Nancy Ndeke

Nancy’s Amazon Page is HERE


***(With its death)

With its death
the day gilds
the leaves.
I do not know the names of
the tree
and it doesn’t matter for
beauty.

© 2020, Bozhidar Pengelov, a.k.a. Bogpan

Bozhidar’s site is: bogpan – блог за авторска поезия, блог за авторска поезия 


Constituents 

Seventy-two
Nothing new
Except the feeling
The feeling of time
Taking a turn for the worse
Can’t think about loved ones
No contest
Will miss them most
Who
Or what
Will I also cry for?
Surrounded by Elements
Of beauty and truth
Solid Earth
Birthing botanicals
And crystals
The poor person’s diamonds
Liquid Water
Amniotic life
Cool as rain
Hot as unwanted pain
Mixed Gas, creator of Air
Softly blowing my hair
And the Plasma of life’s Fire
Burning passionately
From this love affair with Life
Thought I’d see you all
Forever etched in the gray matter
But that, too, will be Dead
There, I said it: Dead
It hurts to know
That although
Thought I’d touch you forever
Smell you
Taste you eternally
See your beauty
While hearing your music
That music of the universe
In my 3-beat heart
I so thought it would never stop
But no
How can I go on
Without the Elemental Beauty
Of Life…?

© 2020, Clarissa Simmens

Clarissa’s site is: Poeturja, Poetry


Wednesday’s Child is Full of Woe

Last week was speckled with
Kardashians and stock markets and
crude internet memes, yet now
the nuclear annihilation
my father once foresaw has
spontaneously spread
from an unexpected pocket of the planet,
labeling nearly all life with a
pressing expiry date.

Back during Dorito-and-Aqua Net-stained
marathon phone sessions
in the safe, dark coolness of the sofa in the basement,
my high school crony Ron revealed that, if
a mushroom cloud ever bloomed nearby, he’d
survey the display with his dad on the porch.
Deprived of that option, I merely
remember my parents,
probably praying and mouthing Isaiah 41:10
in a tearful huddle with my brother’s brood,
and spark a last DuMaurier Ultra Light
(a shared tobacco habit
being one of our few common features)
despite having quit because it’s more soothing
than the scarier smoke I’ll be
choking through soon.

If my hammering heart doesn’t halt from horror and
anger, my vital organs will be envenomed by
other people’s politics and pride, and I’ll never again
hear Dusty Springfield’s vulnerable voice
wailing about “Your Hurtin’ Kind of Love” over swirling strings
while I spin in time to the vinyl in exhilarating circles
between the cuckoo clock and the iced chai latte with oat milk
that’ll spoil, unsipped.
Summer sunlight shimmers, and I’m missing rain, spitting
against my shaved head and naked arms or
on my window as I nestle into freshly-washed pillowcases,
not unlike the rushing veil of water on that morning
in Moncton when my buddy with the scratchy beard and pirate eyes and I
showered together.

I drop-kick my laptop off the balcony because
there’s no point in completing that
tedious editing job to pay rent rendered needless
since death is at least free for the corpse, and,
over the chaos and crying and swearing and shooting,
an unseen beak trills in a soprano, competing with
those sirens savaging my eardrums.
I press Natasha against my chest,
not far from armpits
permeated with perspiration;
I need to protect her, even if
the gesture is a sham for show, and
her heat is what I wish to feel before
meeting my peace-loving Mennonite ancestors
who’ll say, “we told you so.”

© 2020, Adrian Slonaker


Final Interpretation of Silence

Raanana, August 10, 2018

Today Death touched my friend’s lips
With her icy finger and silenced them,
Enfolding him in her long dark robes
And carrying him against her cold breast.
Across the wide sea, I stand alone now
Unable to cobble together a few words
To measure the greatness of my friend.
He called himself a wordsmith
But I called him a poet.
He knew the names of every flower,
Every bird and every cloud.
He could paint a picture in your mind
So detailed you’d swear you’d been there,
And if you called yourself a poet too,
You’d have died to write like him.
What a eulogy of himself he could have given
If Death had not taken away his breath first,
Now silence must be his eulogy
With nobody left to interpret it.

from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone 

I’ve Seen Death Come

Raanana, June 4, 2018

I’ve seen death come for some
But not for others.
I’ve seen it drag souls from those they loved
And seen souls pull death’s slippery robes
Begging to be taken with it
Wherever it may go.
I’ve seen death sit patiently by a bedside,
Waiting for some soul to ask to be released,
And seen it rescue others
From the fear or pain of dying,
A thousand times worse than death, once come.
What else can be said of death?
That it’s unknown until it comes
And once it comes,
There’s no time left for wisdom’s gain.

from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2018, Mike Stone 

Zen and the Art of Dying

Raanana, December 23, 2017

Death, after a full life, is not so fearsome.
It’s like a kind of meditation,
A relaxation from the tensions of living and dying,
A clarity that sees illusions, but also through them,
A detachment from pain and desire
In which the subject and object disappear together
And all that is left is invisible and silent.
Death is not a thing that stalks you,
That finds you where you hide,
It’s not a thing you can hold in your hand,
Thumbs up or thumbs down,
But the end of a life that never was forever,
That proffers bitter-sweet meaning
To those who accept it
On its threshold.

from Call of the Whippoorwill

© 2017, Mike Stone

The Hermit and the Cabin

My poor soul, bless its,
Well, you know what I mean,
Would soar like an eagle over dappled valleys
Dragging my body along with it if it could
But it has grown accustomed to the weight
And cumbersomeness of my body
Like a hermit grows accustomed to his cabin
Of rough-hewn logs and thatched twig roof
Lost in a wilderness of loveliness and terror.
The cabin protects it in a small way
From the vicissitudes of a heart’s seasons
And the uncertainties of our knowing,
But eventually the weeds send their tendrils
Through the chinks between the logs
At first admitting welcome daylight
But then unwelcome cold and finally
Strangling the logs with their slow sure strength
Until the hermit is forced to leave the cabin
Looking for another not too overgrown or exposed.
The old cabin will miss its hermit
Until the last log falls to ground
And the roof lies unthatched among the weeds, but
What cares the hermit for the cabin
Or the soul for its earthly body?

from The Hoopoe’s Call

© 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