Everyone Should Have a Chair, a poem . . . and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

“You don’t just want to sit in a chair.
You want to experience it!” Anthony T. Hincks (1833-1839), Unitarian Minister, Naturalist



Everyone should have a chair
A big brown teddy-bear of a chair
Monstrous huge
To hold you in a gentle teddy hug
While you, poeming and bookworming
Sip steaming oolong and
Nibble petite madeleines

© 2008, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

THEME: Do you have a favorite chair or a favorite place (maybe a café) for writing. Tell us in your poem/s 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:

  • only those poems on theme and shared in the comments section under this post will be published. 


Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, September 16 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 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.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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

… the story of my life . . . and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

FromMother’s Day: Flowers and Native American soapstone bear

My Life Is Not Mine—
Give wanting what other people have.
That way you’re safe.
“Where, where can I be safe?” you ask.
This is not a day for asking questions,
Not a day on any calendar.
This day is conscious of itself.
This day is a lover, bread, and gentleness,
More manifest than saying can say.
Thoughts take form with words,
But this daylight is beyond and before
Thinking and imagining.

Excerpt from The Essential Rumi, Colman Barks



Well, it’s rather late Tuesday here, but still Tuesday, and apologies for the delay in publishing this post and for some of the confusions in correspondence with poets. The past week has been complicated by low oxygen saturation and if you understand oxygen hunger, you know it’s disorienting and exhausting. Thanks for understanding and patience.

We have a profoundly moving collection today with responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt. Silent Life, September 4, which asked poets to write about their lives.  This is another collection where you might want to keep a box of tissues handy. There are a few that will touch your heart. Some others will make you nod your head because they present experiences that you’ve had as well.

This fine collection is courtesy of  bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov), mm brazfield, Paul Brookes, Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Sheila Jacob, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Tamam Tracy Moncur, and Pali Raj.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning.


Silence

and on that day of sun
the leaves of the chestnut
like arms are shielding
by
the gleeds
and I see through the dream
like through some mirrors
the garden with some boats
cranes
and
tones
far steps of the see
and beauty
that is killing me

© 2019, bogpan (Bozhidar Pangelov)

bogpan’s site is bogpan – блог за авторска поезия  блог за авторска поезия


happy

sometimes in the middle of the night
i take the train from one part of town
and then back to the other side
i can’t sleep so i face my curiosity
tipping into the cleavage of the city
and her girlfriend moon
outside of the rolling cab my eyes
they register that it’s dirty
i swear i can see the car exhaust
black sooty pungent belching vulgarity
in the lungs of LA
behold the automotive crack pipe
then my attention flutters to the men
velvet skin plastic smiles and silver tongues
selling me a piece of Jesus and His hotrod
Hollywood Boulevard how much to eat me tonight
i burrow my alien feelings into the tunnels
And the cocky rail rides me to the platform
where humanity scrambles at the truth
of how small we must be to the Bitchgoddess
of everything all poets in history
have lamented about
to chase and purr on the formidable
lies that we are fed
only to show who kindness i wonder
i’m too old and out of time
to place gender or definition on my pleasures
the time to gamble with the rules and regulations
is quickly ending
at dawn pink and gray
with the smell of the city and
her beautifully cruel courtesans
on my hands and lips
i stagger up 7th street
and bum a cigarette from the Meals on Wheels guy
chat up Bang Me Billy and ask about his truck
we stroll to the rich folk Starbucks
he waltzes me up to the lines
we both feel very alive again
and smile at the young savvy people
when they turn up their nose

© 2019, mm brazfield

mm’s site is: Words Less Spoken


One

It is a day of discovery,
a loft of belonging,
her mid sentences with
no beginning or end.

Empty cases and rucksacks,
hide paintings he did in the fifties,
a still life framed in dark brown wood
a delicate vase sprouts colour,
another Mold Memorial day.

Two

No time to stop and stare
the memory house, its corners,
its edges must be made bare.

We have no time to contemplate
every memory we find, ancient letter,
we have our own homes to decorate

with memories of our own, employment
pays for us to accumulate
thoughts in physical enjoyment

for our sons and daughters to sort
once we can no longer recall
what recollection we bought.

Three

We clear dads loft
walk over asbestos,
lift objects out of the fluff,
I say we ought to wear masks

as dad died of industrial disease,
could not walk, his thoughts
Asbestos clouds struggled
like loose strands out of his mouth.

© 2019, Paul Brookes

FYI: Paul Brookes, a stalwart participant in The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt, is running an ongoing series on poets, Wombwell Rainbow Interviews. Connect with Paul if you’d like to be considered for an interview. Visit him, enjoy the interviews, get introduced to some poets who may be new to you, and learn a few things.

Prolific Yorkshire Poet, Paul Brookes

The Wombwell Rainbow Interviews: Jamie Dedes

  •  Paul’s Amazon Page U.S. HERE
  • Paul’s Amazon Page U.K. HERE

More poems by Paul at Michael Dickel’s Meta/ Phore(e) /Play


Life Yesterday-Life Today

My Life began in a state of war and fear, so I was told
I was too young to understand or remember the operation
after my birth, our life was threatened by the enemy,cold
and to safety was no way, but a journey of urgent migration

Life After Crossing the Barbed Wire Border

On awakening I found life full of family and love, picnics
in the hilly forest with fresh water springs,cherries apples
tinned fruit, Hollands condensed milk, England’s Lipton’s tea,
Marie Biscuits Danish Butter cookies, jujubes,n home made ice cream

I learned to ride a bicycle and how to drive a jeep
I loved the illustrated dictionary story books to peep
played hopscotch, enjoyed the swing, and loved school
school life was a treasure, in memories buried deep

Come September as college began, when war returned
sudden attacks by tanks and artillery blackouts all were in-
fear returned as Father left, to tend the wounded soldiers
no one really wins a war’ lives lost, all is over but the din

Oh dear life began anew with strangers all around, unknown
many a ground, five years ago life was full of reading books
so soon life takes a turn,as one is taken and given away to
a strange world of changing dresses and preparing looks’

Life was all in young motherhood, pain and pressure
care and concern, away from home life put me in a home
and I as a mother also became a cook and a cleaner
where did love go I wonder’ the world seemed a lot meaner

we changed cities, houses, bought a blue Volkswagen
bought a five band Sanyo transistor and a 20inch TV
life was kind to us as a family, books returned as school
began and I found real love in kids in nature as a rule.

Life never seemed silent for more than a few hours
color music laughter and fun, filled the atmosphere, then
separations gradually seeped in as one by one, death
started catching up, now and when, who next will lose breath?

War Returns

fear returned, life had books but no school fun, as day by day
terror warnings halted life, my day uncertain, will I be back home?
yes, I would but with numerous stoppings at armed barricades
am I back in enemy territory, or am I in a war story movie?

Life became a bit peaceful with a mini migration from city to city
all was quiet in a small town,simple people,seemingly content
sipping tea in their roadside shops, and I would see through the
window, simple life in a village is better and I silently joined the party

nature blessed me with family to care,spent the day in cooking and
knitting, a bit of teaching but a lot more of writing reading and poetry
life is a dichotomy of war and peace of love and hate, of good and
bad, my life today has more than before, I think I don’t need any more

Life Now

Now I am again on my own,each day with my pencils and books
I make my own breakfast mug of tea, toast with jam or honey
I wash my own clothes and cook too but dishes I leave for my
partner to do, he loves to clean so i am free to leave aside the broom.

there is no garden nearby where I could enjoy flowers or walk
my partner avoids conversation and ‘talk’ so that leaves me with
my unseen friends, to text talk share and chat’,till its summer the
sounds I hear are the perpetual whirring of ceiling fans or muezzins call

I am grateful to be alive to be able to understand the purpose of life
to be a giver’ a helper’ to spread love and kindness and be silent’
If one has a silent life one hears the love and kindness of the divine
I was given a life and time, I must give too for ‘nothing was nor is’ all mine

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

From the Redness of Dawn to the Golden Grandeur of Dusk

Who is it ? Ah, it wakes me again, in silence, with half opened eyes,
I half rise shaken from oblivion, turn again, sit up, sense the darkness,
The unseen power has put life back in me, I am fortunate but let me be
not proud, I could be asleep for long,to miss the obligation, and be a sinner’
but no, the power gives me time, ‘Away Away O Sloth, tempt me not in dreams
pleasurable,in sleep drugged,for my life has a purpose,to fulfill, I must achieve.

Express gratitude O ungrateful soul, you have wasted enough time,the sky is still
dark,a few stars show hope,I have hope I will always have hope, I have seen
the golden orb smile with changing colors, I will see it again,forget the mug of tea
the sweetness of mixed fruit jam, the faint burnt aroma of toast, stand straight,bow
and bow again,as rightly as you can, soon the birds will stat to chirp their prayer, are
they better in faith and manner? they are, and how regular and disciplined, alas’ but

I am not a bird, my nest is empty though, no giggles or laughter do I hear,no steps
no songs,loneliness hovers around-Ah light appears behind the curtains,dawn breaks
I have the gift of day, tea tastes good with honey,sip it slowly,eat a bit for just energy
two pills now, one for hypertension,the other a blood thinner,life depends on the tiny
red and white tablets, panic strikes when I misplace the medicine pouch, forgetful me
now where are the reading glasses, again? well, I guess its normal at the platinum edge

kitchen table displays the bowl of vegetables, cut and washed, awaiting my attention,
must I cook? wish we had not lost the ‘mann o salwa’ , it’s past eleven, half the day
slipped away,let me check the mailbox,perhaps someone remembers me there’ -nothing
elsewhere in the world, killing, more killing,innocent killing,quarreling,arguing,commenting
impatience,intolerance,the planet has gone crazy,am I contributing to all the chaos? Yes?
the muezzin calls, Come to Prayer Come to Success’ so I must turn’ I must be on the right

afternoon,a bit of lunch and again drowsiness takes over, what did I do ten years ago
I would smile at the flowers,hug the kids and trees,listen to songs and skip a little too
Oh I see my children coming in the room smiling Mama Mama ‘ but what’s this, no one around
a short vision, curtains aside show the hillside green, a small house, wonder who lives
there? alone or with family? light clouds cover the sky, its all grey now- cries I hear of
people in captivity,without food water and medicine ‘freedom we want freedom’ Oh my heart

trembles and I move away from the window’ what tyrants are still ruling and roaming on
this planet, dinosaurs long gone instinct, big though were less harmful, Oh mankind what
greed ails thee what hunger for power makes thee mad? evening draws near,thoughts filled
with fear,nothing concrete have I done today’ news of deaths has droned all day, where is
peace where is joy, then Oh a beep a tingle of joy’ a friend far away, a spirit which cares
remembers with all the suffering in her share’ Ah now my day is made I thank the Almighty

He is present He cares and sends comfort in His own special way’
Hoping for the darkness to be light,praying for another peaceful day’
Hoping to make it worthwhile while I can while,here my spirit stays.

© 2019, 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


Forty-four words is not enough…

In the nick of time
My motto, my nemesis
My days overfilled with
Kids needing
Husband wanting
Daughterly obligations
School “volunteering”
Catholic guilt
Running miles – Ha! No
Running behind – yes
Secretary, chef, driver
Driving myself crazy
Oh look something else to sign up for!

© 2019, Irma Do

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


Coming Up Roses And Daffodils

“So how are you guys?” our kids text
and we try not to bore or alarm them
with a litany of aches and pains
and murmurs of our mortality.
We’re fine, we reply, and so we are
when we itemise each blessing,
tell how we’ve painted the kitchen
in a colour called lemon sorbet,
ordered some new roller blinds
to co-ordinate and plan a shade
of powder blue for the bathroom.
Our roses have spread from a single,
stringy bush we bought years ago
into an ebullience of sugar pink
clustering that empty corner space
we thought nothing would fill.
We’re pulling up stubborn weeds
pruning deadwood, filling tubs
with fresh compost for winter pansies:
might buy more daffodil bulbs
though there’s a crowdful underground
slumbering until next spring.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

To purchase Sheila’s little gem of a volume, Through My Father’s Eyes (review, interview, and a sampling of poems HERE), contact Sheila directly at she1jac@yahoo.com


.the story of my life.

i could write the story of my life remembering all that was,
forgetting the things i forget. i could start at the beginning,
work through to the end when it comes. it could be that way.
may be, i have already written much of it in bits and scraps
here and there. such is the way of it. some things come random.
not as you expected. i was to tell my story, you said.
i cannot be
bothered. there is no interest.
if there is, it can be googled, gathered, stitched quilt like into some
image.
i cannot remember my granpa fondly, for he was dead a while before.
you told me your tale, silked tongue, the things you wished me to know.
not
impressed.
no need to impress. cat piss leaves on skin leave black marks. remember?
recall the…

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


My Silent Thoughts

Silent thoughts ride through a cloud of memories scattered freely into the bay of time that resides in the mind…alas a constant reminder of dreams and aspirations still to pursue and undone goals left to do in a future stretched out in a haze and a maze of aging and uncertainty.

Silent thoughts…private thoughts tiptoe tentatively along the path of restoration seeking new musical sounds to bring to fruition amid creation…singing abstract harmonies that dance in between the syncopated rhythms of eighth notes gliding into victory.

Silent thoughts perch on the branches of tree lined streets observing cars neatly parked along curbs of hospitality and in driveways of ownership waiting patiently for drivers to take possession and drive off into their respective realities and obsessions.

Silent thoughts cringe at a world obsessed with violence…violence in defense of ideologies piercing the fibers of sensitivity refusing to embrace diversity…violence in defense of the dollar sign raping the economies…raping the environment…raping the positive use of technology.

Silent thoughts search the heart for inspiration…for courage…for creativity to permeate the USA in these dark days of insanity to persuade minds to incorporate once again democracy and justice for all…to stand tall on the legacy upon which this country was built.

Silent thoughts seek to “reach out and touch” and captivate the minds of the angry, the lost, the weary…to replace hate with tolerance…to replace dope with hope…to replace anger with a peace of mind that comes from on high… that comes from “something bigger than you and I”.

Silent thoughts escape from under the weight of oppression into the setting sun colored by deepening orange hues blended with shades of pink coloring the sky with magnificence and brilliance inspiring a myriad of poetic words to send messages of love through out the universe.

© 2019, Tamam Tracy Moncur

Diary of an Inner City Teacher is a probe into the reality of teaching in our inner city school systems as seen from the front line. Over two decades in the trenches, educator Tamam Tracy Moncurexposes through her personal journal the plights, the highlights, the sadness, and the joys she has experienced as a teacher. Come to understand why the United States Department of Education and the various state departments of education must realize the teaching of academics cannot be divorced from the social issues that confront the students. Let s be innovative together and design new millennium schools that address the educational needs of the inner city students before it s too late! Our children s very existence is at stake! Laugh, cry, and become informed as you embrace the accounts of an inner city teacher.


Calm down today, but how
Our house is bigger ….yeah,
Today, we loud ever
Allah-Hu-Akbar, or
Jai Shree Ram,

or make prayer?
Silent life, a poem wish to live
LIFE GOES ON

Live it wow
Live it up ….yeah,
What can live up to this amount of pressure?

Silent life, a poem wish to live.
Today, I wish to live.
Today, I wish to work.

© 2019, Pali Raj


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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

Silent Life, a poem … and your next Wednesday Writing Prompt

The silence of the cup with water in it,

the silence of the moon

And the quiet of the day far from the roar of the sun.

Silence, Billy Collins



Except for the scratching of my pen
I lead a quiet, almost silent life
on D Street, the second floor –
In a small, one-bedroom apartment with
Tibetan prayer flags flying on the door.
I overlook a courtyard with trees and grass and
children playing, heads stuffed with dreams.

It’s a quiet almost silent life I lead in a
second floor walk-up with a tiny kitchen.
Trees rise outside the door, birch, palm
and the raucous crows are taking over.
Still, there are sweet gentle gray doves
and a chickadee or two, maybe three.
Our resident squirrel visits, watching
through my window from his birch.

Such a quiet, tranquil life I lead here
where no bombs drop on aching roofs,
no soldiers march in heavy boots,
no occupying army enters uninvited. We
fear not for the safety of children at play
or adults walking by on daily rounds.

I lead a quiet almost silent life, but for news
squeezed between ads for haute couture,
pre-fabricated foods, and Saturday’s sales.
Reports are of tortured deaths in foreign lands
presented in measured tones, spanning a heartbeat
followed by the vapid gossip that passes for news,
delivered with breathless detailed analyses

I lead a mostly quiet almost silent life
but for the scratching of my poet’s pen.
Scratching, scratching and trying –
Trying to make sense of it all, and
Like the gentle dove, softly – 
trying to make a difference.

© 2010, Jamie Dedes

WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Tell us about your life and what sorts things or events make an impression on you.  Tell us in your poem/s 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:

  • only those poems on theme and shared in the comments section under this post will be published. 


Poems submitted through email or Facebook will not be published.

IF this is your first time joining us for The Poet by Day, Wednesday Writing Prompt, please send a brief bio and photo to me at thepoetbyday@gmail.com to introduce yourself to the community … and to me :-). These are partnered with your poem/s on first publication.

PLEASE send the bio ONLY if you are with us on this for the first time AND only if you have posted a poem (or a link to one of yours) on theme in the comments section below.  

Deadline:  Monday, September 9 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 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.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications Poets Advocate for Peace, Justice, and Sustainability, YOPP! , September * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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

“The Forbidden Birthplace” … and other poems in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

City of San Mateo, Japanese Tea Garden courtesy of Daderot and generously released into the Public Domain

“In great cities, spaces as well as places are designed and built: walking, witnessing, being in public, are as much part of the design and purpose as is being inside to eat, sleep, make shoes or love or music. The word citizen has to do with cities, and the ideal city is organized around citizenship — around participation in public life.” Rebecca Solnit, Wanderlust: A History of Walking



Today we have a wonderful collection of poems submitted in response to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt, From the Churches and the Houses, August 28, which suggested poets write about their city.  The result is a virtual tour from cities in India and Pakistan to ones in England and the United States.

This virtual tour is gifted to us by a Wednesday Writing Prompt newcomer, Olive Branch, whom we warmly welcome, and by Anjum Wasim Dar, Irma Do, Irene Emanuel, Sheila Jacob, Urmila Mahajan, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Pali Raj, and Clarissa Simmens.

Enjoy! and do join us for the next Wednesday Writing Prompt, which will post tomorrow morning.


The Two

This was her tale of two cities,
nothing revolutionary, only
wide-eyed comparisons,
each bearing its own
pronounced individuality
as she struggled to find
a niche in one and then
the other.

One was born of strong
politics and toughness and
every winter a new coat and
shoes. The other grew out
of Quaker thought and old money
and neighborhoods bearing
the stamps of Ireland and Italy.

Both she would long to leave as
finding a niche was
an ache that always plagued.
She finally gave up her story,
believing she could go
anywhere and find home,
only to realize the wrongness in her bones
has made her battle weary
(and longing again for
a place).

© 2019, Olive Branch

OLIVE BRANCH (Cornelia Trent) I live in a small city in the U.S. Northeast and writing poetry has, at times, proven to have been a catharsis for me in my adult life.  I’ve only been published a few times in print and in recent years normally I write poetry under the pen name of “Olive Branch.”  I’ve been writing a blog on WordPress under the name of Cornelia Trent that tends to feature other poets’ poems, pieces about fiction & nonfiction writers and also songs and sometimes photography.  I work as a Librarian currently for a suburban township library.


 

My Friend’s City

When I visit your page,it is as if I am visiting your place in a famous city
a city of japanese gardens, a kaleidoscope of bright flowers,of music in the air
reaching out it turns into a dream and I wish I was actually there-

when I visit your page I feel the warmth of your hospitality, an aroma of a hot cup
of coffee served with chocolate muffins and strawberries, bright sun
shines through the window as

your soft furry cat eyes me jealously and springs and slips around me finally landing
onthe sofa, while you smile patiently, and I wish I had a
cat if not anyone else around-

when I visit your page I hear the cars and trucks on the road down below,
an occasional siren or two, your city is so well planned and seems a lot
in order so, unlike many others

when I visit your page I find your city full of books and magazines, inhabited by talented
gifted authors and poets,it gives me great joy to find
a reading public lives nearby

My visit to your page guides me through my thoughts, I compose words on paper
and leave for you to see, and hope and pray that I may come again and again
to leave all affection there and take love away

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

Rawalpindi City Pakistan

Ah Old Harley Street, If Only You could Speak
Where art thou? With All Thy Grace and Treat
Where evening cool breeze would gently sweep
And the open spaces would be free and neat;
Where I learned to ride the bicycle and Greet
My friends who came out to meet-
Ah Harley Street! where art thou?
With memories sweet-
This same road where bell tingling horse driven tongas
With strong horses and shining leather reins
Would lift the learning loads and stay on the beat-
At that time, this same road was all for residents
No sounds, not even an innocent lambs bleat.
Ah Harley Street! where art thou?
So defiant in dilapidated defeat!-
YOU seem to be there still serving in retreat-
Though gone is the tar rubble crush and concrete;
Ah Harley Street . All is not lost.
Courage never to submit or yield-
YOU have the BEST on YOU
YOU are replete with –Institutes of Education
Tuition Guidance and Dedication-
But AH there’s the rub-
The cuts craters humps and dilapidation-
OH Lord, what are WE learning and teaching
in this precarious condition? That is the question-
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer,
the slings and jumps of outrageous travel
The heart aches and
thousand natural shocks that the flesh is heir to-
Or to take arms against oceans of ditchy trouble..err. rubble-
And by appealing begging imploring
“Please Sir , may we have some more” Ah No!
Or by opposing clean sweep them….?
Who would bear the whips and scorns of time immemorial
The laws delay, the repairs astray, the rains decay ; AH SILENCE!
Do we continue to grunt and sweat under a weary life?
Or has conscience made cowards of us all?
AH Harley Street! If only you could speak’

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

The Forbidden Birthplace

Walking for more than half a day,she sat on a large stone by the deserted road
thought how far now, the place of birth, just once she wished to set eyes on

‘all roads lead to unknown places, never go anywhere,stay where they are laid.
Oh a passerby! please stop a while and tell me, have you seen the heaven here?

‘the heaven on earth, the land of fruit and flower gardens, and a lake full of boats
yes,there is a place,where weather stays cool and fresh, vegetables grow in plenty

No the passerby replied, ‘heaven can not be on earth,you are mistaken, this road
leads to nothing but death and destruction, killing,shooting, and occupation by enemy

Oh No,heaven is beautiful peaceful,green and glorious, with no killing or any pain
where peace eternally prevails,contentment reigns,quietude rests as mountains protect.

No, sorry’ the passerby walked away shaking his head.’Oh a horse rider’ trotting along
Oh Rider please stop a while and tell me,have you seen the heaven here, quite near?

‘Hmm No, I don’t think heaven can be here. It used to be long ago,I heard people say so,
but my horse and I are tired, in vain looking for grass and clean water,but nothing for miles

O Farmer with your cow,please stop and tell me have you seen heaven here,nearby?
O Sister Dear, go back go back, there is not a barn or a haystack, all broken and burnt

the wooden huts with slanting roofs, lawns with pine and chinar trees, pansies and roses
in flower beds, no more no more, you will find,nothing in air is clean and kind,all are blind’

Oh No, what do these people say and why, how can a heaven on earth be so destroyed
lush green hills be dry, lake devoid of lovely shikara boats,rows of graceful poplar trees

that lined the road, seen no more, shops closed, windows and doors barred- smoky air
the road is here,but no traveler travels, barbed wires cordon streets, all empty,unfair-

O dear, the journey in vain, the quest remains, how places by enemies are overtaken
birthplaces vanish in gunfire and teargas,bomb blasts, fires, stone and brick fights-

Tis a pity how humans hate, cannot tolerate or follow advice,spread love and peace
and grant the deserving rights, bless and comfort,fulfill each others basic needs –

Alas, heart is heavy the spirit laden,no return ever to a birthplace called heaven
majestic mountains pure air, sunny days filled with apples red,starry nights,gone

All that remains are stories, heard, the house was wooden but shone like gold
a home is no home,it has to be left or abandoned,’ a dream in life is all, to hold’

© 2019, Anjum Wasim Dar

My Pine Scented Home Town,
Abbottabad

The last five miles are
winding winding ways,
As the bus turns the corners,
I remember the winter days,
Home, home on the range
Reflecting autumnal grace,
Before you know, its
Behold ! the town itself, reveals,
At its own, the evergreen stature,
The Spiritual Presence of Nature

Majestic melodious mountains,
Blow the Highlanders March,
of The Hundred Pipers.
As early as cool February
As fresh as is the month of May
When Spring awakes
and apple blossoms call,
Soft snowflakes greet you,
Sinking and vanishing, as they fall;

Serenity intense, beauteous nature
crisp and pure
White and sure;
Oh! Let me feast my eyes
On the beauty of my town,
Breathe in the sweet smell of pine,
Oh! Let me live the truthful moments
While they are there
And let the freshness creep into my soul

© 2019, 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


Salt of the City
They were mostly tall, thin, and dark skinned like the softest black velvet. Their clothes hung on them. Their feet in flip-flops covered with dust. Yet their voices were strong, offering their wares in accented English – mini Eiffel towers, larger Eiffel towers, ones that light up as if it were covered with fireflies, ones that were staid. Their bodies seemed strong, carrying large sacks of these trinkets to different parts of the park. The odor of their sweat was strong, evidence of their hard work in the heat.
They stood out among the tourists – they were their working, laboring under the sun – while we were there for fun, our choice to stand in lines under the sun.
Maybe they arrived in this city with a degree or some other skills; definitely they arrived with hope. Yet their labor in the City of Lights seemed to diminish the light in their own eyes.
Summer’s salty sweat
Seasons the immigrant’s work
Hope masks bitterness

© 2019, Irma Do

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


The Dancer

Static in the traffic,
Sparks Road on a cool mundane morning.
Selfishly sorting my day into easy
slices of work and food,
I blank-watch the robot.
I disregard the news vendors so that
I won’t note the latest crime statistic.
I dismiss the sad eyes and life-weary palms
aimed at my car window.
I am in my motor-home,
I am not seeing visitors today.
Ahead is the corner vacant lot,
charred by open fires and human detritus.
Transient dwellers stirring their raggedness
into their bleak empty day.
Slow smoke-wisps swirl softly over
the scandalous scene.
As my eyes seek a prettier place,
the cars inch forward and I see him;
jumping through the smoke,
a joyous spinning dancer,
oblivious to his shocking surroundings.
Raising his smiling arms to the grey sky,
shouting his pleasure at being alive.
Suddenly the lot is etched in gold
and I am filled with gratitude for my good fortune.
The green light beckons me onward as
the dancer completes his pagan pirouette.

© 2019, Irene Emanuel


Backtrack

You’ve changed, of course, since I saw
you last, whispered Tarra a bit, Brum.
You boast a glitzy New Street Station
and the Reference Library’s a chapter
in your history of bulldozed buildings.

But I’ll recognise you after eight years.
I’ll soon connect with your bustling hub,
find my feet the moment my toes touch
your pavements and I hear the ker-swish
of bus doors and hum of passing shoppers.

Don’t forget how many times I circled
your heart. Bloodlines will pulse me down
Corporation Street, over the traffic lights
and into Priory Queensway, opposite Argos.
I’ll wait at the 14 bus stand, check the fare.

It’s the old route home through Nechells
where Dad was born, the back-to-backs
long gone except as names for the new estate.
Rupert Street. Cromwell Street.
Do you hear them echo in your bowels?

Do you meet the friendly shade of Bridget,
Dad’s Mom, on her knees and soaping
her doorstep, greeting a neighbour across
the yard? Or Ernie, his Dad, in a white muffler,
striding to the millwrights at the edge of town?

I’ll reach Saltley Gate then window-gaze
through Alum Rock, where Mum grew up.
Once, on my way to see her, a young couple
caught the bus at the Gate and asked the driver
if he could stop near Parkfield Road.

Don’t know it, he said, and I called out:
I’ll tell you when to ring the bell.
I know where Parkfield Road is.
I was born there,
in my Granny Kate’s house.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

Down The Old End

Some of them survived
until the mid-60’s,
waited to be demolished
like rows of smoke-stained teeth.

Birmingham’s back-to-backs,
three walls out of four
joined to the next dwelling
and, through covered alleyways,
courtyards with communal privies,
a streetlamp and clothes lines.

This is where my Grandmother came
as a young bride, took the key
to 2/228, Cromwell Street, Nechells,
and called it home.

This was where she bloomed,
thrived in a community
of silversmiths, button makers
and biscuit-factory workers.
She reared four children,
worshipped with them
at the local Catholic church,
kept her kettle on the boil
for tea and gossip
and bustled each day
to the corner shop that sold
bootlaces, tobacco and cough drops.

She liked her spacious house
in a leafy suburb,
enjoyed a hot bath
filled by water from the tap
but still hankered
after “the old end”,
told how neighbours
drew comfort from one another
and the shared red brick
that weathered births, deaths
and two world wars.

© 2019, Sheila Jacob

To purchase Sheila’s little gem of a volume, Through My Father’s Eyes (review, interview, and a sampling of poems HERE), contact Sheila directly at she1jac@yahoo.com


Bangalore through the window
Like dairy-free chocolate the square
tiled yard sweats sultriness livened
by sparks of music from the living
room piano. Past the iron gate
autos trundle as insistent as bikes
that thunder in the lane where
a listless dog drags a woman swinging
her pointless cane past the vendor
with sharp samosas in his voice
smearing yesterday’s oil in today’s
newspaper. Money plants struggle
in verandas crammed with city
life too preoccupied to care
for other things besides.
Pot-bellied and backpacked
even pressured fore and aft
an old man hangs in the balance
(much like our existence) with
eyes that rake the sky. It’s long
overdue and not the way
when he was young
when it was greener.
He tracks the points of no
return as dominoes topple.
Away from these musings
a schoolgirl masticates to
appease shooting hunger
focused on a short-lived
bargain from a kirana store.
Keys ripple as a
koel pleads in the soupy
mirage for rain.

© 2019, Urmila Mahajan

Urmila’s site is: Drops of Dew


.the little city.

little place
we did not live there really
only in heart in memory
power house
god of clattering birds
hills and history
a place to look at cows
look at
clean houses
pieces
coffee small cakes
pot jam
trusted patrons
we need to concentrate on detail
to describe things properly
need to
go there each year a while
to retain to remain in memory
need to
care for little things
st david
may be a myth a memory
he carved it so
said it was the centre of the universe
for some it is
so
so
st david’s
the city is in Wales

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.bournemouth.

come gently with birth
come gently with life
grow with the place
until we grew beyond how it was
beyond the culture and crowding
thinking
becoming unsettled
moving
retaining memory

1.

cycling the promenade hoping
some one will love us some day
baking down dunes
walking down tracks
barefoot hoping for less paving in town

2. humbling for a home
walking looking in windows
will some one want us
house us?

3. finding the two above
settling for the place where folk
come to holiday beautiful
while we work the bones of it
the grit beneath
bournemouth beautiful
the reason beneath the move away
is beyond any words i have just
now
where folk
come to holiday beautiful

© 2019, Sonja Benskin Mesher

.then there was manchester.

maybe in the fifth visit i met him
in the city in the thrift shop
open
from nine maybe till six or five thirty
several buttons and an open face
head
adorned with patterns
he opened easily
recognised we are not robots
despite the badges
it is colourful in the city
she mentioned it in suprise
immediately apologised
notice i talk more about people than
the archtiecture though that was appreciated
and wrote of it especially
do you know i watched the pigeon paddle
the parakeets flying
crossed
over the road carefully minding the trams
the tram lines
tripping gently forward
we found ouy way together
in manchester the fifth time

© 2919, Sonja Benskin Mesher

Sonja’s sites are:


A city lover….
“”””””””””””””””””””””
I’ve a home is my city and you gotta tell me
what’s the city’s name?
where a boy is insane and you couldn’t help
but smile back.
I cry out for God sake
Tell me, where do you wish to be framed
would you stay in a hotel ….yeah,
From the churches, and the houses, a poem is out to the prayer.
wish you all the best:
Tell me what’s the city’s name?

© 2019, Pali Raj

Beastly Beauty

Big city late night smogging
Human volcano awaiting
Final intolerance of life
Neighborhood via drugs degrading

Nominally safe inside row home
Dangling a keychain of pepperspray
Alone while sons at work today
Overactive imagination spirals away

Back home in humid Florida
Gators move prehistorically
Searching for mates in yards and swamps
Devoid of any sensuality

Here in my old hometown Philly
Human hoards do the same
Cruising in cars, buses and subways
Any-cost sex, biological imperative aim

Inside I strum guitar and read
While some sad soul screams outside
Teetering between two realities
Alone on a great divide

Where is the truth
Worthy to compare?
Or is beauty hidden
Everywhere…?

© 2019, Clarissa Simmens

Find Clarissa on her Amazon’s Author Page, on her blog, and on Facebook HERE; Clarissa’s books include: Chording the Cards & Other Poems, Plastic Lawn Flamingos & Other Poems, and Blogetressa, Shambolic Poetry.


ABOUT 

Jamie Dedes. I’m a Lebanese-American freelance writer, poet, content editor, blogger and the mother of a world-class actor and mother-in-law of a stellar writer/photographer. No grandchildren, but my grandkitty, Dahlia, rocks big time. I am hopelessly in love with nature and all her creatures. In another lifetime, I was a columnist, a publicist, and an associate editor to a regional employment publication. I’ve had to reinvent myself to accommodate scarred lungs, pulmonary hypertension, right-sided heart failure, connective tissue disease, and a rare managed but incurable blood cancer. The gift in this is time for my primary love: literature. I study/read/write from a comfy bed where I’ve carved out a busy life writing feature articles, short stories, and poetry and managing The BeZine and its associated activities and The Poet by Day jamiededes.com, an info hub for writers meant to encourage good but lesser-known poets, women and minority poets, outsider artists, and artists just finding their voices in maturity. The Poet by Day is dedicated to supporting freedom of artistic expression and human rights.  Email thepoetbyday@gmail.com for permissions, commissions, or assignments.

Testimonials / Disclosure / Facebook

Recent and Upcoming in Digital Publications * The Damask Garden, In a Woman’s Voice, August 11, 2019 / This short story is dedicated to all refugees. That would be one in every 113 people. * Five poems, Spirit of Nature, Opa Anthology of Poetry, 2019 * From the Small Beginning, Entropy Magazine (Enclave, #Final Poems), July 2019 * Over His Morning Coffee, Front Porch Review, July 2019 * Three poems, Our Poetry Archive, September 2019


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