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2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

For today’s prompt, write a poem about something before your time. Maybe it’s a certain time in history. Or a type of music. Or a story that was shared by friends or family–before your time.

Here’s my attempt:

“A Stroll Through Oakland Cemetery”

Each mausoleum and tombstone
hides away countless stories. From
Margaret Mitchell’s epic love
story to the master golfer
Bobby Jones, this one cemetery
holds its share of celebritites,
but also the first Atlanta
mayor, Moses Formwalt, who served
one year before he then became
a deputy–only to get
killed while he was transporting
a prisoner, or poor Agnes
Wooding, who was buried right here
before the land was sold by her
husband, A.W., to the city.

*****

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517 thoughts on “2012 April PAD Challenge: Day 5

  1. Angie K

    “Winter 1969-70″ (Dad was a doctor drafted to Vietnam after my brother was born, I was born in Dec. 1971.)

    A piece of paper, several lines filled
    each day, with happenings.
    He’s healing, he’s growing, you’d be so proud!

    She wipes at the tear before it falls to leave a stain.
    An envelope. A stamp. A light kiss.
    Then off goes the letter, so far away.

    She reads your words to your son
    when they come from across the sea.
    So glad you’re alright, wish I could see you.

    Why do they need to fight, on this other side of the world?
    Keep helping, keep healing, keep safe.
    And come home.

  2. dextrousdigits

    Trying to catch up on those days I wasn’t able to participate

    Lascaux

    Jean, Marie, Pierre with other pre teens,
    not yet old enough
    to go on the hunt,
    were instructed to guard the cave
    and gather some fruit, herbs,twigs and branches
    and offer prayers for a feast.

    When they arrived back
    rain was dripping down
    They decided to start a fire
    for heat and light.

    Before starting the fire,
    Pierre took some of the blackened
    charcoal out of the pile
    looked at the other two
    “We may not be able to hunt,
    but we can practice by drawing
    animals on the wall and throw
    our spears at them.”

    Each took a piece of charcoal
    and drew their favorite food on the wall.
    They practiced aiming at the heart
    as they hurled their spears.

    When the hunters returned
    they had had the best hunt
    that any of them could remember.
    Finding the drawings on the wall,
    the leader decided
    the spirits of the animals
    were trapped in the cave
    and resulted in their easy conquest.

    That night there was feasting
    body painting, and dancing.

  3. mschied

    In another time

    I would not stand alone
    just one more wall ornament
    distinguished only by the subtle movement
    of tapping toe which prevents
    my total absorption with the wallpaper

    I would not eat alone
    in my culinary oasis
    surrounded by clinking silver on china
    small talk lapping at me in waves
    cresting over me and consuming
    while my nose remains affixed to the page

    I would not have freedom
    to go where I want
    unhindered by the wants or needs
    of family or friends
    unfettered by the pressures of society
    unable to alter my presence or
    change my future

    in another time

  4. po

    Celebrate

    It is Zebra Day
    at the zoo.
    Girls with zebra
    stockings and
    colorful platform
    shoes mean
    there are more
    than zebras
    on the loose
    today in the zoo.

  5. Marian O'Brien Paul

    Mary Ann Cotter Tuohy

    My father’s grandmother on his mother’s side
    was born in 1841, one hundred years before
    her great-granddaughter Marian was in 1941.
    One hundred years made all the difference
    in our lives. Mary Ann was American born,
    descended from Viking invaders, founders
    of the City of Cork assimilated into Ireland
    long before James Thomas Cotter emigrated
    in the early 1800’s to America’s New World,
    thus escaping the Great Famine yet to come.

    In her mid-teens Mary Ann met Mr. Tuohy
    better known as Will who’d fled the Famine
    with his mother Julia Darcy Tuohy in tow.
    We guess his father John had already died.
    James Cotter and Will Tuohy both worked
    for the railroad, crisscrossing the Midwest,
    thus intersected their lives. Will, courting
    Mary Ann, took her in his arms and danced
    her round campfires at dusty railroad sites,
    fiddles scraping, stars winking in the smoke.

    Like Mary Ann, Marian was married young.
    A century apart, each soon had a child, each
    birthed five children, each lost one. There
    the likeness stops. Marian lost her first child
    Mary Ann, her last, and no one could staunch
    the hemorrhaging blood, her body exhausted
    by five births in five years, her own life done.
    One hundred seventy-one years have gone.
    If 2041 sees Marian’s great-granddaughter
    born, how will their lives be alike or diverge?

  6. cstewart

    Before

    My mother was happy running on the beach,
    Exercising with the women from work at Douglas Aircraft.

    There was no Ocean Avenue, just sand that
    Led over and further over to the beach.

    Her apartment on Mira Mar street had a Murphy bed
    And a little kitchen to fix some meals.

    She ate avocados and cottage cheese
    And went to visit her friend at her house in South Central.

    They explored the unknown California without people,
    And she said Seal Beach had a lot of seals and no pier.

    Later, after the war, they moved back East
    And took up housekeeping, in a place with no excitement.

    That was still before my time.

  7. foodpoet

    before your time

    Before now
    When memories were sharp
    When you were the code breaking crosswood queen
    But now cannot figure out sudoko

    When memories were sharp
    You helped with my taxes
    But now cannot figure out sudoko
    And me I process your taxes and leave sukdoko untouched

    You helped with my taxes
    Me the inept mathetican
    Now processes your taxes and I leave sudoko untouched
    I look at you and dream of sharp edged times

    Me the inept mathetican
    now
    I look at you and dream of sharp edged times
    When you were the code breaking crosswood queen

  8. Paoos69

    The Intellectual

    Lost his parents as a young lad
    Thrown to the big, bad world
    He fended and he fought
    Like no other valor

    Little to eat, two shirts on his back
    Created a little world
    For his own clever, desiring self
    To the country of mountains he went

    Design, his claim to fame
    Built the Townhall and hotels five-star
    Poured himself in every deed
    The little sapling became a stalwart tree

    Family, fame, sons so true
    By and by his wealth grew
    Yet he remained a sage
    Detached, solitary, though deserving center stage

    Old habits die hard
    Scringed and saved
    Suffered and craved
    Lived alone, and died the death of a bard

  9. ratgirl

    High Functioning

    Mr. Hughes, or may I call you Howard?
    I’m sure we know each other well enough, living
    in the same disturbance as we do, albeit
    at opposite ends of the century. Me, obsessive, you
    compulsive, and also the other way round.

    We’re grifters, you and me
    flashing a series of parlour tricks, one furitive tic
    and then another. Artists of escape, slipping
    out of handshakes, turns of doorknobs, disappearing
    into the safe small sterility of hotel rooms
    and other dark shiny places. Even there our most delicious
    cravings are coated in terror that drops
    into our laps in the quiet late at night. Infected?
    Syphilitic movie starlets? MERSA creeping hot and silent
    Into the divots of another gouged scab?

    We hold the world together with cellophane tape
    and a ton of excuses. It’s a nonstop sideshow
    trick, pulling a neverending rope, hand over hand,
    even as the fibers fray apart. Knotting faster than the human eye
    can see the imperfect spaces that terrify me, the same as you.
    Our fears crossing over through time.

  10. Lynn Burton

    Sixteen

    Two old souls found each other
    within the crowd of faceless faces
    and nameless names. With one look,
    one smile, one small word,
    our lives seamlessly became one —
    until it wasn’t.

    There was no denying the attraction,
    the unspoken understanding
    in each moment we shared the same breath.
    I wish I’d known my own heart better, held
    yours tighter as it beat against mine —
    until it didn’t.

    The shocking truth of life’s fragileness
    still haunts me, shakes me to the core,
    wakes me from comfortable slumber
    to remind me that we had all the time
    in the world —
    until we didn’t.

    With no chance to properly say
    goodbye, with so many other things
    left unsaid, I chase your ghost, let
    your presence comfort me, hold on
    to memories I can’t release —
    until I can.

  11. tunesmiff

    KITTY HAWK
    (A Shadorma)

    On the beach,
    Orville and Wilbur,
    with canvas,
    courage, wood,
    (and a finger to the wind),
    gave dreams working wings.

  12. cajun75

    Grandpa

    Men live and die by the sea
    Neither a wife’s arms nor the hugs of his child
    Can compete with the lure of the sea
    Not even life itself

    Grandpa worked the docks and ships
    In Merry Old England until
    One fine day he set sail with his wife
    And children for the land of opportunity

    Opportunity was there
    More children arrived
    And grandpa worked the docks and ships
    Providing for his growing family

    Grandpa loved the sea
    Until that fateful day
    When the sea claimed another one
    And his life itself was taken

  13. Sam

    Before. Tribute to F. Scott FitzGerald

    Slipping through corridors, laughing with statues,
    As skies gray and twist,
    To the mood of your wit.

    Holding on, as she slowly slips away,
    into her fiery mind,
    With the beat of your heart.

    Wishing that you could, like the ink in your pen
    Drain yourself of the day.
    Instead you keep every thought
    marred on your mind
    Like unwelcomed ink blotches,

    Or creases in a page.

    Dogeared by her charm,
    She’s kept you in place
    In the middle of a slowly churning storm

    That builds as you fade.

    Bound ceaselessly.

  14. kingac

    Anyone Who Had a Heart

    I wish I could have been around
    to sit on a writing session between
    Burt Bacharach and Hal David.

    When piano keys pressed caused
    melodic rainstorms to wrap themselves
    tenderly, caressing lyrics; swaddling them.

    Horn sections bleating sensorial
    overloads, stimulating emotions from
    the floorboards that extend all the way
    through the ceiling, into the attic, and above
    the roof.

    -John Pupo

  15. JRSimmang

    Before us was them.
    Those renegades,
    rising up from cruel oppression,
    placing fingers on strings,
    voices cocked,
    gripping tightly onto the sound that
    changed the world forever.
    Existing somewhere between rhythm and blues
    the antidote burned.
    Poison poised outside the speakeasy,
    anathema brewing inside.
    They drank of the draught,
    its inocculation
    savagely speeding its sanguine cleanse.
    Jump, jive, and wail if you have a soul.
    If not, do it anyway.
    Big suits,
    big hats,
    big band,
    big business.
    Are you ready?
    It’s time to dip, baby.

  16. Akua

    Un Historia

    They left the coffee-rich blue mountains
    to meet on a straw seated subway train
    They talked gentle politics, business,
    Roosevelt was wonderful
    and by Garvey they’d remain
    proud of a place they never knew

    He would fly back over the sea he had sailed
    from a place with no electricity
    but the coconut polished floors gleamed
    wide verandas opened to the valley
    where colonial castes prevailed
    chains he loosened and shook free
    left that warm island, unbound in New York City
    claiming a new destiny a new history

    He understood cricket but loved
    Democratic baseball, his easter island head
    in overstuffed chair, fragrant, listening to the radio
    play by play, talking about Jackie Robinson,
    Hank Aaron, those sacred Sundays in Jamaica, Queens

  17. shann

    Fanciful attraction

    What a time it must have been, mamma,
    when big cars full of cheap gas
    took to the pavement, in the summer
    you could drive about anywhere

    in a halter top and linen shorts
    with cuffs and ironed creases,
    you were a pretty girl looking for fun,
    face freckled, brown hair in a knot.

    When you met daddy, did you
    go to Corpus Christi right away,
    heart full of hope, have corn dogs,
    and cold beer on the beach?

    The war was over and plenty
    was the word on everyone’s lips-
    he was handsome, on the G.I bill,
    full of adventure and jokes.

    it’s not easy to think about
    you as a young secretary,
    smoothed-faced and careless
    taking up with a sweet talker

    like him, you didn’t worry at all
    about someday and what if,
    no one ever does in the beginning,
    when the light dances on the water

    making the moment look pretty good
    even heading home with me in your belly
    cruising north till the salty water
    disappears behind a stand of lanky pine.

  18. Jolanta.Stephens

    They were happy
    Young
    And carefree
    Long haired
    And wild
    Rambunctious
    And partying
    The epitome of cool.
    They wrote songs
    Around fires
    Smoked
    Whatever they wanted
    Drank just as much too.
    Tiny waists
    Cinched and buttoned
    With patterns flowing free.
    They were young
    Carefree
    And wild
    They danced
    And lazed in the sun
    They worked hard
    And played even harder.

    Then I came along.

  19. drwasy

    THE ROPE

    It was ordinary rope
    the type used to bind parcels to carts,
    or carts to horses.
    You thought nothing of it,
    I am sure, when you left
    your crooked house
    down the steep wending steps
    through the iris and gladiola,
    to the dirt street and Sir’s house
    to mop his floors, polish
    silver that saw you
    reflected, blond and worn.

    When you left,
    I am sure, you thought nothing
    of the rope on the basement stoop
    or your son in his room
    coughing red streaks
    on his hand, his shirt,
    his wall, the floor, not yet a man
    but more than a boy.

    I am sure, when you left,
    You thought nothing
    of your husband sawing logs,
    sweat staining the once-white
    shirt, the rasping making music
    with the chortle of finches.
    Perhaps you smiled,
    Happy to soon have shelves
    promised last week, not knowing
    he took the coffee you made
    before you left
    with sips from the bottle squirreled
    in the dank corner where you
    kept your canning jars
    and spiders kept their eggs.

    You thought nothing of the rope,
    nor of the solid oaken beam
    transecting the basement ceiling,
    I am sure, and neither did he,
    but perhaps he thought of it
    only after he found the pistol
    too poor for bullets,
    and in the heat of morning sunshine
    and liquor, perhaps he heard
    your son rasping,
    perhaps he saw the rope,
    and thought something of it.

    ***
    Better late than never. Wrote the poem but alas, no internet access until now. This poem relates the suicide of my great-grandfather, an immigrant from Finland, a man I never met but whose wife, my Mumu, kept me close. Peace…

  20. Arrvada

    In a time long forgotten
    By
    Arrvada

    In a time long forgotten
    At least I would like to believe
    There was beauty and magic
    And they were more than make-believe
    Elves and fairy, troll and sprite
    Roamed the hills morning and night
    In a time long forgotten
    Long before I was born
    There were beings of power
    From which legends were born
    In a time long forgotten
    A time long before me
    In a land far away
    Beyond the bright shining sea.

  21. ellanytdavve

    My Father Was a Gypsy

    Passing rocky ballast piles,
    Crossing the churning Sound
    in a small boat
    Arriving on a beach
    with no footprints
    Finding a crematory
    on the leeward side of the island

    An adventure for a young girl
    A thoughtful journey for a father
    A place to share with her mate,
    her children
    long ago, now.

    That deserted beach walked
    by ancient natives who left
    mounds of oyster shells ,piled
    under the spreading live oaks and
    very little else to be found now.

    But the ghosts of them gather
    at the campfire, the passing
    of their story, one to another
    making sure
    they are n’er forgotten,
    making sure they are
    n’er forgotten.

  22. Miss R.

    The Morning in the Garden

    Would I have been there,
    Had I been there,
    In the garden?
    Would I have opened
    My aching eyes
    Before the first light dawned
    In the hopeless sky?
    Would I have sought
    The agony and solace
    Of that place,
    Wishing for rock
    To shatter like my heart?
    Would there have been
    A sliver of hopeful memory
    Urging me towards that tomb?
    Or would I have
    Still been sleeping
    Only to awake too late
    And too confused?

  23. Shreedhar

    Just YOU.

    Long before you were wife, mother, breadwinner,
    you must have been just YOU.
    Days, when you too dreamed in technicolor.
    When you were allowed to be just, YOU.

    And then came he.
    Through him, me.

  24. DanielAri

    IS AIGA A WORD?

    and their calls continued fainter when the light
    inside went completely. Alice has her history of
    competitive play. The youngest sibling by eight
    years, she was home while the rest were at school,
    in her dad’s hair while he worked in the tool shop
    and in her mother’s while she cooked and canned.
    Her mom called a game of hide and seek, counted
    loud to a hundred by fives and forget about her
    five-year old, figuring Alice had found something
    more fun to do after ten minutes. But fifteen ‘til
    dinnertime, one child did not answer the order
    to wash up for table. This was before abductions
    infested front pages, but it was no less a panic.
    They ran calling through the house and all around
    it. Her oldest brother, who could drive now, took
    the car. They made phone calls and the police came.
    Inside one of the empty rain barrels, under the lid
    she had pulled over herself, Alice discovered she
    could laugh and weep at the same time, and both
    while completely silent. She was cold, cramped,
    terrified and unassailably, gold-medal victorious,
    which is why I hesitate whenever I notice she’s
    made a pot of tea and taken out the Scrabble board.

    FangO

  25. carolecole66

    Pearl Harbor

    The Japanese attacked
    and life hit fast forward,
    a frantic adrenaline rush
    they married instead of dated
    procreated shaking fists
    against death
    the suddenness of it all

    and of the end . . .
    homes, wives/husbands,
    children, full-time jobs
    they looked around for dreams
    they left behind
    and quickly recreated lives
    in images they had never
    quite imagined.

  26. Michelle Hed

    Losing Time (a Kyrielle)

    Do you ever wonder what life
    was like a hundred years ago?
    Was it full of fun or of strife?
    Wondering why time lies so low.

    Carriage rides for a Sunday drive,
    fresh air, sunshine and fields to hoe –
    new inventions poised to arrive
    wondering why time lies so low.

    Electric cars were new, in style
    but life had a trickling flow –
    being indoors was kind of vile
    wondering why time lies so low.

    There was plenty of time to do
    your chores, work your job, kiss your beau
    and still have time to dream anew.
    Wondering why time lies so low.

    Or was the life they had as fast
    as ours today, just different so
    we romanticize on our past?
    Wondering why time lies so low.

  27. Ann M

    Turquoise, gold
    and silver are gone from
    the tombs. Carved slabs
    of the sacrificed
    and masks of the dead
    are in the museum.
    We climb narrow steps
    to the top of the temple
    and walk across
    the dirt plaza,
    where thousands gathered,
    fought and feasted.
    All is silent, except
    for an old man
    calling out to tourists
    to buy souvenir rocks.
    In the distance,
    other mountains are far off
    and the highways
    and city are not visible
    The sky is pale and hot.
    There’s no wind.
    So we find the canopy
    of a very old tree,
    climb into the shade
    and listen to leaves, rustling.

  28. taylor graham

    ACCIDENTAL PUPPY

    It happened before my time
    in her life. Unplanned backyard breeding
    in a cluttered bungalow. The owners were away.

    Without my knowing, as if another age,
    another history, she was born blind into the puppy-
    dark. First to escape the whelping-box.

    All her littermates moved on to new homes.
    She was passed over. Untrained. Learning life
    by teeth and bark. At last she was sold,

    bought, and soon returned. Too much,
    too smart, too hard.
    So how did we find her, or she us?

    Sheer accident. Yesterday.
    This morning she pulls me at the end of a leash –
    will she ever learn dog-manners? –

    down concrete stairs of an unknown city
    into April springlight. Up 13th Street, startling
    at her reflection in glass; showing me

    the scent of white begonias;
    adventuring sidewalk, as strangers debark
    from sighing buses. Bark. Greeting?

    Accident creating our brand-new world.

  29. Tanjamaltija

    Dancers

    And she shrieks.
    The Spring Equinox begins, and the sunlight shafts through the main doorway
    As she begins her dance of 3600 years ago.
    The tethered bull quakes, for it has smelled death.
    Her steps are light and her long, dark, Mediterranean hair flows
    Rhythmically to the music
    And the chants
    Sinuously and sensuously she moves with the grace of a lifetime of service
    In homage to the Fat Lady goddess.
    Of Malta, the Island…
    The omphalos of the World.
    She weaves in and out of the coralline limestone post-and-lintel constructions,
    Oblivious, to everything but the rhythm
    Of her own movements, mirroring those of the branches.
    To the beat of the lambskin drums
    And jarring rattle of hog-bone shakers.
    The wind howls.
    The priest raises the knife;
    The animal’s life blood spurts
    And the dancer sinks to the ground,
    Exhausted.

    And the orgy begins.

  30. Uma

    The Rainbow

    Plumeria falls on soft grass like dreams that keep coming.
    The wall wheezes with her asthma, the plaster falls away
    like rain of stone dust, and his eyelashes gently dip down
    with pain as she rasps for breath, wrenches fist of space in lungs
    as plumeria falls soft on grass and dreams keep coming
    of her pale skin flushed like the fine watermarks on marble.
    He holds her gaze, draws her to the portico of sun shine,
    slats of stained glass break into splinters of rainbow on her:
    the blood drains from her face and lips turn blue. Blurry eyed he
    sees plumeria fall on grass, dreams of her coming back.

  31. omavi

    Tears of Cleopatra

    I think she wept, yes she must have
    Wept when it all fell apart
    A beautiful queen a lovely queen
    But she could not act like a queen
    She ruled a land where only rulers were men
    Beautiful visage she wore the crown and the beard
    Seductively gifted she play grown men games
    See from the distance the threat that comes
    Her defense was as a woman not
    Anything coming from a kingly man
    Seduction was a tool
    Femininity the secret play
    She work the levels of power
    Made grown play the games she dictated
    But all most fall
    And nothing, even empires, deny final decay
    Even passion turns sour
    When kingdoms are the commodities traded
    I know she wept at the realization
    That this too will pass
    The golden becomes tarnished
    The great fall beneath the wicked lash
    But glory will never crumble
    From forces coming in
    She whispered to the wind
    On this last breathe
    I am the greatest of all queens

  32. Jaywig

    This morning I was unable to leave comments, (the screen kept telling me I was posting comments too fast and should slow down) so I’m doing a joint accolade here: I especially love the family stories of justLynne,Connie Peters,Jannilee (ah! your compassion!), ceeess, Janet Rice Carnahan, Walt Wojtanik, Jane Shlensky, zevd2001. And then there were the others – Jerry Walraven’s “Moanin'”, Imaginalchemy’s “Thoughts from the Dodo bird” and “The Invention of Time”, Linda Voit’s “Before my big entrance” and the conversation between De Jackson (Of Parks & Buses) and Marie Elena (Two Navy gentlemen). Every one of these poems touched me, moved me, and sometimes amused me. So thank you to this wonderful group of word-crafters for giving me such a gift to start the day. :-)

  33. Jaywig

    Day 5 – something before my time

    Rusted
    (after watching Australia: The Time Traveller’s Guide, Parts 1 & 2)

    Red
    the soil of my country
    where lichens bled
    and chemistry
    turned sand
    to iron, zinc, silver, lead.

    Even now
    saltbush claims
    old ocean beds
    and where I walk
    I see an arid future
    where the past
    is spread.

    Old land, old earth:
    they say here
    you can see the birth
    of living forms
    that thrived
    where was a dearth
    of oxygen and H2O
    and all we deem has worth.

    Is it dead?
    Crossing by train
    I feel a certain dread.
    But in the mining town
    let red soil run through my hands
    and feel the heat
    of living earth instead.

  34. lionmother

    The Lost Boys

    Grandma had a routine
    when she visited her
    husband’s grave
    She stopped at
    two small graves
    on the other side
    of this pocket sized
    cemetery overwhelmed
    by Brooklyn streets and
    the sound of the el
    She strolled over and
    stood in front of these
    tiny markers while she
    and my mother recited
    once again the same
    story of how beautiful
    they were and how
    fast they went as the
    epidemic claimed mostly
    the young and left a hole
    in the family and sorrow
    still in the hearts of their
    mother and sister over fifty years
    later and I watched each
    shed tears dripping on
    the soil as both of them
    found the tiniest pebble
    to place on the top of
    the stones.

  35. MeenaRose

    Innana, Where Have You Gone?
    By: Meena Rose

    Innana.
    Here I am, I heeded your call.
    How could I not?
    Every cell in my body is
    Encoded to hear your call.

    Uruk.
    Where have you taken me?
    When is this time?
    Where is this place?
    What do you want to do to me?

    Sisterhood.
    Innana, why have you forsaken me?
    Who are all these women
    I see?
    Innana, please speak to me.

    Heritage.
    Child, you have forgotten your lineage.
    Why have you let the world
    Forget me?
    Child, come to my temple and pay homage.

    Change.
    Rise, Child, Rise.
    Bring back my message
    To this blighted land.
    Hurry, Child, end this demise.

    Sand.
    Faceless destroyer, formless power.
    You erased my legacy,
    You destroyed my temple.
    I will restore my power.

  36. vincegotera

    Oops, forgot to send in my Day Five poem.

    Bathsheba’s Paramour

    Uriah, son of Heth, why won’t he go in to his wife?
    Damn him! I have called him home from Rabbah,
    from harshest battle, to give him this, his own lily
    among the thorns, the choicest fruit, the rose of Sharon
    within his own garden. And he says no? Uriah must
    serve the King always, here in the castle, he says.
    His men are at siege against the Ammonites, he says,
    and he will not disrespect their faith, their sacrifice.
    He will not disrespect me, my service, he says.
    What of his oath to defend my crown, God’s city?
    What of that, upright Uriah? Go to her! Her breasts
    are two baby deer fed on flowers, her eyes are purest
    white of doves, her temple a split pomegranate
    amid her sweet curls. Even the King could not resist
    her myriad charms, though try he did. O yes, try
    he did. Well, then, Uriah, back to the battle you go.
    A letter will you carry, giving your general Joab
    my orders, the King’s desire. Uriah, I offer you
    the chance in the thickest of the fight to prove
    your fealty to me, your master, your true King.
    O brother, yes, you will fight, and you will be
    lauded forevermore as the brave, loyal lieutenant
    who laid down his life for the Kingdom of Israel
    and Judah. Yes, let it be so. I wash my hands of it.
    The Lord speaks . . . I merely pass on His word.
    I am Moses . . . I merely bring down the stones.
    Yes, Uriah shall go to the stones. And Bathsheba,
    abandoned by her Hittite, like so much spoiled milk
    dashed to the dirt, she shall bear Kings. Kings, I say.
    Kings of Kings. Yes. Yes. It is the will of the Lord.

    by Vince Gotera
    Blog: The Man with the Blue Guitar

    If you look on my Day Five blog post, you’ll see that this poem was inspired by another poem written by my Poem-a-Day buddy Catherine Pritchard Childress.

  37. DanielAri

    HAVE A TOMATO, MRS. KRAUSE

    and somebody, in my imagination a farmer, bearded,
    splashed a blessing of moonshine on the salty soil
    one morning and broke ground on the main house
    where over the years a chicken farm grew, gripping
    the foothills within sniffing distance of the broad bay.
    Eggs, fryers, stewers, fighting cocks and breeders—
    but mostly eggs—plus a vegetable garden—came up
    at the time our neighbor Kato’s grandpa was just being
    born in the city, which would have taken our farmer
    two days to reach by horse and buggy, before bridges,
    riding the long way ‘round south then north again—
    and what a glorious passage through the womanly
    hills oscillating green and brown, and between her
    hip curves, the glint of Poseidon’s gates, and at last
    fetching the bustling four-story city with its balconies
    and dust and everything commercial—and, of course,
    its endless hunger for eggs—but no tomatoes. Our
    farmer sells the eggs, takes on his weekend delights
    and makes the return trip back to the farm, with its
    endless tide of scratching feet, pecking beaks, and
    pooping and pooping—and that’s why, Mrs. Krause
    we have beefsteaks and cherries, romas and brandy-
    wines, red and running wet as drunkards’ noses while
    just down the street, you and the mister get no luck
    with your tomatoes.

    FangO

  38. Christod

    Before you were you, you were disco lights
    and white suits that boggie wooogie woogied
    down a parted dance floor, slick as the quiff
    you built for the girls to wink at.

    Before you were you, you were purple hair dye
    and one gold hoop that shifted each shoulder
    from side to side at a crowded gig, stiff as the
    stool you rested a boot on.

    Before you were you, you were a mustache
    and plaid pants that made feet tap in turn
    with hand claps at a smokey pub, smug as the
    lady you just sent a drink to.

    Before you were you, you never had a me
    and the rest, they say, is history.

  39. donnellyk

    SHE WAS 16 AT A CARNIVAL

    He’ll be cunning and his beauty will fool you
    you will have a child who you will let break you
    you will see that he soon will forsake you.

    Another charmer will come in to protect you
    and buffer you from the fear that fills you
    the prince will have shining armor that blinds you.

    In the void that looms large within you
    he will plant seeds times two that will craze you
    beyond the father who ridiculed and berated you.

    You will be screaming in the prison that they made for you
    you will find that you cannot escape you
    leaden sorrow and strife will disease you.

    At death’s door your thoughts will swirl ’round you
    you will wish you had listened to my fortune telling you
    you will leave yearning peace that was not meant for you.

  40. Kayla

    November 21, 1987

    It was November 21, 1987. I was five years old with two loving parents
    and a brother fifteen years my senior. Succumbed to the warmth of my bed
    I lie there sound asleep. Innocent and careful, I begin to take in the sound
    of adult voices. I now hear my mother weep. The ceiling fan light in the
    living room is to blame for the partially lit hallway leading to my bedroom.
    In lieu of the side table lamp she usually resorts to. I slowly tip toe down
    the carpeted hallway, half-lit but mostly vague, as I try hard not to awaken
    anyone else asleep right now. I walk over tom y mom as she sits so motionless.
    Tears emerging from her eyes and gliding down her weary face. She focuses in
    on my face then stares into the emptiness of space. Seemingly but obviously
    confused and perplexed by something not yet known to me. As I get a better look
    at the officer he continues effortlessly to occupy our front door. With
    his campaign style hat and state trooper attire neatly pressed and black boots
    not in the least bit rugged. My eyes met his for a brief moment then turned to
    mama once again. Her tears not slowing but enduring.

    “What happened, Mama?”

    Upheld with strength she looks down at me. Worried. Cautious. As
    if battling someone or something deep within.

    “Your daddy was killed in an accident”

    And with that said I do not recall what happened next or
    even what my thoughts were right then nor afterwards. Childlike innocence
    and raw to it all. I understand now that I was too young to even try to comprehend
    the gravity of what had happened. And just how that night, or more
    precisely should I say, the decisions people made followed by
    the actions people took that would forever have an impact on the
    rest of my life.

    Twenty-four years later and now a mother to two young and
    beautiful daughters…

    I vow to work my best as my mother did all that time ago. To nurture them.
    To teach them and to discipline them. And to protect them.

    Against the dangers of Drinking and Driving…….

  41. Natalija

    MOONLIT COBBLESTONES

    Gas-lit streets
    a horse-drawn carriage
    one might long for
    another disparage

    corsets and petticoats
    parasols and tophats
    afternoon tea
    with pastries so fancy

    a walk so brisk
    along cobblestone streets
    in the moonlight of yore
    no time as before

    parchment and quill
    a love concealed
    ne’er to be revealed
    with wax it is sealed.

  42. ina

    Madrone

    Today I am Madrone
    and it is the June of 1967.
    Madrone and mother,
    bonding over seasickness and
    their escape from broken countries
    to the new world.
    Later, they shared postcards and
    visits, but then one day,
    Madrone was gone, and mother
    never would tell me what happened.
    I would ask my father, but
    he is six years dead, dead
    that is unless he’s just left this
    linoleum white room to pick up some ice cream,
    and did you pass him on the stairs, dear,
    so you could pick a flavor? I didn’t,
    but I don’t tell her that, and in a
    few more moments, he’ll be gone.
    Tomorrow, I might be myself
    but the days that I wear someone
    else’s face come more and more
    often. I listen before entering
    the white room, hoping to
    catch a whiff of who I am today,
    to find out if I exist, or if I’m not yet born,
    or not even hoped for.
    The days pass, moving more rapidly
    through time and space. It’s only
    a matter of time
    before I cease to be, before I’m
    a stranger, and after that,
    only her death can make me
    my mother’s daughter again.

  43. bclay

    Cave Paintings of
    an earlier Picasso

    Paleo-impresionists
    imprinted impressive
    images of silhouettes
    of aurochs, and animals
    older than lost ages of ice.
    Beasts extinct and immortal
    hidden in cold canvas crevices,
    displayed in forgotten museums
    of a modernity thought impossible
    for a period not previously known so
    advanced. Either staggering shamanic
    channeling as such charcoal chiaroscuro
    realist ritualization, or did hunter-gatherers
    hunger for food of more spiritual satisfaction?
    Attempting to en-capture the ethereal anima of
    animals, and powers of soul they felt to be slowly
    retreating to darkest and deepest cavern of psyche.
    Drawn to and upon forsaken underworlds underneath
    overpowering dawning of that human conception of “I”-
    which undermined our former connectedness with nature.
    Cave paintings of an earlier Picasso in negative signatures
    of hematite hued hand-prints, in ochre and echo of goodbye.

  44. Rosangela

    Another Life

    It’s autumn and the full moon is out
    we are all dancing and singing
    around the bonfire.
    Long skirts flying in a colorful swirl
    around the blue and yellow,
    red and orange hit
    that give us life.

    The sound of the crackling wood
    startles my heart every now and then,
    and we all laugh while
    banjo, guitar and djembe drum
    mix together in an ode to existence.

    A log cabin, hot drinks, hot hearts
    make us alive, and young forever.

    I truly miss that rhythm
    and the dance, and the fire
    the cool people, the smiles.

    That place and that time
    behind the door
    where I have never been.

    Just before.

  45. Marcia Gaye

    [Very similar to one written last year, but dissimilar enough, I think.]

    Photo circa 1945

    Pretty girls perched on either side
    Of a teenage boy on the hood of a car
    Poised, posed, ready for a ride
    Pretty girls perched on either side
    Their smiles bright as they decide
    Wondering if they’ll travel far.
    Pretty girls perched on either side
    Of a teenage boy on the hood of a car.

  46. Karen H. Phillips

    Day 5
    4-5-2012

    Write a poem about something before your time.

    Stardust

    We gathered round the piano
    and sang as my mother played the songs
    from her and Dad’s time:
    Deep Purple
    Beautiful Doll
    Pretty Baby
    so many lovely melodies and rollicking tunes,
    with my mom harmonizing as my dad and I
    sang melody.
    Love songs, so familiar a fabric to life
    I could never understand
    when my friends gave me quizzical looks
    when I hummed or vocalized.

  47. StephanieRosieG

    Bisabuela

    Ysadora hates Pancho Villa.
    She’s never met him, but last week
    several skinny men with rusty guns
    clomped into the back yard as she
    pulled weeds from her meager garden . . .
    they demanded the scrawny chickens
    housed in their patchwork coop
    and the slim pickings still in her hands
    and when she hesitated, they shouted
    that it was Pancho Villa who would
    save her from this sad peasant life
    that it was his victory she was feeding,
    and so they took what they wanted
    despite her protests, but in so doing,
    gave her a name to despise, a mantra
    to chant as she rubbed her hands
    over her starving belly in the days and
    weeks to come: Pinche Pancho Villa.

  48. Egnar T. Seinnhoj

    Dearborn Street

    A minister, a playboy and a mercenary
    of love ride the same trolley together,
    awkwardly gazing and silently
    judging one another
    with different definitions
    of missionary.
    Cable car wheels roll with eyes past
    The Everleigh Club. I feel a sinking smile
    crawling from my eyelids
    to the guttered street. Pleasure winks
    at me with silence- but it burns holes
    in every pocket until there is nothing to take.
    What would such love be like? Empty
    or a taste to form an appetite?
    With nothing signaling to go
    I’d like to believe
    In the clicks of heels and carnal faults
    of freedom. I’d like to believe
    in Minna.

  49. Golden Rule

    The Wiley College Great Debaters (They defeated University of Southern California in National Championship)

    Dreaming dreams and seeing visions
    Hopeful thoughts and great ambitions
    Crystal clear moments a portrait of hope
    Believing in the unseen because faith intervened
    So they walked by faith and not by sight
    In the battle of words they overcame their plight
    In 1935, there stood Gods’ Brides
    Three African American students
    from Wiley College
    Who fought their White opponents with their minds
    and their vast range of knowledge.
    Fearless but often under attack
    But against all odds they persevered
    And carried the African American race on their back.

  50. LCaramanna

    Swing Time

    Swing time came before my time,
    with Glenn Miller In The Mood
    to sit under the apple tree
    near Tuxedo Junction
    as the Chattanooga Choo Choo
    whistled long and low into the Indian Summer
    on Blueberry Hill.
    Lucky for me,
    my mother played the oldies on the stereo in the living room
    and together we cut a rug
    to Pennsylvania 65000,
    her string of pearls around my neck
    swinging to the jitterbug beat
    that to this day sets my feet in motion
    to the swing of Glenn Miller’s Big Band sound.
    ‘Though it was before my time,
    the music of that time continues to make me swing.

  51. gtabasso

    Before I was Conceived

    There was a good Catholic
    suburban girl who had a chance.
    Not too smart or pretty or talented.
    She had friends, a good family
    a yellow dress, a brother named Dennis,
    and a choice.

    Her best friend said,
    “My boyfriend has a cousin
    who just got out of prison.
    He’s handsome and looking
    to meet a nice girl, settle down.”

    So, this greaser in leather
    and pointy shoes meets her —
    bad boy, someone to save
    (it runs in the family;
    we see the good in them).

    He pops her cherry and a baby’s on the way.
    He pressures her for an abortion.
    Her parents hate his guts,
    tell her to have the baby and live with them,
    but she’s in love; so, at six months
    she hides the bump and travels
    down the aisle of a church wearing white.

    The rest is one long fight,
    memories of broken bones
    and bruises, flesh connecting with walls,
    and me being the reason
    they stayed together,
    the cause of it all.

  52. unscriptedlife

    Today’s inspiration: the Earth and when it was first created.

    Serenity.
    Courage.
    Pure beauty.
    The unaltered landscape.

    Those who lived here, loved here.
    Every tree, plant and animal living in harmony.
    One complimenting another.
    None overtaking the rest.

    Anyone who stepped onto the landscape
    Left it the way they found it.
    Resources thrived, never abused.
    Land respected.

    Life sustaining itself,
    No one ending the cycle.
    The grass, water, sky,
    A creation made to bless.

  53. Benjamin Thomas

    The Origin of Poetry?

    Poetry,
    a vessel in the potter’s hand
    tailored to his pleasure
    conformed to his demand
    how does it so sooth?
    this revelation and fruition of muse?
    such poetical device
    such delicacy of word
    such contrivance of heart
    begotten two-winged bird
    flown throughout the ages
    by quill, pens, and pages
    a literary contagious art
    who can tell, from hence did it start?

  54. Kendall A. Bell

    When I was your age…

    As the spring makes its way back,
    the familiar sound of the Mr. Softee
    truck returns, bringing back memories
    of children on my old, dead end road
    running, screaming and scattering back
    to their houses to beg their parents
    for money to buy something – anything,
    as if the ice cream truck wouldn’t be
    back again for the entire summer.

    Most of the time, the truck would come
    during dinner time, and I’d still have
    a heaping pile of something nasty on my
    plate that I had no intention of finishing,
    like carrots.

    I would ask for a dollar from my father,
    and he’d share the same story each time
    about how, when he was a kid, a quarter
    would buy an ice cream cone for him,
    his two brothers and two sisters.

    I’d hear about the cold Minnesota winters
    and a refresher about how he had to quit
    school after his father died of tuberculosis
    and join the Air Force.

    My mother would tell me that her mother
    never gave her or her brothers and sisters
    any special treats and mostly screamed and
    cursed at her, occasionally getting violent
    enough to throw knives at her.

    All I wanted was a dollar.

    Instead, I was given a history lesson about
    a time I cared very little about, since I was
    roughly eight years old and didn’t really
    believe that they shared beds with their
    siblings or were hit with window opening rods
    by sinister nuns who beat insolent children.

    All I wanted was that dollar before the truck
    pulled away and I was stuck lamenting another missed
    opportunity at having a Chip Candy Crunch bar.

    It was met with my father’s inevitable groan, a
    reach in the pocket and a quick grab from me
    as I sprinted out to that magical, musical truck
    while he once again told my mother,
    “He doesn’t know how good he’s got it.”

  55. Rosemary Nissen-Wade

    Himself

    He sits astride the cannon. He is five.
    At that time, I was not even alive.
    This is my favourite picture of him:
    such a joyous child, with so much to give.

    His head is high; the wide, delighted grin
    is echoed more restrainedly by the man
    and the older boy, father and brother
    sitting smiling behind him on the gun.

    Their heads lean towards him. He does not see
    their protective attitudes; family
    he remembers as undemonstrative,
    and himself repressed, but here he looks free.

    His eyes are crinkled behind the round specs.
    There’s a pride in the way his head’s thrown back —
    a little-boy smugness: he’s in the front,
    his chubby bare legs stuck out straight as sticks.

    Now he’s my husband. He is eighty-three,
    and the laughing child is still there to see
    with that same spontaneous joy in life
    as he smiles at me … as he smiles at me.

    Accompanying photos at http://passionatecrone.blogspot.com.au/2012/04/himself.html

  56. Dan Collins

    I’ve Been Wondering About Mayan TV News

    What do you think will happen on Friday, December twenty first, two thousand and twelve?
    That’s the day that the Long Count ends and was “supposed” to start over.
    Instead, it will come screeching to a halt – the cogs of history themselves!

    Calculations, observations, I understand if they were just tired and said: “Enough!”
    Maybe they just wanted a break; got sidetracked with war, famine
    or plague? Or was it white noise and such fluff?

    Did it just get too murky for the seers?
    Heck, even now, right now! if I flip
    channels – I would hardly believe my ears.

    No wonder they couldn’t do more –
    There’s no need to worry
    about what’s in store.

    What’s done, fore-soothe?
    – only the
    truth.

  57. Melissa Hager

    ‘Ere I Knew Ye

    A smokin’ fiend ye be.
    Glurgin’ down ye liquor
    Doin’ Lord knows what!
    Hangin’ with a sorry lot.

    What possessed ye to
    Find favour with me?
    To give up wild nights
    Without a big fight?

    Whatever your reasons
    I’ll be glad to take ‘em.
    Life was not much fun
    ‘Ere I knew ye.

  58. hurtin-heart

    In a small town in bethleham
    To a virgin,a babe was born.
    Three kings bearing gifts traveled afar
    Following the brightest star
    To see the baby boy lying in a manger
    For word had spread the babe was special
    For he was the child of GOD!
    Born for a purpose yet at the time unseen
    But as the years passed and he grew into a man
    his purpose became clear for all to see.
    For 25 years he walked the earth
    saving the souls of all who would believe.
    He was a man of GOD,perfect,unlike you and me.
    He was loved and hated by many
    and forsaken also,yet on his journeys
    Though he suffered greatly,He never forsake us
    Nor did he forsake his father.
    Then came the final day when the true purpose
    of his birth was for all the world to hear and see.
    On a cross with a crown of thorns
    He was nailed between two thieves.
    Jesus gave his life as the final sacrafice
    So that we could be free from sin
    Through his blood. The blood of Jesus Christ.
    Oh..how GOD must have cried that day.
    Samantha Tinney

  59. Walt Wojtanik

    DO YOU HAVE A SISTER?

    A hard working immigrant
    new to America and her ways.
    A great influx of Eastern Europeans
    with the means to make a life.
    In search for a wife, Jozef
    met a family with an eldest daughter
    who caught his eye. A marriage arranged
    and they managed well. A daughter came
    quickly and soon after Tuberculosis
    and the prognosis was not good.
    Widower, father of a four year old
    made a bold move to marry her sister
    who cared for the two of them
    in his wife’s sickness. His second wife,
    spent her life raising her “niece”
    and two children of their own.
    Another branch on my family tree,
    my rapidly uncovered genealogy.

  60. KarenWalcott

    Old King Henry
    What a right royal bastard you were
    You stained the Tudor dynasty, the dynasty
    You worked so hard to protect.
    You were nothing more than a right royal
    Brat. So many people died so that you could
    have your own way. How could you
    Treat your eldest daughter like that? How could you
    Threaten to put her to death unless she publicly
    Avowed her mother as a liar and a whore?
    Do you know the damage you did to that poor, scared woman?
    You bloodied Mary. You didn’t have to kill Anne Boleyn.
    You no longer loved her, but did she have to die so that
    Your next marriage would be free from rumors of bigamy and
    Adultery? Who told you that other people simply existed to be used and discarded
    by you? What of Mary’s mother? Katherine of Aragon was a woman who loved you
    faithfully for over 20 years and you sent her to one dank castle after another until
    her precarious health failed her.
    Did you miss the many friends that you sent to the scaffold?
    Did you miss your friend, Sir Thomas More? Did you miss Cardinal
    Fisher, your mother’s own confessor? I wonder what your parents felt
    When they say your reign from the other side? Your father probably
    Wept for the fortune that you squandered on your sick love of
    Palaces and fine clothing, while your mother probably wept for her
    Kin that you murdered. Really Henry, not even animals kill their
    Own littermates. Were you surprised by how history unfolded?
    Did you weep when your precious son died at fifteen? Did you
    Finally pity Mary when you saw what you had created? Were you
    Proud of Elizabeth? Or were you angry that she didn’t continue the
    Tudor line? Old King Henry, what a right royal bastard you were.

  61. PassionateQuill

    Before your time

    we danced to the warm sounds of the
    Beetles, Monkeys, and Carpenters
    spun from worn vinyl records

    before your time…

    bell bottoms, mini skirts, and hot pants
    swung from our hips, high above
    tawny brown boots laced knee high

    before your time…

    we drank in the fresh night air
    from the back of racing motorcycles
    and in rows at the drive in theater

    before your time…

  62. Mary Mansfield

    Only in the Movies

    Those classic leading men
    Understood a few things
    The younger generation
    Seems to have forgotten,
    The importance of being
    Unapologetically male…
    The cut of his suit just right
    And complete comprehension
    Of the purpose of a belt,
    No piercings or tattoos
    Flaunted for all to see.
    Strong and firmly in control,
    Oozing charm and fedora cool,
    Martini and cigarette in hand,
    With a great appreciation
    For the luscious curves
    Of a real woman.

  63. periwinkle

    EFORE

    September 1935 a quiet wedding
    took place on a large wrap around
    porch, parents and two best friends
    as witnesses. Husband and wife.
    Official.

    Spring 1936 a dark haired baby
    girl, birthed at home, a midwife
    in attendance. Exhausted, weak
    a young mother cradles her baby.
    Smiling.

    December, 1936, another baby
    girl, chubby, brown-eyed cutie.
    Same midwife, same bed, the
    young mother smiles, Proud.
    Worried.

    March, 1937, miscarriage
    January 1938, miscarriage
    July 1938, miscarriage
    October 1938, miscarriage

    Young mother,
    tearful,
    exhausted,
    confused,
    distraught.

    Next two years no
    pregnancies, maybe
    an intervention from
    above. She is stronger
    For Now.

    Fall 1941, another birth,
    a raven- haired baby girl.
    In a hospital, born breech
    Mother never forgets the pain.
    Bitter.

    1942, 1943,
    a miscarriage
    a miscarriage
    no more babies
    the doctor says.
    None.

    1944, two pregnancies
    …two abortions
    Mother’s health
    mental and physical
    Fragile.

    1945, another baby
    girl, blue eyes, chesnut
    brown hair skinny little
    peanut. “I am done,
    NO MORE BABIES!”

    Hysterectomy before she
    leaves the hospital. I was
    the last to be born. I am
    the child that almost wasn’t.
    Fate.

    1. De Jackson

      periwinkle, this is POWERFUL. If it’s autobiographical, I’m so glad for that last stanza. Your words tumbled, pushed into my heart like all those babies. Heartbreaking, and wholly felt. Thank you.

  64. Jane Shlensky

    Antebellum Home on Historic Registry Burns to Ground

    Thursday evening, Hawkins Plantation’s mansion Wellstead was destroyed in a fire that consumed the eighteenth century structure before responders could extinguish the flames.
    A tourist stop for a century, Wellstead drew school groups and history buffs, its rolling lawns and old growth oaks hung with Spanish moss enchanting to all who visited. Originally, the ‘big house’ of Hawkins Plantation, it was home to the William Jefferson Hawkins family, owners of more than two hundred slaves, although no slave cabins exist today at the site. Surviving are three chimneys of original brick which stand like the fingers of a hand pointing to heaven, (from which the domicile surely looks down) marking the spot where this lovely old land mark stood. In recent years, the mansion had served as museum and gift shop. It is believed that the fire began in the canteen, in operation for only one month. A memorial is planned for July 4, during the annual freedom picnic, tickets $4 per person. All proceeds will go to the Historic Preservation Society for their work in reclaiming and reframing the past to educate the future.

  65. Bruce Niedt

    First of all thanks to Maureen Thorson at NaPoWriMo for featuring my blog and Day 4 poem!

    Today’s dual prompt is to write a baseball poem, so combined with Robert’s prompt, it begs a poem about an event in baseball history. This is one of the game’s sadder moments:

    Polo Grounds, August 16, 1920

    As you lay on the ground, Ray,
    on that terrible afternoon,
    blood oozed from your ear.

    Mays had delivered his submarine pitch,
    hurling the muddy, stained baseball
    through the twilight from mound to plate.
    They say you didn’t even see the ball,
    which is why you didn’t move as the pitch
    cut in on you. When Mays heard the crack,
    and the ball squibbed back to him,
    he thought he’d heard the bat, not your skull,
    and he threw to first for the putout.
    You managed to stumble to your feet,
    then collapsed again, and they rushed you
    to the hospital, where you died hours later.
    They all took off their caps for you,
    Ray Chapman, as you passed through
    this game into the next.

    Before you left for the road trip from Cleveland
    to New York, you and your young wife took a look
    at the new house being built for you.
    She was expecting your first child,
    and you told her you would retire soon
    to raise your family, and join the family business.
    If only they had helmets back then,
    you would have had the chance.

  66. traci

    NOT JUST FOR PRETTY
    Feather Beds, pillows
    Early Rise Smiles at breakfast
    Off to work we go
    End of day pleasure seeking
    Fabric cut, sewn – it is a Quilt!

  67. Nimue

    Before Me

    I see her often.
    but never really notice
    how gracefully she conducts
    the business of random things
    around her – people included.
    I hear him often
    but never really notice
    how diligently he goes on
    with routine stuff in life –
    his and ours too alike.
    I find them together
    talking mostly of us,
    other people, other things,
    in the mentioned order
    and I wonder,
    How was it, when parents had
    all time to talk, just about themselves ?
    I wonder, but question not.
    Their smiles, I understand yet not.

  68. Linda Voit

    Before my big entrance

    Exactly 1656 years before I am born,
    Saint Barbara, the patroness of those
    who seek protection from lightening,
    explosives and sudden death,
    is martyred.

    Exactly 343 years before I am born,
    38 colonists from Berkeley Parish, England
    disembark in Virginia
    and give thanks.

    Exactly 81 years before I am born,
    the first edition of the Los Angeles Times
    is published.

    Exactly 44 years before I am born,
    Woodrow Wilson sets sail
    for World War I peace talks
    in Versailles.

    Exactly 25 years before I am born,
    The Dandy Comic is published,
    one of the first to use speech balloons.

    Exactly 17 years before I am born,
    the US Senate, 65 to 7, approves
    US participation
    in the United Nations.

    No surprise then – I like storms and gratitude,
    journalism, publishing, Europe, comics,
    speech bubbles and the United Nations.

    Linda Voit

  69. Michael Grove

    He Made It

    He had climbed
    the highest mountain he could see.
    He rested
    in the shade of an old tree.
    He witnessed
    all the turmoil and great strife.
    He wanted
    love and happiness in life.
    He found it
    when he practiced sacrifice.
    He spoke once
    only after thinking twice.
    He lived in
    a glass house while they threw rocks.
    He never
    closed a door or locked the locks.
    He treated
    everyone so very nice.
    He made it
    to eternal paradise.

    By Michael Grove

  70. cam45237

    The End of the Line
    Some centuries, some scores of years gone by,
    Clan Cameron raged across the Grey Atlantic,
    And settled on the Rocky Coast of Maine,
    Their faces fierce, their bodies bound, their women wild,
    Tartan-clad, indigo-inked ,
    Naked of knee and nether.

    Sons of the Hounds Come Here!
    And Get Blood!
    The Clan Call echoes past the pine woods,
    Blows past Mount Hunger Ridge, past northern peaks,
    And the dark Arcadian forests,
    Out beyond the Bay of Fundy,
    Across the cold and open waters ,
    Past Scotland new and Scotland old.

    And at the end of Time’s cruel spiral,
    The greatest of their granddaughters,
    Sits pale on a tuffet,
    A timid soul, and wan.

  71. emmajordan

    The sepia toned photograph is puzzling
    Girl child standing in a dance pose
    Dressed in tulle and slippers
    She sort of smiles
    Through brown ringlet curls

    She is too tall
    Too large boned
    Her smile is not genuine
    Posed only
    For a camera for mother

    I know who she is
    This girl child
    Just from the face body attitude
    My grandmother stern even then
    Pretending to be a young girl

  72. Margot Suydam

    Past Time

    Far-a-way smack of ball on bat
    the crackling voice on the radio
    no cow bells nor bleacher yells

    just the lull of a Sunday game
    spread wide through the dark
    driving us home to Hoboken

    I dream up those first leg-striped
    boys, who once divided the park
    into diamonds, playing for fathers

    mothers setting early dinner tables
    in one packed row house or another
    their ears always keen to the street.

  73. seingraham

    Boccaccio’s Ghost

    It’s not late, or at least
    Not very—a full harvest
    Moon, in all her peach
    Glory has barely crested
    The horizon—but, as I
    Begin to cruise the smaller
    Passageways up here
    I know he walks with me

    Every evening at some point
    I feel his presence as if,
    Like an old friend, he has
    Just stepped from his house
    And, matching his steps to mine
    Begins to stroll also

    In a tenth century village
    There are many nooks
    And darkened spaces,
    Many spirits for that matter
    But perhaps you only meet
    The one most helpful to you

    I have come here
    With a crisis of faith of sorts
    Oh no—not a religious crisis;
    I long ago learned to let that go
    At least, for the most part

    No, here, to this medieval village
    High atop one of Tuscany’s
    Famed hills, steeped deeply
    In antiquity, and the intoxicating scent
    Of olive groves and Chianti wine vines
    I’ve brought my indecision
    About my creativity

    Toted along like battered baggage
    I have carried these questions
    Everywhere without understanding
    I was waiting for the perfect
    Place to lay my burden down
    Unzip the luggage

    Letting my life questions
    Tumble about freely
    Wondering whether
    I should stay the course,
    Maintain whatever
    Status quo it is I seem
    To have set for myself
    When oft’ I find I am
    Despairing of its ever
    Being the right action for me
    This writing thing I do

    I wasn’t here but several nights
    Before Giovanni Boccaccio
    Began to walk with me,
    At first in companionable silence
    Then, an occasional comment
    About his own doubts
    While writing the Decameron
    He thought he knew in his heart
    It was the right thing to do
    But still, doubts plagued him
    Even unto his death …
    Even then

    I find myself musing about
    This great writer’s uncertainties
    And wonder at them
    With something akin to shock
    How was it he did not know,
    I wonder, how amazing
    His ideas were—were?
    Are …
    Even now

    After a week or so
    of listening to me moan
    Boccaccio is chuckling
    in the dusk
    He knows I will come
    To comprehend;
    I will continue to write
    without ever knowing
    if it is great
    Or even good work
    And that the writing
    is the thing

    He promises me it will
    Not always seem enough
    But ultimately?
    It will be …
    It will.

    S.E.Ingraham©

      1. cam45237

        oops again – I meant to post the above comment by my poem. But then I got caught up in your poem and wanted to tell you how much I love the image of Boccaccio chucklng in the Dust and the whole crisis of faith idea that writers always struggle with. Though maybe I would make it “chianti vines” instead of “chianti wine vines”

    1. PSC in CT

      Ahhh… this is excellent, Sharon! :-) Glad you found “… the perfect place to lay [your] burden down” and happy I was in the room when you “unzip[ped] the luggage”! :-)

      And thanks, cam for pointing me back here to catch it. :-)

  74. Andrea B

    Parade Charade

    “We don’t see things as they are,
    we see them as we are.”
    – Anaïs Nin (1903-1977)

    My parade is full
    of marching bands
    with second hands
    and dusty white
    five finger gloves.

    Megaphones,
    forewarning cones,
    make way behind
    for sirened trucks
    with beguiling whirrs
    and the turnout coats
    upon them.

    Elephant feet fall heavy
    from arthritic knees
    as they travel
    nose to tail
    above pink
    candy clouds.

    My parade is
    a shade of
    May that
    harbors ivory
    showers.

  75. ely the eel

    Treasures

    I have a storage unit that costs a bundle,
    monthly bills higher than the value of the stuff inside.
    Who’s to judge, really?
    Certainly not me.
    One man’s version of “Hoarders”,
    another’s treasure trove.
    There’s that dining room table,
    left over from the life of my granny-in-law.
    No idea how old it is, but we’ve had it for forty years.
    We’ll never use it, but who could part with it?
    There’s stories etched into the legs, tales
    and conversations absorbed by the top,
    truths and lies told around lunch and supper.
    There’s that cabinet, a commode I think it’s called,
    doesn’t go with anything, but it’s not going anywhere soon.
    It sat in someone’s hallway,
    listening to stories, some of them excuses, others alibis.
    Then there’s that big bag of black and white photos.
    My mother took them all, high school friends and army pals,
    And I don’t know a one of them.
    I could regale you with my love for my mother,
    tell you how she died too young, only thirty-eight in ‘58,
    before your time, I’ll bet, most of you.
    Maybe she planned to write on the backs of those photos.
    Maybe she thought she had plenty of time.
    She didn’t.
    Still, I just can’t toss that bag, just look at it every so often.
    No one to give it to, either, but the dumpster doesn’t seem a fit end.
    I can imagine the stories behind those faces, the war and all.
    If they could sing, we’d hear the Andrews Sisters, backed by Glenn Miller.
    Someone besides me will throw all this stuff away,
    Some future semi-star of some sort of reality show.
    They’ll bitch and groan, wonder why anyone would keep such junk.
    Of course they will.
    This will all have been too early for them, before their time.

    1. LCaramanna

      I love this poem – especially your references to the conversations the furniture overheard and the stories behind the faces in the photographs. Garage sales always make me sad because I don’t know how people can discard such pieces of personal history. I am glad your treasures are safely stored.

  76. Sharon

    Grandfather Peralta

    I never knew you, Grandpa.
    Your life ended long before
    my mother met my father,
    yet because of Mom’s fond
    memories of life with you,
    you are as real as anyone
    I’ve ever known.
    I see you herding sheep
    in the high Arizona mountains,
    bringing them into the fold.
    I see you laughing with your children.
    I see you running for sheriff
    and serving faithfully after
    you were elected.

    I see you worn out,
    not with age, but with work,
    struggling to feed your family
    of fourteen children from two dead wives
    killed by time and childbirth,
    cancer
    and hard labor.
    Your legacy is alive though Mom is gone
    and so is the man she married,
    he who was like you,
    hard working,
    hard living,
    hard loving,
    and now
    gone.

  77. posmic

    Before My Time

    Two rocks talked to each other,
    and they didn’t talk about me.
    Instead, they mulled over how to
    smash together, form new worlds,
    maybe decorate them with a stream
    or two, a smear of redbud for color
    each spring. They thought about
    spring, and streams, and maybe
    horses on a hillside. (If they got
    that far.) But I was not in the
    picture nor even in the picture
    of the picture, the grand scheme,
    being at that point still dust
    somewhere, not yet solid,
    not yet worth so much as
    a mention, not even by rocks.

  78. MiskMask

    OLD COOKERY BOOKS NE’R DIE

    I have a cookery book, copyright 1893,
    called Mother Hubbard’s Modern Cupboard,
    and the contents are a giggle to read.
    Learn to butcher and hang old mutton,
    ready when the woolly smell’s long departed.
    Veal it seems can easily go wrong
    and is best reserved for bisques and jelly.
    Pork you’ll learn is good and strong
    but savour the head or belly as favoured.
    There’s geese and duck and pigeon,
    squabs and plovers and chicken,
    pluck and prick and chucked into a pot
    with onions, broth, and vegetables
    maybe the kitchen sink and a chair.
    And the final chapter’s just for miners,
    equipment they’ll need like an iron pot,
    a gridiron, frying pan and something
    called a Poor Man’s Jack,
    to which I simply say
    Yippie-ki-yay.

  79. mlcastejon

    Sepia

    Letting my fingers run on your picture
    my mind flies guessing your thoughts
    living the feelings you had inside
    making the dreams you denied
    until I ended up pitying your loss.

    Your night came before
    you could enjoy any dawn.

  80. zevd2001

    LEAVING HOME*

    I’m here already, now
    things are fine. You wouldn’t believe
    what it’s like . . . electricity everywhere
    you go, and telephones. In the all the stores
    whatever you want. I know what they say

    about Warsaw, but all the cities here
    are like Warsaw. Ah,
    I’m wasting my time with all this
    foolishness. You know what
    I told you at the railway station . . .
    it was enough that they sent me

    to the coal mines. Still,
    how else would I know about Germany,
    someone who had the brightest
    girl in town, and me, a baker that
    carries his pans. Here, from place to place

    all I can think about is you. Tell your father
    not to worry. I haven’t forgotten
    what my father taught me. Even here
    we can live as we do, there. I know that . . .

    this is the time
    for us to leave to build,
    come quickly, come soon.

    Zev Davis

  81. Domino

    Macabre

    I still hear pencils scratching
    in the class I loved, “Macabre
    Lit,” taught by Mr. James Baird.
    Who would have thought our small school
    was big enough to let us
    read the darker side of the
    great names of literature.

    The dusky mysteries un-
    folded before our young minds:
    Mike Hammer and The Maltese
    Falcon and gothic treasures
    like Jane Eyre and Lovecraft’s in-
    tensity and that Never-
    more-raven haunted my dreams.

    Diana Terrill Clark

  82. Katrin

    I wasn’t there
    when my great grandmother
    took her first step,
    her mother and grandmother
    exclaiming in their lilt

    Maybe the he’s were there,
    maybe not, but somehow their
    great great granddaughter
    can still hear it,
    the tiny step on the flagstone
    floor in a modest house in Scotland,
    her earliest footfall on the
    path towards,
    in particular,
    me.

  83. PSC in CT

    Hmmm… recent discovery of “feathered dinosaurs” set my mind to wandering down some odd trails today. Too much on my plate, at present, to write a longer piece, but maybe I’ll pocket that thought for another day.

    For now – it’s haiku time! ;-)

    Former scaly beast
    intriguing feathers appear
    fancy takes to flight

  84. Yolee

    La Tierra de Leyendas (The Land of Legends)

    Papi ran away from home when he was 14. It wasn’t the last time he decided not to return
    to his address. But at 14 he ate guayaba, (guava) mango, jobo (hog plum)
    and quenepas (soapberry) from unsupervised trees. His bed, made of banana leaves,
    had to be gathered every evening upon what became his mountain for 2 weeks in a town
    its people dubbed: La Tierra de Leyendas. Every morning he collected dreams tangled
    on the barbwire fence his father built with words. He would imagine returning home
    to a father who would run to greet his boy like the prodigal son, except the ring
    his father would give him would be made of tobacco stained kisses.
    But Papi’s spirit receded little by little, until he became an orphan with living parents.
    Though he went back his father’s house, he never made it home.

      1. Yolee

        Thank you kindly, Michele.
        Maria Elena, it is Yoly. Thank you for remembering. I tried many times to log on under Yoly but could not. I wasn’t able to play in November’s poem-a-day. I finally opted to register under Yolee. I’ve missed you and the other wonderful poets here and look forward to participating and reading fantastic work here.
        Thank you very much, DeJackson.
        I’m humbled that this is loved. :)

  85. Linda Rhinehart Neas

    Tomato Soup Cake
    For Momma

    Back when metal scraps where
    collected to benefit
    the boys over there,
    during times of leg makeup and seamed stockings,
    as blackout curtains shut in the light,
    and faith shut out the fear,
    my mother learned to economize.

    No eggs – no problem!
    Grabbing a can of tomato soup,
    some flour, soda, raisins,
    stirring in some cinnamon and cloves
    to add a bit of spice to the concoction,
    she would create a treat any
    Yankee doodle sailor would come home to.

  86. Charles Cote

    ALL THAT

    Before my time my parents met
    and how many other pairings
    might have been had they not,
    he a cook and she a nurse,
    that one summer and how many
    other jobs could they have worked?
    And so they met before my time
    and how many others might have
    met that summer, all those others
    that might have paired before
    my time, but she a nurse
    and he a cook and all that
    might have been that summer
    before my time?

  87. Kayla

    Let’s Play Ball!!

    It’ Saturday and she’s out with friends
    tonight. Havung a blast and cheering
    the others on. What a sight!
    Bowling is their choice of venue.
    Ten-pin, nine-pin, five pen. O how
    hard to chose! She now stands
    with her back facing the pins.
    Bowling skills she hardly lacks.
    Oh my gosh! Where’s the ball?
    She slowly turns to see quite
    a sight. As the pins fall..One
    then the next..

    STRIKE!!

      1. Kayla

        Thank you for reading it Ms. Linda! My mom used to always tell me the story of her and her friends going bowling one night…Laughing and just all having a good time above all else.. And so my mom stands at the foot of the lane with the ball in her hand..and what happened with the ball at this time I’m not sure but she ended up bowling a strike backwards!! And the crazy part is is that I could actually see her doing this! :)

        And about the poetry..I’m brand spanking new at this, but, I’m giving it a go! I just turned 30 recently and trying to turn things around in my life so I figured..Why not get in touch with my artistic side?

  88. Sara McNulty

    April 5, 2012 – Day 5
    Write a poem about something before your time

    1941 (shadormas)

    Mom met Dad, subway
    in Brooklyn,
    seat woven
    of cane. Dad in Army duds,
    Mom just seventeen.

    She fell under spell,
    uniform,
    mischievous
    brown eyes, while his gaze rested
    on eyes of emerald.

    They married; he left,
    gone to war.
    Two years stretched
    into five. He fought; she worked.
    Sixty-four years spun.

  89. Jane Beal - sanctuarypoet.net

    FOR MY BABY

    Before God spilled the stars like diamonds
    across the velvet black sky,
    before the sun eclipsed the moon,
    before the sweet-pea flowers grew in the garden of Eden,
    before rain fell in buckets too big for earth,
    before an old man got drunk in his vineyard,
    before no one could understand one another anymore,
    before the princess was barren,
    before the patriarch raised his knife over his son,
    before the trickster met the shepherdess by the well,
    before the mandrake roots and the coat of many colors,
    before dreaming in Egypt, before escape, before the Promised Land,
    before conquests and kings, prophets and traitors
    and the Carpenter-Christ—

    your soul was known by the Maker-of-all-Things
    and swaddled forever in the heart of love.

    Jane Beal

  90. Andrew Kreider

    Joy

    Joy was born in nineteen-fifty-seven,
    beautiful and musical, with raven
    tresses framing dark eyes. Eisenhower
    was president, and science our tower
    against all ills. Except for cancer. When

    they first suspected, the word was spoken
    in hushed tones, even though she was three. Then
    came the tears, the faith, the waning power.
    Joy was born

    too early for a cure. Instead, five men
    with medical degrees put her through ten
    thousand tortures, until that frail flower
    could stand no more. After her loss, the hour
    of my birth was bittersweet. For once again,
    Joy was born.

    1. De Jackson

      Andrew, my daughter’s name is joy (Abigail, which means joy, and then middle name Joy, too, just for good measure)…so this poem held double emotion for me. Absolutely beautiful. And sad, and heartbreaking, and hopeful. Everything a poem should be. Everything yours always, always are. Thank you.

  91. Walt Wojtanik

    MARCH 1876

    Mr. Bell had placed the call,
    but Watson did not answer.
    Alexander called again,
    it never made the transfer.
    He stood at once and marched the floor,
    straight to Mr. Watson’s door.
    Dear Watson’s plight made Alex moan
    it seems that Watson dropped the phone.
    “Forgive me sir, this may sound dumb,
    but alas, it seems that I’m all thumbs!”
    A light bulb flashed in old Bell’s head,
    “I should have thought of this instead!
    I have this telephone all wrong!’
    That rang in Bell’s mind like a gong.
    “This telephone ’til now has vexed me,
    but how do I get someone to text me?”

  92. klittle11

    There was a time, I never knew, although it bred me so;
    My parents felt something called love, a life ahead to go-
    and now it looks like nothingness; or hate, it seems bazaar;
    the years have wedged a space between, and they have fell apart.

    The time they met outside of work, she bummed a cigarette-
    He said she looked so beautiful, her hair all soaking wet.
    The first date at the concert when he stole himself a kiss;
    the howling speakers by their head vehemently remiss.

    The time she met his mother, the day their vows were sworn;
    the trip to California, or the day that I was born.
    It’s hard to see these things as past, as so-called history-
    for now they are all meaningless, at best, forgot with ease;
    I can’t believe they can just let it go, and leave it up to me-
    to find someone I trust to love, if ever, what I’ve seen!

    The fights, the tears, the battleground, the pillow ‘round my head-
    the love they had is final, done; completely gone and dead,
    The memories are in the past, a page in history-
    And with it went my hope of love, a page in his story.

  93. laurie kolp

    Life Without Technology

    Can you imagine life without round-the-clock TV?

    No-
    March Madness
    Golden Globes
    RE-AL-i-ty (crap)
    Or lIve probes

    No-
    MTV
    CNN
    HBO
    ESPN

    Now visualize sports sans the net, fans lacking RPIs.

    No-
    instant replays
    beer ads
    baseball trade-offs
    betting Dads

    No-
    missed games
    FANtasy
    couch potatoes
    obesity

    Have we progressed or digressed with this technology?

    1. Brian Slusher

      Regressed, but I can’t judge too much–I love stuff like FB and Poetic Asides. I guess life’s just different now and it’s hard to take it all in.

  94. MichaelMcLain

    squirrels fly on fattening branches
    of old florida oaks
    full of bullets
    fired from rifles of long dead
    white men
    whose lead struck saplings
    florida sands regurgitate indian pottery
    ignored in the rusting lures and
    broken budweiser diamonds
    somewhere
    a wet sidewalk
    hides a penny made this year

  95. CMcGowan

    The leaves slapped hard

    While men lapped up the water

    given in honor of a fallen comrade.

    Bullets flying, choppers trying

    to evade the brush, kicking up dust.

    Fist up.

    Stop, drop, hide

    inside the Jungle musk

    praying for daylight,

    for the rain to stop,

    for letters to drop.

    Visions of home, showering alone

    hugging their own land

    worked by the hand,

    that now pulls the trigger.

  96. Buddah Moskowitz

    Lenny

    I first met him in his cartoon
    where he plays an emotionally
    distant Lone Ranger
    who ends up taking Tonto
    away for a consensual
    unnatural act.

    I was instantly hooked.

    As he mocked
    the pseudosanctimony of
    Ike’s America,
    I was stuck in
    Reagan’s Movie America
    and he sounded prophetic.

    He wasn’t just telling jokes,
    but trying ideas.

    He peeled back the
    hypocritical
    “what should be”
    to reveal the caustic
    “what is.”

    The popular version is
    that he was a dirty mouth comic
    who just said “cocksucker”
    and lowered the bar
    for generations of vulgarians
    waiting at the Gate (of Horn).

    To me, he was a poet
    with words and sounds
    and bad movie star imitations.

    He was desperate
    for the truth
    and when he gazed upon it,
    he found it painful
    to the point
    of heroin.

    More than a martyr,
    he was an artist,
    trying to tickle out an honest laugh
    and some truth,
    the same way that
    Charlie Parker tried to
    coax something hitherto unknown
    out of the trunk of jazz standards.

    His was an alto saxophone voice,
    alive and demanding,
    bending notes with
    Yiddish rhythm,
    street profanity
    and the tsuris of
    five millenia and
    six million Jews.

    He never tried to do the
    same thing twice
    and I understand
    he was genuinely kind
    and generous to a fault.

    Who else but SuperJew
    would stand up
    and say
    “Have rachmones
    for Adolph Eichmann?”

    Only Jesus Christ
    and Lenny Bruce.

    (Yiddish translation notes: tsuris=suffering, rachmones=compassion)

    1. Brian Slusher

      My favorite stanza:

      His was an alto saxophone voice,
      alive and demanding,
      bending notes with
      Yiddish rhythm,
      street profanity
      and the tsuris of
      five millenia and
      six million Jews.

      I think Ginsberg would have approved of those words.

  97. Anders Bylund

    Hidden Treasures
    =============
    Who put the “bomp” in the surfin’ bird?
    It was an itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny blue moon
    And I’ve never seen Bristol but I know the stomp
    Rocking me to sleep every night
    Scratched from vinyl many times my age
    Found in a closet
    Buried in boxes
    Under piles of moth-chewed dresses
    Not worn for decades.

    The girl, I can’t help it, neither can I
    Still in love with songs I had no business knowing at all.

  98. HannaAnna

    Gothic Soul Trapped

    Under gray, noonday sky I walk
    to the old cathedral
    The only thing standing out against the gray
    is the black we all wear
    The only sound I hear
    is the steady footsteps of the dark figures moving about
    As the clouds begin to weep
    I put my black umbrella over my head
    A mother passes by me on the street
    her dejected child walks two paces behind her
    keeping in step with her ill looking mother
    For a moment I wonder how my mother is doing
    locked away in the attack
    in the attick, where the insane always arrive and remain
    The stone steps move under my feet
    I pause before the cathedral door and look up at the gargoyle just above my head
    as I have so many times before
    But this time it reaches out for me
    its open jaws thunder as they come for me

    The stone has broken away and eaten my life
    but I cannot see the light

    Under the bright, sun washed sky
    I walk to the cathedral
    I’ve made my way there every day
    for hundreds of years
    Surrounded by noise and light and joy
    I envy the souls who are not there
    the ones who have moved on
    and could remember the world the way it was….

    dark, lonely, sedated

  99. ceeess

    I don’t usually post two in a day (other than sometimes on Tuesdays when I can manage to work my brain around two slants on a prompt. This is the one I posted on my Quillfyre blog at http://quillfyre.wordpress.com/ as a combination sports/non-sports metaphor poem that actually fits with today’s PAD Challenge prompt. Only a small stretch of logic to get there…
    Becoming

    Slide into the water, slick, slither
    away from the sides of pool.

    slice the surface and pull down
    against water’s tension, feet

    feathering, propelling forward
    a steady glide of crawl to

    the other side, then touch, turn,
    push off the wall and

    back the way you came.

    Then float, facing the ceiling,
    contemplating weightlessness,

    buoyancy and bounce, the way water
    licks softly at your skin,

    the way skin remembers.

    Carol A. Stephen
    April 5, 2012

  100. lydiacutrer

    “And Obey”

    No toll-free numbers
    No support groups

    Family knew and hushed over
    Surely not the only one

    She took his fists
    Then set his plate
    Daily

  101. Marie Elena

    If you haven’t yet read De Jackson’s “Of Parks, and Buses,” I recommend this great read. Thank you, De, for the inspiration for my piece below. This is a true story of my dad, back in ‘the day. ‘ You know the one … the one I’m thankful to be far removed from … but not far enough, yet.

    Two Navy Gentlemen

    While waiting for the bus,
    you engaged in conversation
    with the gentleman beside you.
    So much in common …
    jazz percussion, daughters,
    service to your country.
    The bus arrived, and you both
    embarked.
    Italian-dark,
    (not dark enough),
    you followed your new friend
    to the far end
    and sat beside him,
    “shootin’ the breeze.”
    It seemed a long time that the bus
    did not budge.
    Feeling the uncomfortable itch
    of eyes,
    you looked up to realize
    all stares
    glares
    were on you.
    The driver advised
    gruff and gritty
    that you move toward the front.
    NOW.
    You apologized
    to the gentleman you’d befriended,
    collected your seaman’s bag,
    and walked to the front.
    The bus jolted mightily,
    throwing you
    hard
    to the floor,
    introducing you to your place
    in this race.

    1. De Jackson

      Oh, Marie. This has brought tears.
      Especially love:
      “Feeling the uncomfortable itch
      of eyes”
      and that last line.

      Thank you for the generous shout out. Your poem was absolutely inspired, yes…by much more than me.

    2. Sheryl

      It took a while for this to click, but it is an homage to your dad that he was so engrossed in conversation with his newfound friend he was not aware of doing anything “wrong.” This is a great job of show, don’t tell.

  102. Sheryl

    Arousing Suspicion

    Granddaddy walked and drove too fast.
    One day the police he had passed.

    That would not have been so bad
    except for the bag that he had.

    He carried it wrapped up tight
    and ran with all of his might.

    He threw that bag into the car;
    Mr. Suspicious would not drive far.

    The policeman’s shout made him jolt.
    “Sir, I will not let you bolt

    anywhere with your prize.
    Your crime you cannot disguise.”

    Granddaddy was then befuddled.
    That officer’s brain must be muddled.

    “Sir, what crime did I commit,
    which has you in such a fit?”

    “We saw you sprint from that house.
    You are a thief, you louse.

    What booty have you bagged
    and from that dwelling dragged?”

    Being honest, as was his habit,
    he said, “It’s only rabbits.”

    “Get out of your car this minute,
    I must see that bag and within it.”

    So, shaking his head at this stop,
    he hoped no bunnies would hop

    as he showed that suspicious man
    the rabbits with which he ran.

    That officer had no retort.
    I would love to see his report.

    Sheryl Kay Oder

    1. Sheryl

      Whoops. Line two should read, “One day a policeman he passed,” and stanza nine, line one should have an I instead of a we. Originally I had pictured more than one policeman. When I changed it, I did not proofread well enough. Obviously, I know only the vaguest details of this old story. I have no idea if there was one officer or two.

  103. Marianv

    Yesterday’s “Five Corners”

    The stoplight is gone from the intersection
    of E. 142 street and Lake Park road.
    Once it was the busiest in the city –
    Busier even than downtown. A streetcar
    Stop on E. 142 street and a bus stop on
    Lake Park Road.
    The streetcars have been gone for years.
    The busses still run, but not very often.

    I remember people running for the street
    Cars. My mother grabbing my hand
    As we raced for the bus. All around us,
    Busy people. People talking, people
    Laughing, people shouting at one another.
    The automatic doors on the grocery store-

    Sliding open, sliding closed. Groups of
    Boys, young men, standing around,
    Joking, getting in the way, sometimes
    An argument. People spilling out ’
    of the taverns, yelling at taxis that
    didn’t stop-

    Always the stoplight blinking red,
    Blinking green. The crowds of people
    Hurrying across the streets. We always
    Looked both ways. Stop then go.
    Sunrise, sunset, bright lights all night
    Long. People still coming, still going-
    Going, going,
    Gone….

    Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.

  104. competitivewriter

    Inspired by a baseball I found embedded in an oak tree

    An audience of oaks

    On this land a farm once sat, surrounded by a wooded lot
    And in the clearing boys would play for an audience of oaks
    Baseball was the game of choice and it was so much more
    Magic happened when they played the world became transformed
    The broad oak leaves became the fans filling stadium seats
    And the boys themselves were strong and tall hall of fame athletes

    There were rivalries among them some had strength and others heart
    There were lopsided victories and some were epic battles
    They played in sun, they played in rain, they into the dark
    They boys grew and fought through the perils of their age
    They brought beers to drink and girls to watch them as they’d play
    And when they’d leave the woods would whisper about the games

    One a particularly crisp September night, a chill ran through the air
    The boys arrived in a solemn march with purpose in their eyes
    Something important was going on and the trees stood
    Silent and alert as the emotional game unfolded

    Through the dust and grass, the final moments came
    Bottom of the ninth, down by one, with a runner on,
    Tommy Day stood at the plate
    On the mound was Douggie Young
    He’d end the night with one more strike
    They stared each other down.

    Douggie got the call and gripped the ball and sent its on its way
    A miracle of math and physics it twisted through the air
    Whizzing with the ferocity of a kamikaze plane
    Tommy held his ground, squeezed his bat, eyes locked the prize
    He bit his lip, dug in his feet, and unleashed a mighty swing
    And unleashed his sorrow, fears, and anger, his entire being
    It sounded like a cannon
    The ball flew like a rocket
    It thudded into branches, but it was long forgotten
    Tommy rounded all the bases and collapsed upon the plate
    And Douggie jumped on top of him as did all the rest
    And the trees applauded the young man’s valiant quest

    That final game lingered there for many years to come
    While the farm fell down and a neighborhood was built
    Children played in the large trees shade unaware of their history
    Until one day I stumbled upon a testament to their legacy

    A baseball fused to the tree itself a bark encrusted souvenir
    The last remaining evidence of the games that were once played here
    I show it to my young son, who marveled at the sight
    And then he ran to get his glove and ball
    Underneath an audience oak trees we played a game of toss
    And it could have been the wind, but I swear I heard the trees’ applause.

  105. cindishipley

    FORTRESS BUILT NEAR WATER

    People know how to read and write, but the camels don’t understand road signs,
    and don’t plan on learning.

    Kuwait, the fortress built near water.

    The camel crosses the new tarmac
    with brightly painted yellow lines.
    The sand makes the land look
    as if it is smoking.
    A commuter bus with the
    brand name Mercedes,
    runs over a clump of fur
    the camel has shed.

    There were camels
    when ancient Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Indian and even the Greeks,
    traded with the Failakan tribes.

    There were camels
    when the Bani Utab established the modern history
    of Kuwait.

    In 1930 with the discovery of huge oil reserves,
    everyone is ready to defend the borders of Kuwait.

    Only the camels understand
    that borders are an illusion.

    Another camel crosses the road
    going wherever he feels like.

  106. De Jackson

    Once Upon a Time
    (a short story)

    Mary, worn.
    Joseph, torn.
    Tired feet.
    Crowded street.
    Full womb.
    No room.
                   Humble, tumbled start.

    Thorned crown.
    Laid down.
    Aching loss.
    Quiet cross.
    Then, soon:
    Empty tomb.
                   Full, forgiven heart.

  107. Jackie Casey

    Romancing the Fig

    In a search for my descendants
    I happened upon the rare site.
    Told the story of Aunt Minnie
    how she gave the family a fright!
    By the old fig tree she did swing
    her face full of bulging-sad eyes.
    She’d stood upon old apple box
    to accomplish her demise.
    Old folks tell tales of Minnie’s end:
    (she’d reason-romantic to die].
    But others know the truth is low
    ‘neath Minnie’s fee lay slimy figs
    all blue-purple, slippery ripe!
    She’d climbed upon the box to pick
    burgeoning fruit, over-head high
    but grabbed the child’s swing as she fell
    thus lassoed her neck all to Hell.
    Aunt Minnie’s past (no lover, alas)
    romancing the figs in the end.

  108. Marjory MT

    TWO THOUSAND YEARS AGO……
    Twelve and one gathered
    in a borrowed upper room,
    at a humble table set to remember
    a promise of two thousands years before.

    Shared wine and bread symbolic
    of events to come,
    the humble washing of others’ feet.
    The sadness of a broken trust.
    A song, a prayer
    a garden walk to watch – to pray – to wait.

    Marching feet, torchlights approaching,
    a quick betrayal kiss.
    In sharp defense an ear is bleed,
    A hand stretched forth to heal.
    Then fear producing flight.

    Angry voices, accusations and lies,
    Spits, abuse, a thorny crown,
    a phony trial, a mob scene wild.
    The sentencing to cruel death,
    faced with silent dignity.

    The rising sun,
    the bearing of a cross to Calvary,
    a trailing mob, taunts and weeping,
    forgiveness to a thief.
    Soldiers gambling for a cloth,
    as darkness comes, a curtain rent.
    One last cry, “It is finished.”

    A sword pierced side, a borrowed tomb.
    Rock rolled to seal what cannot be held.
    Guards stand watch through a Sabbath rest.

    A death offered up for sin,
    The death cannot hold –
    So comes the resurrection –
    The hope of all eternity.

    Then the coming of the morning,
    See His hands and side –
    Cry – He is Risen as He said.

  109. ely the eel

    Penngrove

    Standing almost at the top of Sonoma Mountain,
    the Santa Rosa plain in white-out from the August fog,
    it is easy to imagine the time before the Europeans came,
    before a different type of white-out.

    The peaceful Pomo people, basket makers,
    made not just for function, but for art as well,
    their work now in the Smithsonian,
    amazingly, also in the Kremlin.

    The quiet Miwoks, or simply The People,
    who knew the truth of time and things,
    who buried their artifacts, their “stuff”
    with the dead who had made or found them.

    With the rooftops below obscured by the mist,
    One can imagine these hunter-gatherers,
    bows and clubs in hand, snares at their waist,
    bags of mussels and grasshoppers for a later meal.

    The resilient Wappo, in their homes of leaves, branches, mud,
    living in small groups, extended families, one for all,
    their baskets so perfectly made they’d hold water,
    all their work for community good.

    Winters were mild, game was bountiful, fish plentiful,
    survival not an issue. No mortgage, no outside noises,
    time for family and friends, singing and dancing,
    time to embrace their spirituality, enjoy nature, create art

    As the sun peeks over the mountain, lifting the fog,
    the houses appear, the roads, the cars.
    One can imagine Drake, maybe Magellan,
    the Spanish priests and Russian trappers,
    later, the frightfully greedy immigrants and gold seekers.
    One can grasp the meaning of paradise lost.

  110. Domino

    Anachronist

    An anachronism
    is something
    out of place
    in time.

    An anachronist
    is too.

    Maybe that is why
    I’m driven
    to make
    hand-beaded 15th Century
    German gowns

    or
    Cotehardies with
    buttons up the back that
    would have been worn
    in the 12th Century

    or
    horned-headresses complete
    with embroidered veil
    that could have
    graced
    any 14th Century
    Burgundian
    lady’s
    head

    or
    the corset that
    renders the 16th Century
    Elizabethan gown
    perfectly flat in the front,
    just as it would have been
    done in the
    day.

    Oh, these fads
    and fashions
    were from well
    before my time,
    but that does not keep me
    from utter fascination
    with (and,
    admittedly,
    a little longing for)
    the complex
    methods of
    adornment
    of people
    of
    old.

  111. Monik

    I believe I live in a wrong century and time. things have changed,people no longer rhyme. So I thought I saw a charming knight I’m pretty sure his horse was white. Later on, it turned out we were only centuries apart.

  112. kenia_cris

    The ghost in the farmhouse

    They tell of a ghost who
    occupied my uncle Gerry’s
    old farmhouse.

    There were reports of
    frightening sounds and footsteps
    being heard in the living room late night.

    Uncle Gerry himself
    spotted him once
    on his way to the kitchen

    A slender elderly man with
    little graying hair and tiny eyes.
    They exchanged friendly smiles.

    The ghost,
    my uncle’s only company,
    left the house after he died

    Good old uncle Gerry,
    a slender elderly man with
    little graying hair and tiny eyes.

  113. claudsy

    In The Beginning

    When moss covers your stone walls,
    And days move to the staggered step of age,
    Memories become legend,
    Legend moves to make myth of history.

    Giants walked and played with gods,
    Dwarves forged treasures to grace gods’ palaces.
    Gods fought, jealous foes attacked,
    Gods’ magics did turn, slaying their jester.

    Winged horses, heroes gone,
    Man-eating play things making Earth their home.
    Beware, Mighty Ones, servants
    Who have power to shape the world they own.

    Horses fly, dining on man
    Dwarves burrow deep, hammers ringing against gold,
    Fist held power strangles all,
    Lightning strikes both bearer and those fleeing,

    For those with magic travel,
    Living where whim allows for freedom’s play,
    Caring not for gods’ verdicts,
    But only for personal gain in time.

  114. Joseph Harker

    I’m pretty unreasonably excited about the subject of this poem, I won’t lie.

    In Utero

    Any day now, Elizabeth tells me. This kid
    needs to hurry the fuck up.
    Week thirty-nine, and she is
    taking it like a champ, the last shifts in amniotic sleep

    that send quakes along her belly. She doesn’t know
    if it will be a boy?, girl?, both or neither?, but I said,
    every kid needs a gay uncle and dropped my name in

    for consideration. Laying your palm on the swollen,
    soft satchel of a womb is akin to running it through
    field grass after an April rain: thick soil

    teeming with life under a quiet coverlet,
    whose sudden pulse is sensed in the echo of your own.
    That is an experience: trading warmth and pressure

    with something unnamed and still unknowable.
    Elizabeth is about to have an Aries baby, headstrong,
    horned with fire: an Easter baby, coming in

    like a lilac-choked god (or goddess) of dawn. And I will be
    just a pawn on the periphery, looking in, maybe
    a little bit jealous of how every child emerges bathed in

    mother’s blood. (What deeper connection
    can there be?) Even if I know I’m not yet ready,
    to figure it all out: to find a husband, settle us down,

    waver between adoption and donation, figure out
    whose genes will be passed on, waltz with the law.
    Too many questions, for now. But I’m getting there:

    the next birth, one of a blazing line of epiphanies
    where a curtain splits before your outstretched face.
    What stories will we tell Elizabeth’s daughter (or son)

    after it starts to ask questions? Mine will be
    how I touched that cocoon of sugared meat,
    when its bearer said, here, you can feel it move a bit,

    and how the little mystery inside touched back.
    Deeper, too. With a long rope of thought, full of knots,
    peeling layers of me as I wake it almost into the world.

    1. maxie2

      Very cool images:

      “Laying your palm on the swollen,
      soft satchel of a womb is akin to running it through
      field grass after an April rain: thick soil

      eeming with life under a quiet coverlet,”

  115. Dare

    Something
    ———————

    nothing

    BANG!

    Energy
    Space Time Light
    Gravity

    Particle Atoms Elements
    Planets Oceans Land
    Trees Rivers

    LIFE!

    Us

    Now

  116. De Jackson

    Of Parks, and Buses

    Stubborn girl.

    Just trying to get home
    from work,
    tired feet aching
    sitting where you “should”
    then asked to move
    voice quiet,
           you
    told that driver
                   no
    on a December day
    when the color of your skin
    revealed the content of his
    character.

    Refusing to let
    equality
    justice
    honor
    be displaced,
    you sat down
    with grace
    to stand up
    for what was right.

  117. Iain Douglas Kemp

    Dear Moosehead,
    Ha! That’s my boys!
    Oh yes indeed! Scampering back across
    the Queensboro Bridge went those half-assed
    Mets with their tails between their legs!
    Swing Batter!!! We need some more of that.
    We need a team like the ‘27ers – 110-44!!
    A couple of fellas called Ruth & Gehrig slammed
    107 homers between ‘em not to mention 307 runs!!
    Oh boy! I’d live in peace with every harpy in your crazy
    mixed up family if I could watch a team like that.
    Yessirree Bob!! Rest day for the boys, so I’m workin’
    and basking in the glory of yesteryear and yesterday combined.
    Road game tomorrow – see you at the sports bar at 2.
    Bring money for wings & brewskies…I believe it is your turn, sir!

    Nostalgically yours,
    Ringo the Howler

  118. Wendy Stevens

    Passages

    Where the sun lights the dark
    and chases away the shadows,
    is the place I always share with you.

    Our home upon the sand,
    we sift out the broken pieces
    and collect the fine grains.

    Children’s laughter fills these walls,
    arching over rainbows
    moon jumping with the cows.

    Listen to the echoes and hear the refrain
    through passages among the stones,
    our past lives now our new beginning.

  119. Iain Douglas Kemp

    April 12 1961

    23 days before I entered this world
    a brave young man left it
    the first of his kind
    the first of man-kind
    Yuri Gagarin flew into space
    and returned safely
    to Mother Russia
    to Mother Earth

    I sat in awe
    mouth open eyes wide
    (I still tear up to recall it now)
    I can’t recall exactly the time
    I was 8 years old
    late at night or the early hours
    it matters not
    my father knew how important this moment was
    he knew I’d never forget
    never give up hope
    the hope that began with the words
    “Houston, Tranquility base: The Eagle has landed!”
    We cheered
    we cried
    we danced
    we stared in wonder
    as Neil took the giant leap for mankind
    and now I wonder still
    did Neil and Buzz think about that bright young Cosmonaut?

    Yuri never saw what I saw
    never knew the race he’d started was lost
    He left this world forever
    16 months before that momentous day
    but nevertheless
    thanks to him
    thanks to Neil and Buzz
    and those other brave men and women
    I still have hope
    hope that mankind will overcome its faults
    and once more reach for the stars
    as a planet united in peace
    and love

    Iain

          1. Domino

            Not so strange. Memory is strange sometimes, isn’t it? I’m glad you shared even with the intensity of the memory, and in fact, that probably made the poem that much better.

  120. Walt Wojtanik

    GUANTANAMO BAY

    Without the stigma,
    stationed and docked,
    harboring no ill will,
    a thrill for a young sailor,
    my father in a tropical setting,
    letting his guard
    serve his mates and country.
    In peace time Cuba,
    before the “Beard” reared his head.

  121. De Jackson

    Prairie Girl

            At 8 I ached for horses
            and wagons and peeling barns
            and crickling creeks and double braids
            streaming out behind me
            as I ran barefoot down gentle green hills,
            home to parents named Ma and Pa
            who served all the answers
            with thick homemade bread,
            boysenberry jam and rugged hands.

                                                                 At 42 I still yearn for bare feet
                                                                 and horses and creeks
                                                                 and answers
                                                                 but mostly I’ve learned to
                                                                 adore my own little house,
                                                                 this life stretched out
                                                                                              before me.

  122. Catherine Lee

    “I got a tree on my back and a haint in my house.”
    – from Beloved by Toni Morrison

    I carry a tree on my back
    The trunk is all bone
    Hardened spine crawling
    Up the middle passage
    Of vertebrae cut off
    At the root planted
    Again in strange earth
    To grow again
    Branches made of skin
    Broken and reknit
    Into cruel shapes,
    Twisted lashes of cord
    Strong and stretched
    To touch black leaves
    Too many to count
    Sixty million
    And more

  123. Maria Phoenix

    I WANT SAN FRANSISCO
    I want to glean the beat- dada-post-modern from sloping sidewalks,
    Huff the human smog,
    Smell the lingering reefer mountains from one of Kesey’s wild parties,
    Feel the morning dew fog gather my pores as I strain to see Alcatraz with Asian tourists snapping with their cameras at the stranded sailors entering the bay,
    Take me to the holy typewriter, the holy bar, the holy galleries, the holy purple fire, the holy holy shit clippers waiting before grocery store fronts for harvesters to take them to the wheel in the sky keeps in turning,
    See futhur futhur out west ripping highway one in half with voices of rage and ruin, raising up craving ether, craving madness, raving happiness,
    I want the drugs of your everlasting covenant, AMEN.

  124. Imaginalchemy

    Okay, taking another swing at this…I got to thinking about the concept of Time itself, so I am going way, way back…

    “The Invention of Time; or: The Moment When We All Got into this Mess”

    He came to the others who were building the Universe
    And said,
    I’ve made something truly ingenious!
    It will set all the Universe in order,
    Dispel chaos and randomness,
    Set things on a straight, continuing course,
    Create predictable routines, measure the lengths of lives,
    even predict what may and will happen,
    because it will be a basis for intelligent organisms to record
    what has happened.
    I will call it…Time!

    And the others scoffed and jeered,
    What a ridiculous invention!
    No one will use it, why should they care?
    They know the sun rises and sets,
    They know someday their lives will end.
    Why need to know how long a day is?
    Why need to know when one may die?
    It will give them nothing but neurosis, impatience,
    Anxiety, and fear, waiting for things to happen
    When they could be content just living.
    As for chaos, randomness, and disorder,
    They are silly creatures; give them Time,
    And they will only create more chaos
    By trying to control it.
    Nope, put your silly Time away or dispose of it.

    But the Time Maker, without the others watching,
    Imbedded his creation in the minds
    Of a race of creatures he knew would use it,
    Live by it, set up their entire civilization around it.
    Why us?

    Because he knew we’d be the only beings
    Who had even the faintest hope
    Of programming the clock on a VCR.

  125. Brian Slusher

    REENACTMENT
    Charleston, SC 12/20/10

    Outside the South Carolina Secession Gala,
    how lovely the women are in satins
    and brocades, white-gloved hands securing
    lace shawls, and how elegant the men
    in sober top hats and high snowy collars
    as they parade past the protestors who
    shout, wave yellow signs: SC Suffers
    From The Confederacy of the Mind.

    From the street, I can hear the strains of
    Dixie, and imagine the whirl of hoopskirts,
    the tap of silver-capped canes, the flutter
    of ivory fans. The chaplain of Session
    Camp #4 scowls from a ballroom window,
    wonders why the loud mouths beyond just
    won’t let it go, as a period waltz flows
    through the hall, instead of the rattle of
    actual chains.

  126. RJ Clarken

    Alta’s Story – 1912, A Kyriellongated Poem

    …and it started with a pogrom,
    the State’s ‘get them out now’ program.
    They said, “You are uninvited.
    On this point, we are united.”

    Alta’s family worried for her.
    They knew they would not ‘ignore’ her.
    To think otherwise? Shortsighted.
    “On this point, we are united.”

    Young and pretty, Alta needed
    chaperoning, they conceded,
    if she were to be ‘new-sited.’
    “On this point, we are united.”

    So her family scraped together
    funds to cut her homeland tether.
    “Go with Uncle,” they recited.
    “On this point, we are united.”

    But the uncle was self-seeking.
    Uncle wanted, plainly speaking,
    to get paid to go. (“Delighted!”)
    “On this point,
    he was united.”

    Heading west, through territories
    Alta later told the stories:
    when in London, they alighted,
    on this point, ‘twas not united:

    at her medical inspection,
    she had red eyes, per detection,
    due to lack of sleep. (Benighted..)
    At this point, she’s un-united.

    So they quarantined poor Alta
    (all the way from Minsk…or Yalta?)
    No hope to be expedited.
    At this point, so un-united.

    Then her uncle said, “Too bad, lass,
    but my ticket, which says third class,
    sets sail soon. I won’t be slighted.
    On this point, I am united.”

    “If you end up sick (deported,)
    all my plans will have been thwarted.
    Motivation’s been ignited.
    On this point, I am united.”

    So the uncle? He deserted
    her. He would not be diverted,
    though he should have been indicted.
    On this point, we’re all united.

    Alta spoke no English, poor tyke.
    Can’t imagine what it was like
    to be twelve and lost and blighted.
    On this point, we’re all united.

    But what happened next? Astounding.
    In this foreign land’s surrounding
    Alta’s plight would soon be righted.
    On this point, let’s get united.

    Lady, traveling with a kid,
    in second class, said, “God forbid!
    Sail with us: you’re now invited.
    On this trip, let’s be united.”

    Soon, the Customs fellows cabled
    Alta’s stateside folks and labeled
    her as healthy and all-righted.
    On this point, we are united.

    O’er the Atlantic, Alta cruised.
    Her new world promise not refused,
    as New York’s harbor was sighted.
    On this point, we’re all united.

    Alta’s final destination
    on her trip of immigration
    ended with a hope ignited
    for the future: Reunited.

    ###

    Notes: First – Sorry I haven’t commented much (really busy, not that that’s a great excuse) but I have been reading everyone’s work – and I have to say, your poems are so amazing. (And I’ll try harder to comment in the future.)

    Second, since I’m trying to stick with the Kyrielle form for this challenge, I wanted to use the form here, although it’s probably not quite well suited for a long, serious narrative, which is why I invented the Kyriellongated form.

    Third: The story above is true. Somewhere between 1910-1912, my grandmother’s cousin Alta was sent to live with cousins in America, for her safety, due to the pogroms. Since young girls couldn’t travel alone in those days, she needed an older male relative to travel with, and so they appointed her uncle as her chaperone. This uncle also wanted to get out of the country because he was actually older than the authorities thought – and he was afraid they’d catch up with him sooner or later. The reason for this was that it was customary in the early 1900s to file birth certificates a few years after the birth of boys in order to delay service in the Russian army.

    Unfortunately, the uncle (from what I’ve been told) wasn’t a very nice person. When he and Alta eventually landed in London, her eyes were red (lack of sleep? allergies? who knows..,) and as a precaution, the authorities there quarantined her and put her under observation. The uncle was afraid he’d miss the boat (figuratively as well as literally) if Alta was sent back home due to illness, and so he abandoned her. At the time, she was a young girl of 11 or 12 and she did not speak any English. But nevertheless, the uncle took his ticket and the money – and headed off on the train to the Southampton port, where he caught their ship. He sailed steerage class on a ship to America.

    Just when things looked really bad for Alta, a woman who was returning to the USA, in second class, overheard Alta’s story. She was crossing to back with her child (or children) and since she could speak Russian and English, she told the Customs people to alert Alta’s family in the US to meet them in NYC when their ship docked – and she would take Alta with her as her ward.

    The uncle did make it to the US. So did Alta (in somewhat better accommodations than did her uncle.) Although I never found out why, the family did nothing to the uncle as a punishment for the rotten treatment of his niece, and he never got any come-uppance, which among other (and more personal) reasons, ’til the day she died, my grandmother totally hated this uncle and never forgave him. As it happens, he was her uncle, too.

    1. JanetRuth

      RJ, I empathize with the ‘busy’ thing. I want to sit here and read ALL the poems and comment…My kids want to eat ( hopefully, fresh-baked Easter treats, if I stop reading;) and clothes to wear, preferably clean:)

      I’m so glad I read this. I love this form, have never heard of it before! and oh, this story is to incredible not to share…if only our ancestors would have journal-led their lives , right? sigh, but they couldn’t because they were busy just like we don’t because we are….busy. Thank-you again for sharing this!

    2. Domino

      What a story!! Oh, the glory of genealogy! So many tales that might never be known come out of the woodwork once you begin searching for your relations. Well told, indeed, RJ!!

  127. Arike

    Antwerp central

    King’s hall for a citizen
    Old ghost passing through this station
    Marble arches up four storeys
    In a public building, this city
    Bragged to its inhabitants
    Monarchy and nobility afterthoughts
    In black brocade and lacy froths

    Urban palaces for mastercraftsmen
    The guild houses huddle over the market
    Sometimes it’s good to remember
    Modernity was three centuries old
    Before we first shouted hurrah for a king

  128. HannaAnna

    Rainbow of the 60’s

    Pink poodle skirts and clear Blue skies.
    bright smiles on every face.
    Golden words of the Bible being taught in every school.
    women with Rosy cheeks and men in Black suits.
    neighbors sitting together on clean White porches.
    drinking Yellow lemonade and sharing Peachy advice.

    Where have all the colors gone?

    1. Walt Wojtanik

      Agreed. We provide the color HannaAnna. Just visited your blog. You are going about it the right way. It will not be instantaneous, but your passion for the process will guide you. Do not give up. You possess the “color” internally. Keep working the image and people will buy your “masterpiece”.
      Wear the “rainbow” proudly.

  129. Jane Shlensky

    Uncle Sam’s Saturday Walk

    Each Saturday, when I was small
    Uncle Sam would come to walk
    the home place, Edgewood Farm,
    the last acreage of a once huge tract
    when he was a boy, kept alive
    by my mother and all of us.

    I wonder if he’d have visited her
    or us if it were not for memories
    itching him, sending him back, as
    an old man to seek the ground
    where he was formed by fate
    and family. But he came

    in a linen suit, cream, with a string
    tie and Panama hat, looking
    for the world like Colonel Sanders,
    chickenless, his cane tapping, pointing
    out errors in our weeding, more work
    that needed doing in our over-worked

    lives, while he sat in the orchard
    swing, awaiting his pre-ordered
    lunch. We might have been
    a tavern where he stopped along
    the way for a rest, some unknown
    ragged farm kids working for change.

    But he brought stories every week
    of what our home once was, of himself
    and my grandfather, uncles and aunts,
    of great-grands and wars great and small
    that claimed them, of times before us
    and initials carved into trees in our woods,

    where we carried his binoculars, water,
    and small folding stool, should he need
    a rest. The stories were always the same
    but his aging mind released details
    we had not heard, our questions and doubts
    providing colors to his palette.

    Over there, in fields of corn,
    an Indian village stood, long gone
    before his time, but where pottery
    shards, hatchets, and arrow heads
    were found in piles. Through those
    woods, the paths led to a blacksmith

    and furrier where now Old Robbins
    has his bees. And yes, the cannery
    and orchards were here, but fell apart
    for spite, he said. At lunch he took
    his nap, one eye keeping watch,
    then ordered next week’s fare before

    his drive back to Winston-Salem
    and his gated community. Our mother’s
    stiffness bore her response well enough.
    She tolerated his memory of the past
    because she knew he had loved her
    father and helped her widowed mother.

    She made his lunch, took his orders,
    mumbling, “He’s not the only one
    with memories,” hers in love with
    apple blossom and purple vineyards,
    planted by a father dead in her infancy,
    her past brimming with imagination

    and want and longing, the facts not
    nearly as idyllic as his, with his lost
    loves and easy escapes from farm
    labor, or ours with complicated pasts
    layered into personal histories
    we were just beginning to write.

      1. Jane Shlensky

        Aw, thanks, Marie. Prose writes faster for me than poetry, so narrative poems just seem to come faster. Thanks so much for your kind words.

  130. Walt Wojtanik

    UNCLE FRANK

    I knew him in his later years,
    amidst fears of this craggy old-man
    with the pronounced limp.
    I had no knock against the man,
    even though he tried prodding me into it.
    “Knock on my leg!” he’d harass me,
    and it would embarass me to shy away.
    He’d rap his knuckles against his shin.
    The sound stayed with me.

    Old photographs of my grandmother
    and her siblings emerge and a surge of
    a phantom spasm rose up my right leg.
    Uncle Frank and his dog in frame,
    five legs and a wooden pole.
    Legends find their truth; even in family re-telling.
    Frank always explored the railroad tracks
    that ran behind the house. Against all warning,
    one morning they found a delerious Frank pleading,
    bleeding profusely from his severed appendage.
    On the flatbed of the family truck he was carted,
    as he started begging his father not to punish.
    My great-grandfather asked one question:
    “After disobeying me, will you do it again?”
    A lesson learned at a great price.
    The resounding of knuckles against
    a wooden prostetic was punishment enough.

  131. Janet Rice Carnahan

    OR SO THE STORY GOES

    “You look like her”,
    They all told me,
    Time and time again,
    “And she was never on time.
    She never did things the right way.”
    I didn’t know how I felt about that.
    Comparisons aside,
    My favorite story about her,
    Was how she had two male suitors.
    One was from a wealthy family,
    Dashing and handsome,
    Well turned out as they say,
    He was Italian and charming.
    The other one was a Mexican man,
    Who made enchiladas in a small booth!
    And he didn’t have the best English.
    The family, of course, was desperately trying,
    To choose for her.
    The wealthy Italian’s family,
    Owned lots of property in our home town,
    So if she married him,
    Which they thought made the most sense,
    The family, as a whole, would be better off,
    For generations to come, they reasoned.
    They continued to try to persuade her,
    For a long time,
    Apparently!

    In the end,
    It was her choice,
    And she firmly stood her ground.

    As the story goes,
    She actually stood in his small booth,
    Making enchiladas for the rest of her life,
    Happy, truly happy ever after . . .

    Maybe I took after her after all.

  132. ceeess

    Walt planted a seed in my muse this morning I think! Thanks, Walt!

    The Summer of 1916

    Father was five that May,
    the year grandmother Millicent
    birthed my Aunt Kathleen. Too many
    mouths, not enough money, she signed papers,
    placed her son into the hands of strangers.
    The tag, Barnardo Home Child, would
    follow him over the sea and for years to come.

    In August, Great Uncle Harry stepped in front
    of a subway train in Picadilly Circus Tube station.
    A small article in the London Times, an inquest
    ruling of suicide, temporary insanity
    made permanent when he lay down upon the rails.

    13 airships followed the Thames River to London
    under cover of cloud and mist, 36 explosive
    and 8 incendiary bombs aimed at private houses.
    In September, the Zeppelin shot down over London
    was the first airship destroyed in England.

    A single family’s struggles insignificant
    in the face of the war to end all wars.

    Carol A. Stephen
    April 5, 2012

  133. Beth Rodgers

    I wrote one haiku, and decided the other three stanzas should match, but they all form into one poem:

    Rocky Balboa
    Fighter with a heart of gold
    Giving it his all.

    Michael Corleone
    Gentleman to Kay Adams
    Gangster to the rest.

    Movies with substance
    Satisfying characters
    Extreme enjoyment.

    Wishful thinking that
    More movies of the present
    Would meet those standards.

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      I so agree about the movies and the older standards. “Movies with substance, satisfying characters, extreme enjoyment” makes the experience that much richer indeed!

  134. lady maggie

       
    Throwback Ancient History
       
          Against whom?   All your loves should be compared
          against which holy saint?   Upon whose best
          must all our worst improve?   Each passion’s quest
          must measure up to whose high standard?   Spared
          no mercy by whose precedent?   Declared
          no mercery on whose sayso?   Second-guessed
          by whose presumptions?   By whose litmus test
          selected?   For whom confidences bared?
       
          It’s over!   done with!   settled!   obsolete!
          irrelevant!   before our time!   old news!
          as dead as you’d desired!   deadweight!   deadbeat!
          deadwood!   dead end!   It’s dead!   It’s ended.   Choose
          to live our love in our own day, complete
          in our own moment, free of yester’s views.
       
       

  135. maggzee

    The Battle at Hubbardton Field

    Johnny crouches against a stony wall
    Cold sweat trickles grimly down his spine.
    Soldiers mount the hillside’s grassy mall,
    Relentlessly towards Johnny’s rag-tag line.

    Knuckles grip the musket hard and white
    Now he hears the chaos and the noise
    A terrible thrum in the dim morning light
    Heads for Johnny and his young Green Mountain Boys.

    Then a breeze comes up, so sadly sweet and light
    Strokes his cheek and riffles through his hair
    But now chaos and apocalypse alight
    Johnny chokes back a sob of bleak despair.

    What he yearns for is just one more chance to lie
    Upon his land beneath the starry moonlit sky.

    The farm’s still there, in shadows of the past
    And Johnny’s tale is well and widely known
    There’s a mysterious and sacred plot of grass
    Where Johnny crawled to, dying and alone.

    Light a fire on a cool dark autumn night
    When the moon has both a full and mournful glow
    The flames will hiss and burn unearthly bright
    You’ll hear a voice that murmurs soft and low

    He is near you in the quiet mountainside
    The wind calls in a gentle whispered moan
    On this hillside let the centuries abide
    Tonight sweet Johnny doesn’t die again alone.

    As he came so he will go, and just as soon
    As he lies once more beneath his golden moon.

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      This is so poetically beautiful with great emotion, tenderness and raw clarity. I can so feel Johnny’s moments and see him lying, “beneath his golden moon”. Lovely writing!

  136. Walt Wojtanik

    FEBRUARY 5, 1930

    A daughter born; a daughter torn.
    Life coming and going in an instant.
    One daughter coming into the world;
    my mother born into the “comfort”
    of their hearth and home,
    two doors down from where her grandmother
    had passed away on the same day.
    A sadness unparalleled, a living hell.
    My mother, the infant cleaved to
    my grandmother’s breast in the upper window,
    watching my Great-grandmother’s funeral
    process past them in silence to the church
    up the street. Victory and defeat fleeting.
    A daughter born; a daughter torn.
    Life coming and going in an instant.

    1. Janet Rice Carnahan

      I loved this, Walt, so moving. Also a good reminder that many things “come and go in an instant”! Nice to be back around your writing, wit and warm wisdom! :)

  137. JanetRuth

    Before The Era of Micro-mentality…

    Before micro-waves, dishwashers
    Riding mowers, computers, cell-phones

    Before instant potatoes, rice, oatmeal or pizza
    Before instant anything

    Before gyms to de-stress
    Or talk of fitness

    Before X-box, i-pod, Nintendo
    You-tube, game-boy and 500 TV channels

    There were twenty-four hour days
    Of hard-work…and play

    …and front-porches in the evening
    With families on them

  138. Imaginalchemy

    “Thoughts from the Dodo Bird”

    I never thought my existence to be in peril
    To only be preserved in books by Lewis Carroll

    I had no concern for what I’d leave behind
    Immortality was no desire of mine

    You use my name to call others dumb or silly
    Is that a nice way to be remembered, really?

    But I suppose, at least, in my wake
    You’ve learned you are capable of mistakes

    And while others like me will fade from this scene
    You know now not to eat us all until the plate is clean

    I could not fly, or dance, or talk,
    And how I wish, like other avians, to sing,
    But at least I taught a lesson to a whole species
    that thought they knew everything

    1. Imaginalchemy

      Thank you for the sweet compliment, but unfortunately this is a perfect example of what happens when I rush myself to get an idea out there that isn’t properly formed in my head…this is my pseudo-preachy, PSA-message-spewing side that I hate…I aim to be more subtle, but after posting this thing, I really wish I left it extinct.
      Do you hear me, Poem? I hate you! hate you hate you hate you!! I’ll try again later, maybe, when I can create something better.

      1. Marie Elena

        Seriously? Poetic PSA can get old (IMHO) when it is hate-filled, unimaginative dribble. But this? This is an engaging, entertaining, and skillfully penned. I’m not being patronizing … I’m being 100% sincere. (Hey … another title for yesterday’s prompt… ;) )

      2. ina

        I’m with Marie on this one. This is great. Maybe there’s things you want to change about it, but it doesn’t “read preachy.” It’s a great use of the poor dodo.

        1. Imaginalchemy

          Thank you, I’m glad you like what I write as much as I am loving your work too :D It is my first year here…I started writing a litte on the weekly writing prompts section, but thought I’d try some poetry too. I really appreciate how supportive and encouraging everyone is here (sometimes it’s hard to find that).

    1. Brian Slusher

      You could never be rain, unless it’s a nourishing Spring shower. But I guess siblings may not see the sunshine in their kin, huh? That “splat” was fun for me, anyway.

  139. whatevertheyaint

    FOLLY OF FORBIDDEN FRUIT

    He said she said that a snake said
    to eat it
    Forbidden fruit
    Oh, the folly of listening to inanimate objects
    They say curiousity killed a cat
    But maybe curiosity destroyed us all

    (looks as though EP & I were thinking along similar lines:-)

  140. Earl Parsons

    Long, Long Ago

    Long, long ago
    In a time forgotten
    There lived a man
    The first, some would say
    But, not I
    For I believe
    For some odd reason
    He was just the first
    To have a soul

    Long, long ago
    In a Garden long lost
    Perfection surrounded
    Growing and moving
    A utopia
    Created specifically for
    This man with the first soul

    Long, long ago
    God took notice
    That this man with a soul
    Was, at best, incomplete
    Even though he had so much
    He still longed
    For a mate
    A companion
    Someone to love

    Long, long ago
    God put His finest creation
    His man with a soul
    To sleep
    And removed a rib
    From next to his heart
    Waved His hand
    And created
    An even finer creation

    Long, long ago
    God perfected humankind
    When He created
    Eve

  141. J.lynn Sheridan

    “Canvas coal trousers and a bourbon”

    Holy Petersen what did you think
    with two dead babies upon your
    coal thick trousers, soot apron
    around your neck, two babies
    a sick one a drown one and
    your washerwoman wife
    scrubbing you out
    have you no pride
    or nothing left to
    give to little Alice
    who waited for a smile
    who lived poor and low
    watching those two glass
    bottles
    rocking two blue
    babies between ‘em
    on your coal cold
    lap while you
    awaited death
    without
    thought
    of her.

  142. Nancy Posey

    I don’t usually do much rhymed verse, but this one starting playing in my head this morning. Rough, rough draft:

    Before My Time

    I hear that in this neighborhood,
    right on that corner there once stood
    an oak so big around, I’m told,
    eight people couldn’t reach, so old
    that on its trunk, names of the dead
    were carved and scarred, but now instead
    an empty Super Wal-mart stands.
    That property has long changed hands,
    and the kids are gone who used to climb.
    But that was long before my time.

    That empty building used to hold
    the City Drug Store, so I’m told,
    where old Doc Hudson would dispense
    Asafetida and common sense.
    Folks signed for credit in his book
    for any purchases they took.
    The soda fountain served the town
    the best pimento cheese around,
    and chocolate malts were just a dime.
    But that was long before my time.

    At dusk, the neighbors sat outside
    in porch swings as their children tried
    to fill a dozen Mason jars
    with lightning bugs, while falling stars
    streaked across the dark night sky,
    as in the distance children cry,
    “Here I come! Ready or not!”
    across the street in the vacant lot.
    Now summer nights are spent indoors,
    the only sound’s compressors’ roars,
    when once the church bells would have chimed.
    But that was long before my time.

    Clocks won’t stand still, the years fly by
    and yet, no matter how we try
    to capture magic, seize the day,
    the life we cherish goes away.
    We wouldn’t stop time if we could,
    but still I think perhaps I should
    pay close attention to small pleasures
    and judge my life by truer measures,
    still reveling while in my prime,
    and not grow old before my time.

    1. JanetRuth

      This is FANTASTIC!!! Full of wisdom and so many great lines! We were thinking along the same lines this morning;) Ironically, I usually DO rhyme 99% of the time but this morning I did not…

  143. Mystical-Poet

    BALAVOUR’S VOYAGE
    ( A Shadorma Tale )

    Neptune’s realm
    tested his mettle
    sea-spray lashed
    exposed skin
    a water demons bullwhip
    snapped at his bronzed face

    Balavour’s
    Bimini journey
    Obeah’s
    spirit-world
    Little Harbour pilgrimage
    Abaco Islands

    Coopers Town
    smugglers paradise
    deserted
    coves and cays
    sugarcane was plentiful
    life was hard and short

    Balavour’s
    magical cargo
    exotic
    collection
    Saint Vincent “Land of the Blessed”
    exquisite seashells

    time and rum
    kept life in motion
    quiet beach
    sea snail pace
    powerful shaman hidden
    prized Oanga bags

    angry skies
    threatened final leg
    fast moving
    thunder-squall
    overtook humble vessel
    nipping at the keel

    howling wind
    horizontal rain
    dictated
    common sense
    fury of the elements
    life versus death match

    windblown trail
    into new country
    remain calm
    time to drink
    special herb tinctured spiced rum
    Obeah’s payment

    cliff size swells
    hand crafted schooner
    assaulted
    exhausted
    franticly seeking shelter
    overgrown lagoon

    arrowroot
    Oanga’s contents
    candle wax
    special bones
    conus cedonulli shells
    novelty items

    run aground
    precious cargo saved
    destiny
    asylum
    arrival at Biscayne Bay
    ancient Florida

    ~ Randy Bell ~

  144. Hannah

    ~TURNING TIDES~

    Oceans trip gracefully,
    the rocky shoreline,
    breathing heavily upon
    stretched white beach.
    Soft, its sand extends
    to where we meet,
    toes and soles
    immersed deeply,
    towels wound warmly
    around, damp salty bodies;
    briny drips slip silently,
    from locks of golden-lit hair.
    Threads of faded stitchery,
    blue and white checked gingham
    glows increasingly brighter,
    beneath first rays of sun.
    A wooden lidded, basket
    holds the contents of lunch,
    opening reveals
    nutritious homemade
    grain bursting breads,
    shining red apples,
    a bit of pungent cheese
    and some hard-boiled eggs
    from the chickens in their yard.
    Our food-fare
    is one of the things,
    that has radically changed
    with time, for some.
    A prepackaged age,
    cellophane litters
    the grieving land;
    preservatives, pesticides,
    and unnatural ingredients,
    riddle our aching innards
    meant for healthful rations.
    Even when we try to pack
    our baskets mindfully
    morphed genetically,
    modified foods
    eek their way in to our lives.
    But I can feel
    the tide is turning,
    I can see it in the eyes
    of well-meaning farmers,
    local growers, gathering seeds.

    ©H.G. @ P.A. 4/5/12

    1. Imaginalchemy

      I hope you are right (that maybe there will be stronger efforts to return to un-modified crops and no more genetic meddling). You paint a very lovely picture of a perfect picnic, which does seem like a nostalgic scene (I don’t see anyone picnicking in parks or in forest preserves anymore). Well done!

    2. SharieO

      A tribute to real nourishment with real food. The current state of affairs is nothing short of blasphemy, imho. I’ve tried for over two and half decades to live the first part of the story you tell…and to share that with others when I could. Thank you for letting others know what is at risk in such a lovely way.

    3. Hannah

      I apologize for my tardy return in receiving these well-thought-out, heart-felt comments, Imaginealchemy, Marie, SharieO and Janet. I really appreciate you all!

      Wish I’d have had more time yesterday to read and enjoy, comment on others poems.

      So grateful for a new day to do both!

  145. Jannelee

    MY MOTHER

    Wearlily she places her hand upon her rounding tummy
    what foolishness convinced her this would work
    there was too much distance between them
    too many hurtful, harsh words flung in moments of heat
    the baby moves away from her probing hands
    perhaps sensing her misery
    she had been too young to marry, anyone could see that
    now she was saddled with one child and another on the way
    there had been a chance, but momma scolded her
    a husband and child made you responsible
    too responsible to turn your back and run away
    but she had wanted to go, to be anywhere but here
    she didn’t want this child that burdened her body
    a husband worn thin from hard work
    dust and heat that clogged her brain
    they had told her another child would heal the wounds
    wounds they had inflicted on one another
    marriage was a holy bond, not to be broken
    but she longed for another life, any life
    where she would be young and free
    free of cattle, children, dust and heat
    and most of all a husband she didn’t love
    but she would stay until the baby was born
    Then she would leave us
    my brother, my father and me

  146. Michele Brenton

    What-was is what-should-be.

    In the Khasi hills in Shillong
    greenlands wetlands warm lands all
    tiger traps and ayahs warning
    monkey pets and snakes coiled sleeping
    blue-eyed blond-haired little sister
    red-haired brother full of mischief
    tiny humans all potential
    living in the now of then-time
    playing in the sun of what-was
    many choices yet untaken.

    Came Tibetans seeking someone
    someone to be Dali Lama
    red-haired brother solemn quiet
    blue-eyed sister watching waiting
    as the adults talked and firmly
    sent the seekers searching elsewhere
    and the children back to playing
    in the safety of their then-time
    in the sunshine of what-should-be
    where no choice can be mistaken.

    Note: In the 1940s my Mum & her brother were living in India with their missionary parents in the Khasi hills and my grandparents were asked to send their little boy (my uncle) to undergo the ‘tests’ as he was one of the chosen potential Dali Lama candidates. They declined on his behalf.

    1. Nickie

      Beutiful rhythm here…. and the imagery has an earthy, almost visceral quality about it.

      “…greenlands wetlands warm lands all
      tiger traps and ayahs warning
      monkey pets and snakes coiled sleeping …”

  147. Kevin DeRossett

    He’s Not so Bad

    Before my time with the judge
    I figured he’d be A-hole
    Lot of a stupid or boring or pointless
    Waste of my time.
    The girl’d been with us for two years
    And his signature did not
    Make her my daughter.
    But when he said,
    “I must say. She looks an awful lot
    Like her mother.”
    Well, he A-hole lot nicer
    Than I figured he’d be.

  148. Kevin DeRossett

    Bildungsroman Poem

    Before my time really started counting
    after I was here but before I knew it
    both grandfathers left me.
    My father was a wife-whipped man
    And with no other men
    Around me I just wasn’t sure how to grow
    Up to be a man like I wanted to be
    So I figured it out on my own like so many others
    Have done for ages and ages since
    Way before my time.

  149. barbara_y

    The Question She Expected Comes at Last

    Your grandmother 
    lived on Boscobel Street
    and wore her hair in a Gibson swirl
    and gossiped a storm with girlfriends at tea.
    Her daughter smoked cigarettes,
    danced at the club, met an airman,
    who helped to make you.
    Why should they frown over me?

    1. just Lynne

      well I think I understand this. great visuals. i had to read it a few times times to figure out who “me” and “you” are though. if you forgive me, i’ll explain it quick to Marie, at least the way I understand it, in case you don’t reappear on this page.

      Marie, in the poem the boyfriend/husband? is addressing his girlfriend/wife. He talks about the somewhat illicit behavior of her grandma and mother – gossiping, cigarettes, dancing at the club, being carefree. And he asks, in a bit of anger maybe, why then would They judge Me? She had expected this question for a while, finally it comes.

  150. Jerry Walraven

    “For PKP and Connie Peters”
    –This one is your collective fault :)

    Events ripple
    in the pool of time
    with waves
    reaching into the past.
    The birth of a child,
    some time in the future
    reaches
    back
    telling the father
    to hold on.
    This is worth living for

  151. Connie Peters

    Fragile

    In 1622
    Jamestown Massacre
    Samuel Maycock and his wife
    hid their infant daughter Sarah.
    She survived.

    In 1779
    Martha Reed, her brother and friends
    were on their way to pick berries.
    Her brother shot, her friend tomahawked,
    she outran her pursuer.

    During WWII
    James Shannon
    was wounded
    in the head by shrapnel.
    He lived.

    All my ancestors.
    It’s funny to think
    about how many times
    one nearly never
    existed.

  152. Jerry Walraven

    “Moanin'”
    — 1958, by Art Blakey and the Jazz Messengers

    Time is not
    a perfect fluid
    flowing at a
    c o n s t a n t
    rate, in a
    c o n s t a n t
    state.
    Scenes from my life-
    snapshots-
    seem out of stream,
    some exisiting
    before my time
    and some
    after,
    while
    jazz recordings
    from before my birth
    seem to exist
    only today.
    For me.
    For now.

  153. just Lynne

    I wonder what thoughts
    were spinning through her mind
    as she stepped off the boat
    to see her man
    far away in this foreign land
    they called America

    I wonder what she thought of this place
    quaint wooden shoes and tulip fields
    were less strange to her
    the turning of a windmill’s hands
    in an autumn breeze
    lush green grasses
    with silvery canals
    weaving across them like combs

    I imagine her clasping my great-great-grandfather’s
    shoulders
    so glad to feel the ridges of
    those shoulder blades
    they still felt like home to her
    in this strange place

    and then I imagine the startled look
    on her face
    when they roughly informed her
    you aren’t welcome here
    we don’t have a place for you
    unless you decide to marry him
    today

    otherwise it’s back on that boat
    to your mother
    is that
    what you want?

    I imagine her looking searchingly
    in his eyes
    do I know him well enough
    to say yes?
    am I ready to make my boyfriend
    my husband
    just now, right now
    or all might be lost

    I don’t know how she decided
    but I know she said yes
    which meant a journey to New York state
    meant building a farm
    raising her two daughters
    who would live like sisters
    and birth children including
    my grandmother

    she said yes
    so I am here
    she left her home
    of tulips and windmills
    and decided to live
    in this foreign air
    I hope she didn’t regret it

    1. Ber

      Beautiful and lovely all together you can imagine her journey of leaving home and starting a new life. We always wonder how they must of felt leaving their loved ones behind.

  154. PKP

    early

    I know a doctor for that
    said the kind woman in Hat
    For what? asked the mum
    “well she’s so small. Come now come.”
    “Ten months old’s all she be
    As in circles the trike she rode certainly
    “Oh you don’t say” stammered Lip under Hat
    ” Can you imagine?” said she and left
    behind an odd look and a tut-tutted head pat

  155. PKP

    in The Land of Before the girl rose from the flattened pallet and walked, bare feet on sharded cobblestone to and through the hanging garden gate into fields of lightly stroked by fingered dawn as she ran through dew chilled ever fields toward the lifted brightening of her shimmered Now horizon.

    1. Ber

      This reminds me of the film the village the young girl is looking for her way out of the forest she can not see but can feel the light on her face it helps her find her way out of the woods

    2. PKP

      Janet… Thought I read a lovely comment here from you…have been finding it impossible to comment…and now finally when I can your comment has vanished. Thanks for stopping by :)

  156. Walt Wojtanik

    FIRST MOBILE PHONE

    It always bothered me, even as a kid.
    They hid it well, but it fell between the cracks
    and the story goes back to when
    I was old enough to not know yet.
    I’ll bet it was sad, I just don’t remember.

    Along the baseboard, in the corner of our front room,
    a brown phenol box; a telephone connection.
    The wall phone hung in the kitchen;
    I was too young to make that dissection.
    The story, as legend. The truth in the re-telling.

    My grandmother had died. I was two
    but I do not recall her fall from life.
    She laid in repose in her burial clothes
    in that same corner of the room.
    The first condolence call became the last.

    It startled and angered. It frustrated and cajoled
    nervous laughter. And after my grandfather
    ripped the contraption from its moorings,
    the mourning went off without a hitch.
    Our traveling telephone never returned to that corner.

  157. PKP

    People surely laughed

    In the “olden days”
    said the wide eyed child
    still certain that time began
    with her
    In the “olden days”
    asked the wide eyed child
    staring at the albumed evidence
    page after page of them
    posed on kicked-up-heeled
    abandon, her own grandmother
    lifting a bare leg
    head back swallowing the sun
    not missing her at all

  158. PKP

    Before

    She played handball
    Tall skinny and hard
    Against the schoolyard wall
    He watched leaning, cigarette
    Dangling from slightly sneered
    Lips
    It was summer
    Hot
    And they went
    To the beach
    Alone

      1. PKP

        Been trying to reply for two hours…now on IPAD … finally can… Strange….
        At any rate Brian…..

        Later
        They played handball on their bare apartment walls
        New gold rings catching the light from undressed windows
        And every once in a while they’d collapse in meaningful gales of giggles
        Reminding each other of a certain scene on the shore
        From Here to Eternity

      1. PKP

        Hi Benjamin… You inspire me to push on to reach beyond your ” kind of liking the dangle effect” to actually liking it. Lol. Thanks for stopping and commenting :)

  159. Walt Wojtanik

    TRUCK DRIVER

    Handsome as the day is long,
    a strong jaw and a scowl
    that made women howl.
    Delivering goods all day.
    Delivering the goods when the spirit moved him.
    And did it ever move him!
    A swivel at the hip
    and a lip that curled and twitched,
    a hitch in his giddy-up
    and a sound that was “All Shook Up”.
    Gold lame never looked lame
    when you came to rock.
    Your collar drawn in all that gilding,
    “Ladies and Gentlemen, the King
    has entered the building!”

  160. PowerUnit

    GROK HAPPY

    Kill
    Good
    Happy
    Skin
    Blood
    Good
    Leaves
    Bugs

    Meat
    Tough
    Woman
    Good
    Earn
    Eat
    Fat
    Yum

    Fire
    Good
    Liver
    Yum
    Grok
    Hard
    Woman
    Sleep

    Skin
    Brrr
    String
    Wood
    Stretch
    Beat
    Sing
    Smoke

    Clan happy
    Grok happy

  161. SharieO

    Once upon a time
    I had a baby brother
    I was a big sister too
    For just a little while
    Though I didn’t know it
    ‘Til it was all over

    This is not a mere story
    I saw it with my own eyes
    My four year old searching eyes
    That watched them place
    A small box into the ground
    With my born-too-early brother in it

      1. whatevertheyaint

        I think writing it from that perspective, of when you were four, is what makes it so touching. I would’ve had an older sibling but my mother lost one a year before me as well, thus making me an only child. Always wondered what it would be like to have an older sister. I agree with Miss Marie, this is simply written but holds such a powerful impact, it resonates with the reader long after.

  162. uneven steven

    Not an urn or homer

    but still
    before my time,
    the red headed
    beehive hair
    high school
    hottie
    and the flat top
    smirking
    boy
    look happy
    in their photograph.
    We had just assumed
    it was normal,
    parents going gray,
    a bit worn,
    like the before and after
    portraits of presidents
    until after the move
    south,
    shorts and visors
    waving away our concerns,
    each with an arm
    sticking out the door
    of a golfcart
    speeding away
    into the sunset –
    their favorite homemade
    christmas card
    greeting.

    1. SharieO

      Raised in Central Florida, this paints a familiar picture. Saw lots of gray, visored heads, shorts, and sandals with socks zooming past on golf carts. Actually, I miss it a lot. ;)

  163. Rachel Foster

    Omaha

    I look down, and all I see is red.
    It was not supposed to be this way.
    “Please, please don’t go”, she said,
    “I love you so much, I can’t lose you.”
    “I’ll be back”, I swear.

    I look down, and all I see is red.

    My legs are wet.
    Even as I blink, the sand is determined to stay.
    I look around, heart heavy with regret.
    Death is everywhere; Oh no, platoon two.
    My ears are deaf, I do not hear the shout, “clear!”

    I look down, and all I see is red.
    My legs are wet.

  164. maxie2

    WRITING MEMOIRS

    like little jenga bricks,
    i stacked the contents
    of my life in a vertical
    tower:
    journal of sorrow,
    upon diary of hope.

    i set my heart to task
    and watched while the cursor
    blinked, leading my past
    into neat lines of prose.

    memories slipped
    out of order,
    rearranging themselves
    in a chronology
    that only made sense
    if i was never alive.

    more glorious was my tale
    more laudable my achievements
    more fiction entered my truth
    and remembering
    was like sifting sand through
    an open palm.

    i edited the caricature
    and allowed dust to handle
    the printed pages,
    but when the truth
    reassembled itself,
    the cure for my dishonesty
    expired before my time.

    1. Marie Elena

      Wow. This whole piece comes from a place of creativity. Nice! Especially like this:

      memories slipped
      out of order,
      rearranging themselves
      in a chronology
      that only made sense
      if i was never alive.

  165. Walt Wojtanik

    SATTLER’S (998)

    Say “998″ in Buffalo
    and all the old-timers knew where to go
    for the bargains great and small,
    narrow, wide and short and tall.
    In the Broadway neighborhood,
    back in the day when times were good,
    there “Sattler’s” stood in all its glory
    with these great deals on every story.
    Take your car and go and park it,
    across the street at the Broadway market

    As department stores go, a great one,
    unfortunately, a LATE and great one,
    where mothers took the kids for clothes
    her pots and pans, and panty hose,
    some tools for dad, and grandpa’s pipe
    and something for sister, so she won’t gripe.
    School supplies, electric trains,
    canning jars and cans of paint.
    “Sattler’s” was the place you’d venture
    for the cream to hold your denture.

    But, a mighty wrecking ball
    had made this wonder take a fall,
    and sink into obscurity
    for some profitability.
    So all we’re left with are the dreams,
    of rubber boots and butter creams.
    For “998″ had gone away,
    replaced there by the big red “K”
    And makes me long for yesterday.

  166. Ber

    The Dark Knight

    I hear the sound of footsteps
    No one is behind me
    The whistling of the wind
    Tares branches from the trees

    Water flows by me
    As i walk along this lonely pathway
    Something runs past me
    Phew ! its only a black cat

    Maybe it will bring me good luck
    I think to myself
    As i look across the field
    I’m amazed at the beauty beneath it

    The hills almost hit the sky
    The sand is piled high
    grass grows over the dirt underneath
    the ends of it look like a large wreath

    The tales are told of a man coming from this place
    He rides the black horse over the river
    When he comes with his cry
    This is something you wont want to hear

    But have i ever seen him no not i
    Would i ever want to
    I wouldnt i reply
    So i wonder in amazement

    At this pile of hills touching the midnight sky
    The man of the night whips his wild horse with delight
    He throws himself back as he whips the horses back
    His long black coat pulls along over the river tracks

    I look to the river its calm and its quiet
    Not a whisper or noise
    The horseman has lost his fight
    He is resting for now
    But someday somehow
    He will wake up again
    And wonder along the hills up high

  167. Walt Wojtanik

    LIVERPOOL

    Long before long haired invaders,
    a city feted as the home of her wonder.
    Preparations were in motion
    for this pristine ocean liner; the biggest,
    fastest vessel — a colossus of navigation.
    Nations around the world provided her
    manifest, and sailing West would
    give her direction. Her maiden voyage.
    Out of Liverpool she had her origin.
    Being labeled unsinkable was
    a TITANIC mistake!

  168. Walt Wojtanik

    JOSEPH

    What a time to be alive!
    The world was at peace,
    The next great war to end all war
    was seven years in the can.
    Tour of duty returns you to the beauty
    who had waited and you had celebrated
    your union in style and while
    you anticipated the birth of your first,
    the worst that could happen was
    the furthest from your mind.
    And you find that the process was tougher
    than you thought it would be. Toxemia
    was your struggle. He tried
    to ease your suffering by buffering
    his nerves with libations and all elation
    comes to a screeching halt when
    Irene and Walt would be told that
    their newborn son never made it
    past the first hours of life.Newlywed
    husband and heartbroken wife were left to bury
    the Joseph they never got to know.

    1. Marie Elena

      Along with your auburn muse, your family connection always brings out extraordinary poetry from you. Always admire how you (seemingly effortlessly) throw internal rhyme into your poetry mix, without drawing attention to it, or jolting the reader from poignancy.

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