Blueberries for Reina

Photo by andrew welch on Unsplash

Blueberries for Reina

I’ve never eaten a blueberry. I confess I didn’t follow my grandma’s golden rule; don’t knock it till you’ve tried it. They look vile and undignified; like grapes that didn’t quite grape correctly. But my grandbaby is housing those things like they’re nature’s candy, leaving blue and violet streaks everywhere; a little Rembrandt. Every so often, she offers me one with compelling questions of “Uhn? Uhn?” hanging beneath our sun-streaked skylit afternoon. I politely sing, “No thank you!” which always gets a giggle from her before she crams nature’s mess artlessly into her tiny face. She’s more blueberry than toddler now. Maybe I should try one next time she offers.

sea of blue and green
bird chatter and child’s laughter
we breathe together

***

Reina, destroyer of blueberries, all cleaned up now, focused hard on play. (Image by author, used with permission.)

Day 26: Sculpting You

Image by Nadine Doerlé from Pixabay 

Sculpting You

I run my hands across your marble,
molding you into a goddess to worship,
cupping your curves in a familiar pattern;

suddenly, through repetition,
derivation of muscle-memory
we both know the way your lines end,

so I blend charcoal
and the ashes of Nefertari
to color your purity,

but your smile tells me
that the sun has shined for both
the old and new goddesses;
divine birth and rebirth;
unblemished, and golden-kissed.

You whisper the mantra
already breathed into life countless times
before, by you and then I, folded,
and then refolded upon we
and suddenly, I am unfit to carry on.

Your familiarity reaches out
beyond the common monolithic
colorless slab as if to say,

“I know you know. We are
already well-acquainted. But
will you start again, anyway?”

I smile to myself,
molding your rounded flesh,
flexing densely-knotted muscle fibers
into a slightly different direction,
knowing that you already know
that I will.
***

NaPoWriMo Day 26: Today’s prompt:

And now for our prompt (optional, as always). This is one that we’ve used before, but one test of a  good prompt is that you can come back to it! For this prompt, you will need to fill out, in five minutes or less, the following “Almanac Questionnaire.” Then, use your responses as to basis for a poem.

I tinkered with this prompt for about thirty minutes after answering the questionnaire (My answers listed below) before completely abandoning the prompt. The prompt itself is fine, but I began to experience Deja-vu, as if I were just retreading old thoughts, writing the same themes, and feeling rather stagnant and unoriginal.

At that point, I stopped, and gave myself permission to start again, independent of the prompt. The result still feels like themes I’ve covered before, but it also gave me an unbound sense of expression, so I went with it.

Maybe I’ll return another day to tinker with my answers to the Almanac Questionnaire.

Almanac Questionnaire

Weather: overcast, calm
Flora: evergreen, fir, new green, apple blossoms
Architecture: twenty-first century modern residence
Customs: America first, hoard the most nuts
Mammals/reptiles/fish: deer, bunnies, coyotes
Childhood dream: play halfback for the Bears
Found on the Street: nothing substantial
Export: thoughts, prayers, comedy
Graffiti: none
Lover: strong, confident, vulnerable
Conspiracy: only a genius could fake such stupidity
Dress: aggressively casual
Hometown memory: Bulls winning the 91 NBA Championship
Notable person: Kendrick Lamar
Outside your window, you find: air and water
Today’s news headline: tedious and depressing, as usual
Scrap from a letter: “You will not have this day…” (Seriously, Who has written a letter recently? I went with Chancellor Gowron’s last words after Worf, son of Mogh killed him in one-on-one armed combat during the penultimate episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Yes, I’m a nerd.)
Animal from a myth: Pegasus
Story read to children at night: Go the Fuck to Sleep
You walk three minutes down an alley and you find: the scene of my mugging
You walk to the border and hear: slander, hearsay, and tribalism
What you fear: spiders, exotic insects, tribalism
Picture on your city’s postcard: A curtain being drawn beyond the Magnificent Mile, revealing the quiet suffering of its forgotten citizens. 

Day 12: Blue Snow (For Brooklyn)

(U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Jeffry A. Willadsen/Released)

Blue Snow (For Brooklyn)

Like petals falling from our view
Your loss now added to our snow
Compassion bright as any blue
Like petals falling from our view
Our spring, a timeless deja-vu
We wait our turns to fall below
Like petals falling from our view
Your loss now added to our snow
***

NaPoWriMo Day 12: The Triolet:

For today’s prompt (optional, as always), I’d like to challenge you to write a triolet. These eight-line poems involve repeating lines and a tight rhyme scheme. The repetitions and rhymes can lend themselves to humorous poems, as well as to poems expressing dramatic or sorrowful moods. And sometimes the repetitions can be used in deceptive ways, by splitting the words in a given line into different sentences, and making subtle changes, as in this powerful triolet by Sandra McPherson.

Years ago, I was addicted to writing triolets, so this was a welcome blast from the past.

It was also a good way to honor the passing of a shipmate I served with on the USS Ingraham from 95 until 98. Ronnell “Brooklyn” Warren passed away on March 30. Dude had a photographic memory and knew my full name, date-of-birth, birthplace, and social security number even twenty years later, which should’ve been somewhat alarming, but he was just so damned kind-hearted, and it reflected well upon his character that it never even occurred to him to use his superpowers for nefarious means.

Quite frankly, Ronnie was the kindest, sweetest man I have even known. He was also a poet with an optimistic voice.

He always had a kind word for everyone. He was one of the few people in my life whose positive attitude made me want to step-up and just be better to get on his level. Hell, I think he loved the 90’s Chicago Bulls more than I did! I heard that he went quickly and unexpectedly, from a heart attack, but I don’t know the details.

It made me think about how we will all soon be parting from one another.

I’ve never dealt with this type of loss well; I tend to stuff it down where the feelings can’t hurt me anymore. And though we hadn’t spoken or kept in touch since our ship’s decommissioning ceremony, this is a most unkind cut that will take some time to stuff down.

Ron, your passing over was most unwelcome news. I’ll drink one for you. We have the watch, shipmate.

Day 10: Divine Healing

Image by Sanna Jågas from Pixabay 

Divine Healing

Gnosis
absorb, consume
breathe, inhale, know

Osmosis
residual perfume
unsheathed, impaled, flow

Symbiosis
mutual bloom
conceived, prevailed, nouveau

Wholeness
reverbing womb
perceived, unveiled, outgrow
***

R.I.P. Bill Withers

NaPoWriMo Day 10: The Challenge; the hay(na)ku):

Today’s prompt (optional, as always) is another one from the archives, first suggested to us by long-time Na/GloPoWriMo participant Vince Gotera. It’s the hay(na)ku). Created by the poet Eileen Tabios and named by Vince, the hay(na)ku is a variant on the haiku. A hay(na)ku consists of a three-line stanza, where the first line has one word, the second line has two words, and the third line has three words. You can write just one, or chain several together into a longer poem. For example, you could write a hay(na)ku sonnet, like the one that Vince himself wrote back during NaPoWriMo 2012!

This one was fun to tinker with. I could use a good breather micropoem prompt emphasizing brevity, but still, for some reason, I tend to overthink things. We could all use a breather from overthinking and licking our wounds that come from the isolation, fear, and unfathomable loss stemming from this COVID-19 pandemic. I’ve tried creating mostly escapist poetry, as many of my talented colleagues have already delved deep into the realism of our current state.

I know we’re all suffering in some way, and I also know that spring always returns. Hang in there, everyone.

Steal Away

Steal Away

Clutching
her words
to my vest;

dropping
her dreams
into cloth bundle,
cinched tightly,
secured;

stuffing
my pockets
with her selfless acts
of kindness;

smuggling
her tenderness
to safety
undetected, strapped
to inner thigh;

like a bandit,
I steal away
with memories
of her.
***

2019 In Review

jude-beck-bvTtUo04Nmg-unsplash

Photo by Jude Beck on Unsplash

2019 In Review

struggle
relentless, bitter
disquieting, dispiriting, disarming
dutiful, beautiful, wistful, wishful
beguiling, edifying, rejuvenating
merited, spiritual
respite
***

OK… this is my final final poem of the year. I forgot I wrote it. It is in the Diamante style. I encountered this form a few years ago, tried it once, but then promptly forgot it. I became reacquainted with it when I read a fellow writer over at Tao Talk, so I tried it again.

Happy New Year, everyone. Here’s hoping for more empathy and understanding in 2020.