Day 10 – Dessert

Dessert

You

my dark chocolate

sweet

earthy

 

when I nibble

you bite back

smearing tangy goodness

onto my sneering lips

 

within my mouth

I quest

cresting the center

of your melting point

 

drizzling down my chin

daring me to lick my fingers.

 

I crave more.

** *

Written for dVerse Quadrille #30, hosted by Mish (mishunderstood), where the safe word prompt word is drizzle. Drizzle made me think of candy for some reason… that’s my story, and I’m sticking to it.  

Don’t forget to visit other poets’ take on this prompt.

Day 9 – Fear and Longing in Darkness

darkness

Image source: Unsplash.com

Fear and Longing in Darkness

Night comes

again.

I welcome and fear it

for its embrace

protects me not

from unknown specters

and she will

leave me barren

at sunrise

again.

 

Night, day;

irrelevant.

Terror slinks in gloom

but agony bites blindly,

my heart

seized by dark claws

till I plead for night’s

sweet release.

 

Yeah but

with a flick of my finger

billions of subatomic particles

will rush to banish the dark

maybe it is the night

who should fear me.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Twitter Me a Gothic Poem, imagined By Magaly Guerrero. We were challenged to write a poem with three stanzas, each stanza not to exceed 140 characters (a basic tweet, if you will). The first two stanzas, or “tweets” would be in the voice of one of the thirteen selected gothic writers, as if they’re having a twitter conversation. The third stanza was to be my reply or commentary to thr first two. The catch is that the whole thing is supposed to read as one piece.

I chose Edgar Allen Poe (1st stanza) because his work influences me quite a bit, and I chose Sylvia Plath (2nd stanza) because I identify with how she described her lifelong battle with depression.

I gotta say, this was one heck of a prompt! It was more challenging than I anticipated, but I greatly enjoyed this one. Real Toads is quietly becoming the front page of my window to the internet. Thanks for all the wonderful prompts, and keep em coming!

Day 8 – Perfectly Imperfect

garden

Perfectly Imperfect

Her old, lovely bones breathe

warped and creaking

with visions of what she could be

and past pitter-patters of

Saturday morning cartoons,

sleepovers, and birthdays.

 

She shelters me,

never passing judgement

should I sleep in on a Saturday.

 

Within her old, lovely bones,

I carved out a space for myself,

panting it in blues

impressed upon nostalgia from

the bluest oceans, coves, and depths;

when sunbeams enter on perfect angles,

my lungs fill with briny air of days long gone.

 

Her galley is a patchwork antiquated mess;

shams shimmied together in muddled nonsense

resembling the before photos of a makeover

that hasn’t happened yet, and

probably won’t for some time.

 

It gives her old bones character,

like an endearingly gapped-tooth

or the slurring lisp of a loved one.

 

Her living room, where I do

my least amount of living,

ties everything together.

 

Her redone floorboards

are coming undone

at some of the seams,

 

I can’t put too-positive a spin on floor damage

because they were expensive to redo,

though I do I blame the ghosts

of rambunctious children I’ve never met

pounding her hapless floors

running through their home,

before it became mine,

their laughter I’ve never heard

reverbing off the not-yet-blue walls.

 

This old girl shifts and creaks weirdly at times,

but she also whispers me to sleep

when rain pours onto her roof.

 

She is drafty and scantily insulated, but

she’s also a cool respite in sweltering summers.

 

She is unfortunately imperfect

and I’m perfectly lucky to have her.

 

Just beyond her walls though, I hear

there is a garden full of dead or dying foliage

that desperately needs tending,

but I don’t entertain such baseless rumors.

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Hope and the Places That Heal You, hosted by  Sherry Blue Sky. Drop by and visit the other toads contributing to the pond!

Day 7 – untitled

jose-fontano-223781

hazy shades of gray

lazily blurring the lines

I exist, but not

 

my blood rushes to color

the margins clutching my soul

***

A storm is brewing. We may lose power. I’m tired. I’m cold. I’m also grey. 

Meh. Have a tanka. It’s all I got. 

Day 6 – Two Cats for One Hat (Or Snitches Get Snitches)

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Image source: Google

Two Cats for One Hat (Or Snitches Get Snitches)

The sun did not shine.

It was nighttime, you see.

So I sat with my book

Just as bored as can be.

 

I sat there with Daddy.

Mom slept and I sat

I hoped I could read her

The Cat in the Hat.

 

We were almost done!

My treat was on track!

For next we would read

How the Cat would come back!

 

I saw where she hid my new

Treat!

Treat!

Treat!

Treat!

If I could sneak a peak

That would be cool and neat!

 

I would not make a BUMP!

That would make Mommy jump!

I snuck!

In the bottom drawer it sat!

I snuck!

Out with the next book

Of the Cat in the Hat!

Half done with the first

Why did I skip it like that?

 

I knew I was wrong

Breaking rules was not funny.

But I wanted to peek

Before the sun was sunny!

 

“I knew I could get away with my prize,”

I thought with a smile

“And Mommy will not wake or stir

Not for a while.

 

I will take a quick peek

Like a bad little sneak

And once my sneaking has peaked

With not even a squeak

I will un-sneak my sneak

Oh how Momma would freak!

But my sneak-game’s on-fleek!

She will never know

Of her son’s geeky streak!”

 

I climbed up the couch

By Daddy I sat

With my major awards

Two cats in one hat!

Dad looked and said “Hey!

How did you get that?

How did you get two cats?

You did not read the first hat!”

 

But I whispered, “No! No!

Please speak softly, OK?

Or you will wake up my Mom

She would take it away!”

Then I heard Mom yell loud,

“Bring that book back, B.J.!”

 

I scowled at my dad

Who laughed with a wink

I was so very mad

At that foul Father fink

As my sneak was un-snuck

I thought isn’t this rich?

Never would I have thunk

Dad was a punk-ass snitch!

** *

Written for imaginary garden with real toads Celebrating Children’s Poetry – Dreaming with Stacie, and shared on dVerse’s OpenLinkNight # 193. The prompt was for us to write a poem that draws upon our childhood imagination.

When I closed my eyes to speak to my younger self, I was instantly transported back to the 70’s. True story! I was about four, or as I liked to call it, “Four-and-a-half”. Mom was teaching me to read, and I took to it like a duck to water. This is where my nerdery began.

I was nowhere near emotionally developed enough to deal with a cliffhanger, and Mom was too tired to let me read the first book to her so I could get to the second one. I took matters into my own hands, and Dad ratted me out real sneaky like and laughed in my face after I got in trouble with Mom. I swear, if I had been big enough to kick an ass, his ass would’ve been the first one I kicked that night. It’s like dude never heard the old “Snitches get Stitches” nursery rhyme, Knaamean?

So yeah, I wanted to kick my dad’s ass that night. Dirty snitch! May his soul rest in peace.

Read other dVerse poets’ OLN poems here.

 

 

 

 

Day 5 – Next Time

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Image source: Google

Next Time

Every day

at the same time

she catches him.

 

Back of the bus,

eyes fixated

on his handheld

luminous rectangle,

corners of his eyes

softly, sadly yielding

to gravity.

 

Every day

at the same time,

she catches him

 

surreptitiously

studying her

from behind the

safety of his

luminous rectangle

as her blush-brush

burnishes

her best face.

 

Every day at the same time,

for the beat of a hummingbird’s wing,

they are locked within the same space-time,

with her smirking a silent challenge;

 

is today the day?

 

Am I stunning enough for you

to break the ice and say

good morning?

 

Every day

at the same time,

the answer is always yes

she is indeed stunning enough,

 

and

every

day

 

at that same time,

he stubbornly ignores

this obvious answer.

 

Every day at the same time,

before the hummingbird

flaps wing for a second time,

his eyes retreat to his rectangle,

 

only to feel her eyes

burning him from behind

her bronzing brush.

 

Every day, like clockwork,

within the third flap

of a hummingbird’s wing,

he returns her hidden gaze

wondering if this woman

was willing to breach his

technological barriers

 

to lift the corners of his eyes

with a peacock-feather-brushed

good morning.

 

Every day,

at the same time,

the answer is always yes,

but not today.

 

Today,

unlike every day,

after their daily ritual,

both resolved to take action.

 

Next time,

the burnished,

blushing lady said to herself,

if he doesn’t greet me,

I will move closer to him and ask

if he sees anything he likes.

 

That should break the ice.

 

Next time,

the sad-eyed man said to himself,

I’ll just take an earlier bus.

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Image source: Google

** *

Posted to imaginary garden with real toads for Physics with Björn: Space time and the special theory of relativity. Björn has us writing poems about space time! I know! So dope, right? I like to think that I would’ve made a pretty rad astrophysisit if I hadn’t wasted all those formative years hating myself and whatnot. Ah well.

(I left astrophysicist intentionally misspelled just so that everyone could have a clear idea of how far away I am from becoming an astrophysicist.)

Anyway, head on over and check out all the wonderful poetry about space time.

Day 4 – Bitter Fruit

fruit

Image source: Unsplash.com

Bitter Fruit

Back off, weekend daddy

Crawl back to the lies from where you came

Foolish journey

You can’t love her part-time all the same

Ruled by convenient choices

You run away when realness makes you feel

Beggars can’t be choosers

You can’t have the nectar without the peel

 

I feel like you should know

That the seeds you sow

In the garden will grow

Even if you don’t show

You can say what you want

Empty words ring hollow

Like the life that you flaunt

Your substance falls below

 

Beat it, winter loser

Slink back to the fires that kept you warm

Spineless coward

Couldn’t brace to fight against her storm

Tread through that least resistance

Your privilege paved a way I couldn’t follow

No man is an island

You left me alone; alone you’ll know sorrow

 

Could you recognize me?

Would my eyes be the key?

Like yours they show misery

At what you’ve stolen from we

I know that you must hurt too

Withered possibility

I cannot grow into you

Cause you weren’t there for me.

** *

I followed NaPoWriMo’s day 4 enigma prompt somewhat. And now, I could use a drink. Sweet dreams, everyone.

Elegy of Laughing Duets

rainyroad

Image source: Unsplash.com

Elegy of Laughing Duets

The officer smirked, trying not to laugh. After admonishing dad for speeding, he walked back to his vehicle with a funny story for his coworkers; a tale of my dad slyly lying about the urgency of momma’s baby, due to deliver my brother two months from now, and of momma over-selling the shit out of her non-labor, as I, a terrified six-year-old, observed in saucer-eyed, horrified silence.

We must’ve been quite the sight; dad explaining his urgency to the cop with a softness that matched the long shadows just after the sun dipped below the spring-sprinkled horizon; momma – unprompted, on-cue, and with a scenery-chewing overacting exhibition to make Shatner wince – unsuccessfully selling the urgency dad had just lied about with the authenticity of a wildlife film narrator; me in the back seat, wide-eyed and instinctively quiet, taking it all in; the patrolman’s flashlight, an impromptu stage spotlight for our three-person routine (four if you’re counting my brother, but the cop didn’t buy it, so let’s just go with the trio.)

After a beat of silence, our eyes finally adjusted from the shock of the cop’s harsh halogen giving way to soft shades of amber, dad shook his head, a grin growing on his darkened face. He looked back at me. “You cool, B.J.?”

I nodded, and squeaked out a, “Yeah.”

“Yeaaaaah?” he repeated, mimicking me.

“I mean… yes,” I corrected myself with a smile, relieved that dad sounded like dad again.

We didn’t have a term for code-switching back then. It just felt like Dad was bilingual and was training me to be too. I knew that whenever he broke out the Wildlife Film Narrator voice that shit just got real. He always used it when white people were involved, and always when those white people were in positions of authority.

I instinctively knew to get my shit together whenever he used it.

If anyone heard his everyday-people vernacular, they’d have a hard time reconciling the fact that both voices were his. When dad was being dad, he always reminded me of Shaft-meets-Sho’nuff-the-Shogun-of-Harlem; brassy, cocky, and cool-as-hell. I admired both voices, knowing that Sho’nuff was dad’s native tongue. Both were authentic in a way; Sho’nuff was my dad, the Film Narrator was the long shadow cast by dad.

Momma code-switched too, but it never sounded as jarring as when dad did it. Mom’s tone was always a hairsbreadth lower than frantic; it was like she was barely holding things together in her head. But momma always sounded like momma, even when she was performing. Her professional voice reminded me of how folks talked on Dynasty before someone dipped in diamonds got their face slapped; unnecessarily British and whatnot.

Dad shot an incredulous glare at momma. “Really, Terri?” he crooned sarcastically, firmly back in Shogun form. “Nooo, officerrr… I’m not in dayyyneger of laaabor, but it HUUUUUURRRTS!” Dad mimicked momma’s impromptu histrionics perfectly.

“Oh hush, Barry! I was just tryin’ to help,” mom shot back between giggles. “You didn’t get the ticket, did you?”

Together, their gallows-laughter was the greatest musical duet I’ve ever heard. My parents loved comedy. Our bad days were terrible, but our good days could wring sunshine from a rainy evening dusk just like it did that spring evening. Dad’s laugh sounded like a chorus of good-humored seagulls. Mom’s laugh was carbonated; starting low, and then bubbling higher, eventually meeting dad’s seagulls high in the atmosphere. Though I’ll never hear either of their laughs again, it just occurred to me that they are always with me. Whenever I’m trying to make people laugh, all I’m really doing is trying to recapture this moment, if only for a moment.

sunset ignites clouds

terrain perfumed by rainclouds

inhale deep, smiling

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All four of us! (Mom is pregnant with my younger brother in this photo.)

** *

Written for NaPoWriMo’s day 3 prompt, an elegy. I was also inspired by dVerse’s Haibun Monday: The Shadow Knows, hosted by Hayesspencer. I didn’t share it on dVerse though, as this isn’t a traditional Japanese Haibun. I did enjoy writing it though. There were some laughs and tears during the writing process.

Want to see how traditional Haibun are supposed to be crafted? Go here.

Day 2 – Stray

straycat

Stray

Patrolling her territory,

my world,

never coming when called,

always checking in

distant and affectionate,

refusing my offerings

until just beyond my reach,

owned by no one,

she is mine and I am hers.

 

This nebulous non-arrangement

somehow evolves

my capacity to love

and accept love

without labels, trinkets,

tags, or attachment.

 

Then she’s gone.

** *

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I followed imaginary garden with real toads’ Flash 55 PLUS! Prompt, complete with optional “Worlds Apart” vs “Extremely Close” themed challenge. This was a fun one. I feel like it’s been too long since I hopped on the lily pads and played a bit.

Go here to read other contributions to this prompt.

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Day 1 – Scaring Me

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Image source: Pintrest.com

Scaring Me

Ever avoid

your own reflection,

ever annoyed

by introspection

scared and annoyed

by imperfections

far closer than

they appear to be?

 

Your poor solution

seems uncaring,

unmoored pollution,

thoughts unsparing,

forgone conclusion,

my truth you’re wearing

I’m your illusion

and you’re scaring me.

** *

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(Video probably NSFW. Your mileage may vary.)

And we’re off! NaPoWriMo has officially started. I was going to do some type of theme, but I changed my mind and decided to keep it breezy and use whatever prompt I found interesting. Today I used NaPoWriMo.net’s (optional) daily prompt and tried my hand at a “Kay-Ryan-esque poem: short, tight lines, rhymes interwoven throughout, etc…” I didn’t follow the prompt completely, but I’m pretty chill with the result.

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