July Runfession…My first! A Running Update

I originally started this blog to document my running adventures. However, due to Life, this blog has evolved and now includes poetry sometimes about running, more often about my non-running life. This mirrors changes in my own life. While running was so central to who I was for so many years, now that’s shifted and other activities are center stage. But I want to bring running back into limelight hence this new feature called “Runfessions”!

I found out about Runfessions through two running blogs that I follow, Confessions of a Mother Runner and Meditations in Motion. They link up with Marcia’s Healthy Slice (the originator of the Runfession), so that’s what I’m doing too! I’ve always enjoyed reading about other runners and reading about what other runners are thinking and writing about – especially if they are women, mothers, and/or people of color. When I first started running, it was rare to find articles written for or by women, POC, mothers and now there is a lot more!

So here goes…my first Runfession Session!

Forgive me Saucony, for I have sinned….

I Runfess…. that I haven’t been running as much this summer and have missed several group runs. The reasons aren’t that important (basically, kids not being in school) but I haven’t been making it a priority. But that is about to change!

I Runfess….I signed up for two more races! The Hershey Half Marathon in October and the Hot Chocolate 15K in April 2020. Time to get going on my training plan!

I Runfess….I don’t have a training plan! I’m relying on my BRF, Michele, to keep me on target. She’s been doing great with her training. I’m pretty sure she’s going to beat her PR at Hershey this year.

Is that enough? My running sole (see what I did there?) is feeling lighter already!!

©️ iido 2019

The Influencer’s Lament – A Poem

I click a pic to show the world
The cute outfit that shows my abs
10,000 likes and 100 retweets
It’s confirmed, I’m just so fab!

I send a tweet to show support
For cleaning up the ocean
300 likes – I hit delete – wtf?
Not enough commotion

I try again, a sassy tweet
No substance behind my stance
100K likes! A Kim K retweet!
Going viral – here’s my chance!

I know I’m great – I see my stats
And now I’m getting money
Yet when I turn the iPhone off
My tummy just feels funny

And so I Insta, Tweet and Vlog
My soul and body baring
50,000 friends like me, me, me
Yet still, I keep despairing.

This poem was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt calling for a poem about narcissism and its role in our current culture. Jamie is The Poet by Day and her prompts are always so thought provoking and evocative. If you haven’t checked out her blog, please do – she is a wealth of information and her passion for social justice is a shining beacon.

Note about this poem: I am not very plugged into social media so the numbers that I use in the poem, while it seems a lot to me, may not be that much in the “Twitterverse” or “YouTube Land” or other platforms. How many likes do you need to go viral? Maybe it’s like that old Tootsie Pop commercial: How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop? The World may never know.

©️ iido 2019

Fated Father – A Haibun

I knew you were going to be the best father for my children. Fate – or maybe my subconscious heart – told me the first time we met. We were seated at the diner after a college party and you were telling me about your dad. We were smoking because you could still do that back then.

As you exhaled and smoke embraced your face, time seemed to slow and as the smoke cleared, I stopped hearing your voice and instead heard another saying, “I can see this man being next to me as I’m giving birth.” An odd thing to have come into my head since I was 21 and no way near wanting to have a baby.

Still, that thought stayed with me. And now, six children later (though only four are here with us), I can say that I was right.

Rooted love withstands
So entwined limbs can bear fruit
Life perennial

This haibun is for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #197 – Fathers. I’ve chosen to tell the true story of the first time I met my husband. It was the first thought that popped into my head for this prompt.

©️ iido 2019

Sleep Deprivation – Flash Fiction

She slept finally, cradled in my arms. I glanced at the clock. 6 AM. Eight hours of crying (her) and cajoling (me). I had heard her twinkling laugh around 10 PM so I went to her room to check on her. I found her standing on her bed, arms high, reaching. I thought it was for me. But when I picked her up, she kept reaching higher and struggling, pushing out of my arms, saying “It’s my time.”

“Time for what?” I had asked. “You’re too young. You don’t know.” So I stayed and held her, whispering words of love and promises. Still, she thrashed, at one point running to the bookcase and clambering up to the window.

At 8 AM, she woke and nudged my arms away. “Mama, I dreamt I was the moon. Let me go tonight. It’s my time to shine.”

Trying a new prompt this week with dVerse – this is Prosery #2 courtesy of SarahSouthWest. The challenge is to write a piece of prose/flash fiction using the phrase “I dreamt I was the moon” taken from Alice Oswald, Oxford Professor of Poetry (UK). The piece must be 144 words or less.

The picture of my shoe and my daughter’s shoe was taken on a funky glow in the dark carpet at Meow Wolf in Santa Fe. She how bright she shines!

©️ iido 2019

What Do You See? – A Poem for Hélène Vaillant

If words were clouds
Hers would be soft and comforting
The kind you see on brisk autumn afternoons
As Golden leaves fall around you.

If words were water
Hers would be in a bathtub
With bubbles that smelled of eucalyptus and mint
Clearing the mind for the wisdom that came with a well lived life

If words were a picture
Hers would be a garden painted in the style of Monet
With a mother and child the brightest of the flowering blooms

If words asked a question
Hers would be, “What do you see?”
And she’d let me answer
With interpretive imagination
And poetic passion

Hélène Vaillant is a blogger who I started following because of her “What Do You See?” Weekly Challenge. She would post a picture as a prompt and Challenge is to write poetry/prose about it. I found her through one of the other blogs that I follow and was instantly taken by the beautiful pictures she posted for the Challenge as well as the insightful poems Hélène wrote. As I started to comment and engage with Hélène on her blog, she started to comment and engage with me on mine. Her comments were always thoughtful and caring with just the right amount of wisdom added.

I found out recently (from Jordy at Jordy’s Streaming) that Hélène had passed away. I don’t know how old she was or what she died from although she had mentioned that she wasn’t feeling well a few months ago and wouldn’t be blogging for awhile. I did know that her husband had passed away just a few months before she did. I also knew that she had a special devotion to the Virgin Mary, specifically, the Madonna and Child. I had even taken pictures of various sculptures of the Madonna and Child during a trip to the Met in NYC thinking I would send them to her when she got back on her blog.

As of today, Hélène’s WordPress blog has already been removed. This makes me so sad. I wonder what happened to all her poems, all the poems bloggers wrote for her prompts, all the comments and memories contained within her blog. I found this article from Fandango that speaks to this loss (Thank you, Jen Goldie for directing me to it).

I hope Hélène knew she had touched so many people with her words, prompts and comments. I will always remember her gentle heart and kind, wise comments.

Rest In Peace, Hélène.

©️ iido 2019

Thoughts Written on January 6 – A Quadrille

My summer island beckons me

When the sun hides behind

Winter clouds. Her waves, trapped

In whispering shallows, softly request

My return. Her rocky shoreline

Curved in a waiting embrace.

Her salty scent of carefree

Days warming the frigid air.

Only 6 more months.

Quadruple prompts in this quadrille! Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #196 – Islands was the basis for this poem while Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to create a poem about the seasons set the scene. I was also able to incorporate dVerse’s Quadrille #83 – Sun (Happy 8th Anniversary dVerse!!) and the Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt – Whispering Shallows. Whew!

I wrote this quadrille thinking of my two favorite islands – Maui (where the picture was taken) and Martha’s Vineyard. We’ve had lovely vacations in both these islands. They are vastly different in topography yet both bring a sense of peace and contentment – that “Hakuna Matata” feeling. Maybe it’s the sun on my skin or the smell of the sea or the gentle whisper of the waves that makes food taste better, colors look more vibrant, love feel deeper. I search for this during cold winter days.

©️ iido 2019

I Cannot See My Face – A Villanelle

Whenever I enter a place
My insides search to belong
I cannot see my face

Can I take up this space?
There’s times that I’ve been wrong
And need to leave a place

Those times I’ve felt displaced
An unwanted tagalong
I paste a smile on my face

I try to handle it with grace
So the discomfort won’t prolong
When I need to stay at a place

But why can’t you embrace
The me inside that’s strong
Can you look beyond my face?

I will not be erased
I’m not one of the throng
I will not leave this place
I cannot change my face

This villanelle was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from a few weeks ago. She really has some wonderful, thought provoking ideas! This challenge requested poems about feeling like a “stranger in a strange land”. My two photos are both from my trip to Santa Fe, the top one was from a weird museum we went to called “Meow a Wolf” and the other is from the Puye Cliff Dwellings (is it an alien?).

This piece was originally titled “What It’s Like as an Asian Woman Living in a Predominantly White Community”.

I’ve often felt like the “stranger” – not because people haven’t usually been welcoming, friendly and kind to me – but because at some point in the relationship, I realize that they don’t see me as I see me. People usually see my Asian-ness first leading to reactions of surprise (“You speak English so well!”) or confusion (“How do you know about 4-H?”) since their concept of Asian-ness doesn’t intersect with their concept of American-ness. It’s similar to people’s reactions when a woman expresses opinions about sports or carburetors.

Since I’ve lived almost all my life in the USA and have lost the ability to speak the language of my parents, I see myself as an American first – that is my culture yet genetically, I am very much Asian. This disparity has led to that feeling of strangeness that I know will not go away until the concept of “What is American?” changes. And that will happen when…..??

I’m not gonna hold my breath….

I’m not gonna change my place…

I’m not gonna change my face….

©️ iido 2019

Love Works – A Senryu

Two rough reddened hands

Wash plates, clothes, floors and faces

Work softened by love

The senryu is for Patrick’s Pic and A Word Challenge #195 – Work. And yes, those dishes are a real example of the work I do as a stay at home mom (don’t ask about the chunky, frothy bits – I don’t know what they are either).

Patrick’s words about the “beauty of the moment taking work out of the job” really resonated with me. Being a stay at home mom, I’ve sometimes have to work really hard to find these moments!

I know I have many poems here about mothering – some funny and some serious but all coming from a place of love. The work involved with being a parent really needs that love – not love as reimbursement from our children and partners, but love as a no strings attached gift to our children and partners. I think about that when I am on my 5th basket of laundry (we are a family of 6!) or loading the dishwasher for the third time in a day. I don’t love the chores/work but I love the people. And there are days when they show their love for me by pairing the socks.

©️ iido 2019

One Million Stars to End Violence

@michnavs has written this moving and significant poem to spread the word about the prevalence of domestic violence and violence against women and children in general. We need to shed a light on this world wide problem. Maybe in that way, we can bring back some of these stars….

One Million Stars to End Violence


— Read on michnavs.wordpress.com/2019/07/11/one-million-stars-to-end-violence/