I found this image on Facebook from a friend of mine who had posted it. I am not sure where it came from, so if you are the owner of this image (or know who is), please let me know so I can make proper attribution and/or compensation for using it here. Thank you!
If you haven’t guessed, the assault on the Capitol building in Washington, DC has been on my mind. Not only is there a pandemic, but there is an assault on American democracy. The fallacy of the American Way and the American Dream has been laid bare. As an immigrant, a woman of color, who has been steeped in this fabulous fable, finding out that this fairy tale is actually a “fairy fail,” has filled me with sadness, anger, disbelief, indignation. It’s the same feeling I had when I found out that Santa wasn’t real – somehow, I knew deep down inside that a man coming down the chimney to give me gifts was too good to be true, but still really hoping that he was real.
Disillusioned disappointment is tough, no matter what the age.
Orange fingers reach out trying to warm the cold grey steel. Is it a “come hither welcome” or the desperate grasping of a last chance attempt to prevent slipping into oblivion? Still, the sun’s tendrils hover in that space between, a promise or a reminder of potential. They mimic the train tracks that reflect back this conundrum in a different voice. Tracks can lead away or lead towards depending on the sound of the train.
How can this indecision be solved in the quiet stillness of transition? It doesn’t – instead it needs to be savored like cognac or espresso caressing your tongue, warming your mouth, your throat, your belly. Only then can you appreciate this moment in time.
Sunrise or sunset
Best seen with eyes gently closed,
Heart thrown wide open
I knew I had to write something for Sadje’s What do you see #63 when I saw this picture. It reminded me of living in New York City and riding the subway to and from school. I lived in Brooklyn then, but went to high school in Manhattan. I did school plays and would stay after school for rehearsal then hanging out with friends. I loved watching the sunset. Years later, when I was home from college over the summer, I had a job doing interviews with alumni from my college. We had moved to Long Island by then, and I would wake up early and take the LIRR into the city for meetings. I loved watching the sunrise.
When I first looked at this picture, I thought it was a sunrise and then read the description which said it was sunset. It always amazes how people can look at the same picture and come up with totally different descriptions, explanations, meanings. That’s one of the things I love about picture prompts, and all prompts really: the responses to these prompts are so varied yet each one is beautiful, poetic and true – at least, for the poet and the people who resonate with their words.
I wonder if all people understand this concept or if it is only poets and writers? Photographers and painters (especially the abstract kind) – probably definitely. Sculptors? Architects? I would think so. Engineers and mathematicians – maybe not, since, in their disciplines, there is usually only 1 correct answer. Politicans – I guess it would depend, but currently there is a cohort where I can confidently say, “No, they do not understand or accept this concept”. Extremists who are willing to go to jail or die for their misbegotten ideology – definitely not.
Hello and Welcome to 2021!! What a year it has been! Yes, I know it’s only been 7 days into 2021, but if you’ve been listening to the news coming out of Washington, DC, you’ll know what I mean about this year not starting off as best as it could.
Next week (or maybe this week if I can get it together) I will be back on track. This is my mantra for 2021 – “Get back on track!” Or maybe it should be “Don’t fall off the rails”….
I’ve combined my runfessions from the last three months of 2020 because honestly, there was really nothing to runfess those last few months. I did absolutely no running during that time – I wouldn’t even count the 2 mile run/walks I did here and there. I didn’t even really think about running. The Spartan race that I had signed up for in October was cancelled and that was in it for my motivation for 2020. So that’s my biggest runfession for 2020!
I’m hoping 2021 will be the year I get back into running. I’ve already signed up for 2 Spartan obstacle races – a sprint and a stadion – something different to break up the running a bit. And I’m looking to do at least 1 half marathon. Of course, this is all pandemic provisional.
I couldn’t decide if I identified more with the old woman running or the young girl running in the poem. How about you? We’re 7 days into 2021, yet I’m wondering if 2020 has decided to hang around…
We are fortunate to be able to spend the holiday with my parents and siblings. With careful planning and quarantining before getting together, we are hoping to have a safe(r) holiday get together. This pandemic has definitely made clear what truly matters in life.
She gathered words into pictures
Painting busy country landscapes and quiet city corners
Capturing snapshots of people in moments and memories
Saturating each word with hues of love, longing, laughter and latitude
She gathered people into communities
Families sharing interests instead of blood
The ideals of justice and equality
Coursing through veins of connection
She gathered breaths like flowers
Gifting us with the perfume of inspiration
Scattering petals of thoughts and dreams
Planting seedlings of empowerment
She gathered accolades and gratitude
She gathered love and admiration
She gathered a life of purpose
And now we gather to remember and honor her
Photos of Jamie courtesy of Wendy Rose Alger, used with permission.
Besides the pandemic, this year was also significant for me with the passing of Jamie Dedes who blogged on The Poet by Day. When I first started blogging, I stumbled across the Poet by Day’s Wednesday Writing Prompts and was hooked (you can read my first response to her prompt here). Many of the poems I wrote for her prompts have found forever homes in anthologies and other publications. Jamie’s prompts were thought provoking and gut punching. She made me think about the world outside of my little life. She connected me to other poets who were using their words to change the world.
A prime example is the BeZine that dedicated it’s December issue themed “Life of the Spirit and Activism” to Jamie. Jamie founded the BeZine and this theme captures some important aspects of Jamie that were a true inspiration and aspiration for me.
Jamie changed lives with her words – written and spoken, in poetry and prose. She will be missed.
You can read more tributes to Jamie and other poetry on the theme “Life of the Spirit and Activism” on the BeZine here. My tribute to Jamie (above) is included in this issue.
I’ve been sitting on this poem for a few days, but it’s time to set it free! Peter, at dVerse’s last Meeting of the Bar for 2020, brought these prompts together with his request for poems that explored different endings/beginnings. I immediately thought of a cascade poem, one of my favorites with lines that repeat and loop back. The one above also plays with enjambment.
Sadje’s What do you see #60 provide the inspirational picture while Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #257 – Solitude provided the feeling that this picture brought for me. Maybe it’s the melancholy that the end of the year brings me, even for a year as bad as 2020. This year definitely had its share of disappointments, promises and plans not kept. And solitude – even with family, that feeling of disconnectedness has been quite profound this year.
Still, I’m sad to see this year end – I’ve enjoyed the extra time with my children and the more relaxed (meaning, basically non-existent) schedule. I know 2021 will be better. It has to be.
Getting back on track with a poem for Sadje’s What Do You See #59. When I first saw this picture, I thought the birds were geese, however after pasting in the description, I now realize they are cranes. If I knew that before hand, this poem might have taken a different path. But I didn’t and that’s OK.
I also incorporated Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #256 – Touching. There are so many things I want to touch! I’m the type of person that if I see an interesting texture – on a wall or on clothing or in nature – my curiosity gets the best of me and I do reach out to touch it. Touch is really one of our most underrated senses but it’s the one we have the most of since we are covered in skin from head to toes.
There is a saying, “Shoot for the moon – even if you fail, you might land on a star.” This poem reflects my thoughts before I tried for the moon.
If one gets sick or dies, will memories of this time be enough to bring comfort?
My worries spill from my body to outside
I do not want to kill my family
Because this is what it’s about – family
The primal need to be together
The smell, the sight, the sounds of food and laughter filing my senes
My role should be as protector
Not a bystander looking in from outside
Aloofness won’t bring comfort
But sickness and death also won’t bring comfort
I do not want to lose anyone in my family
So I invite them to come in from outside
If this is the last time we are all together
I will build a wall around my heart as protection
As we take leave of our senses
There is no comfort in being left outside
My senses overload upon seeing my family
Breaking bread together crumbles the wall of protection
Hello! It’s been a while and I’m jumping right back in with a submission for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #253 – Bread, #254 – Nightmares and #255 – Warmth. Back on track to continue my streak! My original idea for these prompts were to write about a carb-free diet and how awful that sounds to me right now being that we are in the middle of Christmas baking, however, as with all things at this moment when positive COVID-19 cases have almost reached 15 million in the USA, not eating warm bread doesn’t seem like that much of a nightmare.
I am also tried out the sestina form for the first time. It seems to work well for the merry-go-round of worry I seem to be riding since having family over for Thanksgiving. Yes, we had a gathering of over 10 people. No, we didn’t wear masks. Yes, my family quarantined before we had my family over due to my dad being immune compromised (we only left the house for work and food) AND we are quarantining until the end of this week just to make sure we don’t have anything from this gathering. While I know most people would not be this strict in following the CDC guidelines, we are trying to do our part in preventing the spread of this novel coronavirus.
But that’s the thing – we are doing our part but I see other people are not. Until there is enforcement of the safety guidelines, I fear this pandemic will continue to rage unabated. Sure, there is talk of a vaccine coming out in the spring of 2021, but how many more people will get the coronavirus until then? How many more people will die?
I’ve read about countries where they have been able to stop the spread of the coronavirus in certain areas and where they haven’t had any new cases in over a month (I’m looking at you Melbourn, Australia – shoutout to Kate and Ivor!) Will Americans ever be able to let go of their “right to individuality” in order to do something for the good of society? At this moment in time, the answer for most Americans seem to be a resounding no.
Maybe come January 20, 2021 things will change. My hope is that it does. Then I can go back to obsessing about sourdough bread bowls filled with clam chowder.
This is been an exhausting week for no particular reason. Maybe it’s the weather or maybe it’s the drop in adrenalin after the election or maybe it’s the dreaded “pandemic fatigue” (dun, dun, duuuunnnn). Or maybe it’s the fact that the holidays are coming and there isn’t that general sense of holiday cheer or “peace on earth and goodwill to all” that usually comes this time of year.
Whatever it is, maybe curiosity – as in wondering, observing and reflecting – is the answer to opening our hearts again to the depth of beauty and love that resides in our world, including the people around us.