Anniversary Hike – Three Haikus

Eighteen summers pass

Wishing puffs rooted in dreams

Happiness in bloom

I don’t know the real name of these flowers but they were like bigger dandelion puffs.

In the stillness green

Listen! My heart approaches

Your footsteps crunch leaves

My honey, NOT in his natural habitat…

A path just for two

Greenery gives privacy

Steps to sleepless nights

Nature made stairs for us…

This week, my Honey and I celebrated 18 years of wedded “bliss”! Yes, “bliss” is in quotes because like any other couple, we have had our ups and downs. But dealing with this pandemic as a couple and as a family has shown us that we are pretty well matched.

We celebrated by enlisting my parents to watch the kids while we went on a hike. What would have usually been an easy date night turned into a lesson on risk taking and selflessness (or maybe it was selfishness?). We hadn’t seen my parents since the shelter in place back in March so my kids were ecstatic to spend some time with them. Of course, we went through the pros and cons of whether to allow physical contact, use masks, etc. Sigh. There was no right answer, only love and prayers as we left the house for a few hours.

We took two short hikes – one a sun-filled trail that ended by a man-made lake surrounded by fields. The area is protected land for birds and other wildlife. A groundhog crossed our path as well as two beautiful iridescent blue birds who didn’t even move from their perch when we passed. The second hike was in a park in the middle of the city – a hidden gem that had well-marked hiking trails that traversed up and around a wooded hill and an unmarked trail that led down and long the river. We ended up getting lost and reluctantly had to use our cell phone map to guide us back to the car. An adventure with my Honey – fun and excitement for me (“We’re not lost, we’re exploring!”), exasperating for him (“Let’s use the GPS already!”), but overall we had a wonderful afternoon!

The 2nd haiku incorporates the Tuesday Writing prompt from Beth Amanda at Go Dog Go Cafe to use the phrase “in the stillness” in a piece of writing. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to join in their prompts – this one fell perfectly into place in this haiku! I was trying to capture the image of the two trees framing the water in the background when my Honey came traipsing through like a hairless Sasquatch caught on camera (I say that most lovingly).

The 3rd haiku incorporates a prompt from Patrick’s Thesaurus Game. The prompt was “clandestinely” which is synonymous to “privately” which became “privacy” in this haiku. The last line alludes to having children – our brood is never far from my mind.

It was great to be able to “escape” for awhile – no work, no kids, minimal thoughts of the pandemic. We went during the week so the trails were pretty empty – no need for masks or social distancing. We didn’t go out to eat at a fancy restaurant which is our usual anniversary outing, but spending time together, in nature, breathing fresh air and feeling the sun on our skin was refreshing, healing and connecting.

Here’s to another year with my Honey and wherever our path takes us.

©️ 2020 iido

To My Stubborn Father from Your Stubborn Daughter – A Double Nonet Letter

Dearest Dad – You always stood your ground

With standards high above my reach

Standing on that moral hill

Cloistered rules, you would teach

I inhaled it all

Principled breath

Held belief

Until

Truth

Breathed

Knowledge

You don’t know

Of the “Other”

Exhaled, these old rules

No longer hold my views

I have climbed another hill

And stand on ground planted by you

With love and principles – Your Daughter

New life growing on top of the old. That’s not Groot – that’s the circle of life!

I love my Papa. I am his favorite daughter….OK, his only daughter….but I am also his favorite debating partner. My dad and I are similar in so many ways and this is probably why we debate/argue/quarrel more with each other than he does with my other siblings.

My dad always held high standards of morality, values and principles. He passed that on to me, although sometimes we look at these high standards from different sides. So we see things in a different way and approach problems/issues in a different way. Although if you look at the underlying values of these approaches and points of views, you would see that they are the same. You might even ask, why are we even arguing?

The fact is that despite our similarities, I am a different person than my dad. I’ve had experiences that my dad has not. Some of these experiences are because I grew up middle class in the USA while he grew up upper class in the Philippines. Other experiences are because he is a man and I am a woman. Still other experiences are because he was born and grew up in a different era than I did (almost a quarter of a century separates us).

I wrote this poem for two prompts: one was Punam’s Ragtag Daily Prompt for Saturday – Cloistered and the other was for Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to “write about a suffocating situation”. I will admit that when I was younger (especially in my teenage years), I did find my Papa’s rules “suffocating,” but as I grew up, and now have children of my own, I realize how those rules showed the depth of my Papa’s love.

Happy Belated Father’s Day, Papa! Here is some Key Lime Pie for you! I love you!

©️ 2020 iido

The Photographer – A Poem

His presence captures the nuance of a place

The feel of colors on the wall

The look of air captured in stillness

The sounds of triumphant details

The smell of belonging within a vast space

His presents are introspective breaths inhaled

With a click of a camera

And the scratch of a pencil on the back of a ticket or napkin

And exhaled onto a screen where he dares us

To be present in the world

Image credit- Pixabay-DariuszSankowski
( The image shows an old-fashioned camera resting on a faded map. There are three photos in sepia print next to the camera)

This poem was inspired by Sadje’s What Do you See? Prompt #32 which features a camera on top of a map with photos of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Colosseum in Rome and a city street (maybe New York?). Of course, when I saw it, I immediately thought of one of the few photographers I know, Patrick, and his Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #234 – Presence.

I was actually thinking of titling this poem, “Patrick – A Poem”, but I wasn’t sure if the subject would appreciate that since he seems most comfortable behind the camera than in front. I owe Patrick a great debt of gratitude – he was one of the first, if not, the first blog that I followed and commented on. I was quite surprised that he actually responded to my comment with such warmth and humor. That’s when I realized that WordPress wasn’t just about posting stuff. It really is about building a community through words and pictures.

You can find my first submission for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge # 43 – Lesson – HERE. It took awhile, but I have been fairly consistent with doing this challenge, even though I am a week behind. Patrick’s photos are breathtaking and his words are thought-provoking. In another life where I have more of an artist’s eye, I would have loved to be a world traveling photographer and writer. But for now, I am content seeing the world through Patrick’s Pix to Words.

©️ 2020 iido

Red Cup Revisited – A Double Nonet

The red cup – a fixture in pictures
My focus yet blurred in my mind
Strong and sweet – the fake message
Scared and silenced – the truth
It matched everything
Or so I thought
Remember?
I can
Not
Stop
Drinking
Toss the cup
Where can I drown
This fear of living
Who can I reinvent?
Lost for so long in the mix
I need to climb out of the rocks
Where is the hand holding the red cup?

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Nowadays, the cup I hold is usually a coffee cup and not the ubiquitous red solo cup of parties past. With all the stress that has been brought on by this pandemic, I’ve seen many memes about parents drinking more to deal with the kids being home with them all day, having to help their kids with school work, having to work from home – the list is endless for all the issues that a large glass of red wine (my drink of choice) could fix.

I worry though when I hear my friends joking about drinking at noon after struggling with their kid to do math or about going to the bathroom or closet to get away from their family so they can drink. I have a friend who jokes that once the shelter-in-place is over, they will either need weight watchers or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or both. At least I hope they’re joking.

Because drinking to deal with stress can lead to a drinking problem – especially if the stress is daily and constant and they are drinking daily (and constantly) to deal with it.

Because drinking (whether it is viewed as a problem or not) will affect their parenting including how their child sees (and learns) how to deal with stress.

Because whether it’s eating or drinking, this behavior doesn’t get rid of the problem and in fact, can just exacerbate it.

Yes, I’m speaking from experience. Yes, I feel the pull to fill up a red cup now – especially in light of recent losses and especially after reconnecting with some friends from college who I did a lot of drinking with  (is it weird that we all reconnected because of dealing with this pandemic?).

Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt from two weeks ago asked for poems about “reinvention,” which is what I did – and do – after significant life events.  So, this poem is a reminder, that I am not that college girl anymore and I don’t need a red cup to calm myself, I don’t need a red cup to deal with stress. I have writing…I have running… ….inspiration and perspiration…..

I’m in charge of what my hand will hold….

 

© 2020 iido

Surrender – A Poem for My Cousin

I will stare into your eyes
As the poison drips into my arms
And laugh when I tuck plane tickets
To Europe in my suitcase

I will make faces at you
As I lay on the operating table
And laugh when my shirts are looser
And I see how much weight I’ve lost

I will flip you the finger
As I’m holding my kids
Celebrating graduations and birthdays
And even just regular days

I will slap you as you try to steal
The warmth of my blankets
And the heat of my lover
Wrapped in promises of forever and never

Yet when the time comes
And I know the difference between beignet and brioche
And I’m down to my high school weight
And the kids have gone back to their full lives
And my lover has fallen asleep on the couch

I will look you in the eyes
And smile sweetly
As I beckon you to me
And lay my head on your shoulder
Holding tightly
As you carry me across the threshold

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My cousin, Rowena, died in the early morning of Monday, May 11, 2020 after a long fight with breast cancer.  Coincidentally, Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from last week requested poems responding to the questions, “If you were looking death in the face, what would you remember with joy? Who would you think of fondly? What would you remember sadly?” You can read other thought-provoking responses to her prompt here.  The submissions by Anjum Wasim Dar, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone especially resonated with me this week.

Rowena is my first cousin to pass away. I didn’t think I was in that “season of life” yet, but with the pandemic and the state of our world, maybe it’s time to accept that Death has no season, no time line. It certainly wasn’t the time for Ahmaud Arbery.  I had always thought that if I was confronted by Death, that I would fight and have to be dragged to the grave…now the thought of surrendering to the inevitable, doesn’t seem all that scary…is that thought because of Faith or ignorance or a rational reaction to the hardship of living? I guess I won’t know until I’m looking Death in the face.

 

© 2020 iido

Silly Me – A Quadrille

It was silly of me 

To think it would be 

Different

After we were allowed out

I ran through the streets

Exuberant with

Gratitude

Love 

For surviving

Without what we 

Most cherished

Then realized

I was alone

Because to Others 

I was still nothing

 

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Image credit: Pixabay- Zhugher
( For visually challenged reader, the photo shows a man, on a pier, in a carefree swinging movement. A body of water is visible in the background.)

Lillian from dVerse requested quadrilles with theme “silly”, however, I could not rise to that challenge with all that has transpired this week weighing on me. Apologies, Lillian! I will try for a more light-hearted poem for next week.

This quadrille was also written for Sadje’s What to do you see? Photo Prompt #28. I had so many thoughts about this picture of a man – is he dancing? just strolling along? I think the background is in NYC, maybe looking into Queens but I am not sure. I have more thoughts about it though, but I have to confess, my mind has been preoccupied.

Finally, Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #231 – Nothing, completes this trifecta. While his “nothing” conjures relaxation and peace, my “nothing” has undertones of anger and hurt. Interesting how “nothing” can actually be more than one thing….

My mind is overwhelmed  yet I am finding it hard to put into words all the thoughts that keep spilling…

I did find this piece of calming inspiration written by Gina on her piece, Temporary.  She writes:

Temporary is here
permanently,
our home on earth is a gift
not a guarantee
isolation is life with a new colour
a temporary home,
one we did not order
nothing we ever deserved……

I have to find a new color to paint this part of my world……

ahmaud run graphic_20200507010413380515

 

© 2020 iido

2.23 – A Tanaga

Sun shines on sweaty black skin

Running rhythm beats within

Happiness shot down, el fin

Racist men have no chagrin

BF3FBB11-7799-44D4-A89C-6EF5D7D9A2F2_1_105_c9AB0690A-5AA2-4624-A1DC-D8C1902DC3EB_1_105_c

I ran 2.23 difficult miles today.

It wasn’t difficult because I don’t like stopping at odd numbers. (Don’t tell me I’m the only one who will walk back and forth at the end of a run if I still need .01 to get to a nice, round number…)

It wasn’t difficult because it was 11:47 PM on a Friday night. (I am a night owl so running just before midnight is not out of the ordinary for me.)

It wasn’t difficult because it was a treadmill run. (Although, I am not a big fan of treadmill running, it’s how I’m getting most of my runs during this shelter in place.)

It was difficult because another young black man, Ahmaud Arbery, was killed for doing something that most other people could do without fear – he was going out for a run.

As an Asian, female running in the United States of America, this is what keeps me up at night. Racism is alive and well here. It is more apparent and more prevalent since it’s been given the “all clear” from the highest office in our country.  While the white men, a Father/Son duo, who shot Ahmaud were arrested, they live in an area where they (the two white men who shot an unarmed black man) are well connected with law enforcement and the legal system. Will Ahmaud get justice?  FYI – there are no hate crime laws in Georgia….

This tanaga (while not written in Filipino) is my way of raising consciousness about the unconscionable. #irunwithMaud #blacklivesmatter

ahmaud run graphic_20200507010413380515

 

Mango Salsa – An Acrostic Poem for CalmKate

My friend: how did you know to

Answer my unsaid request, to

Negotiate distance and visit the abode of my soul, to

Give sweet words and kind fruit to 

Offset the bitterness brought by isolation.

Slicing through skin,

Accepting what is laid bare,

Lavishing wisdom like a balm while

Savoring mango salsa under 

A shared umbrella of hope

Last week, Kate at Aroused by Arête requested letters or words in her comments which she promptly turned into acrostic poems about the commentator. I gave her the words “mango salsa” since Kate had mentioned that she was on her way to the store (then would return to continue with her task) and this is my current food obsession. Of course, I was being cheeky and was subsequently quite humbled by her genuine response.

Kate’s intuitive and generous nature, her powers of observation, and her loving candor were on full display in her poems. You can read her responses here. I loved what she wrote for me and about me!

I wrote this poem with gratitude in my heart. Thank you again, Kate!! Once this is all over, please come and visit and share some mango salsa and chips with me!

© 2020 iido   

C Battle – A Poem for My Cousin

The sun sets on your battle with the C

It’s orange rays shining sadness on a war

Well-fought but ending in irreplaceable loss

There should be no shame in your choice

Although the disappointment is heavy

Like the curtain of dark clouds that await the sun’s last bow

Look towards the beacon of light – it is not as distant as it seems

Only good memories will be in the spotlight

Hold your head high and savor the last notes

As they crescendo like those

Cresting waves of C that sought to bring you under

Your choice to let go deserves applause and a standing ovation

Rest, then ready your sail for the next adventure

Image credit- Pixabay-Thommas

This poem was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” Picture Challenge #26 and Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #229 – Choices.

I also wrote it for my cousin in Texas who is in the last stages of cancer. She was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. She beat it once but when it returned again, the prognosis was not as good. They didn’t think she would make it to Christmas of last year so we held a huge birthday party for her in September. But she held on, and had time to visit with family here and in the Philippines. Through it all, she was in extreme pain and had lost the use of one side of her body. This past week, she took a turn for the worse and was admitted to the hospital. She decided that she was done fighting. Yesterday morning, she had minor surgery to insert some tubes so she could be more comfortable. She will be saying her final goodbyes this weekend and has decided that she wants to go home to die instead of to a hospice.

When I saw Sadje’s picture prompt, I wasn’t sure what to make of it at first. Then I started getting news of my cousin and the week flew by. This morning, I looked at the picture again and I finally noticed the lighthouse in the distance – a beacon of hope in this intense picture.

Patrick’s prompt (like so many of his prompts) resonated with what I was experiencing this week. I know making this choice is a painful one for my cousin, but it is what is right for her. She leaves behind two young adult daughters, both her parents and stepparents, two siblings and their children, and all of us, cousins and our families.

Amidst this pandemic, the ebb and flow of illness and health, life and death, happiness and sadness still occur.

(c) 2020 iido