Winter Dance – A Pantoum

A lazy dance in silent snow

Wearing lace of ice and air

Swaying gently to a rhythm unknown

Caressing my nape with a freezing squeeze

Wearing lace of ice and air

My eyes marvel at the delicacy 

Caressing my nape with a freezing squeeze

An appetizing shiver puckers my skin

My eyes marvel at the delicacy 

I squint, imagining the transparent twinkles 

An appetizing shiver puckers my skin

The soothing cold symphony satisfies my soul

I squint, imagining the transparent twinkles

Caressing my nape with a freezing squeeze

The soothing cold symphony satisfies my soul

A lazy dance in silent snow

Pictures courtesy of Peggy Cardone, private collection. ©️ Peggy Cardone. All rights reserved.

I missed Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge #261 – Ice and #262 – Freezing. It’s been a busy few weeks, but when I saw these gorgeous photos from my friend, Peggy, inspiration fell from the sky like one of these delicate beauties and this pantoum was born.

I don’t know if you’ve ever been outside when it’s been snowing. I usually try to stay inside the minute a snowflake makes an appearance, but there was one time when my husband was traveling and I had to use the snowblower to clear off our driveway. Snowblowing is usually my husband’s job so needless to say, starting the snowblower and figuring out how it worked is a story in and of itself! But I did it and I started blowing the snow off the driveway, making a huge arc of snow that landed on the lawn. The snowblower was loud and stinky (yuck to gas fumes), but I was determined to prove that I could snowblow as well as I could make hot chocolate.

As I was on my third row, it started snowing again, Just gently that I didn’t notice at first – until a snowflake landed on my eye lash. I could see it clearly, hanging right in front of my eyeball. I stopped the snowblower and immediately, the quiet of the snowfall enveloped me, like a soft blanket. I was the only one out and it was evening, the night already a violet-black. The silent snow softly falling, the smell of crisp cold air – I couldn’t turn the snowblower back on to ruin the simple sacredness of the moment. After standing in the quiet night, my outstretched limbs gathering hundreds of unique snowflakes, I returned the snowblower to the garage and took out the snow shovel. The sh-sh-sh of the shovel was a better accompaniment to the snowflakes’ leisurely orchestra. The hot chocolate could wait but this moment would not.

©️ 2021 iido

F-Words – A Tautogram Haiku

Fake facts finding fools

Fantasy forcing future failures

Funny? Fucked.

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! UPDATE: Thank you to The Mellow Curmudgeon for finding the artist of this fabulous drawing. The artist is Rick Fausto. You can find the original work at https://rickfrausto.com/products/don-the-con.

This haiku was originally going to be a light-hearted, funny little thing using Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #260 – Future as the inspiration and Donna Matthew’s call for tautogram poems at the Go Dog Go Cafe for the structure. However, as often happens with my writing – the poem decides to take a different road.

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.

©️ 2021 iido

The Time Between – A Haibun

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

Image credit; Rodrigo Curi @ Unsplash 
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows the sun setting over the horizon, and in the foreground, you can see rail tracks.

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.

“Art and love are the same thing: It’s the process of seeing yourself in things that are not you.” 
― Chuck Klosterman, Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story

©️ 2020 iido

Yard Art – A Rhyming Nonet

They rush to create despite the cold

Bundled up with layers of clothes

Bright eyes look at fallen snow

Being the first to know

The feel of quiet

They don’t like it

Squeals to start

Make yard

Art

My kids enjoying the first snow of the season…

This poem is dedicated to kids, Gina and all my readers who love the snow. The inspiration for this rhyming nonet is Kate’s Friday Fun prompt from last week – yard art.

Merry Christmas for those celebrating!

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.

©️ 2020 iido

Two Hundred Fifty-three – A Poem

Two hundred fifty-three

A yellow light I see

To yield or slow

At this point,

I don’t know

.

Two hundred fifty-three

It’s a conspiracy

You believe it’s fake

Based on nothing

But the Q-mmunity’s take

.

Two hundred fifty-three

I’ve been waiting patiently

Still so many vote for hate

Guns and chants

Used to manipulate

.

Two hundred fifty-three

Let’s think logically

Mathematics comes through

Because one plus one

Always equals two

.

Two hundred fifty-three

PA’s votes add twenty

Finally…

.

Two hundred SEVENTY-three

Our country ‘tis of thee and me

The voters have spoken

Americans must now unite

And fix what’s been broken

A late submission for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #251 – Mathematics. This was a hard word to wax poetic about, especially as I was quite distracted by the presidential election last week. The electoral votes were stuck on 253 for five whole days! I have to admit, I was glued to CNN, waiting to see if a breakthrough would come at 3 AM. It was all for naught as the votes from Pennsylvania were announced in Joe Biden’s favor relatively early on Saturday night. This poem captures some of my thoughts during this waiting period.

*NOTE: Serendipitously, I did find a news article about how “Math is the ‘Other Winner’ of the Election” so maybe Patrick’s prompt choice was not totally random…..

Grace at dVerse’s Setting the Bar offered a prompt to use Grapheme Color Synesthesia which inspired the 2nd line in the poem, however, I don’t think I truly incorporated it. I will have to go back to this prompt at a later time since the concept does fascinate me.

Despite the announcement from all major news outlets that Joe Biden is the president-elect of the United States of America and Kamala Harris is the first biracial woman vice-president-elect (but not the last as she said in her victory speech), the results won’t be official until the electoral college cast their votes on Dec 14, 2020 and Congress counts the votes and announces the winner on Jan 6, 2021 (did you know this process? I don’t think I ever paid it much attention until this year). So, we can’t fully celebrate yet since this transition period is already looking like it will be fraught with drama – just add it to the numerous stories of why the current White House occupant does not befit the office of the presidency.

I remain hopeful, but still very much sleep deprived. The democratic soul of the United States of America hangs in the balance.

Oh, and the pandemic is still going on ….

©️ 2020 iido

November Lament – A Poem

Oh, why have you lead me here?

My Lord, who I have faithfully followed

Enclosed in darkness

The cold seeping into my bones

There is no where to go

I fear you have left me

With nothing but a single light

Who will see this flame?

Who will hear my lament?

Who will shed a tear

For this wretched servant?

In Your hands, I have placed my life

My future is Yours to decide

I stand ready for Your pronouncement

I am waiting

(My Lord, I am fearful)

I am waiting

(My Lord, I am hopeless)

I am waiting

(My Lord, I am alone)

.

The flame flickers

I follow your whisper

And look up

Image credit; Linus Sandvide@ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows the back of a man who is standing in a dark medieval arch holding a flaming torch in his hand.

Coming in under the wire for Sadje’s What Do You See #53. I was writing this poem and going to a deep, dark place when I noticed the little window at the top. Hope is sometimes hard to see…

I was also able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #250 – Fear. Those deep, dark places can bring fear – fear of the unknown, fear of what we can’t control, fear that can paralyze…

And the last prompt that I was able to use was Beth Amanda’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe to write a piece of poetry to prose using the phrase “in your hands.” I’ve spoken before about how my faith has helped me through this pandemic period As we are nearing Election Day, I’m again leaning into that faith, trusting in God’s Divine Plan, praying for acceptance of that plan…

I don’t know what will happen to the United States of America on Nov. 4th. At this point, I am in that deep, dark place, the flame that burns inside me is sputtering. I’ve written postcards, talked to people about why I support these candidates, volunteered time in organizations that support my vision of the USA. I’ve already hand delivered my ballot. Now, I am waiting and searching for that window…

©️ 2020 iido

Artificial Man – A Limerick

There once was an artificial man

With genteel behaviors, used to scam

The many hearts that he stole

Could never fill his own gaping hole

A scoundrel with a hat in his hand

Image credit; Sean Lee @ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, this image shows a young man lounging against a door jamb with a hat held against his chest. The young man is quite a looker!

This limerick responds to Sadje’s “What do you see” prompt #50. This is milestone! Congratulations, Sadje! I was also able to incorporate Kate’s Friday Fun prompt – artificial. Poetic magic happens with a great word and photo prompt!

Most limericks are funny or irreverent I always think of the one about the the man from the island off Cape Cod, MA. This one is more of a cautionary tale. While I enjoy looking – I’ve learned that some people are just good to look at.

©️ 2020 iido

Free Bird? – A Reverse Nonet

Stuck

Despite

The option

To fly away

Caught in a snapshot

Indecision showing

Trust as fragile as the song

I used to sing at your window

Will you raise your hand to set me free?

Image credit- Evan Clark @ Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a hand extended out with a little bird sitting on it. In the background one can see a lake and it’s shore in distance)

Another busy week, but I didn’t want to miss out on Sadje’s “What do you see?” #49 this week. Birds have often been used as metaphors for life – there is the “canary in the coal mine,” the “bird in a gilded cage,” the “early bird,” and “birds of a feather.” Birds have been featured in songs, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Freebird” and books, such as Maya Angelou’s autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

As the election in the USA gets closer and issues of racial and social justice remain unresolved, I feel even more committed to doing small acts to help preserve this democracy and uphold it’s promise of equality and equity. I’m raising my hand in solidarity.

So between homeschooling/virtual learning, being involved the local election, and keeping up with usual household needs, I’m trying to continue to find the time to write and read and run. Some days, I have to chose what to do. Some days, sleep wins. Some days, I feel like I am doing the right thing for my family and for myself. Some days, I feel like I have accomplished nothing. Some days, I feel like I could be doing more.

Some days, just raising my hand and saying, “Present,” is enough.

©️ 2020 iido

Watercolor Recipes: Ruby Rosette – A Poem

Ruby Rosette and a splash of water

Swirl together

Use for

……….Rhythmic writhing with your soulmate

……….Machines beeping in the hospital

……….Shouting matches (and silent treatments)

Ruby Rosette and two splashes of water

Swirl together

Use for

……….Aromas of newborn babies

……….Skin after being waxed

……….Sunset walks in bare feet

Ruby Rosette and three splashes of water

Swirl together

Use for

……….Slipping on the sidewalk

……….Chores that you don’t like

……….Hard candy

Ruby Rosette and four splashes of water

Swirl together

Use for

……….Deep breaths before trying something new

……….Writhing alone

……….I’m sorries

I really enjoyed thinking about colors and situations for my last poem so I couldn’t resist doing it again for this one. Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #248 – Rosette provided the inspiration for this one. His rosette was from a church in Valencia, Spain. My favorite rosette is the one at the Sacre Couer Cathedral in Paris, however I couldn’t find the picture of it from my last trip there.

Roses are one of my favorite flowers. It’s always a treat when Hubby brings me a “just because” bouquet. My first dozen red roses were from my parents for a musical I was in 8th grade. My other favorite flower are pansies. Both these flowers come in different colors that have various meanings. Rubies only come in one color (obviously) but it can have different shades – from deep red to a more pinkish hue.

Red is life – the color of blood, of passionate anger and passionate love, of store-bought valentine hearts, of dying suns and dying sons. With this pandemic, I’ve had numerous moments where I “saw red.” Bad news coming one right after the other, the constant frustrations of life being not like what it was before, FOMO, weariness and sadness about politics, the climate, wildfires, social injustice, police brutality, racism, and the coronavirus ….AAAARRRRRGGHHHHHH!

Red is life – it comes with soft, velvet petals and sharp, stabbing thorns; it comes with a scent that jogs your memory and requires a response from your head and your heart. Unlike bulls, we can see red. And unlike bulls, we have some control over what we do when we see it.

©️ 2020 iido