The Invitation – A Trenta Sei

Invitation hung overhead

Immobilized, I can only stare

Insistence dressed in red

Urging me to take the dare

What will happen if I open

Adventures to make my heart soften

Immobilized, I can only stare

Yet slowly, my hand grabs the prize

My heartbeat skips as I tear

Deliberate actions, my disguise

With breath held, my eyes scan

An exhale discovers the grand plan

Insistence dressed in red

Has worn me down to my delight

Tickets and suitcase are on the bed

Hurry, pack then catch the flight

No need to bring so much stuff

A dress and a dream will be enough

Urging me to take the dare

My furrowed brow contrasts your smile

You grab the bag and my hand with care

I hope my trust is not juvenile

This trip, a leap, my fear returns

Should I deny my heart that yearns?

What will happen if I open

This door to a place unknown

What will it say on my coffin

If they knew that I had thrown

An opportunity to transcend my fear

What will I find in a different hemisphere?

Adventures to make my heart soften

To see, eat and feel something new

This dream I have had often

So fears – I bid you adieu 

With love and trust I spread my wings

Ready for the adventure this invitation brings

Image credit: Simona Sergi @ Unsplash. For the visually challenged reader, this image shows an envelope hanging by a white tread. In the background there is a house entrance.

Image credit: Timur Kozmenko. For the visually challenged reader, this is an image of a girl dressed in a red swirling frock walking towards open gates. The gates are very tall and appear to be Asian in origin. From the open gate you can see mountains visible through a cloudy sky.

Sometimes you see or read or hear something that you know would make a good poem or a good story, yet it doesn’t coalesce until something else brings it together. This was the case for me with this poem. Sadje had two beautiful pictures for her What do you see #64 and What do you see #65 (links are to her round-up posts so you can read all the wonderful submissions for these prompts). I loved the pop of red in each picture! The pictures seemed to be connected and, since I missed the deadline for the first prompt, I wanted to bring their stories together for this past week. Alas, the words and ideas were not fitting together.

I had almost given up when I ran across an unfamiliar poetry form called the “trenta sei” introduced by Donna Matthews at the Go Dog Go Cafe. Viola! The story came together and I think the cascade feature of the trenta sei form really worked with this poem.

Fear, bravery and prudence have been themes that we’ve discussed as a family during this pandemic time. We don’t want to live our lives in fear of this coronavirus, however should we be brave and risk getting sick or practice prudence and abide with all the pandemic precautions? I know every family has to take their own individual circumstances into consideration, yet it makes it difficult when my definition of bravery or prudence conflicts with someone else’s. For example, my kids have been asking about play dates because their friends are now going on play dates. But unless the playdates are outside with masks, my answer has been no – it’s winter so unfortunately for my kids….(sigh)….

What I wouldn’t give to get back the days when being brave meant trying the level 7 spice instead of the level 3 or signing up for that ballroom dancing class or traveling to a new and different part of the world…

©️ 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

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

Watercolor Recipes: Sapphire Stardust – A Poem

Sapphire stardust and one drop of water

Use for

……….Deep ocean souls

………..Waterfall daredevils

……….Getting lost on purpose

Sapphire stardust and two drops of water

Use for

……….The scent of early morning air

……….Skin after a run

……….Stretching after an afternoon nap

Sapphire stardust and three drops of water

Use for

……….Clouds resting on soft grass

……….Campfires on summer nights

……….Listening to the song from your first dance

Sapphire stardust and four drops of water

Use for

……….Prayers whispered into tissues

……….Crying babies

……….Dying breaths

Image credit- Elena Mozhvilo- Unsplash 
( For the visually challenged readers, the image shows an incomplete watercolor on open pages of a notebook. There are tubes of colors next to it and some painting paraphernalia )

Another beautiful picture for Sadje’s “What do you see?” prompt #47. I love the colors in the picture and all the details (the skull filled with mysterious amber liquid can be a whole story all by itself) certainly brought to mind many different ideas. In the end, it was Beth Amanda’s from the Go Dog Go Cafe that brought this poem together. She posted the Tuesday Writing Prompt to use the phrase, “sapphire stardust”.

My birthday is in September so sapphires, which is the birthstone for the month, has always had special meaning for me. Blue is my favorite color, especially deep blue with a touch of black it. I don’t know the artistic name of that blue, but “sapphire stardust with one drop of water” would work!

Like everything else this year, birthdays seem like they shouldn’t be celebrated. This year, I’m thinking about giving on my birthday instead of receiving. I usually love having a day (or two) just for myself, but sharing seems to be a more appropriate way of marking another turn around the sun. Maybe next September will be a “sapphire dust with two drops of water” type of year….

©️ 2020 iido

The Power of Sand – A Haiku Sonnet

Vast expanse looming 

Single disconnected grains 

Hour glass ticking 

.

The tiniest rock

Carries the heaviest weight

Strength alone ebbing

.

Frustrated steps sink

Grains claw in supplication

Prayer time ending

.

One is annoyance

Millions demand attention

A sand storm brewing

.

Vast problems challenge

Connecting into action

Image credit: Dan Grinwis- Unsplash 
(For visually challenged reader, the image shows a person walking in a desert, dwarfed by huge sand dunes. A long line of their footsteps can be seen behind them)

Squeaking in under the wire of Sadje’s What do you see? #46. The picture above might seem hopeless, scary to some – a figure alone in the desert. But to me, I felt envious of the time to be alone, to walk and think, to feel the heat on my skin and the notice the individual grains of sand beneath my feet.

I know this feeling is because of all the “family time” we have been having. I never realized how much I enjoyed having time to myself until those opportunities were curtailed with this pandemic. I grew up in a family where we were together all the time so I actually don’t mind all the togetherness, but since having a taste of time alone when all the kids were in school last year…being able to sit in a silent house is definitely a luxury I enjoy!

But this poem had another inspiration with Kate’s Friday Fun Prompt – Vastness and Donna Matthew’s Poetry Form Challenge on the Go Dog Go Cafe to try a Haiku Sonnet. I love form challenges. I used the traditional American syllable form for my haikus. It’s still brief enough for me (LOL – if you haven’t noticed I do tend to be wordy so the use of forms is definitely a challenge)!

The idea of vastness though, like being alone, can be hopeless and scary sometimes. But Kate writes:

spaciousness or vastness often opens our minds
especially if we are feeling tightness or fear

Writing this poem made me think of all the things I am afraid to do alone, but that are easier to do with others. As the old adage states: there is strength in numbers, strength in being together – whether with friends or family.

Creating vastness also means creating space for others to join you. If we are closed in – physically, mentally, emotionally – we won’t have the space for others – other people, other ideas, other experiences.

With all the discord in our world today, creating space for togetherness seems to be one solution.

©️ 2020 iido

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

This Road – A Poem

I want this road to be left untaken

No need to explore the path forsaken

Cover your mouth, don’t be in awe

Follow the rules and withdraw

A cough, a fever, not rats or fleas

Are hallmarks of this deadly disease

To stop it, we need to change our lives

If on this road, we must survive 

For if you chance to take the step

One breath outside can become regret

IMG_4623

So…Social Distancing…I’m writing this from the prerequisite 6 feet away…

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #223 – Untaken and #224 – Awe. No virus is going to keep me from my streak!! Also, for GDG Tuesday writing prompt to “write a piece of prose around the question: How do we stay focused when the world around us is falling apart?”.  

So seriously, how is everyone doing? I’ve been caught off-guard with how fast everything is happening here in the USA, at least in my area.  I am not a fast mover (in running as well as in other aspects of my life). I am also one who needs the time to process change in order to fully accept the changes in my life – that’s why I’ve always gone to therapy during my big life changes (graduating college, getting married, the deaths and births of my children).  This isn’t a possibility right now so I have had to rely on my own “self-therapy” – which is OK, but nothing beats being able to talk to another person.

I think that’s been hardest part about social distancing – I am a social creature!! I gain energy from being with people and it keeps me from getting too caught up in my own head.  

True, I am blessed to have my family with me. My children have actually adapted to being “homeschooled” despite my lackluster skills at being an academic teacher.  We are on a schedule which includes doing chores and staying active. All good…on the surface…but I know the stress and fear of the uncertainty has been weighing on me and I worry how all of this is affecting my children.

So, I’m thinking “fake it ’til we make it” is going to be my new mantra! I’m going to catch up on my blog reading – I know you all have much better writings for me to read than the news! Art in all it’s forms may not be the antidote to this virus, but it will be the hot soup, the snuggly blanket and the social and emotional connection that will get us through this.

 

(c) 2020 iido

Mama vs Mars – A Haibun

On this day, fourteen years ago, the God of War thrust his sword into my abdomen and stole the apples of my eyes. Like his namesake planet, I was left cold, and barren with crusted blood like iron red rust covering my once life filled belly.

On this day, fourteen years ago, I declared, “Let there be storms!” and created a maelstrom of wind and tears, anger and confusion, sadness and frustration. The storms ate the comforting, yellow sun, the brave, blue skies, the protective purple rains and the just-for-fun rainbows. The storms raged and the war commenced.

Waiting out the storm

I eat Istakhar Apples

Spring’s peace is hard-won

Happy 14th Birthday!

While this is not a traditional haibun, it does incorporate the prompt from Frank at dVerse to use Mars in a haibun. I was also able to include Anmol’s dVerse poetics request time write a poem that included apples and it’s mythologies. The links to the “apple stories” I have used are included in the actual poem.

Lastly, I was able to use Beth’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe. Her prompt was the phrase, “Let there be storms”. The god of war, the red planet, apples and storms – mix together with a dash of angst and pinch of nature and voila! Haibun!

March 4 is the birthday of my twins, Lucas and Larissa, who were born at 22 weeks and didn’t survive. We have always celebrated their birthday with a cake. This haibun captures a bit of the anger and sadness that comes with losing children, as well, the bittersweet aftermath of living with the reality of this grief.

©️ 2020 iido

America – A Short Story

Looking out my back door, I tried to keep my breathing steady. It had been twenty-four hours since Mamá said goodbye. She had walked me to the school door instead of just dropping me off. She had given me an extra long hug and whispered, “Hay una sorpresa para ti, in your lunchbox,” before letting me go and walking quickly down the steps so she wouldn’t be late for work.

I had entered the school and didn’t give her another thought. Until she didn’t come home for dinner. And she wasn’t in the kitchen making arroz con chorizo on Saturday morning. And now it was Saturday evening.

I walked into the living room and picked up my cell phone. I tapped the “news” icon and watched the app launch. I saw it then, a picture of the factory where she worked. Mamá was coming out of the front door, flanked by two men in dark clothing, carrying guns, and wearing bullet proof vests that had the three scariest letters in the entire English language.

I-C-E

Mamá was still wearing the gloves she used for cleaning, her hair was mussed, the curly tendrils like a crown of ivy on her head. The headline said, “The first day of school turned into a nightmare after record immigration raids.” I sat on the couch, my heart rate increasing.

“No te preocupes,” Mamá would say when I whispered my fears to her. “Tengo fe in this nation.”

Mamá might have faith in this country, but I no longer did.

The photo above was taken by Patrick for his Pic and a Word Challenge #216 – America. I’ve also incorporated other prompts from this last week: Go Dog Go Cafe’s Tuesday Writing Prompt to use the word “ice” and the number “twenty four”; and the Ragtag Daily prompt for Saturday – Nation (Thank you, Punam!), Thursday – Looking out my back door and Wednesday – Goodbye.

This story is based on a true story of an immigration raid in Mississippi that occurred on the first day of school in 2019 – so it isn’t really “fiction”, hence the title. The children, of the immigrants who were taken, were not picked up from school and had no way of knowing what happened to their parents. I can only imagine the terror of those children – losing a parent is a big fear for any child. This incident also reminded me of the way the Jewish people were rounded up by the Nazis. Is this what America has become?

©️ 2020 iido