Motherhood’s Constant Companion – A Poem’s

We stole down the stairs
Avoiding the creaky steps
Wedge heels in hand
I check my image in the mirror –
High waisted dark jeans to hold in the pouch
Three-quarter sleeves peasant blouse
Hiding all the upper jiggly parts

Hearing a honk, I exit the side door
I shouldn’t have been surprised that you jumped in the car with me
You weren’t even dressed
But you fit right in with the others
Crowding the car with talk of our escapes
And the reasons we decided to leave tonight

At the bar, even a few drinks didn’t convince you
That you should have stayed home tonight
Instead, you hugged me tighter
Constricting my heart
Keeping my thoughts on what I left behind

I looked at all the women who were alone at the bar
Talking candidly with friends
Accepting drinks from soon-to-be friends
Their jeans hung at their narrow hips
Their blouses baring the firmness of their inexperience

I look away, an awkward Cinderella who can’t wait for the clock to strike

Finally, heading home, pretending this was like old times
Despite the look of relief on all our faces
Knowing that we survived having you with us tonight

Oh Guilt,
Born the minute we heard our child’s first cry…
Motherhood’s Constant Companion

Back to school season has so many meanings and emotions for mothers. So Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #202 – Mothers is so apropos! The picture I have used above was taken from Patrick’s prompt as well. I had originally thought to use a picture of mine but this photo of Patrick’s tugged at me. The innocent trust that children automatically give to their mothers (and fathers) is such a great gift but at times can also feel like a burden called guilt.

This poem was inspired by a recent MNO (Moms Night Out) – it was a spontaneous evening which was good and bad. I didn’t have time to really prepare the kids for my going out and that also meant, I didn’t have time to practice my mental gymnastics to justify leaving my kids and hubby for the night. Mom guilt is a real thing!

©️ iido 2019

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The Caged Bird Caterwauls – A Pantoum

I know why the caged bird sings
Sour sweet melodies of human maladies
Vibrating out into the fractured world
There is no accompanying harmony

Sour sweet melodies of human maladies
Poetic squawks implored yet ignored by broken ears
There is no accompanying harmony
When the free birds don’t want change

Poetic squawks implored yet ignored by broken ears
She caterwauls until the cage shatters
When the free birds don’t want change
Her powerful voice portends the power of action

She caterwauls until the cage shatters
Vibrating out into the fractured world
Her powerful voice portends the power of action
This is why the caged bird sings*

A late response to Patrick’s Pic and a Word #201 – Fractured this week. Patrick’s poem about “fractured memories altered with time…[manipulated] to serve the present” stumped me for a while. His words ring true – especially since truth seems like such a rare commodity these days. Even the priest at my church today spoke of the importance of truth and to stay away and not believe the “King of Lies” (aka the Devil or Satan).

Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt asked the question: Does poetry make a difference? My response with this poem is a resounding “YES!” especially when poetry speaks one’s truth and leads to action. How many speeches delivered by great civil rights leaders and activists read and sound like poetry? How many of their words inspired and strengthened and called to action people who might have otherwise stood by the sidelines? Conversely, how many poets have written/spoken words that inspired and strengthened and called to action? One such poet was Maya Angelou.

The first and last line of this pantoum is the same* (as the form requires) and comes from Maya Angelou’s literary autobiography of the same name. This book is part of the Feminist Book Title Challenge from Christine at Brave and Reckless. Maya Angelou (1928-2014) was a poet/writer/activist whose words and work centered the reality and truth of her African American female experience. Her poem, “Still I Rise,” is my current mantra especially after reading about the recent incidents of gun violence perpetrated by white supremacists in the USA, as well as the unfettered proliferation of anti-immigrant policies.

Maya Angelou also wrote a poem titled, “Caged Bird” (1983), which has the following refrain:

The caged bird sings with a fearful trill 
Of things unknown but longed for still 
And his tune is heard on the distant hill for 
The caged bird sings of freedom. 

* Edited 8/27/2019

I changed the last line of the poem from the original “I know why the caged bird sings” to its current form “This is why the caged bird sings.” While I know it breaks the Pantoum form, I felt the message (of the need for poets to continue to raise their voices especially in times of injustice) superseded the form. I hope you agree! (If not, please let me know! The editing process is a continuous one….😁).

©️ iido 2019

The Cure – Not the Band but a Double Dizain

For sale! The Ultimate Cure for your ills
It removes pride, hatred, entitlement
It heals hearts and minds as your soul, it fills
But I don’t say this for my amusement
In fact, that’s the cure for Life’s excrement

Put on your fun pants, ignore the pshaw
Start with a titter, a chuckle, guffaw
The wheels start turning when you realize
That laughter, the cure-all, relaxes your jaw
So smile in the face of what you despise

This isn’t snake oil but conflict detox
Holster your words, your glares, your fist and gun
Your howl of hilarity will outfox
The zombies who follow the orange one
Mark Twain said laughter is the best weapon

Stockpile some toothbrushes, toothpaste and mints
Practice your giggles and comedy stints
Change what you can then get your wheels churning
Let the arc on your face leave its imprint
The laughing cure keeps the world from burning

This double dizain (that is, two back-to-back dizains – I may have made this form up…) is my response to Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #200 – Wheels and Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt to write a poem about what would happen if there was a “world-wise detoxification event, an international soul healing day” that would “unite [us/the world] in letting go of the hatreds, resentments, and pains that define so many of us and that we’ve inherited.”

This poem did not come together until I read this blog post from Shaun Jex @stoopkid entitled “Manifesto”. Shaun introduced me to this quote from Mark Twain:

Will a day come when the race will detect the funniness of these juvenilities and laugh at them–and by laughing at them destroy them? For your race, in its poverty, has unquestionably one really effective weapon–laughter. Power, Money, Persuasion, Supplication, Persecution–these can lift at a colossal humbug,–push it a little– crowd it a little–weaken it a little, century by century: but only Laughter can blow it to rags and atoms at a blast. Against the assault of Laughter nothing can stand.
– “The Chronicle of Young Satan,” Mysterious Stranger Manuscripts

This reminded me of the “Man in the Green Shirt” who went viral a few weeks ago and as well as the Pop Mob who used humor to diffuse the alt-right demonstrators in Portland, OR (you can read about Pop Mob’s counter-demonstration efforts here).

Of course, it’s not as easy as telling a few jokes and sharing laughter to solve the world’s problems. But imagine if it can be…so wear a smile today and tomorrow and the next day….it’s free and you don’t even need a prescription!

©️ iido 2019

A Parisian Tale of Loss – A Dizain

This tale that I tell of sorrow and loss
Arrives at this place that poets still love
At the cafe, eyes convey their pathos
While ours frantically seek pray’rs from above
Have we lost that je ne sais quoi? Sort of…
No more sweet kisses stolen by the Seine
Covered in dust are my notebook and pen
Little voices clamor for attention
Our passions still strong but shown less often
The loss is tempered by Love’s additions

This Dizain was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word #199 – Loss, for Beth’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go Cafe (use the words “poet” and “pen”) and for this month’s d’Verse Poetry Form Challenge. How fitting that the dizain poetry form has French origins as this one was inspired by our trip to Paris.

The last time I was here was when my then boyfriend, now husband proposed to me at the top of the Eiffel Tower. It was his “grand gesture” and one of my most fondest memories. We ate rich foods, drank delicious wine and sat in cafes for hours savoring our cafe au lait.

This trip included our children so there weren’t any long hours savoring a little cup of coffee. The food was still good but our wine consumption was limited to gulping down a glass of wine in between managing melt downs and sibling disputes.

I don’t know what I had expected from this trip, but I do know that what I lost from a couple standpoint, I gained from a family viewpoint, and I loved every minute of it!

I think Patrick said it best in his poem for this prompt:

The joys once lived
Remain in our memories
And in our hearts

In the empty spaces
Something new, perhaps
Something new to love

©️ iido 2019

Broken Beacon – A Senryu

The beacon of Home

Broken by guns, money, hate

We have lost our way

This senryu was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word #198 – Beacons.

If this mini Statue of Liberty location doesn’t look familiar to you, it may be because it is located in Paris, France, just a few minutes walk from the Eiffel Tower. We are on vacation and in light of the two shootings that happened in the USA and after reading Fandango’s spot on assessment (in my opinion) on these happenings and dealing with a bot scraping my blog…it seems that the world is lost in more ways than one….

©️ 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

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