Curiosity Two – Another Haiku

Curiosity

An opening of the mind

To the depth of life

Image credit: Evan Clark@ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a person precariously balanced, standing on a fallen tree trunk hanging over a body of water.

As I was writing the title for this poem, I realized that I had another poem with the same title, also inspired by Sadje’s What Do You See. The picture above is from Sadje’s What Do You See #55 and also incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #252 – Opening. I’m curious as to why I’ve had curiosity on my mind recently….

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.

©️ 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

Making Phở – A Poem

She will rise at 5 AM

Finding the ingredients

Laid out on the kitchen counter

Ready for her attention

The bones are gently placed in the pot

The water covers the bones like a flood engulfing islands

The sachet of spices soaks in the stove top hot tub 

Bobbing in circles as it imparts its essential essence

The ginger sizzles with an aromatic burn 

Quickly extinguished as it splashes next to the star anise and daikon radish

The fire is lowered and the waiting begins.

She will watch the sun rise

Remembering your journey

From little boy to grown man

Imagining your journey

From your house to her home.

She will soak the rice noodles when the sun starts to slide

And cut the meat, paper thin

Wincing when the knife gets too close to her fingertips

Two types of onions, chopped, give her an excuse 

To second guess how she has raised you.

Before the moon rises, she will prepare the table

Chopsticks on white napkins

Large bowls filled with 

Softened rice noodles

Raw beef sliced paper thin 

Onions – two kinds.

And when the doorbell rings

And your deep voice reverberates in her womb

She’ll ladle the broth

Steaming with spices

Warmed with ginger

Hearty with marrow

And serve you a bowl

Of her love.

Image credit:

Pisauikan@ Pixabay 

( For the visually challenged

reader, the image shows an

old woman whose face is

deeply lined. There is a faint

smile on her face)

This is a late entry for Sadje’s What Do You See #52. This prompt marks the one year anniversary of Sadje’s What Do You See. Despite the lateness, I wanted to to acknowledge the inspiration Sadje gifts us with her weekly picture prompt. Her observations of “what she saw” over the course of this year are spot on! Thank you, Sadje for stretching our imaginations and sharing our interpretations!

I was also able to include Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #249 – Rise. I’m sure he has a really good excuse for being MIA for month but all that matters is that I’m still on my streak!!

This poem was inspired by my husband’s mom. No, she doesn’t look like the picture of the old Asian woman from Sadje’s prompt. My mother-in-law actually looks quite younger than her almost 70 years on this earth – her skin is smooth, unblemished and her hair retains its thick curls (natural) and black color (bottled). She does wake up at 5 AM to start cooking phở when she knows we will be visiting. It usually takes us 8-10 hours to get to my husband’s hometown and the broth she makes is the first thing we smell when they open the door. Good phở cannot be rushed (believe me, I’ve tried!) and my mother-in-law’s recipe is the best!

My husband is the first of four boys. His brothers are scattered across the United States – we are the second closest to his parents. I remember the first time I visited my husband’s parents in their home – I was really nervous but my mother-in-law made me feel welcomed and promised to share her recipes with me if I married her son. She served phở to us that winter day and ever since then, anytime we would return to my husband’s childhood home, phở is the first meal we would have.

I have often wondered what she thought of the women who came to take her boys far from home. Does she feel replaced? Does she worry if they are taking care of her sons in the same way that she took care of them? Does she enjoy the quiet of the house? Does she miss cleaning up after them? Does she wish they lived closer and visited more often?

I haven’t asked her these questions, but when I think about my own answers to these questions, and think about my kids who aren’t even dating yet being far away from me, my eyes start behaving like I’m chopping onions and I start to think of how I can serve them love in a bowl.

©️ 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

Mama Bear’s Center – A Double Nonet

Your mouth downturned, sadly hiccuping,

Then wailing, your big tears trailing

Down your cheeks, onto your lips

Your body caves inward

Shoulders tight, arms limp

Knees bent and tucked

Rejection

Centered

Hurt

My

Center

Bellows, stomps

Expands to crush

Those who dare to hurt

My Baby Girl weeping

I gather you up and tuck

You under my chin and hold tight

Willing your pain to become my own

My Baby Girl with her Baby Dolls. Picture above ©️ 2020 iido

This double nonet was written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #247 – Center or in Canadian, “Centre”. 😁 I am all caught up with Patrick’s challenge – YAY!

But not-Yay for the “inspiration” for this poem. It’s been a very hard week for “virtual learning” aka “learning from home,” especially for my younger daughter. She misses her friends and dislikes feeling that she is missing out on all the fun stuff of school. Yes, tweens can experience serious FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). Our Montessori school has been playing “catch up” with technology since they were not a high tech school to begin with. Coupled with some internal dysfunction that often arises during times of crisis, her school wasn’t meeting her needs academically or otherwise.

This made my sensitive girl very upset – she excels in school and the feeling of disconnect was very destabilizing for her. Despite her attempts at communicating with the teachers, nothing was done to address these problems. While I certainly sympathize with the stress and pressure that teachers are currently under, no one – NO ONE – has the right to disregard and disrespect my child.

Mama Bear drank some coffee and readied for battle.

If you are a parent, you know the pain of witnessing your child be in pain, whether physical, emotional or mental. Sometimes they have to endure it – sometimes they should endure it (especially if it is an outcome of a bad decision on their part). But as a parent, if I can protect my child from pain or take it away from them, I do – I have – and I always will.

Maybe this makes me one of those entitled parents. I feel that parents of color (as well as parents of kids with different abilities), when we are advocating for our kids, we are often seen as entitled, demanding, troublemakers. Unsurprisingly, another child (white, female) who was experiencing the same issue as my daughter, had her concerns addressed compassionately and immediately. You don’t want to think about what other factors might come into play, but that is always in the back of my mind. I wanted to make sure my girl knew that even if racism was in play, that she shouldn’t settle for something less than what she deserved.

In the end, we did reach a resolution and hopefully these improvements will be implemented next week.

Mama Bear will be watching…..

****

I could not post this on September 11, 2020 and not pay tribute to the lives lost on this date, 19 years ago. Like most people, I can remember where I was when I heard the news about the first plan crashing into the Twin Towers. I remember everything about that day.

Growing up in New York, I have very fond memories of the Twin Towers. I’ve lain down on the pavement between the towers and watched the sky turn behind the towers, making for a dizzying and awe-inspiring experience (this is what nerdy high schoolers did back in the day). I’ve been to the top and marveled at the busy beauty that is New York City. The news reports, the pictures of the horrors of that day are now also etched in my mind.

9-11-01 Never Forget….

©️ 2020 iido

Hot Air Rises – A Nonet

Their fire exhaling passionate hope

Their dreams hidden in wickered hearts

No thorns to cause them to pop

Captured in weightless bulbs

Cloudless promises

Reaching higher

So many

So close

Rise

Ian Dooley- Unsplash
( For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a sky full of hot air balloons in various colors. The nearest one shows a couple in the basket with an operator)

This nonet was written for Sadje’s What do you see? photo prompt #45 (hopefully not too late!). I also was able to incorporate Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #246 – Thorns.

I loved this image of hot air balloons rising. We have a hot air balloon company near us who take off from the local airport. My kids have loved seeing them float over our house. One time they got close enough that when we waved, the people in the basket waved back.

Hot air ballooning has always intrigued me. But it has also terrified me – flying high in the sky in a small basket, subject to the whims of wind. There are only two choices – sit at the bottom of the basket and try not to hyperventilate with fear, or stand up, turn your face to the wind and enjoy the scenery.

With the pandemic still going strong and the upcoming election, I’ve struggled with this choice. But the blue skies have been beckoning me…enjoy the ride and let my hope ride….

©️2020 iido

Steps for Change – A Poem and Runfession #13, August 2020

The symmetry of my steps

Echo on the pavement

Right. . . . . . .Left

Right. . . . . . . Left

Right. . . . . . .Left

Right. . . . . . .Left

Echo the beat of my heart

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . . .Thump

Thump. . . . .Thump

Echo the tears that fall

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

Drip. . . . . . .Drop

When I see the signs

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Left. . . . . . .Rights

Of the dismantling 

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Thump. . . . . Trump

Of our democratic society

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Go. . . . . . .Vote

Hello! Hello! I’m catching up with Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge prompts (because you know – STREAK!!). This one is #245 – Symmetry. If you need some breathtaking visual inspiration, Patrick’s website is the place to check out!

I am also catching up with my running this week. Thank goodness for Marcia’s Healthy Slice Runfessions! I’m late for the the link-up, but please check out her site if you need some running motivation! Here’s my runfession for August.

Forgive me, Nike, for I have sinned….

I runfess….I am taking Nike’s timeless motto, “Just Do It,” as my mantra this month. I’ve been heading to the basement and running/walking on the treadmill for at least 30 minutes this week. Even if I can only manage a slow walk, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I still have laundry to fold and dishes to wash, I’m getting on the treadmill. Even if I really just want to sit on the couch and watch TV, I’m going on the treadmill. I’m just doing it!! Because….

I runfess…I didn’t get my 100 miles in August so I’m trying again in September. The stress of deciding about school and getting ready for virtual learning really depleted my energy in August. I wasn’t sleeping well (I’m still not) and I wasn’t eating healthy (I’m still not) and I wasn’t working out (at least I’m doing that now!). So, if at first you don’t succeed….

I runfess…I haven’t been running outside for two reasons: one – doing virtual learning with the kids means that I am house bound with them. This feels somewhat worse than during the pandemic shelter-in-place earlier this year. We’re doing the same thing, but it just feels wrong – this isn’t how September should be! It’s back to school time and leaf peeping time and fall races time – not sit in front of a computer and see your friends through a small screen time. It makes me angry and sad at the same time which makes being at home difficult…..

Reason number two…..

I runfess…between the pandemic and the upcoming election in the USA, I am glad that I’m doing most of my running on the treadmill. There are numerous political signs up in my neighborhood – the biggest ones support the current administration. It is disheartening that despite everything that has happened – the lies, the lack of science based leadership addressing the pandemic, the inciting of violence, the continued marginalizing of people (whether by skin color, ethnic background, religion, sexual orientation, gender, ability) – people still support the 45th president of the USA. I feel fearful and tearful when I see those signs. It wouldn’t be a good thing for my mental health to keep passing those signs when I’m running by myself. Which brings me to…..

I runfess…it was hard to keep positive this past month. It’s like that point in running a marathon when you think you’ve been running forever and that the finish line is almost there and then you see the mile marker and realize you’re still so far away….

This is why I haven’t signed up for a 50K……yet….. But….

September RESET is in full swing!!! My feet and fingers are moving!! The rest of my body will get there….I’m also going to make sure to catch up on some of your lovely words here on the WordPress blogosphere. That’s going to be much better for my mental health!

And if you live in the USA – please be sure you’re signed up to VOTE this November!!

©️ 2020 iido

Radiance Reviewed – A Poem

My radiance suffers

when I don’t sleep

and the bags under my eyes

carry tears and worries.

.

My radiance suffers

when I eat sour cream pringles

and bagels with cream cheese

then bemoan the cheese on my thighs.

.

My radiance suffers

when I have three kids on my one lap

and I don’t have enough

eyes and ears to share.

.

My radiance suffers

when I am googling and scrolling

and shoveling crap into my brain and soul

thinking it’s fertilizer instead of just shit.

.

My radiance suffers

when I don’t talk to an adult

besides with my thumbs

that can’t differentiate between sarcasm and snark.

.

My radiance suffers

My light gets dimmer

My flame flickers

But maybe

It is not my time to shine….

Playing catch up as the school year starts! There won’t be any “alone time” this year since my kids will all be learning from home so I’m trying to “find time” when I can. Right now, time is waiting in line for take out.

This poem was written for Patrick’s Pic and A Word Challenge #244 – Radiance. I’m a week or two behind but I’m committed to this streak!

Life is anything but radiant right now, so like reading and writing and running, I’m trying to find the glimmers when I can. My friend calls this “find grace” – for myself and others – during this time. It really does help find the “shine” in the heavy dullness of living during a pandemic. It’s the hope that I’m clinging to. It’s the priorities that I am mindfully choosing. It’s the gratitude for blessings that I am counting.

So while I may not yet be back to regular posts…I’m still here… and I appreciate your time in reading this….

©️ 2020 iido