The Dinner – Prosery

The wine did not matter. Nor the decadent dinner of lobster and steak. Not even the flowers with their heady scent. And not the sunlight highlighting your cheekbones and good breeding.

You hand me a package and when I open it and look crestfallen. You explain, “It is the moon wrapped in brown paper.” Your face was full of pride and expectation. 

“But darling,” I say, ”I had asked for fish and chips wrapped in newspaper, with malt vinegar and salt to sting my lips for you to kiss and tongue turn to tingle.”

“You deserve more than cold fish and soggy chips,” you counter. “How can I compare your beauty to fried food? I am a man of means and I mean to give you the best.”

I shake my head, the silence steeping the air and the realization sinking into my heart.

Image credit: Olga Solodilova Unsplash 
For the visually challenged reader, this image shows a couple dining. The man has a glass of wine in his hand and he is looking at his companion. The woman is staring the other way, holding a few long stem flowers.

Early for Sadje’s What do you see #121 but late for d’Verse Prosery with Björn’s prompt to use the line “It is a moon wrapper in brown paper” in a 144 word piece of prose. If I really wanted to stretch it, this writing also fulfills d’Verse’s Tuesday Poetics for an un-Valentine’s Day Poem theme however it is prose and not a poem so that may disqualify it. With my aversion to Valentine’s Day, I was quite happy to see these prompts.

Yes, it’s true – I am not a big fan of Valentine’s Day. I am a big fan of chocolates but this day just seems so superficial to me. I am especially not a big fan of kids bringing in valentines to school. At least at my children’s school, they make all the kids bring in a valentine for each kid in the class. Gone are the days of worrying that you wouldn’t get a valentines in your shoebox mailbox. Maybe that is where my aversion to this holiday comes from.

There is just something so artificial about this day. Why are kids – who have no notion of romantic love – even celebrating this day? Why are we forcing them to proclaim love (or even friendship) to kids who may be mean to them? Plus, all that pink and red and white paper and glitter that will just pollute the earth. And the candy and sweets! We still have Halloween candy and now more comes in.

One blessing of this pandemic, for me, was the chance to stop and be more thoughtful about what I was doing and why. I’m now looking at what my family is doing and asking that same question. What are we doing and why are we doing it?

© iido 2022

Song and Dance in the City – A Haibun

Ubers honk as they make their way through crowded city streets. Buses slowly rumble past. Delivery bikes ring bells of warning. But in this corner of the street, only the divine laughter of a fortuitous meeting can be heard. 

It started off as the dance of strangers trying to occupy the same space. It could have become a “West Side Story” type tango, but a smirk of good humor turned the would-be spectacle into a delicious salsa of dialogue. Understanding swayed in the gentle arms of laughter. Commonality cha-cha-chatted with disparity, a note-worthy syncopation that made the conversation a harmony amidst the city’s melody. 

The new friends did not wear Pollyanna’s rose-colored spectacles of previous generations. They knew this relationship must be protected, like amber sealing off a cut in a tree. What insects caught in the resin, could be analyzed later, but for now,  the enjoyment of this opportune meeting – whether through kismet or serendipity –  resounds in the city streets.

Amidst city sounds

The divine dance of friendship

Sways to laughter’s song

Image credit: Jed Villigo @ Unsplash
For the visually challenged reader, this image shows three young men standing on a city street and laughing at a shared joke. Two of men are Black and one, holding scooter handles, is white.

A (late) submission for Sadje’s What Do You see #119. This haibun was also inspired by the picture she chose for WDYS #118. I’ve been experiencing writers’ block the past week or so, so while these images brought many ideas to my mind, I wasn’t able to put them all together until now. Patrick’s Pic and Word Challenge #300 – City, #299 – Amber, #298 – Divine and #297 – Spectacle also served as inspiration, tying all my thoughts into this haibun.

The past few weeks have definitely been roller-coaster of happenings, bringing with it the ups and downs of emotions. Physically – it’s been all up – I completed a January Step Challenge with my running group, She RUNS this Town (formerly known as Moms RUN this Town, but changed to the pronoun for inclusivity since not all members are moms). My team won 1st place which was totally awesome! We were consistently getting over 20K steps a day – well, not me, but my teammates did which is amazing! I’ve started the Taji100 (100 miles in February to support veterans) and am currently in 3rd place in my age group for my state.

Emotionally – it’s been mostly down – my good friend suddenly lost her mother to COVID, we’ve also had numerous COVID infections at our church which has made my work there difficult, we’ve had several good friends also come down with COVID and now my daughter is sick with strep throat (thank goodness it’s not COVID!). I am trying to be like that tree with the cut, letting amber flow out to seal it off and trap whatever insects (aka stress) caused the cut to analyze for later.

February is Black History Month in the USA so this photo of two Black men talking to a white man really captured my interest. As you might know. the issue of racism is still very prevalent here in the USA, as evidenced by the killing of Ahmaud Arbery (which I’ve written about here and here), George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people in 2020. Now, some Americans are in an uproar about Critical Race Theory (even erroneously thinking that Black History Month is part of CRT) which takes away from actually addressing the issues of racism and working towards equity and yes, friendship – or at least, respectful connection – between people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Diversity is a strength. Being empathetic is a strength. Being able to laugh in the midst of trying times is a strength. Can we find strength to be the harmony?

©️ 2022 iido

Keeping Her Resolution – A Quadrille and Runfession #17, January 2022

She is heard before seen

Her breathing huh-huh-huh heavy 

As if suffocating on the cold air

Yet not actually dying 

Puffs of effort-filled mist 

Emanating from her open mouth 

Her chicken-plucked skin shivering 

Despite the winter sun

No sweat to prove

Her dedicated determination

Guess who this quadrille is about?

I started writing this poem last week but didn’t get a chance to finish and lost the original “essence’ of what I was going to write. Thank goodness for Merrill’s d’Verse Quadrille #144 prompt – Shiver for getting me back on track! I also have to give props to Björn for his response, “Afterward” and to Kate for her response, “Quiver” to this prompt that set my wheels turning again! Check out “Mr. Linky” for other wonderful shivering submissions! NOTE: I did “cheat” a little with my hyphenated words which I counted as one word to make the 44 word limit. Merrill – will you let that slip buy? I’ll buy you a drink at the d’Verse bar! 😉

So, obviously the “she” in this quadrille is me! This my first Runfession of 2022 but my 17th Runfession blog post since I started doing them in 2019. My last Runfession was actually in January of 2021 – so it has been a year that I’ve been on my running hiatus. Yikes!! Now the huffing and puffing make sense!

You can’t tell from the picture, but it was a pretty cold day when I decided to do a short and quick outdoor interval run. But the sun was out and I had set a goal for myself to restart running/walking/moving of any kind this month.

I have to admit, getting back to running has been hard especially due to my knee injury which hasn’t fully resolved. I’m trying to take it easy and focus on form and (time) endurance rather than speed and mileage. It’s a different way of running, a different idea of myself as a runner but if I want to keep running, this is what I have to do. Slow and steady wins the race, right? Right?…

Also linking to Marcia’s Health Slice, originator of the Runfession.

©️ 2022 iido

The Muse Despairs – A Quadrille

In a cavern

My muse languishes.

Beside her

A broken paddle,

And smashed frame.

Her voice blusters,

A construct of words without meaning

The how of creation

Forgotten in the wake of her shipwreck.

Without poetry,

My muse readies herself

For the long goodnight.

This photo was taken somewhere in Nevada – we had stopped at a place with underground caverns.
The coolness was a relief from the heat outside. I can’t remember the name now, but I remember the feeling.

A double achievement today – and maybe proof that my muse is alive and well! First, this poem which was inspired by De Jackson’s dVerse Monday Quadrille prompt to write a poem of 44 words incorporating the word “muse.” I have to admit, I had forgotten it was quadrille Monday and had written a lovely yet longer poem which I then had to cut down to 44 words. Hopefully, I chose the right 44 words to keep!

Secondly, I am almost caught up with keeping my streak for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge! Well, if a streak could zig zag and backtrack and then move forward…what do you say, Patrick? I’ve incorporated #296 – Bluster, #288 – Wakes, #282 – Cavern, #281 – Paddle, #280 – Construct, #279 – Frame, #278 – Creation and #276 – Poetry. As a blogger, consistency is key so I am quite proud of my efforts in keeping this streak going.

The muse may be despairing in this quadrille, however, I have to admit, I am feeling quite the opposite. Maybe it’s because it’s a new year…maybe it’s because I am writing again and reconnecting with all of you and reading all the wonderful bloggers that I have missed in the past few months…maybe it’s because I have also started running again….maybe it’s because all these maybes mean potential and potential is hope…and if ever there was a better muse to muse about, it would be Hope.

©️ 2022 iido

The Encounter – A Double Nonet

Struggling so hard to grow in this world

Reaching and stretching to the sun

Pushing between the stone cracks

Swaying in the warm breeze

Standing tall and free

Fragrant beauty

Beckoning

A touch

Sweet

Small

Tender

Curious

With gentleness

Feeling nature’s strength 

Wrapped in delicate green

Pink softness walks quietly

Whiskered and furry ball of purr

Sharing in a similar struggle

Image credit: Dimhou @ Pixabay
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a black and white kitten playing with a green flower-bearing shoot growing in between the paving stones.

This adorable photo from Sadje’s What Do You See # 115 inspired this double nonet. I thought the form lent itself to the idea of a meeting between two different entities.

Writing this poem made me think a lot about other encounters I have had in the past years and how they’ve changed. Making small talk with a stranger used to be so easy, but now, this act seems “risky,” fraught with suspicion and caution. Do I strike up a conversation with the unmasked person in line with me? How do I do that if they can’t see my smile behind my mask? How do we signal to each other that we are open, “curious with gentleness” – that we want to get to know them and not to judge them? Tenderness and compassion seem to be in such short supply lately. When will we realize that we all share in a similar struggle?

©️ 2022 iido

Resolution – A Haibun

There is no chill in the air despite the manger-as-cradle being filled by The Babe. Maybe this was the real climate during the first Noel? Mary and Joseph traveled to the rocky hills of Bethlehem in Palestine where she gave birth to Jesus Christ – hills covered in dry, scratchy sand and small grasses not soft wet snow.

I wonder if they ever looked back – to see what they were leaving behind, to realize how far they’ve come. Or did they only look forward, to the hope of what – of who – was to come?

On this warm December day, I must look back before I can look forward to new beginnings. Otherwise I fear the unintended and unwanted irony that could result. I feel the sweat forming on my brow as I imagine what this next year might bring. 

Outbound Old Year laughs

With relief or craziness

Cautious New Year starts

This photo was taken on our cross country in 2016, somewhere between CA and UT.

I wrote this poem last week when we were still in December 2021 for Go Dog Go Cafe’s Haibun Wednesday and for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #295 Chill, #294 Travel, #293 Cradle, #292 Rocky, #291 Beginnings and #290 Outbound. I need to catch up on Patrick’s challenge to continue my streak (hope it’s still valid even after my hiatus!).

This is Day 3 of 2022 – so far, it’s gone well. I never really write down resolutions but my daughters have started to write their goals for the year and have checked it off as they have accomplished them. They both successfully completed most of their goals from 2021.

I have to admit that I have never written out a list of goals – interesting, right? Why not? Did I not have dreams that I strived for? Did I have no vision for myself growing up? Thinking back, I don’t think I did. I never really thought about what I wanted to be or what I wanted to do; I never even really thought about getting married and having a family. I always thought that life – or God – would just lead me where I was meant to go.

One thing for sure though – I never felt disappointed in my life. How can I be disappointed by not reaching a goal when I didn’t have any goals to reach? Some would call this being an under-acheiver…or being naive about how life works…. I would call it being trusting….is that a goal or a resolution to have or to change for 2022?

©️ 2022 iido

Candle – An Acrostic Poem

Compassionate

Answers

Not

Denial

Lessens

Errors

May this candle lead us to a better 2022.

A lovely photo from Sadje’s What Do You See #114 to bring inspiration, motivation and hope for the new year.

Light has always been the remedy of darkness, it’s heat keeping the cold at bay. My one resolution this year is to be a better candle. How can we be better candles this year?

© iido 2022

Away in a Manger – A Haiku

Stars covered my sins

Beyond all recognition

The Baby awakes

One of my “new babies” with our Christmas Tree…

A more hopeful haiku for you today inspired by Devereaux Frasier’s Tuesday Writing Prompt at the Go Dog Go cafe to use the phrase “my sins beyond” in a form of writing.

As we near the new year, I’ve been reading many posts and articles about looking back on 2021 and saying what was good and bad about it. As I’m looking back on this past year, I’ve decided that the question I’m going to as myself is: what have I learned this past year?

Whether experiences have provided a good result or a bad result, both these type of experiences bring learning, something new about yourself, about another person or about a situation that you might not have known before. To me, that could be more valuable than judging whether an experience is good or bad.

What have you learned this year?

© 2021 iido

Watersource – A Compound Word Verse

fingers whisper, curl and beckon

enticed, my thoughts try to reckon

watercress

eyes with hazel depths hold hidden 

promises that are forbidden

waterproof

words flush doubt down and out my head

rocks become pillows on the bed

waterjet 

thoughts tumble and swirl, confusion

swallowed by dark adoration

waterfront

desire so verdant, lush, alive

lull my senses to take the dive

waterfall

Image credit; Sean Robertson @ Unsplash 
For the visually challenged reader, the image shows a natural pool fed with streams. There is mist on its surface and there are green moss covered rocks surrounding it.

I am late for submission to Sadje’s What do you see #104 (I am out of practice and I forget about the time difference) but the photo she chose and the poetry form introduced by Grace at dVerse have been swirling around and around in my head. Grace chose the Compound Word Verse, a challenging poetry form that piqued my interest (which I am late to submit for as well). I first tried to use the root word “pool” for my compound word but when I realized I needed five compound words, I had to switch to something that had more possibilities (I couldn’t make up cool new compound words like Kate did – read her take on it here).

I used a lot of enjambed sentences in my version of this form. This was accidental as it took me three verses to realize that because “water” had two syllables, that I could only use the compound word for that last line. As I am coming to learn though – there are no accidents in life. Things happen for a reason and most of the time, we will not know what that reason is.

Not searching for “reason” has actually helped me during this pandemic. I think if I tried to figure out why people were doing the things they were doing, why all these awful things have been happening, why so many people have died – I would have gone into a deep, deep depression. Instead, I’ve held on to the belief that God has a plan and is taking care of things. So I don’t have to figure things out, just trust that He knows what he is doing. Maybe this is why they say that reason is the opposite of faith!

What’s kept you going? Has that changed in the long months of pandemic? What do you need/want now to continue? Suggestions welcome (asking for a friend! LOL!).

©️ 2021 iido