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

Mortar – 144 Word Prosery

Peter looked at the crumbling foundation of his house. Just yesterday he had completed all four walls. He had left the worksite proud of his accomplishment. This morning, his house was a mass of rocks. He sat down on what was once the front steps and picked up a stone. He laid his forehead on the jagged surface feeling the pricks on his skin and his pride. He breathed in and out and emitted a moan like an autumn wind high in the lonesome treetops. He continued to wail, not noticing the liquid splattering on the stone. “Why did you chose me?” his lament rose to the sky, as the September sun shone gently on his face, the wind now ruffling his hair. The sound of a jazz band slid into his ears. Peter felt the moan rise again, like he wanted somebody terrible

My son’s rock collection. He washed them and had put them out to dry.

This bit of prose was inspired by Lillian at dVerse, Prosery Monday, and a line from her favorite poem by Carl Sandburg, “Jazz Fantasia” (links in the poem) as well as Patrick’s Pic and a Word #241 – Stone.

I had listened to a talk about Simon Peter, the apostle who denied Jesus three times, yet was chosen to be the “rock on which He will build his church” this week. This talk focused on how Jesus often chose people, who were not perfect, to be leaders. It was only through the love of Jesus that these imperfect people were still able to lead. These leaders were humble, self-less, and motivated by a Higher Power and not by their own self-interest, greed, or pride. When they faltered, or when things went wrong, they turned to God for help, inviting God into their lives to fill the parts that are broken.

There are many theories about what makes a good leader, especially in the business world.These qualities include being a good listener, being compassionate, being a good communicator, being able to see the big picture. Unfortunately in our current political world, our leaders seem to be severely lacking. What about in our personal world?

©️ 2020 iido

Running Under Quarantine – A Quadrille

Running under quarantine,

Masked,

Alone

Like a thief who didn’t

Get away with

Anything.

I pass

Closed parks,

Closed shops,

Closed hearts.

I pass

Suspicious eyes

Above smiley face emoji masks.

I return home relieved

Not refreshed.

I can’t run away

From racism’s virus.

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I’ve been missing poetry prompt deadlines on WordPress because…coronavirus…what else is there to blame all the ills of world on?  Even though some of those ills have been going on for generations…

This quadrille was written for De Jackson at dVerse’s Quadrille #101 – Close and also incorporates Patrick’s Pic and a Word Challenge #226 – Running and #227 – Running (I’m late for one, but “early” for the other…what is this world coming to?? =). Seriously though, if you get a chance to read Patrick’s musing on this post about social distancing, please do. His melancholy acceptance makes so much sense.

I, on the other hand, have not yet reached that point. I am still grieving and shaking my fist at the air, asking “Why? Why? Why?” I am also shaking my fist at the news and giving a one finger salute whenever a specific person and/or his “loyal followers”  minimizes the impact of this pandemic. So, despite trying to do all the “right” things to come to terms with current situation, the struggle continues.

Running does help, as does any physical activity, especially outside.  This week, the kids and I have gone on scavenger hunts, had two dance parties and taken walks (can you guess which are outside versus inside activities?).  I’ve done most of my running on the treadmill, though, as the kids haven’t wanted to venture out too far on our walks. I fear that I have put the fear of the virus in them, and they are worried about venturing too far from home.

While this virus is a “new” real threat, it does feel like the “old” real threat of racism which has been a pandemic in the USA since the Pilgrims set foot in the “New World”. Since the first reported outbreak of the coronavirus, there has been a correlated increase in the incidents of hate crimes against Asians and Asian-Americans. Racism in the USA can also be blamed for why people of color (especially Black men) might not be comfortable wearing masks at this time, and also why more people of color are dying from COVID-19 relative to the number of people in the general population. Disparities in all aspects of US society are being laid bare by this pandemic (read more about this here, here and here).

So, I too, worry about running outside alone, with or without a mask. The threat is real as evidence by the data – that’s true whether it’s racism or COVID-19.

 

(c) 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

Liar, Liar – A Poem

Cough, cough, ahem,
Excuse me,
You’re on fire
Yes, you, holding the cell phone
And scrolling
Scrolling
Is it Facebook? Instagram?
Twitter? Tiktok?
Or maybe just the news?
Oh, you don’t notice the smell?
The smoke coming from your pants?
Those pants twisted from all the gymnastics you do –
Well, not actual gymnastics
But the mental gymnastics you do
So you can sleep at night
Oh wait, that’s right
You don’t sleep
You’re scrolling
At 2 AM
Your body, your mind
Your life
Hacked
Into believing
You’re the only one entitled to the American Dream

This poem was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from last week to write about living in a “hacked world”. Responses to this prompt can be found here.

The word “hacking” can have many different meanings. This being cold and flu season, and having kids in various stages of “the sniffles”, my first thought was coughing and not electronic hacking. These are both symptoms of much larger problems.

©️ 2020 iido

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

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

Cafe Privilege or Why I Don’t Trust White Women Who Don’t Order Coffee When We’re Meeting at a Cafe – A Poem

You had arrived first

Patiently waiting for me

Our meeting began

But you hadn’t ordered coffee

I was confused

Since I knew the score

Without paying the price

They ask you to leave the store

But you sat and you talked

That’s when it got scary.

You exclaimed, “I don’t see colour”

That it wasn’t a worry

I should have known

Right then and there

To keep my mouth shut

I shouldn’t have cared to share

But I took a chance

And brought up the notion

That your ability to sit without buying a thing

Was because of your white complexion

Your demeanor, indignant

And your voice, like ice

“Don’t call me a racist”, you said

“That isn’t nice!”

I never called you that

I began to protest

I’m just pointing out this double standard

To get it off my chest

But you didn’t see

The privilege that you wore

And just like that

You stomped out the door

I sat and I wondered

Just when things went wrong

You and I had a lot in common

We even liked the same songs

But the one thing different

Was what you claimed not to see

The colour of my skin

That claimed my ancestry

I know I’m not poor

Or disabled or gay

I speak the language

And I’m allowed to stay

I know I’m privileged

And have much to repay

But today you proved again

The different rules in play

While I sat stunned

Feeling full of self-pity

The server comes and asked

When I’m buying a coffee

I’m still seen as other

I just have to accept

While drinking my coffee

I silently wept

But you just continued

No hiccup in your step

Then you told everyone

That I was inept

You used your white privilege

To put me in my place

Because I said the price of coffee

Depended on your race

So – if you are a person

Who is truly aware

Of your privilege and whether

Life is really unfair

Be sure to buy coffee

And listen with your heart

In order to end the -isms

That’s where we need to start

This poem was written for Anmol’s prompt at dVerse Poetics to write about privilege. dVerse has had several thought provoking posts: political provocation in poetry and now this one on privilege. It makes me happy and hopeful that they are opening the conversation about these topics. * As of this writing, the link has expired for this prompt! My overthinking has again caused me to miss Mr. Linky! 😢

The poem is also written for Patrick’s Pic and a Word Weekly Challenge – Color (or as Patrick would say “Colour”). The issue of privilege, race and racism isn’t just based on ethnicity (a person’s cultural background – whether it’s based on religion, tradition or ancestral location) or nationality (the country of one’s passport) but the actual color of one’s skin. Even within communities of color, talking about “colorism” – the fact that light skinned POC have some of the white privilege that darker skinned POC don’t have – is a difficult conversation.

This poem is based on a true incident that happened to me a few weeks ago. The white woman who I was speaking with effectively damaged my reputation because of a disagreement regarding politics and race. Despite saying she wasn’t racist, her behavior indicated otherwise and I don’t think she was even aware of this. I carry the burden of this interaction. No matter the privileges I have (whether born with it like being physically able or earned like my education and financial status), here in the USA, it is what people see that often times determines their behavior.

One last note – Björn’s post about provocation in poetry inspired the title of this poem. Before anyone gets into a huff – I don’t mistrust all White Women – just the racists ones who don’t order coffee when meeting in a cafe.

©️ iido 2019