Red Cup Revisited – A Double Nonet

The red cup – a fixture in pictures
My focus yet blurred in my mind
Strong and sweet – the fake message
Scared and silenced – the truth
It matched everything
Or so I thought
Remember?
I can
Not
Stop
Drinking
Toss the cup
Where can I drown
This fear of living
Who can I reinvent?
Lost for so long in the mix
I need to climb out of the rocks
Where is the hand holding the red cup?

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Nowadays, the cup I hold is usually a coffee cup and not the ubiquitous red solo cup of parties past. With all the stress that has been brought on by this pandemic, I’ve seen many memes about parents drinking more to deal with the kids being home with them all day, having to help their kids with school work, having to work from home – the list is endless for all the issues that a large glass of red wine (my drink of choice) could fix.

I worry though when I hear my friends joking about drinking at noon after struggling with their kid to do math or about going to the bathroom or closet to get away from their family so they can drink. I have a friend who jokes that once the shelter-in-place is over, they will either need weight watchers or AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or both. At least I hope they’re joking.

Because drinking to deal with stress can lead to a drinking problem – especially if the stress is daily and constant and they are drinking daily (and constantly) to deal with it.

Because drinking (whether it is viewed as a problem or not) will affect their parenting including how their child sees (and learns) how to deal with stress.

Because whether it’s eating or drinking, this behavior doesn’t get rid of the problem and in fact, can just exacerbate it.

Yes, I’m speaking from experience. Yes, I feel the pull to fill up a red cup now – especially in light of recent losses and especially after reconnecting with some friends from college who I did a lot of drinking with  (is it weird that we all reconnected because of dealing with this pandemic?).

Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt from two weeks ago asked for poems about “reinvention,” which is what I did – and do – after significant life events.  So, this poem is a reminder, that I am not that college girl anymore and I don’t need a red cup to calm myself, I don’t need a red cup to deal with stress. I have writing…I have running… ….inspiration and perspiration…..

I’m in charge of what my hand will hold….

 

© 2020 iido

Surrender – A Poem for My Cousin

I will stare into your eyes
As the poison drips into my arms
And laugh when I tuck plane tickets
To Europe in my suitcase

I will make faces at you
As I lay on the operating table
And laugh when my shirts are looser
And I see how much weight I’ve lost

I will flip you the finger
As I’m holding my kids
Celebrating graduations and birthdays
And even just regular days

I will slap you as you try to steal
The warmth of my blankets
And the heat of my lover
Wrapped in promises of forever and never

Yet when the time comes
And I know the difference between beignet and brioche
And I’m down to my high school weight
And the kids have gone back to their full lives
And my lover has fallen asleep on the couch

I will look you in the eyes
And smile sweetly
As I beckon you to me
And lay my head on your shoulder
Holding tightly
As you carry me across the threshold

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My cousin, Rowena, died in the early morning of Monday, May 11, 2020 after a long fight with breast cancer.  Coincidentally, Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from last week requested poems responding to the questions, “If you were looking death in the face, what would you remember with joy? Who would you think of fondly? What would you remember sadly?” You can read other thought-provoking responses to her prompt here.  The submissions by Anjum Wasim Dar, Adrian Slonaker, and Mike Stone especially resonated with me this week.

Rowena is my first cousin to pass away. I didn’t think I was in that “season of life” yet, but with the pandemic and the state of our world, maybe it’s time to accept that Death has no season, no time line. It certainly wasn’t the time for Ahmaud Arbery.  I had always thought that if I was confronted by Death, that I would fight and have to be dragged to the grave…now the thought of surrendering to the inevitable, doesn’t seem all that scary…is that thought because of Faith or ignorance or a rational reaction to the hardship of living? I guess I won’t know until I’m looking Death in the face.

 

© 2020 iido

Bananas – A Poem

I sit on my overstuffed couch

Scrolling on my iPhone

Waiting

Impatiently

For groceries 

Annoyed

At not being able to get all the food 

I ordered from that same couch

Two weeks ago.

 

She sits in her second hand Honda 

Giving her phone to her toddler

Popping the trunk

Opening her door in the rain 

Gathering two bags at a time

Making five trips

Leaving  them on the covered porch

And, after ringing the doorbell

Swiftly getting back into her car.

 

I open the door 

Dismayed that two bags had fallen over

And the cereal had gotten wet 

I see her drive off with the toddler in the back

Eating a banana 

And I wonder if that’s why I didn’t get bananas in my groceries. 

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This poem was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt from last week. She requested poems with a “focus on right versus wrong, life versus death, on living wages, guaranteed health-care for all, unemployment and labor rights. Dare we move beyond yearning to hope.” I love how her prompts usually involve some aspects of social commentary.   I’m not sure if my poem above captures her request, but given our current environment, shopping – and in some cases, hoarding – can be an issue of life versus death.

I admit, I didn’t take the threat of this virus too seriously in the beginning so I didn’t engage in the toilet paper and anti-bacterial cleaner hoarding.  I did go to Costco with a friend who encouraged me to at least get some extra food, extra medicines and a new flashlight and batteries. While we were there, I had to take my son to the bathroom and asked her to watch my cart. When I returned, she said that someone had asked her if they could take one of the packages of ramen noodles that I had since there weren’t any more on the shelves (my hubby eats ramen for a midnight snack every night). My good friend defended my right to have the last package of ramen noodles and sent this person on their way. I was in shock that someone would want to take food from someone else’s cart, and this was even before schools and other venues were closed, before the US federal government admitted that the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, was a serious health threat.

Now, after three weeks of shelter-in-place, I am glad for the extra food that I bought that day. But as I look in our freezer, I realized that I am running out of food. My friend (who I went to Costco with) had already placed an order from our local supermarket the week after we went to Costco and was having groceries delivered this week. She even laughs jokingly about hoarding paper goods, but I know she has more than enough toilet paper to last through summer.

I’m now looking at ordering groceries and having them delivered, and I feel guilt. I can stay safe in my house and have minimal risk of contracting the coronavirus while other people don’t have that ability or that choice.  While my current living situation (which we worked hard to achieve) allows me that luxury, what about the people who will be delivering these groceries? What about the people who are working as cashiers at the supermarket? Who are stocking the shelves? Who are working in the warehouses? Who are trucking the supplies to put in the warehouses? Who are cleaning the stores once everyone leaves? Who are picking up the garbage from these stores? All these people who have to risk their lives, while I can sit in the safety and comfort of my home, waiting for the doorbell to ring.

 

(c) 2020  iido

 

 

Saturday – An Acrostic Poem and March Runfession #8

Saturday mornings begin best with

Awakening while the sun still sleeps, dressing then

Trotting down the stairs with sneakers in hand, quietly making a PB and J yet

Ultimately waking the youngest ones with the coffee pot’s final hiss,

Rushing to get them back to bed then, quickly into the car, fueling and hydrating

(me not the car)

Driving to a favorite trail, late, but relieved that my tribe waited for me to

Arrive before starting on our group run. 

Yes, this is the best way to begin a Saturday. 

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I wrote this poem last week for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt (you can read responses to her prompt HERE), but I wanted to save this poem for the March Runfession. So without further ado….

Forgive me Nike for I have sinned….

I runfess…I really, really, really, really, really miss Saturday morning group runs! Yes, even waking up at 5 or 6 AM. I miss the quiet companionship of the thumping of sneakers on packed dirt, the cool early morning mist and the laughter of bada$$ mother runners.

I runfess…my new sneakers (that arrived just a week before we knew what the term “social distancing” meant) have been very committed to being 6 feet away from people, specifically me! Despite having more time at home, the “extra time” that could have gone into running has not made an appearance.  I blame it on homeschooling, but really it’s probably the stress of what’s going on that has defeated my motivation.

I runfess….in an effort to get out of the pandemic funk, I signed up to Run the Year.  That’s right, I plan to run 2020 miles this year (or part of that if I can get a team together…Bueller? Bueller?).  Because what better way to combat stress and pressure than to commit myself to running a ridiculous number of miles when I have never even gotten close to running before?? I blame the high of finishing the Taji 100 for this one…

I runfess…I’ve also signed up for the March Madness Challenge through Team RWB (Red, White and Blue). Team RWB is a group that supports active military and veterans through physical activity.  Even though I have not been in the military (aka, a civilian), I have a nephew in active duty and numerous friends who have been or are active military.  The concept of staying active for a larger cause resonates with me. I may not be able to help in a tangible way, but this act of solidarity speaks to my social soul.

Well, there you have it…March has definitely come in like a lion this year…here’s to hoping that lamb comes soon and brings toilet paper and hand sanitizer….

 

(c) 2020 iido

 

The Path – A Double Nonet

The straight and narrow path calls to me

Stay strong, be brave, keep eyes ahead

Gluttonous green surrounds me

Lusciously tempting me

It can be all mine

Lumber, water

Resources

I will

Take

And

Share them

The path says:

You have enough

Abstain from conflict

Caused by fear, greed, hurt, hate

Bridge ignorance with knowledge

Each slat a step to love and peace

Generosity widens the path

This double nonet was written for Sadje’s “What do you see?” Picture Challenge #19. The photo Sadje provided (above) seemed to fit with Jamie’s Wednesday Writing Prompt request for poems “abstaining from war and conflict while committing to compromise and to unity with and respect for nature into perpetuity.” I’m not sure my poem totally fulfills Jamie’s requirement but the two together, at least to me, are a perfect complement.

The season of Lent has begun for Christians and it is marked by fasting, almsgiving and prayer. Instead of giving something up, I’ve tried to do more – more praying, more helping, being kinder, being more compassionate, giving more whether it’s monetarily, physically, emotionally or mentally. Laurie, a fellow runner, from Meditation in Motion wrote a great blog post about this. I think this practice has helped me have more hope in the world. Especially with everything going on right now. Ghandi said it best, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”

©️ 2020 iido

Do You Want Fries With That? – A Quadrille

Your wild red hair,

Pale skin and

Painted lips belied

Your power.

Despite scientists showing

The Traditional Ways were better,

Our greased guts and

A-salt-ed hearts craved the

Colonial Menu

Of broken McPromises and

Big McLies.

Our health for Your wealth.

Not funny, Clown.

Jamie Dedes had a guest “prompter” this past week, Zimbabwean poet activist, Mbizo Chirasha. His prompt requested poems or prose about “neocolonialism or the use in place of direct imperialism of capitalism, globalization, and cultural imperialism for the suppression of human rights by First World actors in Third World arenas.” A difficult, yet thought provoking challenge. You can find responses to this prompt here.

I was also able to incorporate Kim’s prompt for D’Verse Quadrille #96 – Wild.

Being an immigrant to this first world country, I realize now how much the USA has influenced my country of origin, for better or worse. To me, this influence can be found in colorism and internalized racism. It is also most evident in the preponderance of American food, specifically fast food, found in every mall (also an American concept) and every city, large and small.

It is truly a wild concept that the USA can consider McDonalds, Starbucks, Pizza Hut, KFC and other fast food restaurants as main exports. It isn’t just the food but what that food symbolizes about the “American Dream” – is this really what America is all about?

©️ 2020 iido

Self – Deception — A Haiku

If I don’t swallow

The lie you put on my plate

My stomach grumbles

This haiku was written for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write about deception. You can read some of the fabulous responses here.

We all tell lies to ourselves whether we know it or not. My most frequent lie to myself is thinking that I have enough time to do something, when really I don’t. Hence, the reason I am perpetually tardy. I don’t know why I haven’t learned that lesson: I consider myself an insightful person, I know I underestimate time and have always struggled with time management. Yet, something inside makes it hard for me to believe that it really doesn’t take only 15 minutes to get anywhere.

Some lies are OK to believe, in my opinion, like the lie of Santa Claus or the lie that I still look good in the pants I wore when I was 20 (I can still get them past my hips if I suck everything in!). These lies serve a purpose for that point in life. But after awhile, we do have to start seeing reality and accepting the truth. Or come up with a different and better lie than before.

©️ 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

Wabi Sabi Welcome Back!

I’ve been MIA from the blogging world…maybe I’ve been jet setting around the world, running in various exotic locales…or maybe I’ve been writing the ending to the next, best-selling novel….or maybe I’ve been inundated with various domestic duties that have left me depleted….if you can think of another, much cooler, excuse for being away, please comment below so I can use it for next time!

But after a week of starting and discarding blog posts, I’ve realized that there will never be a “perfect” post that would make getting back into a blogging routine “better” or “easier”. I just have to post and be ok with the imperfections.

Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing from two weeks ago requested “wabi sabi” poems that celebrated the “perfection in imperfection” (read the perfectly imperfect responses here). In this wabi sabi post, I’ve included this poem about the imperfect, transient process of blogging:

My fingers hover over the letters

Indecision clearly part of their fingerprint

The chosen, one-second press

Several strung together

Garland on paper

Fleeting clarity

Waiting for to be noticed.

So that’s it!! My first post back! My first poem back! Oh – and here’s a wabi sabi photo – an uncentered ceiling with fake blue sky:

I’m catching up on reading all of your (non wabi sabi 😁) blogs, messages/emails and getting my mind and thumbs moving again. An imperfect post still serves its purpose of connecting and communicating. Wabi sabi wonderful!

©️ iido 2019