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

Down a Dark Hall – A Poem

I wander down a dark hall

Peeking in this room

Throwing wide the doors in another

This door is locked

That door I quickly shut

One door leads me down a corridor/path that takes me a few hours to get through and back to where I was before

Now, I have to walk quickly

The light from my phone

Illuminating the way

I find a door and pull it

But it’s stuck

I jiggle it

I lean into it

I hip check it

I take a running start and slam into it

I slide down and sit

My back against it

It opens

And there sits my muse

She says, “Hello…Poet.”

I originally wrote this poem for Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to “write about our own creative process”. You can read other responses to this prompt here.

I also incorporated Christine’s Brave and Reckless October Monster She Wrote challenge #9, Down a Dark Hall into this poem. That title pulled the poem together for me as my writing process is necessarily compartmentalized otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to complete my other obligations during the day.

I had several different endings to this poem – the version I posted for Jamie as well as a few others, but after reading the synopsis for the book, Down a Dark Hall, I felt I needed to change the ending to make it somewhat more ominous (even though my writing process is anything but ominous…despite doing most of my writing in the middle of night in a darkened house where I’m the only one awake and the wind is howling outside and the tree branches scratch scratch scratch the window pane…).

So I changed the punctuation! Oh the power of a three tiny dots! Scary, isn’t it?

©️ iido 2019

The Maple at the End of My Street – A Quadrille

The setting sun filters

Through your leaves

Highlighting the new

Yellows and oranges and reds

I see you

When I return home

After I’ve gone

Through the motions

That life is ok

Even when it’s not

You filter the beauty

Back in my life

Joining in the fun this week with this 44 word poem for Merril at dVerse, Quadrille #89 – Are You Set. It was also inspired by Jamie Dedes’ wonderful Wednesday Writing Prompt to “moments and places where we enjoy the beauty and peace of nature and a deeply sensed connection with the source of our being”. You can read other responses to this prompt here. (Note: The poem above is an revised version from my original submission to The Poet by Day.)

I love sunset more than sunrise. Maybe it’s because I am inherently a night owl. It just seems so peaceful! I especially like seeing sunsets while I’m driving the car, with my kids quiet in the back – usually after a long afternoon of after school activities. My 6 year old son usually says, “Mom, look at the sunset! Take a picture! It’s so pretty!” I usually respond, “I can’t, I’m driving. Take a picture with your mind.”

©️ iido 2019

The Best Foreplay for Husbands – A Poem

you wrap your fingers
around the sponge
scrubbing
until the sink is empty
this
is how you make
me change into my lace thong

you brush his teeth
and read his favorite bedtime story
twice
while making the voices of the characters
this
is how you make
me light the scented candles

you quiz her in spelling
and listen to how another girl stole her idea for her science project
you come up with a better science project idea
and promise to help her with it on the weekend
this
is how you make
me lie in bed
skin puckered
in love
in anticipation
thinking i am the luckiest woman in the world

This poem was inspired by Rupi Kaur’s poem on page 71 of her book, milk and honey. It was prompted by Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write a poem inspired by one written by another poet. You can read the other fantastic responses here.

Rupi Kaur’s work was a revelation when I first read it. Her words, so heart-breakingly honest in its imagery and profoundness, showed me what it meant to “write your truth”, how the ugly can still be made beautiful. It was also the first time that a poet’s authenticity gave voice to my reality as a brown Asian woman. She “got me” and I was forever changed.

©️ iido 2019

Forty-four Words are Not Enough – A Quadrille

In the nick of time

My motto, my nemesis

My days overfilled with

Kids needing

Husband wanting

Daughterly obligations

School “volunteering”

Catholic guilt

Running miles – Ha! No

Running behind – yes

Secretary, chef, driver

Driving myself crazy

Oh look something else to sign up for!

This quadrille responds to De Jackson’s (WhimsyGizmo) quadrille prompt #87 – Nick and Jamie Dedes’ Wednesday Writing Prompt to write about my life and the things/events that make an impression on me.

Well, if you’ve been following my blog for any amount of time, you know my poetry and prose usually revolve around my identities as a mother and runner. This quadrille is no exception!

The school year has started for all my kids, even my preschooler is in three day PreK. Yet despite having three days “all by myself,” I find myself still running out of time, running late, running from appointment to appointment. I’ve signed up to help out at their school and at our church while training for a race, writing and keeping up with household duties. This might not be a lot for other people, but it’s a lot for me. I’ve been thinking about going back to work outside the home but where would I fit that in? That “nick” of time is not truly enough.

©️ iido 2019

Salt of the City – A Haibun

They were mostly tall, thin, and dark skinned like the softest black velvet. Their clothes hung on them. Their feet in flip-flops covered with dust. Yet their voices were strong, offering their wares in accented English – mini Eiffel towers, larger Eiffel towers, ones that light up as if it were covered with fireflies, ones that were staid. Their bodies seemed strong, carrying large sacks of these trinkets to different parts of the park. The odor of their sweat was strong, evidence of their hard work in the heat.

They stood out among the tourists – they were there working, laboring under the sun – while we were there for fun, our choice to stand in lines under the sun.

Maybe they arrived in this city with a degree or some other skills; definitely they arrived with hope. Yet their labor in the City of Lights seemed to diminish the light in their own eyes.

Summer’s salty sweat

Seasons the immigrant’s work

Hope masks bitterness

This haibun was inspired by two prompts: Frank at D’Verse for Haibun Monday requested a Haibun inspired by labor, workers in honor of Labor Day and Jamie at The Poet by Day Wednesday Writing Prompt requested poems inspired by a city. (Responses to Jamie’s Prompt can be found here.)

When we visited Paris this summer, I was surprised by how much the area around the Eiffel Tower has changed. The area was surrounded by a see-through barrier. You had to go through security before you could even get close to the tower. This was much different than when I visited the tower in early 2001.

I also noticed the men (they were all men) who were clearly immigrants to Paris selling souvenirs. I don’t remember them on my last trip there. But it made me wonder about them, their stories, if they were selling souvenirs of their own accord, if they had families, if they had ever gone up to the top of the tower they were selling miniatures of.

I always wonder if workers who sell from blankets on street corners might be trafficking victims and that by buying these wares, I am complicit in this modern day slavery. I know these men were working hard – it was evident in their hands and feet, their eyes. When is this type of labor honored?

©️ iido 2019

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