Tampa

The PAD prompt for April 16th was to write a city poem.

a city on a bay
it’s a lightning city
with thunderstorms
and hurricanes
it’s a cigar city
with hand-rolled goodness
it’s a walking city
with people on the streets
day and night
it’s azalea and hibiscus
it’s  bougainvillea and palm trees
it’s Spanish music pouring from open windows 
with  ethnic markets and breweries
a river runs through it 
with alligators and a riverwalk
it’s neighbors and cracks in the sidewalk
it’s my city now

Communication or Waiting?

c/o neurosciencemarketing

The PAD prompt for April 17th was “Waiting”. But, I got to thinking, the poem I wrote on April 3, with the prompt of “Communication” could have done just as well here.

The past ten months I have done a lot of waiting. Waiting on hold. Waiting on mail. Waiting for the right house to come along. Waiting on other people. In all of this, I have waited on the Lord. Not always patiently I am sorry to say.


Wait on the Lord; Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart;  Wait, I say, on the Lord! – Psalm 27:14

So, here’s my poem from April 3rd.

Communication

Press one
Your wait time is 14 minutes
For the next available representative
Name
Phone number
Date Of birth
Last four of your social
Repeat  
Press two
Your wait time is 23 minutes
How may I help you?
I’m sorry, but I can’t help you with that
Let me transfer you
Repeat
Press three
Please remain on the line
I’m  sorry for your loss
Your husband’s date of birth
Date of death
Last four of his social
Call us if you haven’t received it in 60 days
No, it takes up to 14 days after processing
No, it takes up to 28 days
Repeat
Press four
A death certificate
A driver's license
A marriage certificate
Repeat
Press five
Your address
Your former address
Beneficiaries 
My supervisor isn’t available
Leave your name and phone number
Repeat
Press six
I’m sorry, our office is closed

It’s April and you know what that means….

Ruby

PAD. Poem a Day. Poetry month.

I’ve been writing everyday, some good, some not so good. Most of my poems tend to center around Chuck, but yesterday I took a lighthearted turn. The prompt was to write a persona poem.

Ruby 

who do you think you are, 

walking down the sidewalk there

or in the street 

I’m sounding the alert

you must mean us harm

this is my house 

my yard

how dare you knock

or ring the bell

oh, hello

yes, come on in

let me sniff you

of course you may pet me

hey, don’t stop now

I’m going to follow you around

I think I’ll lick your hand

and sit at your feet

come back soon, okay?

Everything tells a story: Leaves

Wakulla Springs State Park – December, 2020

There is a Story

leaves with beauty in their death
carpet the forest floor
layer on layer each year

brilliant reds and oranges
fade to browns
return to the earth

water droplets
ornament the needles
of a sapling in the woods

there is a story here
of death and new life
an old story retold

the trill of a bird
like laughter
sweet and short

a soft reminder 
of joy in the morning
there is a story here

A poem for Chuck #1

Yes, I’ve written tons of poems about my love for Chuck, our relationship, and his love for me. But, this is a different one, not written by me. It was written by our friend, Dorothy Young, who wrote it when we left Jacksonville/Fruit Cove in 2014 for Birmingham. She gave him a framed copy when we moved. It hung in his home office in Bham and I’ll hang it again when I get to Tampa. Dorothy and Chuck had a special friendship, as evidenced in her words. She included it in her book, Loved from Eternity.

On a Friend Moving Away

Farewell, But not goodbye:

Be in God’s tender care.

Be found in Christ at last

Though here you be or there

Seek Him, the greatest good:

For Him all things forgo.

You must have him at last

If you would glory know.

Feast on His mighty love:

Rest in His mercy free

For then you shall be safe,

For all eternity.

There’s honey in the rock:

The sweetness is profound.

Trust Jesus Christ alone.

In Him is refuge found.

Poetry Once More

Tillie K. Fowler Park, Jacksonville, FL
The Trouble with Poetry: A Poem of Explanation
Billy Collins

The trouble with poetry, I realized
as I walked along a beach one night --
cold Florida sand under my bare feet,
a show of stars in the sky --

the trouble with poetry is
that it encourages the writing of more poetry,
more guppies crowding the fish tank,
more baby rabbits
hopping out of their mothers into the dewy grass.

And how will it ever end?
unless the day finally arrives
when we have compared everything in the world
to everything else in the world,

and there is nothing left to do
but quietly close our notebooks
and sit with our hands folded on our desks.

Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.

But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.

And along with that, the longing to steal,
to break into the poems of others
with a flashlight and a ski mask.

And what an unmerry band of thieves we are,
cut-purses, common shoplifters,
I thought to myself
as a cold wave swirled around my feet
and the lighthouse moved its megaphone over the sea,
which is an image I stole directly
from Lawrence Ferlinghetti --
to be perfectly honest for a moment --

the bicycling poet of San Francisco
whose little amusement park of a book
I carried in a side pocket of my uniform
up and down the treacherous halls of high school.

I agree that poetry encourages the writing of more poetry. That’s why April has been such an inspirational month for me the past 9-10 years. I started out this past April with a bang, but life has a way changing as we all know. I wrote the following poem the day after we got the first news – the first inkling that things were about to change. I ended up keeping two volumes from the old set of Childcraft Encyclopedias. #1- Poems and Rhymes and #10 – Make and Do. The rest are gone, along with probably 1/2 of my household possessions. Sometimes you just have to keep the important stuff and let go of the rest. Sometimes you don’t have a choice.

Can't remember when I first felt inspired to write a poem myself
But I do remember some poems of my childhood
From Childcraft: The How and Why Library
Volume One
Poems and Rhymes
I laughed at the Purple Cow and the limericks
I met characters like little Tommy Tucker
And Polly who put the kettle on
And Mistress Mary who was quite contrary
I chanted Pease Porridge Hot and Jack Be Nimble
Was introduced to the joyous words of Robert Louis Stevenson 
And Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Whose poem about the little girl with the little curl
Was one my father always quoted to me 
And I did the same for my curly headed daughter 
And now over fifty years later
I am packing those books up to carry with me once more
Because I just can’t bear to part with them


And Repeat

1 Corinthians 13:13
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love

I found the following poem on an old post. I wrote it in 2017. I’m not sure what I was thinking then, but it has new meaning to me now. The clock hands seem to slow down and speed up randomly these days. The dark and quiet follow me each night. “Till death do us part” has a whole new meaning on the other side. But my love was not blind. It was aware and alive. It still is.

And Repeat
 
clocks hands so slowly move
on across the minutes
twenty-four and repeat
 
quiet dawn to soft dusk 
and moments in between
at last the lovers meet
 
that raven evermore
returns time and again
dark and quiet to mind
 
until death do us part
in faded lace and white
oft times love is so blind
 
5-9-17

The Night

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The Night

Lights out, room darkening curtains drawn
Nature sounds play low in the background
Blankets spread just so
The whirr of the CPAP machine is more white noise
But sometimes the machine isn’t on
And the low snoring begins

The night has a life all its own

The low snoring may build in crescendo
But sometimes it just falls away
That’s when I hear it
The dog’s snoring
Not loud, just a pleasant little snuffling
In between these two beloveds
I snuggle down
I drift into sleep

The night has a life all its own

Sleep may last hours or not
A creak, a door closing
And I’m awake
Sometimes for minutes
Sometimes till dawn
Until light creeps around the edges

The night has a life all its own

I wrote this poem earlier in the year – before all that was familiar began to spin away. Is it possible to actually miss the sound of a CPAP machine? I think it is. I can no longer “snuggle down between these two beloved”, but the dog does her best to keep me company. The part that still rings true?

“…I’m awake
Sometimes for minutes
Sometimes till dawn
Until light creeps around the edges”

 

That’s Good

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My Juliette – 2019

Back on April 5th, the prompt for NaPoWriMo  was quite complicated.

“It’s called the “Twenty Little Poetry Projects,” and was originally developed by Jim Simmerman. The challenge is to use/do all of the following (the list followed)  in the same poem. Of course,  if you can’t fit all twenty projects into your poem, or a few of them get your poem going, that is just fine too!”

I got most of them in. Stuff like: Begin the poem with a metaphor. Use the proper name of a person and the proper name of a place. Use a word (slang?) you’ve never seen in a poem. Create a metaphor using the following construction: “The (adjective) (concrete noun) of (abstract noun) . . .”.   Refer to yourself by nickname and in the third person. Use a phrase from a language other than English. And a bunch more.

Here’s the final product:

That’s Good

today is a loaf of bread
the sky’s fresh-baked goodness calls out
and lures you, Juliette, to come and play
to Siesta Key’s pure white sand
today is a pie
it’s chocolate-pecan-apple all over
today is a mere slice of bread
just a taste of life in the sun
I closed my eyes and you were gone, Juliette
it gave me the frissons
the tender band of hope reached out
but it didn’t touch
Juliette, you soar above the ocean
you will rise above us all
Mae watches helplessly
knowing you will come down
but not knowing where
your jellied wings will melt
Ca c’est bon
the pie speaks of love
the bread rises again 

I Walk

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Bring Your Love to Me -The Avett Brothers

Like I said in my last post, God’s Word, poetry, sunshine, and fresh air get me through these uncertain days. Today’s prompt from NaPoWrimo was to write a poem based on a “walking archive”.  Those of you who follow me here or on Instagram  know I post a lot of pictures of things I find on my walks and hikes, so this one was a natural prompt for me.

I Walk 

I walk for sunshine
I walk for sanity
I walk to remind myself
Of Pippa’s song
God’s in His heaven
All’s right with the world
Even when it feels all wrong
I find a dandelion
And think of Ray Bradbury
And The Avett Brothers
And blow my wishes
to scatter the seeds
I observe moss on the rocks
And dream of the fairies who visit at night
Knowing it’s all pretend
Think of how we used to pretend
Give each other different names
Like Twenty-One Pilots
And I hum the song
Wish we could turn back time
I catch the sun
Filtering through the trees
Making shadows on my arm
While the birds sing
A song I do not know
I see beauty in the wildflowers
Beauty in the ruins
And I walk on
Ruby by my side
Man’s best friend
And mine, too.