Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Take a Look Back


Take a Look Back

Look back through
the lenses of
time and space
and a different place.
Take what will
help you in
the future and
let everything
else go.
Move forward
using what
you now know.


Happy New Year!


Thursday, December 26, 2013

After Thoughts

After Thoughts

Weren't we just 
planning for Christmas?
Wasn't it a
few weeks away?
How did it
pass so quickly?
Did you create
memories that will stay?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hidden in the Music


Hidden in the Music

is a secret 
you are willing to reveal
only with this type of note.
Do words fail you
or is the message
simply easier to play?
The listener tries
to figure out 
what you want to say.
The music speaks 
to each of us
in a different way.
If we listen closely 
will we discover
what resides in
the deepest part of you or
the deepest part of us?

How do you use notes or notebooks? 

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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ripples


Ripples

The water ripples.
Circle after circle
appears well after
the stone hits.
They continue to
disturb the stillness
farther and farther
from the point of
initial contact.
One action,
many ripples.
It will be
a long time
before calm 
is restored.

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Tuesday, December 17, 2013

If Santa were a Writer


If Santa was a Writer

If Santa were a writer,
what stories would he tell?
We know he’s good at keeping lists.
Can he write fiction just as well?

Maybe he’s a poet.
Perhaps, even a Beat.
That’s true when he writes 
on Christmas day, before
he’s gotten any sleep.

Would his setting be the North Pole
or towns all covered in snow?
Only if he believes in the axiom
“Write about what you know.”

If ever he had writer’s block,
he could hop into his sleigh.
Go soaring high above the earth.
Get a new perspective on the day.

No matter Santa’s style,
some things he’s sure to say.
Merry Christmas to all!
Get those potted plants
out of my way.

Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this week's Wordsmith Studio Prompt-Holiday. What do you think about at the holidays? Share your thoughts in the comments at the link above.

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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Talk of Raccoons and Squirrels


Last week, I got caught in the midst of a game on Facebook. I guess you could call it a form of tag. I responded to a friend's post and got a message back from her saying that the post was part of a game. Since I responded, I was supposed to choose from a list of posts she sent me and then send the list to any friends who responded to my post.

I chose to post that a raccoon had gotten into my bedroom. I had a few expressions of concern from friends and a few who told me they knew something was up. During the back and forth, however, I was reminded of the time when I was home alone as a kid and a squirrel got into our basement.

Sometimes there was a gap between the time I got home from school and my Mom got home from work. This was well before the term "latchkey kid" was coined. I was old enough to avoid burning the house down, and I had neighbors on which to call if I needed help. Well, one day I did.

The newspaper usually got delivered shortly after I got home, and I would read it. Sports section first, of course. I would sit in my Dad's recliner, which was near a vent for the furnace.

I was reading and thought I heard a noise. It was one of those noises that disappears when you try to listen for it and returns when you have decided that you didn't really hear anything. A few minutes later, I heard a clang and it sounded like something had fallen in the basement.

I headed out the side door to go get our neighbor, Charlie. Once, I was outside, I stopped. Charlie, who was in his 80's, was a wonderful man; but he also liked to tease people. I thought if I went and got him and there was a simple explanation for the noise, he might tease me about it in the future.

A basement window was nearby. I squatted down to look in and came face-to-face with a squirrel sitting on the window ledge. We looked each other right in the eyes. I don't know what the squirrel did at that moment, but I ran and got Charlie. He took one of the windows off; and, within minutes, the squirrel ran out.

We figured that the squirrel had been running around the perimeter of the basement, trying to find a way out. The first noises I heard were screws and nails falling from my Dad's work bench. A metal serving tray made the clang that sent me into action.

Later that year, I had to write a composition in school. The story of the squirrel fit the assignment perfectly.

Have you written a story that was prompted by a noise? What about one triggered by being home alone?

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Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Sudden Silence

 
Quiet Please
 
The building
is crowded.
People wandering
everywhere.
Asking questions.
Making comments.
Placing orders.
I step outside
into the silence.
The path lets
 me travel deep
 into the quiet,
safe in the
knowledge that
it will lead me
 back to the noise
whenever I choose.
 
Thanks to Dana Dampier for this week's Wordsmith Studio Prompt-Sudden Silence. How do you deal with sudden silence? Does it make you uncomfortable or do you enjoy the change?
 
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Thursday, December 5, 2013

Anger

 
Anger
 
Feels like fire.
The kind that
used to drive a
steam locomotive.
It doesn't just
create heat.
Energy builds
until it is ready
to boil over.
The need to
 take action is
coupled with
the fear that
you won't be
 able to stop.
Best to open
the safety valve.
 
This poem came out of an exercise in which the writer was asked to describe how an emotion feels. Give it a try. You may be surprised at where your mind takes you.
 
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Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Rivals

 


Natural Enemies

Vandals enter
the garden,
damaging plants and
causing leaves
to curl and dry.
Rescuers come in
like guardian angels,
Eating the pests as
fast as they can.
Aphids vs. ladybugs,
One of nature's
great rivalries.

Thanks to Kasie Whitener for this week's Wordsmith Studio Prompt-Rivals. What does the word rivals mean to you? Post a link in the comments to. Your thoughts about rivals.

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Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

I am grateful for

the sun that rises everyday

 
and butterflies that stop then fly away.
 
 
 
 flowers that appear in spring
 



and birds that sit in the yard and sing.

 
 beautiful places to walk and write
 


and the moon that shines at night.



Have a wonderful holiday everyone!

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving

 
Singing Lessons
 
There is a hint
 of winter
in the air.
Still, I hear
the birds singing.
They remain
out of sight,
but their voices
are clear.
They aren't
hanging out in
the usual places.
There is nothing
to gain by staying
out in the open.
Instead, they explore
the vast array
of spots
that provide cover.
I think
I will follow
their lead. 
 
Thanks to JLynn Sheridan for this week's Wordsmith Studio Prompt. This prompt involves making other words out of the word Thanksgiving and then using them in your writing. The words I made are in bold.
 
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Where I Was

Where I Was

The principal marches
down the center aisle
of the auditorium and
pulls aside the music teacher.
I can see her say "What?"
then shake her head
as if to swat away
the words she just heard.

Orchestra practice
ends abruptly and
we scatter back
to our classrooms.
My teacher makes
an announcement
then dismisses us.

The short walk
home seems longer.
I go in the side door,
through the kitchen
and look into
the living room.
My mother has
the television on
and she is crying.

I know then
that the worst
has happened,
even before
I hear the
newsman say,

"From Dallas, Texas,
the flash apparently
official. President Kennedy
died at 1 p.m. Central Standard Time,
2 p.m. Easten Standard Time...;;



 


Monday, November 18, 2013

Young



Small Steps

We forget our small-step ways.
Putting  one foot down.
Using the sofa to scoot around.
Letting go to see if we could stand.
If we fell down, we pulled
ourselves up and tried again.

We grow to want thing's right away.
No time to stand on wobbly legs.
We push the sofas out of the way.
If we fall down, we get embarrassed.
Look for the bump in the floor to blame.

We need to remember that once we
took small steps, we were off and running.

This was written in response to the Wordsmith Studio Prompt-Young. Yes, that's me off to the races and I haven't stopped yet.  Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this prompt.

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Chapters


 
Chapters
 
Segments
of a story
in order, but
not always orderly.
Each filled with
its own drama,
moving the action
to conclusion.
Whether
you can’t wait
to get there
or try to
stave it off,
the ending
always comes.
 
 
For all of the writers who are participating in National Novel Writing Month, you are about halfway through the challenge. How's it going? Keep counting those words and write, write, write and sprint, sprint!
 
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Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autumn

 
Fall Garden
 
In the dusk of your
color when the trees
are in the dawn of theirs.
The falling leaves
create a carpet for
the season’s visitors.
The few remaining
blooms take a
backseat to seed pods
and drying stems.
Soon, the snow
will blanket you.
Snuggle under and
rest until spring sounds
it’s wake-up call.
 
 
Thanks to Kasie Whitener for this week's Wordsmith Studio Prompt. What does your autumn look like. Put a link to it in the comments on the blog post.
 
 
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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Photo Play

 
Photo Play
 
Center and snap.
Center and snap.
How much fun
is there in that?
Don’t take a picture.
Make a picture.
Play with what you see.
Imagine what might be.
Block something out.
Reflect something in.
Lighten the light.
Darken the shadows.
Trial and error
isn’t the game.
It’s try and create.
Wanna play?
 
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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Fright


High Hopes
 
Heights give
some a fright.
The distance
between top
and ground
makes the
heart pound.
The proverbial
advice is
“Don’t look down.”
Perhaps, look
around. The
beauty may
astound.
 
Thanks to Kasie Whitener for this week's Wordsmith Studio Prompt-Fright. What gives you a fright? Post a link to it in the comments on the prompt post.
 
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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Post Up

 
Post Up
 
Post up.
The pass is
on the way.
Handle it cleanly
and score.
Fumble it
Turnover
Take too long
Three seconds
Post up and
see how well
you play today.
 
 
What besides leaves begin dropping in the fall? Basketballs going through the hoop! Four months until March, when the madness begins.
 
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Chill

 
A Chilly Night
 
Pumpkins grow faces and
skeletons adorn
unusual places.
The chill may be
in the air or
from the scare of
a story I've read.
Who's there?
I swear I felt a tap
on the shoulder.
Did a ghost
get that close or
was I just frightened
 by my own shadow?
 
What gives you a chill? When you come up with the answer, leave a link to it on the Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt blog post. Thanks to Carol Early Cooney for this week's prompt-Chill.
 
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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Waiting for Words

 
Waiting for Words
 
Waiting for words
isn’t like waiting
for a bus.
No designated
places scattered
throughout  the city
where words arrive
on the half hour.
 
Waiting for words
isn’t like waiting
on tables.
No call
from the kitchen
that the next plate
of words is up.
 
Waiting for words
isn’t like waiting
in line.
No one giving
out words when you
get to the front.
 
Waiting for words
is waiting for
 your voice.
Letting it speak
 even when you
 are afraid of
what it will say.
 
 
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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Beat

 
 
 
Modern Sonnet
 
The words won’t flow
in form for me
despite the time
I spend with them
in work and play.
 
I try to make
the stress and light
just right and place
the rhymes in lines
like Shakespeare could.
 
My lines are short.
They lack the rhyme.
Don’t see the light.
The stress remains.
 
Beat-(noun)  a metrical or rhythmic stress in poetry or music or the rhythmic effect of these stresses
(Merriam-Webster.com)
 
 
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Thursday, October 17, 2013

Everybody Up

 
Everybody Up
 
4 a.m.
Flash, flash, flash,
like a strobe light
firing outside.
Thunder follows,
rattling the windows.
Rain falls gently
at first, then
increases in
intensity.
When the Boss has
insomnia,
nobody sleeps.
 
 
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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Totem

 
 
This week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt is Totem. A totem is an object (usually animal or plant) that serves as an emblem of a person, family or clan. I chose a lily as my totem because it reminds me of two women in my family.
 
The first is my mother. Her name was Lillian. Her nickname was Lil rather than Lily, but the flower still reminds me of her.
 
The second is my Aunt Lydia. She was my father's sister, but she and my mother were very close. Auntie had orange daylilies growing along one side of the driveway for as long as I can remember.
 
We lived in the upstairs flat in my aunt and uncle's house until I was nine years old. The families actually lived together for 18 years so Aunt Lydia and Uncle John were like another set of parents to my siblings and I.
 
What totem would you choose to represent your family? Put a link to it in the comments on the prompt post. Thanks to Dana Dampier for this prompt.
 
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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Uneven Ground

 
 
Uneven Ground
 
The knee aches
on uneven ground,
issuing warnings.
“Watch those stones.
You might lose
your balance.”
Don’t make that climb.
It’s too risky.”
Recently damaged
by a misstep,
the knee cries out
in hopes of
preventing another.

Trust, once broken,
is hard to restore.
 
 
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Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Support

 
 
I went to one of my favorite places, the Sculpture Park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, to take pictures that would represent this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt-Support. I knew there were a variety of physical examples of support in the park. As I walked around, I was reminded that this has become a place from which I draw support for my art and my well-being.
 
I took about a dozen pictures in search of one to use in this post. They included the columns that are part of the Nelson-Atkins Building, parts of various sculptures and even some fencing near the Bloch Building. I settled on the above stairway because it shows two forms of support. One is the structural support that holds up the railings. The other is the railings themselves, which give support to those who need or choose to use them to go up and down the stairs.
 
Thanks to Rebecca Barray for this week's prompt. Where do you find support?
 
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Thursday, October 3, 2013

Docked

 
 
Docked
 
Sun warms the wood.
Water still has a chill.
The slap, slap, slap
is like a lullaby.
 
Look across the lake.
Storm moving in.
The day turns gray.
Wind whips up waves.
 
Run for shelter.
Get in before the rain.
Never forget how
quickly things change.
 
How do you react to change? Have you ever been blindsided by a sudden change?
  
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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Line

 
A Fine Line
 
Long, straight and
step-on-a-crack,
break-your-mother's-back
hard.
Get in, stay in,
stand in and wait in.
Hold it or keep it moving.
Just don't cross it.
 
 
Thanks to Carol Early Cooney for this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt. What's your line? Put a link to it in the comments on the blog post.
 
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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Word Gardens

 
Self Taught
 
I’ve learned a few lessons
about luck and life.
Sometimes, even wishing
on a star can’t keep
things from turning ugly.
You take a punch or two.
Maybe end up in
residence at a hospital.
Take time to heal.
 
Other days turn out
sweet as apple cider.
You could be wandering
in the darkest alley and
wind up at the door to
a theater playing your
favorite movie.
When that happens,
walk in and
enjoy the show.
 
 
For the 8th challenge of the 2013 Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge, Khara House asked us to cultivate a word garden then grown a poem from it.
 
A word garden is simply a collection of words that resonates with the poet. For this challenge, we had to develop our garden quickly. However, this could be an ongoing exercise.
 
We were asked to collect a minimum of 100 words and put them in a jar or some other container. I took words from random pages I reviewed in books and magazines. I also used a few that I heard in conversation. We then had to draw at least 10 words from the container and write a poem that included all of those words. My 10 words were: luck, cider, ugly, star, alley, theater, residence, punch, movie and lessons.
 
I have never done an exercise like this before. I do have a list of word combinations that I keep as prompts. Sometimes, the words end up in the poem and sometimes they are just food for thought.
 
Do you have a word garden?  Have you done exercises in which you are given a list of words to include in a poem?
 
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Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fall

 
 
It's fall! How do I know ? Here are a few of the ways:
 
  • The temperature is in the 50's when I wake up.
  • Pumpkin spice lattes are back in the coffee houses.
  • The Plaza Art Fair was this past weekend.
  • There are footballs in the air!
Pretty soon the trees will look like those in the picture. Enjoy this beautiful season!
 
 
 
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Thursday, September 19, 2013

OULIPO

 
 
In the Driver's Seat
 

Grief
holds on
with both hands.
Can’t be shaken loose.
Handles every curve and swerve.
Won’t let go in ice or
snow, wind or rain, sleet or heat.
The hitchhiker who takes everyone for a ride.

 
The 7th challenge of the Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge is OULIPO, a philosophy that combines poetry and math. Seriously? Yes, I wouldn't kid about something like that.
 
As Khara House explains, "OULIPO is an acronym for Ouvroir de Litterature Potentielle, or “Workshop of Potential Literature.” Devised by the combined efforts of a French mathematician (Francois de Loinnais) and writer (Raymond Queneau), OULIPO seeks to create literary works written under constrained writing techniques."
 
There are a number of techniques of which Khara gives a sampling. I chose the Snowball, perfect for a poet who grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. In my example, each line of the poem increases by one word. I had to be careful when I was counting because I started to fall back into counting syllables instead of words.
 
Have you ever written a poem using one of the OULIPO techniques?
 
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Sample

 

 
Sample-a representative part or a single item from a larger whole or group ..
(Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary)
 
I have a golf ball collection. Most have logos of golf courses, tournaments or colleges and universities. Others, like the sample above, are colorful and/or say something interesting. The balls in my collection are both new and used. It's always fun to find a ball that has an interesting logo.
 
Thanks to Kris Swanguarin for this week's Wordsmith Studio Creative Prompt. Give us a sample of how this prompt inspires you by posting a link in the comments section of the blog post.
 
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Thursday, September 12, 2013

erasure

 
For the 6th week of the Our Lost Jungle Poetry Form Challenge, the form is erasure.  The poet takes a previously written text and begins to erase text to create a poem. Color or images may be added for a visual effect.
 
I used a page from the book Kansas City Jazz From Ragtime to Bebop--A History by Frank Diggs and Chuck Haddix. I tried to keep the relationship of the words within each line accurate words in the picture, but the spaces between lines are more representative than exact.
 
I enjoyed this form and playing with some photos to go with the poem.  Here is the text:
 
hooked on the blues
 
pecking out blues on the old
upright piano
practiced on the sly
 
Seeing
great territorial bands
inspired to become a musician
 
straggling home in the early morning light
with pockets full of money
 
Finding work scarce
 
stranded in Tulsa
 
auditioning for the piano spot
"I can play those tunes."
 
"Man, we've got a cat here.
 
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