#Micropoetry Monday: Ekphrastic Poetry

002.JPG

She’d learned it all from Lucy–
how a life of grand schemes
& wars of the sexes made it worth living,
how one could come to America an immigrant & not make do but do well,
how a small apartment in the city could become a spacious house in the country,
how lifelong best friends & a long-awaited child
could be part of anyone’s American Dream.

Scarlett
Tomorrow was always another day—
that mythical time when all would be well.
Yet she pined for the one man
who represented that lost cause
in which she’d found happiness.

Caroline Carmichael had found purpose in a stolen life,
rather than the life she had chosen as Martha Sedgwick.
She was the water,
Hillary & Winston the powdered mix,
& blended, they made up the Instant Family.

Little Women
Beth was but a faint percussion,
Amy, a bold stroke of fresh color,
while Jo captured & condensed life as she knew it,
& Meg mothered the future.

She was one in a dozen,
a ginger with a snap,
the heart of a lion,
the breadth of a lamb.

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #24. Theme: Imitation

Imitations of Life

“Drama is life with the dull bits cut out.” — Alfred Hitchcock

Dioramas,
miniature dramas;
Paintings,
scenes fading.
Books,
an unreliable narration,
Music,
a canorous condensation.
Plays—
life’s sincerest flattery,
and television,
where books go to die,
where smash cuts and sound bites—
like hors d’oeuvres that do not satisfy—
but ferment,
fomenting discord;
but the best depiction of all,
is posted on our pages—
the CliffsNotes editions
of our life stories,
putting friendships in remission.

2016 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 24

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #355, Theme: Cravings

Airing Network Grievances

Bloomberg isn’t running for President after all.
Will Biden run for President?
Will Romney run on a third-term ticket?
Classic stock market speculation.
It isn’t news if it doesn’t bring in the ratings.

The manufactured feud between
Megyn Kelly and Donald Trump
has ended in a kissy-face one-on-one.
Since when did bar-hopping attire
become the cable news anchor look?

A celebrity has died.
Not exercising is bad for you.
O’Reilly has written another book.

Another celebrity has died.
Five days later,
we’ll stop hearing about it.

“Breaking News” has become
“The Boy Who Cried Wolf”.

Through the haze of punditry,
and over the babble-bobble of the talking heads,
I begin to have cravings for real news,
but, like a gold miner of yore (or ore),
I must sift through the infotainment—
many times on fast-forward—
to find the nuggets of truth
that have been crushed to dust.

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 355

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #22. Theme: Waiting for (Blank)

Several months ago, I read a story in “The New Yorker” about a woman whose mother told her that her father would come back before John Wayne died, because she thought he would never die (though I cannot find the story now, and I almost wonder if I dreamt it).  The story resonated with me, though, like it often is with a piece of art, I couldn’t say why.

The other night, I watched a movie called “Blossoms in the Dust”, starring Greer Garson (who, though not a beauty, had such a radiant charm, her beauty exceeded that of many others) and Walter Pidgeon (who I always thought was handsomer and more refined than Tyrone Power).  Blossoms” was about Edna Gladney, who fought for the word “illegitimate” to be stricken from birth certificates because of the social stigma.

Hence, the inspirations for this poem.

Waiting for her Father

She sits at the bay window,
surrounded by light,
her back to the shadows of the empty house.
From ages seven to twenty-one,
she has sat in this space on this date—
till the day the Legend died:
her birthday,
his deathday.

He will come, her mother had said,
before Elvis leaves this Earth,
he will come,
but then her mother had thought Elvis
would never die,
even though legends did all the time.

When the Legend passed on
to a world or worlds unknown,
it was like a second birthday,
a rebirth,
even though a part of her,
that part of her called hope,
died that day, too.
And yet, how freeing was a lack of hope
in things, or people, never seen,
and how limitless was hope in what was to come,
dependent upon her and no one else?

Fourteen years she had waited,
like Rachel,
laboring by being good
so that when he did come back,
he would stay.

But all those years had not been in vain,
for all the good she had been,
she had been for him,
till doing good became a part of her,
and it was only for that and her life,
she could thank him for.

 

Poem-a-Day Writer’s Digest Challenge #21. Theme: Strange

1355620

I am a Strange One:

A Self-Portrait in Writing

I turn my clock backwards
before I go to sleep.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like to sleep on pillows,
but rather between two of them.
I am a strange one.

I set my clock ahead five minutes,
for 7:00 a.m. is too close to 6:59.
I am a strange one.

I am studying to work in the healthcare profession,
but the sight of blood makes me faint.
I am a strange one.

I love to read crime thrillers,
but I love to write children’s nursery rhymes.
I am a strange one.

I read the dictionary for fun,
Hemingway for school.
I am a strange one.

I am a maximumist when it comes to books,
a minimalist when it comes to DVDs.
I am a strange one.

I love foreign films with subtitles,
but close captioning drives me crazy.
I am a strange one.

I love and appreciate fine art,
but have a hologram of a tree hanging in my house.
I am a strange one.

I watch Fox and read the HuffPost.
I love the Shopaholic series, but am a fan of Dave Ramsey.
I am a strange one.

I have seven Rubbermaid Tupperware containers,
and seven Rubbermaid lids.
I am a strange one.

I like Coca Cola from Mexico,
but I would never drink the water there.
I am a strange one.

I don’t love to cook,
but I love to watch cooking shows.
I am a strange one.

I’d much rather “meet my meat”
than cook it.
I am a strange one.

I buy a new fruit or vegetable first,
then try to figure out what to do with it later.
I am a strange one.

I love most everything fried,
but I prefer my fries baked.
I am a strange one.

I don’t like bananas,
but I love banana cream pie.
I am a strange one.

I love the beach and water aerobics,
but I never learned to swim.
I am a strange one.

My dream vacation is in Iceland,
but I hate the cold.
I am a strange one.

I love cat jokes,
but will probably never have a cat.
I am a strange one.

I like to make bars of soap,
but I prefer to use body wash.
I am a strange one.

I am a night owl,
but I hate when it gets dark early.
I am a strange one.

I hate cold weather,
but I love to be able to wear nylons and sweaters.
I am a strange one.

I like to wear socks inside the house,
but not outside the house (with shoes).
I am a strange one.

I find brassieres uncomfortable,
but not bikini tops.
I am a strange one.

I prefer skirts and mittens
over pants and gloves,
because I like my parts to touch.

I don’t like beards,
but I like a man who can grow one.
I am a strange one.

I like a man who wears cologne,
but I don’t wear perfume.
I am a strange one.

I don’t mind loading washers and dishwashers,
but I hate emptying them.
I am a strange one.

I love shopping for clothes,
but I hate trying them on.
I am a strange one.

I live in the Deep South,
but I don’t say y’all.
I am a strange one.

I don’t have a single tattoo or piercing,
yet I love chandelier earrings.
I am a strange one.

I am an introvert,
but I wait tables for a living.
I am a strange one.

My truths may be strange,
but they are not stranger than fiction.
We are all contradictory,
and, at times, just a little bit OCD,
in our own way.

But at least I don’t go to a seafood restaurant
and order a hamburger.

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #328, Theme: Movie-Inspired Poem

This was one of the easier poems I had to write, because it is based on what I believe is the greatest, most inspirational and captivating film ever made (the influential film magazine Cahiers du cinéma selected it in 2008 as the second-best film of all time, only behind “Citizen Kane”).  It is so like something I would write, and I have written works with themes (usually Mormon) of extreme religiosity resonating throughout.  The film is flawless, and I hope this poem inspires you to check it out.

images6TZGS6E8

The Little Lambs of Moundsville, West Virginia

John and Pearl—
a disciple,
a gem of the ocean.
Decisive,
trusting.

The sins of their father fall to them
like the filthy lucre he stole,
his body swaying in the still air.
The little doll of Pearl
carries his costly secret
like an illegitimate child.

The blood smell from the money
brought Preacher Harry Powell—
the devil in the flesh—
to their Moundsville farmhouse.
A death tax collector,
a fallen Angel of Death,
a Grim Reaper that sows deceit.

The smells of fried chicken,
sweet potatoes,
cornbread,
and apple cobbler
fortifies the children on their journey
to the Wherever.

The children tire,
the nocturnal melodies like a lullaby,
but they must keep running,
keep rowing,
until they cannot.

From the loft of a barn,
John watches this black sheep
ride his horse in search of
the lost lambs with the loot.
He never sleeps.

The day dawn breaks,
and it is time to run again.
Floating adrift in a boat,
a savior in a dress,
greedy for love,
takes the children,
for they are like treasures
from a sunken ship.
Only she can see their worth.
Her name is Rachel,
but John will come to think of her as Bithiah,
for Bithiah drew Moses out of the water.

John and Pearl,
children of thieves,
of murderers,
of Willa the Weak,
are brought to live with three girls:
Ruby, Mary, and Clary.
It is the home of the Lost and Found.

Then, like a crow,
scouting out a cornfield,
it returns with the scrawl on its talons,
but Rachel’s bullet pierces the creature,
and the demon is exorcised from his body.
All of the children are safe.

This simple Rachel speaks of God and His Son,
the candlelight bathing the faces of the little lambs,
waxing innocent as the moon;
the lost lamb named John
turns away and into the night,
the screen from the door like a veil,
a wall separating him from the words of the black book.

He has heard this story before,
but it is different,
and he hears it told with love—
the way it was meant to be told.

Bless all the little children,
for it was a little child who led them,
they who believed,
to the truth of the wolf that had pulled the wool over their eyes—
blinded by plain words done up fancy.

Night of the Hunter - birdcage 01

Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #326, Theme: Spooky

So “Perfect Sense” is one of my favorite movies.  Though it is classified as a science fiction, I also think of it as a psychological horror (so much better than the gory kind).  I have often thought of this film as poetic, and so I wrote it as a poem from my perspective (or how I would live out the end of my Earth life, knowing these calamities were to come).

curtain-13823_960_720

The Evening the We the World Ended

My eyes feast upon the book—
the colors and the contrasts,
the cursive with the curlicues,
the lines and the shadows.
I gaze outside through the open window,
a breath of wind parting the sheer curtains
to reveal the soul inside the outside:
tangerine, ruby, and violet—
a fruit, a rock, a flower—
all weapons in the right light.
The light diminishes,
the barometer is going kablooey.
I reach behind me to turn on the lamp,
but my eyes are wide open
when everything goes dark.

My ears feast on the sounds of music,
the fluid art of language,
the happiness in laughter,
the clinking of a spoon against a teacup,
ice in a glass.
“I Love Lucy” is on,
and I can hear humor and humanity—
the very lightness of being.
It is a comfort.
I feel the flickers on my face,
bathing me in the golden glow of black and white.
I can smell the honeysuckle outside my window,
remembering the bead of dew on the tip of my tongue.
We are our memories.
And then everything goes silent.

My nose feasts on the aromas of fresh-picked fruit,
of flowers, a lemon cake cooling on the counter;
of the smell of green tea soap after a shower.
I can smell the rain I know is coming down,
the salt from the ocean,
the mist that is like a dewy shroud.
Fecund, fresh.
I lick my lips, trace them with my finger.
The Earth is more alive than we are.
I turn my face to the scarf my mother left that last day,
expecting the powdery, floral scent of White Shoulders.
I inhale,
but the fragrance is gone,
and without smell,
memory fades.

My tongue feasts on the crispness of a Honeycrisp apple,
the light crunch of a raw cashew,
the creamy, savory mouthfeel of fontina,
the subtle sweetness of dark chocolate,
the slight bitterness of espresso with steamed milk and agave nectar.
I want the chewiness of something—
a bread.
I’ve always made meals of varying temperatures,
tastes,
textures.
I reach my way to the kitchen on bare feet,
the tiles cold now,
but it is my last chance.
I find the focaccia.
I chew, but the taste is gone.

My touch feasts on the softness of my baby’s unblemished cheek,
my baby, now quiet,
now still,
not understanding,
but accepting all the same.
I reach for the glass of water,
letting the coolness of it glide over my hands,
I let you enfold us,
you the head,
I the heart,
my fingers threading through the fine, blond hair on your arms.
I delight in the warm whisper that tickles my ear that can no longer hear,
and I know I am not alone.
I can feel the moonbeams being placed over my eyes like daisies,
and then not at all.

A worldwide phenomenon,
a rapturing of all our senses—
a rapid metamorphosis.
We lie in beds,
sit in chairs,
wait, pray, sleep for the inevitable—
a moment of silence stretched into eternity.
We are a stopped clock with no face,
huddled together with those we love most,
having found each other by scrambling in the dark still night,
awaiting the last of the plagues.

We know not whether our eyes are open or closed,
whether it is hot or cold,
but I know you are near,
and there is no pain.
Just consciousness.