Micropoetry Monday: Pith & Punctuation

Em Dash was as innumerate
as En Dash was illiterate,
but when they did a DNA test,
they realized they were descended from the Hyphen,
who separated words & numbers
& helped women keep their maiden name
while taking their married name, too.

When Lady Apostrophe
went to her daily therapy sessions,
she became increasingly indignant
over Dr. Dew Nothing’s diagnoses:
obsessive-possessive disorder,
delusions of grandeur—
as Lady felt like she was the only thing
that held two words together—
& a slew of imaginary frenemies
whom she addressed (rather poetically).
Dr. Nothing—
having sent Lady Apostrophe on her way
with a 90-day supply of chill pills—
preferred Miss Period,
who only bothered her once a month
& would be gone
long before she retired.

When Readerly, Writerly, & Grammarly
wandered into a minibar.
Readerly entertained herself with reading the menu
& Writerly, with making it more interesting,
while Grammarly punctuated the pauses in Readerly’s speaking
& proofed the edits that Writerly had lovingly made.
Different facets of the same person,
they made a great team,
for were smart enough not to consume anything
from the minibar,
with its absentee mixologist,
overpriced products,
& chilly atmosphere.

When Age Was No Longer Numbered

When the world no longer aged,
learning did not cease
but development did.
Husbands loved their expectant wives
with their rounded bellies & tiger mom stripes,
& the mothers loved their little one(s) within,
who floated as if in a state of suspended animation,
the mothers,
in suspended celebration.
The babies born were loved for who they were
& who they would never become.
Developmental milestones became a thing of the past;
educational milestones became the next big thing.
There were no more birthdays—
just calendars marking each day
since the last birthday had been celebrated;
there were anniversaries, however,
for Time continued marching on,
leaving a lighter bootprint
with every passing year.

It was an era of endless childhood:
of childhood sweethearts who would never marry,
of teenagers who would never know wisdom,
of young parents who would never become grandparents,
& of grandparents who would never pass away.
Those who loved their age loved their lives;
those who wished to be young again would be old forever;
& those who wished to grow up would never know independence,
for no matter how much they learned,
they would never mature.
There were no more conceptions or births,
no more deaths from old age but unnatural causes.
Those who loved what they did would do it seemingly forever,
& those who did not
could not bear an eternity of hating their livelihood,
so they went back to school
in acknowledgment & the reclaiming of their perpetual personhood,
for they had all the time in the world.

In this reverse Groundhog Day,
where the days changed, but the routine did not—
the world began to live in an almost hypnagogic state,
for the only promise of tomorrow was that it would come.
For some,
this cessation was the spring of eternal life,
for others,
a never-ending winter.
And for those who were too young to know any better,
it was all they knew.

Micropoetry Monday: Love Story

Photo Shape Editor: https://www.tuxpi.com/photo-effects/shape-tool

When Mr. House met Miss Holmes,
he found himself in need of a woman’s touch,
while she became the lady of the house.

He wrote on the lines,
she, between them.
He was an open book,
she, factory-sealed.
He didn’t seal the deal with a kiss
but rather,
unsealed her
with his.

He was the man with the golden touch,
she, the woman with the silver tongue,
but it was because of her touch
that his tongue was loosened.

He is

Lily

For even as He grew in Mary’s womb,
He had not disappeared from the heavens
of the preconceived & the immortal,
nor from the earth beyond the veil of birth;
He, who was limitless—
limited by neither time nor place—
did not possess,
but came by invitation only.
For those of the New Testament,
He was the Spirit of Christmas Present,
the Old,
the Spirit of a Christmas Yet to Be.
For the planet walkers of today,
He is the Spirit of a Christmas Past—
a spirit who remains ever present,
even as, like books, symbols of His death
are burned or banned,
even as His words are,
like books also,
rewritten or translated according to the times.
He was the literal Son of Mary,
yet her spiritual father.
He is the masculine,
the Immaculate,
the embodiment of The Overcoming.
He is the lone lifeguard who can save
from spiritual drowning,
the storyteller of the common person,
the pescatarian.
He is who He is,
but for many,
He is whoever they imagine Him to be.

Micropoetry Monday: Children of the 80s & 90s

Payphone

She lived a life of handwritten thank you notes
in her signature cursive,
of love letters on floral stationery,
scented with White Shoulders,
& glossy postcards in paper rather than pixels,
stamped with the country
from whence they came.
The tactile experience of opening an envelope
from the aluminum mailbox
at the end of her driveway
became something quaint,
for such occurrences were seldom.
Rather than travel through cyberspace,
her words traveled through real space
with last night’s coffee stain on a story
she’d bled all over with a red pen.
So tenaciously,
she held on to her grandmother’s record collection,
her grandfather’s stamp collection,
& her collection of old photos that had no digital form.
Such items were precious to her,
for they were remnants of a time
that was now fading into black.

She was a tattoo artist,
he, a sandwich artist.
They loved to argue over whose art
mattered more;
she believed his lasted for a meal,
hers, for a lifetime,
& the graffiti artist,
sick of their public screeds
at the comic book shop,
Instagrammed their creations,
so that the creations of
Mr. Sammich & Tit-4-Tatted
would endure forever.

When J.C. Drew,
the “New You” self-help guru,
whose tagline was
“Be an activist for you!”
preyed on the people of Seneca Falls
by convincing them that their current selves
weren’t good enough
so that they became dissatisfied
with their wonderful lives,
Moxie Carmichael gave him a piece of her mind,
which was the one piece nobody could change.

Micropoetry Monday: Contemplation

Reflections, Saint Patrick's Day

Liza Beth Higginbotham
traded in her name badge
for a nameplate,
her apron for a tweed suit.
She chose to be called Elizabeth.
It was in this way that she made
a name for herself,
only to marry an even bigger name.
It was then,
& only then,
that who she was once only mattered
because of who she now mattered to.

She spent the days
with her hands in flour,
her nights with her head in words
so that her cookies tasted like paper,
& her books tasted like cookies;
she found that lunchtime afternoons
were her sweet spot,
for she could eat her words.

Tamira stargazed
to look at the past,
& gazed at her child
to look at the future.
They were glorious,
for they were made
of the same stuff—
the dust of the heavens,
blown
with the breath of life into
sculptures more resilient
than glass.

*Fiction Friday: Poetry Based on the Book

He was still staring at the picture,
or rather past it,
& I knew that’s where his thoughts were—
in the past he rarely shared with us.
Mother had made Caitlin play the piano
since she had been old enough to sing “Frere Jacques,”
even though Mother, as a child,
had been forced to play all the time to keep her hands busy,
for idle hands, according to her mother, were the work of the devil.
If idle hands were the work of the devil,
then Mother had done his bidding for years,
letting David be her hands for the both of them
in the hopes that perhaps her belief alone
would be sufficient grace for him,
even as his labors of love would sanctify her indulgent indolence.

That night placed my mother on the trajectory
that would change her life as I knew it,
for David had left her a note:
You won’t ever have to play for me.
Her bewitching beauty had cast a spell,
her piano playing akin to the voice
of Andersen’s little mermaid,
enchanting this prince of an unknown palace.
David had heard the melancholy in her music
flowing through her fingers
& wanted to dispel it,
believing he was so like God,
he could banish it from her soul.
The music had not set her free,
but enchained her to David forever,
for he always found us.

She had met David the day before she was to marry my father.
He had separated her from her piano,
which she hated,
to the man she made my sister and me give laud,
whom she’d never loved.
David had never separated her from anything she had loved,
even as what she would come to love—
the ideal that the Mormons preached—
would separate her from him.
He was the wedge,
even as I would become the hammer.

I had never doubted Mother’s love for my father until that moment.
I became David’s priest as he confessed his love for her,
even after she belonged to someone else.
The woman I knew as Laurie Nolan
believed in honoring her father & mother,
but the woman who had been Annie Laurie McCarrick
had honored them in public when she had married Patrick Nolan
but dishonored them in private when she had continued to love David,
to pine for him alive
as she had never pined for my father dead.

There were no grandparents or aunts, uncles, & cousins
to call us on birthdays or visit on holidays.
I had never known the joy of getting a card in the mail
with a ten-dollar bill inside,
or the delight of listening to stories
about Mother & David as children
from those who had known them as I never would.
I had never known the adventure of sleeping
in any house other than mine.
I had never missed this lack of extended family before,
but after the Church came into our lives
& I saw how it was with others,
I wanted that kind of dynamic for myself.
Mother & David, like Patrick, were trees without branches—
reaching high but neither wide nor deep.
The sounds of another life were muffled,
& the sights hovered on the edge of my peripherals.
It had all been different somehow.
We had known our neighbors,
had once had friends.
Just what were we running from?
David hugged me to him, & I held on,
wishing there were no more secrets between us.

Logline for Because of Mindy Wiley An Irish-Catholic girl coming of age in the Deep South during the New Millennium finds her family splintered when two Mormon missionaries come to her door, their presence and promise unearthing long-buried family secrets, which lead to her excommunication and exile.

Micropoetry Monday: Autobiography

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Her obsession with Mother Goose,
Post-It notes,
& Dove candy wrappers
gave her life not only cadence
but a sticky sweetness
that made every day a Friday
with a 5 o’clock shadow.

She let her daughter watch her read,
to show that it was fun.
She let her watch her write,
to show that it was hard work.
She let her watch her write letters,
to show that handwriting still mattered.
She let her watch her
make Christmas cards & bookmarks
& all manner of 2-D textured art,
to show that creativity
didn’t always happen in front of a screen.
She let her watch her exercise,
to show that movement,
in whatever direction,
was the way to a better life.
She let her watch her bake,
to show that good things—
like cake flour–
could come from a box.
She let her watch her eat vegetables,
to show that,
when prepared properly,
they were delicious.
She let her watch her watching her,
to show that the little things she did
were of interest to her.
Her mothering wasn’t just
in the lessons she told
but in all the words
she did not say.

She’d battled acne & algebra in her teens,
only to battle wrinkles & job insecurity in her thirties.
Her twenties had been that interlude
between coming-of-age
& being of advanced maternal age—
when she had floundered
in the DNA soup of uncertainty
that crashed inside her,
sometimes drowning in her own blood.
Then the surprise child—
a gift from God through His patented design—
had snapped her out of her dreamlike existence,
& it was then,
& only then,
that she began to fully live her dream.

Micropoetry Monday: Hymns of Motherhood

Hymns of Motherhood

The Shutterfly Edition

All through her childhood,
her mother had been behind her,
safeguarding the cupboards
& pantry
& cabinets under the sink,
making sure her food & baths
were not “Papa Bear hot”
& her feet not “Mama Bear cold,”
pulling the car over
to fix the straps on her car seat,
remedying hazards she had created
(which always included Legos),
watching her when she took her to the park,
keeping one hand on the grocery cart,
& following her closely when she wanted the freedom
to walk around & look at toys,
& checking all the locks
on the doors & windows,
because so many in the big world
wanted a little girl,
though her mother never told her why
until she already knew why.

According to the world’s standards,
her child was neither the sharpest
nor the brightest;
she would never know how to solve
the world’s problems,
maybe not even her own,
but if more people were like her—
possessing an empathy so many lacked—
there would be fewer problems to solve.

She had grown up believing that children
should only be seen & never heard,
but when she realized
the errors of her raising,
her children were too deep
into their electronic devices
to want to say anything.