#Fiction Friday: #Micropoetry from the Book

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Mother would not give him marriage,
but she would give him sex & love.
She would not give him children,
but she would give him hers.

His thoughts were my thoughts,
his ways, my ways,
& I believed this was so—
only because he’d come first.

She was wrapped up in the Church—
just like a gift someone did not want
its intended to see.

My father, Patrick, was alive.
With one sentence,
Mother had resurrected the dead.

Mother was his full-length dark mink,
I, his white mink stole;
Caitlin was a leotard with ballerina slippers,
the only innocent one of us all.

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Writer’s Digest Wednesday Poetry Prompt #461: Picking Up

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Picking Up Toys

Raggedy Anne is looking rather ragged.
You’ve made a hat out of stickers for her;
you’ve pulled her yarn hair apart
so it looks like she has a bad perm.
She is not yet missing an eye
(only because it’s made of thread),
but if you needled her to death
like Mama used to do to her “friends,”
she’d be real sorry.
You’ve turned Baby Aimee into a double amputee.
I thought only woodland creatures
chewed off their own foot
when it was caught in a trap.
Mickey’s hands look like they were caught
in a stump grinder;
poor Frederick the Poet Mouse
looks like he’s been on a starvation diet.
And Quackers?
Well, he’s hanging on (or together)
by a thread,
for mastication is your instantaneous gratification.

https://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-461

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #30. Theme: One More (Blank)

Betty Slide 13

One More Memory

If I had just one more memory–
one more moment stretched into years
(with light years between the seconds)–
I would have so much to show-and-tell you.
Does that not sound like a little child?

Your presence
hovers
in the absence
of space and time
as you observe Hannah’s progression,
listen to my stories,
and see this, your daughter,
in the collegiate green cap and gown,
having remade herself into the ungraven image
she’s always wanted to be.

We share memories of you at the table;
I like to imagine you hear us
every time we speak your name.
We have no complaints.

Dad still carries your driver’s license in his wallet;
there are never enough pictures.
We say, “That’s a Mom joke!”
(when the joke is truly terrible)
or “Remember when Mom ..?”

Dad still calls you Mom;
I call you Grandma.
“Say ‘Good-night, Grandma,’”
I tell my daughter,
“blow her a kiss to heaven.”
It’s a kiss strong enough
to shatter
plaster
ceilings,
to defy
gravity.
I catch the one you send back
and plant it on her cheek.

We call you what our children call you.
You wanted Dad to call you Betty more.
Your mother always called you Betty Ann.
You liked the names Carolyn and Elise.
You dug up the roots of the family tree
to give me mine.

She is…she was…
it is just “Grandpa’s house” now,
but the contact still reads “Mom and Dad’s”
in my phone.
I will never change it.

We remember your goulash–
the only thing you knew how to make–
even though we weren’t even Hungarian.
Still aren’t.

We just are.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-30

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #10. Theme: Teenage

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The Persistence of Her Memory

When she lost her memories of adulthood,
she was seventeen again,
but in a body that had seen several oil changes.
She grieved for the second time for the grandparents she had lost,
except all at once;
she grieved for the friends who had grown up or grown apart,
not understanding why they couldn’t pick up where they had left off.
She read her own journal and recognized not the person in it,
for she was a stranger,
even to herself.
Every day she lived,
she would gain one day of memory back—
live a day, gain a day—
so that the old was as real to her as the new.
She spread old memories like a receiving blanket around all who’d known her
that year of nineteen-hundred-and-ninety-nine,
wrapping everyone up in what they thought they’d forgotten—
some queer little thing that would make them smile in remembrance,
illuminating a generation of people through shared nostalgia—
of Friday nights at Blockbuster and posing for Glamour Shots in the mall
when half the girls wanted to look like Claudia Schiffer,
of making fun of after-school special reruns and Harlequin romances,
of quiet libraries and talking on the telephone,
of politics not infiltrating every conversation,
of the era of Jesus freaks who wore the WWJD bracelets
and carried their Bibles on top of their textbooks,
of working at Baskin Robbins on Saturday mornings
and not finishing the ice cream cakes fast enough,
of high school graduation with Sarah McLachlan’s “I Will Remember You”
and “Time of Your Life” by Green Day,
of her dreams of having a Little Lucy and a Little Ricky
with a man who looked like Prince William,
and a million other little things that had marked her teenage years,
had marked her.
Her husband waited for that day—
seven years into the future—
when she would remember the day she had fallen in love with him,
but time created new memories,
and she fell for him all over again,
for she could neither wait for time nor pass it,
but rather,
surpass it.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-10

Poem-a-Day November 2018 Writer’s Digest Challenge #7. Theme: Occupation

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A Life of Games

When she played “Old Maid,”
she realized that no one wanted to be one,
yet never questioned why
there was never an “Old Bachelor” game.

When she played “Perfection,”
she realized that speed and accuracy
was the winning combination to more than games.

When she played “Operation,”
she knew the world would be better off
if she wasn’t a surgeon.

When she played “Checkers,”
she realized that once she mastered something,
she lost interest in it.

When she played “Clue,”
she realized how much she loved
figuring things out.

When she played “Scrabble,”
she realized that dictionaries were friends
to the right people.

But when she played video games,
she realized how much she hated them.

http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2018-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-7

#Fiction Friday: #Novelines from the Book

Mormoni

Mother was a diamond—hopelessly & beautifully flawed.

Through Foster’s Diner, I’d had the extended family I’d longed for, but I hadn’t known until it was too late to know them as such.

There had been numerous incarnations of Beth & Gerald Foster, but their final incarnation had been of themselves—the adopted grandparents I had loved for themselves.

That was why they had seemed so familiar, for I had, in a way, grown up with them, even as they had watched me grow up.

I never asked why they had never voiced a desire to see Caitlin. Maybe it was just that I was so much like their beloved, adopted son.

I wish I would have been able to encapsulate those precious moments I had spent at the roadside diner, never knowing how precious they really were.

I’d never seen Mother struggle with anything before, but she struggled to fit the mold of the Mormon wife, pouring herself into it, but never quite jelling, for the molds were all the same.

Our living room resembled a room in one of the Mormon temples—white & delightsome—a microcosm of the celestial kingdom.

With the light reflecting off her glossy hair & radiant complexion, she looked like an angel. Yet, it was no marvel, for even Satan himself had been transformed into an angel of light.

I was 18 & the thought of moving into Maxwell Manor with Mother & David made me feel about 12 years old.

Book Review: James and the Giant Peach

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Because September had a “Banned Books Week,” as part of my “research,” I had my husband check a bunch of formerly challenged/banned children’s books out of the library.

I’d tried reading A Wrinkle in Time years ago, which I couldn’t get into (I preferred Peppermints in the Parlor, though I’m not sure that’s a relevant comparison) and The Giver (an interesting plot with not-so-interesting characters); for some reason, I had my husband return all the books except for James and the Giant Peach. It sat on my nightstand for weeks, and when I was too lazy (i.e. tired) to get up and get the other book I was reading, I opened it and was instantly captivated.         

I’m the first to admit that I generally prefer children’s poetry (i.e. fun and creative) over adult poetry (which often comes across as emo and pretentious), so I was pretty sure this book would stand the test of time.

It did and was even better than I remembered.      

I liked the illustrations—it helped cartoonize the creepy-crawly characters, which made them seem less gross.     

Though James Henry Trotter was likeable, he wasn’t super well-developed. It was what happened to him that made him a sympathetic character, rather than how he handled what happened to him.

That said, the creepy-crawlies all had their own little personalities that set them apart, though I did find that the male creepy-crawlies had stronger and more memorable personalities than the female ones; however, two of the three female creepy-crawlies did contribute much more to “the mission” than the male creepy-crawlies, so even though they didn’t have the gab, they had the gumption.  

Even though the verses were cute, I would’ve preferred them to be in dialogue form. For some reason, when I see poetry in a novel, it’s like an interruption to the story.

The only thing that was weird (and not in a good way) was the ladybug marrying the Head of the New York Fire Department. Humans and animals should never marry, and that goes for creepy-crawlies and humans, as well. Ladybug should’ve married one of the other creepy-crawlies, but then, what were her choices—an obnoxious-as-hell centipede, a blind earthworm who never shut up about his disability (even though earthworms are supposed to be blind), and a grasshopper that would’ve made her a widow any day.

Despite the bizarre coupling of the man and the ladybug, James and the Giant Peach was an incredible adventure (and perhaps a premonition of Monsanto’s crimes against food).