2021: Hour Four – Never Left

It was a busy Thursday afternoon
My phone rang
An unusual time for a call
She told me to sit down
Her voice trembled
I knew it was serious
He’s dead 

Silence 

My heart sunk as I sat back into my chair
looked around at my work

The last chance
to have a conversation
had passed

How we left it is
how it will be left
forever

Enigmas he left
in private words shared
will I ever unlock their mystery?

His voice still echos in my thoughts
His influence unmistakeable

Framing my thinking, affecting my reactions
Even in rebellion, he impacted my mind

We sighed to each other
and breathed simultaneously
both knowing that

He never left us1

 

1. From Sharks In the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn

2021: Hour Three – Muse Wanted

Searching for a muse
that shows up and does the work for me
while I stand at the espresso maker

I will make the fluffiest foam
the silkiest steamed milk
fashioned into an attempt at art

Searching for a muse
that is on standby and comes out without
being wooed or courted by good habits

I will show up, sometimes on Tuesdays at 10
sometimes first thing in the morning
sometimes at the end of the night

I can’t predict it — but be there, okay?

Searching for a muse
that isn’t afraid of negative chatter
or the noisy chaos of too much scrolling

I will sit down to write with serious conviction
open a document and then glide onto
a browser or app … lost in the space of the creativity of the rest of humanity

In these external places
playing hide and seek with my creativity

I sip my art-topped latte and embrace
my ability to create
in the gaps
between fear
& avoidance

Searching for my self and acceptance

2021: Hour Two – The Joy of Unseen Things

I know it, but I cannot see it
I feel it, but it’s form is not present

My eyes close and images dance their way
into the splotchy darkness under my eyelids

Colors and landscapes that are familiar but unseen
stories play out in twisted tangles

Sequencing is nonexistent as evidenced
by my attempts to tell the stories of this unseen land

A private paradise of feeling and imagination
exploring, wandering, creating
weaving the tapestry of worlds unseen

Knowing at times I hold the key
changing and creating at will

While other times it feels like visiting
the future or a distant planet

Breathing into the mystery and
waking to the familiar
I bask in the joy of unseen things

2021: Hour One – BFF

we thought it would last forever
we made plans for our imagined adult lives
a trendy clothing boutique
and side by side condos in a sunny beach location

adolescent dreams of
the supposed easy breezy life
for a couple of fashion obsessed teens

we stayed true to the anthem of me and you
best friends forever
despite the bumps in the road

the tragic events better to have split us
somehow made us cling together even more
common ground shifting and crumbling under us

but our shared trauma kept invisible chords of connection
commitment without cause
love, unconditional but not without betrayal and rifts

the pairing looked like
someone always taking it and the other dishing it out
disregard, asking too much
judging, feeling superior

splintered shards of unsaid frustration and hurt
we painted distorted pictures of each other
commiseration, tears and confessions glued us back together

opportunity after opportunity to fall apart
something kept us hanging on to teenage dreams
of staying together
even without sandy dreams of drinks with tiny umbrellas
with tanned skin and admirers at our feet

until the intersection of everything unsaid
every excused misbehavior culminated
in betrayal — blurry, harsh, dizzying and to be honest, predictable
playing out all the un-faced fears, patterns & complaints 

we thought it would last forever
even when our fantasy view crashed into the rocks

instead of an elegant fade away
we held on until we smashed it to bits
against the side of our real adult lives

 

2021 A little bit about Gina (me)

I write novels, short stories, and poetry. I am currently working on YA science fiction novel. Once upon a time, I was a middle school science teacher. And long, long ago on the other side of the country, I was an herbalist. I still use my herbal knowledge and grow an herb garden and make teas and potions from the plants. And I am trying to use my experiences as an educator of adolescents to support the growth of a couple of tweens/ teens in my household.

I love to swim, bike, and run and compete in running races & triathlons. I will be taking a pause from racing in 2021 due to hip surgery later this summer, but plan to build back up for racing again in 2022.

I also enjoy endurance events of the literary kind and have participated in 24-hour readathons and NaNoWriMo. So, this poetry marathon was irresistible to me.

This is my 2nd year participating in the poetry marathon. I used the hourly prompts last year for all my poems & succeeded in completing the marathon. It was an amazing day of writing that allowed me to stretch and grow my poetry writing skills. I was even able to work through some issues I was having with the novel I was working on at the time in one of my poems.

I have my desk area ready to go, just need a trip to the store to stock up on snacks & green tea.

 

Hour 24 – Package on the Doormat

There was a knock on the door
I answered and no one was there

Only a small package sat on the doormat
it was wrapped in brown paper and tied with a string

There was a simple tag with red lettering
with the words printed on it in fine calligraphy
“A gift for you”

Paranoia set in
I looked left and right down the street
for signs of movement or a clue as to
who might have left it

nothing, not a movement
not even a squirrel or a bird
not a car or a dog walker
the street quieter than it ever had been

I carefully lifted the package
reasoning that I was an unlikely recipient
for a bomb or a trap

I brought the package in
placed it on the table and inspected it

I pulled the end of the string where a small bow was tied
the package was easily freed of the string

I eased off the paper wrapping
and took the lid off the box
to reveal folded tissue paper

I pushed past the paper
and inside was a small heart-shaped locket

I lifted it up and opened the locket
to reveal the words
“you are loved”

 

Hour 23- Barry the Banana Slug

Barry the banana slug
was an unlikely pet

But he’s more fun than
you’d expect

He follows me along in the garden
we like to go to eat salads together

He enjoys long walks in the forest
and doesn’t mind a rainy day

He’s great at helping to clean up
around the yard by eating dead and decomposing
plant and animal matter

The only thing he’s not great at is warm hugs
which is okay because if that’s what I wanted
I would have chosen a pet different than a slug

He has something that you could never get from a fluffy dog
If I ever need to go numb then Barry is ready with his anesthetic slime

Hour 22- unfettered progress

Another building going up
filling in the last piece of open space
more apartments, more offices
compartments to contain and hold
the lives of the city’s people

Nothing stops the wheels of progress
the bottom line doesn’t have space
for a park or the historic and human scale
buildings that were once there

Now bulldozers and pile-drivers
tear up and pin down another
tower of metal and glass

What will stop them
it’s hard to say
natural disaster
urban decay
climate crisis

Somehow they find a way
to stack the boxes in their favor
despite tragedy and loss
but when there aren’t any
people left to stack in these boxes

Invisible forces will enforce
nature’s creed and it’s likely
that man’s greed will push
us all the way

Hour 21 – An ordinary peace

I long for a deep sleep
not the fairy tale kind that involves a curse or a kiss
just an ordinary bed with just the right amount of covers
allowing me to sleep in comfort without a reason to toss and turn

I long for sweet dreams
not the kind that are so involved that I feel like
I have been up all night living a double life
just an ordinary dream that feels cozy and maybe even forgettable

I long for peaceful days
not the kind that involves having to navigate crowded trails and sidewalks
with people who hang out in big groups and don’t wear masks
just an ordinary day where picking up a few vegetables at the farmer’s market
and some bread at the bakery isn’t a strategic maneuver  

I long for a calmness in the world
not the kind that involves denying the hard truths of our society
but rather a calmness from addressing the tragic structures and failures
and choosing right-action to set a new course

I long for a rest for those who have fought so hard
to ensure the rights of themselves and others

They deserve to rest and be at ease

Hour 20 – Flashlight in the Hall

I walked the halls of the empty school building
carrying my phone and using
an iPhone flashlight
to light the way

The school had been empty of students
for 3 months now
I returned to retrieve the items we left
when schools closed suddenly and we thought
we would be out for an extended time

three whole weeks
sounded hard to believe
three months now is the least of it

I pointed my phone to the end of the hallway
the flashlight revealed a stray pencil on the edge
of the hall

I resisted the urge to pick it up for my “pencils to borrow” cup
the flashlight couldn’t help me see what was coming

when would these hallways be filled  with the sound
of adolescent glee and angst again