Love returns (Hour 12)

Love returns

A vast cold and a somber quiet
leave my breath stretched tight.
I need air.

This night has gone on too long.
Darkness over the land
feels death-like and ruthless.

Softer air revives me.
Light gentles its way in.
Love returns.

*Source: “The air stretched tight, quiet, and cold over the vast land.” [Chapter 1, Two Old Women]

Metropolis (Hour 11)

Metropolis

The smell, the noise, the traffic is too much.
Streets are dirty; people are rude.
I am terrified.

This is the heartless Metropolis of my imagination.

Pushing, hurrying, throbbing.
No rest. No peace.

I have no place in this Metropolis.
I cannot go there; I cannot be there.

Culture is overshadowed by crowding.
Daring eclipsed by danger.
Innovation obscured by insolence.

Tugboats, taxis, ocean liners, airplanes —
endless turbulence, constant confusion.
Brash, bossy, brazen.

Executive suites and slums.
Limousines and subways.
All that’s right and all that’s wrong with America.

Moonshadow (Hour 10)

Moonshadow

Guitars.
Gentle music.
Patterned shirts.
Bell bottoms.

The girl that was me hovers near as I listen to Moonshadow.
“Remember when you wore mini-skirts?” she taunts.

She’s right. I’m not that girl now.

“If I ever lose my …” croons Moonshadow.
The girl that was says, “I won’t ever.”

But I have.

Losing, losing, lost.
Lost the days of quasi hippiness.
Lost the days of quasi happiness.
Lost the slender figure.
Lost the energy.
Lost the innocence.

Moonshadow has an answer, though.
“I won’t have to … anymore.”

And I don’t.

For every loss there has been a bonus, a blessing, a better perspective.
A better me.

Trapped (Hour 9)

Trapped

A strange lethargy
traps me like
a firefly in a bottle.

Heat lightning flickers near the treeline,
glimmering at the edge of an oppressive day.

I adjust my mask of contentment
before stepping back into the cottage that masquerades as home.

Emo No No (Hour 8)

Emo No No

The tekkies have reduced emotions
to little cartoons
and renamed them emojis.

Words erased and replaced
by clapping hands and smiley faces and upward thumbs.

Tekkies don’t have time for small talk.
Communication is a challenge to be coded and corralled.

Express sadness with a frown,
joy with a smile,
amusement with a gaping grin.

Perhaps language will be swallowed by ASCII.
All that boring drivel dissected and deleted.

Essays erased.
Poetry plundered.
Novels neutralized.

A wake-up call, my fellow writers:
The emojis are coming. Take up your pens!

Put your feelings into prose or poetry.
Relish complete sentences and precise expression.
Simile, metaphor, allusion, alliteration.
symbolism, personification.

If language is fated for extinction, let the finale be recorded in words —
glorious, eternal, inspiring, rousing, memorable, remarkable words!

Season of the Poets (Hour 7)

Season of the Poets

They came together on a summer day,
tumbling and rambling across the screen.

They followed prompts or ignored prompts,
rhymed or roamed free.

They meshed and melded,
caromed and caroused.

An odd moment this Season of the Poets.
No commonality among them — not of time nor temperature,
nor interest nor age.

Still they came.

They came for the words and the emotions and the challenge.
On this day-long season, poets flourished.
They relished and resented each creative hour.

Hope, despair, memory, fantasy,
whimsy, humor, truth, and irony
marked the season.

The poets owned the season.
The season owned the poets.
Magical, frustrating, exhausting, exhilarating.

Poets celebrate this sacred season in silence,
exploring thoughts, seizing words,
decorating isolation with ideas.

An when the day is done
and the season is over
they emerge with renewed energy
ready to revisit
the Season of the Poets.

An Ideal Day (Hour 6)

An ideal day

I am not alone.
Comfortable companionship.
Low key.
Unstructured.

I laugh.
A lot.
My eyes water.

I cry.
A little.
Tears because I am touched.
Not because I am sad.

Everything fits.
Shoes.
Clothes.
Emotions.

Weather so gentle
that it stays in the background.
Unnoticed.

The day is endless.
No darkness.
No aging.
No death.

The Carver (Hour 5)

The carver

I didn’t agree.

Carving a tree seemed heartless to me.
But you had gone into he-man mode.
Your face was stony while you carved.
Focused.
Relentless.

For all that, we have a small heart
out of place on a somber tree.

I might have said no.
But I didn’t.

You might have understood me.
But you didn’t.

That heart is not a tribute.
It’s a scar.

To my grandmothers (Hour 4)

To my grandmothers

I wish that the afterlife allowed for letters.
Why not let some document float to earth,
ethereal and mysterious,
but newsy.

News from two women who died too young.
News from the grandmothers I never met.

You could fill a page with memories for me:
how you did laundry
and cooked meals
and fell in love.

You could tell me about you.
Did you sing off-key?
Did you read books by candlelight?
Did you love lilacs and spring rains?

Write about what made you happy
and what made you sad.

Most important, let me know if you can see me.
Did you know when I was born?
Did you know that I was born?

Send me a hug or
at least put XOXO on the letter
and sign it

Love, Grandma

Bopping with Don Quixote (Hour 3)

Bopping with Don Quixote

I believe that Don Quixote is a worthy hero —
rescuing maidens,
tilting at windmills,
inhaling misguided adventures,
thinking he can save the world,
dreaming the impossible dream.

Quixote has planted a thorn in my heart,
a naive desire to reach the unreachable.

Reaching for the unreachable
leaves one always swallowing failure.
Arms get tired; they ache
from carrying a heavy lance.
The heart gets heavy, too.
The foe is unbeatable,
the sorrow unbearable.
The quest never ends.

Quixote has planted a thorn in my heart,
a naive desire to reach the unreachable.

But Quixote never claimed victory.
He only sought to be true to the quest,
to make the world a better place.
I am like Don Quixote, chasing windmills
without expectation of success.
Satisfied merely to try.

Quixote has planted a thorn in my heart,
a naive desire to reach the unreachable.