Hour Sixteen, Persona poem

Halfling

In wordy deceit my prize was won,
a cunning power came to me, precious
and rare. I engaged in word play with
a poor twisted thing, alone and insane
for so very long. We traded our best riddles,
my life for a ring of gold.

Back and forth we bantered,
of eggs, teeth, and time,
until inspiration no longer came.
He could not guess what lay within
the pocket of my waistcoat, and so
rather than be eaten, with my new
found power, I disappeared, into what

” . . . cannot be seen, cannot be felt,
cannot be heard, cannot be smelt,”
what ” . . . lies behind stars, and under hills,
and empty holes, fills. It comes first,
and follows after, ends life, kills laughter.”

Back to the light of the surface I stole,
never suspecting the havoc and hate
I gleefully left behind.

 

Hour Fifteen, Myth

Metamorphosis

I drove out to the desert
one cold and moonlit night
in December, testing the theory
of animals speaking human
tongues at midnight Christmas Eve.
My whimsy taught me far older
wisdom, plunged into a deeper
past than my Christian forebears
could ever willingly admit.

The flickering flames that warmed
my body freed my mind to wander,
mysterious sounds layering the night:
crackling and popping mesquite,
screeing crickets, and the shivering
ululation of a single coyote’s cry
to the waxing moon. The night
deepened, approached its zenith,
and as the moon and wood smoke
vied for supremacy, they coalesced
in front of my eyes to a long snout,
gleaming teeth, golden eyes,
and a throaty voice that emerged
as if from the night itself.

“Welcome,” Loki grunted,
“You’ve taken too long to return, sister,”
and with that a long pink tongue
swiped my cheek, and I howled
an irresistible duet with my brother,
in furred glory to the engorged,
engaging, brilliant moon.

Hour Fourteen, List of ten words

Preservation

My children and I picked
the last of the tomatoes
one late September afternoon
shortly before my marriage
to their father fell apart.

The frogs sang their syncopated
melody in the silvered twilight
of the emptied garden as the evening
wound down to bath and bed.

Steam rose from the water boiling
on the stove, and I prepped the red
fruits to preserve them and feed us
sauces, chili, soups, and stews
through winter’s upcoming chill.

The mystery of preservation,
of feeding those most beloved to me
through harshness and despair
never failed to amaze and sustain me.

I plunged their red roundness into
first boiling water, then cold, peeling
away and discarding the unnecessary
skin to reveal the tender flesh beneath,
piling them in their juicy fullness into jars
to savor another day.

Hour Thirteen, Change in the laws of physics

Perpetual Motion

A world without inertia
would at first seem a paradise.
Nothing would slow us down
as we glided around, flitting
like jeweled insects through
daily tasks, dancers flying
through the air, creating aerial
displays that no longer defied
death, one push of a windmill’s
blades would power all of the earth.

But,

eventually the dancers would tire,
the windmill’s blades would break,
we would willfully tie ourselves
down, in the desperate hope
for stillness, for silence, for calm.
We need adversity, consciously
slowing down our world to survive.

Hour Twelve, 90 to 100 words

Softened

When I’m far too connected,
too aware of world news,
when the blue computer screen
and the phone, the iPad,
the television, the everything
of everywhere overwhelm
my solitary soul, I search
for the soft, the disconnected,
the backward, the slow.

Reading by candlelight,
baking bread from scratch,
writing by a wood fire with
my feet propped on an open
window, a cup of fragrant tea
in the moonlight, or a nap
under a tree in dappled sunlight,
and I come back to myself,
back to life, awake and aware,
disconnected to connect once more.

Hour Eleven, Swallowtail Jig

Industrious

Watching black and white films
of the building of great monuments
and bridges, structures that have
survived twice my lifetime
or more, I marvel at the pace,
the rhythm, energy, and movement
in sync with so many lives,
akin to mass bird or swallowtail
butterfly migrations, folding
and billowing in the sky, kinetic
energy feeding upon itself
and transmitting from one creature
to the next, creating a single beast
with many heads, while I,
I struggle to stay awake and alert
typing at my keyboard alone.

Hour Ten, Color

Fade to Black

“What’s your favorite color?”
an early boyfriend asked, perhaps
thinking of flowers to match
my favorite, a romantic notion
my truthful answer swiftly
nipped in the bud: “Black.”

Evolving from thrashing punk days,
mosh pit rock and grunge days,
emo goth days, and finally
soul sustaining blues,
black saw me through my style,
my mood, my life, colorless and fading

into adult depression and weight gain.
Not wishing for pity, I laughed it off,
pain masked to others that asked why
when I winked and told them “Don’t you
know black is this fat girl’s friend?”

The advent of children brought me
partially back to life, and black remained
my choice, spills, scrapes, messes
all masked by clothes in my forgiving black.

Healthy again, black still is my favorite,
the color that never fails to fulfill, a friend
enfolding me in warm, somewhat threadbare,
arms, as my life begins the slow winding
down, one day fading to the final, welcoming black.

Hour Nine, Non rhyming Spider

Tenacity

I stood in my open back door
one strangely wet desert morning,
the rainy season’s nightly offering
wilting my damp clothes against
an already hot body.

Stone walls enclosed a space
we misplaced Midwesterners
had desperately attempted to make
green and fruitful, somewhat succeeding
with struggling grass and stunted
sunflowers, exclaiming in delight
over each tomato and herb that survived
with diligent watering and spotty shade.

As I gazed at the small green space,
I marveled at a hovering, glimmering
strand, a single thread, stretched
between a palm tree and a sunflower,
impressing me so with its strength
and tenacity in the morning breeze
that suddenly I felt both humbled
and grateful, just from the display
of one determined and agile spider,
and a single thread, gleaming
in the early morning light.

Hour Eight, The Golden Shovel

Succumb

In the beginning, sex was not for me as it is for some.
Violating hands broke my childhood body, leading a first lover to say
that I was frigid, a cold and cruel beast roaming the
world that could not enjoy its pleasures, a world
that had yet to introduce itself to me. This somewhat passed, as time will
allow, and a second selfish lover helped some of my pain to end.
It would be many years later, but falling in
love with a truly unselfish man dissolved my flesh in fire,
succumbing at last to the pleasures that only some
will ever fully know, leading me to one day say
that I had never known real pleasure, never been in
love, until a past love became an adult lover, and melted the rest of my ice.

I honor of Robert Frost’s “Fire and Ice”: Some say the world will end in fire / Some say in ice.

Hour Seven, Inside Out

Reversed

I held his large, gnarled hand
and knew unconditional love
and safety as I gazed
upward at my father’s face.

My well-being depended
on the strength of this one person,
reliable and unfailingly kind, his
lightly seamed face smiling down at me.

The years passed, and I grew,
child to adult, but Dad
remained my hero, always
knowing the right words to say,
embodying all that a father should
and could be, until the day
that he could no longer remember
my name, nor fully grasp my hand.

Now he smiles up at me, his heavily seamed
face still, in lucid moments, reliable and kind.
The past strength of this one person
gave me my own sense of eternal well-being.

I gaze downward at my father’s face
safely resting in his reclining bed
and feel unconditional love
as I hold his curled, and somehow smaller, hand.