September 30, 2009

Manifest Destiny (RWP # 94)

(My Angel & My Demon by Thomas Hawk)

The above photograph is the "prompt" for this week's poem. Clearly a close up of a foosball machine with the little red and white men. After studying it a bit, I had a “Eureka” moment. Having just traveled throughout the 4 Corners area of the US, land of the Zuni, Hopi, Navajo and Ute, I have been attempting some poetry on what I saw and felt in that region. This photo became a stepping off point for some of my ideas...


Across the horizon
in mist wrapped malignancy
something insidious
slowly comes closer.

"All things before me
are mine for the taking.
It's my God Given right
to conquer the savage."

With intractable whiteness
he travels relentlessly
absorbing all in his wake
and vomiting pestilence.

"Who is this pale demon
that believes he can purchase
a God Given country
with blankets and bloodshed?"

Fixed still as a statue
uncomprehending of danger
the red man continues
to watch his destruction.

September 27, 2009

I Am Someone

This is another of the autobiographical poems I was asked to write by my English teacher friend as an example for her class...

I’m a small scared rabbit,
hiding it’s head,
heart beating wildly,
hoping for salvation.

I’m a bright summer sun,
brightly illuminating
all I shine upon
and healing by my light.

I am a cold north wind,
bitter and unforgiving,
and an innocent smile
on a babies face.

I am gentle laughter,
and joyful banter.
Soft caresses,
and long wet kisses.

I am fresh baked bread,
rising soft and tender,
a warm fire and shelter
from the storm of life.

I am an armored warrior ,
striving to right
every wrong for all
who cannot fight.

I am a lowly ant,
gathering grain for the winter.
A destructive grasshopper,
living just for today.

I am torrential rain,
weeping down from heaven
covering the earth
with my sadness.

There are all these things
and more in me,
in a face well worn,
by a life well lived.

September 23, 2009

Fairytale (RWP Prompt #93)


For the prompt for this weeks poem, we were supposed to make up a story, fib, lie, bamboozle..(you get the drift). Writing this was so much fun! It only took seconds to decide what my poem should be…an old fashioned child’s fairy tale. This is for my three darling grandchildren - Emily, Tristan, and Clementine.


When I was but a child and left much on my own,
I’d roam far and wide, quite far from my home.
Into a cool quiet forest I’d travel to play,
Where I soon became lost there one soft summer day.

Frightened and tired in these woods oh so deep,
I lay down on thick moss near a burbling creek.
To calm panicked thoughts - to stop and to think,
but my poor weary eyes, they closed for a wink.

Too soon I was woken from a light fitful sleep,
By butterfly kisses on my tear -dampened cheek.
Then looking around, so amazing to see,
a large band of Fairies, just staring at me!

Tiny as hummingbirds, just hovering there,
Like a wreath they entwined themselves in my hair.
I stood very still, to show them pure trust,
Whereby they sprinkled me lightly with a shimmering dust.

Upon this anointing I became very small,
and looked to myself like a wee tiny doll!
Then those sprites gathered round and drawing me in,
Told me such secrets with their fey pixie grin.

They taught me their magic, they showed me the way,
Befriending this child on that warm summer day.
Together we flew with red robins and hopped on fat frogs,
Hid among toadstools and long hollow logs.

On squirrel backs we galloped up tall trees and down,
all the while giggling- a pixie can’t frown!
We feasted on berries, sipped nectar from flowers,
flew chase through gold sunbeams for hours and hours.

Sadly, soon it was twilight - I knew I must leave,
But one tiny fairy held fast to my sleeve.
“Come back to see us,” she trilled, as she gave me a gift.
“Use this dust to return here, it will give you a lift.”

Next she pointed me homeward, where I went on my way,
with a hope to return there another fine day.
Any time I was lonely, I’d think of those friends,
Then sprinkle some magic to be with them again!

In time I grew older, as all children will do,
and those magical visits became very few.
Only whenever my world turned to turmoil or strife,
I would escape to the fairies from the sadness of life.

Just a touch of their glitter and I’d be taken away,
to the land of those elfins, where again I could play.
Alas, I am old now, life’s race nearly run,
my days as a pixie are over and done.

But my playmate’s are waiting to make a new friend,
It would be a sin for this enchantment to end.
So if you believe that this story is true…
One day I may pass on this magic to you!

September 17, 2009

Waterfall Hike

(photo by John Short)
John and I rose very early this morning to drive 45 miles to Telluride for our final Colorado hike. It had rained very hard the night before with more in the forecast, so we didn’t want to miss our window of opportunity.
We were told of the 4 mile “Bear Creek” hike by our good friend Colleen, who had been here in July.
When we reached the trail head, the end of Pine Street in Telluride, it was a brisk 41 degrees and the air was wet from the night before. Not giving in to Mother Nature or our own weakness of wanting to stay warm and dry we departed straight up into the mountains.
The trail starts at 8745 feet above sea level and in 2 miles you travel 1055 feet higher, to 9800 ft. My legs were full of lead most of the way up and I made John stop with me several times to catch my breath and consider my sanity. Poor John, he is so patient and he carries the backpack! We plodded on doggedly, wondering like small children, “Are we there yet?” Until-finally 90 minutes later we were, and it was so worth it! A beautiful waterfall marks the end of the trail. We sat, enjoyed apples and cheese, and felt thankful that from there on in it was all downhill!

September 16, 2009

Starlet (RWP prompt #92)

(I felt this nasty little piece fit the prompt's offered words perfectly and I used all but two of them.)

Kohl rimmed eyes and plummy lips,
bottled blond mane and lacquered talons,
a counterfeit confection of delight.
Gossamer wrappings, flimsy nothings,
yet pushing, squeezing, torturing,
barely covering her only assets.

To own the stage, bask in limelight.
Hip-shot stance with arms extended
toss airy kisses and deep dropped bows.
Pretend humility and beg applause.
“Encore, Encore“ - a shower of roses-
Tearful admirers envious and awe-struck.

It’s but a slight remedy, a balm to soothe
the sleepless nights - keep out the banshees.
Small pittance of what she really craves,
compete and utter adoration.
To be the worshiped Venus,
the axis on which existence turns.

She is but an empty shell, a brittle husk,
art and artifice alone, no substance, no soul.
Dependent on conforming to
whims of fickle multitudes.
To quench an insatiable thirst, a junky’s fix,
the fleeting approval for
her meaningless existence.

September 15, 2009

The View From the Top

(photo by John Short)
After being given directions to a “nice little 3 mile hike with great views” from fellow vacationers we decided this morning would be the perfect time.
Well, it had great views, (breathtaking, actually) 360 degrees in every direction at the top of a mountain.
The trail we took is part of the “Colorado Trail” that loops for more miles than I know or could ever live to hike throughout the mountain ranges of the state. John and I started at the Grindstone trail head at 11,800 feet above sea level and then basically climbed straight up for nearly 1 ½ miles ending at 12, 300 ft. It wouldn't have been too bad, except for two things, the weather ( we were fighting sleety rain nearly the whole way up and the mud that went with it) and as we are not the sharpest knives in the drawer, we got off on the wrong trail which took us over 1 ½ miles out of our way!
At the summit, we were treated to a break in the weather and wonderful sunshine where we took pictures of the magnificent vistas surrounding us.
The photos of John look great, I look like 9 miles of bad road!
We didn’t see another soul during the entire hike, and in fact on the way back were discussing that in all that lonely wilderness we hadn’t come across any creature other than wild turkeys and grouse -- when we walked around a bend and standing right in front of us was a sleek and fat young deer. A two point buck with his antlers still in velvet. He didn’t seem afraid, and looked us over quite carefully before just sauntering away. That alone made the trip worthwhile…

September 14, 2009

Westward

As I am on vacation right now and have little time to finish any of the thoughts I have been pursuing, I thought I would re-run a piece I wrote a while back about the wagon trains and quest for westward expansion.

They rolled along relentlessly
All brave, some foolish,
optimists following dreams
across the far horizon.
In waves of grass and seas of sand,
piloting their prairie schooners
With gunpowder, hardtack
And barrels of whiskey.
Onward and westward
Canvas sails tying their hopes inside.

They came from the cities
And far distant lands
Dragging unwitting families,
And mountains of baggage.
Looking for prosperity,
And a cure for their wanderlust.
Little could stop them,
Not cholera, hailstorms or Indian wars.
Dropping their dead along the way in
Unmarked graves to litter the trail.

But if their livestock died,
that was catastrophe.
The dream stopped there.
Some gave up, sold off, turned back
To the life they knew before.
Broken and battered, but wiser by far.
Stubborn ones stayed, making the
Best of the broken wagon,
building cities from vanquished dreams.
Abilene, Chimney Rock, Laramie.

September 13, 2009

Colorado Hiking

Beginning of Priest Gulch Trailhead - Photo by Tom Harris

I know until now I have only been posting poetry on my blog, but thought some of you may be interested to read of our little adventure...


Our first full day in beautiful Colorado John and I woke before dawn after a giant thunderstorm with much rain. We wanted to get an early start to our hike. We took an over 5 mile loop trail called “Priest’s Gulch” in the San Juan National Forest. Starting at over 8000 ft. above sea level, in the first half of the hike, we climbed over 3000 feet in elevation through a series of switchbacks, ending up at a beautiful alpine meadow - the midpoint. We walked through a forest of Ponderosa Pine, Blue Spruce, and Quaking Aspen, whose leaves were just beginning their autumn turning. Lovely and delicate fall flowers were everywhere, from Queen Anne’s Lace and Rocky Mountain Daisy, to the delicate little lupine we call “Fairycaps” in a deep purple and red with pink spots. Woodpeckers, Blue Jay and Magpies kept us company, and until we were within the last mile we had the trail to ourselves.
Heading out, John let me lead, saying that he wanted me to not feel rushed and to go at my own pace. As we climbed higher and higher into the forest I came to realize that he wanted me in the lead so if we happened upon a bear, I would be closer and it could eat me first!
On the second leg of the hike we crossed two creeks, balancing precariously on rocks above the rushing water, and steep downhill legs that were quite muddy. Here I let John take the lead as I figured if I fell, I would roll into him and he could catch me!
Three hours later we made it back to our campground, nestled against the lovely Dolores River, (Spanish for “Mother of Sorrows“) safe and sound and very tired, where our pups waited patiently in our camp trailer. We congratulated each other on still being able (in our 50’s) to complete this trail without medical intervention. All in all a very satisfying first day. For dinner, grass fed beef rib-eyes and local Olathe sweet corn…..

September 09, 2009

2 for 1 Special - (RWP Prompt #91)

This week's Read Write Poem prompt was a tricky one for me... quite complex and involved some soul searching. I composed two separate pieces, the first was to describe something I never wanted to forget and was to encompass smell...!

Birthday


Disinfectant cannot contain
the slaughterhouse odor of blood,
sweat and amniotic fluid.
How can this death scent translate
into fresh beginnings?

I’m grabbing at hands,
my tearful husband to hold me,
awaken me from this nightmare
of never ending pain, that
rends me trembling and nauseous.

Bay rum assaults my nose
as the doctor hovers over
cajoling me, "One more push".
How can he smile, breath so fresh,
when all hell is breaking loose?

Somehow I muster from deep inside
a last bit of strength,
a last bit of desire
to finish this, and finally see what
this world of trouble is about.

Rapidly materializing, a gush of
sudden slippery releasing.
Exhaustion finds me full of
achievement and extreme relief
as I hear crying not my own.

My child, my daughter
thrust into this hard, cold life.
Dumped rudely on my breast,
to smell her newness, her
warm, fresh, beautiful existence.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This next piece is from the second part of the prompt - incorporating the photo below to write a "dream" piece about a memory I would like to forget.

(photo by Greg Fraser)

The Dream

Curled round the roots of
an ancient forest, under years of soil
and dry, crisp leaves,
lies the child, silently weeping.
Escaped to hide in this hushed grove,
this peaceful God place.
Damaged and alone,
Safer still than what was left behind.
But there is no cocoon here,
No true haven of security,
as the wildness comes closer,
screaming cruel insanity.

Why must destruction follow me,
nourished and dependent on my
bearing witness to it’s hateful dance?
I must run farther, I must soar free
from all unhappiness.
Through motes of light, the phoenix emerges,
coalescing gold and scarlet beauty,
with knowing eyes and
claws meant only to protect me.
I climb upon his armored back
holding tightly to his massive neck.
We are aloft, born away to safety.

September 08, 2009

New Mother

This poem is a recovered memory from a past-life regression therapy session I had a few years ago.  It is about an indigenous woman from North America at a time long before Europeans explorers came here.  I still dream about this frequently.

The baby lasted but an hour.
So small, so cold; no comfort here.
Too young I was, my womb unripe,
and Winter’s not the time for birth.
I’ll have another when it’s Spring.

The rain beats down, my hide is soaked,
and chafes upon my thin, sore frame.
So great a distance we have come,
Much more to tread before we rest.

Babies need a warm, soft sun,
with fragrant grasses to lie upon.
And mothers who have much to eat
for strength- and thick sweet milk to drink.
I’ll have another when it’s Spring.

The food is scarce; small leaves and seeds,
my mother, worried, shares with me.
I see far mountains up ahead,
these we must reach to find a home.

A cave, a fire, small game to eat,
a place without the beating wet.
With thick fur hides to rest upon,
to gather strength and mourn my loss.
I’ll have another when it’s Spring.

I stumble, shaking, and fall into
a small mud hollow beneath a rock.
The rain secludes me from our group.
For me there will not be a Spring.

http://cynthiashort.blogspot.com/2009/09/new-mother.html

September 06, 2009

This Can't Be Healthy!

I’m melting…melting…
The Wicked Witch of the West
has nothing on me.
Sweat pours off every inch,
stinging my eyes, rivulets
pooling into every nook and cranny,
soaking my clothes.
What was I thinking?
A desert rat hiking today,
slogging through half-set gelatin,
warm, thick and slimy.
Humidity rising up
in steamy vents from the
damp desert sand.
I plug along grumbling, while
quail, the only other creature
stupid enough to be out in this mess
laughs, calling me “Koo koo”.
The last push uphill to home,
dreaming of a long cool shower
and a tall iced tea.
(I’d rather have stoli straight
from the freezer…)

September 04, 2009

Self- Centered

While coming out of my business yesterday, I noticed this scene being played out in front of Starbucks. It hit a nerve and I had to write it down.

Fake fingernails,
impossible breasts.
A non fat half caff latte
in one hand,
Blackberry in another,
conceitedly tweeting.
Designer jeans,
diamond rings,
expensive weave
lacquered to perfection.
She hurries quickly
to the Beemer.
In a constant rush,
new friends to meet,
new things to buy.
Oblivious to the child-
a pesky fly -
a barnacle-
struggling to keep up
in cheap rubber thongs
Matted hair flying.
Just another accessory
Like her last cell phone,
Out of style,
bored with it.

September 03, 2009

Street Performer (RWP Prompt #90)


My offering for "Read Write Poem's" weekly prompt #90

Glazed eyes streaming- trembling
through plumes of smoke
his offering drifts heavenward.
Burnt flesh a written
declaration of sacrifice.
Praying it will be great enough
to bring forgiveness.

Mesmerized and mystified
onlookers toss offerings of
grimy coins and crumpled notes.
A smattering of applause-
Murmured voices of encouragement,
Such talent, balance and resolve,
a true performer
.”

He doesn’t even notice them.

September 01, 2009

Thoughts on a Pond

We are fortunate to have a koi pond in our backyard. Makes living in this dry place more bearable...These are some recent thoughts that came to me while spending some peaceful time pond-side.

Day

Koi glide through a liquid universe
each a satellite unto themselves.

Sparkling diamonds of sunlight
broadcast secret codes to infinity.

Wasps float upon an invisible skim
splayed legs stuck to the honeylike fluid.

Dragonflies flit and dip downward
dragging heavy tails along a golden surface.

Mourning doves bathe within green shallows
preening dusty feathers, a daily ritual.

Night

Sunset hued tropical blossoms
spew forth a heady, ancient fragrance.

Small desert toads poised on lily pads
trill their harmonious mating call.

Bats aerial maneuvers swoop and dive
vacuuming the air of mosquitoes.

Koi sleep silently among the rocks
submarines resting and recharging.

Swathes of moonlight paint each corner
With a silvery, fluorescent glow.