August 26, 2010

The Seamstress (BTP prompt)

Over at Big Tent Poetry this week, Carolee gave us a very thought-provoking prompt (to pay attention to something you do with your hands, then using that as a jumping off point, write about one of several topics she chose).  I had a bit of trouble with it, but then I happened to replace a missing button...

With needle once again
in hand,
by early morning’s
feeble light,
she begins to
tenderly repair
her garments - old,
worn thin as
laddered gossamer.
 Rejoining seams,
 broken fastenings,
repairing every
rip and tear,
and covering up each
 threadbare hole with
mismatched patches
just as raw.
She sees her work as
smart and fine,
while others see but
 tattered rags.
Yet still she sews.


My poetry is usually as subtle as a grenade...this week I tried to do something different.
I used Carolee's suggestion to write about "physical pain", and this is what I came up with.

August 18, 2010


This week's prompt over at  Big Tent Poetry was a "Wordle".  I only used a few words from it, but those few had me remembering a wonderful time of teenage years with my best friend.

In a blue Chevy Malibu
hand-me-down car,
along a cracked blacktop
roller-coaster ride,
two girls race towards womanhood,
wild and fast.
Through the dry desert valley,
covered in sand and baby oil,
soaked in the smell of steaming wet dog
rising from the black backseat.

Tethered together
since first day, second grade,
and bonded tightly by
countless sleepovers
and Saturday double-features.
They compare sunburns
while laughing over how drunk they
got last week from screw top wine,
and the day they (not so bravely)
pierced each other's ears.

Stoked on caffeine, sun,
and Jolly Ranchers,
they rush back to stifling houses.
Their only future
a long cold shower before
the date tonight
with those rough-edged boys
they're crazy for,
and the pointless classes
of next semester.

Any other future
is in a smoky distance,
far removed from this perfect,
blistering, summer day.
A day of piss-warm lake water,
flirting with Bullhead boys,
and the dry, hot wind streaming
through the windows.
On every dip, they bottom out,
on every hill they fly…

This is dedicated to my dearest lifelong friend,  Cathy.  Childhood would have been empty without her.

August 12, 2010


This week's prompt over at is about possessions.  (My prompt idea-sorry if you found it tricky.)  I wrote one piece about something we all possess, our hands, and the love/hate relationship I used to have with them. 

(Below this piece is another one that takes the prompt more literally.)


I used to envy ladies hands.
Those long, lithe fingers
fluttering as butterflies.
The creamy smoothness of
narrow, elegant palms.
Their perfect french nails
encircling crystal wine stems,
and time for weekly manicures.

My thick, peasant hands could never compare.
Callused palms and barked raw knuckles,
rough, short nails, devoid of lacquer.
My hands had too much work to do.
They yanked out weeds,
and kneaded dough,
chopped firewood,
and intricately braided hair.
They earned a paycheck,
and paid the bills,
yet still made time for poetry
while scrubbing  floors.

Not perfect, though.
At times I lost control of them as
they spanked my children,
flung crockery in anger,
beat a table in frustration,
and grasped too tightly
the things I loved.
Yet they could delicately
remove a splinter,
gently bathe small peachy bottoms,
And hold my husband
through countless whispering nights.

From the wealth of years
I now look at those with ladylike hands.
Those of the the glossy talons,
and thick gold rings.
I see them now quite fetus-like,
brand new, unformed, no knowledge there.
But mine…

My hands have lived.
(As I look on the hands of my young granddaughters, I hope they grow to have ones like mine...)


Here is a more literal example of my prompt idea about possessions.  
The crock I wrote about (already well used) was given to my grandmother sometime around 1910, by someone who I like to think taught her the recipe.

The old stoneware bowl
is not very pretty,
but it’s lasted well over a century,
and served heavy duty.

It once belonged to my grandma
of the flowered bib apron,
covering her housedress,
rosary firm in her pocket.

It’s held countless batches
of dough left for rising,
made without any recipe,
just by feel they were perfect.

My mom gave it to me
when she taught me the secret
of that magic concoction
for feeding my family.

Now that chipped piece of crockery
sits low in the cupboard,
gathering years full of dust and
holding in memories.

It's waiting and hoping
for some new generation,
to honor the history,
and learn this tradition.

Then I will show them,
and pass on the knowledge,
along with the old heavy bowl,
to treasure as I have.

August 05, 2010


Lately, I have been experiencing some dulling of my thought processes and memories, (ah, the joys of menopause!)  and it started me thinking on the horrors of dementia.  

(Not written  to Prompt this week. What was it?...I can't remember.....) 

I know there’s a spider
that's living inside me.
He's buried in my cerebrum,
contented and busy.

He must have got in there
on some nocturnal mission,
climbed in through an orifice,
while I was dreaming.

I can feel him digesting
my most precious memories,
while his long, bristly legs
dig in ever deeper.

As his abdomen swells
with my past and my passions,
I can sense satisfaction,
his work is successful.

Why won’t you believe me?
Can’t you hear the faint scrabbling?
Or the moist, whispered chewing
of my lost imagination?

Please, just give me a poison,
some pesticide tincture,
or with a small screwing bit,
drill down, piercing his thorax.

Still you let him reside there.
You think I’m just crazy.
But I know there’s a spider
that's living inside me.