unloving yourself

 

this is for all beautiful young girls–inside and out–they all are born beautiful–they must believe this and not allow life to turn them otherwise–my daughter has grown into a confidant young woman–this was not always the case–and she’s so much more confidant than I ever was at the ripe age of 19🤗

solitary fish

She keeps her Siamese Fighting fish in a glass bowl
Gravel glimmering in aquatic blues and mermaid greens
A solitary fish might believe lake, or better yet, ocean
The pet store suggests Sammy live alone,
otherwise he might kill his friend
The red-orange Betta is fire under water
She is fire under water too
Her lavender room is a glass bowl
She and Sammy swim in tiny circles in small worlds
A wooden peace sign beneath her bed
Painted with glitter and all the paint jars within reach on the picnic table
Long wooden benches occupied with sweaty kids who whittled words into tiny canoes from two-by-four scraps
The wood, leftover construction from a nearby development
She swims in a luxurious new home
many rooms, many spaces, glass bubbles, no air
The peace sign is tacked behind Sammy’s bowl
It reminds her of summer camp, a happy temporary time
fair-weather friends
She grows into autumn alone
The seasons, solitary
A huge house and a small fishbowl
one mother
one daughter
one fish

Hair Hiding

piano bellies

there was this kid
long ago
she liked playin’ piano bellies
from beneath their wooden hulls
didn’t follow
couldn’t follow
pointing fingers
her little brain
had its own direction
above her eyes
the strings
pianos and buttermilk
churned in glass jars
along the highway of years
loaded with orange cones
white lines
not creating
but moving
just the same
just the same
she was no different

peace wish

peace wish

 

(away)

burning

you arrived late
I sent you
(away)
you came back
sat there
and chipped into my circle
in your eyes
settled long ago
was something vague
I could not reach
yet
those watery surfaces gave
(away)
the clearest understanding
there was a suffering
your sweet mouth sealed from escape
and continued to do so
despite my knees on the floor
sometimes
there is the sometime
when no words
touch
or thought of any dimension
can worm into a wall

the true meaning of art

he asks
why do I have to take art
I respond
art is not something you take
it is something you give

she says
I can’t even draw a stick figure
I respond
life saving fire has been born
of simple sticks

he says
I can’t do anything right
I respond
you’re in good company
now put all your wrongs together

and make beautiful art

Sad Eyes/Prisma

Sad Eyes/Prisma

Our Mighty Tree (Flash Fiction 3)

Did you know two Revolutionary giants used to hang out in our park. Washington and Lafayette met right under our tree. A tarnished plaque dated 1777 said so. Did you also know our strategizing was a lot more important than powdered-wig war secrets. We discussed baseball strategies nine ways ‘til Sunday. But whispering strategies didn’t always help our game, especially on sweltering summer days. Sometimes a slippery baseball hit the cement block backstop so hard, it became tattooed with the year 1777. When the baseball acted rubbery, those old war farts heckled us. Luckily for them, we weren’t ever interested in their lame commentary. We were only interested in playing ball in the park built for our tree–the grand oak still generously sheltering those old geezers’ ghosts.

The mighty tree was giant–a real giant. He was way taller than Washington and Lafayette standing on a whole pile of Yankees. Ten of us could just about clasp our hands together around his mammoth trunk. I was certain if our great oak had been given a mitt and some legs he would’ve made a damn fine ballplayer. Joe DiMaggio didn’t have a special park built around him with a cement block that stopped rubbery balls.

In the summer of 1971 there romped a wicked storm. The thunder was louder than a pissed off volcano. Lightning lit the sky so bright you could see bolt shadows up there. The firing white jagged bullets shot several of the great oak’s knobby arms clean off. The colossal branches covered some of the baseball field but we didn’t notice. The big limbs didn’t stay on the ground too long. Thick men in green pants came to haul them away. The workers matched the trees so we knew they were on the level. They looked how men should look who had to haul away nature. The smallest of them said our friend was a white oak. He said the white oak was mighty like him then he flexed his Popeye arm. Sally N giggled while asking if he’d swallowed a kickball. Kickball Arm said our mighty oak was over two hundred years old and that nature had a way of talking herself into new beginnings. I wanted to run home and write down what he’d said. I knew I’d forget and I did until just now. We looked at our friend’s powerful arms on the charred ground. Then the gas-powered saws came out–chained machines with voices like traffic accidents. If our tree had been Joe DiMaggio, they would have left his arms alone even if they weren’t attached.

The late summer crickets were chirping in waning conversations. Vacation was over like playing summer ball for us. There was a new grade to battle. Another badge to add to the dreadful learning sash. I always had trouble falling asleep on these nights. Though my head was heavy this night, my eyes fought gravity. From my bedroom window, I watched leafy silhouettes whooshing back and forth. Another storm–looked bad. I wished all neighborhood trees safe under my Spiderman comforter. Watching the angsty black sky light up angry white, I wasn’t thinking about stuffing my navy knees socks under a desk anymore. If this was nature talking, she was doing it really loud like my Aunt Betty who was mostly deaf.

The next morning, the lazy sun managed waking for school like we had to. Getting to the bus stop on time required a breakfast shovel and a front door sprint. I’d get whooped if I missed the bus. My mom liked hitting butts with slippers. So I shoveled and ran out the door while throwing my mom air kisses. At the end of the street, on the next block was our park. Our mighty oak was standing there sure as sunlight. I laughed when I saw his baseball cap made of clouds. I knew I shouldn’t, but I took my lucky baseball out from my backpack’s secret zipper compartment. “Don’t be late for school!” My mom’s voice yelled from my Batman pencil case. I took a few steps into the park. Who was I to say no to a mighty oak. Wanting to impress him, I threw that ball as hard as I’ve ever thrown anything in my life. Harder than the spoon, I threw at my sister’s head when she stole my animal crackers. Wouldn’t you know that giant white oak jumped sky high into the blue air. His roots were covered in one-thousand baseball cleats. I didn’t count them this was a guess. As he caught the baseball, he laughed louder than the whole Yankee team–a great booming laugh. He threw the ball back. Don’t be late for school!

The smell of a new school day ran across my bedroom windowsill. I reached my hand up and felt the damp glass. It was the first day of fifth grade. My mom was standing over my bed like our mighty oak’s baby sister. She said I was lucky to have slept through the night. The last storm of summer had been a nasty one. Down the road, a pine tree crashed through Mr. Laddy’s roof. I rushed my morning ablutions then scooted. “Don’t be late!” my mom yelled, as the storm door slammed shut behind me. I ran around the block.

Steven S, Joe M, and Sally N were standing by the park fence. There was miles of yellow tape and four green trucks. These trucks were much bigger than the one a few weeks ago. I thought the green men had returned as trucks. I wasn’t going to cry like a girl. Not in front of my teammates. Looking beyond where our mighty friend once stood tall and proud, there were no clouds shaped like baseball caps. I wondered if this was what Kickball Arm had meant about nature talking herself into new beginnings. Maybe nature thought our mighty old tree was too tired to stand up anymore.

Those four trucks had metal toothed maws that were opening wide for breakfast. One heaving boom was followed by another as their jaws began moving. I hoped somewhere in those deep death reverberations, Washington and Lafayette were giving our fallen friend a proper twenty-one gun salute on his way to tree heaven. I honored the mighty oak too in military-style, like the soldiers did in the old war movies my dad and I used to watch before he fell off our family tree. I pretended the sun was stabbing my eyes when Steven S asked if I was crying.

The rumble of bus #23’s engine was softer than an autumn leaf sailing on the breeze as it drove passed our empty bus stop. Come to think of it, I did see a cloud shaped like a baseball.

Tree Talk

Tree Talk

Image previously published.

If you actually read this whole piece, I appreciate your time. Thank you. I did have a great old tree in the park down the road from my house. We did play baseball there, kickball too. Washington and Lafayette did meet there and they did heckle us 😉

this time of year

may I call you out
it’s time
the nights are growing colder
the mornings chilly
leaves are weary and falling
the trees want to sleep
their shadows have cooled
and something is pressing in the wind
like a secret around the corner
this time of year
the minute hand seems to
overpower the hour
transitions
stepping through that next door
another calendar to markup with activity
summer is worn out
it’s time
for the harvest to begin
though
every time you change
I wish they could stay the same
and play with dolls just a little longer
Gallean with ragdoll
Galeen on a ‘shroom painted on paper a few weeks back

the swaying top hat

“What is it you believe in, Sir?” She asked the old man in her most dignified voice.

From beneath his top hat, he gazed at the brim. “Maybe the answer will come to me tomorrow.”

The next day she would search again for the familiar swaying black top hat. It would not be difficult to find. Its owner swung back and forth like a metronome arm–every step his old feet landed marked eighth notes on a lumpy bar measure. But the next day, the young girl could not find the melodic top hat. The moon had risen and the only thing swaying were the stalks of wheat Mrs. Norty hadn’t sold. Though the very last loaf of her hearty bread was gotten for fifty cents.

The young girl’s head was intoxicated with possibilities. She could barely contain the exploding dreams. The sandman had eaten Mrs. Norty’s dense bread and was bouncing off the old town’s tiled roofs. Sleep would not come. What did the old magician believe in? What would a person of magic wish for when he could conjure up the world and eat it with a golden fork?

The next day the anxious child balled the bottom of her ruffled nightshirt into a pair of loose burlap slacks. She tied a thin red sash through the belt loops so they wouldn’t fall down. She ran onto the cobbled street barefoot in anticipation of a glorious answer. Her little nose angled upward as she sought out the shiny swaying black topper. This day she was not disappointed. Up she bounced, tapping his old stooped shoulder.

The elderly gentleman magician turned around. He looked squarely into her bright brown eyes. “The answer has come to me, child,” he said in an elegant, spectacular voice as befitting a noble magician. He removed the near-perfect top hat from his head and placed the satin stovepipe upon the youth’s corn silk hair.

She became petrified with excitement, beneath the magical top hat. “Please Sir, today is yesterday’s tomorrow,” she timidly put forth, “Kind Magician, what is it that you believe in?”

He placed his crooked hands on her diminutive shoulders and for a moment thought of delicate hollow bird bones. “My child,” he gently answered, “I believe in the magic of unanswerable questions.” He pat the top of his old top hat and said, “For luck.”

“But most generous Sir, you should not be separated from this treasure-”

“I’ve no need of it where I am going.”

Her brimming eyes begged one thousand questions but, “Where?” was all her trembling bowed lips could manage.

He pat the top of his old top hat once more.
“I do not know that answer,” he said with a smile, then he turned and walked away.

TopHead

TopHead

this is my only top hat drawing and I do so love this quirky little fella though the gentleman magician described in the above little tale would appear much more elegant

My excuse for still loving ROCKY… Do I need one?

“In the warriors code
There’s no surrender
Though his body says stop
His spirit cries – never!
Deep in our soul
A quiet ember
Know it’s you against you
It’s the paradox
That drives us on
It’s a battle of wills
In the heat of attack
It’s the passion that kills
The victory is yours alone”

–from Burning Heart song, Survivor
rocky torsoDo I need to an excuse for still loving ROCKY?
I freely admit it here, is that enough?
Has my boot-shaped heritage all these years, made me swear allegiance to Stallone?
Are the gloves off because my father and brother are former college pugilists?
Will bulging biceps and baritone voices forever titillate my girlish senses?
Do I remain under the influence of the ROCKY poster–
tacked long ago in my purple bedroom?
Win or lose, “just go the distance…”
Has this underdog’s remarkable tale, present through almost every phase of my life,
given me the strength to keep moving forward?
(queue Rocky’s Theme)
Perhaps it is much simpler than that–
Rocky Balboa has been a warm-hearted friend, sometimes simple, often silly,
but endearingly life-affirming.
and that’s my excuse…

Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It is a very mean and nasty place and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life.

But it ain’t about how hard you hit; it’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.. It’s how much you can take, and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.

Now, if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But you gotta be willing to take the hits, and not point fingers and blame other people. Cowards do that and that ain’t you. You’re better than that!” – Rocky Balboa

muscle torso – sketched a few weeks back
(truth-to this day I often workout to the Rocky soundtrack – Yo, don’t judge me ;))

maternal nightmares

scary baby masklittle witch babies and tormenting black skies
gusting wind
long dark dresses swinging like death bells

a frail newborn with antlers growing
crying out as it tries to lift its weak neck
ocean-deep in salted sweat
those early months

panicking…

a pink infant
without bony deciduous growth
or skull-sunken cheeks

seventeen Halloween moons gone by since,
those first seconds
one more fall harvest
until her
perfect little face departs

dreaming…

scary baby mask, mixed media rendered a few weeks back…
the first time I was pregnant: during the first trimester, I had many bizarre dreams–some were nightmarish, others surreal like Dali paintings…my oldest is now 17 and college planning is on, lots of positive dreaming 🙂