Tuesday, August 12, 2014

THE FRIENDLY LOUNGE

a corner counter and a stool

that’s all it took, really, just
a corner counter and a stool

and the decadent, local brew—
that’s all it took, really, just
a corner counter and a stool

and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
or the decadent, local brew—
that’s all it took, really, just
a corner counter and a stool

and the music themed walls, background sounds, books to view
and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
or the decadent, local brew—
that’s all it took, really, just
a corner counter and a stool

and the patrons’ charm and chatter over a sip or two
and the music themed walls, background sounds, books to view,
and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
or the decadent, local brew—
that’s all it took, really, just
a corner counter and a stool

What they say about this place is true.
“You are a stranger here but once,” because of the interesting crew
and the patrons’ charm and chatter over a sip or two
and the music themed walls, background sounds, books to view,
and no matter the talented barista (my name they always knew)
or the decadent, local brew—
that’s all it took, really, just
a corner counter and a stool


** Thanks, Rob (and Debbie, Lee, and Dan), for one of the most productive and enjoyable summers a teacher/coffee drinker/writer could ask for!

The MADRIGAL format

-----------------------------------------------------------

RAIN DROPS

They patter, these rain drops, on leaves still green
with summer’s breath, recalling dreams of you.
But then, again, the sun and snow do, too.

The nightingale is friend and sets me free
to weather days of clouds and changing hues.
They patter, these rain drops, on leaves still green
with summer’s breath, recalling dreams of you.

When morning comes, your image fades.  I wean
my thoughts and wash away your voice, renewed.
And then I am reminded by the dew.
They patter, these rain drops, on leaves still green
with summer’s breath, recalling dreams of you.
But then, again, the sun and snow do, too.

----------------------------------------------------------

SEEN

The dirt is dug; the box is slowly hauled
to this, his resting place where grass is green,
and though the flag will fly, his life’s unseen.

The husband, dad, and son who had been called,
who answered with a conscience proud and clean.
The dirt is dug; the box is slowly hauled
to this, his resting place where grass is green.

Crossing enemy lines, the chaos stalled.
He heard his baby cry across the sea,
the fatherless who honors land that’s free.
The dirt is dug; the box is slowly hauled
to this, his resting place where grass is green,
and though the flag will fly, his life’s unseen

to all but those who honor land that’s free.

-----------------------------------------------------------

TIME

The pages turn to when I’m in my prime.
I sigh.  Reality is hard to face
when knowing you’re gone and can’t be replaced.

Sons grow—already five-seven, five-nine—
these teens, who kiss me still before they race.
The pages turn to when I’m in my prime.
I sigh.  Reality is hard to face.

What happened to the future that was mine?
You chisel away at such a quick pace,
and as you pass, I pray I age with grace.
The pages turn to when I’m in my prime.
I sigh.  Reality is hard to face
when knowing you’re gone and can’t be replaced.

--------------------------------------------------------

LIVIA:  MY HEROINE

Together we discovered who we are.
And yet, dear friend, it's time to set you free.
I need to live beyond our history.

Your character became my shining star.
Your conflicts kept me from much needed sleep.
Together we discovered who we are.
And yet, dear friend, it's time to set you free.

Still flawed, it's true, but I will leave you marred.
It's what we learned about ourselves, you see;
a perfect world was never guaranteed.
Together we discovered who we are.
And yet, dear friend, it's time to set you free.
I need to live beyond our history.
---------------------------------------------------------

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Stars on Land

A sonnet originally written for my main characters, Livia and Will.


How bright my world could be, if in your hand
I place my own! But fear will fiercely pound,
as quickly as my heart upon the sound
of words so dear from lips I understand.

Your shimmer leads to grief as fine as sand.
And if the lights connect across the ground,
the constellation Truth will then be found.
I can not stand too close to stars on land.

Without a glow, what then will come of night?
How can I find my way through streets so dim?
If not with you beside me as I tread—
companion to my soul, my eyes for sight—
there is no sun or moon; the path is grim.
Our fingers touch; the stars inflame ahead.



Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Howl

Never touched.
Forever felt.
Like wind
and spirit.

Your howl is
heard in the
whispers of
sweet sorrow.

Like wind
and spirit.
Forever felt.
Never touched.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

In my own words...

I'm trying to spend a few hours with my book this weekend.  I have so much editing and rewriting to do, it's overwhelming.  But every once in a while, I come across a line that inspires me to keep the faith.  Here are three of my favorite lines from the novel-in-progress:

I don’t condone defiance toward God, ya see, but won’t I forever encourage the questioning of mere men.

I long for night, for sleep.  People think it’s because of fatigue, but it’s not.  When I close my eyes, you come back to me.

Each time we lower our heads and turn away, we allow the establishment to continue their cruelties, and they use our silence as their protection.  We are their victims, and we are their shields!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

GO CHARGERS! (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 13 - an animal sestina)


Today we are encouraged to write an animal sestina (in a nutshell, a 39 line/7 stanza poem with rotating ending form of the same six words while using iambic pentameter... right?). Definitely the most challenging poem to date. At least there wasn't pressure to rhyme.   Here goes:


The charger’s chosen first for ev’ry battle
to lead its troop to certain victory,
so all the town can raise their flags and cheer.
The soldiers ride, heads high and filled with pride,
adored by all, accomplishing their goal.
They praise each horse for being such great sports.

A mascot for their school in ev’ry sport,
the charger represents athletic battles.
To play with honor is the major goal,
of course, they’d like to see a victory.
No matter win or loss they end with pride.
No matter win or loss the fans will cheer.

To morning games we travel with good cheer.
We pray for pleasant temps with this fast sport,
as Chargers take the field with schooling pride.
Opponents block and trap in this great battle
as crowds cry out to fight for victory.
And finally we clap as refs call, “Goal!”

On courts they shoot for two or three field goals
with sideline rivals chanting fervent cheers.
The Chargers strive for OT victory;
the Lions want to dominate the sport.
And so it goes, the steal a key in battle,
long pass, down low, the lay up brings us pride!

They join, the boys, for fun with full school pride.
To strengthen skills with each new set, the goal.
The girls, though, serve and spike in focused battle.
A winning match received with joy and cheer.
I’ve got it!  OUT!  It’s mine!  A vocal sport,
a lively treat despite a victory.

For school and independent victory
they run with steady speed and pacing pride.
Endurance crucial for this graceful sport,
each stride and eyes determined on the goal.
Awaiting lines they’ll cross to such great cheer,
each meet, the stars prepare with mental battle.

The Chargers battle on for victory,
Each teammate cheering on Ascension pride.
Play hard, set goals, respect the school and sport.

A City Poem (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 12)

A friend can laugh but keep the story
of silly stupors, on tangents we'd go,
in all our glitz and youthful glory
we'd blend with stars and steal the show.
And if one traveled too close to the sun,
the other reminded, it’s all in fun.

But, no!  You’re so much more than fun!
You filled a void both wide and deep.
A pressure valve released, I'd run
to magical trances on your streets.
For life, at times, we could not bear;
we needed a place and people to share.

Ah, yes! You were the place I'd share
with those who needed serenity, too.
Together we rambled, a nightly affair,
until we had to pay our due.
When daybreak brought us back to woe,
this city was both my friend and foe!


A City Poem #2

CHICAGOU

Prairie of Potawatomi pride
Discovery of Domingan and du Sable
A Fort on the river

Blood of the Black Hawk Wars
Ashes of the great conflagration
Second and windy

Hub to railroads
Liar to immigrant dreams
The White City

Home of Hull House
Riots of Haymarket Square
The Jungle

The Race Riots
The White Sox
The Black Sox

Wrigley Field curses
Super Bowl Sweetness
Three-peat, Three-peat Bulls

Oprah

Skyscrapers and projects
Gardens and ghettos
Limos and cabs and buses and bikes
The El

Gourmet and comforting
Irish, Italian, Mexican, Polish,
Asian, Ukranian, German,
Jamaican, Ethiopian, Puerto Rican...

Chicagoan.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Whistle (Poem a Day Challenge, Day 8 - Violence prompt)


(The murder of Emmett Till)

Did he whistle?
He did.
No, sir.
I do not recall.

Who the hell cares about the whistle?

the Chicago boy
just 14
that 14-year-old Negro boy
from Chicago
who whistled,
whistled while down visiting Money,
Money, Mississippi
who whistled at a white woman—
he shoulda known not to
not to whistle at no woman
no white woman
shoulda known not to whistle at no white woman
while down in Mississippi
when you’re a 14-year-old boy
from Chicago
when you’re a Negro boy
no matter the age and
birthplace
but especially when you’re a
14-year-old Negro boy from up north
from Chicago.

but they say he did it
that he done whistled
that he done whistled at the white woman

and so they came for him
the white woman’s husband and his brother
they came for the Negro boy who whistled

found him in his uncle’s house
asleep in the black of night
found the Negro boy asleep, not thinking
about the whistle
but the husband and brother sure were
and they roused that boy
that Negro boy and kidnapped ‘im
took ‘im away to teach ‘im a lesson
teach ‘im a lesson is what they done did

carry ‘im out back
to the car
drive ‘im down the road
to the farm
shoot ‘im in the head
to the sound of drunken laughter
tie ‘em  with wire
to the cotton gin

mess up his face and ears just for fun
drag him to the river ‘fore the rising of the sun
walkin’ aways as if a battle they’d won

a battle between
power and
power-
less-
ness
a battle between a
deranged society and a boy

a 14-year-old boy

a 14-year-old Negro boy from Chicago

who whistled
who dared to whistle
whistle at a white woman
while visiting Money, Mississippi.

That whistle.

Did he whistle?
He did.
No, sir.
I do not recall.

Who the hell cares about the whistle?