Poetry, Unbound

I am

the taste of vanilla
melting into a concoction
of pecans and bliss
on Thanksgiving
when the warmth
of family is rising
like homemade bread.

The laughter plumes into the air,
and I smell the stale cigarettes
on my Mother’s hands
as she kneads the dough  –
their strength molding my world.
A twinkle of teeth flash
through open mouths
as a symphony of guitars
crescendo in a sense of urgency.

These are the moments I remember
while I lie in bed wrapped
in the warm embrace
of my mother’s cashmere blanket.
Salty tears catch at the corner of my mouth
and the bitterness
of these life moments irrevocably lost
stings like the wooly worms
I stepped on as a child.

“Baby girl, you need to stop worrying.
Dry your tears.  It’ll sting like hell today,
but in the morning it’ll feel better.”
If I close my eyes tight enough,
I can still smell her hair, freshly washed,
as she bent down to kiss
my seven year old foot.

In this moment I can taste
the bittersweet mix of
3 Musketeers, Dr. Pepper, pain medication,
and the release of a final labored breath.
In this moment I remember
she is
and I am.

Featured Image: Pixabay – “Heart” by castleguard (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Star Stuff

This is a notion I’ve heard many times before but which didn’t fully realize until I shared the room with individuals from all over the world: Hungary, Croatia, the Netherlands, and Italy. The full gravity of it hit me when a Syrian refugee and educator shared stories of how she would play music for her students to drown out the sound of airplanes and bombs. Carl Sagan says we are all made of stars. Instead of trying to dim them because of their differences, I think it’s time we celebrate the things that make our fellow stars shine.

We all are made of
oxygen
hydrogen
nitrogen
calcium
and phosphorus.

We all feel
anger
fear
love
loss
and happiness.

There are a million things that we aren’t.
There are a million and one things that we are.
When we look at comparisons,
holding ourselves up to
a mirror
or someone we think should be our mirror,
we always look at the one thing that makes us different.

By doing so, we either
negate the other person
because we believe our difference is more important,
or we negate ourselves
because we believe our difference makes us somehow deficient.

In reality,
we should be looking
at the one thing that makes each of us unique
and celebrating the miracle of improbability
that created it.

It’s all in the connotation of things.
The way we see things in either:
lightness or darkness.
love or hate.
lament or celebration.

We all try to dim
our fellow stars,
but it doesn’t have to be this way.

This post initially appear on Miss Ross’s Blog via my school district.
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Stars” by skeeze (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Teaching, Unbound

Nature Walk

I went on a nature walk with my creative writing students a few weeks ago.  A week of lazy afternoon suns had warmed up the little bit of winter we received here in Texas, and Spring was vividly pulsing through the air.  The Texas mountain laurel had just put on their blooms, and the smell of grape kool-aid made me light-headed as we walked the trail behind our school.

We had begun to study haikus, and it seemed the perfect day to experience the birth that nature gives to writing.  After our brief repose, we came back and wrote haikus about things we noticed the world was saying to us.  It has been almost a month since then, and our work with haikus has undoubtedly improved.  Here are a couple I wrote on that first day:

Mister Butterfly,
what are you doing here, sir?
Your flowers sleep still.

Breathing quiet life
like frozen pond lilies do –
Silence calls to me.

In response to Daily Prompt: Vivid
Feature Image: Pixabay – “Walking” by PublicDomainArchive (CC0 Public Domain)
Three Line Tales, Unbound

Elise Lifting the Sun

“What if hearts were made of waffles?” Elise mused, her pigtails bobbing slightly as syrup from the bottle pooled on her plate and drizzled over the side from the unsteadiness of hands not quite as big as the questions she posed.

“Well, then love would be as deliciously sweet as you are,” I replied, dipping my finger in powdered sugar and adding a slight dusting to her cherub nose.

The scent of sugar and the late Sunday morning sun formed an amnesiac aura around the kitchen of our one bedroom apartment, impregnating the space with the peace of forgetfulness; tomorrow it will rain, papers will be washed in ink, and the acrid earthy smell of a life that was promised will drown out the candied moments of family memories shared around the breakfast table, but for now, I had waffles and syrup and Elise asking big questions that have hard answers all while lifting up the sun with her little hands.

In response to: Three Line Tales – Week Fifty-Four
Featured Image: Roman Kraft via Unsplash
Special thanks to Sonya at  Only 100 Words for organizing and curating these Three Line Tales every week.
Three Line Tales, Unbound

Star Wars DaVinci

DV-2301 didn’t choose the Stormtrooper life; the Stormtrooper life chose him.

Gifted with crafting form from a brushstroke of color, his childhood was spent drawing on the various canvases of life – illuminating flickers of hope in the wake of Imperial domination which had cast its shadow over the small corner of the galaxy he called home.

Now, his canvases were orders carried out with precision and unwavering loyalty, and his palette were the whites, chromes, and blacks of his station; he was the paintbrush moved by an invisible hand who painted astoundingly beautiful atrocities in the name of peace.

In response to: Three Line Tales – Week Fifty-Three
In response to Daily Prompt: Craft
Featured Image: Daniel Cheung via Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)
Special thanks to Sonya at Only 100 Words for organizing and curating these Three Line Tales every week.
Musings, Poetry, Unbound

Antiseptic

This new antiseptic aesthetic
has erased the trappings
of what it means to be human,
slandering the gamut
of emotions and experiences
which define our very existence.

I thought I knew what I wanted to write about when my fingers flew over the keys and the words above poured forth.  Sitting here, now 15 minutes later, there are no other words bubbling up.  Truthfully, it wouldn’t matter if the words that came next moved the mountainous foundations of the hardest hearts.  They would be empty because I am deflated.

This is how I feel – antiseptic.  Stripped bare of all the fierceness of my human frailty.  That in a society that spends its good names in service of some “money knows best” dais of superiority, there is no room left to feel anything else.  It just hurts too damn much.  The words, at least for today, are in short supply.

In response to Daily Prompt: Aesthetic
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Depression” by Unsplash (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Final Page

Someday,
when this final book is done,
I’ll slip it back on the shelf.
A light shifting of dust
will plume into the air
becoming suncatchers
as they settle,
and I,
knowing this arduous task is complete,
will settle back on the divan
like the soft shake
of memories from books past.
There is a contented understanding
this moment will come to pass,
and I welcome it
with the knowing smile
of an old friend.

In response to Daily Prompt: Someday
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Someday” by voltamax (CC0 Public Domain)
Poetry, Unbound

Fleeting Moments

Life is made up of fleeting moments
like the click, click, click
of a slide show switching
from one frame to the next.
Catch them and hold onto them.
But not too tightly!
Be more like a child –
peeking between thumbs
of their cupped hands
at the blink, blink, blink
of a lightning bug
before the light goes out forever.

Featured image: Pixabay – “Fireflies” by RondellMelling (CC0 Public Domain)
Musings, Unbound

Optimizer Prime

If an item on the table is askew, I will square it.  If a drawer is left ajar, I will shut it.  If something needs to be done, I will devise a strategy to accomplish it.  If finances need to be assessed, I will budget them.  If a project needs to be completed, I will manage it.  If you need a superhero who has great attention to detail, I’m your girl.

When I read the most recent Discover Challenge, I had no clue what my superpower would be.  I don’t particularly excel at anything unless you count procrastination.  Instead, I turned to my significant other to find out what he thought my superpower might be.  His response was immediate and without hesitation: Optimizing systems.

I’m not kidding.  Those were his words.  Who even says that?  Perhaps his superpower is clever turns of phrase, but I digress.

After seeking affirmation that it meant what I thought it did, I learned I excel at planning, organizing, management, and just generally bossing people around.  Only slightly joking about that last part.  Pleasure surges through me at defeating to-do lists, and I relish saving the day with a well-coordinated system of schedules and events.  There is no project too great, no party too small.  I approach each one methodically and analyze it all.

However, my meticulous planning and insistence on having things “just so” seems a hindrance at times.  When plans don’t “go to plan”, I can spiral down and lose focus.  My arch-nemesis, loss of control, has caused anxiety attacks, but like any superhero worth their cape, I have found ways to combat its poisonous barbs.  It helps to breathe, reassess, and approach with a slight feint to the right and the one-two punch of Plan B.  Chocolate and cherry coke help, too.  

Managing a classroom, organizing a school, tracking the plots of multiple books, arranging social events for a state convention, assisting with the operation of one of the largest guilds in a MMO, balancing the countless tasks that need to be completed before week’s end on Friday – Optimizing systems is a tough job. But somebody has to do it.

In response to Discover Challenge: Superpower
Featured Image: Pixabay – “Superhero” by alan9187 (CC0 Public Domain)