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Hayford Mills 051

As always, this time of year, Nikki Giovanni’s “Allowables” comes to mind, and the indictment of the last five lines scrapes me raw,
I don’t think

I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened

As someone anxiety disordered who is also deeply arachnophobic, the spider thing is a yearly struggle, and the struggle is real. Yet, with the exception of the odd black widow found indoors, none of these wee beasts can hurt me. None of them threaten the contents of my pantry, my person, or my livelihood. And yet, every year I completely freak out and can’t even bring myself to put a jar near them to relocate them. Every year I say, “I will do better.”

Every year that’s all I can do.

huntsman/hunted
if “all lives matter”
then murdering officers
never kill spiders
and black folks don’t make them flinch.
God, if reason trumped reflex…

Poetry Friday today is hosted by Irene Latham at Live Your Poem.

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At first, I thought it was a raccoon. The ones we have here are the size of small dogs… but raccoons (especially these jumbo beasts) are messy wee buggers and leave destruction in their wake. Were one visiting my solar fountain, I’d probably also have pulled wires, broken pottery, mammal hair and bits of crayfish left behind. So, it’s probably not a raccoon (unless somewhere there is an exquisitely neat and polite one).

As I mentioned the other day, I think I might be inadvertently playing a game with a crow. Which is fine; it’s all part of my cunning plan to someday lead an army of crows to make war on the squirrels. (You knew I had this plan. Don’t act like you’re surprised.) Every morning, Young Corvus is lurking in the back garden, but flaps away (in a rather ungainly fashion, which is why I posit s/he is Young Corvus and not Suave, Old and Wise) when one of us goes out. And every day… right in the middle of the walk, a glitter of glass stones.

I somehow have gotten involved in this… replacing the Shiny, because Reasons. And today, I baited the fountain with colored buttons and beads, as well as new glass stones, because More Reasons. Silly ones.

I mean, if we’re going to play, we have to play for points, right? Could you imagine if s/he decide they want to TRADE shiny items…

I Spy, With My Beady Black Eye

greedy as a child
Young Corvus comes calling
coveting baubles
deft pilferer of trifles
a charming corvid crime spree

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Today, I’m combining two things: our 2nd Tuesday of the month image prompt, plus today’s tanka.

Since we posted this at Wonderland, I’ve been wondering and wondering what’s been… bothering me about this image, which this month comes from Flickr user Claus Rebler of Korneuburg, Austria. I’ve finally figured it out: there’s a distinct lack of… life.

We’ve got golden hay – basically dead grass. We’ve got a beautifully rendered sky. We’ve got not one bird, not one insect. The perfection of the image is eerily sterile and a bit worrying, when taken from that perspective. And yes – I have watched one too many farming horror movies, I guess. (Actually I don’t care for horror movies at all, having been forced by Mean Boys to watch a part of Children of the Corn when I was five. [Parents: when visiting the homes of friends with children of their own, be sure your child knows that it’s perfectly acceptable to walk away from said children and come and sit by you if said children are absolute wastes of carbon.] Ugh.)

I have a teensy postage stamp of a back garden, and I have dropping by the resident phoebe, goldfinches, starlings, doves, the odd kestrel, uncounted wrens, robins, and massive, shining black crows. How does this whole field not have one crow? (I’d like to give this field my crow, because my crow will not leave the shiny bits of glass in my tiny fountain alone. Each morning I wake to them scattered on the ground. Each morning, I put them back. The crow has likely decided that this is a game…)

What is a farm without bugs and birds? What is growth without …life? How is a story without antagonists?

Untitled

riddle of the prairie

under sterile skies
Rapunzel’s straw, in bobbins
already spun gold
a sanitized fairytale
happily ever after

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Dolomites T 241

This year I participated in the Writing in the Margins Mentor program, the first time the planets have all aligned in order for me to do so. Mentoring someone is …kind of terrifying, actually. It challenges one’s imposter syndrome, because one has to set aside the ego-driven mosquito whine of, I don’t know what I’m doing, how can I –!? and keep the mentee’s needs central to the narrative. One has to constantly loop back to the truth that theirs is the opinion is that counts, theirs are the thoughts that will shape their manuscript, and ultimately, theirs are the choices to take or set aside the advice they receive, even if the mentor is certain there’s a “better” or even a “right” way to do a thing. Mentoring sharpens mentors, through teaching them the value of honesty, of looking at things a different angle, and of repeating a person’s truths back to them at the worst moments of their journey, so that they know what they believe, and can believe in it again.

It is exhausting. It is… paying forward what was, in various ways and through various people, given to me. Thus, it is something I’m going to do again.

insight

objects in mirror
are closer than they appear

seeking our blind spots –
we polish convex lenses

’til all that we are comes clear

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Oh, my GOODNESS, sometimes chamber music is just… hard. We’re doing a piece by Swedish composer Thomas Jennefelt called “Warning to the Rich,” and … it’s all humming and whispering and discordant chords and semi-choruses shouting and mocking laughter and abrupt cut-offs, and, like, wailing — I kind of hate it, but it’s also kind of awesome. I haven’t decided yet.

When I think over the years how many times I have absolutely LOATHED a song or piece we’ve started, and then come away appreciating the hard work, and absolutely loving the piece, well, it makes me laugh. Why do I even bother complaining?

s i n g

songs discordant, sung
with insufficient drama
sound just like failure
no timidity here –
OWN that harmonic maelstrom!

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Good morning!

This penultimate Poetry Friday in National Poetry Month is graciously hosted at The Opposite of Indifference. Please do drop by and wish Tabatha’s middle-grade anthology, IMPERFECT: Poems About Mistakes a Happy Book Birthday on this its release day, and visit The Mistakes Anthology blog.


Tech Boy has a conference, so I’m going to hole up in a hotel for a few days. We’re going to Philadelphia!

I was excited about my first trip to Pennsylvania, but… Timing is EVERYTHING. I was planning, at least part of the time, on grabbing a seat at a coffee shop and people watching, but, maybe not this …lifetime.

I remember being a small child and having one or the other of my parents remind me over and over and over and over about how to conduct myself in a store – don’t touch anything, don’t ask for anything, stay right with me, don’t put your hands in your pockets, stay to the middle of the aisle. I always thought that it was because they thought I was so bad that I would cut up if they didn’t remind me… but later, after watching their interactions – the one lady who followed my mother through the drugstore, the man who appeared at each of the aisle in the hardware store – I understood. Once you’ve been followed through a store, you realize you’re not a customer, you’re a problem… and some of us learn that very young. Today’s tanka touches on the idea of childhood having a different expiration date for majority and minority children.

Keep Your Hands In the Cart
in particular
hardware stores were the worst –
nails, screws, and washers
beckoning with silver gleam
“Don’t you touch NOTHIN’,” says Dad

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While I haven’t had anywhere near Liz’s adventures with specs this month I’ve been back and forth with them, and start today with a new pair – in a new, much smaller shape.

It’s funny – my first glasses were so big (okay, it was the eighties… all glasses were big. As was hair). As styles grew sleeker over time, I continued to wear mine wide and face obscuring. And now, as styles have widened and broadened so everyone looks like Edna Mode from The Incredibles? I’m going the other way, to try something different.

There’s never a day when I’m going to feel like I need to show off my face… but maybe it’s past time to consciously choose to stop hiding?

[porthole]

“windows to the soul,”
these eyes with their two clear panes
have worn shutters
but now, new day beginning,
we, brave, throw those curtains wide

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Peachtree 112

To all my friends suffering under the nth snowstorm… at least it has a neat name.

blackberry winter (n.): Used chiefly in the southern regions of America, this refers to a period of cold weather in the late spring, more boringly called a “cold snap.” The term is said to come from chilly weather appearing after the blackberry plants have begun to bloom, which Americans will feast on in cobblers throughout summer. Other terms for this are after-winter, blackthorn winter, dogwood winter or redbud winter.

So, take heart… it’s started. If you have to, make your own flowers… but, they’re coming. And then, there will be berries.

mud-time
it begins with clouds
now forming, piling, parting
precipitation
wakens first the weeds. leaves next
slowly greening – and then blooms