Category Archives: Family

Meanwhile

This is a little vignette I wrote in response to a prompt during my memoir class with Sarah Thebarge. (I learned so much from her.) The prompt was to think about the resolution of our story arc and write about what other things were happening “meanwhile.”
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Meanwhile, Benton laughed, his infectious smile and unmistakeable dimple brightening every room. He did need me. And I needed him.

He’s my only child, my only living child, and he’s growing every day. We watch Looney Toons together and giggle. He notices, even at two years old, when the animator makes a slight mistake. For two or three frames Elmer Fudd’s hat is the wrong direction; for a fraction of a second Bugs Bunny stands beside a sign with the words lined up differently than the frame before. He sees so much that I do not and opens my eyes to possibilities I never dreamed of.

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I decided to share this for Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today. It’s not really a poem, but some of what I’ve learned at dVerse about concrete language in poetry is incorporated in this little vignette that will likely appear somewhere in my memoir when I finish it.

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A Dog’s Summer Vacation

I love vacation because I get to spend more time with my mom and dad. Even if a lot of that time is riding in the back seat of the car. Eventually we get out and I get to hang out while they eat their picnic lunch and share pieces of pastrami and chicken with me. Yum! Then we head off on a trail. I’ve never been on such a long hike before, at least not that I can remember. And it’s hot out! I keep trying to sneak into a cool ravine, but they pull on my leash and say, “Stay on the trail, silly dog.” I see a chipmunk run across the trail ahead and I want to chase it, but that darn leash stops me. I do hope we get to the end of this trail soon. This is a long hike for an old dog like me. I need a drink and a nap. Oh, but first a dip in the cool lake.

Summer vacation
Hiking near lava rock flows
Fun, tiring outing

Roman after a long hike

Roman after a long hike

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I’m finally getting around to posting for Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub, where Toni is calling for us to write about the dog days of summer.

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Where Division Begins and Ends

I watched the children at their play
Left to their own devices
Selfishness and pride ruled the day
They seemed to forget what nice is

I saw the ones who had no toys
Longingly eye the others
The rich, the privileged girls and boys
Ignored by their busy mothers

On each small innocent face
I saw a measure of pain
What they needed was a helping of grace
So abundant love might reign

The poor kids think they’re missing out
The rich kids equate love with things
What both need I have no doubt
Is the love of the King of kings

But who will teach them how to love
And receive love in return
You and I must show grace from above
To create peace for which we all yearn

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The Record

It’s really quite long
This record of wrongs
The list that I’ve kept

I love you, it’s true
But my love for you
Is less than ideal

Don’t tell me you don’t
Believe you I won’t
You keep your list too

We’re only human after all
And ever since the Fall
We’ve been tallying scores

We need His love divine
Covering yours and mine
So we might love true

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It’s Open Link Night at dVerse Poets Pub today. The pub opens at noon my time and I’ll be linking this up then. Head on over and see what other poets are serving up.

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Harenochiame – 晴後雨 はれのちあめ

An outdoor June wedding in the Pacific Northwest is always a crap shoot. You pick a date and hope the weather cooperates, or else don’t care whether it does or not. If a little rain (or an impending thunder storm) is going to ruin your special day, pick an indoor venue. But outdoors and June was the perfect option for a young woman named Kelsey June who loves nature. The weather forecast changed from thunderstorms to blue skies to intermittent rain showers every two hours or so. When the time for the beautiful riverside ceremony arrived (an hour late due to a train on the tracks that delayed the entire wedding party and guests) the sun was shining bright. As the festivities continued, there were periods of chill rain showers, some downpours, followed by blue skies again. I suppose the wedding day was a microcosm of the marriage itself, into which some rain and some sun will come in alternating bursts of life together.

Summer rain showers
Unpredictable as life
Nourish all that grows

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It’s Haibun Monday at dVerse Poets Pub and once again Toni is at the helm. We are writing about rain and are to title our poem one of the 50 Japanese words for rain. I chose harenochiame ( 晴後雨  はれのちあめ), which means clear then rain. As a traditionalist, Toni is asking for us to include a traditional haiku at the end of the haibun. I have complied, though the wedding my haibun is about was anything but traditional. I’ve included below a pictures of the newlywed couple.

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Train of Thought

Shortness of breath
reminds me of
the stench of Old Golds
wafting to upper bunk
as ash spills from glowing red tip
into ash tray beside their bed
reminds me of
camping at Oak Grove Campground
hiking the loops with Cinder
short of breath

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I decided to write another Quadrille for dVerse Poets Pub, or more accurately it decided to be written while I was trying to fall asleep last night. For those who might wonder, Cinder was the dog we had when I was little.

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Triggers, Triggers Everywhere

Tears spilled from my eyes
Gushed, really
quite uncontrollably
Anger the apparent trigger
He wouldn’t listen
Then I realize the real trigger
This series of events:
Writing of Dad’s death
Hearing of Aunt Dot’s passing
Trying to save a few bucks
on airline tickets

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De is running the bar at dVerse Poets Pub today and calling for us to write a 44-word Quadrille using the word “spill.” Come on over and join the fun!

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The Wrong Ticket

I bought the wrong ticket
But how was I to know
The darkness of depression
had dulled my senses
hampering my ability to hear
the urgency in his voice
“Come see me,” he said
I didn’t know he meant
“Come right away; I’m dying”
Two weeks was too long
and has become a lifetime
of regret
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The prompt at dVerse Poets Pub for Tuesday was to write about a mistake.
Not seeing my dad before he died is one mistake I can never forget or undo.

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Envious

I’m green with envy
Hearing you complain
About having to care for
Your aging father
It’s such a burden you say

What I wouldn’t give
To be planning my daddy’s
95th birthday party today

But there’s no party
No celebration
Only wishing him near

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The prompt today at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write a Quadrille (44 words exactly) using the word “green.” The prompt isn’t live yet in my time zone, but I peeked at some other poets who have their poems up already to find out what the required word is.

My dad would have been 95, but he died 23 years ago so this is as close as I’ll get to celebrating his birthday.

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Southern Exposure

For weeks I’d been getting away with pants or at least longer shorts. Up in the mountains of Ramona it wasn’t too hot. But that day we were off to Calico ghost town in Death Valley—the whole family was going and there was no getting out of it. Besides, I loved the desert. Still, it was likely to be 100 degrees or more and there was no way to get away with pants. So I pulled on my pink shorts and tank top, hoping mom wouldn’t notice.

Of course she did. “What’s that bruise on the inside of your thigh?”

I suspect she already knew. Mary Lou’s mom had probably called her the day it happened. (Your daughter’s friend doesn’t get stepped on by your horse without you calling her mom, after all.) I had convinced myself she didn’t know I’d gone over there that morning; that I’d gotten away with the forbidden main-road crossing before school. I was sure she didn’t know about that fateful bareback horse ride and me falling off. But the jig was up. The heat had exposed my secret.

Southern exposure
Reveals what we’d like hidden
In the desert heat

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Had to write another Southwestern-inspired poem, a haibun this time, for dVerse Poets Pub.

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