An answer to a question posed by a new friend, Thomas, about happiness
Why? Well, there is a competition I tripped over with a glorious prize that includes the publishing of a book. So my goal is 100 poems in 10 days, those unposted on the web, because that counts against you, even if you are relatively unknown. The censorship ensures something new to read, but I have so many I wish I could send. For the cheap cost of $25 to $50, you can enter and enter different contests until your checking account cries “HOLD.” My account always seems to cry hold these days.
I want to be published. I lean on the windows of libraries, wishfully seeing myself in a display. One must enter, though, to find a means to be seen. My website, offline during the political recovery the last three years has suffered, is now back in the forefront. It will take time to regain my followers, and that is understood. But for a brief time, I must leave you again. Wish me well. The writer in me is sliding out to pay ball in the competitions. I hope I have the luck and skill the Nationals had with the World Series. I hope to score a home run.
Ann WJ White, aspiring….
Here under gray skies the colors fail.
Green has faded, yellow gone, red is only
Litter found where children’s feet played.
Brown, brown survives.
The air bites with icy teeth, bites again.
Trees hold their leaves, brown and thick
Against their chests. Dead grass rustles.
Small chirps, squeaks, then beavers sail
Along the wetlands, busy pulling brown
Branches toward their lodge. A heron steps
Out of the grasses, stabs into the water,
Retrieves a catfish. Minnows streak into
Streams from eddies, a school of gymnastics
As they flip, swirl, dance, tag and run
Toward the river. A river otter slides down
The muddy banks, brown fur coated in
Slippery red-brown clay which washes off
Creating a particulate fog of camouflage,
Nipping and biting their dinner on a water cruise.
Crows chase bard owls, who wish to nap
On shore-bound trees. Smaller birds join
The cacophony of shrieks and cries, always
One step behind the bigger birds. They are there
For the excitement, but not fools. Owl talons
Are sharp, like the cold. Sparrows pull small
Grasses to line nests, which sit abandoned
Until the temperature rises enough for eggs
To warm in the sun, the missing sun.
Born in an itching collision
Of molecules of H2O brushing
Against the dust specks,
Wandering carefree across the sky.
Itching, you needed more of your kind.
Particles of outstretched bonding
Grasping to find more of your kind,
Just your kind, and melding
The chemicals you needed,
You founded a drop,
But it was not enough,
“More,” you thundered, “more.”
Your greed eclipsing the scaling
Of dust motes, particles, specks of
H2O gathering breathless,
The wind took on the task of
Rounding the herd and you grew.
It was not enough.
You mounded together,
Cirrus clouds in their skimpy
Lace, Stratus clouds rolling
In batting across the sky.
The mountains mocked you,
Earth ignored you.
So you grew, tall elegant towers
Of white chrysanthemums,
Piled one over the other.
The Earth looked up to you,
Wondrous at your majesty,
But you weren’t alone.
Others stood above you in the sky
Others grouped together and mocked you.
To win the acclaim you sought,
You turned black and gray.
Stealing energy from the sun,
Bashing, molding, stealing, compiling,
Sending the energy of those collisions
Out to strike in lightning,
Resounding like an orchestra of tympani,
The energy of those others.
You became the storm,
The cyclone, the fury of God,
And wreaked havoc
A temper-tantrum growing,
Waves blew, Winds killed,
And thrusting your entirety
Into your apoplectic fit
You threw them out,
Drop by drop, speck by speck,
Falling on the earth
Flooding, raging, cascading
Until with a last effort,
You itched, a speck of dust in the sky
Lonely for company, holding the
Molecular bonds of H2O,
One at a time,
And it was not enough.
In the Game of Life, Kyler Murray
By Ann WJ White, BA and MEd, Teacher of Children of the Rainbow.
Why are men so afraid of a child grown to
adulthood because of the brown hues of his skin?
By the talent of his athleticism?
By the company he keeps with owners,
Coaches, schools, family members who stand in his shade
While he holds the Heisman over his head and beams.
Names that the white rich are afraid not to fear.
Young men who bear their talent to the competitions that enrich.
Men and women of brown, black, tan, golden and peach,
None the white that the cowards wear
In hoods and salutes, crazed by swastikas, but
Pulling the green from hands that are rank with fear
Who celebrate their wins with demands
That the enlightened should scoff and turn from.
Not to salute the evil that the sadist and bully
Demand at feasts and festivals, competitions,
Games of ball, games of skill, games of prosperity,
Games that pull us together in our pride.
This bully offers feasts of cold hamburgers,
Colder French fries, and yells his admiration of himself
From the top of his Towers and Hotels.
Football, Baseball, Top of the Draft of Each of the lists.
His trophy an honor of skill, mind, effort and time.
He’s not perfect this Kyler Murray. Facing such
Criticism as he has faced, as those of his hue have been
Condemned simply for color, he has spoken his piece
At fourteen and fifteen, has apologized for his now he is grown.
Arizona will cheer him as he dawns the red of birds,
The MLB and NFL will watch and cheer as well.
His name is Kyler Murray and he has played his life well.
“Shh, old man,” Reggie mumbled to himself as he eyed the TV. “It’s not the end of the world yet.” He leaned closer to the television. “The end of the world hasn’t come yet, for we old soldiers still sit in purgatory uncalled. Surely that devil would call us if he knew we sat at ease.” The TV blared, for Reggie used the sound against the loneliness of his soul.
News reports troubled him: the president declaring war actions, kids dying, no one understanding why killing was so easy for the man, volunteers sent packing as democratic pigeon minders, told they got no business, old people dying and no one caring.
”Hush, Reggie, pray he doesn’t call you. You can barely keep time at a social dance with the old women down in the basement of the church. Not much of a social, all of us left by families that know our minds are going. Not much to be happy for, to care for, to do. Puzzles and number thingy squares. Old women knitting. Women ruminating like cows, no brains left. Young folks and nurses bugging folks to be active. Folks showing us computers, damned machines. Shh, damn it, man, don’t get so upset. Don’t call attention to your dark soul. You don’t want the attention of that type. They bury us with trumpets blowing and our service honored, but there is little honor in what we did. We killed, oh that we served as God willed. Oh, that peace was close, but it ain’t coming.”
The news flooded the room. Missiles launching from planes, children laying dead, yellow gas coating everything. Reggie looked down at his hands. His hands, beautiful hands, that had held a child when it was born, helped it learn to walk, paid with labor to send his child to school, and watched with pride at the start of the Great War III. Strong hands that had served him, that had held his wife as she sobbed at the telegram from the War Department, now sat idle in his lap. Sad hands that watched the news take his wife’s will to live, that buried her.
“Reggie, man, you have to keep quiet, man. Don’t say your thoughts too loudly, or they’ll have you out the door as a traitor. I’m you, you know, still you. I’m me. I was…I am, I get so confused these days.”
He moved the food on his plate around in circles. TV food, the folks next door brought TV food to him each night. They said it was okay he didn’t know them. He hated that. They told him names. They had no faces. The food was placed on his TV tray. One plate, one fork, one spoon, one glass of water. His teeth were worn and so his food was precut, mushed by him into the catsup. He took a bite, swallowed, and took another. Food had no real meaning, it just kept him alive. It all tasted the same.
“When’s it morning, old man, when’s morning coming? Not soon enough. Devils on the TV, devils in church, next it will be devils in my home.”
The door to the room he sat in opened and closed. Reggie didn’t bother looking around.
“What do you want now?” he asked. “You don’t normally come for the dishes. Got something for me?”
Whoever had entered the room hissed at him, “Good evening, Reggie.”
“Don’t know why you bother me every night. I’m an old man. Got a devil for president, a war to begin more wars, ain’t nothing going to ever be okay again.”
“Your pain, it seems worse tonight, Reggie. Shall I take it from you?” The stranger moved to the front of the couch. He pushed the plastic container of pills in front of Reggie.
“Pain means I’m alive. I’m an old man. Ain’t nothing going to matter ever again. Leave me alone. I don’t want nothing from you.” He watched the TV change to a game show. “See they roll that wheel and people guess words. Fools always take too long. You want to watch this show with me? I ain’t about to go out with all that fireworks on the news going on.”
“I can take your pain away, Reggie. I can ease the burden of your heart.” The stranger sat down and rested his hand on Reggie’s knee. “I’m worried about you, Reggie, you don’t do anything but watch that idiot tube. The news will make your heart stop, if you keep watching it.”
“Heart stopped years ago when the wife died.”
“Reggie, all you have to do is tell me that I can take your soul to a different plane. But you have to say it.”
“Hell, you think you’re the devil or something? Take my soul to a plane. A plane to a place where no-one gives a damn. Nah, you get out. I’m not going with no devil. I have my own devils inside me. I live my own hell, don’t need to go to one.”
“Heaven won’t come to you, Reggie, not ever. You’ll never find relief sitting here. Come with me, Reggie, you’ll be warm and with family.”
Reggie watched the wheel spin. “Hey, weirdo, you know that phrase right there? Daniel Webster said it.”
“Fine, Reggie, fine. What’s the phrase?”
Turning to the illusion beside him, Reggie laughed and said, “Get the hell out.” He leaned back in his couch and closed his eyes. “Devil wouldn’t want me, I’m too much of a grumpy old Gus. Close the door as you leave. Damn curmudgeon needs his rest.”
The devil stood and smiled. Reggie was one of his favorites. He could bide his time. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Reggie.”
I work in my garden, alone,
But for bees that communicate
Satisfaction with my efforts.
The neighbors whisper and watch,
Looking for an error, a stagger,
Never once caring for more than gossip.
I live alone in a house of people,
Never noticed, never seen,
The dust is my intimate friend.
I watch the sunset from my window,
Its golden light illuminating my
Loneliness, I wish and dream.
I had a friend once,
He as golden as the sun.
He left like all the others, without a storm.
He was beautiful, rich,
Filled with ideas to make the world better.
As my world collapsed in tears, he left.
Gold sunshine will return at sunset,
Not always there, but returning
To give me a kiss of hope.
The neighbors will talk, and
I will freeze Like a rabbit before the fox.
Let them talk, I am deaf to them now.
When I was lost,
Through golden boughs
As the sun set,
Knowing that the path
Would lead me to
A place to make
And find myself.
Wednesdays Visual Writing Prompt
They raise their hands, beautiful hands, Hands that have known labor, have kneaded, Have created, have loved and been loved. Praying to the creator, a creator, Mother Nature, "End the storms. Save our brethren." And the clouds tower above them like city towers. From plenty, they sense the devastation, the need. Politicians storm the fortresses for a picture. They shout, "We are here with your relief." Paper towels tossed into a crowd who wish for Water, food, medicine, jobs, homes. The cleanup has begun, with a single roll of paper. Beautiful minds are shocked at the blatant Lack of care. The victims are brown, black, and white. They are a colorful mosaic, whirled and swirled by wind. Voices come through the air, the web, the functions of of which convey disbelief, horror, future action. But for luck, there walk we in similar straits. Caring is call to action. Share, share alike, give. From coast to island to coast the storms remain. You only have a short time to build. Build. A legacy is formed by the footsteps you leave. I step in my ancestors steps. "Here is a broom, I will sweep. A mop, I will scrub. Soap to wash.. The bitter taste of anguish, in the mouths. Eyes that Pierce though miles away. Stories that will be told to Grandchildren, of the great storm, of a roll of paper tossed.
The gorilla sat in his living room,
Ignoring the rampaging children,
Tired after a long day of modeling
For the cameras.
The T.V. in the corner shouted
The humanity of humans, of conservation
When the news interrupted
Shouting of Twitters, long and loud.
They hadn’t let him vote,
Although he had watched the debates.
He had formulated a plan,
To repatriate his species.
Back in the jungles, where
He was born. They should have
Let him vote. But he was mute
To the signs he needed for
His hands to speak out. Compassion was
Cruel, he thought, to let so many
Of the tired humans slave
And lose their security. After all those years.
He watched his son and daughter
Hanging upside down from tire swings,
His wife climbing high to get to school.
Dinner was to be served soon. He was the sitter.
What was it that made human’s
The top of the food chain?
That left him in the shackles
Confined by man’s curiosity?
Curiosity still existed for him.
The wild still called him.
He mumbled a prayer for the so-called Masters
Who could dissolve the world in fire and rhetoric.
Anger erupted on the telly, more yelling
Disgusted, he stood and strode
Straight to monster machine, reaching for the remote
That empowered images, that brainwashed,
Of violence perpetrated on with fists at the
The human caged. Exhausting. Calming he turned sadly, switching
The channel to PBS, the public challenge,
The overview of the world. Change?
Democracy Now, the Warren Report, on
Expounding Columbia’s freeing the higher thinkers.
His brother! Kept in a zoo, now free. Their constitution.
Perhaps “they” would be allowed to vote.
He snorted in humor and settled
Back into his repose. These silly dreamers.
One of his infants smacked the back of his
Head and the infants outside giggled.
He reached and tumbled with his
Small daughter, letting her win,
Only to be beset by his son, babysitting,
Bouncing both on his arms.
Maybe there was hope. He had waited so very long,
The bouncing children pushed the remote buttons, changing sadness
To Sesame Street. Watching other children be children.
He was grateful to see them so engaged
With other infants, growing in a wild world of uncertainty.
Their time would come. They would visit and wonder
At the peace his family gave him. Secure together.
Finding a way to keep them all close.
Gold is fleeting, illusionary.
Her arms outstretched, calling, beckoning,
Much is done in her name.
Charity, War. She brings them forth,
Wings of illusion power her flight,
Iron pyrite, ocean sunsets, rivers of gold,
Should she notice you, you would kneel.
Her lips burning you with passion.
The sun lays paths of golden splendor to bring
Inspiration. Her greatest gift is imagination, childhood dreams