My Paths: Cees Which Way Photo Challenge: Roads and Poem

Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – November 30, 2016

Rainbows at sunset, roads to follow.
Lined with flowers, cars and noise,
In capitols, in the wild, in back,
The alleyways, the secret ways, 
How do we know where to tread lightly?
When should our feet pound the pavement
And fight the oppression that takes 
The middle class and the poor from us?
We celebrate the shiny, fountain sprinkling
Water that gives us a drink of hope,
Then take our place, eyes down
Shuffling along as we try to 
Keep the noise down so the neighbors
Don't complain. Is this the road of 
The future? I step outside and look up
At the soaring bald eagles who were once 
Endangered. Their flyways are now healthier.
Our roadways should be healthier, broader,
Wiser, a step firm with resolve, a hand
On the wheel, a place to arrive at.
Soon.

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Galveston Alley

Photo Challenges: Time of Year (and poem)

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/time-of-year/

Can I do without your call?
Making arrangements to survive,
To ignore the rest of strife, freely given.
Can I do without your song?
The snow arrived unasked, unsummoned,
With the feeders empty and promises, also.
Can I do without your cheer?

Here in the gray land of between,
Where the silver bells of registers
Ring the advent of poverty, competition,
Fool hardy expectations of man, not beast.
Here I find you, still cheerful, still singing,
Your small talons grasping at the dirt,
Looking for that last pillbug, that last seed.

Your flock only humors me, 
As the camera whirls, clicks, 
spits and spats, leaving talon prints
as they settle for the night in snow.
They wait, they linger until sure
That the warmth of yesterday is gone
And the time to fly free and warm has arrived.

I cannot live without your song,
Your calling out of peace and forgiveness
All for the price of a seed or two.
I cannot live without the holly trees,
The magnolias that decorate with red seeds,
The pines silent except between creaks of wind. 
I need your cheer of simplicity.

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Cee’s Oddball Challenge, week 47: The Blues

Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge: 2016 Week 47

When the band has the blues,
When the night burns florescent,
Then time collects in pockets
Of memories, greeted with toasts.
Proffered feasts fading into the
Jazz heated spirals of sax,
Yes, sax, and trombone glissandos
As time burns through the bar
As patrons slide to the floor
Melting into the hot blue night.

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Dailypost Challenge: Anticipation

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/anticipation/

While much of the world talks about gratitude, we in the U.S. find ourselves dealing with “anticipation” as the world shakes and turns around us. What’s going to happen in our future? Where will the next shoe drop? What happens if so and so does such and such? And then the political elbows appear to dog us back into our perimeters of uncertainty and our place at the bottom of the totem. Personally, I am tired of elbows being thrown to show who is the authoritarian expert on life itself and am ready to start throwing my elbows around. However that would be tiresome, and tiresome isn’t who I am.

I’d like to anticipate a broad future for us all, but I just don’t have it in me today. So I’ll simplify the anticipation of what I’m anticipating to what it means personally and shake out my brain’s rafters a bit.

We will survive to retire. We weren’t sure of this before, but as we get closer, well, the anticipation is thick with us. (Sorry Yoda.)

  1. Despite all of the efforts to throw issues between the two of us, my husband and I, we still stand together. I anticipate this to continue, after all, money won’t always be this tight, will it?
  2. Medical issues will be part of the future, but I think we can handle them. I have good doctors that are willing to work with me as my life becomes more complicated. I’m also willing, and have made arrangements, to donate my body to science so that more can be learned about MS, Type 2 Diabetes, and my other issues. I anticipate medical science will continue to improve our lives. I have to believe that the catch phrase of “there is a cure down the line” will eventually mean there is a cure down the line.
  3. I anticipate that my husband and my parents will remain independent. Alzheimers disease rates are down. Mom and Dad-in-law are both competent at age 81, and have significantly more energy than I do. They’ll both rock into the 90s knowing that they are well loved. We also have assigned rooms in their names if they ever do need to reside with us. Family will remain an important factor of our lives.
  4. Our pension is with a union which we predict will float through the changing times. Someday people will understand that those of us at the bottom and the middle are human too. We don’t expect it to happen in our lifetime, but hopefully for our children and our grand nephews and nieces. I anticipate that the union will stay in business.
  5. Our children are grown, and although there is still one at home, he’s a kind hearted young man. He knows that his situation is putting stress on us, but tries to mitigate it. He’s one hell of a salesman. He also has empathy for those who haven’t had his advantages and has learned how to positively effect those around him with small kindnesses. The other is a competent and surly, beautiful, young woman who can rise to battle as I was once able to. She’s smart, caring, kind hearted and one who will always fight for the underdog. It’s a nice thing to know that what we anticipated our children turning out like has come true. I anticipate that they will continue to amaze me. I anticipate that they will advocate for us when we need it. It feels good to know that they are keeping a close eye on me.
  6. I anticipate that I will become published one day. It has taken a lot of work, and I foresee more in the future, but I think that my dream will come true. What did Jefferson say? “The harder I work, the luckier I become.” Well, that is a truth that is hard to argue. Finishing the first book was a process of growing into wordier shoes.
  7. I anticipate, hope, dream, and lust after winning the Emily Dickinson Poetry Contest. It runs out of Chicago and hasn’t been offered for a while. This coming January it is back and will be accepting 46-80 page submissions of poetry by people over 40 years of age who haven’t had a poetry book published. (That would be me.) I’ve started the process of going over all of the work I’ve ever done and honing it down, categorizing it, slimming it, potty training it and all of the other things one must do to succeed where one has never even had a dream of success before. It’s an anticipation to fill all of those hours when I’m alone over December and January.
  8. I anticipate that I will start to make friends again. I’ve become rather reclusive. The first step to meeting people is getting out of the house, and to that end, I bought a car for me. It’s a vibrant blue 2017 Sonic. Why did I chose that one? I like the way Chevies crash. Two of the people I love have crashed tested their cars in the past 5 weeks and both owners of the Chevies got out of their cars and walked away from what could have been fatal accidents. It wasn’t what I intended to buy, but when I was out looking, I had my son looking out for me. The car had been in the dealership less than 10 hours, hadn’t been processed yet, had two miles on the odometer, and had never been test driven. In a lot of primarily silver, white and black cars, it called to me from around the corner and behind the service bays.
  9. I anticipate going to spring ball games for our minor league team, the Potomac Nationals. I anticipate going to a bookstore for events like poetry readings, sales, and browsing.
  10. I anticipate more people standing up for what is right, honest, fair and pushing back against hatred, bigotry, racism, poverty, and ignorance.

I think that I will develop a broader anticipation of what is coming in the immediate future if I am patient and stick to my value system. Kids always amaze me and give me hope. As I watch this next generation grow, I’ll learn which direction we’re headed in and then can focus my anticipation list better. I’d certainly like to become hopeful on a global scale. I’d better go back and look that that gratitude thing, too. Maybe it will allow me to anticipate some really good things in a new light.

All About Writing Prompt: Lady in the Park

Prompt 342

Ranger Percy took her duties seriously. She followed a routine that began with first light and ended well into the dark. It was a routine that most new mothers are accustomed to having:

Coffee,
Change the babies,
Feed the babies,
Out the dog,
In the dog,
Feed the dog,
Prepare for the charge of the babysitter,
Out the door,
Coffee.

She loved her job, creating a safe haven for those who needed to touch nature. Everyday, she followed the park’s trails looking for the beauty she could point out to others. Somedays the park was quiet, and those quiet days were filled with the sights of fawns, ground hogs, bald eagles, osprey. Other days were filled with activity, crowds surging to the river with their churches, earnestly baptizing rogue elements and bringing them back under the banner of the church, praying for the devil to be gone, and sharing an open barbecue with any who wandered near. Or perhaps it was the weddings that were held under the white picnic shelter where everything was new and clean, that fit into her fancy. Somedays the park was filled with rain and wind or snow that caused the gates to stay locked. On those days she poured extra coffee into herself and watched the antics of the deer under the picnic shelters. Safety first, she would think at the deer. Then she would smile at the idea that the deer were so well-trained they avoided the drifts and acted like tourists.

Logs washed up on the riverbank with the changing tides. Ranger Percy would wander among them along the beach selecting interesting driftwood from the boring logs. She saved them for a local woman who wandered through the park, talking to herself, who would paint them with scenes of fish underwater or goblins lurking and then leave them like a sacrifice to the wild. Percy would load them into her vehicle and put them on display at the Visitor’s Center.

Lunch,
Coffee,
Walk,
Second equipment check,
Drive the parking lots,
Return to office,
Read mail,
Call babysitter.

The windows of the Visitor Center filled with steam as the class on batiking for teenagers flowed on. She wandered over to the gift counter and rubbed the steam from the window, only to move rapidly out of the center to the walkway that led up and away from the building. Her homeless woman, the one she left the driftwood out for, knelt on the ground mumbling to herself. She had knife in one hand which she raised over her head and then plunged into a bundle of flannel.

“This for your heart.
This for your hands.
This for your feet
To travel to different lands.”

“Come, my dear, for
where you bleed, is here
in the present and a gift
To succeed. Travel through the smoke…”

Then she lifted the knife and held it over her head saluting the sky. A bag lay on sidewalk, close but not touching her.

“Are you okay, lady? I haven’t seen you around much. Is something wrong?” Slowly Percy moved toward the lady. She kept her handgun in its holster, preferring instead to calm her and keep her from injuring herself or another.

The lady looked at her blankly for a moment, then shook her head. “No, I’m not okay. I will never be okay. I am not sure I will make it through the day, let alone the night. Nothing will be the same.”

“Would you like to have some tea with me? We could go to my office in the Visitor’s Center, it is a lot warmer there too.”

“Why should you care? The world left me long ago. No one will remember me.”

“Come with me. I’ll show you something. I’ll make us some tea.”

They rose together.

Pours cup.
Shares cup.
Smiles.

“Thank you, but this is only tea. Nothing can leave my place filled when I’m gone, and I will be gone.”

Breathes deeply.
Reaches inside.
Holds door.
Ushers.
Follows.

“This is the room I made for you. You left these behind you. I was so surprised to see how they all went together, a mural. Is the display all right with you?”

The bag was opened. The flannel set to one side, with the knife now out of view, and the before the ranger’s eyes was a small wooden figure carved so carefully that it seemed alive. With a sudden intake of air, the figure opened its eyes and reached out to her.

The lonely old lady was gone.

Schedule change…

 

 

Dutch’s Tuesday Photo Challenge: Continuation and a Poem (of course.)

Tuesday Photo Challenge – Continuation

Whatever we start,
Planned by engineers, or not,
On the Danube flowing through time
Or the Potomac flowing past a nation, 
We showcase ourselves with light.
We fill the cases with the ancient
Stones that we stole to teach the world
About how important the stones we stole were.
Each outrage part of the parade
Of tough spirits trying to mitigate
The damage done by screaming women,
By ranting crows, by bullets and hooks.
We sign the papers before we know
The length of our enlistment. We face a nation
With something akin to fear, pride, glory,
And the fish which swim upstream breath
In relief at having avoided the bears,
Just before we net them.
We must finish what we started, the next race
Must begin and end and begin...until 
we realize the race was never ours to begin with.

 

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The Danube at dawn
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The Potomac at dawn
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Chichen Itza, how the Maya have prevailed 
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The Parade-He steps, poses, dances…then gone
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The messenger
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Your Enlistment Papers, O Patriot of England’s shore
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The Catch