Random Thoughts and Twain

If I roamed in speech like Mark Twain,
Making sure of my woods, river, sea,
I'd wander in a circle, find an old goat,
A grandfather, a porch, gold, river pirates.
A wooden rocker and an audience, newsprint.
Of innocents abroad, of jaded women here.
If I enlisted like Mark Twain, casually,
Caustic humor, avoiding combat, dinner.
Serving for two, yes two, weeks
And late for dinner. Tents and shovels.
Tour of duty, the South, Rising late
For breakfast, late home for dinner,
Lectures from well meaning adult fools
Who don't understand that war means blood.
If I prayed like Mark Twain, for he did,
It would be short, sweet, to the point,
An argument of reason, intellect,
An avoidance of familiarity, a face, questions.
He prayed for salvation for his absurd truths.
He never even got a letter in return.

I am not Mark Twain, although I ramble in
A concrete jungle, a zoo of originality,
Of pauses and starts, hesitation, then
Galloping on two feet with little hands.
Children are my joy, his too.
I enlisted, found a hole with my name,
Foxlike I waited for the big dog,
But all he wanted was sex. Sex, with me!
Fraternizing with peers, I said no, and no,
I found the door to file papers of abuse.
Learned men are a grouping of 
Rotten apples, grapes on a vine.
I have no time for old boys. Networks, bah.
I don't pray. No, never got an answer,
Not even a no. I figure God will
Send me a postcard, or an email
Asking for money, when God gets around.
Everyone wants money. 
I have a hole in my pocket. Leaking.
I am an emotional clamp, holding together
A family of squirrels. Who knew?
Mother always knew best, then I, 
Me, became the All Knowing Mother
To mine own be true. Schools and crossbows
Peeking from Concrete towers of sand.
Sand stolen from the river. Free.
Wait, there's a charge?

Grumpy black bear, Moose Feet,
It's something Twain saw, 
In the City of Gold at sunset
In San Francisco, My dream city.
Twain and I would have whiskey
Talking politics, reading Dickens.
Laughing at the words lost
On a system of learning. Unlearning.
Creeping, shadowing, loathing.
We'd chat, sympathize, reconnoiter 
The political landscapes with 
Enough comedy for years of shows.
Appalled that thinking people still hate.
Appalled at the randomness of the bible
Applied at a voting booth. Politics 
And religion rarely join joist to hinge.
Mankind at its best, condemning sky, water,
Others because they can, do, lust after.
He'd shake his head, write a book,
Find Adam in the park. Discuss with disdain,
And I would listen, rapt, filing for later
All of the similarities through time,
A century of time, of things he thought 
Would mend, but haven't. So I write.


Young Writer, Missing

Where are you now? With the audience silenced.
Can you return? Can I find you? The critics miss
Your beautiful voice speaking, drawing visions
Of life and time, of vision and hope, a woman in yellow.
Her hat as is held in place by a hand, a pin,
A ribbon. Slipping on and off the bus.

I miss you with the audience gone. Quiet air.
Friends are far apart these days,
Imaginary, real, internet friends, have life.
All kept apart by electrons rotating, holding hands
Turning in waltz time, 3/4 time, one, two, three
Heard beyond time as planets revolve blending with each other

Cosmos tracking galaxies, so the revolution
Relies on you, a woman scorned, no, not you.
You, a writer, spectator, talent, rider of buses
But someone said, and someone did. Hurting,
You left us, all alone, missing the train you
Put before us to ride, taught to negotiate with our souls.

I call you as your grandmother might, cheerfully
Near the clothes line, over a fence, worried
At tea with a friend. Where are you now?
Traveling back and forth, seeing a desert,
A plain, a woods. The Cat seeking your hand purrs.
Comfort from warm sunny days on the porch swing.

I read them over and over, your words, hoping that I'll see
A sign of life, a breath, star dust, your smile.
Are you coming back? Be brave. Words are only words.
But they live for us, grow as infants, loved,
Even when they scold, they love. Eyes smile, arms hug, 
Don't leave, don't run away, by bus, train.

Pace the Change of Hearts

Weekly Writing Prompt #82

Pace your hate, as you line up for the cause
Of suppression.
Homogenous populations, all the same, in tacky
Red hats that
Support a change to control the liberal masses
And their ideology
Of helpful compassion. They give to others what
We don't have.
Betrayed by life, we blame all of you who want to
Continue Roosevelt's policy.

Heard on Fox news, conflicted and wounded,
Unmade in their beds.
Giving a face globally of self-centered anger,
A movement thought dead.
Those who hate, have buried seed, seed from
Eons hidden from light.
Majority voters, liberal thinkers, compassionate
Lovers of all,
Who are these new oppressed? Your mother, father, sister,
Brother, uncle, niece, aunt.

All liberals want is a chance to be happy, to share,
To be kind and considerate.
This is a crime, signed by a swirly pen, by a old man
With tangerine skin, gibbonlike,jumping up and down,
Red hair dyed so that he cannot be old. A screamer,
A bully wishing to be
King of the swamp, the dark underbelly, anti-regulations
Of protection.
Our new leader, a sociopath, a leader of sociopaths,
Of spies and lies.

This is what the haters wanted. A chance to burn with
Fire and fist.
To force back into the box the godless, the "fairy",
The rebel child.
Force back into the box the librarian who allows that
Filth on her shelf.
Force back into the haze, our global responsibilities,
The cost we should not
Bear, and bare the back without brother, the bible 
Thumper in bunny clothes.

Beware your hate, for you are a candle in the dark,
Beware your match.
Reason is a dangerous opponent on the battlefield,
Where compassion 
Equals hope, hospitals, schools, wells, medical care,
Where a bridge
Is not too far, it pulls, tugs, pushes our knowledge
Of others, like a kite.
Beware the actor, the captain, the ship, who find 
Lie after lie
And tattle to the world. Pace your hate, because I
Will extinguish it.

For Degas

The dance, slowly blending into shadow,
Graceful arms that halo the sun,
The moon shines in corners
In dreams of young dancers.
Reposed upon wooden stair,
Waiting for the entrance,
The auditorium to still.
The start of the grand waltz.

@AnnWJWhite, copyrite 2017

March, March, Left and Right

The Friday Reminder and Prompt for #SoCS Mar. 25/17

a

A marching band, that
Is where I spent the happy
Hours of growing up.
Finding the after beats,
Honking on a horn of silver.
Marching in Minnesota,
California, Oregon,
Las Vegas, all over Alaska,
Maryland and Pennsylvania.
I loved to march
Watching those with battered
Lips, lick them in quick
attacks by the tongue
Which would really rest
On a concert stage with Carol Channing.
Loved the changes in season
And when we marched in the
Chinese New Year's parade
In San Francisco, and the
Tuba players had firecrackers
Tossed in the bell to
Drive the evil spirits
Of military service out.
We marched at openings,
Closings, and when we 
stood still, the world cheered.
I loved to march wearing
Orange and black,
Green over green,
Left foot, right foot,
Straw foot, hay foot,
Angles and diagonals
Squares of precision.
I always thought that
The band would hold together 
Over time. But they marched
Away, each to their own pace.
I'm a victim of moonlit hair
That pretends to color,
Looking at the stars 
In a cold March night,
And dreaming of the cadence
Of drums, beating and beating
And bb ee aa t i n g g g g
As they march out of sight and sound
Disappearing into time.
I dream of marching into the stars
Lit for all times 
If you would just look up.
Can you hear the tune?
The brass, woodwinds,
And the percussive beat
Of living a life.
Percussion leading me
In living every day
With the guidance of
The drum major pounding
In my ears. Boom bah boom
Bah, Boom. Then we rest.

Meaningless (a dailypost word prompt)

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

Meaningless, all those hours you spent,
Raising your voices, lifting your glasses
To Cheer. It was meaningless, harboring that hatred,
For a man's skin color and shouting
The South shall rise again, everywhere, 
For their health is endangered while
Their mouths run, compassion wins.
Meaningless challenges the courts
Rule: that the poor can be healthy,
Rule: that insurance is a right
If you pay for it, and you will pay
For it, because we aren't grown up,
Not enough that it matters,
To hand our gratuitous illusionary cash
Over to social programs. To a single system.
Meaningless, the lack of tact
To hammer over and over what the masses
Refuse to understand, that they are part,
The most important part, for they work at the 
Bottom of a triangle and seek to pull themselves 
From poverty. So they shouted, hated, hurt
Made bleed when all they had to do was share.
Meaningless, the first one hundred days,
While apes jump up and down as the President
Learns to color and write his name.
Meaningless his statement of KING.
I acknowledge no king, emperor, ruler,
Whose hearing aid and heart are missing.
Meaningless, caught in a box crayons
Without benefit of a piece of paper
That says "In pursuit of happiness."
Scoffing, I bow to mediocrity, pretend 
I can understand...But I don't.
It's all meaningless.

Luck

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

Luck has waxen wings;
Flying through rays of glorious yellow
With a tail of radiant red.
Glaring and daring the sun
To deny it a future.

Luck has paper wings,
Sodden and ground-bound, stricken,
Laden with gravity, a leaden power,
Which pulls it kite-like
Through puddles of tears, betrayed.

Luck has feather wings,
Ignoring words of failure, mockery.
Moving in between tears.
Dropping lightly, butterfly like,
Starlike, super star, nova.

Luck has eternal wings,
Laughing at the crowds who flock
Like joyous crows before a feast,
Who beg her for a morsel. Teasing,
Recreating herself endlessly.

Luck has lunar moth  wings,
Dominating the nighttime, peeking
Into dreams bereft of reality.
Children's dreams, hopes, parent's prayers,
Planning a voyage into time.

Luck has nimble wings,
Speeding past the impossible,
Ringing the tones of celebration,
Paying out at pinball machines,
With paper strips and silver coins.

Luck has steam powered wings.
No misfortune, nor even tasks 
To pull one through for she is not idle
Hands search, alone in the dark. For her wings
Are gossamer ideals put to work.

copywrite 2017 Ann WJ White
All rights reserved

Arid: Reflections on a Morning

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

Morning comes with stale coffee lingering in the air.

Dogs in and out, and in, then out. Two words erupt.

Then fall to pieces as likely to grow as limestone.

The cord is missing, my laptop still and thoughtless.

Bright sun burns my eyes, warms my hair,

Overheats the brain straining to find a foothold

In actions positive and bright. But the morning hour,

With its teasing laughter, places me in an arid state.

Atmosphere, dry as my mouth,  nothing  grows today.

Pages to remain blank. Inkless as the well in which

I dip my pen while seeking some other way,

I wish to be in the barren deserts of sand in

Timbuktu, where treasures lie beneath,

Hidden for centuries. Their gift? Knowledge

For the eyes of Africa, hidden from the French,

Manuscripts of jeweled splendor, golden highlights,

Speaking of mysteries solved long ago.

Surrounding a barren land with science, government, humanity.

Like cacti, needling those who would steal their worth.

These documents from the twelfth century, thirteenth,

Fourteenth, Fifteenth. Poetry of the stars to linger.

I would linger in the libraries and ponder how, in an arid desert,

The jewels of creativity could bloom and grow.

I would dally at the question posed of a green world.

How could I, in the setting of new leaves and buds,

Think myself without the soil of imagination?

Such a silly thought that morning is more dry, than the

Deserts of Mali or the great Sahara. Perhaps tea

to motivate and enervate? Or a simple peeled orange?

 

Please?

I write the words that do not rhyme.
Poetry it's called. It called me.
Do my words scatter in the wind?

The breeze that takes the poems
Blows through Spring, Summer and Fall.
Am I part of a rainbow of particles?

When you read me, the real me, do you
scoff or do you ask for more?
Is it the bare soul that offends?

I travel leagues as a digital dot
On a web of transparent knowledge
Looking to see if I can become a snowflake.

I travel to far away lands, to the seas.
Each stop I leave part of myself
And take part of you away to show.

No, not the lover, but the friends 
That are with me for a breath
Before the wind scatters us again.

I write the words that do not rhyme.
I am a poet, seemingly out of time.
From the safety of my sofa, I watch.

The world frightens me these days.
Words are harsh once again.
Dreams are dismissed as lies.

But I will continue to look for 
Those who hold the end of the rainbow.
Have you seen me passing with the wind?

Catch me and hold me. Hold me close.
Take the hole in my heart and fill it
With a sense of purpose. Please?
Am I alone? Do you see the star I came from?

Translate; in memory of Bill Manville (W.H. Manville) who died Valentine’s 2017

Translate my pain into inspiration.
A grief that turns my heart to sterling,
A metal that will not leave me stranded,
A mourning that imbeds a jasper arrowhead.
He has gone, looping his words between
His memory and mine. Remaining.
Older brother of soul, teacher of order,
He had taken Valentines, paper cutouts,
Red hearts and Pink silliness,
Dark visions combating the light.
Wrapped them in cushions of unsweetened
Advice, given freely, powerful in their
Scent of citrus, their odor of sage.
Wholesome and forgiving. He listened.
Silence now that his breathing
Has erred on the side of quiet.
His heart filled with the love
A teacher has for student.
Transient as they grow, but his eternal.
I must write to find my heart again
Where I laid it out for him.
How many, many types of love there are.
So many ways taking the crystal bonds,
Which when broken remain
In our memory of precious laughter,
Honest criticism, layers upon layers of
Rebuilding. He gave these seeds to us
To plant in our inner gardens, to bloom.
Watered by tears of grief, blinked,
They will grow. Tiny green hopes, words,
Writer to writer. Clearing weeds
Nourishing plots of future dreams.
I hear his voice in the wind
Teasing me, scolding me, holding me close.
Calling me to finish what I had begun,
To love those he loved, to work, to stand
On two feet knowing he believed in us.
We must carry his gift to us,
The world’s visions, the expected literacy.
Must share our voices, must care, we must,
Even when the caring scares and scars us.
His footprints stay with us, his books,
His stories, his belief that the world
Must read, write, share and pass
The compassion of an old friend to a new.
We carry him now, heart to heart.
We will honor him by our words, soon.
But written as the storms come,
Rain beating the earth in a primal flood
As he flows away from us, following the flood
Of our sorrow. The transportation of our hearts,
Flooded and sitting now filled with salty tears.
Our memories are precious, sketch in words,
Written as the tears streak, but forming
Wary wry smiles, smiles that will not betray.
Oh the memory of those smiles, he loved us.
I will carry him with me in my pocket of life.
Filled with random pebbles, coins, a leaf,
An acorn or two, a magic ring, a fallen star.
This hole of sorrow, this well of loss,
Fill it with swords, shields, puppies
Pictures, mystery, letters, trials,
Hopes and dreams. Do not forget…
You see, I loved him.
I loved him as brother, father, friend,
Mentor, teacher, and confidant.

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

Bill Manville, of Sacramento, California died on Valentine’s Day 2017. He was a published author, a teacher, a traveler, radio host, copywriter, U.S. Army Veteran and dearly loved by Beverly. He ran a class on the internet called Writing to be Published. He was a well loved member of AA.

Volunteering at his local library, he ran a class on writing that was open to the public. He understood the need, the urge, to write and that writers need support at all levels of their ability. Being a gruff, loving, inspiring man, he passed the gift of what he had learned to others with an open heart. Whether the class succeeded of not, he urged them on. Revising, placing students in groups to evaluate each other, support each other, he gave us a rare gift of insight into ourselves.

He worked tirelessly in the pursuit of helping others escape the madness of addiction, remaining anonymous except for his first name. If a song represented his attitude towards others it might have been this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LjhCEhWiKXk also know as Bruno Mars “Just the Way You Are” He accepted people as they are. Truly a testament for human to be remembered as, Bill was “amazing” just the way he was. Of course you would have to change to words from girl to guy. Volunteering as a rehab clinic volunteer, he understood that by helping others he would help himself remain successful as a long-term sober recovering addict.

Celebrated as a Book of the Month author, he also worked as an editor for Cosmo, contributed columns to the Village Voice, Key West Solares Hill, The New York Daily Times and the Huffington Post. Magazine articles appear in The Fix, Cavalier Magazine, the Saturday Evening Post. He published his books through MacMillan Publishers, Duel, Sloan and Pearce, Simon and Schuster,  NAL, Delacorte, Dell/Random House, BSForge Press and Tor Publishing. His works include: Cool Hip and Sober, Goodbye, Saloon Society, The Man who Left his Wife and Had a Nifty Time, Writing to Be Published, and Breaking up. He was a contributor to the fourth edition of the Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (commonly called The Big Book at meetings.)

Bill also hosted a radio show, Addictions and Answers on KVML in Sonoma CA, which delved into real stories of the struggles faced by others dealing with alcohol addiction. With over forty years of research into the material he had available to him, he was able to paint a realistic picture of the process of becoming sober, something that was both a personal and social matter of importance. He believed in the process of sobering up as a lifelong purpose. One of the transcripts of a show he hosted with Dr. Dave More is available through the NYDailyNews.com, http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/health/parents-cope-moms-dads-turn-kids-ambien-adderall-day-article-1.1092155.

He attended the University of Pennsylvania, but graduated from Sarah Lawrence College. His next stop was the University of the Mediterranean, Nice where he explored life in all of its fullness and color. As his works were being published, he was encouraged to begin teaching. So he did. He was a member of LinkedIn where he looked for aspiring authors to take his online course.

No one can summarize the character, love, production and history on a single page and with such short notice. I have done the best I can. So a final toast: To all who aspire to sobriety or writing, we have loved him, learned from him, and will never regret that opportunity he shared with us.