Millennium Coming

The children now love luxury; they have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise. Children are now tyrants, not the servants of their households. They no longer rise when elders enter the room. They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up dainties at the table, cross their legs, and tyrannize their teachers.

-Socrates 


I'm going to keep it 100
but you've got to be willing
to jump into the way-back machine.

You need to see your gnarly roots
teased upside down like a baobab tree
digging upwards into the ozone.
Was there wisdom there?

As if! You don't remember
pants that were supposed
to parachute you safely
towards that righteous future.

Re-branded slackers landed in flannels
at that first taste of reality,
quickly swapping out radical for tubular

irrigation for boxed lawns 
in front of those ticky-tacky
houses that generations before disdained

so you could yell
at ancient eyed children
to get off of it.

Oh bae can't you see
these words were totes never about you
until you decided they were.


Song Choice: Kids from Bye Bye Birdie

This poem was created for the prompt offered at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Dorogoy Droogs, Come Clockwork the Orange, where Bjorn challenges us to work in some slang into our poems.

Notes from the Real World: Nothing makes me roll my eyes faster than complaints about the kids today. I'll admit, I have to stifle a chuckle sometimes when I see a young adult sporting a mustache Dick Dastardly would admire, but since I spent my teen years gleefully seeking out clothing that looked like highlighters threw up all over them, I have no room to talk. Every generation has their own way of dressing, speaking, and being. And the generations that came before them will ever clutch their pearls and forget their own wild (and oftentimes silly) youth.

Planning


I am sort of a tea addict. I structure my day by cups of tea.
-S.T. Joshi

Include joy
when making plans
big enough to shift worlds.

Or risk
building a windowless castle
whose stones keep out the air.






Notes from the Real World: Ah, the day after Christmas, when my thoughts turn to… decorating! Decorating a fresh new planner that is. For the last few years, I’ve been trying to be consistent with keeping up some sort of planning system. I think I’ve finally found one that I love (thank you BenebellWen for creating a kick-ass planner for the metaphysically minded, even if you did take out the “Books Read” page on this year’s model). Though it took watching a planning video by Vlogger Jessi Huntenberg to really crystalize what it was I’ve been after by keeping up this practice.

At its worst, a planner is a glorified to-do list (a to-do list with lots of washi tape, stickers, and gel pen doodles in my case). And that’s not a terrible thing, because it’s harder to lose a planner than a list scribbled on the back of some junk mail (my favored organizational system in my 20’s). But it’s kind of a waste of money if that’s all it is.

It’s a place you thoughtfully figure out what it is that’s really important to you, so you can structure your actions to support that. It’s not just for keeping track of how busy you can be, but for noticing the natural way your days (weeks, months) flow and respecting your limits, especially when you actually can see when you peruse its pages that you are in danger of being overwhelmed or losing yourself in activities that don’t support the goals you set for yourself (you can in fact schedule your down time – and put all the cute stickers you want on the page to make a note of it). Because one of the worst feelings in the world, for me at least, is finding out you’ve been working like a fiend in a way that takes you farther from your goals rather than closer.

Moving ahead with my writing is clearly going to be one of my biggest goals of 2019. As I sit surrounded by ribbons and glitter pens the rest of this week, I’m going to be figuring out what S.M.A.R.T. steps I can take so when I’m sitting down again on Dec 26, 2019 I’ll know where my time went, how I used it to get better, where I missed the mark, and how to fix it.

Also I will be editing one page to make it a “Books Read” page and another for “Teas Tasted”. Because it’s important to make time for the sweet little pleasures. And also because I can. So there.


Because of course I chose the kitsune image for my planner cover.

Solstice Song


Its music finds a way to seep into my soul, whether I am surrounded by the concrete spires of a city or enveloped by the scent of fresh cut pine and balsam on a bonfire.

Tonight is no different.

It is a song composed on lines of moonlight and spaces of shadow, played on the strings woven around my spirit and connecting me to the land, the sea, the crisp night air and the fire in the stars. There is healing offered here, if I don’t refuse its call, if I am willing to stop and be still. I pull on my coat, succumbing to the melody.

A break in the clouds gives me the view I need and at once I become moon drunk—giddy, warm and immune to this solstice night’s chill. I drink in more of the moon’s wild brew, find the most passionate stars to affix to my tenderest places and help guide me back to the place where I find aspirations still untarnished by disappointments.

That is when I add to the song, delighting in the harmony between the moon and me. We sing until morning, when I rise, spent but knowing I shall grow stronger along with the newborn sun.  





This prose poetry piece was inspired by the picture at the Sunday Muse #35, Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie’s SundayWriting Prompt, and the wordles at Sunday’s Whirligig #193 and the Sunday’s Whirl Wordle 383.


Song Choice: Music of the Night performed by Andre Rieu


Notes from the Real World: Even when I was a kid I've been drawn to the changing of the seasons. Being more of a warm weather person, you might think it'd be funny that I'd love the winter solstice, but I've always felt a little lift in my heart, knowing the longest night was behind me, and ahead of me was a new year. This year, I had the distinct delight of being part of a solstice gathering with a group of friends, and by the time the evening concluded I felt a lightening of my spirit that I hadn't felt in a long while.

Stretching

Stretching
towards sunlight
reminds tired muscles
boundaries can be pushed
again.

Song Choice: I'll Make a Man Out of You performed by Jackie Chan


I like tea and yoga, but I don’t do yoga.
-Moby


Notes from the real world:

A couple of months ago, I injured myself in a friendly game of sportsball* during an exercise class at work (I may have been taking out my ire over political events on unsuspecting coworkers). This was completely preventable had I bothered to warm up and then stretch, instead of jumping in like I was possessed by the ghost of Boudica. No more sportsball, no more aerobics or Zumba for me for at least a few weeks. Unable to face the risk of going mad from lack of activity, I grudgingly turned to a yoga DVD my husband had bought years ago.

Funny thing, I forgot how much I really enjoyed yoga. I think I stopped doing it because of misguided ideas about what it meant to challenge myself. But after a few weeks of doing it, and feeling a lot of improvement in my hip and in my overall body strength and flexibility, I realized it'd be really dumb of me move forward with any exercise plan that didn't include yoga, especially if it means I could get better  at the other physical stuff I'm doing. I don't limit myself to just matcha tea, so why should I limit the types of physical activity I do?

I've been giving a lot of thought to what comes next for me in terms of writing. I am coming out of what feels like an editing marathon, so a little down time is in order. But just like I don't like being physically inactive, I don't think could stay away from writing completely. Firstly, I can't, as Magaly has made sure I'm blogging regularly on Wednesdays. But even more than that, I forgot that sharing bits of the real world is both fun and qualifies as a disciplined writing practice. While it may take a couple more weeks for me to settle on The Next Big Goal (and let's be real, even when I pick something, I'll still need to take time to work out a good plan or writing outline) I'm kind of enjoying this. With all due respect to Moby, if you like something, why not do it, especially if it in no way impedes you (or might even help) in doing other things you love? It seems kind of silly not to. 


Image result for sportsball meme

*Sportsball - What I call pretty much any game played with a ball. I'm really not much of an athlete, I just like to run around fast.



Courage, Dear Heart

Feet too frightened to cross a playground, I stand at the edge of a suburban forest. I know that treasure awaits on the other side, if I am willing to make the journey to Narnia.

Little Lucy was old enough to start a queen’s quest on her own. I am unsure of myself as I measure my height against those of the trees. I have no ruby slippers or red-hooded cloak, but I want very much to rendezvous with werewolves and witches.

One tenuous toe steps in, then another...

Striding up to the glass doors, I arrive at the threshold of the wardrobe. Which worlds shall I explore? After filling my backpack with adventures, I am ready to return. The forest feels like an old friend as I march home.







This post is linked up to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Weekend Mini-Challenge: Life is Ripe. Magaly asked us to write a poem about a childhood memory (and if possible make it prose poetry of 131 words or under). I wrote about the first time I was allowed to walk to the town library by myself.


Song Choice: Theme song from Indiana Jones


Peace in a Bowl


When you serve tea to your guests, you should simply serve tea from your heart, and think about nothing more.
-Poem 93 of Sen Rikyu


I’ve spent years learning
how to set aside my worries at the teahouse door,
and lose myself
in the sound of pouring water
and the scent of matcha rising from the bowl.

Some days that isn’t easy.
The world likes to devour souls by bits
and I can’t drink enough tea
to wash the bitter taste from my mouth.

It is then I remember
tea bowls were meant for sharing.

The art of tea cannot be measured
by the strokes of my whisk
or the thickness in the folds of my cloth.
But it can be fairly gauged
by the smile on my guest’s face.

The peace that eluded me
roots in them, multiplies,
and finally alights in me.
When we leave the teahouse
we both carry more than enough
peace to share, where before there was turmoil.


This poem is linked up to Poets United, Midweek Motif and dVerse, OLN 234.



Notes from the Real World (if you’re just here for the poetry, feel free to skip this part, though I expect MissWicked ought to read it, since she’s the one who challenged me to do it): This poem was inspired by one of three scrolls that were shared by my tea school last year. They were meant to inspire peace in the hearts of people who saw them. My fellow students and I were tasked with serving tea while visitors came to admire the scroll. I admit my mood was cynical before I walked in the door (because hey, 2017 gave people a lot to be cynical about), but as the day progressed, I found myself becoming more peaceful with each bowl of tea I made, and living up to the words on the scroll—providing a small seed of peace for everyone who walked through Shofuso’s doors, and seeing folks leave carrying a bit of that peaceful spirit that (hopefully) they could share with others.



Now of course, 2017 doesn’t hold a monopoly on my moods of cynicism and doubt. Although I’m just coming out of the experience of finishing and publishing a short story collection, a giant cloud with the words “What’s next?” seems to have followed me around from the moment I clicked the button to officially release the book out into the world. The good news is I have lots of ideas. The bad news is that they all are spinning around me like a cyclone of bright shiny things I can reach towards but can’t quite grab. I’m overwhelmed.

The idea of achieving world peace is exponentially more overwhelming, but in that afternoon at Shofuso, I know that I along with my fellow tea students created a haven where peace could quietly slip into someone’s heart, and that peace could spread to people they interacted with later. If such a simple act can do that, maybe it’s not too far-fetched of an idea to take a moment or two to give myself the gift of tea, savor it, and see what comes from that. It’s worth a shot.







Magaly's Challenge: A Reply


So Miss Wicked, Magaly Guerrero, challenged me to step up my writing game. Of course, I shall accept. (Because, yay – games!)



But because I can never leave well enough alone, I’d like to raise the stakes a smidgen. So, dear friend, I shall add an extra challenge for myself. Every post I make for this challenge shall incorporate a quote about tea. Don’t fret, I’m not cruel enough to make a committed coffee drinker join my mad tea party. But, I challenge you to work a quote into your posts also… a Terry Pratchett quote to be exact.

So what say you, Miss Wicked? Care to play by those rules? (Anyone else is free to join in of course, because, yay – company!)


Song Choice: The Devil Went Down to Georgia, Muppet show version 



Traveling Together


Reading the last word of her story, Kaylee put down her tablet with a satisfied smile. Gran-gran had texted her the link for it, along with the message: ‘4 train’, the day before Kaylee left.
Her mother leaned over to look. “Two hours to go.”

Kaylee looked out the window while Mother rambled about manners once they arrived at her aunt’s. Sure, she’d say hello to everyone first, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t spend most of her time with Gran-gran. She couldn’t wait to talk to someone who understood both the thrill and sadness of finishing a great story.


The notes: Something special happens when someone shares a story they love with another person. The Turner family at the center of “Her Story”, from my book The Trouble with Wanting, and Other Not-Quite FaerieTales, understand that joy and never miss a chance to put it use.

This post is linked up to Friday Fictioneers. Follow the link for more flash fiction.



A Little Music Please Maestro

***THE GIVEAWAY IS OVER. CONGRATS FUNDY BLUE OF STANDING INTO DANGER***


Let me just say that yes, there will be announcements and a giveaway by the end of this post but let’s talk music for a moment. Oftentimes when I’m working on a story, songs will come into my head because they fit a particular character, theme or scene. I’ll take the time to write them down because sometimes it’s helpful to listen to them again, just before diving in to do edits, to get me back in the mood of the story. So here are some of the songs that kept my fingers dancing on the keyboard while working on The Trouble with Wanting, and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales:

Overall collection mood:

Individual Stories:

The Trouble with Wanting:

Her Story:

What’s a Little Blood to a Mother’s Heart?:

Just Perfect:                                                   

Make Mischief, Not War:

Her Homesick Spirit:

Kindred Steel:


Do some stories make you think of certain songs, or vice-versa? Talk to me about it in the comments section for a chance to win the goodies pictured above. For a bonus entry, share this post on the social media platform of your choice (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and please make sure to use the hashtag #NotQuiteFaerieTales. Everyone who has commented on any of the other blog posts on my virtual author tour automatically gets an entry as well. The contest closes on midnight EST December 2nd, and I'll announce the winner on the 3rd.



In this prize box we have two types of calming tea, Nippon Kodo cederwood incense, three handmade bookmarks, a set of fairy lights, a mermaid tail makeup brush, a moonstone bracelet, a moonstone pawprint necklace, a set of earings, a small candle, a mandala wall hanging, a treasure box, and a fox ring.
I couldn't resist adding a close-up of that ring.


If you are not a regular reader of my blog, if you haven’t liked my Facebook page, or we aren’t friends on Instagram, please make sure you add your email to the comment. I need to be able to contact you if you win. If I have no way to contact the winner, a new name will be drawn.


This contest is open worldwide, except where prohibited by law. Canadian friends I will have to ask you to include the next letter in the sequence, A, B, __ in your response in order to enter.

And now here are the winners:

Magaly Guererro - Rosemary
Magic Love Crow – Baili
Daydream Believer – Kathy Crabbe
She Who Seeks – Kirk
My blog- Andie


I’ve contacted all the blog owners and emailed the winners whose e-mail addresses I have. All winners have one week to get back to me. If I don’t hear back by then, a new winner will be chosen.

Congrats to all of the winners, and good luck to all of you in the next contest!

Don't Stop Believing

One of the first things my son did when he came home from college for Thanksgiving break (besides hitting up the nearest Wawa—he clearly is a Philadelphia area kid) was get into a discussion with my daughter about some of the books he was reading for his Children’s Lit class. Besides really enjoying the fact that the two of them were communicating as young adults (which was a pleasant change from the way they interacted when they were in grade school/middle school), I noticed that, like their mom, neither one of them seemed in any hurry to grow out of loving fantastical, fairy-tale-like stories.

It made me think of an article I had just read recently, TheEnduring Allure of Fairy Tales. There are quite a few of us who will never be too old for “Once upon a time” tales, especially when some of the themes in those stories still feel like they resonate with who we are today. It was my love for these old stories that got me writing in the first place and ultimately led to me writing, The Trouble with Wanting, and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales. I discussed some of that with Sherry at Poets United when I was featured on Blog of the Week. Fairy tales can inspire not just children to be heroic, but it can remind adults that they still have that potential to be their own hero whenever they need to be.

1. I talked a bit about nice not being the same as kind in “What’s a Little Blood to a Mother’s Heart?” over at Magaly’s blog.

2. At Stacy’s blog, I discussed how a lot of us can feel like we are Journeying into the Dark to Find the Light when we strike off on unknown paths like a hero in a fairy tale.

3. Gina at Daydream Believer understood that sometimes Scary Faeries Make Helpful Friends if we need to take bits of our lives and reshape them/ look at them in a different way to find the magic meant for us.

4. And at Debra’s I talk about Writing “Her Story”, where the protagonist goes on a journey and realizes she doesn’t have to be the side character in her own story.

If you hop over to Magaly’s, Stacy’s, Gina’s or Debra’s, you’ll see I’m running an e-book giveaway on each of their blogs. I’m also running a separate small giveaway on mine, which you can enter by following this link. All giveaways close on midnight, November 25th, with winners announced on the 26th. I’ll also be posting a bigger giveaway at that time. Thanks for sticking by me on this tour.

The Trouble with Wanting, and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales is available at Amazon and Barnes& Noble.


Song Choice: Don’t Stop Believing byJourney

Screenshot from the NYT article,
The Enduring Allure of Fairy Tales

This is the Great Virtual Author Tour!

Dear gentlefolk of all ages...

It is my great delight to announce the debut of my long awaited mostly by me and perhaps my corgi, Kit, so I can take him out for longer walks in the newly crisp weather short story collection, The Trouble With Wanting, and Other Not Quite Faerie Tales, available on November 13th, 2018. I have gathered 7 stories, featuring characters never seen before, as well as the new adventures of old favorites (more Yuuki anyone?).

Cover art by Michelle Kennedy. Find her on her blog and Instagram.

One of those new characters, Izzy, knows all too well of the pain book nerds suffer while we're waiting for our next dose of literary magic. She's even willing to do something contrary to her nature to get her fix. While we all aren't book nerds, many of us do have things we are quite serious about (sports, TV shows, comics, etc.). People who are serious about their passions have been known to do some very strange things to support them. What was the oddest thing you have done (or have considered doing) in the name of your passion?

Tell me about it in the comments section, you'll be enrolled in the first give-away I'm running.

A package of Nippon Kodo sandalwood incense,
3 bags of Harney & Son's hot cinnamon spice tea,
& 3 bookmarks handmade by me.

For a bonus entry, share this post on the social media platform of your choice (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and please make sure to use the hashtag #NotQuiteFaerieTales. The contest closes on midnight EST November 25th, and I'll announce the winner on the 26th.

If you are not a regular reader of my blog, if you haven’t liked my Facebook page, or we aren’t friends on Instagram, please make sure you add your email to the comment. I need to be able to contact you if you win. If I have no way to contact the winner, a new name will be drawn.

This contest is open worldwide, except where prohibited by law. Canadian friends I will have to ask you to include the next letter in the sequence, A, B, __ in your response in order to enter.

I'll also be doing more giveaways as I make the rounds at the virtual homes of several blogger friends. I hope you'll follow me on my virtual author tour.

November 13th - Magaly Guerrero -What's a Little Blood to a Mother's Heart?
November 15th - MagicLoveCrow - Journeying Into the Dark to Find the Light
November 17th - Daydream Believer - Scary Faeries Make Helpful Friends
November 19th - Poets United - Blog of the Week: Rommy Driks
November 21st - She Who Seeks - Writing "Her Story"

There will be a wrap up post here again on November 26th, along with a final, fancier giveaway.

Good luck everyone, I hope you enjoy the tales and tea!

The Trouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales is available for purchase on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


Song Choice: The Greatest Show - from The Greatest Showman

So She Seams


When she noticed it took her 2 minutes longer than it usually did to set out all the silverware for dinner, she knew there was a problem. He hadn’t seemed to notice though, nor did he remark about the tightness around her mouth or her wincing when she bent or moved in a particular way. The table was laid out as beautifully as it ever was, every spoon, fork, and knife in their expected places.

He had smiled, running a finger down the curve of the spoon at his place setting, but did not say a word to her as she managed to make it to the kitchen without crying out.

She allowed herself to stand and breathe deeply for thirty seconds once the kitchen door closed behind her. Was there enough time? A glance at the clock told her there was, but she’d need to be quick. The roast would be ready soon.

She pulled several hairs from her head. Her well-practiced fingers wove them into a serviceable thread in under a minute. I’m getting faster, she thought, letting her mouth relax into it’s first smile that day. Now came the hard part.

She had chosen her frock carefully this morning, both for its pockets and ease of opening in the front. Her special needle case came out first. She opened it and caressed the line of off-white needles. She remembered when each of these slivers of bone were parted from her body. What a waste it would have been not to save them. Selecting the largest, she threaded it with her hair then placed it on the table, so she could undo her dress.

As she pushed the needle in and out of her skin, her mind registered that the hole had indeed gotten bigger. It didn’t matter. She had woven enough thread to do the job. Gritting her teeth as she pulled her needle taut to seal up her flesh, she made the finishing knots and cut the needle loose with the kitchen shears. She cleaned off the needle and put it back into its spot inside her case. Then she rearranged her clothing and tucked the case into her pocket.

One more glance at the clock. She had timed it perfectly. Wearing her second smile of the day, she pulled the roast out of the oven and arranged it on the serving platter. The high from getting everything done kept her back straight as she walked from the kitchen to the dining room. Everyone is at their place now, along with the spoons, forks, and knives. Everyone watched as she brought it in.
She was not sure if the wrinkle in the carpet had been there before she went to the kitchen or if it had been made while she was there. Either way, she stumbled when her feet encountered it, and her pretense at gracefulness fell too. She managed to get the platter on the table with a loud thump, but she didn’t know if the thump was from the platter hitting the table or the sound her innards made when they burst from their seams to land besides the roast.

He turned away, covering his mouth with a serviette. "Why did you do that? Darling, you've made me so uncomfortable," he said.

She smiled her third and last smile of the day, one more beautiful and terrible than the ones that came before.




Song Choice: Voices Carry covered by Sky Ferreira

This short fiction was created for Beautiful Freaks Fest 2 and is an expansion on a poem I wrote earlier, Uncomfortable.

Signature of a Scar

I couldn't resist doing something special for the big blog party happening this weekend, hosted by Magaly GuerreroEmma Yardis and me. It's open to artists and artisans of all sorts, just be sure your work is centered around the theme of scars. Interested? Go to Madame Magaly's page for the details and add your name to Mr. Linky.

In the meantime, here's a small poem I created to get people in the mood. Just click on the link to enjoy or read the full piece undereath the link.









Scars are memories you see
written on flesh,
visible and touchable.

They are dividing
lines declaring,
"There was a before, but

I am here
alive in the after."

The world turns away 
from any reminders
that we must all die.

But a scar can suggest
that day has not happened yet,

and there is no point in crawling
into pre-dug graves
when there are signs on our skins
telling us we can survive.


This poem is linked up to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Tuesday Platform






Uncomfortable

He waits in the other room
expectant that all will go on
as it's done before.

Dinner is time for all
the knives, forks and spoons
to pleasingly line up.

She rips hair from her head,
weaves them to make a fine thread.

A sliver of bone salvaged
from when it first was shattered
makes a serviceable needle.

She sews flesh to unsightly flesh,
restraining her squirming viscera.
A tug of the needle and it's done.

She is free to carry the food,
while everyone waits.

It was a small misstep
that caused her to drop
the pretense of gracefulness,
as the seams finally give.

Blood blends with the gravy
though intestines are less inconspicuous.

He turns away,
covers his mouth with a serviette.
"Why did you do that? Darling,
you've made me so uncomfortable."

Song Choice: Originally I thought Killing in the Name cover by Brass Against featuring Sophia Urista. but only because this song has been giving me life during the last week. No, the best song for this poem is Voices Carry by Til Tuesday. I'm only leaving the first song link up because it's an awesome cover and everyone should hear it.


This poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Tuesday Platform

Kindred Steel

A reluctant traveler scarcely notices the beauty of the road. The colors of each new sunrise lack the harmony found in the memories of those viewed from home. Isolation is a special torment to one used to the closeness of kin. Though in my travels I've learned one doesn't need to be kin to be kindred. I shall not forget my teeth if I encounter mistakes from my past. But I will not ignore the shine from the steel of souls with claws different from my own.


Wind blown seed misses
the earth which cradled deep roots.
This new soil is strange
to me. These flowers are odd,
but I recognize their scent.


Song Choices: Kyrie by Mr. Mister and Philadelphia Freedom covered by Tina and Ike Turner

Today's poem is linked up to Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' Tuesday Platform.

This poem is from the point of view of Yuuki, a character I have enjoyed writing about for years. The events of this poem take place after this short story, though the full story of what happens to Yuuki next will be covered in my upcoming short story collection, The Trouble With Wanting and Other Not Quite Faery Tales, which will drop in Fall 2018.

Light in an Eclipse

There is blood on the end of the sickle moon,
though no one but me can see it.

It's the same moon that hung
over the place I was born
grown gaunt with homesickness.

Or maybe I've just seen myself
reflected in the moon
as darkness inches across it,
engulfing it so nothing of its past remains.

The most familiar things look wrong
under a moonless sky. I recognize nothing
that looks like home.

I embrace my darkness,
but I do not let it consume me
for I have the brightness of the stars in my soul.

I let them point the way,
if not towards home,
towards a future where I shine steady
as souls wax and wane around me.

Song Choice: Away by Priscilla Hernandez


This poem is linked to the Tuesday Platform over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poets United Poetry Pantry 421.

Perhaps you've noticed the tags this week too. I didn't plan on Rina having a large role in the Yuuki stories, but when I wrote a bit of flash fiction from the point of view of Ana's favorite aunt, people seemed to really like it and wanted to know more about her. This poem is written from the point of view of a much younger Rina, and I promise to expand on that tale very soon. 😉

Whispers to a Stone

The stones believed me when I told them
how I felt about you.
They will expect me to keep my promises,
but I know they will keep my secret.

Don't expect me
to drip sugar from my mouth,
begging you to change who you are.

You would not be you
without your frustrating idealism,
rushing off to do battle
while forgetting there are holes in your armor.

I don't want you not to be you.
But I will never be anything but myself.

I am not demure.
I do nothing half-way.
That includes standing by you,

using all my power to shield
the vulnerable parts you overlooked
and keep safe all the things you love,
while I keep true to the words
that, for now, I will only speak to the stones.



Song Choice: America's Sweetheart by Elle King

This poem is linked to the Tuesday Platform over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poets United, Poetry Pantry 420. If you are a longtime reader of the blog you may have had a flash of recognition at some of the tags. This is a poem from the point of view of Cordelia, a character I have written about on this blog before.




Glitter

I wasn't born in silk ruffles.
Sparkles didn't spring
from my first steps.

But I learned,
even when you didn't expect me to,
especially when you didn't want me to.

I ground up your leftover gems,
and pressed the remains
to create my own rebirth stone.

It glitters from the center
of the reclaimed crown
I earned- though you tried your worst
to keep it from me.




Song Choice: Work, Bitch by Britany Spears

This poem is linked up to the Tuesday Platform on Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poetry Pantry 419 at Poets United.

Milk and Blood

Oh my dear one, my darling one, oh-
see how the angel's trumpets have unfurled
to announce that you are coming home.

Oh my sweet one, my ever young one, oh-
I have my reddest cap ready
to see you safely home.

Drink up the magic, little one,
along with your milk and blood,
until you are big enough to tip your sword
with the monkshood growing on the hill.

Oh my cherished one, my loved one, oh -
Mamma has raised many seedlings
and she'll lose none of them to any
who threaten her home.



Song Choice: Not the Villain by SJ Tucker

This poem is linked up to the Tuesday Platform in Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poets United, Poetry Pantry 418.

Un Edit

My life's limited
by the power of the words
I firmly edit.

Fear paralyzes
an already timid tongue,
seeking the right words.

An uncareful word
banishes without mercy
despite my wishes.

Unspoken words bind
tender thoughts that do not dare
to reveal themselves.

Befriended words build
stories that touch other's True
and soothe my sore soul.



Song Choice: Brave by Sarah Bareilles

This poem is linked up to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Tuesday Platform and Poets United Poetry Pantry 417.


The Trouble With Wanting

You're what I dreamed of
before I learned some dreams come with a cost.

I've watched a tender heart
mutilate everything she was
on the assumption her love could cross any barrier.

Still, I reach for you,
until I remember a promise made
over the dissolving remains of a life.

What would it be like
to bring you into my world?
I've seen you looking, enchanted,
just as I was enchanted with a place that is not my own.

Would that look stay
when I tell you everything?
Would you accept all of it,
not expecting me to cut away the core of myself?

I've seen the way you smile,
and for a moment let myself dream
of nights spent hiding nothing,
loving hard enough to dissolve barriers instead of hearts.

But some dreams come with a cost
and I don't know if I can pay for this one.



Song Choice: Rewrite the Stars, from the musical The Greatest Showman

This poem is linked up to the Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poets United, Poetry Pantry #416.

Not Quite A Faerie Tale


Glass slippers don’t fit
every size and shape of foot.
I won’t waltz bloody-toed
in silks that don’t suit me.

Let me run barefoot,
choosing silk or steel
depending on the way
my curls bounce at the moment.

Let me guide the magic
in well-woven words
and make the fairy tales fit me,
instead of the other way around. 


Song Choice: Girl Into Devil (I Belong to Me) by S.J. Tucker

This poem has been linked up to the Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poets United Poetry Pantry 415.

Lost Girl (What Miyaka Knows)

There is no shortage of people ready to point out what they feel is my place. Every flaw of mine is thoroughly dissected and explained, as if I were not already fully acquainted with all of them. It is then I run to lose myself in the pages of a story. I touch my lips to a well of words, take them deep into my body until they are part of me. Then I carry them back, alive with their power to remember I am the creatrix of my own tales.



A hard world demands
me to break. I refuse to.
Saved by strange magic
in my paperback heroes,
I claim my wings and fly.

Song Choice: Itooshii Hito No Tame Ni




Da' Notes: This poem was created as a response to an idea Magaly Guerrero put forth in a recent blog post, Trinkets and Armor: What's Your Passion? Drawing inspiration from a wise old woman, she asked us to share the things that we're passionate about or that soothe/ help when things feel a bit bleak. Reading of course was one of my first, and remains among my dearest comforts. If it were simply about reading, I might have gone with a poem about Anne of Greene Gables (I probably will write an Anne themed thing someday). But there is also something magical about writing too, about being the force creating the world around you. And so to convey that in aspect, I decided to play around with inspiration from one of my favorite anime/manga series, Fushigi Yuugi, where the heroine, Miaka, literally goes inside the world of a book, and her choices drive the way the story turns out. This piece is also linked up to The Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads.

Center

Heart 
of mine,
remember
your worth is more
than puerile clucks in discontented winds.

Song Choice: Shake It Off by Taylor Swift 

I was late to the party for Marian's Fussy Little Forms: Tetractys, but I thought it was such a fun form that I wanted to give it a shot for today's Tuesday Platform at the Toads.

A Little Silver

The first time I woke to your smiling face was decades ago. We started the day off saying this was only temporary, but ended the evening admitting we were very wrong. I've been lucky to have many more years of things to be wrong about.

The sunlight reveals
wrinkles concealed by stubble.
A little silver
doesn't faze me. Any time spent
loving you is a treasure.

Song Choice: Stuck Like Glue by Sugarland. I had to go with the video featuring clips from one of my and my husband's favorite cartoons, Kim Possible.

This tanka prose piece is linked to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Tuesday Platform. I wrote it especially in honor of my 23rd wedding anniversary yesterday.

Puppies and a PSA

I know this is the internet and everyone wants to see cute pet stuff, but this is as good a time as any to point out that I've updated my Privacy Policy to comply with the GDPR legislation from the EU. I created a separate page for it here to make it easy for you to find. You can also always navigate to it using the link on my sidebar if you ever want to review it.


Don't tell them they are not giants.
Every corgi knows that's a lie.
Is there any other type of dog
that serve as steeds for fairy courtiers,
or as companions to queens?

Don't tell them you know
all about stubbornness.
A river is easier to divert
than a corgi on a mission.
It doesn't matter
if it's a mission to outrun the fastest squirrel
or claim the best napping spot.

Don't talk to me
about corgi fur tumbleweeds,
sonic barks for breakfast in the morning,
operatic whines for pizza crust at dinner,
thundering paws up and down stairs,
and the jingling of tags following you
as you head towards the bathroom.

I'll take them all
over the sad stillness
of a too quiet room
in need of a spirit
with the heart of a mountain
housed in a small ball of fur.


No song this time. Just a cute video featuring corgis.


Faye

Kit

This poem was created for the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Must Love Dogs. I was the proud mom of a sweet corgi named Faye, who went over the rainbow bridge several years ago, and am currently the proud mom of a corgi named Kitsune (Kit for short). They are different from each other in a lot of ways, but there were some strong similarities I drew from to create this piece.


Sunset on the Boy from Tatootine

Everything my friends have fought for has been ground into particles finer than the sand of the desert I grew up in. It is my fault. My failure to live up to the promise others saw in me has damaged families and damned galaxies. I have renounced the sky; it was hubris to think I belonged anywhere but on the ground, extraordinary only because of the things I've broken. But if the dry husk that remains of me can be useful as kindling to create a fire others can warm their dying hopes by, I will give it up and try to be the hero children need me to be.

New hope crushed by old
resentments that did not die.
Failure defines me
only if I do not rise
one last time for tomorrow.




Song Choice: Hurt by Johnny Cash


This tanka prose poem was created by the prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: If You Meet The Hero On The Road... where we were asked to write about a hero. I chose to base this tanka prose around Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars movies. This piece will also be linked to Poets United: Poetry Pantry 404.

Gold

Weary, I stumble
again. My brokenness is
all I bring. My heart
is perfect enough you say,
finding the gold in each crack.

Song Choice: Everything by Alanis Morissette 

This poem is linked up with Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Tuesday Platform.

Trivial

You were among the first I played that particular game with. We threw out the rule book handed to us by stern faced women in black robes and sought to prove how much we knew about the world, even though the category of indoor sports and leisure was a complete mystery to us both. Arguing over claiming a crucial slice of pie became too much, and we went on to other games. Years later, we showed off cars filled with pegs, happier for having traveled on our own roads. All the rancor of the parting was left behind on the highway; afternoons spent with you made me a better driver in the end. It's for the best it was temporary, but it never was trivial.


Pressed flowers won't bloom 
again. Lovely in their time,
they are memories
sharing lessons to impart
wisdom with passage of time.

This poem was created for the prompt (created by me) at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: It's All Fun and Games The games I worked with were Trivial Pursuit and Life.

Bug


Dreadful headlines buffet the breath from my body. I recoil from their continued assault, only to be knocked over like bug on its back. The natural comfort of my carapace becomes a trap. I flail, finding no purchase in the air I flew freely through not so long ago. News marches on. I feel the whoosh as its passing feet come close to crushing me in this vulnerable position. A well timed gust of wind combined with the wriggle of my legs helps me rediscover my center. I go to my place of safety, and remember though I am small, I am also not alone. There are far more of me, buzzing, whirring and clicking in every city and town. And together we are a swarm that outnumbers them all.




Uncaring footfalls
promise my annihilation
unless I stand up.
Fear threatens to entomb me
but anger keeps me fighting.



This poem was created for the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: 13 is Poetry. It is also linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry 399. I used the following 13 words from the original quote: 

dreadful
annihilation
breath
the
comfort
natural
their
a
on
continue
anger
to
rediscover

The quote given:

“People disappear when they die. Their voice, their laughter, the warmth of their breath. Their flesh. Eventually their bones. All living memory of them ceases. This is both dreadful and natural. Yet for some there is an exception to this annihilation. For in the books they write they continue to exist. We can rediscover them. Their humor, their tone of voice, their moods. Through the written word they can anger you or make you happy. They can comfort you. They can perplex you. They can alter you. All this, even though they are dead. Like flies in amber, like corpses frozen in the ice, that which according to the laws of nature should pass away is, by the miracle of ink on paper, preserved. It is a kind of magic.” ~ Diane Setterfield

The Pride Of Mount Vernon


"Let me tell you what I wish I knew, when I was young and dreamed of glory…"

-                                                                                            Washington to Hamilton from the play Hamilton


The Pride of Mount Vernon handed me his quill.

Pride. I know too much about pride –
or maybe not enough. Would I chase glory
if I was as sure of myself as I appear?

He tells me it’s history
watching to see how I will prove myself.
All I can feel are the eyes
of those who expect me to fail.
I imagine their faces
when I prove them wrong.

I don’t have to tell him that.
He knows. Says he was the same way once.
This seasoned veteran -  
it’s hard to imagine him
as unskilled at his craft,
impatient to be better.

He is all patience now.
Analyzing maps and correspondence,
pointing out the strength of our resources,
and how to shore up what I have missed.

The Pride of Mount Vernon hands me his quill.
I follow his example,
and hammer out the rough edges,
seasoning the ink 
with everything that flows in me.

Song Choice: History Has It's Eyes On You from Hamilton




This poem is linked up to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads, Tuesday Platform. Following the prompt I was inspired by the phrase, "The Pride of Mount Vernon" from the play Hamilton (the phrase actually appears in a different song, Right Hand Man). I always loved the strong bond of friendship and mentorship between George Washington and Alexander Hamilton depicted in the play. It would have been all too easy for the elder Washington to be dismissive of young Hamilton, but he helped Hamilton hone the best part of himself, to the benefit of the country.

Genki


You’ll remember if you’ve met me. My eyes are big enough to swallow the world whole. It’ll take a lifetime to digest it all, but that doesn’t bother me. Going so slowly that a stranger can glimpse my face through a rainstorm does.

There is too much world
to walk through. Instead I dance.
I move fast only
to oppose gravity
'til I can face it my way.



Song Choice: Don't Rain On My Parade, Glee Version

This poem was created by a prompt given over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Transformations. It is also linked to Poets United, Poetry Pantry 398. I was super intrigued by the idea behind it and toyed with a bunch of different directions to go, before I gave into my nerd side and played with a popular TV trope, the Genki Girl (follow the link for a good explanation). Although I really love the energy of my song choice (and the perfection of matching that particular performance to this piece) I feel like I need to give props to the Genki Girl I had in mind while writing this, Sailor Moon.

A Drop of Jasmine


I only need a drop of jasmine to weave into the corkscrew vines of my garden. It is already dew-kissed knowing you will slip in just as night begins to lap up the sky as it explodes into stars.  


My tongue led along
constellations of freckles
reaches towards your bliss.



Song Choice: Love Reign O'er Me by The Who


This poem was created for the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Fireblossom Fridays Poetic Imagery. It is also linked to the Friday 55 at Verse Escape and Poets United Poetry Pantry #397.

False Spring

Do not trust the sun in early March. It's promises mean nothing. Winter is a lazy monarch in those days, allowing occasional warmth to creep in until she remembers herself. Be patient. In time, she shall yield to her sister seasons. Then it will be safe to grow.

False spring tempts rash seeds
afraid to miss any warm days.
It's braver to wait
under snow, gathering strength,
trusting warmer days will come.


This poem is linked to The Tuesday Platform over at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads.

Unashamed

Fate sometimes blows a seed into an inhospitable garden. The balance of sun and shade might be off, or it might be shunned as a weed in a carefully curated bed. But sympathetic eyes understand what it needs to thrive. Watch how stunted plants unashamedly flaunt their colors once they are shown some love.


Unfriendly soil chokes
leaves curious for their own
suppressed flowers. Hurt
flees at loving caresses
when blooms believe in their worth.

Song Choice:  Make Me Feel by Janelle Monae

This poem was inspired by the song/ video mentioned above and is linked to The Tuesday Platform at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads and Poetry Pantry 394 at Poets United.

Songbird

When conditioned to the silence of winter, that first sound of bird song can be surprising. Its music is a far better reminder than a date on the calendar that warmth will soon return. Even if there is snow on the ground, each trill carries a seed of spring to plant inside the hearts that hear them.

A bird intends its song
to be heard. It is a gift,
inspiring music
in an appreciative ear.
The worlds needs more songbirds.


Song choice: Party in the USA by Miley Cyrus (acapella version)

This poem is linked up to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Tuesday Platform. It is also linked to Poets United Poetry Pantry 392.