Song of an Apocalypse

The bugs’ skitter-scatter steps
are easier to track than the fidgets of my thoughts.
It’s simpler to eat them whole too.
Memories give me indigestion
and their taste lingers unpleasantly.

Never mind, I’ve been told
I’m too crazy to remember.
Except that I do
the world when I was young.

I had a theme song then
for those daily apocalypses
I was told would pass when I got older.

But an Armageddon came,
that left me to gather
the eggshell fragments of my mind.

Even imperfectly reassembled,
with cracks large enough
to let maggots dance through,
I haven’t forgotten

I wanted to be a light
for the ones that came after me.
Broken as I am,
I might be the only adult left

who remembers
that beautiful horror of youth
and wants to reassure them
this can be survived
even with a mouth full of spiders.  

Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the very last (sob!) prompt at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, Play it Again Toads. I chose Kerry Says Find Our Poetic Voice. I knew I wanted to go with one of my "nerd poems" (poetry based on something I'm a fan of), but it took a bit to decide who's voice to go with. 

In the end I decided on going with one of my newer fandoms, the Netflix series Daybreak, which is a tongue in check look at the apocalypse with an 80's John Hughes-like tone to the whole thing (Matthew Broderick as the out of touch principal is an absolute delight). The character I chose to speak through was Miss Crumble a.k.a. The Witch.

Miss Crumble before the apocalypse

Miss Crumble after the apocalypse (yep, those are maggots)
If you followed the link to the trailer, you'll see that the apocalypse killed off most of the adults or made them into flesh eating zombies. Somehow, Miss Crumble came out of it... different. I don't want to give too many spoilers, but suffice it to say I think it's good that the kids have some adult guidance and concern in their lives, even if that adult is fairly bonkers.

Song choice:

Non spoilery one - Sing Your Life by Morrissey
Somewhat spoilery (but super pretty) - Sing Your Life sung by Miss Crumble and Angelica 

Thank you Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, for being so inspiring right up until the end. I will miss you.

Something Better

It's hard not to look at the stupidity all around and not feel angry. I am no saint. Anger tore a gash in my side and settled in my stomach. But although it tries to burble up my throat when I speak, it doesn't have my mind, nor will it ever take my heart.

I have enough rage
to burn, but it won't help us.
Love's the only way
to smash a cycle of hurt
so something better can grow.

Song Choice: For What It's Worth by Buffalo Springfield

This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' prompt, Wordy Friday with Wild Woman: Staying Strong in a World of Climate Crisis.

Love by Robert Indiana

Así Soy

I am magic
down to my every bone.

Deep in every cell
I carry the imprint
of some dancing mother
ready to embrace me
in the twine of forgotten DNA.

My magic within hums
in tune to the magic around me.
My bones remember the beat
even when my mouth stumbles over the words.

This magic and I are one.
There is no wall
saying, “Here it begins”
and “There it stops.”

But you want to quantify it, own it
while at the same time looking down on it.  
Imagine that…

Consider that magic flees from disdain
and force. Stop and understand
that eyes that have decided on definitions
before they are even opened are as good as blind.

Harvest Brew by Lady Viktoria
More of her enchanting art is available at her Etsy store.
This poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads: Just One  Word - Imagine and Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose #9.

Song Choice: Así Soy (Spanish cover of This is Me from the Greatest Showman) by Calle 42

When Even the Moon Hides Its Face

Come love, let me kiss the back of your neck
or hold you while you scream.
You do not have to make any excuses to me.

Stay love. Let me hold you awhile.
Your truest dark holds no horrors for me.
I’ve been honored to sit within it with you.

Anyone can swear to love by sunlight,
but I will love you in the darkness of soul
when even the moon hides its face.

Song Choice: Groovy Kind of Love by Phil Collins

Photo by El Salanzo on Unsplash

Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads: Thirteen Poetic Bits of Kerry  Magaly asked us to choose one of Kerry's lovely poetic bits an use it as a springboard for our poetry. I chose "I will love you in the darkness of soul" from Sonnet 42 of Kerry's If I Could Go Back sonnet series. Thank you Kerry for all organizing you have done throughout the years to keep Toads running. I am happy to have been a part of this space.

The King of the Bus Stop: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 45

I thought I knew what stubborn was, but that was before we rescued Kit. Oh I knew corgis could be stubborn, thanks to my first dog, Faye. But Kit has taken corgi stubbornness and elevated to a Michelangelo level of artistry.

Nowhere is this more obvious than at around 8:30 am every morning. You see that’s the time the elementary school bus comes around our neighborhood. And Kit knows that not only is the bus stop filled with children lining up to rub his belly, he knows the bus driver always has treats on hand for any dogs that happen to be around.

This is slightly mortifying for me as my children are well past elementary school age. There is no reason to be at the stop. But if Kit just sees one child heading in that direction, he will tug on his leash until my husband or I bring him there. This dog, who is known for the most part to be a lazy fellow, will sprint if he hears the bus coming down the block. He has also been known to have an attitude if we are late getting him out and he misses the bus.

It’s gotten so bad that every time Kit sees a bus, he assumes it’s his bus and won’t budge unless its proven otherwise (the bus drives past with no one paying any attention to him and no treats getting tossed his way).

While this can be very exasperating, especially when I’m trying to get him to take care of business quickly between errands, I can’t stay annoyed for long. I remember how shy he was when we first adopted him, a few months after Faye passed away. He grew to love and trust us, and we were grateful for his cuddly derpiness after what had been a sad time in our lives. I don’t know why his previous owners gave him up, but I’m glad he’s part of our family now. A little stubbornness now and then is a very small price to pay for that.

If I stay perfectly still
maybe I'll get a cookie

This essay is linked to Poets United Pantry of Prose and Poetry

Song Choice: Whenever I see Kit waiting for a bus I often imagine the Wells Fargo Wagon song from the Music Man playing in his head.

Week Off

This last week was extra crazy because of my darling youngest's wisdom tooth surgery (well, teeth actual, all 4 wisdom teeth + one molar) and general holiday tomfoolery. I'll be doing BAwR again next week. For now I'll be sleeping off the turkey coma.


Evolution of a Chajin: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 44

Water touches tea
releasing its sweet fragrance.
Today I receive
instead of serve. I find joy
in others’ first tastes of art.

This poem is linked to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose

Liner Notes For This Groove: I remember when I first started tea lessons. There were so many terms to learn, so many small details of movement and positioning to keep straight. I may have responded in Spanish a few times when I was supposed to answer in Japanese. I may have mangled my Japanese so I told my guests to finish cleaning up for me. But the older more experienced students were there to give me tips on how to remember things, tricks for polishing my techniques, and just be generally helpful.

So recently I had a lesson where I was the most senior student. I did advance clean up to make the lessons flow more smoothly, just the way I remember some of the older students did for me. I lent out some of my tea things so the newer students could practice with them.

Now I’ve been studying long enough to know I’ve made decent progress in my personal practice. But being able to help really made me feel like I was part of the tea school in a way I hadn’t experienced before. I was part of the process of helping others learn, and that felt really cool. Sen Rikyu (the founder of the Urasenke Tea School) wrote many famous poems regarding the art of tea. In his 98th poem he wrote, “Mastery in chanoyu is a matter of empathy, versatility, and experience. When these three are present and in balance, the person is capable of true understanding. I make no claims to mastery but I’m happy in knowing I’ve made enough advances in all three to feel a new sense of place in a larger tradition.

Yummy tea treats. One of the new students was helpful
in finding the best angle to take the picture.

So dear Groovers, what traditions are close to your heart? Talk to me about them in the comments section and do drop a link to your cyberhome if you want to take the conversation to a deeper place.

Sportsball Wizard: Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 43

quick blink—
              and I’m the smallest one
              on an enormous field,   
              praying to the wind
              to keep that ball away
              while trying not to notice
              pitying looks
  and disdainful laughter.

quick blink—
              I’m still the smallest one
              but now I’m the wind
              heading for that ball
              grinning while friendly 
              cheers accompany me
              straight into the goal.

This poem was created in response to the prompt at Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads: Time Travel -Flashbacks with Bjorn.

Liner Notes for this Groove: As I've mentioned before on this blog, I've become a big fan of playing sportsball (i.e. team sports activities) at my work place. What might be even more surprising to me is (that as long as I remember to diligently warm up) I've become not a half bad player. I'm actually pretty decent to the point people want me on their team. I even earned myself a nickname, "the Wizard" (I always work out in nerd themed gym clothes, including Harry Potter ones).

If Tee Turtle ever carries this t-shirt design back in stock again
I am sooooo getting one. Because reasons.

 My company is moving locations in the near future, so that means there will likely be an interruption to my sportsball time as things settle down. I'll still exercise at home, but it won't be the same. I'm going to miss my sportsball. This reminds a little of a quote by Anne Lamott, who said that figuring the act of writing was its own reward, was "like discovering that while you thought you needed the tea ceremony for the caffeine, what you really needed was the tea ceremony." I went along with sportsball, because it was just a form of exercise. But since then, I've discovered I really need the game itself.

Speaking of moving, I'm moving my main posting day. Starting  Nov 24th, I'll be doing Blogging Around with Rommy on Sundays. Thanks for sticking with me through all the shifting around. So what has you moving these days, Groovers? Talk to me about it in the comments and drop a link to your cyberhome if you feel moved to continue the conversation there.

Song Choice: Do I hear La Copa De La Vida by Ricky Martin in my head sometimes when I'm running on the field? Yep. When I score critical or game winning goals might I hear Pinball Wizard in my head, replacing "pinball" with "sportsball"? Perhaps. 😂

Sky Full of Amethysts: Blogging Around With Rommy Week 42

I came through,
under the crust of possibility filled earth,
not quite right
for what I was expected to be.

I’ve had eons to learn
to fake a laugh
and joke loud enough
to distract from my flawed shaping.

I was told I was fated to lose 
because I'm a dull excuse for an amethyst.
I was secretly afraid
that was the reason I was left behind the others
without a chance to know the homeworld.

It’s true.  There’s a lot I don’t know.
But I’m burnished bright by my strange
and when the dross falls away, I see

I’m just as real an amethyst
as any of the others in this sky.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, Just One Word: Burnish. It is also linked to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose.

So this soon after Nerdtino (a Latinx nerd convention), I had to go with something super nerdy. This piece is about one of my favorite characters in the cartoon Steven Universe, Amethyst. Though Amethyst hatched on earth, she’s part of an alien species known as Gems. There are several other Gems on earth, but she is the only Amethyst. This piece was meant to take place just as she was meeting other Amethysts for the first time. She was very nervous about it, but according to the official podcast of the series, meeting and getting to know other Amethysts (whom she now collectively refers to as "the Famethyst") “has allowed Amethyst to define herself with more clarity, leading her flexibility to become a choice rather than a reaction.”

There are so many great moments in this show
but Amethyst meeting the other Amethysts is one of my favorites.

Speaking of Nerdtino, I had an amazing time there. It was the first time I had ever been to that convention, and the first time I vended anywhere. I was so nervous, I forgot to have tea before I drove over. Fortunately, nerves work up a fair bit of adrenaline in the system. That and the really great atmosphere provided by getting together with other creative folks who are passionate about their art kept my energy high the whole day. Despite having trouble with my card reader for my cell phone, I sold out of all twenty-five of the books I brought with me.

Yes, I crashed as soon as I got home, settling myself on the couch the rest of the night and a-better-late-than-never cup of green tea. As Khaled Hosseini wrote in A Thousand Splendid Suns, “it's better to be deprived of food for three days than tea for one.” But I am so happy I went even if I did have my first cup of tea at 7 p.m.

So let me hear from you dear Groovers…have you done anything that made you a little nervous at first, but ended up being pretty freaking wonderful? Talk to me about it in the comments section and as always, if you want to take the conversation up on your page drop a link to your cyberhome in the notes.

Song Choices: DJ Awesomus Prime kept the convention dancing to so many great songs that day, but I have to go with the two that really got me and the people around me moving. Suavemente by Elvis Crespo and Make My Story by Lenny Code Fiction (the second theme for season three of My Hero Academia).

Hunger Pains

There was no questionhis mews were less robust than his brothers’ and sisters’ from the moment he was born. And now they had gotten even fainter. None of the litter had opened their eyes yet but Mayra knew that one would not get the chance, even if she didn't intervene. She looked down at the pitifully undersized creature.

 A patched tabby strutted into the alley where Mayra and her brood lay. Lyla gave her a contemptuous look as she got closer.

“You haven’t done away with it yet?” Lyla scoffed.

Mayra didn’t look up. She continued to look at the small kitten, wishing things had been different, wishing he was as strong as the others.

Small white paws…dark fur…white patch on the throat…dark nose…Mayra tried to fix in her mind every detail about him she could.

“Oh move out of the way. I’ll do it if you won’t. It’s a shame to waste food, even if he won’t make much of a meal.”

Mayra hissed at Lyla. “I’ll do it.”

I don’t know if I can care for the others, or myself for that matter, Mayra thought. She had a hard time finding much to eat lately, even with Helia’s help, and worried if she could make enough milk for all the kittens. She had hoped for a miracle. Sometimes she’d daydream about one of the two-leggeds taking her and her children into a warm home. But she had found nothing more comforting from them than glass bottles thrown her way.

There was going to be no miracle. Nothing would help the small one now. She knew that this would give her food she desperately needed and buy the rest of her children just a bit more time. But her heart still ached. It would be crueler to let him linger like this.

Mayra opened her mouth and in a few seconds it was done.

“There now. It wasn’t that hard. You first time brood carriers, always so dramatic. You actually have tears right now! I’ve eaten at least 4 of my own kittens and it never bothered me once. They were actually quite tasty. If it wasn’t such a strain to bear the little beasts, I might have another litter, just for the chance to taste one again.”

Mayra hissed and spat again. Lyla raised her paw to strike.

“All right over there, Mayra?”

A scarred pit bull loped over to the two cats. She barred her teeth at Lyla. “You wouldn’t be thinking of hurting a new mother, would you, Lyla?”

Lyla turned tail and fled. Helia gave a snort in her direction. “I never did like Lyla all that much. She bothers you again, I won’t feel bad about taking a nice big bite out of her backside. Oh, I almost forgot. I got something for you.” Helia ran to the front of the alley and came back again, bearing a large mouse. She wagged her tail excitedly, dropping it at Mayra’s paws. “This is nothing. There’s a whole warehouse full of ‘em. When you and your babies can move, I’ll take you to it. The two-leggeds would probably love having some good mousers. Maybe they’ll need a guard dog too. I already had plenty. This one is for you.”

Mayra ate, grateful for the extra food. She tried not to think that this was the first time her belly felt full in a while. “Thank you Helia. I don’t know why you’re so kind to me.”

“Already told you. You look like the cat from the place I was before. She was the only good thing about that place and the only reason I made it out.” Helia noticed there was one less kitten curling up to Mayra to nurse. She licked the cat tenderly, deciding not to bring it up unless Mayra did. “It’s been a busy day. I don’t know about you, but I could use a bit of rest.” Helia placed herself in front of Mayra, and lay down.

Mayra picked her head up drowsily. There was something in the sound of the wind that woke her. She sniffed the air. Beside her, several kittens shifted restlessly in their sleep, squirming more closely against each other. A faint whine came from Helia, but she still slept. Blinking, she looked more closely at the shadows near a stack of slowly rotting cardboard boxes. 

Mayra never had trouble distinguishing objects in shadow before, but instead of the broken glass, mildewed rags and other assorted city trash she was used to seeing, all she could make out was an inky haze pooling around the boxes. As she watched, all of the shadows seemed to take on the same velvety darkness. Mayra shook her head as if that might clear her vision, but the shadows started to congeal into shapes with no relation to their surroundings. 

A legion of small, fragile figures could be made out, some of which occasionally shifted back to the formlessness of the larger shadow before coalescing into a tiny feline form again.

“Mama” came a tiny mew and dozens of equally high pitched mews of “Mama” followed after.

Mayra hung her head, “I am sorry, little one. You should have been born to a mother on a comfortable farm somewhere, with kind, big two-leggeds to bottle-feed you and kind, small two-leggeds to adore you. I am sorry I wasn't enough to save you.”

“We know,” answered dozens of tiny mews. “You cried Mama. Only Mamas cry. Not everyone cries for us.” The words repeated again and again like ripples across a pond.

Mayra blinked, “We? Us? There was only one kitten I…” She turned to look at the rest of her babies. They were all still there, still asleep and moving fitfully. “Who are you?”

“Ones who could not survive. Lost and found ones. We have each other. But we still need a Mama.”


“Feed us Mama. We are so hungry. Please feed us.” The small echoing mews filled the alley.

“I don’t know how. I wish I did. You’d still be alive if I knew how.”

“Feed us Mama! Feed us!” came the insistent mews, rising ever higher in pitch and volume. “We’re so hungry!”

“I don’t know how!” Mayra screamed.

“Whoa, Mayra. Hun, you alright?” Mayra felt a large wet tongue on her side. She opened her eyes and saw Helia’s worried face. One of her kittens started to mew and she flinched. It was a perfectly normal and healthy mew of a hungry kitten. She trembled and gave it a tentative lick. The kitten was warm and solid. Mayra moved to start to nurse her and the others started to move closer.

She looked at Helia. “Just a nightmare. I guess I knew the little ones needed to eat now.”

When Mayra was finished nursing her children Helia got up to leave. “I’ll be right back. I’m just going to go to warehouse and get us some food. It’s going to be all right Mayra. Just a couple of days and we’ll all go together.”

Not too long after Helia left, Lyla came into the alley, followed by two cats Mayra didn’t know. “I know Helia’s gone. She won’t be back for a while.”

The fur bristled on Mayra’ back. “What do you want Lyla?”


The three cats started towards Mayra. She hissed at them. All I need to do is hold out until Helia comes back, she thought. I can do that.

But even if she had been well-fed and not weak from giving birth three days ago, Mayra was small and young. The two cats with Lyla were strong and well used to scuffling with bigger opponents. After the first few blows, Mayra was dizzy. The world started blur in front of her. As she fell, she could hear the kittens crying behind her.

I can’t feed you, she thought. And as soon as I’m gone they will eat you.

“We’re hungry Mama,” came dozens of little mews.

“Little ones, I wish you could eat them,” she whispered.

Immediately the shadows from the alley gathered and a sea of small, indistinct shadows crashed over Lyla and her friends. Myra heard their pained yowls but couldn’t see anything besides the forms in shadows pouncing over and over again. Eventually the yowls stopped and even the mass of shadows stopped moving. One small figure came away from the larger body of shadows, and dropped a bit of meat in front of Mayra.

“For you Mama.”

“Thank you sweetheart,” Mayra answered. 

Photo by Ricardo Tamayo on Unsplash

Song Choice: Baby Mine from the movie Dumbo

Liner Notes for this Groove: This is a slightly updated version of a story I wrote awhile ago. It just felt right bringing it out again this time of year. It also feels cool revisiting some of my older work after the amazing time I had at the Nerdtino Expo. (More about that later, I promise!)

Autumn's Breath: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 41

Autumn Breath
Jason Limberg
Used with Permission

Autumn’s breath should be crisper
than the first bite of an apple.

It should carry the musk
hidden in the heart of leaf piles.

It should whip past you
with the snap of a newly bared branch.

But when it is smothered too long
in a zombie summer’s dregs,

even the animals’ whispers will carry
across the sullen air.

This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' Art Flash prompt. It is also linked to Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose.

Liner Notes for This Groove: I can remember being disappointed by freezing Halloweens in my youth - ones so cold that you had to wear a big jacket and no one could tell what you were dressed as. As much of a bummer as those were, I have to say that this recent one's unseasonable warmth bothered me more. I was able to run around in a short sleeve dress without needing a light sweater. I did however have a cup of tea with me as I was giving out the candy. As Thea Devine wrote, "Tea was the great leveler. It brought calm, quiet, contentment, warmth. And it was something to do." At least I could depend on my evening cuppa to be exactly what I expected.

Song Choice: Fall on Me by R.E.M.

Moon Maiden, Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 40

Moon by Alphonse Mucha

You call me inconsistent
when my patterns are obvious
to those who bother to observe.

There is nothing irregular
in my nighttime roving.
My feet quicken and slow
with my waxing and waning.

For this you dismiss me
and say my nature keeps me from understanding
what you have deemed important.

Perhaps you are right.
I have no wish to understand
a mind so closed.

Why would I be interested
in your idea of acceptable
with the stars' kisses
still fresh on my skin?

This poem is linked to Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads: Take A Chance and Step into the Mythical World. It is also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry 498.

People are not taught to be really virtuous, but to behave properly. 
Kakuzō Okakura, The Book of Tea

Liner Notes For This Groove: Sometimes peoples' ignorance enrages me and sometimes it makes me laugh. I had overheard part of a conversation where one older gent declared to younger one that women were destined to be unable to understand higher levels of virtue because of their gender. 

I've been trying to keep a promise I made to myself to stay out of fruitless arguments. And the expression on his conversational partner's face told me that there was a good chance that choice morsel of dung was not going to go unaddressed. I let it be. Attitudes like that are going the way of the dinosaur (good riddance). I see the younger generations gleefully challenging old ideas. I chose to focus on the hope I feel when I hear young people speaking up rather than despair about the remaining pockets of fossilized ignorance, at least on that day. 

So dear Groovers, what lights up your nights with hope? Let's talk about it down in the comments section. As always, drop a link to your cyberhome if you'd like to continue the chat there.

Song Choice: Bad Reputation by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts

The Best Worst Thing: Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 39

When my high school sweetheart told me he wanted to break up with me "to date more classically beautiful women" it came as something of a blow. Yeah, even after people told me that high school relationships don't last, and that goes double for ones that turn into long distance things when people go off to college. What can I say? I was kind of clueless when I was young. There were warning signs things weren't rock solid between us, but it took that pronouncement to make things 100% clear it was over.

Of course I cried. I raged. My grades wobbled (the death blow arrived right before finals). Meals came and went untouched. Then one day I took a deep breath and looked at the new reality I found myself in. I didn't have to run back home every weekend anymore. I could be part of college life on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. I started to realize there was a whole side of myself I never let myself explore, because I had made some pretty big assumptions about what I thought my life was going to be like. 

I took art classes. I liked them enough to decide to minor in them. I started learning about religious traditions other than the one I was born into. I kept exploring them for years afterwards until I could admit to myself my path was more something to be sought by starlight than from a church pew. I started talking to the guy who lived one floor below me in the dorms. He was funny, sweet, and always had a mug of coffee ready for me. Dear reader, I married him. Today we're celebrating the birthday of our oldest child and we'll be married 25 years next May.

That I ever hoped that I could patch things up with my ex seems hysterical now. The other thing that's funny--he's the one who wanted to be a writer back then. Yeah, sometimes your world ends, but that can end up being the best worst thing that can happen.

Song Choice: So Much Better from the musical Legally Blonde

This article was created for Poets United's Moonlight Musings. So dear Groovers, care to talk about some of your best worst things? Let's chat about in the comments section!

Our Own Hallelujah: Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 38

Photo by Diego Morales on Unsplash

It starts at the core of us,
in that layer resistant
to all attempts of taming.

It’s in the way we sway
in that roll of hip and tongue
in that part that rejects respectable
straight jackets that flatten us to one dimension.

Our authenticity is dynamite
ready to blow up outdated definitions.

We sing our whole and holy words
punctuated by hallelujahs
for all of our possibilities.

This poem is linked to Poets United’s Wild Friday and Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads: Just One Word—Dynamite

Liner Notes for this Groove: I’ve read a lot of poetry collections that have moved me. But when I picked up the Poet X by ElizabethAcevedo it was like finding a long-lost family member. All I needed was a can of Inca Cola and a plate of lomo saltado nearby to take me completely back to my childhood. Ms. Acevedo finds so many of the words I felt but couldn’t say as a kid. I have to say I felt a little Molly Grue when I finished it (where was this book when I was young and hungry for something like this?), but I am truly happy to have encountered it at any age.

These Things of Fall

October is my best month, Miki reminded herself, trying to forget the ways that fall was the worst. Her heart thudded as she crossed the graveyard with slow, measured steps that kept pace with the rhyme she repeated whenever she was nervous.

These things of fall make me feel tall
Apples, pumpkins – I love them all
These things of fall make me feel tall
Hot tea, bonfires –I love them all

“How many fall things have you added to that rhyme?” asked Mrs. Donahue as she got up from her morning chore of shaking her head at the condition of the floral arrangements on the graves.

Miki let out a deep breath at the sound of her voice and relaxed her grip on her backpack’s straps. “31 so far.”

“Reverse 13. That’s quite lucky.”

“I know,” Miki beamed.

Mrs. Donahue looked at the position of the sun and looked back at Miki. “You may be pushing your luck if you don’t quicken your pace. Won’t you be late?”

Miki retightened her grip. “I’ve worked out the timing. Even if I’m late it won’t be by much.”

“Not by much is usually too much for principals, unless things have changed since my day. You wouldn’t be trying to come in late enough times to get your privileges revoked, especially ones that involve public speaking?”

“I didn’t ask for it! I just wanted to submit a piece to the school’s lit magazine. If I knew I’d be reading it in front of the school I wouldn’t have done it. It’s going to be a disaster.” Miki pictured the mixture of bored looks and sneers in the school auditorium as she read.

“What if it isn’t?”

“I have 16 years of experience that say otherwise.”

“Maybe. But that’s not much when there’s a lot of life ahead of you. Would it help to have some friendly faces there?” Mrs. Donahue motioned behind her.

“It would,” Miki said.   

“Done. Hurry along now. And do tell that groundskeeper to weed this end of the graveyard.”

“Of course.”

Mrs. Donahue faded back into her grave.

Miki left, continuing to sing.

These things of fall make me feel tall
Odd friends who believe in me—I love you all

Art by Sunshine Shelle from her 29 Faces Series in Feb 2015
Follow her on Instagram for more of her delightful art.

Song Choice: Get By With A Little Help From My Friends covered by Peace Conspiracy and Meja 

This flash fiction piece was created for Poets United's Pantry of Poetry and Prose: In October...

At Home in the Dark: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 37

Dear daylight blushes
at night’s dark revels. I see
truer by moonlight
where there are no barriers
and the masks are dropped away.

Commissioned Piece (Untitled)
by Mc Monster 
Used with permission
This piece was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toad's Art Flash prompt.

Liner Notes for this Groove: While I’m partial to warmer weather, I’m someone who finds the beauty in every season. Fall has its way of thrilling me, especially in October as we get closer to Halloween. It’s nice when my oddness feels fairly normal as people start to get in the spirit of the season.

My inner introvert agrees with the sentiment voiced by Alan Clark, “There are few nicer things than sitting up in bed, drinking strong tea, and reading”. The colder weather does lend itself to that. This darker time of the year usually has me becoming more introspective as well. I often find I get a little more creative as a result. I’m not sure what weird notions will sprout from my head as I stare into the dark, but I am planning on being quite ruthless about safeguarding my time to create.

Are you feeling the shift of seasons where you are Groovers? What’s your favorite thing about the time of year you currently find yourself in. Talk to me about it in the comments or feel free to drop a link to take the conversation deeper into your cyber home.

Song Choice: This is Halloween covered by Marilyn Manson

My Own Legacy

Tell me, why did you make me from half hate?
You could not have made your disgust clearer.
I was wanted only as your mirror,
so long as I reflect what makes you great—
a legacy I don’t appreciate.
Though others exclaim at my raw power,
I shut that side away, spurned that “our”
to define “me” and shun ideas of fate.

But isn’t that “our” already “mine”
when I wield it with a strong will to serve
humanity, not just my own ego?
Parts of me I thought were you can align
with my scarred self to be a true hero
and at last find the wholeness I deserve.

Song Choice: Numb by Linkin Park

Shoto Todoroki

Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for my prompt at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads where I encouraged everyone to get out of their comfort zone and try something new, either in style or theme.

Soooo...I probably should have realized earlier on, that meant me too. 😂

I racked my brain to come up with something and made a face when it hit me. As I'm not super comfortable working with rhymes and meter, never had I ever attempted a sonnet before. So I looked it up, and decided on a petrachan sonnet with CDECED form for the last part.

This was pretty tough! But I did make things easier for myself picking a subject I was comfortable with--anime, specifically, My Hero Academia. For those unfamiliar with it, it's a series about a bunch of kids with super powers in an elite high school learning how to become heroes. Shoto Todoroki, isn't the main character of the series, but he's an engaging side character. The son of the number two hero, Endeavor, he's easily one of the most powerful kids in his class. But he relies mostly on the powers he's inherited from his mother (ice) because his fire-flinging father is a cruel jerk, more invested in his image as a powerful hero than in any actual ideals of heroism.

Maladroit: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 36

Sunlight's surprising
to green that's only known shade.
New growth is awkward
until gawky stems find strength
inside their curious selves.

This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Weekend Mini-Challenge: Maladroit. 

Liner Notes for this Groove:  One of the realizations I made after BookCon was I could be doing something more to promote my book, The Trouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales. Besides the fact that talking myself up feels about as pleasant as a sandpaper massage, there’s another barrier—I’m a survivor of an MLM

I don’t want to go into which MLM it was, but direct sales make me feel as cheesy as a car salesmanI worry I’ll sound like thisBut the good news is I’m not operating as part of a company with dubious business ethics. As awkward as I feel about selling, I have a little more faith in what I have to offer this time around. I’ve not only gotten some really positive comments about the book, I've already had several requests for autographed copies, one from as far away as Finland. (Thanks Khaya!) 

So after imbibing a steadying cup of tea (because as Cassandra Clare said in City of Bones, "Tea. I find that both settles the stomach and concentrates the mind. Wonderful drink, tea.") I've decided a couple of things. First, I've signed up to vend at a Nerdtino, a Latinx themed comic book and geek convention on November 2nd. Second, I'll be offering autographed copies directly for sale from this site. Use the Contact Me section on the side or write to me at kestrel dot trueseeker @ gmail dot com 

Both of these things are new and somewhat unsettling for me, but you've got to get through some awkwardness to get some growth.

Photo by Alexandra Gorn on Unsplash

So dear Groovers, can recall any times you've gotten out of your comfort zone and it ended up being a good thing? Share your story (and boost my spirits a little) by telling me about it in the comments section. As always, if you want to continue the conversation at your cyberhome, feel free to include a link as well. 

Song Choice: Lose Yourself by Eminem