Saved By Found Words: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 23


This weekend I was lucky enough to attend a local Pride festival. It was a smallish one, but still very lively. Of course, even a small Pride Festival attracts a certain type of pest.

No, he’s not the pest. He’s awesome
You know the type. The knowledge that someone, somewhere is living a perfectly happy life (that has nothing to do with their lives) drives them insane. So they are compelled to grab a microphone and start babbling about Certain Doom. Somehow they always work in the word “love” but their idea of it sounds about as appealing as Goblin Tea.

“Goblin tea resembles a nice cup of Earl Grey in much the same way that a catfish resembles the common tabby. They share a name, but one is a nice thing to curl up with on a rainy afternoon, and the other is found in the muck at the bottom of polluted rivers and has bits of debris sticking to it.”
― T. Kingfisher

Seriously, their version of love seemed pretty toxic and emotionally abusive to me. It also sounded quite annoying as they were rather loud at times. The friendly Bee Guy had things well in hand, leading the crowd in cheers, keeping things light and funny, and occasionally doing a little preaching on his own about a far healthier sounding idea of love. However in the middle of the hullabaloo, one of the pests managed to press a tract into my hand. When I realized what it was, I was disgusted. Then I asked myself, what would the Bee Guy do? The result is my latest bit of found poetry.


Love who you are.
No ancient abomination
can obligate sin into hearts
rejoicing in identity.

Discern and learn…
ALL consensual love is allowed.

So they really did manage to save me…save me some trouble in finding words for this week’s poem and Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads' Tuesday Platform

Did you do anything fun last week Groovers? Talk to me about it in the comments. As always, if you want to continue the convo on your blog, drop your link in there too.

Song Choice: I wanted to pick a less well known LGBTQ+ anthem. Closer by Tegan and Sarah really captures the upbeat feel of the day, plus it’s a super cute video featuring all sorts of couples being adorable. Dare you not to dance.

Un-Remembering Banished


I know the angle of the roof
though it’s hidden by the blossoms.
I know the feel of the blossoms
though none have fallen on my sleeve yet.
I know the way the wood will creek under my feet
though I haven’t stepped inside yet.

It is curious
how  I’ve forgotten less than I thought,
even after trying to stop thinking
of a place that was no longer mine
to call home.

In some ways it hurts more
to see what isn’t mine to claim,
ready to welcome others who stop
to seek sanctuary under these trees
that are every inch as much as an expatriate as I am.

Is there space
under the weeping cherry blossom tree
where I can close my eyes
and find out if it smells like home too?


View of Shofuso by Matthew Meyer from his Views of Philadelphia Series
Matthew also runs Yokai.com, one of the best resources of Japanese mythological critter lore that exists out there.

Song Choice: Once Upon a December from Anastasia

This poem was created for Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' prompt, Kerry Says ~ Human-Landscape Interactions. It is also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry 484.

Liner Notes for this Groove: I hope Kerry will be kind enough to forgive me, but I bent the rules a tiny bit. The voice in this poem does not belong to a human, it belongs to a yokai (a blanket term for mythological Japanese creatures that have a lot in common with the tricksie ways of old school Western faerie creatures). The yokai in question is Yuuki, a kitsune (Japanese fox spirit) who has several short stories starring him on this blog, and one in my collection, The Trouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales.

I've long been enchanted by Matthew Meyer's Ukiyo-e style Views of Philadelphia, and thought of them immediately when I read Kerry's challenge. Of course, the one of my beloved Shofuso (this is where I take most of my tea lessons) grabbed my eye. I know what I think of Shofuso, but I wanted to explore it from Yuuki's view in poetic form. I suspect I'll be tackling it in prose form too, and he will exchange words with a certain faerie who has been the guardian of this area since her cousin, the Faerie Queen of Philadelphia, granted it to her not too long after the American Revolution. But that summer solstice meeting will have to wait for another time.

Air and Fire's Girl: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 22

Air’s girl dances fast,
fire waltzing to a song
she knows in her heart.
Flame and wind will always be
hers, even when she stands still.


This post is linked with Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads' Tuesday Platform.



Liner Notes for this Groove: If I may be permitted to get a little woo…I am one of the airiest earth signs known to humankind. According to western astrology, although my sun was chilling in Taurus on my birthday, a butt load of my planets were hanging around in signs that are associated with the element of air (and I have a couple of things dancing around in fire too). Someone who is an expert on such matters told me that when they first met me, they thought I was a Gemini—until they heard me wax poetic over tea (then I outted myself with my Taurean tendencies).

Whether you place any stock in such matters or not, this much is clear—I have a tendency to want to do things fast. That’s not always such a terrible thing (I’m going to be delighted about that time I got the winning goal in sportsball forever), but in tea ceremony…yeah, it’s not really encouraged, no matter how well you know the moves.

I mean, you could. It just probably won't be right.

Funnily enough I found the answer back in air…in my breath that is. On my teacher’s suggestion I started pacing my movements to flow in synchrony with my breath, so each movement took on a rhythm that was fully mine. Not only that, it was a way for my personal style (LOL, my inner fire for my love of tea) to come through and be seen so much more clearly by guests.

In The Book of Tea Kakuzo Okakura wrote “Teaism is a cult founded on the adoration of the beautiful among the sordid facts of everyday existence…It is essentially a worship of the Imperfect, as it is a tender attempt to accomplish something possible in this impossible thing we know as life.” I am rather imperfect at being an earth sign, but in my practice of tea I can honor my inner air with my breath and my inner fire with my passion for the art form. My earthy self can take plenty of joy at eating the tea sweets, while my watery side delights in simply drinking the tea.

So dear Groovers, what to you is worth slowing down for? Or what's new with you this week? Let's talk about it, and as always, if you'd like to continue the conversation on your cyberhome, include the web address in the comments. 

A Witch Whispers to a Young Handmaid with a Tale


Dear Not-So-Little-Red, whose dreams are not quite dead (I know because you had enough curiosity to peek at a hawk-sent missive),

I went to bed to dream of better days than my own. I saw you instead, with my crone’s foresight, saw almost won battles still being fought, saw the men who felt entitled to squeeze hearts hard until they pumped in discordant measures, saw it all being done with the excuses that seem ancient even to my aged ears. “This is done in the name of goodness,” they shouted over the whimpers of the impious.

Dear Not-So-Little-Red, for a moment I despaired too. All my proud insurrections, what good were they? I freed my little Lucky from a father who was willing to sacrifice flesh on the altar of respectability. I kept a dozen others from a similar fate, grew them to be true and honor their strength. I knew I might not live to see an era where covetous old men no longer cowed the stupid to keep their power or collected on fear of words they used to condemn those who, like me, dare deviate from their rules. But I had hoped for better for my children.

Dear Not-So-Little-Red (I refuse to call you by a name impaled upon your orifices. I could search for your true name every month to infinity, but you must name yourself in the end. All I can do is remind you that you are more than an appetizer for wolves). I saw you freeze like a hare, when hailstorms of indignities pelted you. They claimed your birth as a less-favored gender was reason for you to bear anything they demanded.

Dear Not-So-Little-Red, believe this old woman, whose womb did not prevent her from becoming the mother she wanted to be—you have a weapon you can use. No, it will not be like what I would choose. We all must fight according to our nature, and you Dear Not-So-Little-Red have a far more tender heart than mine. The path of nightshade and toadstool is not for you.

But you do have the power to birth children that will thwart their plans. It’s in your voice, which you can choose to raise as you’d like. I’ll promise you what I promised the farmer. Your progeny, the tales you can tell, will grow hearty with your pain and anger, get stronger with each telling, until they can raze every building filled with presumptuous old men.

You are free now, Not-So-Little-Red. Do what you’d like. You can pretend you are as powerless as an ant. You can walk away. Or you can sow your words in all the fertile soil that will bear fruit past even the time I can dream of. Set them down so others will know. And even in that time, so far past yours and my own, even if they don’t remember you, they will have the luxury of debate in a world that has no conditions on what it means to be human.

The choice is yours.

All my love,
Rowena


*sigh* What she said.

Song Choice: Quiet by MILCK

Liner Notes for This Groove: I hadn’t planned on doing a post on Thursday, but Sherry’s prompt for the Toads, Being A Woman in Times Like These, proved too irresistible for words, especially when I stopped to consider how a character in my book, TheTrouble with Wanting and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales (Rowena from What’s a Little Blood to a Mother’s Heart), might respond to the events in A Handmaid’s Tale. I can’t imagine she wouldn’t have definite opinions about that or the on-going battle to simply declare women as equal to men (yeah Rowena, I’m not thrilled that the ERA hasn’t passed yet either). I imagined this letter as something Rowena might send by magic via her favorite hawk to Offred during the interlude where Offred was freed by the Mayday resistance and before she recorded the tapes.

I have also linked this piece to Poets United's Poetry Pantry 483

Burst

Beautiful book, bursting that magnificent question!
Flabby groupings slinking muscular world
fit this life, undulating those plump words.

Girl Story by Sunshine Shelle



Song Choice: The Knowledge by Janet Jackson

Liner Notes for This Groove: Clearly my will-power was low again this week, because I couldn't resist Magaly's prompt at Imaginary Words with Real Toads: Exquisite Corpse Poetry. Working with random words was fun, but it was trickier than it looks!

Taming of the Food Satan: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 21


Bounty equals bane
when it weakens strong resolve.
Love adjusts its course.

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



Liner Notes For This Groove: While I can’t say I’m in bad physical shape, I’ve been trying hard to get better. I’m becoming a champ at sportsball (scored the winning goal last week). I’m also stronger enough in general that I noticed I’m a lot smoother getting up and down from full seiza position in a kimono. But as everyone knows, no health regimen is complete without taking food into consideration.

That’s where things get tricky. My dear, sweet, loving husband has a dark side. Our friends have given him a nickname to describe it—Food Satan. This man knows what tempts you. He can find a gourmet shop in the wilderness (no really, once on a vacation in Maine, in a cabin on an island where you can go days without seeing anyone who isn’t in the cabin with you, he found a store specializing in fancy food and brought a ton of it back with him). People like putting him in charge of bringing food because not only can he find the tastiest prepared treats, he’s also a pretty amazing cook.

My husband is also one of those people who shows love through food. And if you haven’t guessed by reading some of my poetry, we still really dig each other. So for much of my marriage I’ve been showered in impromptu treats of fancy chocolates, beautifully prepared steaks, assorted rich desserts, and matcha lattes. There have been times, when like Jane Austen I'd declare, “But indeed I would rather have nothing but tea.” And he'd return with teaand a caramel-chocolate-nut-carbohydrate bomb that equals half the caloric requirement a woman my size needs for the day.
 
I know this was a goofy meme, but I'd seriously hang this up as a print in my house.

Changes needed to be made.

It is still a work in progress. I’ve had to remind him occasionally that while I love his thoughtfulness, maybe when it comes to food it’s best not to “surprise” me. But this last Sunday when he went out in search for a cup of coffee from one of his favorite shops he asked me if I wanted a latte first. I told him I had already planned to whip up a lower calorie, homemade version with one of my favorite teas as a treat. And all he brought home that day for me was a kiss.

But he the next day he came home with a ton of turkey bacon and lamb steaks. Yeah, baby steps…baby steps.


Muddy


I dream of getting good and muddy
sometimes. When I reach the end of a spreadsheet,
I wonder when was the last time
I let my bare toes squelch around in mud.

I know I did regularly
when I could use the excuse
of having young children, too squirmy
for any tidy activities. A little muddy
play always left them satisfied
and ready to nap afterwards.

I've gotten muddy with guests,
charmed by the sights of my county,
who wanted to feel that famous red clay for themselves.

I’m getting to that glorious age
where I don’t need to find excuses.
Peculiar old women don’t apologize
for a beloved clash of colors or
filling up all of the spaces they fancy.

There’s some fresh tomatoes in the house.
There’s good mozzarella in the fridge.
I have enough to make a sandwich
to take to the creek on my lunch break
so I can play a little in the mud.




Song Choice: Mud on the Tires by Brad Paisley

This poem was created for the prompt at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads: Just One Word - Muddy It's also linked to Poets United's Poetry Pantry 482.

Izzy Lives! Blogging Around with Rommy Week 20

I dulled my true spark
until I found the right flames
to dance my truth in.




Liner Notes for this Groove:
I am finally back at home after visiting Ms. Wicked herself, Magaly Guerrero in NYC for a long weekend of general shenanigans, including a visit to BookCon.



There shall be cackling! And tostones! 


It is perhaps fitting that the author who pretty much lit the fuse to my life-long love of reading, Mr. C.S. Lewis, once said, “You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” My love for tea is only exceeded by my lust for books. Magaly, her Piano man, and I roved through the con like pirates eager to drag home their weight in books and other assorted booty.

One of the best things about BookCon is bumping into kindred spirits.


No, not these guys, but I couldn't pass up this fun photo op at the Nos4a2 display.

It happened over by The Strand’s booth (the biggest book shop in NYC). I was running over to the pins to help Magaly in her quest for awesome shirt d├ęcor when I bumped into a young lady who had come to the con on her own. She was a huge Leigh Bardugo fan, and when she found out there would be copies of her newest book available here before it’d be available anywhere else, she knew she had to get to BookCon. She told Magaly and I about how she saved her money, pleaded with her mom not just to let her come, but to drop her off at Staten Island (which is still a fair distance away from the Javits Center), so she could make her way here to get her treasure.

This isn’t all that unusual for a lot of self-described geeks. (I drew on a pretty similar sentiment when I created the character of Izzy, the hard core book nerd from the short story “Just Perfect” in my collection, The Trouble with Wanting, and Other Not-Quite Faerie Tales). We get pumped when we can talk about our favorite fandoms and authors who we follow the way other people follow rock-stars. At a con, you are literally surrounded with a small mob of like-minded folk, all giddy at the chance to be as nerdy as they want to be.

The geekiness is strong in this one.

So talk to me Groovers—did you get a chance to indulge in something that delights your spirit recently? Was it something mainstream or a little off the beaten track? Tell me about it in the comments and if you have a cyberspace you call home, pop it into your comments so we can talk a little there too.

Song Choice: I’m the One That’s Cool – The Guild

So Sweet, I Could Choke


It started with a scent. I was waking up from winter and had barely begun to bud, so I could only speak in creaks as the wind flowed around my branches. The smell was so heady, it threatened to put me back to sleep. But the buzzing of insects helped pull me from my torpor.

“Bees?” I croaked. “Am I late?” My buds tasted the cool air—no, this was the right time for bees though they never were this attentive so soon after the winter.

“Hush,” whispered a voice already flush with flowers and green. “No, you’re just fine. You can even sleep a little more. I’ll keep you warm.”

The wind blew again, but I was too tired to answer. My branches stirred slightly, and I could feel the weight of growth not my own. The scent flowed around me again, and I slept.


When I fully awoke, I ached to my sap. My promising buds had grown into spotted leaves, but they were strong enough to speak to a thriving patch of green on my biggest branch when the wind blew.

“What are you?”

“I’m part of you.”

“No, you aren’t.”

“Of course I am. Can’t you feel it?” The branch tingled with the flow of energy through filaments binding the new green fast to me.

“You were only a bit of fluff, blown onto my branches last year.”

“And you were once an acorn. Things change.”


Autumn came. I held on to my leaves for as long as I could. I heard the creaky sigh from the new green as the last one fell. It had spread to all my branches by then.

“You are part of me,” it said before we both slept.


And in the spring when the wind moved through the leaves again, I spoke with a voice that was no longer my own.

Song Choice: Circles by Kira

Liner Notes for this Groove: I'm in NYC for a long weekend visiting a dear friend (and for BookCon!). I couldn't help but notice a hauntingly beautiful scent on the wind near one of the city's large parks. When I commented on how lovely it was, one of the NYC citizens informed that it came from a pretty parasite that's been taking over a lot of the local trees slowly, but steadily. They bloom early to get the lion's share of the bees' and other pollinators' attention and spread a lot like dandelion fluff. I was told that the parasite even changed the shape of the leaves of the host tree eventually. When I finish up with BookCon, I want to find out more about this smothering beauty, including its name. But I find an extra level of creepiness in not knowing.

This short fiction piece is linked to Imaginary Gardens With Real Toads Art Flash and Poets United's Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero
Beauty Forgotten in Survival's Eyes by Eli Edward Evangelidis