Excavated Magic: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 28

I could not begin
to feel my buried magic
until I saw it
as beautiful as a star,
at home in her precious dark.

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

Liner Notes for this Groove: When I was a kid, I didn’t see myself too often in art, and not at all in the fantastical imagery I loved so much. There’s a lot that’s wrong with this era we live in, no question. But some of the little joys are seeing a.) the rise of indie artists and b.) that more and more of them feature women of color.

This isn’t something I like discussing too much at all, but I will say that when I was young, I was often reminded features like mine were not the ideal. So when I see pretty art celebrating looks like mine, I kind of have to buy it. Part of me feels a little vain for indulging in it, but the part of me that’s still an awkward 9-year-old girl is over the moon. Natasha Porter once said, “If life is a cup of tea, gratitude is the honey that makes it sweet.” I’m very grateful for these bits of beauty in a world that really needs it.
Art work by Don Martin.
You can purchase more of his fantastical art in his Etsy and Red Bubble shop.
Follow him on Facebook or Instagram.

Song Choice: Soy Yo by Bomba Estéreo 


The cicada calls crest and wash over me.
Their high summer drone is not loud enough
to compete with the din in my head.

They will be hushed soon
when the world holds its breath
between dark and light.

But the sun moves slowly
and the wind is too tired
to move the heavy air around me.

I am grateful for the heat at least
that will keep so many inside
while I keep my vigil.

I am waiting for the stars
hidden by daylight. Logic tells me
they have not disappeared.

I need to remember 
what it means to shine, 
even when clouds dim the light.

Artwork by Shelle Kennedy.
Find more of her art on her blog, her Etsy shop, and Instagram.

Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekend Mini Challenge at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads, Let Evening Come.

Matcha, Hot: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 27

“When the going gets tough, the tough go to tea.” 
― Js Devivre, The Tea Traveller's Constant Companion: Oregon

Art brewed in the blood
won't lose sharpness or flavor
at temperature's whim.

Liner Notes For this Groove: I take the majority of my tea lessons in one of the prettiest places I know, Shofuso (the Japanese house and gardens in Philadelphia's Fairmount Park). But this last weekend wasn't the best time to practice there. More than half of the USA was going through a scorcher of a heat wave. I wasn't sure if lessons were going to be cancelled outright, so I emailed my teachers to ask if the small utility room we sometimes used in the winter might be a better choice. They thought that was a good idea, so lessons were on.

Even with the venue change, I didn't expect too many people to make it. It was still a nasty day and the room's air conditioner could best be described as well-meaning. But it was a pretty full shed house, with a bunch of newer students (I was actually the most experienced one who showed). Even in a stuffy room, humid enough to make the tea clump and the tools stick to your hands a bit, we all enjoyed our lessons.

So dear Groovers, how was your weekend? Hopefully it was less melty than mine! Let's talk about it in the comments section. As always, feel free to drop a link to your cyber home if you'd like to continue the discussion there.

Song Choice: Just Can't Get Enough by Depeche Mode


Indigo sky witnesses

the scarlet gift
I bestowed upon your cheek.

It is only a trinket
expressing my pleasure in this dance.
My real tribute to your skill will come later.

Song Choice: Bailando by Enrique Iglesias ft. Sean Paul, Descemer Bueno, Gente De Zona

Photo from Pexels.com

Liner Notes for This Groove: This cherita was created for the Weekend Mini-Challenge at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads. Magaly asked us to go back and pick two prompts to combine into a short poetry bit (senryu, cherita, or elfchen). I chose Bits of Inspiration ~ You Write the Color and Just One Word: Trinket.

Reconnecting: Blogging Around with Rommy Week 26

I remember singing you
a mermaid’s melody,
not too far past a child myself.

Fourth of a set of seedlings,
bringing petals and rings
on an overcast day

where I was too busy smiling
and waltzing with my daydream
to care too much about a little rain.

I’m glad I stopped by
to see you at almost the same moment
where I was when I met you.

You’ve already started dancing
to your song. No rain will stop you
from being the queen in your story.

Liner Notes for this Groove: I am finally back home from Maine! The ride home was made easier thanks to a small side trip to visit a niece I hadn’t seen in years. We were much closer when she was little, but life and the busy nonsense that consumes so many of us kept throwing up roadblocks to staying in touch. I was so happy to get to know her (and her husband-to-be) again after such a long time apart.

When I realized that my teas were packed in such a way that it'd be difficult to get them out of the rooftop carrier without fully unloading, I asked her if she happened to have any tea at her place--and resigned myself to be content if she only had coffee. Instead she showed me to her well-stocked tea collection and we caught up over some lovely English Breakfast in the morning and Jackfruit Honey Black in the afternoon. Robert Godden once wrote, “At Christmas, tea is compulsory. Relatives are optional.” Hopefully she’ll make it to the next family Hanukah gathering and we’ll share another cup of tea then too.

The niece I visited (left) and another niece, her older sister (right) at my wedding.
I have seven biological nieces and three so-close-they-may-as-well-be-family nieces.

So have any of you ever had the opportunity to reconnect with a relative or old friend? Talk to me about it in the comments or just start up a chat on how you've been doing. If you want to take the conversation onto your page, don't forget to drop a link.

Rebel Ace: Blogging Around With Rommy Week 25

time takes
so little effort.
Why not just enjoy

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

Liner Notes For this Groove: If, as Alice Walker said in The Color Purple, “Tea to the English is really a picnic indoors” then vacation to me is just a chance to get my nerd on. Don’t get me wrong. I love rambling on the rocky beaches, watching the ocean, and taking in the gorgeous scenery. But if the day is stormy, the mosquitoes are vicious, (or let’s be real, I just feel like it), I love indulging in some geeky games.

Last summer, one of my husband’s friends introduced us to the X-Wing Fighters minatures game, based on the Star Wars movies. I hadn’t had a chance to play since then, and there’s been a few upgrades to game play, allowing for an option to run it something like a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. We get to be Rebel Alliance pilots and fly missions against the Empire.

I had a blast with this new version. My character (who I named Calamity, after Calamity Jane) took down five ships and easily scored the most points (a mighty 13). Jokes were made about the Imperial fleet running away when they saw the X-wing with the anime pin-up boys start flying through their sky.

There she is, mighty Red 27.

Of course I wanted to play again as soon as possible. The next game I wasn’t so lucky. We all rolled poorly, barely escaping the Imperial Forces, and I had to eject and leave my trusty X-wing behind (weeps). But I totally want to keep playing. Heck, I wonder why I don’t play more games like this at home. I know life can get pretty hectic and I need to work on self-care. But self-care doesn’t always mean taking a bubble bath. Sometimes it means taking a couple of hours, goofing around, and high-fiving the husband on that sweet, sweet shot I made on an Imperial Interceptor.

So do any of you Groovers like playing games to de-stress? Or have you done anything fun recently? Talk to me about it in the comments section and feel free to drop a link to your cyberhome if you want to continue the conversation there.

Song Choice: Many jokes were made about Calamity needing a theme song. While I had fun making up alternate lyrics to Bodak Yellow (I’m an ace, you a nerf-herding wimp. I make bloody moves), I think the first song I thought of was the best one, Shoot to Thrill by ACDC.

Starting Over

Emilio’s hair was thinner than Rina remembered, but he still had Papi’s smile.

“Will you be in town long, hermanita?” he asked as they stood outside the funeral home.

“Just until the burial. You know how it is owning a business. Thanks again for the loan.”

“Please, I’m happy to help family. You seem happier owning a coffee shop than you did in an office. And much happier single than married to that cheating sinverguenza.”

Rina smiled. “Thanks for having my back. That’s more than some people did.”

“Speaking of which…”

“No, don’t bring up Angi, Emilio. Mami’s death was hard on all of us with Papi being gone less than a year. Her trying to spin my marriage problems as trivial next to one mediocre college grade was bullshit.”

“That was a long time ago. She’s married with a child now. Look.” He took out his phone and showed her a picture of Angi’s family. “Anna should know her aunt.”

Rina saw the concern in his eyes. “Is everything OK with them, Emilio?”

“Angi and Fernando are fine. It’s just—Anna reminds me a little of you when you were young.”

Ah, the Gutierrez gift for understatement. Rina couldn’t resist pushing. “In what way?”

Emilio reddened. He darted a look back at the funeral home. “Magdalena Fuentes helped when you were having a hard time.”

“According to Angi she’s why I got ‘spooky’.”

“You were always spooky,” Emilio whispered. “But you’re family. Anna needs someone like you.  Please think about it.”

Rina sighed, but promised.

When Rina returned to her hotel room, Magdalena’s ghost was waiting for her. “You're far from home, Rina.”

“That’s the reoccurring theme of my life.”

“So is finding ways across improbable divides. Call your sister.”

“I miss you.”

“I miss you too, but Angi’s alive and I’m dead. Call.”

Rina picked up her phone and dialed.

Liner Notes for this Groove: This short story was created for Art Flash 55 over at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.  The image of Life and Death in balance made me think of Rina, a character that appears in my short story collection, The Trouble with Wanting and Other Not Quite Faerie Tales. Rina has always had to live with an internal balance between the two. Sometimes that pushed her family away, and sometimes, like in this case, it helps her find her way home. More about her and her gift can be found in the the short story, "Her Homesick Spirit", in my collection. I am also linking it to Pantry of Prose, Telling Tales with Magaly Guerrero at Poets United.  

Just the Basics: Blogging Around with Rommy, Week 24

My family is as drawn to the ink-blue bays of Maine as surely as the mosquitoes are drawn to drinking our blood. But any space not reserved for bug-spray is at a premium. We are four travelers with interests that accumulate stuff—stuff to entertain ourselves and stuff to share with the near-family that meets us there.

My husband’s hoard glitters with dice scattered over decks stacked with monsters and mountains, resting on a foundation of books that have helped him build adventures with stranger things. My son dithers in deciding which author will be his tour guide during the moments not filled by games and exploring the shore. My daughter is ever prepared for microdisasters. Her bags hold the bug spray and band aids. She is keeper of the snacks, plotter of bathroom breaks, and monarch of the mundane but easily forgotten things.

I of course have my realm of tea.  Noel Coward’s fearful question “Wouldn't it be dreadful to live in a country where they didn't have tea?” hovers over when I pack. It would be dreary to go two weeks without my favorites, and I cannot disappoint my near-niece and god-daughter and leave their preferred blends behind either. Fortunately for me, my words travel well, even to places with lackluster wi-fi. And that ink-blue bay works wonders for my inspiration.

Two weeks of life crammed
pell-mell onto a car roof.
I unpack it all,
brewing my words and good tea
steeped in the sight of the sea.

I always look forward to the view from the cabin every summer. Is there anything
you are looking forward to this summer dear Groovers? Let's talk in the comments. 

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