Bless

I bless every knuckle
bloody from beating the walls
caging me,

and every splinter earned
in repurposing wreckage,
so that my children might never know

this hollowness of being
unaware of yourself in the dark.



Song Choice: Dear Theodosia from Hamilton

Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Forward Movement.

Paris and Tokyo

I’ve never been to Paris
but I’ve dreamed

of her graceful curving
streets. I always wanted to explore,

those rues
filled with eye-teasing beauty
and promising something

to entertain my tongue
in its little shops.

But I have been to Tokyo
andoh, 
how I adore him.

His electricity
knows how to delight me.

I come alive
discovering his many sides.  

Every sight makes me sigh
and long to take him in
as deeply as possible.

I only found out much later
I might have gone to Paris,
at least once.

But

it might have meant
I may never have seen Tokyo

and that thought breaks
my already partite heart.

Tokyo is home.
I have no regrets about that.

But there are nights
when I still think of Paris
and my settled self indulges
in an old dream or two.

Photo of the Tokyo Tower by Azizbek on Unsplash


Song Choices: Sakura, Sakura and La Vie En Rose

Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poetry and Storytellers United. So I must confess, I've never really been to either city. 😂

Bare

People will always talk
about the pretty perfection
of falling leaves

but hush
when conversation turns
to branches stripped bare.


Photo by Shaojie on Unsplash


Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, October.

Living His Best Life

My dog, Kit, struts
on the last half block
of our walk.

He was successful
in diverting me to the retirees’ home
where belly rubs and bacon treats waited.

A careless squirrel
passed within less than a foot of him.

If Kit was less full
he might have caught it

(at least that is what I think
he tells himself
as he struts home).

I am hungry after all the side quests.
I call the pizzeria to put in my order.

Kit starts howling
at the words “chicken fingers”.

He knows that means it’s pizza night.
He knows there will be left over crusts
and more belly rubs.

The girl on the other end laughs.
She hears him too.

“Can you imagine that,” I say,
“He was actually shy when we first rescued him?”

"I tell you I was t-h-i-s close to catching that rodent!"

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was inspired by the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Keeping it Real. Yes my dog is really this ridiculous. Most of my neighbors can vouch for it.

Becoming

Amid the soup of my innards,
I am searching for hints
of what I may yet be.

Nothing is familiar
in these runny remains
of a life that no longer exists.

Liquid eyes are blind.
I must trust completely
in the memory of the shine 
of kindly stars.

I can still feel
the edges of me 
wrapped up 
in the strength 
of that remembered fire

and in other things that insist
that my dissolved being is still whole.

Happy and strange words are my home
creating a place for me to make sense of it all—

a place for me to remember myself.
When it is over

the flowers and leaves I’ve always adored
will still be cherished, 
in a new way.

And I will fully know
the sky I was meant to fly in
with no fear of falling.

Photo by Evie S. on Unsplash


Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Equinox. I chose to incorporate the words "Happy and strange words are my home".

Mint

We are suited to each other,
I think.

She is patient
with my lack of experience,
not minding the absence of green
in my thumb.

Mint curls a tendril around me.
“I will teach you,” she says.
“All you want to know.”

For starters, she is independent.
Take her inside over the winter
and she will wither. It is no kindness
to keep her from the world she loves.

But that doesn’t mean
she’ll shun all attention.

Check in on her
on dry, hot days.
Mint loves to stay a little wet,
but not drown.

She makes a lovely companion
in the quiet of your back porch.
But mind that she’s in a place that suits you both.

Otherwise, she’ll run wild
over the rest of your garden
until all you can taste is her
on the heavy summer air.

There is something about mint
that plays well with my energy.
There is something familiar and dear
about her tingle.

There is something about mint that feels
like the sweetest magic I’d forgotten
or pushed away.

But mint holds no grudges.
So long as I respect her
she rewards me

with a bright, effusive flavor
that lingers in my mouth
or her distinctive scent
on my hand when I stroke her.

Photo by SIMON LEE on Unsplash


Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given by Poets and Storytellers United, Mining the Journals. I like to take notes on plants I try growing for various and sundry purposes. LOL, mint is the first plant I really tried to grow. It helps a lot that I enjoy a cup of mint tea blend in the evenings.


Of Sound Minds and Bodies

When asked what I was like as a child, my go-to answer is “pretty much your average paperweight.” Leave me in a spot with a book and there I’d stay until someone came to pull me out of my mental Narnia. As you might imagine, I wasn’t all that physical of a child (unless music was involved—I did and still do love to dance).

I first started working out as a teen because of vanity, then kept it up because of the mood boost I get. As I’ve mentioned other times on the blog, I even learned to appreciate playing sports as an adult. Fitness is a regular part of my routine.

I was proud of myself for keeping up with working out through the pandemic, because even when I was tired, I still wanted that endorphin bump and feeling of accomplishment. Then a few days after I came back from vacation, I rolled my ankle and managed to tweak a ligament on the top of my foot.

I won’t lie. I had lots of ‘poor me’ thoughts for the first few days (especially when I was told I might have broken something). And it didn’t help that I relied on that mood booster in the months that followed a very dear friend’s death (to be honest, I still have horrible days where grief swallows me whole). But I remembered the example of another dear friend, who keeps getting some wicked curveballs thrown at her fitness routine. If one way is closed, try another, and another, until something works.

Turns out YouTube is quite helpful for finding routines you can do without putting weight on your foot. I don’t get the same rush, but it was mentally soothing to me to be able to do them, and then graduate to walking around the block later. Last week I got cleared to go back to my usual routine. I’m glad I took it slow and didn’t reinjure myself. 

My long-term fitness goal is to be the abuelita chasing her grandkids on the playground. But I have a new appreciation for the short-term mood boost benefits too. My body and brain are finally on the same page.

Me in my favorite work-out clothes. Shown here are my 4 main moods:
earnest nerdiness, stoically processing trauma,
cheerleader for family and friends, and MURDER EXPLOSION QUEEN.

Song Choice: Dance Again by Selena Gomez

Liner Notes for this Groove: This was written in response to the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Take Care of Your Body.

No Shame

Valeria was alone. No one was here to see if she turned back. She flipped the switch on her sky skiff. The sail extended with a whoosh as the base lit up.  The familiar hum told her everything was working fine. She had done a good job rebuilding it.

She could power it off now. She could loan it to another rider so they could make the flight down the mountain and scavenge food or old tech from the cloud covered valleys below. Plenty of potential riders recently passed the qualifying tests, just as Valeria once did.

“There’s no shame in being a shaper,” Marco had said in a tone designed to needle her. But he had a point. Without shapers, there’d be no sky craft, and no way of getting the things they desperately needed. The other shapers also had been nothing but kind to her. It helped that Valeria had become quite skilled at building and fixing skiffs.

“There’s no shame in falling,” the head shaper had said. And that was true too. Better and more experienced riders had fallen during the sudden storms that popped out over the valley. A better one had the last time Valeria had gone wind-riding.

At that thought, the tears came again, just as Valeria knew they would. There’s no shame in tears, Marisol would have said.  

Valeria looked out at the sky around her, clothed in the purples and pinks of dawn. There was no pride in keeping from doing something you loved either. Marisol never let anything or anyone keep her away from the thrill of the sky.  

She could continue with the shapers. Valeria had made a place among them. But there was nothing to say a shaper couldn’t be a rider too.

Valeria wiped her eyes to get a clear look at the sky she adored. She felt the anticipation of being in the air eat the last bit of her fear and most of her sadness. In one quick move, Valeria got on the skiff and pushed off from the mountain. And then she flew.

Photo by Cody Board on Unsplash

Song Choice: Back from the Dead by Halestorm

Liner Notes for This Groove: This piece of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, The Last Time.

King Koi (Obon)

The koi rises
like a splash of sunshine
from behind clouds of murky water.

The golden-orange flash
dances though the pond

in and out of branches
trailing at the pond’s edge
playing in the reflection of the moon.

Until, conceding defeat,

he sinks back,
all the brightness swallowed
again in the gloom of the water.

No treats have been set out for him
tonight. There is only the flicker
of floating candles lighting the way back

for those who swim
in far darker places
than the gilded king of the pond.

Photo I took of an obon observance I went to
at Shofuso (The Japanese house and garden in Philadelphia) over the weekend.

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Pay Attention

Cease-Fire

I’d like to declare a cease-fire
against myself. I am done
being tired all the time
from fighting a war
I don’t remember starting.

I’d like to recall
all the spies that burrowed
into my darkest recesses
to use everything they found
against me.

Is any armistice enough
to let the imprisoned parts
dare the sunlight

or

will they stay in their cells
even while knowing
that no doors could never exist
that they didn't have the key to?





Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, War is Over, If You Want It.

Saltwater Display (What Has Changed)

Everything the same, just as I left it,
mostly.
I didn’t plan on the saltwater
puddle sitting on the desktop.

My collection of figurines
still stood, surprisingly dust free.

I didn’t have the time or energy
to deal with the ones
that are more disappointing than charming now.

I had to pull myself together
and clean up that puddle,

likely originating from a well-meaning attempt
to keep order in an office equivalent of a ghost town.

As much as I’d like to ignore
the puddle of saltwater
eroding the foundation

of the salt tea light holder
that someone was kind enough to gift me
as a token of protection,

it invaded the space
where my laptop plugs into.
I have no time

for saltwater displays
in an office, trying to go on
as if nothing has changed

and pretend that ghosts aren’t here too.

An old picture of my office cubical. A co-worker said he easily figured out
who it belonged to without looking for the name tag.


Song Choice: Back In Black

Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt, Change and Renewal, at Poets and Storytellers United. 

Two Unexpected

Two unexpected
seeds dropped.

One on a winter evening
when it had the indecency
to rain instead of snow.

One on a summer afternoon
when sunshine pulled out
everyone from inside the house.

Why go out
and expose flesh
to numbing rain
for just dinner and a movie
when there’s a perfectly good bed?

Why stay inside
a stifling room
when a breeze from the bay
feels so good on skin 
on skin in the shade?

One winter day. One summer day.
The company was more than fine.

Perhaps we should have been a little less surprised
at how life (and love) grows in welcoming spaces
despite the whims of the weather.



Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets United, Sudden Moments.

Way Station

It was never meant to be permanent. But as Madame Veritas said, few things were, notable exceptions aside.

Sandra didn’t know how long she’d been at what the others called “the way station”. She only knew that she had been standing on the train platform with heartache behind her and heartache in front of her. When she saw the wind move the branches of a willow tree to reveal a hazy looking patch near its trunk, Sandra didn’t hesitate. She had been reared on tales of Narnia, and just enough of her heart remained alive enough to whisper, go look.

She did. Then she was here.

Not everyone who found their way here stayed long. She had seen people who managed just one nervous glance around the place before they went back the way they came. But then there were the ones who arrived with looks of both wonder and relief on their faces. They, like her, remained.

They found things to keep them busy, ways to help Madame Veritas and each other. The peace of the place made it easy to find a rhythm between work and rest. But no one could stay forever and eventually they all took one last walk with her before leaving.

The pull to go on that walk finally came to Sandra. It was kin to the impulse that made her go to the willow in the first place.

“Ready to return?” Madame Veritas asked.

“No,” Sandra said. “I betrayed the two people I love best. They have no idea of who I really am.”

“Do you know who you are?”

“I know myself better than I did before I came here,” Sandra said.

“That’s a good place to start,” said Madame Veritas.

“Is it good enough?”

“That’s up to you.”

They walked through the garden in silence. Sandra had spent many hours here learning how to bring out the best in her favorite flowers. She gathered a few seeds before looking at Madame Veritas and saying, “Yes, it will be enough.”

She walked out from under the branches of the willow to find everything was the same as when she left.

Not everything, she thought, holding her seeds. That will be enough.


Song Choice: Integrity Blues by Jimmy Eat World

Liner Notes For This Groove: This flash fiction piece was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, On My Way. 

Embrace

I embrace decay,
trusting it to feed the seeds
too small for me to see now.


Liner Notes for This Groove: This senryu was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Micro-writings.

Never Was

I will not allow
my heart to become
your blank slate

upon which to carve
soothing stories for yourself
of a time and place

that never was.

No matter how
you reject or dismiss
its audacious beat,

the truth roars
in my heart’s blood -
loud, primal -

and drowning out the lies.


Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Writing a Blank. 

The Temptation of Easy

The temptation
of easy is always there,
curling into curves
needing to be filled.

It drops breathy promises
into ears already scarlet
at the thought of the thrill

of how much more smoothly
I can glide over the roughness
if I just ignore a few things.

But it would take a better liar
than I to convince myself
to lay back and close my eyes

when I know action,
my actions,
could make a difference.

Photo by Oliver Roos on Unsplash



Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Between What is Right and What Seems Easy.

Smile

I should have smiled less
when the playground monitor pulled me
away. My grin should not have

grown as I was dragged through the halls,
ahead of that boy. That boy who assumed
I wouldn’t challenge him. Funny,

he seemed so sure

that I’d think his insult was flattery
or I’d that do any crying quietly
curled up in a stall.

Funny, his face

filled with more shock than pain
at the sight of my fists underlining my, “no”.
But he got the point. Eventually,

we were both sat down in front of the principal.
And when he asked who started it,
my smile was more damning
than his, “It's all her fault!”.

But I don’t regret an inch
of my smile, showing all my teeth
precisely where they should be.

And it doesn’t matter

how much my father might scold, 
how my mother will fret,
or if I have detention all year.

There’ll be no shame
in these black and blue eyes
next time I look in the mirror.

And my smile will be just as big too.



Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings Prompt at Poets and Story Tellers United, Painted Tales. I chose "The Shiner" by Norman Rockwell.

Moth and Firefly

Shayla had noticed Lisbet before the woman who ran the dairy farm told her to go mentor the new girl so she could learn how things were done. Shayla had apologized profusely when she realized Madame had only done it so that Shayla could provide distraction while Madame tried to seduce Lisbet’s beau.

“Don’t worry,” Lisbet said. “I was about done with him anyway. She’s welcome to him and his diseases.”

It wasn’t long after that they found they had a shared interest – magic.

“What can you do?” Lisbet asked.

“This.” And in a blink Shayla cast an illusion that blurred her edges so that unless you knew where to look, your eyes would slide over her. “And you?”

“This.” Lisbet said, casting a small orb of glowing light.

The witch trials were coming up. They had both secretly wanted to go for several years now, but it was only upon meeting each other that they decided to do it.

“Nothing stopping us from going as a team,” Lisbet said. Shayla agreed.

They whispered back and forth during the orientation session about what they thought the trials might be. Shayla was sure the witches were dropping hints in their words. A serious faced witch interrupted them to ask for their names.

“I’m Moth. She’s Firefly,” Shayla said.

The witch went away muttering something that sounded like “not likely to hug bears but still silly.”

“It was a little silly,” Shayla agreed later that night in the woods. “But names have power, and I didn’t want to share mine right away. Not until I was sure we’d pass.”

“We will. We’ve got 6 out of the 7 things we need to find with plenty of time left. Why those names?”

“Based on our powers,” Shayla answered. “And one time Madame compared me to a moth because I was a pest.”

“Shows what she knows,” Lisbet said. “We need your magic now.”

Shayla’s magic covered them both as a bear wandered through the clearing, ignoring them.

“My turn,” Lisbet said. Her orb illuminated a mushroom, the last item on the list. “We make a great team.”

“That we do,” said Shayla, following Lisbet back to the cottage and their future.



Song Choice: We Are Going to Be Friends by the White Stripes

Liner Notes for This Groove: This piece of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Butterflies and Moths. It was also inspired by the short story I wrote a couple of weeks ago, Witch Trials, just to see if I could find more to say.

Bloody Unusual

My
uncanny heart
is a lair
for numerous bloody unusual
tales.





Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United - Unusual, Uncommon, Uncanny.

Also, on the advice of cleverer poets, a last minute word swap was made which makes it much better IMHO... "several" for "numerous".

Witch Trials

The moon had moved as far as the second highest branch of the oak tree. Melli sighed as she ruffled Gorgon’s fur.

“Soon, baby,” she cooed at the beast.

“Not soon enough,” fretted Gladys as she stirred the cauldron. “I want to know now if any make it through. Last year we didn’t have any.”

Cara set several bundles of herbs on the table. “None’s fine by me. I’d rather be sure they’re suitable than let just anyone in.” Several of the other women in the room nodded.

Melli laughed. “I can’t decide which ones are worse, those who faint at the first twig they step on or the ones who try to snuggle a bear?”

“That only happened once,” said Gladys. “Gorgon and I were able to whisk her off before anything bad happened.  It didn’t take much effort working the charm of forgetting on her.”

“It’s always easy on the daft ones,” Cara said. The room exploded in cackles.

Melli agreed with both Cara and Gladys. It was always a happy day when they welcomed a new witch to their ranks, but she didn’t know what was in the minds of some of the applicants. The forgetfulness charm meant some had tried more than once, but if they weren’t just the right sort of bold mixed with a generous dollop of sense, they would never be happy living this life.

“Still, I think we’ll have at least two new ones to welcome,” Gladys said.

This time Cara smiled. “The two chatterboxes? Yes. I heard them discussing how they might deal with some of the things they might encounter. They sounded sensible at least. I’ve never seen two that decided to team up before.”

The moon was just touching that top branch now. “It’s time to check on them,” Melli said.

The ladies grabbed their brooms or shapeshifted depending on their preference. The local dryads hadn’t raised an alarm, so no candidate was in danger of anything greater than embarrassment. Melli did hope those two girls did make it through. They were spirited enough not to shiver in the dark and sharp enough to know it’d be helpful to go together. Those seemed like promising signs to her.


Song Choice: Which Witch by Florence and the Machine

This flash fiction was inspired by the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Waiting. 

Why is That Crazy Woman Out Walking in the Rain?

  1. Because though her boots and umbrella don’t match, they’re both cute in their own way and should be seen and used for splashing.
  2. Because even though yesterday was a wash day, she’s got an interesting hat (that also doesn’t match) to protect her hair.
  3. Because spreadsheets will still be there when she gets back, but rainstorms are now.
  4. Because there’s nothing like a good shower to get over a block. It works for writing, why not this? 
  5. Because she can imagine she’s attending a cherry blossom funeral, watching yesterday’s petals get swept along the roadways, and out to the drains that lead to something bigger somewhere else.
  6. Because no one stops to make small talk in the rain.
  7. Because the rain doesn’t care if you leak water too.
  8. Because there has to be a rainbow at the end of all this, dammit. I haven’t been out here all this time just to go inside without seeing a rainbow.
  9. Because angry-splashing so hard that rainwater makes it up and inside my boot makes me laugh.
  10. Because I feel there’s something mad and lovely about laughing in the rain too.
  11. Because I see a neighbor giving me an odd look out the window, and that makes me laugh harder until the rain slows down.
  12. Because petrichor.
  13. Because it might be little, but, finally, there’s that rainbow I needed.



Song Choice: I Like to Walk in the Rain by Shirley Temple

Liner Notes For This Groove: This poem was created for Poets and Storyteller United's Weekly Scribblings prompt, Listmania.

The Usual Place

The creek at Peace Valley Park


Meet me at our usual place.
You know, 
the one we found together.
The sun is bright enough
today to paint glitter on the creek.

Let’s both bring our lunch.
We can eat it after we go wading.
If the creek isn’t too high,
I might cross to the other side
just to see what the view is like from there.

We’ll walk as we go talking, taking in all the scents of the woods,
from honeysuckle to loamy earth. You always did like
the way it smelled like the sea where the streams met.

I’ll bring an Inca Cola. You bring a Jarrito.
We’ll crack them open by the shade of the hollow tree.
You can point out all the plants you know by name.
Me, I am still learning where to find mugwort.
Maybe I’ll be successful growing my own this year.

We’ll talk about all the boys
who did us wrong.
We’ll talk about the ones who did us
right and the creek will laugh
as it flows right over the rocky parts.

We’ll talk about places away
from this creek, the honeysuckle and the woods.
You'll talk about England. I'll talk about Japan.
And we really will mean it
when we say we wanted to see them together.

Meet me at our favorite spot.
I’ll be there even when the sun has set,
when the water’s laughter is whisper above a hush,
when the honeysuckle's scent is spent,

and the moon paints mourning silver on the creek.



Song Choice: The Space Between from Disney's Descendants

The Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Where Are You Placed?

 

Sakura

What magic to be
included in the dancing
of a sakura,
from when it spun from its tree
to the moment it lay still.



Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings prompt, Liminal Space.

April Can (2021)

April can be kind.
April can be cruel.
April is
April after all.

April must be
at home in Alice’s Wonderland—
October’s petal frocked twin,
hiding her teeth behind a teacup.

April leaps
up in yellows, pinks, and greens,
determined to grow out of spite
of the winter before she arrived.

April is especially hard
this year, demanding a new start
from an earth whipped sore
while trying its best to live
after the dying winter. 

But April can cry
right alongside you,
keeping company in quiet mists
or keening with you
in inconsolable storms.





Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, April.

I Pity the Poor Old Bird

I pity the poor old bird
who didn’t value the strength of the tree
that sheltered her from the storms,

and instead spent her nights
lamenting over another
tree that would not bend
to cherish her near so well.

I pity the poor old bird
who knows nothing
other than playing
at being a harpy,

befouling every space
unlucky enough to know her presence.

It is clear she envies
the kestrel and her mate,
lovingly paired and partnered,

with no wingbeat taken for granted—

the kestrel who knows the joy
of the welcoming blue sky,
the stars, and rising sun,

who has flown with true companions
that were only taken from her by death,
and not driven away by spite.

I pity the poor old bird,
who when she finally falls
stiff and cold from her perch,

will fall
unmissed,
unloved,
and unremembered,

save for the worms
that will find plenty of room to burrow
in the cavity of her empty chest.

I hope those who hold you fondly in their mind have a true and clear image of you. 
I hope you are seen clearly for who you are.
May you never look into a mirror without seeing your true face.


Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Bird is the Word.

Once A King

My dog was once king
of the elementary school bus stop
every morning.

He was a fair monarch,
granting belly rub privileges to all
the children before they started their school day.

But the corner has been empty
of adoring subjects. If they see him,
they wave from behind windows now.

And the once king of the bus stop
makes his rounds near an empty playground,
howling at the other exiled kings and queens
who also miss the noisy old days.

Kit, in his pre-pandemic stance.
 


Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Beloved Companions.

Absence

A seed dropped by chance
inside a high-walled garden
became a tree
with impossibly deep roots
whose absence left a crater.





This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Trees.


Punk Rock Angel

She was no one’s angel
but her own. In love
with loving and exploring
underappreciated beauty
with every one
of her senses.

She was a punk rock angel
too in love with this world
to be interested in (or wait for)
a monotone heaven.

So she made her own,
stuffed with all the delights
she loved best.

Her heaven had room
for both adventures and lipstick,
dark truths and real smiles,
fine china in a blanket fort,
Shakespeare and Bubblegum,
witchcraft and shenanigans.

Her heaven had room
for every last lover,
anyone who identified as a dreamer,

and me.

She danced every day of her life
in her homemade heaven.
Until she couldn’t.

I’d call her a liar
for promising me an after
(this time with English wells,
and tucked away tea houses),

but there was no sin in her heaven,
save being untrue to yourself.

So I forgive her last lie,
and hold on to the truth

of best friends forever
in a summer star land,
where punk rock angels play 
the most raucous of concerts.

And the cheese,
and the bread, 
and the dancing, 
and the sex
is so much better there
than the bland heaven
the world tried to threaten us with.

I always get misty watching this anime, but now the part where she makes her wish
to get her best friend back will make me weep too. Cat understood how much I loved it
and probably expected it would be the first thing I binged after she died.



Liner Notes for This Groove: I lost one of my dearest friends in the world on Monday morning. She fought chronic illness for so long, but never let it dim her love of life. I'll miss you, Nekko-chan. 

Everyday

Everyday 
there’s a new blue sky
waiting for me
to disturb all the earth
thrown upon me
the day before,
and see if I’ll come dancing.

Everyday 
there's a new spark,
either hiding in the curl of a leaf
or out in plain sight
in the curve of my love's smile
strong enough 
to remind my heart what it's there for.

And all is made new again.




Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Starting A New Relationship. You can start a new relationship with a day, right?

Hard Reset

I’m looking for a hard reset.
Silence. Enough
to allow my gunpowder emotions
time to settle down from their fine mist
and lay quietly
away from incendiary sparks.

I’m looking for space
where I don’t have to
MacGyver my emotional state
and self-suture the same old wounds.
One where I can really rest
and learn what healed skin looks like.

I want to find
what it feels like to know
an extended peace
in my battlefield brain,
so I can reclaim the salted earth
and put it to work
growing only the things I chose to plant.



Song Choice: 24/7 by Kehlani

Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United: Wait for It. I may have twisted the line I chose to work with "I'm looking for a mind at work" as far as its limits could go. 

A Serving of Nightshade

Well this looks like my lucky day, thought Adira as the room came into focus.

She was in the drawing room of her ex-fiancé’s townhome. Lord Bradley sat in his favorite chair, sipping a glass of wine, and watching her.

“I’m sorry, Adira,” he said. “But I thought this would be more comfortable for you than a cellar in Cheapside.”

“Very thoughtful,” she said, as she smoothed her hair back towards the untidy bun held by her favorite hair stick. “But it might have been nicer to have left me near the opera house.”

He made a tut-tut noise. “And left you at the mercy of Nightshade? That would have been rude.”

“I don’t know what you are talking about.”

“Let me tell you a story,” he said, refilling his glass. “There was a naïve girl, whose romantic notions made her an easy mark for Nightshade, a notorious criminal who has become something of a hero to gullible young women and a nuisance to my guild’s interests. She unwisely agreed to be a lookout for one of his capers. Thankfully, a concerned friend was there to intercede before she had to face serious consequences.”

“Charming,” she said, stretching out her hands and fingers. “But what’s the price for his intercession?”

“Information. Everything you know about Nightshade’s organization, including the contact you were supposed to meet tonight.”

“And if I don’t?”

“It’s my duty to turn you in to the constables. Considering the trouble Nightshade has caused, that cellar is going to seem nice in comparison,” Bradley said.

“So you haven’t told the authorities yet?”

“Of course not. Adira, I can protect you. If you cooperate.”

Adira looked down at her lap. “I don’t want to go to jail. What if I told you I know who Nightshade is?”

He jumped out his chair. “Really? Who?”

“Me.” Adira pulled her hair stick free and threw it at his throat. It hit its mark. As he tried pulling it out, Adira picked up the bottle of wine and cracked it over his head.

“I have a story for you,” she said. “There once was an unscrupulous and overconfident man who wouldn’t shut up. So I fixed that. The end.”


Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

Song Choice: Gives You Hell by All American Rejects

Liner Notes for This Groove: This bit of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United, Two Into One Shall Go. I went with embedded narrative. 

Monster Heart

Here is my monstrous
heart. I remember
when bile didn’t mix with blood
as it traveled through
un-gouged walls.

I don’t trust it
not to alarm the unwary
with its feral beat
and shadow roaring
reverberating around old scar tissue.


But I will trust you, always,
with the truth of the stories
behind each scab and bloodied bit,

because this truth,
odd and unshapely,
is the most precious thing
I have to give.





Liner Notes for This Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United. I chose to work with the phrase "Love can be a monster, or not."

The Villain of the Story

The dung landed in front of me with a wet plop. I turned my head, and as expected, saw the sneering face of the urchin who had been following us for the last few days. Before I could stop her, Yoli picked the dung up and flung it right back at the urchin. It hit the child square in the face.

“Yeah, well… you only hit me because you’re good at throwing,” she screeched, before diving back into the undergrowth.

Yoli’s face went from satisfied, to confused, to moody. I gave her the space of a few seconds before I spoke.

“That didn’t feel as good as you thought it would, did it?” 

Yoli scrunched up her face. “No. But she’s been annoying us for days, mistress. And what kind of comeback was that? Good at throwing? I ought to be, as a squire of the Kingsguard.”

“We do prefer that our squires have good aim, yes,” I said.

Yoli glared at the bushes, then slumped. “Good aim against another trained fighter, not some little kid.”

“Did you see what she has wrapped around her arm?” I asked.

“A piece of the enemy’s uniform,” Yoli said.

“A piece of the uniform that could have been her father’s, her brother’s, or someone else she loved. We’re the villains in her story.”

“How can that be? They’ve tortured innocents, put children to death. Mistress, they wouldn’t even respect you as a fighter.”

“Their respect isn’t as important to me as my respect for myself. Tell me, Squire Yoli, how is your self-respect at this moment?”

She looked at the ground. “Not good.”

“Why?”

“Because I picked a fight with a dumb, and obviously sad, little kid. And that’s not who I want to be.”

“Save that aim for an actual opponent when we find one. It might keep your hands cleaner,” I said, smiling. “Let’s find a creek and get them washed off.”

“She’s going to keep throwing shit at us you know,” Yoli said.

“Then it’s a good thing that we train our squires to dodge as well.”

“I’m fast enough for that,” Yoli said. “She really does have terrible aim.”



Song Choice: Good Riddance by Green Day

This piece of flash fiction was created for the Weekly Scribblings prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United: Hit Me with Your Best Shot. 


Keeping it Real Curly

For the longest time, I was the only one in my family with thick, curly locks. Then I had my Darling Eldest. We didn’t know how much his hair was like mine at first. He got a lot of regular haircut throughout his youth. But when he went away to college and haircuts weren’t as high of a priority as say anime club, we all finally got a look at what his mane would do when left to its own devices.


He had been home for a bit because of the pandemic before he finally approached me. He likes keeping his hair long but had been resisting the idea that maintenance was needed. Could I help?

Well during the pandemic I’ve been hard-core upgrading my curl game (it was a reliable bit of self-care that always made me feel better). I was delighted to share techniques I learned, product suggestions, while being sure to let him know the ball was in his court as to how he chooses to deal with it. I have to say, his satin lined hat is cooler than my cheesy sleeping bonnet, but both of them protect our curls.

There was one morning when we were wearing our respective caps when my husband made the observation that not only do we look alike, we both act in very similar ways when we get angry or frustrated. He looked at me in horror and said, “I think I’m turning into you.” I told him not to worry unless he suddenly got interested in planners and picking out cute stickers to go in it.

Of course considering we both just got excited over recognizing a familiar voice actor in an anime series, I’ll be sure add an extra pack of cool-looking, anime-inspired stickers to my next stationary order. Just in case.


Song Choice: Hair from the musical of the same name.

This post was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings Prompt: What You Resist, You Become.

To the Little Girl in the Blanket Fort

I know it’s hard
not to be constantly embarrassed
by a weird, wild heart
that keeps finding itself
snagged on a world full of splinters.

You imagine
it’d make such a beautiful sail,
freed from the limits of its chest,

for those times when you want to flip
all the blanket and pillow walls 
and turn them into a boat
to glide over the squalls.

Be patient with it. Your heart
can't help the way it throbs and dances.

As odd and awkward as it is, your heart
will be something you grow in to,
not something to grow out of.

Photo by Sdf Rf on Unsplash



Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created for the Weekly Scribblings post at Poets and Storytellers United, Hindsight is Rather Tricky. The phrase we were asked to work with is "if I knew then what I knew now." I really should have spent less time worrying about being that weird kid, and more time just enjoying it.

Unmistakable

It’s hard to believe
in the promise of springtime
while walking on the dried remains
of snow crushed grass, 
until
you see that first bit of green, 
thrusting forth an unmistakable digit
at the retreating frost.

Photo by iMattSmart on Unsplash



Liner Notes for this Groove: This poem was created by for the Weekly Scribblings prompt at Poets and Storytellers United, Beautiful Words. I chose the word shitamoe , which means 'plants sprouting under last year’s dried grass or under the snow' as my inspiration. 

Stranger

I’ve been up all night thinking I’m a stranger to who I wished to be.

Strange times, strange words make for strange fates even under sympathetic stars.

I scream out the questions that she’d never have had it in her to ask.



Song Choice: Nobody Told Me by John Lennon 

Liner Notes for this Groove: I decided that I needed three American sentences to make one whole response to the prompt given at Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings Prompt: Something About Mary. I riffed off the phrase, 'all night they had thought of what they would like their lives to be'.

Keep Walking

How many steps does it take
to be truly away? How
are those steps measured?

Even if my feet weren't small
it is going to be a long walk for me.

You gave me a head start,
with your rightward shuffle
I was supposed to be
polite enough to ignore.

And though I've paused 
at this milestone moment,
I am too tired
not to keep walking

and wondering
how many steps
until I’m really away 

and no longer expecting 
to hear steps besides my own.

Photo by Adam Cao on Unsplash

Song Choice: Not Ready to Make Nice by The Chicks


This poem was created for Poets and Storytellers United's Weekly Scribblings prompt. I went with Walking Away.