included in the dancing
of a sakura,
from when it spun from its tree
to the moment it lay still.
April can be cruel.
April after all.
April must be
at home in Alice’s Wonderland—
October’s petal frocked twin,
hiding her teeth behind a teacup.
up in yellows, pinks, and greens,
determined to grow out of spite
April is especially hard
this year, demanding a new start
from an earth whipped sore
But April can cry
right alongside you,
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,
save for the worms
that will find plenty of room to burrow
in the cavity of her empty chest.
of the elementary school bus stop
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.
inside a high-walled garden
became a tree
with impossibly deep roots
whose absence left a crater.
but her own. In love
with loving and exploring
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,
Her heaven had room
for every last lover,
anyone who identified as a dreamer,
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,
but there was no sin in her heaven,
save being untrue to yourself.
and hold on to the truth
in a summer star land,
where punk rock angels play
And the cheese,
is so much better there
than the bland heaven
the world tried to threaten us with.
waiting for me
to disturb all the earth
thrown upon me
the day before,
and see if I’ll come dancing.
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.
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.”
heart. I remember
when bile didn’t mix with blood
as it traveled through
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
not to be constantly embarrassed
by a weird, wild heart
that keeps finding itself
snagged on a world full of splinters.
it’d make such a beautiful sail,
all the blanket and pillow walls
and turn them into a boat
to glide over the squalls.
Be patient with it. Your heart
will be something you grow in to,
not something to grow out of.
in the promise of springtime
while walking on the dried remains
of snow crushed grass,
you see that first bit of green,
thrusting forth an unmistakable digit
at the retreating frost.
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'.
to be truly away? How
are those steps measured?
Even if my feet weren't small
You gave me a head start,
with your rightward shuffle
I was supposed to be
polite enough to ignore.
not to keep walking
how many steps
until I’m really away