Week 8: Foolish and Dreaming

Poetry is just pouring forth.  So far, so good in keeping up with the whole ‘write each week’ thing, less so in the posting part.

This one was inspired by The Little Mermaid.

 

Foolish and dreaming

It’s a foolish thought
A dream really
Of the sun beating down on my bare skin
Drying little drops of water
Up there, my eyes would squint
My hair would catch the wind in tiny strands
A voice would echo back from some dark cavern
I’d wiggle my toes
Bury them deep in the sand where it’s cool
There’d be fabric about my legs
Water to soak my feet from dancing
A room would be my own
No sisters to barge in without announcing
I could choose to ride far away with wheels beneath me
And no overbearing father to tell me, “no”
My heart would be free to soar amongst the clouds
Know what it’s like to be held but not coddled
Up there I would be know what these bits are
How they work and why they are
I would not hide
But this is a dream
With ships and bursting lights and storms at sea
Who is there to help me be
Just some dark shadow, dangerous and forbidden
That cannot be the way to the sunlight
It’s a foolish thought
That tastes so sweet
Just a dream, really
That threatens to overtake my soul
Has it already?

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Week Seven: First Bow

Not a poem?  What?!  Yes, I wrote a quick little scene, just to mix it up.

First bow
February 14th, 2014

She ended the fouettes in a perfect fourth position; leg bend over the toe, perfect straight leg behind, an arm majestically outstretched and a smile growing brilliantly in her eyes.  The performance was perfect.  Her feet had carried her across the stage like a nymph, light and vibrant.  Even though she had gripped her muscles to hold a shaky arabesque, her face had never wavered.  Nothing in her life had left so thrilling than to stand posed as the heavy, red velvet curtain fell to thunderous applause.  Her body hummed and her soul threatened to escape.

When her partner, a young, roguishly handsome German rushed to join her, she leapt into his waiting arms.  Her tutu crushed between, but it was an old, familiar feeling from months and years of rehearsal.  He took her face in his hand and brought a beaming forehead to her own.  She couldn’t hear his congratulations over the applause and excitement of the other dancers but she felt the same.  Too many hours had passed between them not to know each other’s mind.

A stage manager clapped her hands; a loud smacking sound and dancers hurried to beautifully straight lines, her partner and herself apart from the rest.  She practically bounced on her toes as the curtain rose and so too, the mass of well dressed, eager attendees.  They led the crops through their first bows and she stood still as her partner took his turn to hoots and whistles.  When he motioned to her, she was almost too struck with emotion to move.

Her legs shook and she willed energy through them to keep them from appearing so.  This performance had been her first that she had led.  From this moment, nothing would remain the same and each toe-ball-heel step forward was a step through a painting of change.  She had leapt from an invisible edge and the wind had caught her wings and carried her.

A stage hand hurried out with a bouquet like she had seen dozens of times, but it was now her arms they were laid in.  She cradled them and dropped into the bow she had practiced dozens of times over the past week.  Her hand floated to her chest, her head dropped and she dipped low and graceful as silk.

At the bottom, she paused and in that pause, the world stopped.  She would never again take her first solo bow and she wanted to remember everything; the smell of roses and their leaves, the head of the stage lights, the sound of a chorus of whistles, all of it.  Her body took it all in and when she rose, her face to the audience, her smile was grateful and overwhelmed.

From outside her body, she saw herself turn, pull the single, best rose and hand it to her smiling partner.  He took it with a nod and drew it to his lips, his first single rose too.  She saw herself reach a hand back to him and he, kiss her hand to a roar of applause.  She knew the rumours would burst with tales of budding romance.  The both knew the dangers of such things, so instead, they shared a secret smile and she rejoined him at his side.

They took a great company bow before the curtain dropped again.  More congratulations circled but eager dancers trickled off to meet their admirers at the stage doors.  She stayed on the stage for as long as she could, the roses in her arms, drinking in the floor.  For as long as she could, she was going to stay in her tutu, her pointe shoes and savor this dream that was now her reality.

She pictured a little girl in her room, pretending this moment was real.  That little girl stood in her practice clothes, soft slippers on her feet and a stuffed animal for a bouquet.  The reality of what she was practicing was a far off dream.  Now, the little girl wasn’t just pretending, but living it.  Shivers trailed down her slender spine.

Her moment of reflection was short.  The crowd wanted to meet the new star.  A stage hand came to collect her, gently taking the flowers to place them in vases for her dressing room.  There was a guiding hand on her elbow.  Before it disappeared, she glanced over her shoulder drinking in the last moments and capturing them for her memories.  When the stage slipped from view, she gave a quick waltz turn, smiling at the stage hand, giggling.  She was once more that little girl with her teddy bear, practicing her bow.

Week Seven: Snow White

I don’t even know where this one came from.  Well, I do…  It came from the first line and just took on a life from there.

Snow White
February 13th, 2014

I live behind the sunflower patch
Where their faces spin to catch the sun
But there behind them, nestled in the shade of old oaks
I live
I do not live alone, for there are eight of us
They go out and dig and drive and come home
Jolly, tempered, weathered, ill, intelligent, quiet and tired
Some are bearded, some are not but all of them like
Fathers, uncles, cousins
They care for me and I, for them
In what ways I can
I cannot repay them for giving me shelter
Scooping me up out of the darkness
With warm blankets, tea and a meager soup
When all else was against me
There men were there
They have kept me safe from harm
From the woman who plays at being my family
All for roses and snow and ebony
Here I have green and gold and clear blue sky
I pray that I will always
Leave her to her parties
I have my bundle of new family
Out here, behind the sunflower patch
Where we work and laugh and sing
Old oaks dance to the wind and apples tumble nearby
Where I hide and
Where I live
I live happily by and by

Week Six: Frozen

I have a back log of things to post…whew…but that’s a good thing.  I means I have been keeping up with my resolution.  So here’s Week Six, and no, it wasn’t inspired by the movie, though I guess it could if you wanted it to.

Frozen
February 5th, 2014

The sunlight glistens
bouncing off me in a thousand rays,
Each a rainbow,
A small miracle of light.
A heart stopping wind
Slides around me,
Floating off my skin,
Whistling in my ears.
A white whisper dances in my eyes,
Each twist and curve with a dancer’s grace,
Perfect and cold.
I am a part of this ballet.
The howling in the painful, still night.
Where the boot crunches, there I am.
A snap of a glazed twig,
Or the blinding light of dawn on white,
My heart is crystal and clear.
My limbs heavy with flakes.
My skin unbending, flawless.
I am dreaded and loved,
Cherished and tossed aside.
I am the white dark before dark light.
I am cold…
Too cold.
I am frozen.

Week Five: it’s all a verse

That iPad Air commercial with Robin Williams was everywhere last week and it still is, but for good reason.  It’s catchy and exciting and inspiring.  The next thing I know, I’m writing my own verse…

 

Verse
Inspired by the Robin Williams iPad Air commercial
January 31st, 2014

My verse. My verse?
What verse should go here?
What words are adequate to romanticize a life?
A Shakespearean sonnet perhaps
It bloometh e’er long a’fore the sun
Or a musical lyric meant to be belted in the spotlight
Up an octave, down an octave, hold that note
What if all the world’s a stage?
Girl: (with tears in her eyes, she crosses R) but it can’t be lost forever
Or a few waltzing steps
Grande ronde de jambe, step, step, arabesque en pointe
A whoosh, whoosh of a police call box
An imaginary land where elves and men and orcs fight for a lost ring
Swords of light, teleporters, an unsolved murder
All fiction. All real.
Is this our verse?
Our stamp in time?
Is it a bruised knees on an empty swing?
A champagne toast to love to the end
The faith in God who will love us, hold us, guide us
Our tears at the end of a book while soaking in a tub
Dreams of far off, fantastical places we’ve seen on screen
The yearning to see sunlight in frozen winters
A bow at the end of a show, roses at our feet
Is this the mark of a verse?
Is the book important? Or the bruise?
The love? The pain? The confusion in between?
The Jedi? The vampire? The Dark Knight on pages?
What verse can hold it all?
Can we even ask it to carry the burden?
My verse? What verse? A verse.
A fading footprint in a mass of stars

Week Four: It’s about the animals

Last week I was horribly ill so I spent a lot of time with TLC, HGTV, Animal Planet, and you get the trend.  In the process I wrote this ode to homeless pets everywhere… 

Lament of the Forgotten
for the animals shivering in the cold
January 25th, 2014

The ground is cold beneath me
It’s where I lay my head
A chain
A rope
A lock
It keeps me here
A leaky roof
No roof
It doesn’t matter
This is where I stay
Forgotten
Unwanted
Abandoned
In my throat
Tied up tight
My plea
My whine
My beg
For one warm glance
To lock eyes and know I am
Home
Loved
Warm
But here I am lost
Praying that tomorrow will change it all
Find me
Hold me
Kiss me
Break these bindings and fill me
Scoop me up on your warm arms
Don’t leave
Don’t look away
Don’t hurry by
See my bed, the cold dirt
See my chains, they burn
See how empty and thin I am
Hear me
See me
Save me

 

Week 3: A weird shorty

I’m feeling rather on top of this thing this week.  Now, this one is a weird one-off type of thing.  I can’t explain it and I have no idea if it wants to be a longer story to just stay here.  We’ll see.

They came.
January 15, 2014

The buildings crashed down around us, a cacophony of explosions, falling debris and the screams of the human race.  Feet trambled the ground and arms shoved anything and everything.  It was an exodus that had only ever been seen in fiction.  Some hid.  Some ran.  Some tried to welcome them.  All of them failed.  There wasn’t any interest in preserving our kind.
            I escaped to our cabin deep in the woods with my older brother.  We left the truck behind a full day’s walk to try and hide our trail.  He wouldn’t let me stumble or fall behind and in his eyes I saw the reason.  Behind his eyes there was a primal, gutteral fear; the fear of extinction.  It felt it too and it filled us enough to reach the meager safety of an old, familiar home.
            The walls were covered with old family vacations, birthday parties and reunions.  Every sing person in those photographs were probably dead, or missing.  They screamed pain and heartbreak in their smiles at us, but whispered encouragement and hope that perhaps we could be like bigfoot and survive.  I certainly hadn’t given up hope that we could be a part of the miracle few to live on.
            My brother could hunt and I was good at fishing and we could both fumble our way through campfire cooking.  We had most of what we needed stocked up for a few months and enough of our father’s hunting books to go further, though our cellphones ceased to work and there was no news to be found on the radio.  In our little cabin we were cut off from the world and the world was cut off from us.  I prayed.
            The first sign of survivors came from the river where I fished.  They came by boat and oars and huddled together with wide eyes.  We shared a meal of fish and they shared their story of flight.  Neither of us shared any eye contact, being too personal to connect with a stranger.
            Half their party were lost.  Some to injury, some to illness but most of them were snatched in the woods, on trails, roads and abandoned buildings before they took to the little boat.  Where they were taken, no one could say, but bodies were never found.  They made grave markers anyway.
            We invited them to stay but they were like deer with the scent of a predator in their noses.  They were off before the sunset, drifting down river to whatever fate had for them.  The woods were silent again but they no longer felt like a warm blanket.  They were filled with dangers and ghosts.
            From then on, we did all of our hunting and gathering together.  In the land of modernity, we had never managed to keep touch, but now we were insperable, like childhood.  In time, we moved in sync and words became useless.  Instead we wrote.  Together we knew it was important to leave behind some record that we lived.  They hadn’t stamped us out completely.  Each word was a silent rebellion, screaming to be read.
            Fall.  Winter.  Spring.  We scratched out a living, two woodland creatures haunted by our own luck and lonely in our separation.  What few survivors we had seen had ceased to exist months ago and the only sounds we had were our own voices and we tired of them quickly.  We knew, somewhere in our souls that we would live and die together and alone.  Separate.
            Summer brought new challenges.  My brother took ill and never quite recovered.  I watched him whither from an athletic man to a starving skeleton.  I left him in the cabin to hunt on my own, hoping the rest would heal him and bring him back to me.  Each time I returned, I dreaded peering in; too afraid his soul would be gone from there.  Each time he turned pale, drawn, and fading eyes to welcome me back.  But I knew time was working against us.
            Then he was gone one day.  I came back to find our frayed couch empty of his long, pale form and a note fluttering in the summer breeze.  I searched the woods for days before exhaustion took me and the inevitability that he was well and truly gone and that his time was done here.  So, like the boat survivors, I built my own grave marker for him and huddled in the now very empty, souless cabin, my grief consuming me.  He might have thought that dying without me would spare me some great pain, but the loneliness would take me faster than sorrow.
            Hunting was easier, providing for only myself but I shied away from humanity whenever I heard it, running from the sound of voices and drifting off into the shadows.  But I could only hide for so long before what was left found me, curled by the fire place, scribbling away in a meager show of respect for a now dead brother.
            They burst into my home, took it by force, though I had nothing for them to take.  I listened as they played headgames with my desperation.  They told me beautiful tales of human colonies, of resistance and hope.  I clung to it with split finger nails and cracked lips.  Tiny spaces in my soul filled because there was nothing else it wanted more than to be filled, even with far distance hope-filled propoganda. 
            They gave me a charge: to be a safe haven for those whose goal was our own; to be a way station in this wilderness.  I held on to that charge like a drowning victim to a life jacket.  It drove me with a purpose I hadn’t seen since our fist days of flight.  I readied the cabin for visitors, worked on filling my shelves and set up spaces for sleeping.  I chopped logs and made markers of hunting trails and the best places to fish.  I found ways to bring life into the cabin so that life might leave it and fight for it.
            Several small groups came through from summer to fall.  Each one was haggard, blood stained and battle tested.  They kept me safe and I kept them alive.  They were passing ships and I, the safe harbour.  Wamrth and comfort renewed my faith in our survival as a species as I listened to their horror stories of fighting, bodies and little lines drawn in the sand.
            In the fall, I heard them.  They were hunting, searching for my heartbeat.  I ventured out and hunted less and less on my own and before long, my visitors became few and far between.  With each pass, they came closer to my little home and the little light of the rebellion out in the woody dark.  They kept their search and came closer and closer until one night I could feel them on me.  It was a terrified hum in my heart, reverberating through my fingers and toes.
            I was alone, frantic to find my pen and paper.  I had one shot, one chance to write my letter and ensure that I wouldn’t be wiped from the records.  I scribbled what I hoped were words smeared with tears and sealed it, stuffed it in a shoe box full of other scribbles and tucked it under the floorboards.  My only hope was that someone would find them and remember.

And then, they came.