Long summer evenings
The blue of the sky unmarred by a single cloud
Blooming pear trees
The second snowfall of the year, when you’d collect bowlfuls to make snow cream
Making mashed potatoes
Robin Williams and Harrison Ford movies
Captain James T. Kirk guiding the Enterprise through space
Etta James and Sam Cook
Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”
Singing Christmas carols for shut-ins
Reading Taps for Private Tussie and Watch for a Tall White Sail
Taking nature photographs
Hand-stitched quilt squares
White wedding gowns
My brother’s humor
My mother’s skin
A baby’s giggles
Walks with my dog Roxie
Sharing poems with wonderful friends
Image credit: Photography of a coneflower with a bee is by Patricia Hope.
Night is our only refuge, when bigotry,
racism and intolerance are asleep.
Hate has been stalking us who aren’t
like most people – by birth or by choice.
We find sanctuary in a place where there’s
no need to speak out.
The doctor would stand next
to the billiard table, one hand in his
lab coat’s pocket, reminding us to be
unhesitant in returning for refills.
First time I see the couple
near the doorway – lady with brown
shawl looking stunned by the spoon
she’s bending without touch,
gentleman with a hat and Anton
LaVey’s eyes. The schizoid is
here, nuns disguised as men staring
at the doll on their table. I’m both
in my room and here to dry up
and cry, invisible.
Image credit: Vincent van Gogh painted ‘The Night Café’ (original French title: Le Café de nuit) in Arles in September 1888), courtesy of https://www.vincentvangogh.org/
We relish lounging by the lake,
watching emerald waves lap
the shallow, grass-lined shore,
summer breeze caressing our faces,
nestled under canopy of oak leaves.
Hearing the cluttered world stutter
and slow its mind-numbing whirl
on a tilted, groaning axis.
James Baldwin, the 20th century black intellectual, renaissance author and cultural critic, once observed: “History is the present. We carry our history with us. To think otherwise is criminal.”
In addition to recognizing African American trailblazers of centuries past during Black History Month, it’s also instructive to consider more recent history. That’s why a compelling new book by historian Elwood David Watson, Ph.D. is recommended reading: Keepin’ It Real: Essays on Race in Contemporary America (University of Chicago Press).
There are many different beliefs regarding “Valentine’s Day,” and the most popular one is the celebration of love. When it became commercial; buying boxes of heart shaped chocolates and red roses, is irrelevant. I want to share with my readers why this day is so important to me.
When I was young, every year my father would come home with a box of chocolate for my mother and a beautiful card that she’d tear over. (A bit dramatic for my taste, even as a child, but I wasn’t the one reading the card and at the young age of seven, I didn’t care to.) My father would also buy me a little gift. One year he bought a little heart nick knack and I loved it. I kept it on my dresser and the red clashed with my pink bedroom walls. When my brother got older, he’d buy my mother and me a card and gift. The year he gave us both a porcelain nick knack of a little girl wearing a white dress with long braided blond hair holding a red heart against her chest, I hugged him and had been so thankful. I still have that porcelain girl today. Even at that age, those gifts had more feeling than chocolate or flowers and that’s when the day became special, until it became more so when I met my husband…
A wispy one gets tangled up
beneath the lampshade, sets off
the smoke alarm when it flares up
in purple flame.
Another grows a pair of arms
and legs. It sprouts a healthy beard,
goes off to art school, starts living on
its own. I hear it’s opened up a studio
out on the coast of California.
A sticky one is spinning
on the ceiling fan. I try to peel him off,
to take him back, with spit,
with WD40, with lemon wipes,
but somehow still he orbits above
my head on quiet afternoons,
just watching, listening.
But how I love it when
one slips between my pores,
the kind that just evaporates,
floats past the fan
and out into the February sky,
where pigeons pluck it up like breadcrumbs.
Image credit: Dimples & Tangles Abstract Art, Abstract 2 by Jennifer Griffin
To live like bicycle bells,
and grease the build-up of
a life-thick heart as I pass
on the left. The chance
to tell a porch-front cardinal
about his art, to watch him
splash a print of red on sky-
-blue canvas. To learn to see.
To spread wild the love
of clay mugs, of clocks
that tick a minute off,
of granddad’s leather shoes
toe-scuffed and sole-worn,
of children’s books.
To lose myself. To be aware.
I do not ask for Much at all,
Image Credit: vintage tea cups, photography by Martin Vorel (Libreshot.com)