Sunday, July 31, 2011

Voices Through Skin- A Book Review

It has taken me weeks to finish this book. That is not a bad thing. First, because I have been a bit afraid to really let the words seep in under my skin. So many things Theresa Senato Edwards speak about in this collection could be about me, or someone close to me. Will I begin to see these things folded so neatly and put away in a box? The key to its lock swallowed, maybe hidden somewhere in my heart. Where we so often hide, all things.

The cover art is great too!

Second, because it is a book that needs quiet time to take in every word, each stanza, and to digest what Theresa has taken such care to share. I also have had company for a month and wanted so badly to have that quiet time, but it never came until this past week. I suspect I will be reading this book more down the road.

What I would hope for all poets is, we wish for our work, to create inspiration when read. One of her poems, page 77, 'On Your Back' brought to light something I myself had wanted to write about. Something many women of my generation do have neatly folded and locked away- rape. In this poem Theresa is actually talking about Lupus, but the title sparked something. This book is a wonderful look through her lens of life in our skin.

Her words:

I'm reminded-
perseverance on the skin,
soft lives branded,   involuntary.

My own poem has come out of these words. I wish I could share more of her work, but frankly, you should buy your own copy. Pick one up, make some tea, maybe cut up an apple and sit back to relax. Then pick up her book and begin your own journey into some self discovery. Let some healing begin.

Voices Through Skin, by Theresa Senato Edwards, Sibling Rivalry Press, 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's All Backwards, or am I

Just out of a moment, a feeling, maybe for fun...I wrote this. Partly because last night must have been a much needed cry, which for some crazy reason, at least for me, crying can bring up old pain. Past hurt we stick in a bread box, placing it in a dark corner. When we begin to feel hunger calling and start poking around for a bite, we might find things we really thought we had eaten, or thrown out.

Going backwards, before the waters rushed in, I am sharing, how as the homemaker in my house, and how I have every detail planned for the week, including meals, things can throw me off. That is when some food bandit eats something they are not suppose to eat, and I have to plan a new strategy. It throws me off, and I am a Gemini. Yes, it is written we are suppose to bounce back, resilient and all that stupid astrology crap. Normally I am up faster than I am down.

Hubby for some reason thought a huge, and I said huge container of orzo salad was his lunch when he left for work...he says because there was a single piece of chicken and gravy in there. He ate the whole thing, yes men can eat more than their share at times. I am really trying to keep him on a portion control diet, due to high cholesterol and a growing belly. Beware, I am the diet master.

He does complain his pants don't fit and has to buy a bigger size each year. Hmmm, so my solution is to help him, but if he continues to eat my predestined entree sides, four cups worth, then whose fault is it. Pasta is one of those foods that can really put on the pounds if you do not exercise regularly. I know this personally. Okay, I know, I can go on.

I had this beautiful Korean BBQ marinated and on the grill when I discovered he had eaten our side dish. What to do? Cry of course, after I blew up, but once the flood gate opened, well it all went to hell in a hand basket, in a manner of speaking. I made some boiled potatoes, only a few, because I knew he would eat them all if I had made too much (I usually make his plates at home, a most certain portion control method). I ate a small amount and kept quiet the rest of the evening.

Did someone just ask why the right container was not handed to him in the morning? Do I look like Mrs. Beaver and I am waiting at the door with his lunch box? I was on the sofa reading like a modern woman. 

Well this morning came, I still felt some amount of melancholy, so, I wrote this sappy piece. Heh! Sappy! Get it? Its better than what I used to do, eat a box of doughnuts, or two, and put my health at risk. Something I grew up seeing my mom do when sadness hit the fan, or other things. Oh, how do we deal with pain when it seeps out. See , the happy-go-lucky resilient me has returned.

Next time I'm hiding my beloved orzo, uh, side dish in the back of the fridge, in the dark corner with my pain.

Cut This Hackberry Some Slack

Shaking trees let go
of their seed, their leaves
in revelation of powers at hand
do we doubt the appendage 
set forth behind reason

loss is a strong inertia, unwanted
trembling when pain rises
up through the ground
filling the trunk with disease
some splitting extremities

a single fruit falls, barely marred
outwardly it continues to roll
away away, polishing its self
flesh sweetened by time
sustaining nature’s purpose

decaying limbs lay
at mounds of moved dirt
nomadic life taking over
adding color to landscape
whispering war to passerby's

when the wind is quiet
branches furrow inward
embracing isolation, grasping sanity
an aging tree continues to reach
ominous outlined horizons call

This piece is also laced with something I saw on Marcus Goodyear's post about Mother Theresa and doubt...

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

A Review of 'Flash Fiction'- 72 Very Short Stories

By the time you read one of my blog rants, or even one of my poems you could have read two or three of this books very short stories- Flash Fiction: 72 Very Short Stories. I have wanted to read a full collection of flash fiction in published form for a while. Enjoying writing them myself, I have wanted to compare what sits in my FF files to what some would consider really good, or publish worthy. They are all wonderful, and I have made it through the book twice now.

What is flash fiction? (For those of us who are just beginning to develop our writing knowledge)

Interesting how I found so many great places that explain what flash fiction is, while looking for others reviews. One for example goes into a very thought provoking explanation and comparison to prose poetry, Cheek Teeth: The mouthpiece of TRACHODON, written by managing editor of Cheek Teeth, Katey Schultz. I plan on following her site, and submitting my work to TRACHODON.

Hey Michael Madsen the writer/poet, this is another hint!

You can most certainly find the meaning of flash fiction on Wikipedia, read Zinta's Review, and in a few of my 'How To' writing manuals, but it is basically 'a very short story': a moment captured in time, and if you blink, well you might just miss the explosion. My kind of writing, for an ADHD kind of writer. I am working on some much longer books, but have trouble staying focused, with so many ideas floating in my head, there are too many to write. This book will sit out for my company to read if I ever keep them waiting long.

Do I recommend others to read this book? 

Order this book, or read 'Flash-Fiction-Very-Short-Stories' if you see it laying around someones living room!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Poem Share, and a rambling

I pride myself in being all about discovery. I love to discover new things. Especially poetry. My book shelf is lined with old and new poetry books. Some I understand, some I do not. I will not give up trying to discover the hidden meanings in these poets work.

To my surprise an actor, Michael Madsen writes poetry. I went on a journey to read as much of his work as I could the past few days. He has a blog and another website for his work, and his books are a bit pricey. Must be nice to have enough money to self publish all eight of your books, and get so much attention. The privilege of being a Hollywood A-lister I suppose. I know, I know, sounds like a rant. But, I did begin to find some of his work I felt was worthy of praise.

He writes about his life, which we all do, he writes about fellow actors who have influenced him, partied with him, or taken their lives, and he writes the word 'fuck' in a lot of poems. I visualize a rough and tough bad boy here. Matter of fact he and I might even get along in person. I saw his mom is a writer, so maybe that is the talent well from which poetry springs up. We all have something to say, right?

For years I dreamed of being published through a high end house, and even thought about self publishing...soon I realized there was a lot to learn about writing poetry, even just writing since I was years behind due to my daughters illness and my job as a mom and bread winner, but I am glad I found so many of you out there that help me in my own self discovery.

However Michael, if you are out there, maybe listening, or even give a poop...try submitting your work to journals and on-line publications like I do. Let your poet peers have a glimpse at some of that work you write and give their two cents. How about standing up behind a podium and read at an open mic with us. Do they have A-lister Open Mics? Maybe you should start one, and invite other poets to attend. I would pay for an airplane ticket to see you read in person.

I wrote this after watching a few of his youtube poetry vids...

If You Sit Still Long Enough You Begin To Think

One afternoon
I watched actor Michael Madsen
read poetry behind a podium
my feet would have preferred
to move closer to the outside
to the real world

he writes?
and it’s pretty good?
the voice of a rough and tough
Hollywood bad boy has my attention
I like watching him ride his chopper on youtube
his words
his poetry, make me reminisce
about past mistakes

in grade school, I wanted to act
before my parents moved the family
to a new neighborhood, and a new school
where red hair, freckles and four eyes stopped all progress
halted my dreams of a part in the Christmas pageant
in which I was chosen to play the lead angel

back in the old neighborhood, and school
where I left my desires
my best foot forward
a door opened, for a younger would be
my memory walks their hallways
my could’as remain tightly folded in anger

Michael’s words also made me realize
I always wanted to walk along the golden coast
ride motorcycles and sleep with my groupie bad boys
to count their tattoo’s
shoot guns off roof tops while drinking Jack-n-coke
snort coke in club bathrooms with other A-lister’s
see my name in big lights, and in gossip magazines
next to theirs

I did ride motorcycles in my youth
rode midnight freight trains across Texas
smoked weed in the caboose with conductors
got my first tattoo after my daughter passed away
I was forty three
there is still so much more to try

Mr. Madsen
the poet in him and I share some of the same scares
but we run in different circles
maybe we run from the same past
but my curtain goes up when I wake up every morning
words form lines written by my own hand
no rehearsals
no time for regrets

Today, what I have
and have not are all I ever will need.

(First draft, and will be taken down if I decide its publish worthy...E)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Beginning of The End

My lil'sista has gone back home. She had to be at the airport in prime hot hot heat traffic time. Ugh! My air conditioner decided to stop working in the van. Not a pretty site when I rolled the windows down for air and she spent the enter time in the floor shielding her perfectly combed, dried, and hair sprayed do. Some things never change! LOL

We had a good time in NYC last weekend. We stayed at the Millinium Hilton, across from the World Trade Center Site and Memorial. Lots of building going on there. She was not used to so much walking. I do know I will never take her out to a fancy up scale restaurant again. A waste. I thought the whole staff was going to throw her out over the steak not being well done enough. Yes, she ruined an expensive cut of meat and they were not happy. My sister is a picky eater. Meat and potatoes + bland = her.

I do have to give her credit, she liked my goat cheese gnocchi and the risotto I made for hubby, and asked me to show her how to cook it. I doubt she will make it at home, because her boyfriend eats the same way she does. We shall see.

Her and I are so night and day. I love her, but we could not live together. It would have to be an apartment with two separate sides; with her own bedroom, bath, kitchen, and living area. Her side would have no stove or oven. Why, because her diet consists of doughnuts, pound cakes, can tuna, and sardines...oh and crackers with chunks of Colby cheese as she complains she is fat. No exercise and no vegetables, because she is one of those who think skinny people just starve themselves if they gain a pound or two. She is my parents all over again.

I told her that at our age we have to work twice as hard, and it only begins to sage if you do not tone it up.

It may seem that I am not that crazy about my sister, but I do love her. There will just be a long break between visits, as all families have their ups and downs...or it wouldn't be family!

Okay enough that silly complaining, we have our house back, and I have a pile of books to read and review.

Here is a not so great video of the WTC area across from our room. Its not a good video, but gives you an idea of all the construction going on over there...yeah, I am sure I get my share of complaints for not being so perfect, Heh!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Have a 'Wet' Weekend...

...or maybe I should say...Stay Cool...

My lil'sista and I are going into NYC for the weekend after we take care of a family emergency.

She wants to see The Big Apple and I got us a high end hotel room so we can have a great dinner, drinks, laughs, maybe a club or two, hit the sack as late as we want, and then we hit Atlantic City. Woo Hoo! She has one week left, so I have to pack in as much as I can these past few days. Right?

Okay, confession...We will have to come home eventually to rest up, because hubby's birthday is next week. For a month he and I are the same age, but he will age more in a few days, and he needs his rest. Age before beauty as Mary says!

We spent the day at the pool filming Jessie Carty's new poem. She has something up her sleeve, but I thought I would take the opportunity to share one of my 365 Days X Ten poems for you in a different fashion...and yes, I love the water. There is 100 SPF sunscreen involved, or I would resemble a lobster. Besides it goes away after a day, and freckles remain.

Six Sense by Elizabeth Stelling

Here is one I took on the train while we were in the Poconos...'Silly Sister'

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raw Footage

We survived our family white water rafting excursion on the weekend, but with bumps and bruises (they show up days later); it has taken Mary and I a few days to recover physically and mentally. None the less we are forever changed by what happened, and how we use these situations to grow. I saw this quote on facebook and it fits...

  • A truly happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery while on a detour." Author unknown

I consider myself one of those truly happy people.

Today is the 11th year anniversary of my daughters passing. My life forever changed. Really the day she was born, but facets move about in obscure ways.

I woke up extremely early and could not go back to sleep. Something I have not done in a while. Maybe an unconscious awakening, maybe not. I need rest because today I have my homeless 'Homefront' meal project this afternoon. We will cook and package food for at least 90 people who are living in motels around the city, many of them are children.

I discovered this photographer Greg Friedler (mentioned on here once before), a New Orleans born artist who was highlighted in a documentary called Stripped: The Naked Las Vegas. His work is fantastic, and great for some inspiration prompt writing. Last night I decided to check his website for his latest 'Daily Compositions'. In doing so the site offered a link to some of his 'Naked' work. Viewing some of this work, I was inspired to write this for Jessie Carty's Thursday Poem Share.

This 'Mattress' link is my inspiration...Thanks Greg for your wonderful contributions to my life...

A Window Junkie's Next Fix

Eyes bend forward
taking in

and exhale life,

saying goodbye to innocence.

Lips become dry
turning tables

giving words back,

finalizing kisses
swept across the skin.

Fickle hearts move on

never remembering a name
the reason, or last time

love stroked Eden’s cradle.

Infernal fires rained down
closing doors,

never knowing
the side
a place, a corner

where hurt felt like

a last breath,
seedy back lot rooms,

before dawn gave way

to ghostly stains.

(Photo above was taken on our Jim Thorpe train ride along side the river...looks mild right?)

Monday, July 11, 2011

As The World Churns

Drama. Yes there was weekend drama. We are back from our Poconos excursion and skirmish. The problem is the trip turned out to be a bit scary for my sister, two other rafters and myself. We went white water rafting, and I assumed it was the beginners level when I signed us up. I told the girl on the phone we wanted beginners level. It was about three hours into our rowing a raft with six people, all first timers, five adults and an eleven year old. Pretty much following along in about the middle the whole trip. The rapids we hit were scarier at the beginning with mild ones here and there.

On the second tier of class three rapids we noticed a raft was stuck on a big rock and we headed straight for them. Being other large objects we bumped into so far, we figured, or I did, that we would bounce over to the side and go down, and a guide would help them off. You do gain momentum once you begin going down the tiny water falls (rapids) and have little control (maybe without experience).

Our raft went up on top of them and threw me, the lady and her husband in the front off, then my sister was in the air, and went into the water last. Luckily she is smaller than the rest of us and she drifted quickly down stream towards the other rafts. My husband and the couples eleven year old daughter never left the boat, which totally was just freaky.We assume their weight kept them on the other raft, but then was pushed back down into the water. He stayed with her to secure the raft over to the shores edge.

I honestly thought the raft was going totally upside down, but it did not. I hit the water first and felt my favorite blue and world traveled Cape May Ferry hat coming off so I grabbed it thinking "Oh noooo you don't!", then began churning around and around in the rapids and current of the river. It was up to my chest as I tried to stand up (which they tell you not to do) but other rafts pushed me back under, and went over me. I might have thought someone would have tried to grab me, but none did. Not sure if they even saw us. The whole time I was swallowing lots and lots of water trying to catch a breath as I rolled over and over.

The couple managed to hang onto a big rock and were pulled back into the raft by the guide and my husband. Another boat saw my sister down stream and began to pull her in, but just as I came up for air again, back floating (trying to breath as an asthma attack came on) she heard me saying "someone please help me" and pushed off of their raft to come after me. Idiot, but I know she loves me, but I told her she should have thought of herself first like the guide said in the safety talk.

Another guide in a kayak came upon us and I grabbed the front as he had instructed. She was holding onto my leg, or life jacket. She might have drowned me just from that alone. We had a talk about this, but "she wasn't going on without me" came out of her mouth. Both of us were pretty banged up. I did not sleep at all last night. I now know what it is like when someone is drowning, or stuck in a washing machine *smiling*. One of my biggest fears is too drown, and I was afraid of water until I was eighteen. Even though my dad threw us in over the boat as kids. I learned how to swim before I left home and am pretty strong, but currents are stronger.

Outside of this, I enjoyed the thrill of the rapids and being on the river. I am a water girl no matter what, and would do it again (without her). The time I have spent in the gym and swimming the past year helped. I am not as sore today as one might be without the exercise. Phew! is all I can say. We got the full experience of the white water rapids and those were the mid-level experience. Hubby said maybe we should have done the beginner/family trip. No one in our raft knew about rowing. Hubby and I have had some experience and you have to be in sync. Lil'sista and the couples daughter were totally useless. The couple's hubby was suppose to be the leader. They asked me too, maybe next time I will do it. They do over pack those rafts, one of the complaints from the couple. I do not think if we had less or one more we could have avoided that freak accident. Chalk it up to experience.

I have to say, I love my sister but in dangerous situations...she does not hold up well in panic situations. She even admits she did not hear anything at the safety training.

I went back into the water today and am working out the sore muscles...she cried like a baby just bending over.Thanks Brian (my trainer) for pushing me this past year to get in shape. I am going to the gym tomorrow and restart my training with him. I had muscle strength which helped me get through this ordeal.

(How did I take these photos? I bought a Aquapac container which fit my IPhone, so it stayed dry and I got these great photos) I also posted more trip photos on facebook.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Right Under Our Noses

What is going on in your neck of the woods? Are you sure there is not something going on right outside your door as 'normal' life goes on inside? Things that make us go Hmmm...

Now for some real TMI: My house is upside down right now. Discovered my sister came with unwelcome guests, so we are cleaning and spraying everything. Drives me nuts since my daughter had the same problem three times when she was in elementary school. My best friend in Dallas had the same thing happen to her three daughters, for whom I had to cut all of their long long hair completely off. A part of life we wish would keep away...I am amazed at how people are when little things like this invade their lives...maybe this is a good poem subject...

My sister now is sporting a very short do, like me. The hopes of growing my hair out will have to wait till next year. I guess all those years cutting hair left me with some experience to notice important details which can affect others.

Isn't life grand...and I am saying it with a smile on my face...

Dream Walker
posthumous shores

I roamed the streets
fifteen hundred miles away
along la Perla, shanty lined beach
each on top of the next
body filled coffins
off, wood, clay and sand
skirting high fortress walls
built to protect an old city
I raise my hands
in surrender

long ago, world wanderers
discovered beauty and riches
moved mountains, so
man could attain glory
is this why we desire
to conquer new places
seek adventure
for our own personal gain

sleep gives way to dreams
of ghost continuing down hallways
standing at her door, the room
seems smaller than remembered
so dark, even with lights
outside, neighbors brick walls
close in like ocean waves.

It's not finished, but I will come back to it. Have not had time to write this week with all the goings on, and a weekend of white water rafting and favorite thing to do...Peace and love to you all!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Strong Verbs

Whats up everyone?


I accept what is laid before me.

However, I just found out a publication lost my submissions for their yearly journal. Sadly, they admit some submissions went into a spam folder in spite they sent me an acceptance email (which I sent to the editor to show her, since she said she did not have my work in her folder). I had been wondering why no other email had come to let me know about the book my chosen poem would appear in. Oh well... I of all people know to look in the spam folder before deleting items. Oh well...

I was looking forward to sharing. On the other hand, 'My Father Was A Jazz Singer' did appear in a publication on-line June 19th and I forgot to post it. Oh well... One publication is better than none, I suppose.

On another note...lil'sista and I are having fun. There are a few nips and tucks here and there, but I will survive. Or should I say, we will survive.

Its been a while, but we went to see this really great band after dinner last night. Dinner was a bit 'sweet' for her and my taste, hubby loved it all, but we settled for fish and chips at the pub watching 'Jagged'. Great music guys!