Bones

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To see the bones of lava,
The real bone,
You must have sand

When lava bears itself to sun
Pushes through Earth
To journey toward an unknown end
Kisses ocean and
Creates a new existence,
It’s not easy

Heat, where nearness may cause death,
Steam, if breathed too deeply, might suffocate
Yet, on its own, it endures
Moves towards a new
way, a way of being,
that must release
the heat of its fervor

Settled,
As journey completes,
Then comes rest

Time to cool in ocean’s
Caress, smooth it’s roughness,
Polish sharp places of brokenness
Giving way to gentle touch,
Patience, and presence

As shards round,
Creases weave and wave
Wisdom tells its story,
Sand listens
Dusting gratitude,
And lava becomes land.

 

Author’s Note:

I attended a retreat in Hawaii a few weeks ago. It was led by Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici. It was called Creativity Unleashed 2018. Through Intentional Creativity we delved deeply into ourselves to learn more, release more, and, for me. learn a bit about painting and Shiloh Sophia‘s 13 step intentional creativity process. I am also training to be a Red Thread Guide.

It was an overwhelming few days as I had to squeeze it into my school schedule. But every minute was a treasure to be mined and celebrated.

One morning I had intended to play with our watercolor set in my journal, but we stopped on the way to the hotel at Magic Sands Beach and this poem happened instead.

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MyPainting

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Creativity Unleashed 2018 Participants – Photo by Lacy Johnson Rootness

Beautiful Hand

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Man with a Newspaper, Eugene Ivanov
Czech Republic, Saatchi Art

She opened her zebra striped backpack and shook the contents onto the floor. She gave the backpack one more good shake. It plopped to the floor.

Thank god.

She thought she had forgotten it. After stuffing the other miscellany back into the pack, she grabbed the last item with her right hand and slipped into the big patchwork pocket she had sewn into the left side lining of her coat. She glanced quickly around as she stood up and jerked forward as the bus began moving.

Good. No one noticed.

She probably should have waited until she was at the back of the bus in her seat. But her stomach churned but when she remembered a turquoise flash of color as she walked out her front  door of the flat. Her heart was beating, fast. It beat faster and faster at the thought of the forgotten item left on the side table and she sitting there in the middle of everyone without it. Deep down she knew they would want it, even though they probably didn’t realize it. She couldn’t let them down. So she stopped in the middle of the aisle as she walked toward her seat on the bus and dumped everything out.

I love living in the city. No one pays attention to you. Weirdos do strange things all the time and no one wants to get involved.

So no one saw what she hid inside her coat. No one glanced up. Everyone’s nose was in a phone or tablet or Kindle. There was even one person with a newspaper, an actual newspaper, in front of his face. She decided to sit across from him. With that amount of coverage, he’d never see what she was going to do next.

Hahaha.

She laughed but quickly covered her mouth so she wouldn’t be heard. There was no reaction.  Nothing stirred from behind the newspaper.

Good. He didn’t hear me.

It was an odd sight. As she looked closer at her seatmate, she noticed the newspaper was upside down. As a matter of fact, it was a bit yellowed and crinkly and the front of it had a headline about the fire from two years ago.

Yep. That’s a two year old newspaper. What’s that all about?

It was his left hand she noticed next. His fingers were long and slender. There were no rings or no signs of any ring ever being on the fingers. His hands were wrinkled but his nails were immaculate. They were buffed shiny and filed to perfection. There were perfect little slivers of moon at each tip. But as she looked closer the slivers weren’t all the same size. A crescent started with the littlest fingernail and they grew larger with each finger. She couldn’t see his thumb, but she was almost positive it would be a full moon. She glanced to the right hand. It was gloved.

That’s odd.

Back to the other hand she marveled at the grace of his hand. It seemed kind and wise. It was a beautiful hand.

Wow. I bet he never bites his nails.

She looked at hers. There was a hangnail she missed earlier in the day. She bit it off.

That’s better.

Pure white stiff cuffs ringed his wrists. They were spotless and crisp. They were a little large, but she remembered her grandfather’s shirts. He had long arms and need special shirts tailored to his length. And they always seemed to make their way out from under his jacket sleeves. Her eyes continued up his arm.  A dark suit started where the cuff met the sleeve and worked its way up and behind the newspaper. She traced back down. A sparkle caught her eyes.

Yep. He has cufflinks. Wow.

They were gold with large sparkly red stones.

Could those be real rubies?

Her eyes looked up above the newspaper and saw only the top of his hat, a man’s hat. A business man’s hat like her grandfather’s. It was dark black, rounded on top with a thin black ribbon running around it. She couldn’t quite see the rim, but it had to be a bowler. It bobbled as if the hat was reading the paper and reacting to upside down news that was two years old.

I better get to work. We’re getting close.

They were sitting in the back, the last seats. Her back was blocked by the plexiglass wall covered with transit information. The man and his newspaper would cover the rest.

Quiet now, Claire. Don’t let anyone see.

Outside the window transformer lines clicked by. They were getting close.

Claire reached inside her coat and pulled out the item that would make all the difference. She carefully bent her head down. She glanced down the aisle and could see the tunnel looming. She didn’t like the dark and was sure the others in the bus would appreciate what she was about to do for them.

Her fingers knew exactly what to do. They slid the neon wig into place and with a push of a hidden button in the seam near her ear it began to glow an electric blue just at the perfect time. The bus faded into the tunnel and with rush hour traffic clogging the roads, the entire back of the bus would be lit up for the next ten minutes.

It’s crooked.

What?

The man with the beautiful hand and bowler hat didn’t move the paper. But in the neon light Claire could now see two glowy eyes looking at her from holes that had been carefully sculpted in the two-year-old yellow newspaper at exactly the perfect spot. They could not be seen in regular light, but in her neon glow she could see that the man with the beautiful hand and bowler hat could see everything that was going on.

She adjusted the wig.

Thank you.

You’re welcome?

Claire stared at the holes and tugged on it once more.

Too much.

What?

Too much.

Oh. Okay.

Another slight tug avoided frustration on the part of the man with the beautiful hand and bowler hat.

That’s better.

Thank you?

You’re welcome.

No one noticed Claire’s neon glow from the back of the bus.

No one notice the man with the beautiful hand and bowler hat.

And that’s what happens in the city.

Author’s Note:

Thursday Afternoon Writers met this afternoon. Tonight we each added words to our prompts and each of us wrote with a unique set of words and opening lines.

My words: Zebra.  Frustration.  Turquoise. Transformer. Neon wig – electric blue.

My opening Line: She opened her backpack and shook the contents onto the floor.

And I found the perfect image simply from a Google search!

The Bundle

Our writing group met this week. Silliness was afoot. This is what we needed so desperately this week. Thank you, Thursday Afternoon Writers, for help keeping me sane.

My opening line chosen at random: “Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing

All of us were challenged to use these words: Ire. Spellbinding. Small. Advantage. Trickster

 

The Bundle

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

I started the poem over and over for the last hour and a half. It had devolved into this:

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

Spellbinding words? Nope.

I could feel ire building. Usually, I can come up with something, but today was not that day.

I was writing at the coffee shop next to the park. I sat by the window even though it was cold outside. On top of that, the door opened every few minutes to blow its arctic breath across my back. I have no idea why I didn’t move. I guess it was in the stars that this would be my place for the day. Prophetic? Maybe.

It snowed the night before and there was fog. How could there be fog? Wasn’t fog supposed to happen when it was warm and then moisture and then some cold? The weather app said it was going to be forty degrees. Right.

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.”

There is was again. It was like a bad song you can’t get out of your head. You know when you pass the preschool and they are singing about a llama in pajamas and then you end up singing about that llama and its pajamas all day long? And the librarian shushes you, and the lady in line at the grocery store gives you a weird look, and you wake up in the middle of the night and take a shower to hoping to wash that llama in pajamas right out of your hair and down the drain? Yeah, that kind of song.

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

My nerves were getting a bit frayed and my third cup of coffee wasn’t helping.

The door opened again but this time a strong wind blew it all the way open, and what looked like a small brown bundle about the size of a large garbage bag rolled away from the opening into the street.

What was that? The door shut slowly. No one was standing there to open it or shut it. Did that thing open the door? I watched the bundle.

A car slid around it in an attempt to avoid it and ended up hitting the bench across the street. I could only sit there looking out the window and watch as if the wind had frozen me solid. People ran from the surrounding shops and some trudged through the snow from the park toward the bench, then past the car to where the bundle sat. They almost completely encircled the bundle, which now was motionless in the middle of the road. Luckily, I guess it was luck, people left an opening on my side so I had the perfect viewing of the small brown bundle.

A woman was helped out of the car.  She seemed okay as she stumbled towards the bundle, but it was the bundle everyone had their eyes on. First, it started to wiggle. Then an arm, then another, stretched themselves out from the rounded blob. As if they were on springs, two legs popped out and stretched just as the arms had done. We all just stared, even the woman from the car.

At last a head curled up from the top of the small bundle. It looked up and now it  seemed to resemble a person. Rolling from side to side until it righted itself, it stood up and walked back to the door of the coffee shop.

No one said anything. I couldn’t see its face. I could only make out a long scarf that was wrapped tightly around the neck and head leaving a slit for two small eyes. They peered at the door. Mittened hands and booted feet hid anything else that would have given us more details as to what was inside the small brown bundle.

It waddled with a slight limp. Someone ran to the door to hold it open and with a bit of a nod of thanks the bundle entered the coffee shop and began to look around. The bundle had a purpose, looking for someone or something it knew it needed to find.

As the head swiveled around stopping for a slight pause at each person, heads lined up along the outside of the window staring in at the bundle, steaming up the glass with their moist warm breath and freezing it into a frosted pane, eventually hiding their faces behind a curtain of patterned ice crystals.

The bundle turned with what seemed like straight legged stomps and its slitted eyes rested on mine. Mine!

Did I know what creature lurked inside the three foot brown bundle? Did it know me? Would this trickster take me on a journey to places to where I had never dreamed?

I watched as heads peeled themselves away from the window and went about their day. A police car pulled up to aid the woman and her now crunched front end. And as I turned back to find where the bundle has situated itself, there was no one left inside the coffee shop but myself, one barista, and the small brown bundle.

I was still seated as the bundle waddled up to the empty chair at my table, pull it out with its mittened hand and heaved itself up onto the seat, standing on top of the brown hardwood with brown booted feet.

I noticed I was holding my breath. I think I was afraid to breathe. I let it out and as I inhaled once more I watched as it’s eyes watched mine. The mittened hand began to unwind the rainbow colored scarf from around its head and neck.

Wait a minute. Had its changed colors since it walked into the warm? Wasn’t it brown when it was outside? I noticed the rainbow hued painting hanging on the wall behind what was once the small brown bundle, now a rainbow hued bundle. Was it my imagination, or did it do a chameleon thing and change to match its surroundings?

The scarf was long, longer than one could imagine. It unwound again and again and again until it was a heap on the floor almost as high as the tabletop. All that was left was a head covered in a rat’s nest of dirty golden hair, still with just a slit for the eyes to look through. The small rainbow bundle’s mittened hands made an opening through the hair where its mouth should be. In the stillness of the the coffee shop where I had once found solace to write, the bundle cleared its mucousy throat.

And what sounded like a voice that had not been in use for a long time, maybe forever, scratchy and tiny, came the words that had haunted my day,

“Sing, lover, sing!” How embarrassing.

It Snowed

snowflake

It snowed this morning.

With its whipped grey sky
I remember fragile flakes
resting on his silken black fur,
heavy breath rising to
mix with the day’s offering.

I welcome blessings
of sky and land, heartbeat
and smiles. I walk on
ice slick sidewalk and
remember flakes alight
on my outstretched palm,
for just a pause,
before their exsistence
fades and I am left
gaping, ready to receive
once more.

What I Didn’t Know

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What I didn’t know is that there must be a fall.
Not the one when leaves twirl to the ground,

a carpet of jewels as first chill fills the air. Nor
one where a catch sends me to earth’s surface

bracing against unforgiving ground. There is
the fall as I reach for something, planned

and seeded and bloomed, then poisoned
with ego, a duo walking two paths, not one.

Not those. No, not those. When I let all fall away,
open my hands and allow them to rest by my side,

clean out my heart, make room for nightfall
to fill in crevices, except for that one simple flame,

yes, there, so small I almost miss it, the Flame that is
always there when I let my worry and fear just sit

until my eyes adjust, I slow my gait and breathe,
and I begin to feel the warmth of that tiny
flame

growing, I allow it to seep out from every fissure for I
am broken open, no longer in control. It is there to light

my way, the way I continue on without map, without grasp, in
trust. I come to the precipice, nowhere else to go, no turning

back, toes curled over the edge, and I push off, leap, and there
is the fall into the arms of Spirit whispering I am enough.

 

Minotaur

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The boy hadn’t spoken since his twin
had gone.

One would never know they were twins. She was tall, willowy with short cropped hair of every shade of purple she could concoct. Her fingers were elegant and held rings with stones in shades to match. Her clothes were an amalgamation of flowy gauzes and soft worn cottons, belts of woven wools, and usually one or two scarves tied just so. All in colors of violet or plum or lilac. You get the idea. Her hazel green eyes were the perfect garnish.

And ballet slippers. Not just flats with hard soles and a small heel, but real soft pink ballet slippers. She wore them in rain, as well as snow. Her toes got cold and wet. It was her way of knowing she was still alive. Keeping in touch with what was real.

He was just plain. Medium height. Medium weight. Brown eyes and hair. Brown clothes and shoes. He was much like a bush of witches broom. When they were together, she was the bloom to his branches. He didn’t mind. From the time in the womb he swaddled her with his arms. They had pictures. He just a mass of twine, she a blossom of light.

When she left, he stopped using his voice. When she was there, he spoke through his arms and legs, she giving him the right turn of words. It was the only way for him to thrive, through her in order to speak. She gave him courage and always helped make his words become sweet as fudge. Without her he sounded like cauliflower, just a bunch of off-white, globs of mumbled up noise. So he stopped using his voice.

His job at the botanic gardens was to carry and empty liquid waste buckets from ponds and waterings. He loved his job. In what other job would you get to walk around such beauty all year long? Rows and rows of flowers, bed after bed of vegetables. Trees and orchids. Rock gardens and alpine moss. His work hours were before visitors arrived. Then he returned just before guests left for the other half of his day. He loved quiet.

His favorite spot was the garden with the Minotaur statue. It was bronze, a pretty kind of brown, strong and shiny. The Minotaur didn’t have to talk to others to know what it was about. One could just look at the Minotaur and know its power. And that’s what he did, for hours.

He would hide so as not to be seen until it was safe to come out after the last workers left and the gates were locked for the night. He would make his way down the tabby path being careful not to be in the open. He wasn’t even sure he needed to hide. Most people never saw him anyway. When you are medium at everything and the color of branches, no one notices much.

He would sit under the statue and stories of the Minotaur would flow into his mind. Sometimes when there was a full moon he would lay down on his back feeling the bumps and edges of the shells underneath him and watch the moon as Minotaur stories played across it as if it were a movie screen in the sky.

Then he skedaddled before the early morning crew arrived. He made a stop at the coffee shop and picked up two coffees with cream and one pastry to share as he told the night’s story to his twin. She smiled and corrected his grammar and giving him the perfect words. Which he would remember to perfection, ready to be told again and again and again.

This was his real job. He was the keeper of stories. It wasn’t just Minotaur stories. He gave voice to those who couldn’t speak. There was the little alabaster girl in the cemetary on a bench with her dog who placed its nose so lovingly on her lap that he couldn’t ignore their stories. Or the green patinated frog that crouched on the steps of Mrs. Patmos’ house regularly calling out to be heard.

There were so many stories to remember to tell.  Now that she was gone, how was that going to work? How would he find his voice again?

 

 

Author’s Note:

Thursday Afternoon Writers met today at the Denver Botanic Gardens. In addition to a lovely time of sharing, and delightful and amazing writing, the surroundings were an inspiration. I do need to say there is no Minotaur statue there. But there should be. There is a “Liquid Waste” bucket in the cafe.  And there shouldn’t be. At least not within sight. 🙂

Our prompts were taken from a writing prompt generator and we each put a word into the pot:

My opening line: The boy hadn’t spoken since his twin had gone…

Our group of words: cauliflower, witches broom, elegant, fudge, Minotaur, skedaddle, tabby, liquid waste