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

moon2.jpg

 

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

minotaur

 

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

Certainty

Certainty.jpg

 

There is a certain kind of beauty in unwashed windows,
windows that reach so high I can only get to them

once in a very long time, oh, I still see out
when sun’s angle allows which gives me reason

not to tend to the common task, keeping it
for another day, a day when there is less to do,

a day when more important things have been tended.
But when clarity is diminished as sun shines its eye directly

confusing view, when looking out becomes staying in,
disorients need for accuracy, rests in shapes and shadows

that whisper through, no compulsion for definition,
just a gentle telling of story, a compassionate perspective,

not by smoke or fog, nor snowfall, but years of life
leaving only breath as it passes on conceding spaciousness

between that which I cannot change knowing all remains
secret to my interference until sun presses on

and glare is gone and I see once more that which was obscured.
There is a beauty in not seeing leaving certainty behind.

Circles

Mother Tree

mothertree2

 

Circle One
Mother Tree whose roots wind below
next to stream and under playground,
tall with branches lifting sky,
rough bark protection against all that is harmful.
And her eye, where branch once connected,
now sit stones placed by me,
an eye that sees and from which drips
water of her being, tears of joy,
of pain, of love as needed.

In all seasons standing tall and strong
bending in wind, there for me always,
soft padded ground as in great redwood forests,
a playground for innocence.

I am welcomed, at home, at peace, I am enough.

Circle Two
I want to learn to speak the language of Mother Tree,
the one who stands strong and bold,
yet allows season storms to pass.
She bears the burden but doesn’t break.
She abides to show me movement round her,
but she, she listens. She shades.
She grows deep roots to hold to Earth.
She feeds the world with herself without noise,
without moving, without having, without collecting,
just being. She speaks the language of ancestors past
and those who will come, without saying a word,
just being who she is and how she has been created.

Her language has no words, I listen and learn from her.
I learn from her just being – her bark, her leaves,
her roots, her eye, her branches,
her compost made from what falls away to nourish new growth.
She is stalwart, yet flexible. She comes from the past and
will live in the future, not as this one tree,
but growing new from her wisdom.

Circle 3
Mother Tree in me knows that I am whole.
I come from the past and I will be eternal.
Her branches grow through my trunk and into my arms,
in all of me…me, and I touch the sky.
Her roots go down my legs and through my feet
and I am grounded not just to topsoil,
but deep below and far and wide my roots will grow.

I, too, am strong, no need to prove.
I can be rough to protect, yet soft inside to cradle.
I can see with compassion and wait,
listen and be there for the innocents
who come to me, including myself.
I can welcome and give rest.
I can be the maypole dance of celebration.
This is Mother Tree inside of me.

This I notice…
I am connected to all and all to me.
I am perfect and have no need to prove myself.
What I am and what I do, is all that I need.

 

Author’s Note:
I am taking a wonderful course this Solstice hosted by Amber Kuileimailani Bonnici called Woman Un-Leashed. It is a free on-line retreat featuring some of the most wonderful goddesses to bless this earth. The above poem came from work with Mary Reynolds Thompson who took us through three circles of self.

What a joy to be able to move through this season in a deeply creative way that speaks to my soul.

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