Watermelon Mallow

Watermelon Mallow

Watermelon Mallow© Lex Leonard, collage done in PicMonkey

 

 

The coal train meandered by.

Wheels clicked. 

Locking her eyes on the rail she could see an occasional spark. 

It was hot.

Mallow grew alongside the route. Yellow orbs too delicate to be there opening their souls to the sun. Yet, there they were.

She leaned back against the tree that also somehow survived surrounded by dry brittle grass and weeds. Curling ends beggared of water from the last spring rain.

The train continued on.

Closing her eyes to barely a squint she was able to merge the spinning wheels until it looked as if the train was floating on some kind of magic heat rising above its rails, making it stand still. All that iron and power just floating motionless.

In each window was a face looking at her, just staring as if they had something to tell her. A wistful look. A veneer of gloom. There was fear. Anger. Each mask holding their story that somehow was hers now.

The alarm on her phone buzzed. 

The end of the train passed and she watched the last face, gentle and perfectly framed in the back window, fade away.

The walk back to the abandoned house was through the old fields that once held crops to feed hungry bellies. About an hour’s walk from the tree would find her feet planted on the porch. The paint, if there ever was any, was long faded away. Only an ashen grey lingered.

This was all hers now. The house. The land of anecdotal crops. 

The railroad held the only easement between her and the next homestead, also abandoned.

She didn’t want it. 

She was of water and ocean and floating. She was of horizon that met sky where sun and moon each in their own time would rise and fall. She was of sea wind that carried story.

She was not of this place. Or at least she didn’t think so.

The man at the gas station had given her a watermelon. She had no idea why or where he had gotten it. But she was glad it was waiting for her on the table. 

The inside of the house was decorated with spider webs, dust, and time. 

The table wobbled but she was sure it wasn’t from neglect. It had been made that way. She propped it up with a flat stone she found near the fireplace. She traced her finger around a small indentation. It was a perfect fit. 

She was hungry and tired. And thirsty. 

There was only one way into that globe of pleasure. On the ledge under the once glazed window that looked out to the railroad tracks was another stone. It was slightly larger than her hand with a carved point on one edge. It had to have been carefully chipped and formed for its purpose. There was a swirl with a line that would sit next to her palm. This, too, was intentional.

Raising the rock above her head and holding it with both hands, she brought it down with all her might into the center of the watermelon. 

It cracked……

The sidewalk. The burning asphalt. The push. The crash. The blood spatter across her jacket. There were screams and everything blurred, sounds, people, hands pulling her back in slow motion like the wheels of the train. Only she was the motionless object, floating above him. 

Or rather, what was left of him…

 

. . . . .

 

Author’s Note:

It is always sacred time when our writing group meets. There were nine of us today at the Denver Botanic Gardens. Our warmup write morphed from a practice I learned in a class at the Denver Lighthouse Writers Workshop.

We each started with a small blank piece of paper. We were to write one quick sentence on it describing something we experienced that morning. The trick is not to think too much. Not to try to be cleaver or descriptive. Just write. We passed the paper to our right and wrote one word that came to us about the gardens. Passed again – one verb. Passed again – another word. Passed a last time – an emotion. As we gathered our drinks and settled, we could chose which prompt paper we wanted to write from. It is our rule that you may use a prompt or not. Let it inspire you. Or not. I took the one that was left:

They waited as the coal train meandered sleepily through the crossing.

mallow     locking     watermelon     wistful

Thank you, dear friends. You are AMAZING!

Resurrection Fern

Resurrection Fern.jpg

Pleopeltis polypodioides (syn. Polypodium polypodioides),
also known as the resurrection fern, is a species of creeping,
coarse-textured fern native to Africa.

They braided seeds into their hair
not for show, but hidden,
not to be discovered,
bringing homeland with them
boarding ships they knew nothing of
crossing oceans never to return to their Africa.

Memories survive long periods
with just a little telling
to resurrect their life
to grow again through word spoken
to those who never knew

They arrived, some with star maps
from desert skies where once their feet
planted onto homeland
never to return, but remembered
through lines and dots, remembered
through scanning the night
for something familiar.

There is a wisdom,
a knowing in action
a way to preserve that which
would be lost, an honoring
for those to come connecting
those to the past.

I reach back to learn from where
my ancestors came, their
customs, their stories,
ritual, a part of my DNA
not realized

I know of
violas and sweet alyssum
bees tended and golden nectar
caravan travel spreading words to heal
salt thrown over a shoulder

My mother heard voices, saw ghosts
they said she was crazy
she didn’t know her homeland
she didn’t know her stories

I wish I could ask her now
I wish I could resurrect her
from the box
inside the marbled floor mausoleum
and our homeland

The resurrection fern gets its name because it can survive long
periods of drought…However, when just a little water is present,
the fern will uncurl and reopen, appearing to “resurrect.”

 

Author’s Note:

This is my poem from Hour #7 which was to listen to a song and write from it. Resurrection Fern by Iron and Wine.

I am honored that this poem was selected to appear in the 2019 Poetry Marathon Journal to be published later this year.

Gentle Landing

61795063_10216857476821160_5235544694074638336_n.jpg

Gentle landing

Water hardly detected it presence,
only a perceived pressure.         

Natural to its course
it integrated the ever so tender caress
in artistry, replica of peaceful agreement.

Voracious search for ownership, purpose,
to examine only if one chose.

It wasn’t a brick of clay dropped into the day,
just an existence deeply rooted, without roots.

Not a temporal smirk flirting
but a seeing through the glass.

mute

unencumbered

float

Author’s Note:

This from Systhesis/A Collage Journey with Jenafer Joy at http://www.inspiriediquiries.com – Lesson Four – Word Spelunking

awakening

Awakening

aroma rose from the white china cup


balanced on the palm of her hand sans saucer
the porcelain was thin thin
enough to almost see through
definitely enough to know the level of liquid

 

ah yes coffee
the most important meal of the day

 

the ethereal rose through the kitchen carried on morning birdsong up the stairs curling round the corner into the bedroom where his head just his head emerged from an avalanche of white down covers and pillows almost as see through as the china cup only softer not as smooth the cotton had its eccentricities small bumps along each thread that made it interesting unique different yet altogether the same

 

it’s all in the game

 

she would arise ridiculously early in the dark
she posed her body still in front of the opened window waiting waiting
for bird far away calling her to alarm
before sun rose
before moon faded gaunt then thinned into blue sky brightening

 

when she heard the purling it meant the end of another day a day to put in the books as one more tumbled open the elapsed cracked broken crumbled into delicate shards of what was that exact moment bird announced the dawning

 

they knew
stupid deaths
the frightfully funny game

 

fog of coffee
settled into his nostrils
a smelling salts awakening him from stillness
he would be startled breathe deeply
eyes cracking open one at a time
one gift to keep him from
over reaching over reacting over doing anything

 

it’s not hard when you’re smart and beautiful

 

as cup balanced more birds joined until a chorus loud she felt protected circled by so many mamas and papas organizing their day around their babies she was the baby of her family and this was her deepening into day

 

it’s all in the game

 

bounding run down stairs
a grab of the backpack with one hand
a catch with the other the apple that had been perfectly balanced on top
he was gone with the slam of the door

 

no problem
have fun

 

and
she
bent
down
down
to pick up fragile shards of the china cup
that was once filled with aroma of awakening

 

no problem
have fun

. . . . .

Author’s Note:

Wednesday brought our writing group together once more. Our prompt challenge was to bring anything for a prompt. So these were the lines shared to use as we wished. Happy writing.

Ah yes, coffee. The most important meal of the day.
They knew. Stupid deaths. The frightfully funny game.
No problem. Have fun.
It’s not hard when you’re smart and beautiful.
It’s all in the game.

 

For the child before STEM who will be forgotten

STEM

 

If you think it only happens in schools
It happens outside, too
After almost all the children have gone home
Near the playground
A gun in the hand of a teen

For the child who will be forgotten
For many reasons
For the child who doesn’t have the press
A life still lost
A life still mourned by a family who does not
Know why it happened
The night before more mourning

It happens so many times a day and we
Look the other way
Words of sorrow flow
Prayers are offered
Condolences given

And it continues
And life goes on
And no one will do anything
But sigh
Shed a few tears
Offer a few sweet words of hope
And then forget until
Tomorrow
When it happens again

Forgotten
in less than twenty-four hours
The other child who died
At the hand of a gun

Author’s Note:
A teen’s life was lost last night near Independence Elementary, less than 24 hours before the STEM shooting. Another teen with a gun. Just 21 miles away. A world away.

And for all the others we will never hear about…

 

Red

Red

Sisters Sun and Moon, detail by Lex Leonard

 

You’ll look pretty as a picture in this, Red.
Sun hides behind clouds longing to shine through,
except that she wouldn’t.

Unable to warm soil, words hinder
poppy sprouts anew.
You’ll look pretty as a picture in this, Red.

Memories held inside her frame injure.
She longs to break the glass of that view,
except that she wouldn’t.

A spark of flame leaves but only a cinder,
too dark to see what she really knew.
You’ll look pretty as a picture in this, Red.

His words she gathers unhindered
and places them carefully to later pursue,
except that she wouldn’t.

New moon gives rise for her to surrender
to stillness within safe solitude.
You’ll look pretty as a picture in this, Red.
Except that she wouldn’t.

 

 

Author’s Note:

Oh, the poetic form! It’s always worth a try.

From today’s NaPoWriMo challenge…

The classic villanelle has five three-line stanzas followed by a final, four-line stanza. The first and third lines of the first stanza alternately repeat as the last lines of the following three-line stanzas, before being used as the last two lines of the final quatrain. And to make it an even more virtuoso performance, Dargan’s alternating lines, besides being taken from songs, express “opposing” ideas, with one being about sleeping, and the other waking.

Following Dargan’s lead, today we’d like to challenge you to write a poem that incorporates at least one of the following: (1) the villanelle form, (2) lines taken from an outside text, and/or (3) phrases that oppose each other in some way. If you can use two elements, great – and if you can do all three, wow!

My lines are taken from a book I am currently reading. I picked it up, opened to a random page and pointed. There were the two lines side by side from The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah that just happened to be “opposing” ideas. I kid you not: You’ll look pretty as a picture in this, Red. Except that she wouldn’t.