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.

 

Azalea, In Detroit

 

Lately I haven’t been able to shake it off. You know the feeling when something is supposed to be, but isn’t? Oh, it’s there all right. But you can’t see it. You can sorta feel it. Know that’s it watching you, but from somewhere you can’t see.

This morning I tried to shake it off and decided to go to Joe’s and have my regular, a Pumpkin Latte Fallout. It’s not yet fall, but Harry at Joe’s caters to my needs come spring, summer, winter or fall. Harry’s a good man, as my father would say.

I come from Polish stock that settled in the Detroit area around the turn of the twentieth century. The first batch came through Ellis Island. But after that, since family was already here, others had a more direct path. Either way, everyone came through Detroit, whether or not they stayed. Some stayed. But most went on, mostly West. Some landed in Denver to open a shoe shop and radio repair. Some fanned out to Los Angeles where they changed their names and melted into the big pot of stew where no one ever heard from them again.

And then there was my family, the gypsies. They didn’t settle, as a true gypsy Jehovah Witness Truckwould never do that. They traveled for a generation or so not calling themselves gypsies but attaching themselves to the one group who also traveled – Jehovah Witnesses. My great grandmother was one of those women who stood on street corners next to a car with a large bullhorn attached to the top. While the men shouted repentance, she handed out pamphlets hoping to save the world.

I often wondered if her heart was in it, in Jehovah’s that is.

My mom told stories of family gypsies in Poland of which my great grandmother, grandmother, and mom had the heart. In Poland my great grandparents would travel in sunshine and camp and sing and cook over open fires. Even though I grew up in Globeville, I always felt my mom was really elsewhere in her thoughts.

Well, I guess that’s where my heart comes from. Since the time I was born the stories of the Gorniak women echoed in my ears. Even when my grandmother was hospitalized for “being crazy,” I listened in full belief to the stories.

The Blessed Mother Mary appeared to my grandmother telling her that her job was to take care of her six brothers and sisters. She was the youngest and listened. You always listen to the Mother Goddess. Right?

I believe my mom wanted to belong to the gypsies of the sixties and seventies, the hippies. But she was just a hair too young to act on it. And being an only child she never felt brave enough to be her own person and strike out one her own with her gypsy soul bared to the world showing who she truly was.

Then came me, Azalea, the one who watched all of this and just couldn’t stay any longer. When I was sixteen, my mom handed me her gypsy heart and sent me off to Detroit. Yep. Detroit called, if only to see what I could find. Were there any remnants of those first arrivals and did they have something to offer my gypsy self?

I stepped onto the porch. Cool morning air drifted by and I locked the door behind me. Today I ad-libbed my outfit more so than usual. It was going to rain, a bleak day, a grey-cloud day. Factory smoke hung low.

This called for color.

So, with my eyes closed I chose each piece of clothing by feel. Nothing matched and by good luck most pieces added bright color and patterns that would shout at the passerby, “SMILE, BUDDY!!!!! It’s not as bad as you think!”

I decided to take the quick route to Joe’s since it was starting to sprinkle. That meant some shortcuts through a few alleyways.

Umbrella in hand, closed, not opened, I started my trek.

The umbrella belonged to my great grandfather. It had been carefully wrapped in brown paper and tied with string, well knotted so it wouldn’t come lose. It was packed away in an old steamer trunk that sat in the basement of my parents house until it was time to sell after both of my parents died without any notice or my permission.

It was as if my great grandfather was waiting for me to find the umbrella. When the steamer trunk arrived at my apartment, I couldn’t take my eyes off of it. But I was afraid to open it. For days, I just watched it. That’s when the feeling started, you know the one I mentioned earlier, like someone is watching me.

The day I finally opened the trunk, it was raining like crazy. There was a stream of water running down my window so thick I couldn’t tell if someone was looking in even if they were standing nose to nose with the glass.

I made myself a pot of coffee and plopped down on the footstool that I stationed by the trunk when it first arrived. I would spend a few minutes a day sitting on the pouf making up stories of what was inside, using pieces of stories from my mother that her mother had told her from the stories her mother had told her mother.

At this point who knew what was true in their stories. It’s kinda like the bible. Jesus was real. He said beautiful things and did miracles. His words were carried by mouth for a long time before they were written down.

I believe truth is distilled. When the honest soul tells a story, truth thrives even if details wander.

What I had hoped was contained in the trunk was the scarf that once wrapped my great grandmother’s hips. The one with bundles of cascading roses in every shade of red and pink – maroon, scarlet, fuchsia, magenta, and mauve – with touches of green leaves tucked here and there. All sitting on a background of creamy ivory and trimmed, not in black silky fringe, but the deepest blue of midnight one could imagine.

Or the shoes.

Yes, the ones with the pointy toes and delicately carved heels that a princess could dance all night in at the ball with her prince without nary a pinch. The ones my grandfather carved and cobbled for his new bride’s wedding day.

But inside the trunk among the hodgepodge was the umbrella. Black silk tied with a curiously red braided cord from which swung a beautiful tassel of the same color. The handle was made from white willow. It was smooth, golden and very light. It was the point at the other end that gave it presence. A sterling silver tip about four inches long narrowing to a fine end capped with a small wooden knob completed its form.

I carried it closed.

In Detroit I learned quickly that one needs some form of protection.

.

.

.

Author’s Note:

Back to a bit of fiction.

Our writing group, although there were only two of us at the breakfast table, met to write using Bonnie Neubauer’s Story Spinner. Our setting was Detroit. The beginning line was “Lately I haven’t been able to…”. And we needed to include the words: pumpkin, ad-lib, sunshine, and azalea.

I’ve never start writing my fiction narratives in first person. I’ve always changed it to third. I guess I wanted the distance. But I took the challenge.

This challenge led to using family stories. Now with my parents and most of my immediate relatives deceased, I think I might want to write about a little family history. I might also use this at the beginning of the NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) challenge in November.

Lots of pots on the fire right now. Feels good.

Little Trees

I put up four little trees, not real ones, but ones
with tiny flickering white lights. I placed two,

each one in a planter, and two side by side
in the same. I pulled down branches, fluffed them.

Sitting for a year in the basement crawlspace
waiting for purpose once more withered

their look. It was cold. An arctic chill swooped
down quickly this day. The morning was greeted

by a blazing sunrise of butter yellow melting into
neon orange, then ruby reaching it’s fingers into

royal purple. That’s the way to start a new
year, this first day of Advent, in a blaze of Light.

But icy cold haze rolled over us. Fog rarely seen
hid the park leaving only a picnic house with its

white painted beams glowing in ghostly
cover. My fingers stiffened bending the wire

branches feigning to be pine. My slippers
absentmindedly chosen not for weather

but for convenience did not keep frozen air
from numbing the tips of my toes. How do

those who don’t know this is the first day of
Advent, those on park benches and under

bridges, live in tandem with this cold? I finish
stepping back into the warm breath of my

kitchen to gaze out at my handiwork for
another season. Lights twinkle and words

from today’s homily pass my way once more.
Stay awake, be aware. My stiffened fingers

begin to curl smoothly again as I embrace a
lusty mug of coffee. I wait, aware of chill that

stiffens and the gift of light and warmth I have
been afforded this Advent, the first day of the year.