Category Archives: Poetry Wednesday

The Blessed Event …

This week I announce the blessed event of the birth of my fourth grandchild. My son and his wife have seventeen year old boy/girl twins and an almost eleven-year-old boy. I have selected some of my humble poetic angst and interspersed them with the pictures of our family.

olivia.05

The hopes and dreams I held as the single mother of a three-year old boy and a five month old girl, are the hopes and dreams I wish for my children and their children. They are the lucky ones, to raise a brave, new generation … I am luckier … I have lived to see them grow into wonderful adults.

olivia.07

When at last I left my beloved Brooklyn for the hills of Northern Manhattan, my babes were at my knees. Each took a hand which became symbolic of our unity and strength. All was possible, all waited around the next bend in the road … and all these possibilities wait for my daughter and son-in-law and their beloved new baby girl.

Olivia.04

 

 

Brooklyn
April, 1976

The children outside my window …

In the quiet of dusk
the sun slips slowly
behind the trees

I sit and listen
while the children
outside the window
strut along the avenue
laugh aloud
and sing strange melodies
I cannot comprehend

I am content as I sit here
Smile quietly and watch
The hurried traffic below

Could I transform the branch of a tree
The blade of grass
To reach out long, cool limbs
To hold them close to me

I am so peaceful here
Feel the warm blue mist
Of night settle next to me
A loyal companion

And the children outside the window
Raise merry voices to the sky
They run mad circles and chase down
The setting sun
As I hasten to give them
The song I hold near

#####################

The last forty-eight hours have been the most magical hours of my life, compared only to the hours I spent waiting for my baby boy and baby girl to arrive. He came with a soft murmur and she with wide-eyes greeting her domain. He was my old soul, she my eternal optimist, his head in a book, hers in a cloud, the reader and the dreamer, they are opposites in so many ways.

This is the gallery of us at odd times … and Oh what wonderful times they have been.

mike.01cronin familyme and mikekids.05

memike2_thumb1kids.02Jennifer.19jen.01

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Fire Island … August, 1976
A vacation without the children

Soft murmurs of the night
Soft as a baby’s sigh
Like my baby girl’s cry
My little boy’s goodbye

Alone I walk down the lane
Towards the sea
and hear the sounds of night

The busy hind legs of
The cricket
As he beckons his mate
from a darkened bush

I miss their particular noises
Her curly head on my chest
His short legs as they run to
Catch me at play

I sit and watch waves
Move in low tide
Crash land against the white sand
Of the lonely shore

I see their happy faces
As the bright red sun
Falls to the ocean floor

The sounds of small noises
Faint like a gentle rain
bathed in the twilight of
This night

I am missing my
Two mufflers against the outside world
And my nightly visit to the
Electric silent “E”
The mad search for lost socks
forgotten pajama bottoms

I miss their plea for just
One more show
One more story
One more glass of water

While I walk along this
Pristine beach
They happily drive their dad
Steadily up the wall
He’s out of practice

Damn, I miss their noises
And hasten from this
Sun drenched island
To be with my babies once more

 

A Christmas present to myself

It’s Christmas Eve and the children
Anxious and gay play around
The tree
Waiting for the bottom to fill up

It is a joy to have children
On this night of all
Nights

Their eyes shine with
The lights of the tree
Holding the gleam ’till morning

And all the day long we
Baked and fixed and sang
Silly songs

Stuffing me like the
Holiday turkey
Spicy and full of wonder

Oh, what is it that makes
Children tick?

What little mechanism
Twinkles like Christmas stars
In their tiny heads?

What red, blue, sun-yellow
Wheels
Roll inside their bellies?

Oh, what magic could
I steal
Were I to find the secret
Of the grand machinery
Of childhood

Quiet now …

They are up in their beds
Cuddle soft and candy
Dreams

Crackle fire and
Peppermint spy
Fat ole’ Santa blankets
The bottom of the tree

Leaving behind the gay
Assortment of trinket and doll
And ribbon wrap array

Of little presents to bring
So much pleasure to the
Biggest child

Me!

#################

photo (5)

Welcome to our world my 7 lb 8 oz bouncing baby girl. How I wish I could be there this minute to squeeze you and look into the eyes of the future.

What possible question can I ask today ?

Shall I say all of this goes without question  …

but with marvel ?

fOIS In The City

Note: For so many reasons, the main one being I would be bludgeoned with a wet noodle, I do not give the names of my children and grandchildren. They know who they are and all you need is their wonderful faces.

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Words are our friends …

Not just for those of us who write, but for the millions who read them. When on that cold and stormy night of legend, we feel alone and unloved, words come to warm us, to remind us that we always have a friend to lean on.

Today, I would like to do a tribute to a woman whose words have warmed many a cold night.

There are hundreds of thousands of words written by her and about her. It would be impossible to try to capture them all here in one of my humble weekly moments.

Love Liberates

Wherever you were raised, wherever you are now, whatever you believed or believe now, gather some of those thousands of words, hold them tight to your heart, let them seep into your soul … and for this … your life will be enriched.  You will be in a happy place. You will believe in yourself and to do what you love.

The first time, I was a late bloomer, in college at thirty-something. I was terrified to walk out the door, intimidated by the new and strange life I had chosen. And like so many gems I have mined in my life, I found her on 18th Street in Manhattan at the original Barnes & Noble.

“I make writing as much a part of my life

as I do eating or listening to music.”

It was on one of those days when I wanted to find more women poets. I had already fallen in love with so many of them. But on this day, I needed the comfort of another woman’s words to warm me. And I found I Know Why The Caged Bird Sing.

i-know-why-the-caged-bird-sings

Amazon Link

Did you know that words can wrap around you and hold you steady? They can protect you, fill your heart and soul with wonder, and they can liberate.

Words kept me from harm’s way and guided me along the path. Even with the knowing I was a half-decent person  and a half-competent mother, words opened my mind to see all that was good in this imperfect world we live in.

Do Right

Still, there are days when I think back on that young woman in her tattered jeans and her high hopes, and I smile. Did she find her way? Did she learn enough to raise good humans, those two humans she pushed into the world? What happened to her high hopes and her day dreams? Did she leave the path and lose her way?

Words came with me on a serpentine path that wove in and out my life. They were the pivotal crossroad where I might have taken the wrong turn. They were the many stops along the road, to rest, to find new adventure, to settle for a while before moving around the next bend in the road.

I love words because they are my only constant. From the toddler who was taken to Story Book Hour by her big brother, to the late blooming, senior citizen that I have become. Words have been my best friends and they have taught me much about who I am and who I will become before I take my last voyage.

What she was to me was a voice in the wilderness when I was lost, the whisper of a promise to keep, the courage to start over, even after I failed more than succeeded.

“To grow up is to stop putting blame on parents.”

In her honor, we will read I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings in our book club for next season. We had already selected our line-up of books when a member called and wanted to substitute one selection for Maya.

My good buddy and BETA reader called and asked what I thought. I was thrilled. Perhaps there are members of our club who have never read her, or listened to her recite poetry, perhaps she will be a new voice for some. Yet, for those of us who knew her for a very long time, reading her again can only bring back fond memories.

Rereading a book you love is like visiting an old friend. Someone once asked me why I reread some of my books, often a dozen times. I’ve read my favorite poems hundreds of time, and like music I need to hear again and again, those words are a reminder that in another time, I found a friend who guided me along the way.

Make Maya’s words your friend. Visit YouTube and listen to the many videos of her, read about her life. You’ll be glad you did.

What books do you need to reread?

To remind yourself of other times?

To take you to a new place?

fOIS In The City

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Filed under Poetry Wednesday, Random Thoughts

A poet’s view …

Today, I  return to my writing prompt challenge and fall back on the familiar standard of Poetry Wednesday

Before you dazzle me with your wit, please enjoy this selection from my journal, Mad Mother From Brooklyn, the summer of 1976 …

Memories …

I’ve tucked all the corners
Tight
Trimmed the edges
Brushed away the dust
That fell in the space you
Used to fill

Still you have not come

If it’s night and horizons dim
Softly melting into
Blue and gray

If it’s warm inside and
Ovens bake
Dipping into
Sticky and sweet

Where is the sight of it
The taste of it
To fill a hungry soul?

#############

A Silver Web …

I’ll practice every day
Until it becomes natural

Take up the task
Working harder each time

Obliterate every thought
Of you
And your real world

Until it intrudes on some cold
Morning when the dream has forgotten
The purpose and lets it in
Shattering the fragile silver web

###########

Untitled …

Inside of me there is an
Un-Godly animal sound

It moans all through the night, Mama
And it keeps me running passed the boundaries
And over the fences

‘cept I don’t know where to, Mama
Where to ?

################

When we love …

When we love I am standing
Before a stranger
Awkward in my nakedness

The plans of each act
I have memorized
Scatter about the floor
With my garments
And I am left
With the finest performance of all

The improvisation of this one
Sweet moment

So nice to feel creation
Building
A mountain with bare hands
Beneath me

##########

There is no purpose
To this

Mean block of time

It screams naked through
The cold city streets
Leaving a trail of useless
Rubble in its wake

Naked woman of bones
Finding no fat
No lean
Moving on

Finding no shelter from
The north wind
Tireless and howling
Long wind traveling
Through a silent night

Naked woman of bones
Finding no fat
No lean
Moving on

To a time
That has gone
Beyond her reach

############

By definition …

The length of “flash” fiction differs depending upon where you do your research on the internet.

Both “flash fiction” and poetry challenge the writer and the reader to complete an entire story in the shortest time possible. While there are epic poems that are thousands of words in length, i.e. Waste Land by T.S. Elliot or Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman, the genre lends itself to short, sweet, snippets … a love story, a sad tale, or if you prefer a bit of tragedy, The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe.

Flash fiction is a style of extreme brevity. “There is no widely accepted definition of the length of the category. Some self-described markets for flash fiction impose caps as low as three hundred words, while others consider stories as long as a thousand words to be flash fiction. Wikepedia  

The roots of short fiction can be traced back to Aesop’s Fables and has been used by such noteables as Anton Chekhov, O. Henry, Franze Kafka, Ray Bradbury and Kurt Vonnegut.  One example of this style in modern classics is In Our Time, a collection of 18 very short pieces in Hemingway’s first short-story collection.

Also called sudden fiction, short/short, postcard or micro fiction, the standard lengths of these stories are as short as 150, but no more than 1,000 words.

Access to the Internet has had an impact on the awareness of flash fiction, with websites and zines such as Flash Fiction Online being devoted entirely to the style. Find and like them on Facebook.

Flash fiction (also called micro fiction, sudden fiction, or short short stories) refers to fiction stories of around 700 words or less. The qualifying standard for flash fiction varies among organizations, with some setting the maximum word count as little as 150 and others raising it to 1000, but the exact word count matters little. The idea is that flash fiction, being so short, encompasses literary theory quite differently from traditional short stories given that the physical boundaries for flash fiction preclude otherwise available options. This is not to say flash fiction subscribes to a rigid formula – just the opposite. Forms of flash fiction tend to vary markedly, and resemble anything from prose poetry to grocery shopping lists. “Part of the fun of writing [flash fiction] is the sense of slipping through the seams,” says Sudden Fiction author Stuart Dybek. “Within the constraint of of their small boundaries the writer discovers great freedom.Read more.

The experts might differ in terms of length, but one thing they all agree upon, is their assessment that “flash” is fun.

It is the best of  fun to create a whole story in short stacks or micro minutes that leaves the reader wanting more and can stay with them for hours afterwards.

Anne R. Allen had an interesting post, Why You Should be Writing Short Fiction (read post here). This post discusses the resurgence of the short story in today’s market. My comment that week sited the dozens of writers from our past that used short fiction for most of their writing careers. And as I’ve done at least twice before on this blog … it is a question of not when but … when everything old is new again.

change

By the by, since I brought up Walt Whitman, it was common in Great Britain and the United States during Whitman’s time for authors to “self publish.” Clapbooks were often done by those we think of as very successful poets. Many other famous writers of poetry and the short story genre, not only published themselves, they formed “author collectives,” and published each other. Sound familiar?

So the next time you have a really great idea, before you get too excited, do your research and you’ll find … someone has been there and done that.

Sentence prompts ...

Yes Pilgrims, it is that time of the year when once more I challenge you to provide the fodder for my Flash Fiction. So put on your thinking caps (cliché alert) and dig into your gray matter. Leave a sentence in comments and I will give you a story of no more than 1,000 words.

I might also post this challenge on Facebook or canvas my writer’s group. And for those who have contributed in the past, be aware, if you don’t leave a sentence for me this week, I will nag until you do.

Tell me dear ones, who is your favorite poet?

And … can you name one  famous writer

who worked exclusively in short, shorts?

fOIS In The City

Photography from Jen G, my talented daughter.

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Filed under Flash Fiction, Poetry Wednesday