W3 Prompt #36; Poverty

Wea’ve Written Weekly

The W3 prompt this week, brought to us by the current Poet of the Week, Murisopsis, is to write about poverty in any poetic form, in exactly 14 lines. Go to The Skeptic’s Kaddish to link up and to read the other poets’ work. You might or might not notice I’m a syllable counter in the first poem, alternating 12-12-9/9-9-12. The second poem I experimented with septolet but had to double down to meet the requirements of this prompt. I’m not sure if septolet is meant to rhyme, but this double one does.

1) The Treasury and the Temple by D. Avery

He’d never wished because he had never wanted
about his enormous wealth he’d always vaunted
But now his house he felt was haunted.

He became aware of creaks and groans
increasingly scared to be alone
Felt he was losing command of his lifelong home

At first he suppressed any suspicion or fear
resisted imagining ghosts lingering here
until the truth emerged, oh so clear.

He discovered what money can’t buy
no payments got his house exorcised
and he’d have to remain in it until he died.

Too late did he realize the source of true wealth
and in vain did he wish for real love and good health.


************************

2) Say by D. Avery

Poor me
Woe 
is me—
words of poverty

Only gratitude 
will bring you 
treasure.

Say 
beautiful day—
and it’s 
that way.

Sunny attitude
brings wealth 
of great measure.


d’Verse Poetics; Are You Listening?

It’s Tuesday Poetics at d’Verse Pub for Poets. Today’s host, Merril, would have us write a poem in any style that includes at least two titles from a list of podcast titles: Articles of Interest: American Ivy, I Was Never There, Legacy of Speed, Not Lost, Pivot, Reveal: After Ayotzinapa, Rumble Strip, Serial, This American Life, Ghost in the Burbs. Go to the Pub to find out more. Once there you can link in with your poem and read others.

Must be my background but my first reaction to the first title was horticultural; my interest in the article was because I thought (correctly) that ivy is an invasive import to our shores. Hmm…

Non-Indigenous: Hedera helix, by D. Avery

Articles of interest?

American ivy, read up on that,

wrap your head around hedera.

What?

That’s right!

There is no Hedera americanus

just common ivy, English ivy,

brought, bought, washed up

transplanted

adaptable, hardy.

An invasive the horticulturists say.

In this American life it is the ghost in the burbs

a serial creeper

outliving occupants of houses

outliving houses, destroying houses

propping up walls that crumble beneath its cover.

It clings;

mature trees succumb to its steady onslaught

topple under the weight

of this evergreen vine from Europe.

In this American life it is out of control

hard to eradicate;

though it lacks kudzu’s legacy of speed

it creeps crawls and spirals

grows over ground, up over and around,

crowding out what was.

Still, native elders teach their grandchildren

how to plant their ancient seeds

tend their revered forests;

cultivate hope that all is not lost.

d’Verse Haibun Monday; New Years

The dVerse Poets Pub rings in their new year with Haibun Monday, hosted by Kim from Writing in North Norfolk. She tells us: “This week, I would like you to write about your feelings towards this New Year and/or what you do in the first few days of January. Aim to write no more than three short, tight paragraphs, followed by a traditional haiku that includes reference to the season.” Go to the pub to link your haibun and to read the others.

New Year’s Time by D. Avery

The exact moment of an old year ending and a new year beginning could be anytime at all, for time, and measures of time, are human constructs. Calendars are simple 12 spoked wheels, pale imitations of Earth’s revolution around the sun, markers of seasons, hashmarks of rotating days. January as first month is a convention and indeed, not all people celebrate their new year on January 1st.

Despite calendars and clocks being analogs of celestial spinnings, representations of our place in space, most people tend to sense time as linear. At the turn of the new year we are more delighted than dismayed to be a day older. Time marches on and we with it, stepping into our new years with relief or reservations, reflections and resolutions. We put our past year and our past selves behind and move forward, with hope. This time, we tell ourselves, we’ll do better.

time’s shotgun shack
wintry winds rattle both doors—
we turn up the music

W3 Prompt #35; Breakup

Wea’ve Written Weekly

The W3 prompt this week, brought to us by the Poet of the Week Paula Light, is to write about a breakup (not necessarily romantic) in any poetic form, not to exceed 20 lines. Go to The Skeptic’s Kaddish to link up and to read the other poets’ work.

Geology by D. Avery


There are earthquakes—

the furious friction

fault lines, fissures

the upheaval and aftershock


There’s the smashing of plates—

tectonic shifts

compressing boundaries forming

folded mountains


There are volcanoes—

violent eruptions 

lava consuming

all in its path


And there’s sedimentation;

pre-existing rocks eroded, once-living organisms accumulated 

in a depression layered

cemented under their own silent weight

#SixSentenceStories; Surprise

Denise at GirlieontheEdge has the final word and it is “surprise”, and is to appear somewhere within six sentences exactly. I am in with a double, a 12-pac of sentences that continue the story that started here with Verge. You might want to read A Christmas Story HERE prior to reading this episode.

Go HERE to link up your six sentence story and see what the merry Sixters have written.

The Pageant by D. Avery

When it was time for the Christmas pageant and I was down at the front of the church in my lamb costume, I got real nervous, even though we’d rehearsed. I looked out at the pews and there was Daddy and Katie and Bob and Aunt Helen, and they all smiled at me so I felt better.

Then I saw the gray-haired man from the diner sitting at the back of the church and I was so surprised I waved at him, even though a real lamb wouldn’t wave.

After the pageant I went to Daddy and the others but suddenly they all got quiet, their smiles and laughter stopped when the gray-haired man came and stood at the edge of our circle.

“Did I sing as nice as your little girl?” I asked him, and he nodded, said I did good up there, then he nodded to Daddy and said to Katie, “You have a real fine daughter,” and Katie only said ‘She’s real special’, and he nodded again before trudging up the aisle and out into the night.

“She reminds him of her,” Aunt Helen told Daddy quietly, “But I don’t think he knows.”

XXX

When me and Daddy went into the diner, Bob was leaning on the counter across from Katie who was sitting on a stool, coffee cup held in both hands, and a man in a suit on the stool next to her.

“Uh-oh, Peanut,” Daddy said, “Looks like we walked in on a committee meeting.”

“Hey, Penelope, I have a new coloring book and crayons for you,” and Katie led me to a booth, away from the counter, but I listened anyway.

“I have a surprise for you,” Bob told Daddy, “I’ve hired a lawyer to help you prove and document your paternity, or at least shore up your case for parental rights, because by gawd, you’re clearly that little girl’s parent and the only one she’s known.”

Bob said what he said to Daddy all in one huffy breath and I think he was afraid Daddy might be mad or something but Daddy just sighed, said ‘Okay’, and he and the lawyer man talked there in the diner and they met a couple times after that at the lawyer man’s office.

Bob took over the grill when the lawyer man drove me and Daddy to a doctor’s office, and even though all they did was put a Q-tip in our noses, when we left there, Daddy was so happy he was crying, which really surprised me and made me cry and laugh too, all the way back to the diner where Daddy and me laughed and cried with Katie and Bob.

A Christmas Story

Here is a Christmas story of sorts, but really it is just a story that wanted to be written. It is neither 99 words long, nor six sentences. It is, no more, no less, a continuation of the story that has lately come week by week, prompt by prompt. It’s most recent episode was HERE.

Unto Us by D. Avery

A gray haired man was sitting at the end of the counter where I usually sit, so I climbed up onto the stool next to him.  He didn’t even glance my way but when Katie put a piece of pie and a glass of milk in front of me he spoke.

“Where’s your mother?” he grumbled, and I had to say I don’t know because of course I didn’t. I live with Daddy. The man snorted and pushed his coffee cup forward for Katie to top up.

“All I wanted was lamb stew. You don’t have lamb stew on the menu anymore but you serve kids that just wander in?”

“Looks that way,” Katie told him. I’ve studied Katie for a while now so I can tell you, she did not like this man. Like she used to not like me, when Daddy first came to work at the diner. But that was last summer and now it’s almost Christmas.

“I like lamb,” the man said. “Kids, not so much.”

“I’m going to be a lamb,” I said.

“What?”

“I’m going to be a lamb. In the Christmas pageant.”

The man snorted again, slurped his coffee. Daddy and Katie stood talking at the edge of the kitchen.

“You know him?” Katie asked.

“I know who he is,” Daddy said. “His daughter left town a few years ago. It wasn’t clear if she took off because he was always angry, or if he was angry because she always took off.” He sipped his coffee. “She was mixed up too.”

“You knew her?”

“Not well. Not well at all.”

“You can come if you want,” I said to the man.

“What?”

“You can come to the Christmas pageant, at the church. I’m going to be a lamb and I’m going to sing ‘Away In a Manger’ and ‘Silent Night’.”

The man swiveled on his stool but then was quiet as he looked at me. “You look like my little girl did,” he said. He kept looking at me. “She used to like to sing. A long time ago.”

He stood and put money down by his plate but asked me which church before the door of the diner jingled behind him.

“I didn’t even know she was pregnant,” I heard Daddy tell Katie. “Then she shows up and pretty much leaves a baby at my doorstep.”

“Could she prove it? Did you test?”

“She said I was the father. I never wanted to test.”

“Why?”

“I never loved her. But I fell in love with that baby immediately. I couldn’t bear it if I found out I wasn’t her actual father.”

“You are,” Katie said. “Without a doubt.”

“Daddy!” I interrupted him and Katie. “That man might come see the Christmas pageant.” Then I wondered if I’d done something wrong because Daddy got a strange look on his face. He went back to the grill and Katie got busy clearing and wiping down the counter. It was almost closing time so I started gathering the ketchup bottles off the tables, singing ‘Silent Night’ real quiet as I worked.

#WWP #291; Acrimony

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt this week is to write a poem, story or whatever in exactly 55 words using some form of the word acrimony. Go on over to Sammi’s site to leave your 55 words and to read and comment on others’ writing. It’s a fun crowd!

Passing Blame by D. Avery

I blame that preacher— a poor listener, reader and speaker

never sure what he’s heard, often mixes up words

and what is worse his blessings are cursed.

I should have run from the altar when he started to falter

Looking back, one helluva pact…

He spoke, invoked

the sanctitude of mirage, sacraments of wholly acrimony

Saddle Up Saloon: Snowed In

If you’re looking to step out of the cold and snow and into a warm and cheery place, head into the Saddle Up Saloon. There’s a fire burning in the fireplace, stories are getting told, songs are getting sung. Drop in and feel free to bring your characters or share a story or song. Good cheer is always on tap at the Saddle Up.

Carrot Ranch Literary Community

Welcome to the Saddle Up Saloon where we feature interactive characters, real-life authors & poets, the occasional Carrot Ranch announcement, and a Cowsino story game every first Friday of the month. You can learn about the craft of creative writing, introduce your own characters to the Kid & Pal crew, discuss the writer’s journey, and be part of making literary art accessible to anyone.

“Shut the front door Kid! The snow’s driftin in.”

“Yep, it’s really comin down out there Pal. Even a virtual ranch ain’t ‘scapin this weather. But whut’re we doin? Thought Carrot Ranch was stuck in the ditch with tech troubles.”

“Shorty’ll dig the Ranch outta thet mess, Kid. In the mean time all the ranchers is takin a break, mebbe tendin ta themselves an families, mebbe stoppin by the campfire ta chat. Mebbe, if they’re lookin fer a prompt they’ll pop inta the Cowsino. It’s…

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#SixSentenceStories; Knot (Again)

The most recent word from Denise at GirlieontheEdge is “knot” to be used in six sentences exactly. Yes, it’s true that word was also the given prompt in September and it’s okay. With that word this time I present a double, yep, a 12-pac that continues the story of the little girl whose dad has given up gambling and casinos. This Six Sentence Story series began here four weeks ago with Verge, followed by two 99-word stories (Walking the Line) and then another pair of 99-word stories (Balancing Acts) and then a Six Sentence What’s Cooking and last week’s Vaulted Ceilings. Go HERE to link up and see what the merry Sixters have written and leave a story of your own.

Family Ties by D. Avery

Aunt Helen, whose house me and Daddy have been staying at, said I’m big enough now to go with her to the carnival that’s in town. Daddy didn’t want to go, he said carnivals are too much like a casino, said he’d rather go over and fix up the apartment he found for me and him to move into.

I was so excited to go but then Aunt Helen said not yet, I had knots in my hair so I had to sit still on a kitchen stool for her as she picked at the snarls with a comb. Aunt Helen smelled real nice and all the time was real gentle with the comb and she laughed when I told her Daddy sometimes just cut my knots out with scissors. As she brushed out my hair until it was soft and smooth, she told me about some of the things Daddy did when he was a little boy.

The carnival was fun but it really was a lot like a casino and when Daddy came in and asked did I have a good time it was sitting on Aunt Helen’s kitchen stool that I was thinking of when I smiled and said yes I did.

XXX

Some parts of the carnival were kind of scary, just like parts of the casino were kind of scary. I hung on tight to Aunt Helen’s hand as we walked along the midway, where the barkers’ faces flared and flickered in the flashing lights that only made the dark just beyond the stalls and tents darker. As we made our way to the food concessions, I peered into some of the sideshow tents, and the people in there reminded me of people I’d see in the casino, people wrapped in sadness even as they laughed and joked. They reminded me of the casino lady who always parked her wheelchair on the left side of the row of slot machines, who told me to blow on her money for luck before she fed it to the ringing machine that swallowed it whole. She didn’t mind me staring at her stumps, and as she stared at the whirling wheels of fruit and colored shapes, she told me she lost her legs because she had sugar.

When we got to the food trucks Aunt Helen couldn’t believe I didn’t want anything sweet like a candied apple or cotton candy so she got me a pretzel, a soft salty knot of baked dough with no beginning or end that I traced with my finger before biting into it, thinking how lucky I was to have my Daddy and Aunt Helen and Bob and Katie too.