The Electric Grandmother, by Debi Swim

The Electric Grandmother
by Debi Swim

She should have green eyes. No, blue. Why not brown?
And her nose a button nose. No, Greek. No, aquiline.
White hair caught in a bun. Salt and pepper! Mousy brown.
Grandmothers come in varieties
pick the one you want
and so we did
but eventually outgrew her
and her usefulness.
Then she sat alone with
other grandmothers
telling each other
about their grandkids.

Seems a bit of a waste
of grandmothers though
the real ones end up in a cemetery
and ours, oh, ours, came back
when we were old
and combed our hair
calmed our fusses
and took care of us until
we ended up in the cemetery.

Oh, I wish I could have
a forever grandmother, too.

Process notes: My favorite movie of all time is a sweet, nostalgic one called The Electric Grandmother, TV movie, 1982, based on Ray Bradbury’s “I Sing the Body Electric”. A trio of children and their father, get a very special robot grandmother to assist them.

Written in response to red wolf prompt 433.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts.

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Blue Sleeved Time, by Debi Swim

Blue Sleeved Time
by Debi Swim

Later I caught him, Time hurrying by, by
the blue sleeve, and I harangued him
For his impertinence of rushing me along
For letting me think there was a measure ahead
not noticing the bulk was behind

I berated his poor proffered gift
that he shoved in my face on a golden
platter. Memories of tender moments…
and what good are they? I ranted

Where is the touch, scent, substance?
Nothing to grasp, to cling to, dust,
it is all just fairy dust, all sparkle
no heft. I scolded his second rate
offering as cheap. A trinket. Carny trick.

Time jerked the blue sleeve from my grip
and whispered, what more do I owe you?
You took every second I gave and if you
didn’t understand the repercussions…
He smoothed his cuff, smirked and said,
well, do you want your money back?

Source Note:

Rhapsody, Mary Oliver
“Later I caught him, Time hurrying by, by
the blue sleeve, and I harangued him’

Written in response to prompt 426.

Debi Swim writes poetry in West Virginia, mostly to fabulous prompts.

Mourning Song, by Martin Willitts Jr

Mourning Song
by Martin Willitts Jr
           An aubade is a song from a door or window to a sleeping woman

The night has such a sleepless longing.
The heart-shaped moon peers through your window
as tree branches tap on your window
with nervous fingers. I cannot get enough of you
and your dreams, the finality of church hour bells.

Wake. Come to me like ecstatic music.
My arms of absence need filling
with the shape of morning doves murmuring
their immense sadness,
endless ocean waves drowning me in loss.

Some say, the day is over,
but not when two lovers embrace and cannot let go.
Window shades should be opening.
Traffic should be stopping and beeping
as trumpets scattering the night
into a thousand awakening eyes of love.

But sleep has you calming lover,
cooing doves in your ear, hushing you
into a softness of music of silence.

All I can do is stand out here,
the wretchedness of stars exploding.

Here is a process note:

I am trying to capture the regretful language of Neruda and Lora. That overwhelming unfulfilled desire or extreme loss associated with seeing the end results of war. I am also thinking of Romeo and Juliet. An unrequited love staring at a window, A troubadour ready to sing to a woman in a room. To me, the best line of lamentation is from Lora’s play, Blood Wedding: “Ah! What glass splinters are on my tongue!”

Written in response to prompt 429.

Martin Willitts Jr has 24 chapbooks including the winner of the Turtle Island Quarterly Editor’s Choice Award, The Wire Fence Holding Back the World (Flowstone Press, 2017), plus 11 full-length collections including The Uncertain Lover (Dos Madres Press, 2018) and Coming Home Celebration (FutureCycle Press, 2019).

April Fool, by Debi Swim

April Fool
by Debi Swim

I have a vivid recollection of it
the night was comfortably cool
the exhibitionist moon a jewel,
the perfect setting, I admit.

The night was comfortably cool
as I recall, hand on fevered brow
spring breeze tickling a bough
and I, as I think of it, an April fool.

The exhibitionist moon, a jewel
mounted like a diamond solitaire
seemed to be offered to me, I swear
I never knew he could be that cruel.

The perfect setting, I admit
but I was just a naïve girl
my head in a love sick whirl
I couldn’t recognize counterfeit.

I have a vivid recollection of it
the night was comfortably cool
the exhibitionist moon a jewel,
the perfect setting, I admit.

Process notes:
Poem form: catena rondo
First line from “I Have A Vivid Recollection of It” by Jimmy Roberts found in the poetry anthology, The Traveler’s Vade Mecum, edited by Helen Klein Ross.

Written in response to prompt 432.

Debi Swim poems in West Virginia mostly to prompts from around the net. She blogs at https://poetrybydebi.wordpress.com/

Arrakis, by Christopher Hileman

Arrakis
by Christopher Hileman

My worm exhales spice
In a tumble of gold sand
And leaves me behind.
I slide down the slope
To the fold at the bottom,
The crease of two dunes.

I shall wait near here
For you to come and lift me
Off this hellish land,
Hoping my water
Recycles without hitches

And that my brothers
Will still lift my soul.

Arrakis is the planet also known as Dune and is the creation of Frank Herbert, a first-rate science fiction novelist. Dune is the first in a sequence of novels and stories that takes place primarily on Arrakis but also on several other planets in the universe of the Dune stories. Other authors took over the production of the series as time went by.

Dune was a work in a sociological vein, telling the story of a planet in jihad, or holy war, similar to the breakout of Islam after the rise of Mohammad in the middle of the first millennium AD. Other science fiction works created after the mid-nineteen sixties explored other religious traditions, such as the Christian, Hindu and Buddhist traditions but Dune and Islam was first and in the opinion of many, including me, the best of them. As Wikipedia notes: “1965’s Dune, is popularly considered one of the greatest science fiction novels of all time, and it is sometimes cited as the best-selling science fiction novel in history.”

Christopher Hileman moved to Oregon in 1973. He has retired for some years and lives on the north bank of the McKenzie River in Vida, Oregon. He moved recently from his basement digs in Oregon City, emerging into the riverine sunshine on the eastbound highway out of the Eugene/Springfield area of Oregon.

Yeats’ Diggers, by Diane Jackman

Yeats’ Diggers
by Diane Jackman

At night they disappear,
starshine too weak
to show their contours
in the black envelope.

In daylight they work,
gouging out the ground,
spitting gravel down chutes
to clattering lorries
rattling in country lanes,
an orange assault
through the budding hedgerows.

But in the half-light,
arrayed along the ridge
like prehistoric beasts,
their grey bulk looms
menacing the landscape.
Then fantasy conjures
primeval shrieks and thunderings
bellows of pain as the monsters
turn their strength upon each other
in the re-fought twilight battle.

Source:
“Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” by W B Yeats. You may read it here.

Process:
“Of night and light and the half-light”– These words referring to the cloths of heaven in the fourth line of Yeats’ poem, inspired me to write about a completely different subject, observed in the three phases of night and day.

Diane Jackman’s poetry has appeared in Rialto, Spillway, optimum, snakeskin, small press magazines and anthologies. Starting out as a children’s writer with seven books and 100 published stories, she now concentrates on poetry. She has just had a microchap, On the frayed rope of my imagination published by Origami Poems.

Grounded: Seventh Day, by Gabriella Brand

Grounded: Seventh Day
by Gabriella Brand

Complacencies of the sweatpants,
and a late latte, and those really good blood
oranges from Trader Joe’s.
Stretched out on the couch, pecking at the tablet
like a cockatoo, in the holy hush
of NPR, with the news shrunk and week-end withered,
and then, later, after the laundry’s done, a few
hours along the river, barely a jog,
the day like wide water
without sound, not even church bells or a call to prayer,
disinterested in sacrifice or sepulcher,
just grounded on the soft moist earth
holding the entire bickering planet in the Light.

Note: My source is “Sunday Morning” by Wallace Stevens. You can read it here.

Gabriella Brand’s writing has appeared in over fifty literary magazines. Her most recent work appears this spring in the Gyroscope Review and the Willawau Journal. She is a Pushcart Prize nominee.
Gabriella divides her time between Connecticut, where she teaches foreign languages and Quebec, where she volunteers with Middle Eastern refugees, runs writing groups, and paddles her own canoe.
Website: gabriellabrand.net

Starry night over the Rhone, by Jonathan Beale

Starry night over the Rhone
by Jonathan Beale

The clock is now sleeping….
Time is absent here. That uninvited guest, is away.
Socrates sits in silence, on a distant bank
(Invisible to you and, I) unable to fathom.
What or why is going on.
his sophisticated words: now dumb.
He can reason not the need.
I paint in a joy from my window’s frame.
As they experience their human pleasure of
Touch, they feel each other mingled with the night.
The city distant city: blind and far enough away –
Those wedding guests who stay too long.
Encapsulating a beauty of its own (hopper never pasted this way)
As the light dances a demonic reel
The bluest blueness projects the mood
As only black can everywhere else.
The sodden waters edge’s
Handed over from the mornings
Silver woven tidal cloth
…of what, what are they doing, or have done.
A quiet dyad under the stars – becoming…something enchanting.
Momentarily awakening to this…
strange trinity of which I’m an invisible fraction.
the gentle ripple of the tide
cradling the delicate dinghies
time is absent there, but not here
a moment grabbed before, before, before…
they can feel, touch and be one, once more
can I capture that moment of joy?
time will awake again soon….

Starry_Night_Over_the_Rhone

By Vincent Van Gogh Sept 1st, 1888

Jonathan Beale is published in numerous journals around the globe he is most recently published in Bluepepper, mad swirl and ygrilsil. He has one volume of poetry the destinations of Raxiera published by Hammer and Anvil. He lives in Surrey U.K.

After Goya, by Jonathan Beale

After Goya
by Jonathan Beale

From still life: ‘Pieces of rib, loin, and a head of mutton.’
Francisco de Goya. Musée du Louvre.

The once learnt: now gone.
Deeds are done and form to dust –
That “when” – when youth is too young
Led easily by any anthems dream
Ringing out a hollow heartless tune.
Their always beating black hearts at work
They live between the lines.
Behind the actions dead weight:
Now this deadweight leaving life for the few –
Still steering freight for the butchers block.

They find this tripartite game
Impossible from field to abattoir to butcher
As the weighted cleavers chops the blood and bone –
The pure rain so easily washes this unholy mixture away.

still-life-of-sheeps-ribs-and-head-francisco-jose-de-goya-y-lucientes

Jonathan Beale is published in numerous journals around the globe he is most recently published in Bluepepper, mad swirl and ygrilsil. He has one volume of poetry the destinations of Raxiera published by Hammer and Anvil. He lives in Surrey U.K.

The Dead Sing Brokedown Palace for Ken Kesey (May 8, 1984), by Alan Walowitz

The Dead Sing Brokedown Palace for Ken Kesey (May 8, 1984)
by Alan Walowitz

The last we ever saw the Chief—
after he took good care of McMurphy,
broke his neck a couple of places
and broke out into the night—
one hand was latched to the bumper of that chicken van
the other hitched to a tree to keep the wrestling team inside
from sliding off the cliff in the worst snowstorm
the Cascades had seen since ’58.
But by then the Big Injun was getting small again,
worn down and laid waste by the high-talking hucksters,
and pickpockets, and card-sharps,
but along with it came this hard-won but unspeakable wisdom:
Ain’t nothing we can do to make things right.

Still, Kesey, he’s gotta live with the death of his wrestler-son,
another twenty-one years, a sentence he could never do sober or sane–
till one night in Eugene, Kesey sitting in a box over the stage
with the smoke wafting off the rafters in waves
the Dead turned to him–for all their shambling harmony,
close as they ever got to as-one–and sang:

         Fare you well, fare you well
         I love you more than words can tell
         Listen to the river sing sweet songs
         to rock my soul

The Deadheads were stone-silent as if there were ghosts in the bleachers
and the silence enveloped Kesey like an embrace.
Then–finally–he knew: Art needn’t be a fist to the face.
In fact, maybe he’d been wrong about everything,
and maybe, just maybe, and against his better judgment,
he might begin some merry madness all over again.

Process note: This story is legendary and, like most legends, I don’t know how true: How Ken Kesey, the author of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, found some peace when the Grateful Dead played “Brokedown Palace” for him after the death of his son who had been a collegiate wrestler. I guess the reader can decide how true this sounds, though I like to believe it.

Alan Walowitz (www.alanwalowitz.com) has been published various places on the web and off. He’s a Contributing Editor at Verse-Virtual, an Online Community Journal of Poetry. His chapbook, Exactly Like Love, is available from Osedax Press, and his full-length book,The Story of the Milkman and other poems, will appear soon from Truth Serum Press.