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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Coin and Eagle

Prompt:

*From a prompted writing exercise during my Monday night writers' group, A Cup of Words 

(use:  silver coin, eagle)

----------

Emilie stepped into the dimly lit room and paused as her eyes adjusted to the shadows.  Making her way to the bar, she chose the stool in the corner and ordered a glass of Willamette Riesling.  She turned with her back to the wall, and studied the faces in the darkness.  She wasn’t meeting anyone here, came alone and expected to leave alone, but she needed someone to watch, something to occupy her mind for a while.

 

An obviously tall, muscular man sat alone in a corner, on his right hand, a golden eagle encircled his finger, and in his left, he held a large silver dollar coin.  It flashed in the amber glow of the track lighting above his table, and he rolled it over his fingers as he nursed what looked like a glass of Crown.

As Emilie gazed at him absently, eying the flash of the coin, the server paused at his gesture, left shortly, and then returned with another glass.  The man’s dark eyes flashed as he laughed. Watching the girl’s hips sway back and forth, as she retreated, he let a smile tug at one corner of his mouth.

 

Emilie sighed and sipped her wine.  She’d been too wound up to go straight home after work.  It’s not that she wanted company, that was too complicated, but she wanted the comfort of a crowd.  The clink of ice in glasses, the muted voices of others’ conversations would fill her head tonight and maybe she wouldn’t feel so alone.

 

The couple at the other end of the bar were evidently having a disagreement.  He looked perplexed and she definitely angry.  He was obviously trying…or maybe not.  She reprimanded herself.  Who was she to decide what went on in the lives of strangers.  It’s not like she was a relationship expert.  Yet, in her imagination, she assumed that the woman in the short black skirt and tight ivory blouse was a bitch, who expected her companion to read her mind instead of telling him what it was she wanted.

 

She watched as the young man reached for the woman, tried to slip his arm around her waist and pull her close.  The ‘bitch’ jerked away and gave him a look that would freeze boiling water.  The young man slumped a bit lower in his chair, and drained his beer glass.  Emily felt sorry for him, and looked away, back to the man in the corner. 

 

She wondered what this guy’s story was.  He was obviously not waiting for anyone.  Appearing relaxed, he neither watched the door nor eyed the other patrons with that expectant look.  The silver dollar continued its journey back and forth between his fingers.  She watched, mesmerized.  As she fashioned a story for him in her imagination, she realized, he’d been watching her, watching him.  A horrified blush crept over her features, and she grasped her wine glass, gulping down a good swallow.


Before she could look away, he flashed her a brilliant smile, and raised his glass in her direction.  Her heart fluttered, he was ruggedly handsome, and smiling at her.  As terrified as she was, she couldn’t bear to be rude, and so she gave him a lopsided grin, and raised her glass to him in response.  Then, as he rose from his seat, and headed toward her, butterflies fluttered in her stomach, and in her hands, the wine glass shook.  He stopped just beside her chair, and in a low undertone wished her a very enjoyable evening.  Flipping the silver dollar coin onto the table in front of her, he turned back to the man behind the bar.  “Night, Sam.  See you tomorrow.”  In moments, the bell over the door sounded and he disappeared into the shadows.  Emilie picked up the coin, still warm from his hand, and smiled. 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Yesterday's Yesterday

yesterday’s yesterday

has passed so quickly

and though it seems

I could simply reach

from today to the day before

 

yesterday’s yesterday is gone

with her shining eyes

and her little girl giggle

and today, I can only wonder

 

yesterday’s yesterday

she fell in love with

a dark haired boy

waving goodbye

as he went to war

 

welcoming home

cradling a tiny babe

who would someday

give birth to my own

series of todays and yesterdays

 

yesterday’s yesterday

is filled with stories

of a life lived in hope

and in despair

determination and sorrow

joy and contentment

and today that voice

lies silent, the stories

being slowly forgotten

 

yesterday’s yesterday

is still precious

cradled in my hands and heart

memories that were not

first mine to hold

passed down as heirlooms

treasures carried

from beyond my reach

 

and I will cradle each one

in my heart and hands

until the appointed time

has come to pass them

into the hands of

bright eyed, laughing girls

and dark haired, gentle boys

who will carry them on

into tomorrow’s tomorrow

 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Windows

*From a writing exercise at my Monday night writers' group, A Cup of Words.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

What is on the other side of the window?

Windows have always drawn me, pulling my gaze beyond where I am, to where I am not.  It is a sensation similar to staring down a long road at the horizon line ---feeling that wanderlust boil over and spill out into your gut.  What is outside there, what can I not find here, in this room, in this town, in this life?

What is on the other side of the window, covered in frost from a winter storm, or made translucent by pouring rain from a thunderstorm?  What is it that stares back at me from the world outside my bedroom, my living room, my library? 

They say the eyes are the window to the soul, and I look into yours, wondering.  Who are you, how are you, why are you who you are?  I listen to your voice, like the wind whispering, howling, pressing against the glass.  I want your stories, your passion, your darkness and light.  What would I find on the other side of your windows, and how can I get in.

I dream of window shopping, walking down a quiet, small town street, gazing into antique shops, bookstores, flea market booths.  What treasures lie in there, and if I could explore, what would I discover.  What trinket would remind me of who I am, where I’ve been, what I long for?  What is on the other side of that window?

I stand in the back yard, garden hose in hand, spraying down the siding, and notice the view into my own house, my own kitchen.  It is different somehow, as if I am staring into someone else’s house, someone else’s life.  What is in there, in the cupboards, stuck to the fridge with magnets, and why? 

I notice you, looking through your window eyes, studying me.  The one view I cannot see---myself from your perspective.  Yet, there you are, staring, and I have a sudden urge to throw open the curtains and raise the blinds. 

What do you see, on the other side of the window?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Grandpa's Christmas Gift

In the early fifties, my grandfather made his living as a painter, and in the wintertime, it wasn’t an easy way to pay the bills.  One year, as Christmas approached, he put off shopping for gifts, waiting for his paycheck on Christmas Eve.  Sadly, that paycheck didn’t come that day, and he headed home with no money for gifts or food. 

 

My grandfather never liked being in debt.  He has always been the kind of man who pays his creditors first, then buys his groceries, and such.  However, on that Christmas Eve night, with two little girls at home, expecting Christmas, his only option was a charge account at the local White’s store.  Similar to today’s Western Auto stores, White’s carried auto parts, appliances, lawn and garden supplies, toys, and a variety of other goods.

 

Grandpa headed for White’s in search of Christmas gifts for his two young daughters, my mother and my aunt Patsy.  Mama can’t remember what gift she and her sister received that Christmas, but what makes this particular shopping trip memorable is the gift Grandpa bought for his wife, my Mimi.  As he headed toward the front of the store to purchase the Christmas toys he’d selected, he spied an inexpensive box of chocolate covered cherries.  This extravagance would be the Christmas gift he presented to his sweetheart, when they both knew there was really no money to spare for their celebration.

 

My Mimi loved that Christmas gift.  I know she did, because every year since that one, Grandpa came home from Christmas shopping with a box of chocolate covered cherries for her.  As far back as I can remember, and even before then, no matter how many other gifts there were under the tree, Mimi always accepted the inexpensive box of candy with tears in her eyes.  Grandpa only stopped buying them for her when the nursing home care team adjusted her diet to keep her from developing diabetes. 

 

I’m sure Grandpa didn’t know, on that long ago Christmas Eve, what an important part of his family’s Christmas tradition that box of cherries would become; but I’ve watched my own Daddy buy a box for Mama, every Christmas for years.  My own husband too, always manages to surprise me with a box in the weeks that lead up to the holidays.  That one-dollar box of candy has become a way to say, “I love you” every single year.  Grandpa hasn’t bought a box of chocolate covered cherries in several years.  But this year, there’s a carefully wrapped box of them under the tree for him.  It’s my way of saying “I love you, too.”

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Pen Names

Call me in

A shrill high voice

Like mama did

When I was young

Though I’m not sure

Tunafish is as appropriate

On the book cover

As her shouted-from-the-porch

TaunaLen

 

I’ve written under

Several noms de plume

Is that even how

You say it, I don’t know

There’s Tai and Lyne

And Maddie and such

There’s this name and that

And the one from childhood

And sometimes just Anon

 

Even a scribbled Mama

Or Love or Me

Written in dark ink

At the foot of a page

Filled with words

Lined up in neat rows

 

I suppose, I suppose

You can call me anything

Writer, poet, woman

Does it matter?

Yes it does

When someone wants

To pull my book from the shelf

If, if my book makes it there

Should I move from T and L

To C and K, to increase my odds

But then, who would

Recognize me?

 


Poetry Arrived in Search of Me

A piece inspired by the Pablo Neruda Poem.


 

It whispered to me in lullabies

In fairy tales and story books

It fell like leaves from autumn trees

Blowing in a cooler wind

 

It painted itself across the page

Of my impressionable childish mind

And called to me from the depths

Of ink filled pens and pencil boxes

 

Poetry came shouting like

A clap of thunder in April

Whispering in the silent fall of

Relentless snowflakes against the pane

 

Poetry told me stories in my dreams

Sang me songs and pulled at strands

Of my memory until I released

The words I’d been gathering in my skirt

 

Poetry spilled from me in a trail

Of breadcrumbs like the fairy tale

Resting in the undergrowth

Of a moist forest floor

 

One could find the words if they tried

And thereby follow them to me

Because poetry came for me

Long before I recognized his siren song

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Letter to a President I Did Not Elect


President-Elect Barack Obama,

 

Sir, I listened to your acceptance speech today, as you addressed Chicago, America, and the world.  You spoke of dreams, democracy and possibilities; and my brothers and sisters cheered for change.  I received phone calls from other Americans, who did not win your vote, and who are now unsettled by the change you promise.  We are wary, as we listen, Mr. Obama.

 

Yet, I know these people, my neighbors, my friends, my fellow Americans; those who won your vote, and those who did not, and I know that we will rise to change, and we will move forward.  We will not go gentle into that dark night.  Mr. Obama, we now look to you to lead us.

 

You said tonight, as you addressed those Americans whose support you have yet to earn, that you hear our voices and will be our president too.  Mr. Obama, we who are now looking to you to earn our support ask you to do just that.  You offer us hope, and we are hesitant to reach out and grasp it; but because we love our country and its people, because we need leadership in these times, and because our brothers and sisters in democracy have spoken loudly this day, we take that promise of hope in hand and pledge as Americans, to do our part.

 

Congratulations, Mr. Obama, you are truly beginning one of the great journeys of your life.  I believe that.   Although I did not vote for you, I am an American, heart and soul. I will not hide in my house and complain that things did not go my way.  I will not let my words suggest that the country I so love and support is heading now, in the wrong direction.  I will not lament today as a tragedy. 

 

I will stand, I will vote, I will live as an American, who looks to you to lead this great country into the future.  I will support America.  I will respect my brother and sister Americans, and I will respect you, as you begin the task set before you.

 

You, have my attention, and my prayers.

 

Sincerely,

 

A patriot from main-street America

Monday, October 6, 2008

Questions

Prompt:  Tell me what you will miss when you die.

 

When I die, I will miss living, of course.  

But, when I die, I’ll still be alive.

Darn.

 

When I die, I will miss my loved ones. 

Wait. 

Loved ones wait for me, there, in that place called home, after this life.

Darn again.

 

When I die, I’ll miss chocolate, and coffee, and rain on my skin, the colors of a tree with dying leaves, orange, red, gold, brown.  I’ll miss the yellowed pages of my favorite book, the smell of ink as it flows from my pen.

 

But will I miss…anything, really? 

When I die, will life begin and be so very wonderful that I cannot miss the temporary pleasures that delight me here and now?

 

When I die, I will miss…

I am not sure this is a question I can answer.

 

There are too many questions:

 

When I die, will there be coffee shops, music, blank pages and plenty of ink?  Will the flame of a candle intrigue me, warm my fingers; will it inspire?

Will it rain, and snow, will the wind blow warm or cold on my freckled skin?

Will I have skin?

 

Will textures intrigue me, the feel of sandstone against my feet, the feathery ticklish experience of grass between my toes, the brush of soft, warm lips against my forehead?  When I die, will I mind that tapioca is gritty, and whiskers scratch my skin?  Will I hold a smooth stone in my hand and be comforted by its cool surface, or lean against the bark of a tree, and feel it press like knuckles into my shoulder.

 

Will there be trees?  I will miss trees---branches reaching, twisting, turning, arching overhead like a canopy in the summer, or clawing the sky like a bird in the winter. I wonder will I smell the pungent cedar, or trace the outline of an oak leaf with my eyes or my fingers.

 

When I die, I will miss sounds---dominoes clinking together on the kitchen table, my brother’s fingers on an old guitar.  The laughter of eight women around the kitchen table---all related, mothers, daughters, sisters, aunts, nieces.  The click of a keyboard, the suckling, satisfied sounds of a nursing babe, the distinctive chirp of a cardinal in the tree in the back yard.

 

When I die, I may miss time.  The moments that count down on the clocks in my library, the gentle, rhythmic tick and tock that march down the road to sunset, sunrise, tomorrow and the day after.  I might miss time, as the minutes and hours and days of memory indicate my life, my loves, in this earth.  But, if this is just a countdown to something wonderful, when I’m there, what will time matter?

 

When I die…

 

When I die…

 

What if every wonderful thing I dearly love in this world is only a shadow of what I’ll discover in the next?  What if the best things come after death? 

How can I miss, when I do not know what is yet to be discovered.

 

This may be the question I cannot answer, this dying-missing-longing for something past-in the face of something future-thing.  The more I ponder, the more I find questions instead of answers. 

 

I fear I may have missed the point of the question.

 

And maybe that is answer enough.

 

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I Remember

Raw Exercises in Memoir – from the book, Old Friend From Far Away

I Remember


I remember a bowl of fat tomatoes on a white countertop, smelling of summer, ripe and bright.  I remember the red kerchief on the head of the black mammy salt and pepper shakers in that same kitchen---a hundred salt and pepper shakers scattered around the room---that black mammy face with fat cherry lips and white smiling teeth.  I remember burgundy beets in a pint jar, the deep wine color of their juice staining my lips and my fingers as I ate just one, then just one more.  I remember ruby painted lips, licked then pressed against my face.  A kiss that I received a hundred thousand times or more, until the day she forgot that mine was a face for kissing, like she forgot so many other things.

 

I remember Amazing Grace, whistled through those red lips, hummed at the kitchen sink, or in the garden, bent over plucking those red tomatoes from the vine.  I remember the sound of water filling the sink, the clink of jars and plates, dishes washed and dried.  The refrigerator door opened, closed, opened, closed – putting everything away after an afternoon lunch.  I remember the shuffle of cards at the dining room table, a lazy Saturday-post-lunch afternoon, just the two of us.

 

I remember a table filled with small saucers and bowls, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes, stuffed green peppers and cheese, salad, pork chops, bread on a plate, leftover macaroni and fried potatoes.  There were always brown beans and cornbread, and a raw onion cut into wedges.  


That table was everything from the fridge in Mimi’s kitchen, everything from Grandpa’s garden, laid out for three, or four, if my sister was there.  Lunch with canned peaches and graham crackers for dessert.  It seemed like so much work for such a simple meal, but she didn’t do things small, in the summertime, when grandchildren were in the house.  I miss those lunches.


 I remember the way Mimi used to eat cookies.  She’d dip one into her coffee and turn it this way, then that, letting the last drip fall back into the cup before bringing it to her mouth.  She’d nibble away the soggy edges, and dip again….turn, drip, turn, drip, repeating until the cookie was gone.  Then she’d reach to her shoulder, and brush the remaining crumbs from her fingertips on her shirt---every crumb, every cookie, every time.


It rained so much that spring that the streets were rivers, and even puddles on the corners or in the flower bed seemed like lakes you could lose a car in.  I remember falling asleep in the spare bedroom---the one with the wooden floors that were cold on my feet---listening to the sound of the thunder outside the window.  I remember hearing the story of how before I was born, Mimi was in the bathroom in the middle of the night.  An electrical storm raged outside.  I remember she swears she felt God telling her to pray, on the floor, kneeling there between the bathtub and the toilet. I remember being relieved, years later, as I listened, that she did too, because lightning struck that house, that room, where she was kneeling on the floor.  And if she hadn’t listened, the splintered wood and sheetrock might have been her.  But it wasn’t.


I remember dreaming that we were riding down the road in Grandpa’s car, he, of course was behind the wheel, easing into the edge of a puddle that stretched across the whole road.  I remember the feeling of sinking, deeper and deeper into that muddy water, until the whole car was swallowed beneath the surface---still sinking, sinking---and I was only a little afraid, because, after all, Grandpa was still driving.  I remember waking up, thinking I’d had this dream before, while thunder rattled the windows in that spare bedroom. 



Monday, September 29, 2008

As the World Rolls?

Prompt:  I lost a world the other day.  (E. Dickinson)


I lost a world the other day. 


The last time I saw it, it was sitting on my desk --- just beside the big blue dictionary, on top of the bills I have to pay by Friday.  I wonder if it rolled beneath the easy chair, or if the cat batted it into her favorite hiding spot beneath the bookshelf.  It’s not like a clear glass globe was especially important; I’m sure I could find another one just like it at the dollar store.  But I feel like it’s as sign, an omen, a reminder of how very little I have ‘together’. 


Juggling laundry and friends, words and deadlines, money and the television shows that are filling up my DVR, I wonder whether I’ll ever catch up with myself.  I don’t really think I’d be surprised to come out of the kitchen carrying out the trash and meet myself stumbling in the door under a load of library books.  It’s not that hard, this world losing.  It’s all to easy, in fact.


I wonder if the problem is in the shape.  Spheres are slippery; they don’t really lend themselves well to being contained in a palm or on a cluttered desk.  I vote that a cube shaped world would suit my purposes so much better.  People would just have to avoid the edges and corners.  I wonder whom you’d petition to make that suggestion for change.


In the meantime, I guess I’ll spend some time sweeping the corners and searching under the furniture.  That globe paperweight has to be around here somewhere.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Disappearing Stair

PROMPT:  “Suddenly the stair disappeared into the darkness.”


The theater is dark, shadowy.  She wanders in off the street, looking for a quiet place to escape the cold, and the holiday crowd gathered in her home. Climbing the steps, she settles into the best seat in the house—the very center seat of the balcony, first row.  The place is dark, pitch black, and the lit screen of her cell phone doesn’t shed much light around her, but she wants to sit alone in the dark for a while.


She stares at the grey expanse of screen, surprised the thing is still intact and whole.  As she closes her eyes, she can see the images flicker in front of her.  The music swells, the story plays out on the backs of her eyelids, and she is transported back in time, into the screen, into the story of a woman who is loved by a man she cannot have.  The story of her life, acted out by the old Hollywood actors.  For two hours, she is the beautiful one, the heroine that everyone desires. 


Then, the tail end of the film makes a clattering noise as it slips through the projector.  She opens her eyes, and she is sitting in a musty, chilly, dark theater once more.  She realizes that the clattering noise she hears isn’t film…someone is there in the theater with her.


White discs of light flash across the wall to her left, and she slips quietly into the aisle, keeping low.  She had probably tripped some sort of alarm, trespassing they will say.  She takes the steps two at a time, pausing between each to hear the shuffling steps of what she assumes are police officers.  She is hoping to get to the emergency exit next to the screen while they climb the stairs to the opposite side of the balcony.


How embarrassed will she be if she is caught trespassing in an abandoned theater.  Who will understand that she just needed to get out of the house full of family and friends, to get away and find a quiet place?  She had gotten the strangest looks when she said she was going out for a walk in the frigid night air.  They will be appalled if she gets arrested on top of it all.


Suddenly she is bathed in a glaring pool of yellow light, and a baritone voice sounds from the opposite set of stairs, demanding that she halt.  A split second later, she hears him take a tumble, and the light goes out.  Counting herself lucky, she takes the last few steps at a run, intending to hit the exit door and beat a path for home. 


Of course, things never go according to plan.  Her cell phone suddenly rings, her foot slips on the third step, and suddenly the stairs disappear into darkness, as she pitches forward into empty space.  Behind her, a deep, authoritative voice calls out for her to stop.  Thanks to gravity, she does.

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Faulty Clock

wet streets

slick and black

puddles that shimmer

as new droplets

add themselves

to the mix 

 

busy intersection lights

reflect in the dark

surface of the puddles

night presses its face

against the windows

of this corner cafĂ© 

 

across the street

a red brick arch

marks the entrance

to free public parking

a white faced clock

announces the time

to cafe patrons

and passersby 

 

the clock, however

is off by three

and one half hours 

I glance at it

every few minutes

sipping my coffee

my pen hesitating

in its journey

across the page

 

closing time is ten p.m. 

and in this moment

the clock says five-to-one 

my head calculates

does the simple math

of its own accord

I smile marking time

with a faulty clock

and the scratching

of my favorite ink pen

it is a very good night

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Taking of Breath

Deep, resonating bass tones fill the air, vibrating from strings of steel, and flowing, pouring out to fill my ears, my body. Harmony echoes from the finest piano---palpable, moving, and so very sensual. And then, there is the silence. There is a between the notes space that is filled with an intake of air, steady, strong, a near desperate sound, as if the very atmosphere fuels the music spilling from the strings. Breath, drawn as a parched throat would gulp life-giving water from the fountain of youth.

And in that gasp between the notes, that layer of music outside the music, therein lies the passion of the cellist. There is the very heartbeat, the life of one who feels and breathes, who loses himself between the musical notes. The emotion, the passion, the music that is air alone, reverberates within a musician who knows what it is to surrender to the flood and become, himself, part of the deluge.

And the music of breath moves me. It draws my shoulder to my ear, and tilts my head back on my neck. It tickles its way along my spine, as though drawn from my own lungs as I listen and experience the art that is this music, the musician and his gift.

----------

This post is featured in a brand new collaborative e zine titled
'InTheInkJournal'. I'm very excited about this new venture and flattered to have been chosen as part of the writing team. Check out the journal, and subscribe, for a fresh new look at what it means to write, read, and follow your muse. Let me know what you think!

T.L.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Love Letter

8/16/08



My Sarah,


I began a journey with you, twenty-one years and some days ago, and I started with a letter. You have that letter today, packed away in a box---and I wish I had kept writing, marking every significant event, for that was my plan. However, motherhood proved a very time consuming effort, and the plan changed.


I woke this morning, knowing you would be asleep on the couch, with your bags and boxes packed, and wondered in which one I would find that faded, blue journal. I decided not to search. Nevertheless, I wanted to share with you some thoughts from my heart on this cool August morning.


This day is one of excitement and anticipation for you. You step fully into the world, ready to face life on your own terms. I am proud of you. There was a moment long ago, my love, when they placed you in my arms, and I fell into your eyes. You looked to me like such a serious, little soul, so very tiny and dependent on me for everything. At the time, I was only nineteen, and had no idea how to be a mother. You and Amber managed to teach me, and I kept learning as time went on.


I have spent two decades watching you grow, your heart fairly bursting with love and passion. I am amazed. I do not know how you turned out to be so incredibly smart, talented, giving, confident and beautiful. This in itself is proof of a Creator who fills our lives with his love and mercy. The same wonder is echoed, repeated in the lives of your siblings. You each defy my logic, and astonish me.


I know today marks a turning point, a crossroads. So many things between us will remain the same, but some things will be forever changed; and that is as it should be. Life is about changes. You are headed down a road that I’ve only ever seen through eyes as young as yours. Yet, your Grandma has made before, both your voyage, and mine, and she is watching as well. Life does repeat itself.


I want you to know that I believe in you. I am so grateful to have been chosen to be your mother. I cannot explain how my life was transformed when you came along, and I became ‘Mommy’. Someday, you will understand what I mean.


Today, I stand looking over your shoulder, at the life you have ahead, and I am speechless. I have taken my hopes and dreams for you, and tucked them safely away in the pockets of my heart, where they belong. I have come to realize that this is your life, and your dreams and plans are your own. I cannot wait to see what you make of your world, my darling.


You come from a long line of strength and love, Sarah. You may not carry the name of the women who came before you, as a son would carry the name of his fathers, but you carry us, our love and character is woven into the fabric of your being. We are watching, and you, my daughter, will bear us forward, into your own daughters and sons. What an incredible thought.


So, this morning, as the sun comes up, and the day begins to stir, I would give you a map and a compass, along with a tiny jeweled box that carries a piece of my heart. Find your path, Sarah, and know that whatever direction you choose, your compass and map will be true. I know you will find your way forward, and moreover, always remember the way home.


I love you, madly.



~Mommy

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Empty Spaces

an empty space
in the driveway
but she’s just spending
the night with friends

an empty bowl in the sink
she was here--she ate
she’s gone again

a half empty room
filled with half empty boxes
it’s a trial run
a fire drill
a test of the
emergency
broadcast system

an empty coat hanger
on my bedroom door
a wet towel over
the shower curtain rod

a phone call at midnight
out with friends again
a smile, a laugh
an echoing silence

but she’s here
her warmth, her place
it’s still under my roof
for now

an empty box
being filled with books
pencils, CDs
21 years of music
passion loved
by a girl who lives
to be in the music

an empty stage
where she once sang
danced, moved by
with, in the music
she’s still there

an empty book case
being loaded into
a not so empty truck
an empty seat at
the dinner table

excitement
mingled with anxiety
in her eyes
she’s stepping
out into thin air

she can, she will
be okay
she can fly
I believe
know her strength
her potential
her passion

she will change
the world
In her way
like she has
changed mine
since the first
moment I looked
into her eyes

life is calling
my darling, my self
and she wouldn’t dream
of ignoring his voice

I know
it is time
apron string
untied

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Clever Trick

Fiction writing exercise from my A Cup of Words Writer's Group. Monday, July 21, 2008.


Prompt is The Lyric:

“You sang me Spanish lullabies, the sweetest sadness in your eyes, clever trick.”

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The sunlight sliced through your hair, picking up strands of red, blonde and brown and combed through them like a lover’s fingers might do. I sat, watching as you spoke, the rich, amber timbre in your voice soaking into my consciousness. You talked and I watched your mouth move, the way you gnawed on your bottom lip, your nervous fingers fiddling with the hem of your shirt. I wanted to take your hand, and press it to my lips. I wanted to pull your head to my shoulder and rock you silently.


And you knew. Practiced in the art of pulling heartstrings, you measured each word, each breath, each flicker of your eyes toward my face. How you ever packed so much tension into that spot just below your bottom lip, I may never fully understand. But you drew me in, and I loved you. I did. My heart broke for you. I believed you.


I was foolish.


I fell, headlong into your eyes, into your stories, your arms, your beautiful perfectly orchestrated lies. And now I sit, in that same, empty window seat, sunlight raking through my hair, scattering across the floor in pieces, as I try to gather the bits of my heart. And still those lovely Spanish lullabies echo in my head, and I am not sorry. To have held you and loved you, and known you, was well worth the price of admission.


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Thursday, July 17, 2008

Forty-Two

Forty-two points in twenty eight pieces of ivory, and I warily eye his face, wondering if he’s already uncovered my off.

His eyes narrow, the creases in his face deepen and he smiles. He studies what’s been played and selects a domino. Turning its face to the table with a resounding ‘thunk’, he arches a bushy eyebrow at me. I am anxious, second-guessing myself, eyeing my remaining hand. I hope it’s not a trey.

It’s hard to imagine a day, long before I was born, when only men were admitted into this squared circle, the clack of wooden rectangles being shuffled on the surface of the card table, the voices of women floating in from the kitchen.

I have heard the story of a young girl, not quite teenager, who stood silently at her grandfather’s shoulder, watching, not making a sound. Eventually, that gruff, wrinkled man granted her entrance, and began to whisper explanations. He challenged her to pay attention, read the pips and anticipate his opponent’s next move.

And my mother learned, and she taught me. Today, fifty years later, I can sit beside that grandfather’s son, and hope that he is not disappointed by my mistakes, that he’s as patient with this four generation square of both males and females as we try to anticipate his next move.

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