Unless otherwise attributed, all content, text or image, on this site is © TaunaLen 2005-2011.
All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution is prohibited without prior written consent.

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

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