THE MOTHER LAND – PROMPT #75

Today we go back to the root of who we are and have become. Ancestry and genealogy are hot hobbies and people want to know about their heritage. In keeping with that mind-set, we want to know, “Where do you come from?”

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 10: The Mother Land – Our ancestors all came from somewhere else. Tell us what you know about your ancestral homeland. Delve into your heritage. Relate a story passed down in the family about it. Are there traditions that are still observed? Write a poem about it.

MARIE ELENA’S BACKGROUND:

MAKING EXPLOSIVES

I’m exactly half Italian, and half Irish.
One would assume this fusion
would increase the predilection toward explosive behavior.

I blew that theory all to pieces.

Copyright © Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S ORIGINS:

WHERE THE FALCON FLIES

Polonia, where the falcon flies
above your land in your hallowed skies,
I long to walk where my ancestors lived.

You have given me a name and you
have given me a heritage, it is where
the root of this poet is grounded.

Founded in freedom, your borders
had changed with regularity though wars
and confiscation, oh blessed nation

where the falcon flies. My heart swells
with Polish pride and my eyes fill with
your wonder. I am under your spell.

From Oświęcim and Igolomia and Poznań
to America, the connections elicit sighs
for you Polonia, where the falcon flies!

Copyright © Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #74

Be they hobbies, soul-soothers, or all out obsessions, we all have something that diverts us inwardly to bring peace to our frazzled psyches in this hectic world. It is these little escapes that we have chosen to be the basis of our work this week. The choices as always posed their problems, and Walt has addressed it a bit differently this week:

MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM

What a delightful prompt this is!  I have enjoyed hearing all about your loves – your passions – your obsessions. The resulting poems varied from elegant to stirring; amusing to thought-provoking.   The one that captured my heart is unadorned wonder:    Sara V’s “Above All Else.”  I love the way you think, and how you expressed it, Sara.

Above All Else (By Sara V)

Above me
I love the sky
Below me
I love the sea
Around me
I love my friends
On my face
I love a smile
In my belly
I love a laugh
In my ears
A Beatles tune
In my nose
Wafts of fresh baked (anything)
In my hand
A glass of wine
At my waist
My husband’s arm
Under my feet
A sandy beach
There’s too much in life
To enjoy and see
To love one thing exclusively

WALT’S CHOICE:

I’ve never been the “King of Cop-out”, but I find myself wrestling with the horns of a dilemma. These poems are so incredibly good and you always hear Marie and me lamenting the difficulty of choosing just one. Well today, I’m breaking away from that mold. My “obsession” was revealed as music. But that’s not the whole truth. I love books. I love this Great Lake that Marie and I share. I love hiking in nature. All four were very ably expressed in four poems and I am deciding to choose four poems to highlight. Here are my favorite excerpts of these which I am cloaking with my BEAUTIFUL BLOOM this week:

From Barbara Young’s MY LOVE AFFAIR(S)

“When I fell into fantasy–hobbits and space ships, dragons,
British cozies, shrouded moor romances–I didn’t only inhale them:
I bought
all
the books.”

From Jane Shlensky’s “HEALING SOUNDS” –

“I wanted the music in me
at once released and retained,
harbored in me until it was
ready for hearing, my hands
finding harmony even when
my heart had not.”

From Connie Peter’s “HIKING”

“Hiking down a pebbled creek
Ducking under bridges
Hiking around a clean blue lake
Admiring rough ridges”

and from Sara McNulty’s “MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH THE OCEAN”

“Maybe it is scents of sea
creatures, shrieks of swooping
gulls, or simply unwinding coiled
muscles, and slowing of my heart.”

And the truth is there are more (read, every poem posted) that could have been included. So if I have copped out, that’s my prerogative. You see, we are not just blowing smoke, it IS a difficult task. A good dilemma to have. Thank you all!

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – ZYMURGY

Zymurgy defined, is the area of applied science related to fermentation. It deals with the biochemical processes involved in fermentation, through yeast. Unless you are a home brew aficionado, you’re probably thinking… What does this have to do with the price of Haiku in Japan?

But for the purpose of the Zymurgy form, we will deal with this fact… ZYMURGY is the very last word in the dictionary. So we will concern ourselves with the “Last Word” of each first and last line of every stanza.

The last word of your title becomes the first word of the first line of your poem.

The last word of  the first line will dictate the number of lines in that stanza. Use that word as an Acrostic in that stanza, with the last word of the last line becoming the first word of your next stanza, stringing your thoughts together.

Follow the color coding in Walt’s poem to better understand the form.

There is no rhyme scheme, but you can make it rhyme.

There is no syllable count, but you can experiment with one if you wish.

Let your muse be the yeast that gets a rise out of you and see what you can brew up.

The “Zymurgy Form” was devised by Walt Wojtanik. That’s my last word on this form.

MARIE ELENA GETS THE LAST WORD:

SO BE IT

It is not about me – not mine to be.
Believe me, any goodness you see
Evident in me, is not my own goodness.

Goodness is God-given,
God-driven,
Implanted,
Vested,
Endowed by my Creator –
Not of my own making.

Making this clear:
Christ’s
Love and sacrifice
Endures,
Awarding us eternal
Right-standing with God.

God, let us see
Sin’s demise –
Enlightenment through Your
Eyes.

Copyright © – Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S FINAL WORDS:

HONOR AMONGST POETS

Poets are held in high esteem,
each dreaming to be well-read,
seeming to write
to their hearts content
earnestly, touching emotions
effortlessly when the muse strikes them.
Muse makes the words go around.

Around other poets they fawn,
feeling their own efforts fall flat
although they are most
worthy of the same praise.
No poets is looked down upon.

Upon closer scrutiny, poems
penned in the simplest of forms,
openly express what the poet’s heart sees.
Every word, every veiled rhyme,
meets the approval of other purveyors of poetry.
Some wish they “had written that“.

That is why their work is held in high regard.
Reading their works is an honor,
every word touching a chord, and
gaining for the poet, great respect.
After the words are written, poets
return to their page to begin anew.
Doing what they do best in the honor of poets.

Copyright © – Walter J. Wojtanik 2012

MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH… – PROMPT #74

The past two weeks we have explored our first experiences with falling in love, and with death. Both emotional prompts to say the least. If poetry is seeded in emotion, the “crop” that flourished in the last two weeks is abundant. But now we will shift our passion into a new kind of emotion.

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 9: My Love Affair With… – What is your obsession? What do you truly enjoy above all else? Write the passion that goes into your extra-curricular endeavors. What piques your interest? What would you love to try? What is your guilty pleasure? Tell us about it in all its poetic finery.

MARIE ELENA’S OBSESSION:  Obsessed?  Me? 😉

MY POOR HUSBAND (a double fibonacci)

Call
me
obsessed
with football,
but it only counts
for THE Ohio State Buckeyes
(both college and pro).
My widowed
husband
stands
by.

Copyright © Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S DIVERSION:

ALWAYS LIKE A SONG

Poetry, you are the lyrics of my life
sung to a melody of my own composing.
Supposing I was without that tune, would I
just as soon be without my words; be less expressive?
And would each successive note fall flat?
If that were the case, this place would be a dull dance,
rhyming zombies in a static trance. But my romance
with music sustains me, it trains me to write
and right or wrong, this life ain’t much to start,
without a song in my heart.

Copyright © Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #73

One of the guarantees of life become the fact the we all eventually will die. We’ve had our exposures to the process of dying, sometimes having brushes ourselves. You have all written such touching and heart rendering poems. Hopefully they have given you a bit of comfort to share these with our poetic friends. I know it did for me. Here are the BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS for this week’s prompt:

MARIE ELENA’S BLOOM

This was perhaps the hardest it has ever been for me to choose only one poem to honor with a Bloom.  Your stories and the renderings thereof draw me in, yet are so painful to absorb.  But this … the exquisite wording and significance of this spoke to my heart, and will continue to speak:

End?
No, merely a transition,
one last summer sipped breath.
Aware of autumn…
Sure of the fall…
Certain that life cycles…
Positive she’ll see her winged reflection
again in the crisp cool collective pool of life.

Sweet Hannah, I’m thankful your friend’s unhealthy body was set free on the day of this prompt.  As Claudette said, “… it does seem appropriate that you free your poem of her as she frees herself for that ultimate journey.”  I offer you my Bloom for the poignantly exquisite celebration of your friend’s life and death.

Positive. (by Hannah Gosselin)

Investing my breath
in the beauty of passing,
summer’s bursting breast:
asters, snap-dragons and clover,
thistle, goldenrod and ragweed.
The smell of newly decaying leaves
buzz of bees in their last pollen gathering efforts
the dipping, dodging of dragonflies feeding
while slipping like autumn’s early orange leaf
a monarch butterfly floats on the breeze
and all of this
all of this while she waits
each beat closer to the close
every pulse nearing an end result
but really, nearly a new beginning;
merely a transition.
I pray…
she has the strength
to let go,
let her spirit be lifted,
escape this painful waiting.
Take flight with the majestic monarch
her passage is pre-planned;
she is hopeful,
holds faith in her destination.
And eerily,
goodbye this time…
It really was a farewell
and a fondness in knowing…
Believing…
that my last words to her were true.
“I love you…
I will see you in heaven, my friend.”
She nodded slightly and peered into my eyes,
the brightness residing there…still permeated with life
while her body battled an inevitable end.
End?
No, merely a transition,
one last summer sipped breath.
Aware of autumn…
Sure of the fall…
Certain that life cycles…
Positive she’ll see her winged reflection
again in the crisp cool collective pool of life.

© Hannah Gosselin 9/16/12

WALT’S SELECTION:

Growing up, I knew people died and were gone forever. But always someone else’s friend, or parent, or relation. I graduated from High School in June of ’74 and my Grandfather passed in September. I was glad for the time I had with this wonderful man, and equally glad I was a bit older before death came knocking.

Some folks weren’t as lucky to have that cushion of age to understand. The poem I chose makes death in the eyes of a child more real to me; what my daughters might have felt when my parents had died. Their exposure to death could have been what SARA McNULTY had written. Thanks for sharing this Sara. For her BLOOM:

EXPOSURE TO DEATH by Sara McNulty

Aunt Ida gave life, life.
Her aura of lustrous red, brushed
her lips and ours. My mother’s
older sister swept through doorways,
lifted laughter from dark places,
and died at fifty-nine. She suffered
a heart attack on an icy December
afternoon while holiday gift shopping.

I did not see her in death,
as Jewish law required
next day burial, closed coffin.
My sense of devastation was
felt vicariously through the form
of my mother, screaming and crying
for days on the sofa, relatives filling
the house with food, sweets,
and endless conversations.
My sister and I spent a large
portion of that time across the hall
in a neighbor’s apartment, safe
from death.

Later, stung by the bee of reality–
Aunt Ida would not take me to
the village with its cool bistros,
or ice skating in Flushing Meadow
Park, or sweep through the door
in clouds of perfume–I knew
death’s meaning.

Congratulations Hannah and Sara for your honors. Thank you to our poets for your wonderful words. They were indeed compassionate and empathetic.

POET INTERVIEW – KIMIKO MARTINEZ

KIMIKO MARTINEZ

I always, always write a short introduction for our featured poet.  However, “always” doesn’t necessarily mean “forever.”  With that in mind, I hand this interview to Kimiko Martinez, and allow her to introduce herself.

KIMIKO:  Like so many in my generation, I hate labels. Perhaps it’s because I was asked to check the ethnicity box on so many standardized tests as a child (before they modified to accommodate those of us who are multiracial), and was forced to check “other.” There were no alternatives for kids like me.

 I suppose that defined me some. “Other.” Not white, not Japanese, not Native American … something that the forces-that-be hadn’t yet quite come to terms with; something that didn’t fit in some nice little box.

 Now in my mid-30s, I’m proud to be an “other.” When you never fit into the box, it’s easier to break out of. And so, I’m just trotting along this adventure called life with a little Kerouac, a little Rumi, and a little Neruda as my guides, and wondering where the road will take me.

 MARIE ELENA:  Thank you, Kimiko, and welcome!  I’m thankful you have come into your own, proudly pronouncing yourself an “other,” and seeing the benefit thereof.  I see strength and a fun gleam in your eyes and your words.   Now, let’s see how that translates to poetry. Please share one or two of your favorite writes.

KIMIKO:  It’s not that I’m really attached to my poems (they’re just words, not children), but I find it hard to pick a favorite. But then again, I have a hard time picking favorites of anything. I just don’t see the world as good/bad, black/white, favorite/least favorite. There’s something to be learned from every situation – as tragic as it may seem – and so, it’s hard to define what’s great and what’s not.

 I suppose the poems of mine that I like most are those that others like as well, like “End of the Line,” a tribute to author Dorothy Allison, who I’d been reading at the time, and “After burn,” which was a reflection on the fire that destroyed the home I shared with an ex-boyfriend, it’s pretty typical of what I hope to accomplish when I write – short, some play on form (I love a lune or haiku), a little imagery and emotional get.

 Usually, though, I just like poems that make me smile. “Miss Ruby” is just ridiculous and fun, and “Whenever we walk” takes me straight to a memory that makes me laugh out loud.

 MISS RUBY

(A cascade poem written for Poetic Asides, and We Write Poems Wizard of Oz prompt.  By Kimiko Martinez)

If you’re going to walk down golden roads
you should definitely do it in style.
Thank god you found me.

That gingham smock did nothing
for you, honey. You need some pizzazz
if you’re going to walk down golden roads.

But you’ve got the right idea with
the little lapdog. When accessorizing with canines,
you should definitely do it in style.

Still, a pair of dazzling heels is what
you really need to turn heads in the Emerald City.

Thank god you found me.

~~~

 (NoteDue to space limits, only one poem was chosen to place in this interview.  However, the poem titles above are links. Please do follow them to read the poems.  Each one is worth the cyber jaunt.)

 MARIE ELENA: There are three ways in which you describe yourself.  Let’s explore each. 

Self-description #1:  “I am first and foremost, a storyteller.”  When and how did you discover yourself to be a storyteller, and what does that mean to you?

 KIMIKO: I’ve been a writer since I was young. English was always one of my best subjects, and I minored in creative writing in college. But it wasn’t until I began my career in journalism that I truly felt like a storyteller.

 Storytelling was the part of journalism that I loved most. Everyone has a story, and taking the time to uncover that story and share it with others was really what it was all about to me.

But maybe that’s just because I’m a lazy creative. As a single working mom, I found it easier to be handed all the details – the people and the places, etc. – and create something fun or quirky or moving from it, as opposed to digging into the depths of my own creativity and piecing together characters and plot and theme from scratch.

 Even as I’ve matured and moved from “survivor mode” to an era in my life where I feel a little less scattered, I still don’t have the time to simply sit and let the stories emerge from someplace within … except with poetry. Because of its brevity and precision, I can find 5 or 10 minutes here or there (but still not often enough) to respond to a prompt or an emotion that wells up within me and stay true to that calling of the storyteller within me.

 MARIE ELENA: Self-description #2: “a lazy creative.”  That sounds like an oxymoron.  Add to that “award-winning journalist,” and I cannot fathom that there is a lazy bone in your body.  Tell me about these awards, Kimiko.

 KIMIKO: Oh. That’s just to hype myself up and put my best foot forward for job prospects and freelance work. It’s nothing big.

 I went back to finish my degree when my son was about 2, and started studying journalism my first semester back. (Every time I opened a parenting magazine during the time I stayed home with him I thought, “I can do that. And I can probably do that better than they’re doing it.”)

 I got recruited to the college newspaper my first semester and won two third place awards at a state student-journalism competition that year. I continued to win awards pretty much every year of my college journalism career. Early in my career, I won a state award from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Indiana (back in 2006, I think) for a piece I did on depression. Then, in 2008, I was part of the editorial team that produced an investigative series of articles that won a Maggie Award (a publishing industry award).

 Outside of journalism, I won third place at Masterpiece in a Day – a yearly arts/writing event in Indianapolis – for a little vignette about a local greasy spoon called “Always Peppy.

But that’s it. No big deal.

 MARIE ELENA:  Oh my.  Award-winning AND modest?  You make me smile. 

Self-description #3: “a visual thinker.”  What do you mean by that, and how does it affect your writing?  How does that mesh with being a storyteller?

 KIMIKO: When I was in college, I almost changed my major to graphic design because I fell in love with designing newspaper pages. I’m in marketing now and utilize those graphic design skills pretty much every day since I run an in-house creative department.

 So thinking visually helps me as a journalist and in marketing, because I realize that words can be made more impactful if you work with the aesthetics of type and images and layout. (No one has the attention span to read a big, solid block of text anymore.) It helps me as a poet in that I’m often more concerned about the feel of something than the actual plot.

 This seems contradictory to me being a storyteller, but I find that the best stories resonate on an emotional level. The books and poems I love most are a snippet – an emotion, a scene, a slice of life that I can taste, touch, feel, see in my mind’s eye … hence my love for Kerouac’s “On the Road” and pretty much anything that Rumi or Neruda has written.

 MARIE ELENA:  Those three little phrases describe you richly, and give us a rather full mental sense of who you are.  Thank you!

Several poets I’ve interviewed have shared captivating descriptions of poetry.  Your “… a snippet – an emotion, a scene, a slice of life that I can taste, touch, feel, see…”  – this is one of the best I’ve seen.  What got your poetry engine running?

 KIMIKO: Gosh. I probably started writing poems around second grade. “Roses are red, violets are blue” type stuff. I dabbled a bit in high school, but only because it was required in class and teachers encouraged me to explore it more.

 I really started getting into it in earnest, though, in college (as required for my creative writing minor), and quickly learned that I was not as good as I thought I was. I learned a lot from my teacher (a published poet), but, above all, that the type of writing I do is simply never going to be literary prose. It’s going to be a 30-second slice of alliteration and whimsy (hopefully). And I’m OK with that.

 MARIE ELENA:  I can relate to that, Kimiko.  It is something I am OK with as well.  Not only am I OK with it, but I find many of my favorite poets could be described exactly that way. 

You are a journalist.  That goes without question.  You consider yourself a storyteller.  But do you also consider yourself a poet? 

 KIMIKO:  I consider myself a part-time poet … and it’s taken me years to even acknowledge that much. But I have to credit much of that to the support and encouragement I’ve gotten from the Poetic Asides and Poetic Bloomings communities.

 Before I started participating in PAD or any of the poetry prompts, I would have never dared call myself a poet. “Poet” just seems so serious and official. It seems so literary and maybe even a bit antiquated. Plus, my style is so short and immature, that I guess I didn’t really feel that I deserved to call myself a poet.

 Even now, I waffle at that question. Am I a poet? Sometimes. But not often enough.

 MARIE ELENA:  Before we delve a bit into your life outside of writing, I must say that I do not find your writing immature in the least. 

Now, switching gears here, I know you have several “loves” in your life.  Go ahead and gush.

 KIMIKO:  My son Ricky turns 16 in November. It’s been just the two of us for the bulk of his life, so I like to think we’re closer than most teens and their mothers. He drives me crazy and tests my patience, as most high school juniors do, but I really love the man he’s becoming and the little boy I still get glimpses of now and then.

 He’s an artist –mostly drawing and painting, currently exploring water color and fashion design – but not really sure which way he’ll go with it. He’s young, though, so he has plenty of time to figure it out. We just try to encourage him to venture out and try new things and find out what sticks.

 My boyfriend Corey and I have been together about a year and a half and plan on getting married next year … and possibly starting all over with the kid thing. (He has a son also, Antonio, who is 6 months younger than Ricky). That’s both exciting and scary (two more years and our kids are off to college, and we want to start all over?!). So there may be a mom blog being borne out of that soon. We’ll see.

 I didn’t date a ton while Ricky was growing up, but I had my fair share of decent and not-so-decent relationships, and finally started to find my stride in my 30s. I did a lot of emotional and spiritual work and Corey just showed up and fit into my life like he’d always been there. It is the easiest, most natural relationship I’ve ever experienced, and one in which I always feel safe and loved and deeply cared for. And, perhaps most importantly, I feel like the woman in this relationship.

 The feminist in me wants to scream to see a statement like that, because it immediately makes me think of the stereotypical 1950s housewife who’s “taken care of.” But it’s really more that he supports me in everything, every day. I’m allowed to be the intelligent, ambitious, independent woman I am (and have been, by default, as a single mom for so long – playing mom and dad, breadwinner and bread baker …) and I’m adored for being those things. But I’m also allowed to be … cared for. I don’t have to do it all myself. I can take a breath and just be. It’s the greatest blessing I’ve ever been given and one that I’m so so grateful for. We laugh every day and are just enjoying sharing the adventure together.

 Boba is the newest addition to our family. She’s a 4-year-old English Bulldog that we adopted in January. And she definitely provides my daily dose of goofiness. If you’re not familiar with bulldogs, they’re farting, drooling, smelly excuses for dogs who are so, SO needy. Boba wants to be touching her people all the time. She whines when someone walks out the door, even if three people are still in the room.  But she’s such a lover and such a happy, silly. And she has that “so ugly it’s almost cute” smile that it’s impossible not to smile when you see her. Pretty much every time we walk her, everyone who sees her ends up smiling.

COREY AND KIMIKO

RICKY AND KIMIKO

ANTONIO AND COREY

AND, NOT TO BE OUTDONE … BOBA!

MARIE ELENA:  I too am an English bulldog lover!  They are just so much fun, and Boba is a beauty!  And such handsome men you have in your life, Kimiko.  Your future looks very full and fun with them in it, and with your plans for more children. How exciting!

More often than not, I share a favorite poem toward the very beginning of my interviews. 

 However, I saved this one for now.

 Put out (by Kimiko Martinez)

She breathes fire
The smell of singed wood
The subtle soot
Sitting on happy words

It lingers
in the corner of her eyes
An insatiable heat
Burning into her thoughts

The burdens
The book
The smiles
The love

Lost

You could see
In the corner of her smile
A wet sigh
Extinguishing the fire in her soul

Carried in the flames of her laugh

~~~

  MARIE ELENA:  “Put Out” is an amazing little piece with an even more amazing birth.  In July 2007, you experienced a devastating fire.  Please tell us about it.

 KIMIKO: I can’t say that the fire was a good thing – I really did lose everything I owned except my car and the change of clothes in my trunk. Yearbooks, pictures, computer … dog. It was absolutely devastating in every sense of the word.

 And yet, it was also cleansing.

 I’d been living in a boyfriend’s house for several months after a fairly abrupt and emotionally taxing break up. I came home from a night out with friends (karaoke at the gay bar downtown) to find my street blocked off by police and fire trucks. I rolled down my window and asked what was going on, and the police officer gave me this “what do you think is happening, stupid?” look … which abruptly changed when I told him I lived on that street. He asked me which house, I told him, and he immediately asked me to park and come with him.

 The fire had been put out by the time I got there, but the street was filled with neighbors and there was an overwhelming smell like a campfire that had just been put out. I called my friend who I’d been out with and also my ex to let him know. We had to wait to talk to the police (they suspected it was random arson – our house and the house next door were both completely demolished), and the fire department. Then, on top of it all, there was some armed suspect loose in the neighborhood right after this all died down, so we crawled into a news van (me, my friend, my ex – whom I hadn’t seen in more than a month and had no idea where he was staying, and his sister!) and waited until the police helicopters were done circling.

 It was an exhausting night, to say the least. I had been in Indy for two years by that point and had made some good friends. But I had no family, it was very early in the morning (3 or 4 a.m. by this point), and didn’t know where to go or what to do. I finally got in touch with my best friend by the time the sun started coming up, went to her apartment and just slept and cried. I bawled about losing my dog and how traumatic that must’ve been for her in her last moments. And I cried for all that I’d lost. I cried harder and longer than I’d cried ever before (and I’d cried a LOT after that break up, not too many months before all this).

 I was broke. My son was in California with my parents and his dad for the summer. My ex had insurance, but it wasn’t going to cover any of my stuff because it was his house. (We had discussed me not needing renters insurance because we were going to get married eventually – what was mine was his, etc. so no need … until the house burned down and he got paid and I didn’t get a penny from it.)

 Still, it WAS cleansing. There was finality and closure surrounding that torrid relationship. And there’s something amazingly freeing about not having anything to weigh you down. No possessions. No worldly weight.

 I was about to move to a new apartment literally that coming weekend. It was the easiest move I ever made, because I had nothing to move. A local charity that served fire victims helped me get some necessities like silverware and some pots and pans. The staff at my work, the Indiana Historical Society, pulled together several hundred dollars that first day to give me some funds to get me on my feet (the immediate need for a change of clothes, new bras and underwear … the things we take for granted until we don’t have them any more), and my friends organized a fundraiser to help replace some of the items I’d lost. In all, I ended up with a couple thousand dollars and an assortment of furniture, house wares, knickknacks, and books from friends, family, coworkers, and total strangers, who all wanted to help me out.

 I’d always had a hard time accepting help from others (the obstinate “I can do it myself!” child well into my 20s), so this was a huge life lesson. I had no choice but to let others help me. There was just nothing I could do for myself at that point.

 MARIE ELENA:  Your strength and resilience are staggering. How did poor Ricky cope?

 KIMIKO: Thankfully, he was in California at the time. But he was devastated too. We lost our pet, and he lost some of his toys. Strangely, his most prized possessions – a collection of manga books – had been moved to a front room and boxed up for our upcoming move and survived the fire, as did my favorite painting.

 I didn’t really realize just how deeply it had impacted him until this year, when he showed me an assignment he’d done for English class, which detailed the sadness he’d felt and the helplessness of being so far away when it happened. It was a huge loss and it definitely affected him, but hopefully not as much as if he’d been there.

 MARIE ELENA:  Kimiko, I can’t thank you enough for sharing yourself so freely with us.  You’ve had an already startlingly full life for your young years, and you’ve come through it spectacularly.

 Now we’ve come to the end of the interview, which is always (AND forever will be) accompanied by this final question:  If we could know only one thing about you, what would you tell us?

 KIMIKO:  Ah. One of my favorite questions.

 I suppose the one thing to know about me is this Kerouac quote:The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved … the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn, like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars …”

 Those who get it probably get me. Those who don’t, don’t.

 ~~~~~~

For more of Kimiko, please visit her blog, “Never Say a Commonplace Thing” at  http://neversayacommonplacething.blogspot.com/.

 

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – SWAP QUATRAIN

The Swap Quatrain was created by Lorraine M. Kanter.

Within the Swap Quatrain each stanza in the poem must be a quatrain (four lines) where the first line is reversed in the fourth line. In addition, line 2 must rhyme with line 1, and line 3 must rhyme with line 4 and so on, BUT not repeat the same rhyming pattern on subsequent stanzas.

Rhyming pattern: AABB, CCDD, and so on.

For more information: http://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/517155

MARIE ELENA’S SWAP:

Once Upon Exuberance

When we were young, we’d ride a bike,
We’d hopscotch, skip, or take a hike.
We jumped some rope, on swings we swung,
We’d ride a bike when we were young.

Let’s try to change; turn back the clock
Let’s do our best to walk the walk.
Let’s romp and play – not think it strange,
Turn back the clock; let’s try to change.

Copyright © 2012 Marie Elena Good

WALT’S EXCHANGE:

A MORNING BLEST

The morning had arrived on the shadow of night,
dew’s first breath lifted by sun’s early light.
The moon and stars, for another night survived,
on the shadow of  night, the morning had arrived.

Birds set to fly after awakening from their sleep,
the croaking frogs announce their hurried leap.
The world in silent rapture, such a cry
after awakening from their sleep. Birds set to fly,

so alive with the Spirit; tempered by His good grace,
as morning arrived with sunlight on its face.
And the sounds of life as clear as you will hear it
tempered by His good grace, so alive with the Spirit.

Copyright © 2012 Walter J. Wojtanik

DEATH, BE NOT PROUD… – PROMPT #73

And as we have discovered long ago, life is not all song and roses. There is a real, more permanent slice of life we have and will encounter in our time on earth. We will all pass on. What legacy we leave will be determined by others.

“HOW DO YOU VIEW your life? – POETIC BLOOMINGS MEMOIR PROJECT

Part 8: Death Be Not Proud – What was your first exposure to death? Was it a pet, neighbor, a close relative? Was there a long illness involved or was it sudden? Write it as honestly as possible. Say what you’ve always wanted to say. If that is too hard to tackle, write a poem about your view of death. (But, please remember this is a memoir project and we want your experiences. So if you can, please do!)

MARIE ELENA’S RECOLLECTION:

VISIONS OF HEALTH (a sonnet for Grandpa Dunn)

A “smoking man” before you were a man,
Reluctantly you quit in later years.
To sidestep cancer’s outbreak was your plan,
Which fell far short of halting cancer’s gears.

They said your health was very, very poor
And I knew there was nothing I could do.
No meals or hugs, nor simple visits, for
Twelve hundred miles distanced me from you.

The greater part of me must thank my God
For distancing me once you were beset
With toxic cells that ambushed, seized, and clawed –
No horrid recollections to forget.

I never saw you lying in repose,
Nor even in the midst of cancer’s throes.

© Marie Elena Good – 2012

WALT’S EXPERIENCE:

ALL IN PASSING

Gentle man, born in another land.
It was the land of your birth and
my rebirth through heritage.
You were a second father;
my grandfather. Your final days
stay with me long after you have gone.
You were my friend. You were my mentor.
You gave me more in my brief time with you
and it has blessed me a thousand-fold.
But you had gotten old. And arteries
were not meant to harden as you became frail.
And watching you sail off of the ladder
when you knew better than to  chance
the happenstance that befell you.
I can tell you, your death affected me greatly.
It is only lately that my mortality haunts me.
Your memory taunts me in a good way,
as they say, all in passing.

© Walter J. Wojtanik – 2012

BEAUTIFUL BLOOMS – PROMPT #72

Love.  A many splendored thing? A battlefield? Makes the world go ’round? Many songs have been written expounding the wonders of love and first love. It has been fodder for many poets through the ages. How do you view your first love? That was our prompt this week in our Memoir Project.

MARIE ELENA’S CHOICE:

Yet another incredibly hard decision – how do I possibly choose one from the delicious array of first-love poetry on display this week?  In making my choice, I have to admit that there are half-a-dozen more that I feel I have done an injustice by leaving unmentioned.  But one it is, and so I offer my Bloom to our Happy Amateur for her CRASH COURSE in love.  Sasha’s poetic rendering of teen-heart first love and the “uncontrollable spin” that accompanied it holds so very much in only a dozen lines.  With Robert Lee Brewer speaking this week of favorite “opening lines,” I would have to say Sasha’s first and final thoughts are brilliantly well penned:  “When I turned fourteen, the Earth skidded on its axis,” and, “Instead I saw my life right next to me, waiting patiently to be lived.”  Absolutely inspired, both.  Congratulations, Sasha!

CRASH COURSE (by Alexandra “Sasha” Palmer, aka The Happy Amateur)

When I turned fourteen
The Earth skidded on its axis
Went into an uncontrollable spin
For eleven years that followed

When my world would end
It would be resuscitated
By a smile, a look, a hint of promise
Trivial nothings – everything

When the spinning stopped
I thought that I finally died
Instead I saw my life right next to me
Waiting patiently to be lived

WALT’S CHOICE:

I’ve always looked at love as a promise of everything good. Yes, a romantic, but never hopeless. But, it is always that promise that entices and keeps the focus on that one someday where love blossoms and grows. This poem caught my eye because of this. Many of the poems speak of first love from the perspective of our years. But there is nothing more hopeful than someone who had never experienced love, but had all these seeds of wonder of just how wonderful it could be. Naive? Maybe, but it is fresh and innocent. The kind of work a fifteen year old poet could pen and did! Erinkayhope15, congratulations and welcome to your first BLOOM.

UNTITLED by erinkayhope15

I’ve known you all my life,
Our families even longer;
We went to school together
(Well, you were four grades older)
Until you graduated.
I don’t know when I realized
That I loved you heart and soul,
But now I know for certain,
There’ll never be another guy for me.
We’re different in many ways:
You are tall, at least six feet,
Slim, althletic, while I am short, clumsy,
And, I have to admit, haven’t lost all my baby fat.
The only things we have in common
Are our deep brown eyes
And our love of playing the piano.
You play the piano for church,
And from my place in the choir,
I watch your fingers fly over the keys
And wish that I could play as well.
When I’m near you I feel nervous,
Shy and really stupid.
But you’re always very kind,
Helpful and obliging.
I wish that I could see the thoughts
That flash through that handsome head of yours;
But for now I can only wait,
Hoping that some day I’ll be more to you
Than just a little friend.

Congratulations to Alexandra and Erin, our Beautiful Blooms!

IN-FORM POET WEDNESDAY – RICTAMETER

Rictameter is a scheme similar to Cinquain. Starting your first line with a two syllable word, you then consecutively increase the number of syllables per line by two. i.e. 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and then down again, 8, 6, 4, 2 making the final line the same two syllable word you used to begin.

http://www.poetsworkshop.net/rictameter.html

MARIE ELENA’S OFFERING:

BORDERING ON FREEDOM

FREEDOM
Freedom of speech
Freedom of religion
Freedom to follow chosen paths
Free to forgive those who threaten freedom
Freedom to fight for our freedom
Freedom of petition
Free to rally
FREEDOM

© 2012 – Marie Elena Good

WALT’S RICTAMETER:

A POET’S KISS

Poet.
Writer of verse.
You can not rehearse this,
writing the thrill of a first kiss.
But, the resulting feeling is pure bliss.
Your words linger upon her lips,
expressing love’s sweet sip.
Blessed to kiss a
poet.

© 2012 – Walter J. Wojtanik

 

Need more?  At Poetic Asides, Robert Lee Brewer asks us to write an interview poem.  His sample is absolute excellence:  http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/wednesday-poetry-prompts-192