The next Guest Host to join the ranks bears the screen name “sevenarcesky”. This is in fact a guy whose poetry is very visual and expressive and has been enjoyed here regularly. When asked to host this week, Damon Dean didn’t think he had done enough to have earned the honor. But he was wrong. He’s done plenty.




“I have always enjoyed my writing journey for various reasons. It keeps my heart open to wonder. It keeps my mind poised to imagine. It brings to my soul the satisfaction of amazing discoveries about nature, people, and myself. But my greatest delight in writing is to share those excursions of heart, mind, and soul with others. Poetic Bloomings has been the first venue outside of friends and family that I’ve really had a chance to enjoy that delight.
“Alongside my passion to write for children, poetry fits nicely into my endeavors. My wife and I are retired educators living in southeast Arkansas. A five-year old granddaughter adds inspiration to my writing pursuits. I enjoy the encouragement that comes from networking with writers in forums and groups like Poetic Bloomings. You can find more about my writing journey at my WordPress blog, .”


PROMPT #158 – “TOTAL RECALL” – Think back to your younger days. Write about your old room, or a room in your house, apartment, etc. It could be an alcove where you found solace. Use as much detail: paint color, size,shared or single, photos, posters, anything that takes you back.



The corner of the basement
made this cellar dweller a happy fellow.
A couch and a TV kept me entertained,
I remained sequestered – not a cell
just a well appointed joint
concrete walls and all the room
I could claim. Bamboo curtains
became dividers. Hot summer nights
were alright; it stayed cool below.
Pages torn from sports magazines
papered the walls,
all I needed to flee to a quiet spot,
I got a lot of peace to go with it.
A record player and my LPs;
all the music to please.
Books stuffed in every nook,
it took half the summer to read them all.
A green and serene place,
a guy needed some space of his own.
My sanctuary, my library, left alone
with my thoughts and ambitions.
Now that I’m grown I remember
the best pad I ever had back home.

(C) Copyright Walter J Wojtanik



The Room On West Main

One small bedroom,
shared by two.
Two boys
pubescent, stinky, raw.
The room too small, perhaps.
But on the wall where other boys my age
had posters of the latest rage
(i.e. the Fab, or Hendrix)
I had a larger-than-life Einstein, who
propounded words so profound
I thought that they were new.

And swinging from the ceiling
on fine fishing-lines,
three Revel models,
F-4 Phantoms, flew
like those I saw and knew had dropped the bombs
on evening news.
A cousin over there, I knew, in Nam
had probably heard them, heard them zip through air
and felt them bust the jungles open wide.

Upon the other wall were Navy ships—
destroyers, carriers, and subs—
bought at the five-and-dime with aromatic glue
and enamel paints in colors suggested on the box.
Grey plastic crafts that sailed upon an upright sea.

Our bunk beds were too short, but I gave
tops to my young brother. In the cave below
I relished my advent toward bold manhood
with dreams based on words on the wall.
I know—and on hormones that flowed like tides.
I’d never seen the ocean. Or the sea.
Or been upon a beach, in Alabama or in Nam.

Our window to the front yard, it was small.
Breezes of summer heat flopped a vinyl shade,
and teased a sheer valance.
Our door led only to a long, long hall between
our bath and bedrooms and the closet at the end.

The room was small. I left it soon.
Excited that my Nixon gave the vote to me,
I became a Young Republican.
That year, my birthdate drew a number in the draft.
One-hundred sixty-three.
The Clarion-Ledger clipping,
faded, but never laminated,
still lies deep in my billfold.
It reminds me, now,
how small a room
can be.

(C) Copyright Damon Dean

215 thoughts on “PROMPT #158 – “TOTAL RECALL”: GUEST HOST – DAMON DEAN

    • Let me piggy-back on Hen’s comment. Both of your poems (and rooms) had elements that I suspect most everyone identifies with and loves, from bunk-beds to books and music. Nice work.


    Beside Chris’s house – my friend who’s a boy,
    not boyfriend – a nice distinction –
    we had a den, a place safe from adults
    where we could be free to live the real life
    of our imaginations.

    Between high garage and brown plank fence,
    we stole the gap under the eaves.
    We closed off the chicken run end
    with boards, against the smell.
    The other end we made a door
    of scrap wood and chicken wire –
    our entrance to another world.
    A shelf to hold our treasures,
    piles of bricks made seats
    at a tatty thrown-out table
    our only furniture.

    A sleeping platform, which nowadays
    would be called a mezzanine,
    cantilevered above the door,
    supported on a sturdy post.
    A rickety ladder propped against it for stairway.
    A pile of new-mown grass cuttings our mattress,
    fragrant when laid, stinky after a week.

    We cooked outside,
    behind the hedge by the compost heap,
    our fire a secret, so we thouggt:
    dampers of flour and water with a stick poked through
    burned on the outside, raw in the middle.
    No matter, we spread them with jam
    sneaked from the house,
    and feasted.

  2. Pingback: Total Recall 70 years on | Vivinfrance's Blog

  3. Damon, as Walt already said, you have definitely earned a place here as guest host.

    I like this prompt and already have a million ideas floating around my head…now, which one to pick?


    We called it “the green room,”
    the do-not-enter room
    of our Brooklyn cold-water flat
    where Papa stored only his toolbox,
    then warned us about mildew there,
    that blight branching out on the walls
    like arterial highways
    driving north to the dull-white ceiling
    which I stared at, lying on the floor
    in my daydreaming boyhood days.

    “It’s not safe to go in there,”
    Papa said, but while he worked
    I’d sneak in there, throw down a sheet,
    recline, hands behind my head,
    pretend I could see the future
    in those bumpy trails, read it like tea leaves,
    squint my eyes and gaze at the trafficked wall
    through my imaginary crystal ball
    where distant countries, even planets,
    beckoned from an opaque convex window.

    In the green mildewed room
    magic came easily with a wave of my hand.
    I could snap my fingers and make things right.
    From the green slime I could pull out dollars
    so Papa could stop working two jobs,
    Grandpa and Grandma could come to America,
    Sister Versalis would lose her iron ruler
    sparing me her sadistic knuckling assaults.
    Despite the cold and the pungent odor of mildew
    I was king there. I fought villains. Dreams came true.

    “What are you doing in the green room?”
    Papa said that afternoon he caught me daydreaming.
    “What did I tell you about the mildew?”
    Mentally I watched the crystal ball tumble and crash.
    I saw all my invented enemies rush to dethrone me.
    I felt my father’s rough grip on my arm
    as he yanked me to my feet,
    slammed the green-room door,
    and shoved me toward the kitchen.
    “Next time I won’t be so kind,” he said.

    I saved the green room in my mind
    where I would visit old friends,
    rescue the captured, slay the beasts
    that scaled the darkened walls.
    I wrote those adventures down,
    pumped them with a living kind of green
    that smelled, not of mildew, but of spring.
    Still now, after all these years, I dream
    of green-room magic, the young boy
    lying on his white sheet, out to save the world.


  5. Sal, I loved how you demonstrated that the spaces and places in our lives become so foundational to who we are and who we become. My daughter, a landscape architect, did her thesis on the intrinsic necessity of smell, sound, light and other sensory elements as a factor in human happiness. Your poem could have been a prologue to her work. Loved this.

    • Yes. This is typical of your work, Sal, complete with detail that is so well written it does not seem detailed at all … it simply transports, and tugs at the heart. Bravo.

  6. Oh, my, each one so far lets me peep into the poet’s inner heart, and a time where life sePemed more limitless. Esp. Walt and Damon, our fearless leaders.

    This is interesting, because my “blue” poem a couple of weeks ago started out as a poem about my current room. When I looked at it, I started with the blue walls and it changed, as it often does. Poetry allows me to go where fancy takes me, instead of following a plot for a book. 🙂

  7. Walt and Damon, you’ve given us a different kind of prompt today, but one which can take us to so many places in our lives–at least for me. We moved quite often in my early years, giving me so many places to choose from, each with a different feel, a different mood, because kids change as they age, and with each age came another room in a different place with a specific feel and use. This will take me a while to decide, for each is distinct.

    Thanks so much. Loved both of your poems, each unique as they must be, and each a grand example to follow. See ya in a bit with something of my own.

  8. I Remember Spring

    I remember spring
    When growing up in Maine
    The melting snow
    Fresh leaves on the trees

    Spring fawns and chirping baby birds
    Grass turning from winter brown
    To bright and beautiful summer green
    Flowers budding into tight blooms

    The smell of freshly tilled soil
    Fields readied for seed
    Soon popping with potato
    And sugar beet sprouts

    The smell of sap
    Oozing from forest bark
    Fiddleheads by the hundreds
    Sprouting by the streams

    Salmon jumping their way
    Upstream to spawn
    White and yellow perch
    Dodging hooks and bait

    Winter clothes packed away
    Short sleeves and pants
    Exposing the bright winter white
    Of the brave that dare bare

    Bicycles cleaned up and checked
    Tires pumped and chains oiled
    Basketballs and footballs aired
    Ball, glove and bat ready for battle

    Yes, I remember spring
    When growing up in Maine
    Unlike any other spring
    I have ever experienced

  9. A Village Lost

    It was nearly three miles down the road
    On my Buzzbike Eliminator
    With football jammed in the frame
    And bat and ball hanging
    Off of the sissy bar
    Just to get to a house
    With another boy my age
    To play
    That was the life

    Two miles in the other direction
    A family with 6 boys
    And a field for baseball
    Worn down by the sneakered feet
    Of kids from miles around
    Running from base to base
    On a Saturday afternoon
    That was the life

    Twelve miles to school
    Four classes in one room
    Pot-bellied stove in the back
    For those cold winter days
    An experience long lost
    A place long forgotten
    That was the life

    Sunday church
    A gathering of happiness
    A time for worshiping
    And giving thanks
    For all that we had
    And for all we didn’t
    That was the life

    Parents that were parents
    Kids that were kids
    Teachers that taught
    Preachers that lead
    Love in everyone’s hearts
    In the smallest of town
    In the best of times
    That was the life

    I lived it
    I loved it
    I wish it still existed

  10. Rainy Days of My Childhood

    I long so for the rainy days of my childhood
    When the inside box of stuff opened up
    And I pulled out my paper and crayons
    And drew Charlie Brown and Beetle Bailey
    When I’d get out my tablet and write
    A rainy day poem or an outer space adventure
    Complete with illustrations

    I long so for the rainy days of my childhood
    When my grandmother would set up Parcheesi
    And make me a sandwich and roll the dice
    She didn’t care if she won or she lost
    A good lesson she taught me at a young age
    Many lessons I learned for her and grandpa
    I wish they were still around

    I long so for the rainy days of my childhood
    When a book took the rain off my mind
    I’d escape in the pages of someone else’s life
    ‘Till it came time to eat, or bedtime rolled around
    Or my brother set up the chess set and compelled me
    To face his expertise with my unorthodox style
    My victories came not from books

    I long so for the rainy days of my childhood
    With three channels on a black and white TV
    Father Knows Best and Leave It To Beaver
    I Love Lucy, The Honeymooners, and Bonanza
    All great for the family to watch together
    On a rainy day when I was a child
    Such rainy days are never more

  11. Frame of Mind

    By David De Jong

    Small cracks in the wall and roof
    Displayed rays of dust, clinging,
    Glistening in lofty drift.
    Scant spotlights on the worn wood
    Floor, perplexed with splits and nails,
    Windows to the realms below.
    Only the brave, or crazy,
    Dared to tarry there alone.

    Strange creatures, some enormous,
    Giant, long haired beasts, holding
    Dominion, guarding their young.
    Some, too small to comprehend,
    Quietly gained their escape,
    By hiding inside your coat.
    The world beneath, was their home.

    A wooden beam formed a bridge,
    Narrow yet strong enough to
    Navigate a full brigade
    Across deep, death starved chasms.
    Waters; barely seen or heard,
    So distant, old age would claim
    You before you touched its depth.

    Dark jade cliffs anchored each side
    Taunting explorers’ demise.
    Scaled vertically endless miles
    Leaving but one path return.
    Repel, grasping the coarse rope,
    Bare-handed, clinging for life,
    Hanging from heaven’s rafters.

    Two windows, east and west
    Gathered the occasional
    Glimpse of blue sky, fresh air.
    Broken panes of seasoned glass,
    Portals to the dragon’s lair.
    You could hear their steely wings
    Scraping, gnarling for first place.

    Tomorrow all would be changed,
    The adventure rewritten.
    To most, a simple wooden
    Barn loft; old, creaky, dusty,
    Times filled to the very peak,
    Pigeons fluttering about
    Cows and calves, mice, cats and hay.

    Kingdoms to conquer, explore,
    In small boy’s frame of mind.

  12. Hello, all. This is probably only the first of two. The other is a bit different, but pertinent to the prompt.

    The Suite

    It was one of many rooms over time
    Spent shifting from rental to rental.
    A farm house in corn country,
    Surrounded by fields, few neighbors;
    Big and brawny, the house had its perks.

    Nine foot ceilings, dark wooden floors,
    Servant’s quarters in the back, running water
    In the kitchen, but no bath graced the interior.
    Mine was a front room, off the entry hall;
    A room of size unlike any experienced before,
    To allow for a sofa, chair, and a double bed.
    My console radio snugged up to my bedside,

    Afraid of getting lost in that great sea of space
    But it had kept its double-globed sky-blue lamp,
    And my china figurine of ballet dancer en pointe.
    My floor boasted a bright wool, chintz rug to keep
    Naked toes warm in winter and echoes at bay;
    Three floor-to-ceiling windows flooded my world
    With light, each with shade and white sheered ruffles.

    Two closets anchored the fireplace, though of
    European style; no rods but only hooks along the
    back for hangers to keep clothes in less space,
    the likes and reason of which always puzzled me.
    I grew to teenhood in this grand cocoon, dreaming
    of worlds beyond, my first crushes, boys who’d
    made impressions, with no knowledge of their deeds.

    It was the room in which I began to write,
    The room where stage plays seemed possible
    And romances penned themselves in cramped
    Letters on lined white sheets inside notebooks,
    While I played guard to keep baby bro inside
    The house, instead of wandering in slumbering
    Walk-abouts on winter’s dread cold nights.

    • I felt the space here so perfectly, Claudsy, and your sensory-full descriptions aptly explained how this place made a part of who you are. Thanks for sharing more of yourself.

      • Thanks, Damon. I’m happy you enjoyed it. After so many years, I’ll admit that it looks wonderful in retrospect, but I could put an entire household in that room now and not blink. And the cleaning time would be negligible, too. I’ve learned, but I still look back and recall how I changed during those two and a half years in that room.

        • I agree with Damon. This piece sings of who you are. It’s melancholy in some respects, but hopeful and blessed and real. Wonderful!

          • Aw, thanks, MEG. This is one of the strongest (most emotive) of the memories from the surrounding space of that home. I have others that are close but for different reasons.

            I think melancholy because I suspect that the place has changed out of all recognition, and that’s saddening for me.

          • Thank you, Jane. I was all about sensory in that one, mainly because the place required it. Even in memory it does that to me.

      • Thanks, Sara. Glad you liked it. That was the last house where I had to watch over brother to keep him from sleep-walking outside. If for no other reason, I’d remember the place for that reason alone.

  13. If I posted this earlier, forgive me. But I don’t see it.


    The second hand ticked past midnight
    High on hormones, Linda and I
    Shouted into the heat vent
    I’m a teenager
    Through four-paned windows I gazed at
    Lilac blooms and red maple leaves
    Rolling green lawn and black tarmac
    Kittens and tomcats
    Paperbacks fueled my addiction
    To words, caged birds, hobbits, and Holmes
    Each volume carefully catalogued
    My mother laughed
    My Mexican scrapbook took me there
    A world map dominated the wall
    Bible study and school gobbled the hours
    Missions my call
    No place for any fun unless
    I count a map of Middle Earth
    Or the hymnal I played with joy
    Books and music
    Grandmother died, her room empty
    Mom lost her job and we moved
    The second hand swept past midnight
    Time for college

    Darlene Franklin ©2014

    *Because when I went back to see the house, it had been torn down and turned into a parking lot.

    • Darlene, a romping cycle of experience well painted for us of that place, encircling another piece of you I am glad you shared with us. Love your bookends there, “The secondhand swept last midnight.”

      • YES! Excellent piece, Darlene! And I agree with Damon: “The secondhand swept past midnight” says so much in and of itself. Love this.

        • Thanks, Marie inda and I did stay awake until midnight on the night before my 13th birthday. My first birthday in that house. And then college bookended the other end of my teen years, and my loss of that room. So the bookend suggested itself.

    • To some this might seem austere, but each item there was loved, cherished, and needed at that time in your life. Wonderful peek into your youth, Darlene. Going back is seldom possible, but often desirable, if only for a day.

      Wonderful piece. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Time seems to fly in this poem, made poignant by the speed of that second hand and the seeming randomness of significant memories. It’s like adding water and watching a child become adult like a sponge sucks up moisture. Wow.

  14. What thoughtful comments you are giving us. . .taking your duties as our host very seriously. Thank you!

  15. My Room

    With four sisters, it wasn’t until
    I reached my junior year in high school
    when I finally got a room of my own—

    about 10 x 12 with one window
    shaded by a choke cherry tree
    occasionally attacked by a woodpecker.

    I painted the walls bright orange
    with brown trim. No rugs
    covered the rough wooden floor.

    At night, I had to pound on the walls
    to keep the chipmunks quiet.
    My friends thought that hilarious.

    A single clothing rack
    tucked behind the door
    harbored my few hang-up clothes.

    The room also housed a dresser
    a book shelf, bunk beds
    and two corner shelves.

    The shelves held my
    teapot and vase collection
    and incense burner.

    One wall featured an antique mirror,
    big, but not full-length, another
    displayed pennants from my travels.

    I slept on the top bunk,
    though no one slept on the bottom.
    The radio, within reach, played rock music.

    In various places, I hid my diary
    (mostly about my boyfriend)
    but my little sister always found it.

    When my daughter, at sixteen,
    resembled me, my sister said
    she had sudden urges to steal her diary.

    Through the thin walls,
    I listened to my parents worry about me
    and found it strangely comforting.

    • Love this, Connie. It says so much about your life and what was important to you at that time. I smiled about your sister’s urge for your daughter’s diary. Never having had a sister by blood, I came close to missing something I never had. Good poem, all around.

      • This says so much about who you are, Connie. Well done … love the ending. I wonder how many “independent” teens find comfort in knowing their parents worry about them … are concerned and loving enough to worry. More than we realize, I bet. Thanks for this poem!

    • Connie, an endearing jaunt into your teenage years. Loved your vignettes of spaces and moments, especially this, “At night, I had to pound on the walls/to keep the chipmunks quiet.” But it was your last stanza gave every miscellaneous observation warm, deep meaning. This was lovely.

    • There’s much to love here, Connie. Scuttling the rodents and birds (and sisters), and that last image of overhearing parents worry. It reminds me of Eudora Welty’s description of Sunday mornings at her house in One Writer’s Beginnings. Lovely, and yes, comforting.

  16. Interesting insights into your past, Connie–and I didn’t know you were into traveling back then. how fun!

  17. My last for the day. Have a wonderful rest of Sunday, all.

    Painted Green

    Its walls were made in the mind,
    Made of oak, walnut, cherry, and ash;
    Canopies reaching for the heavens.
    Fiddleheads, may apples, and lady slippers
    Created the carpet over pungent loamy soil,

    And funneled me toward my island
    In the stream at the base of the hollow,
    Where brownies lived and danced on
    May Day, even as they tended gardens
    Of mushrooms, wild garlic and lettuce—
    Salads only for the daring or demented.

    This was my small refuge, one of light
    And dappled golden shade, with sweet
    Scents in the air from berries and blooms.
    My refuge of solitude, reflection, and meditation
    Came with a chorus of peepers and flyers,

    Chirps and whistles, all blending to sooth
    The spirit and refine nature’s symphony.
    Long were afternoons spent celebrating
    Tadpoles and minnows held by twig dams
    In my green painted room in the hollow.

    • Yes!! A resounding yes, Claudsy!! This is the kind of room I had thought to write of, too!! Gorgeously, vividly captured my friend. Thank you for bringing us to this favorite place! 🙂

      • You’re welcome, Hannah, and thank you for your enthusiastic response. This was a favored place during my HS years, behind and below our house. I haven’t been back there in forty years or more. I don’t even know if it still exists. More the pity if it doesn’t. But it favored me and that’s what I remember of it. And I can return to it whenever I wish, thankfully.

      • I have to smile seeing our Sweet Hannah’s enthusiastic response, because I thought of her as I read this lovely nat-ure-eous piece! 🙂

    • I can really relate to this piece… the woods where I grew up was a magical place, part Sherwood Forrest, part lofty cathedral. I was always expecting to see people from the past materialize.

      • I know that feeling so well, Debi. Elves lived in our woods. I just know it. You had to be still and quick, though, to see them. 😀

        Glad you liked it.

    • This resonated with me, for a dogwood tree, a creek, and a wheat field hid me while I built my dream-room. Lovely.

  18. Ah, Claudsy…this was great. All this looking back at the years of youth and childhood has convinced me that our early years we all in some way partook of “Salads only for the daring or demented.” Mostly daring, of course. I suppose there was a kind of oblivious ‘dementia’ to our youth as well.

  19. Pingback: First Light | Metaphors and Smiles

  20. First Light

    Knotted eyes of floor to ceiling pine-plank blink,
    a wood-weary welcome to the new day.
    Peach-plush rug will soon hug my first-found footfall
    but these aren’t my favorite things about summer mornings here,
    my most beloved element arrives through two tall-narrow windows –
    summer-opened portals afford sweet-nature to reach me;
    from the apple-trees the call of mourning-doves woo me.
    Eyes not-yet open, body not-yet stirring…I’m entranced,
    gathered in by the full-lulling beautiful song of soft and sacred-gray.
    I’m carried on feathered-dreams tethered to comfort of waking-flight;
    by the magic of this coo-woo-singing and whir-whistle-wings – I’m embraced.

    Copyright © Hannah Gosselin 2014

    • Hannah, this moment in-between sleep and consciousness in a gentle awakening seemed to be enhanced by your use of hyphenated descriptors. I will be thinking of my waking moments in terms of a daily hyphen for a few days. This was lovely.

      • I cannot state it more eloquently nor truthfully, so I’ll simply add my enthusiastic AMEN.

      • Oh wow…Damon, just catching up tonight and I hadn’t seen this wonderful comment yet. I’m so pleased that the use of that little tool was so effective…thank you for letting me know and for adding your personal reflection on this…I love that, “I will be thinking of my waking moments in terms of a daily hyphen for a few days.” So creative! Thank you!

    • For me, the sway of this this captures the sound of the mourning dove, and reminds me how glad a “mourning” sound can be.

  21. Thank you, hosts, for both of your awesomely vivid examples and extra gratitude to you, Damon for sharing some of your wonderful story with us!!

    Smiles to all in the garden and I will return to read soon. 🙂

    • Agree on your comments for Damon. I’ve looked forward to wring with each host. But I anticipated Damon’s tenure greatly. I love the story behind his “room”. Growing up with three brothers, the four of us shared a room with a bunk bed. We slept two up and two down. But it was a bonding experience I wouldn’t trade for anything! W.

      • Yes Walt, I understand and identify, having noted your pictures posted in recent months on FB with some of those brothers. The bonding of brothers is uniquely entangling. I’m sure we could trade some hilarious stories.

  22. Get Outta My Room

    My room was the refuge
    of a teenage neophyte
    emotional wreck, slam the door
    square parents, pesky siblings,
    extra-long cords on the phone,
    gossip and drama,
    movie mags, posters
    too darn anxious to grow up
    experience life, thinking real life
    was song lyrics and “Turn on, Tune in, Drop out”
    antiestablishment, all we need is love
    as late at night I’d listen to WOWO
    and howl at the moon with the Wolfman.

  23. I love this prompt. Walt and Damon, your examples are both excellent. Your descriptions make me be able to see, emotionally feel, and (unfortunately) SMELL your space! 😉 Damon, your ending has such impact. Wow.


    In the pitch that is night without ambient light,
    I lay in the top bunk, listening to a pair of loons;
    their calls to each other so haunting, I shiver
    and hug myself awake, stick my head
    inside my sleeping bag and click on a tiny flash-light

    The small circle casts just enough light for me
    to see to write in an ever present notebook.
    I am in a tiny open-beamed room at our cottage.
    My favourite place in all the world,
    it smells of a wood-fire dying in the pot-bellied stove,
    and fresh air, from windows barely cracked.

    A whip-poor-will, trilling the call for which he
    is named, cracks the darkness briefly
    before silence reigns again,
    and I continue jotting in my notebook.
    This space—between the upper bunk and the
    slanted wall of the roof—is mine alone.
    I can go here to be by myself anytime, and I do.

    It is where I keep my books, stacked on makeshift
    shelves along the rough-hewn wall,
    where I hide my notebooks beneath my pillow
    (in the pillowcase actually; I do not trust
    my brother not to snoop).
    The cottage bedroom is also where my brother
    and I share secrets long into the night
    (he is in the lower bunk),
    and while I don’t realize it at the time,
    we grow very close.
    We are in the perfect position to eavesdrop
    on the adults and many nights,
    between the clinking of ice in glasses,
    and the shuffle of cards, we listen to things
    we probably shouldn’t hear.

    Somehow, learning of others’ problems
    and troubles makes our happy selves
    feel snug and safer, swaddled in our beds,
    as we drift off to sleep in the middle
    of an old growth forest, in our cottage,
    on an island, on the edge of one
    of the Kawartha Lakes.
    I treasure my hidey-hole, my cave, my aerie…
    the place I remember still, as the best place of all.

    • Interesting that you and Connie both mention overhearing adults, and the impact it had on you. It speaks of the separation between your “space” and theirs, oddly simultaneously not separate at all. Excellent details in this poem, Sharon, and a palpable mood. Well done!

    • Except for the introspection, perhaps, this sounds like it could’ve been written by John Muir, or maybe a combination of Muir and Anne Sexton. Anyway, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Thanks.

    • Sharon, your poem is a rich oil-painted woodland scene with deep greens and browns and smoke curling from a cabin stovepipe…evening light fading behind the mountain like a good day’s memory. The idyllic innocence and simplicity of childhood are framed well, and I love this line in the middle–“and while I don’t realize it at the time”–that speaks volumes about the rich value of that place and time. This was lovely.

    • I love the juxtaposition of birds with the memories of a wonderful place–your aerie–making you another feathered thing swaddled in nature. Lovely.

  25. Basement Dwelling

    A dwelling–all mine–to create
    a setting befitting
    only me. Basement apartment,
    eat-in kitchen, whose doorway
    I hung with strings of colored
    beads, to separate one room
    from the other. There were
    only two. Black light posters
    of Janis, Jimi, and Jim, plus a red
    sofa-bed took up most of the space.
    Dad, and my sister, Debbie, came
    for dinner–hot sausage and pasta.
    Dad liked the food, hated the beads
    and their jangling each time
    they were parted. He thought them
    belly dance foreign.

    Debbie found a homeless black cat,
    brought it over, and begged me to keep it.
    Candy became my first pet. Debbie
    and her friends came by often. That first
    year, my boyfriend bought a Christmas tree.
    We all sat on the floor, threading strings
    of popcorn, high on pot, and lots
    of laughter.

  26. 1971

    With its red shag carpet and studio couch,
    posters on the wall–mild war protest,
    Great Gatsby and Wuthering Heights,
    mine was the only downstairs bedroom
    through my teenage years, so late
    at night, I could pretend I lived alone,
    content to listen to my forty-fives
    on the turn-table packed in its own
    suitcase, to thumb through Seventeen
    magazines with big-eyed waifish Twiggy
    on the cover. I had a small half bath
    adjoining and a smaller window
    through which I’d talk for hours
    to neighborhood boys content to remain
    on the porch—most nights at least.
    Sometimes with friends staying over,
    we’d crawl through the window
    and ride around in their Cougars
    and Mustangs, windows down,
    radios loud, but usually, we enjoyed
    the safer thrill of talking, leaning out
    perhaps to steal a kiss, nothing more
    before shooing them away, donning
    our shortie pajamas, and dancing
    to Credence Clearwater Revival,
    Rolling Stones, Three Dog Night,
    oblivious to our parents, young siblings
    in their rooms at the top of the stairs,
    wishing we’d shush and let them go to sleep.

    • I have to smile, as I can relate to all the groups and feelings expressed so vividly here, and at “forty-fives on the turn-table packed in its own suitcase.” And smile, I do.

    • I must agree, our spaces were filled with the excitement of the balance between “safer thrills” and daring “through the window” adventures. This was a vivid description of your home base for your youthful operations. Loved it.

    • All this specificity transports readers to “back then” so very well. Good one, Nancy.

  27. Hello, blooming friends. I’ve missed so many great hosts lately, but enjoyed reading your poems.

    Reclaimed Space

    I had a place at tableside
    about as big as I was wide,
    a slice of bed upstairs, right side
    with five children installed.

    Four girls shared one big room for years;
    two double beds, four darling dears,
    two closets, no privacy here,
    sky blue the slanting walls.

    We shared the couch, we shared the floor,
    we shared piano, games and more.
    We took our turns, we did our chores,
    but solitude was rare.

    Still, there was room inside our heads
    where dreams were soft as feather beds
    and possibilities were bred
    of hope tarnished with care.

    We each had places on the farm
    we went alone to practice charm,
    places where we were safe from harm
    to daydream for a while.

    We colored in our rough outlines,
    our jigsaw-puzzled life designs,
    our paint-by-number thoughts refined
    enough to make us smile.

    I built myself a mental room
    stocked full of joy and hope, no gloom,
    a place of thought, cheerful with bloom
    where I could always go.

    It’s there my treasured loves are kept;
    imagination sprouts unkempt,
    and who I am I can accept
    with no fanfare or show.

    Sometimes the walls kaleidoscope;
    I float on air, I run on hope.
    That room inside helps me to cope
    with living every day.

    I occupy a lot of space
    these days; my home provides a place
    for books, music, and plants, but grace
    resides a breath away.

    • I don’t recognize this form, and I suspect it’s of your own design, Jane. Love it! Great piece, this. I especially love
      “Still, there was room inside our heads
      where dreams were soft as feather beds
      and possibilities were bred
      of hope tarnished with care.”

      Oh, how I’ve missed your voice.

      • My childhood was as lonely as yours was overrun with sisters, but we both dreamed of other places
        grace resides a breath away. Amen.

    • For me, this has the soft, swaying feel of an old folk song, sort of like Down in the Valley. The “room inside” conceit rings modern, but even so, has the timeless feel of a vision. I love this, and it’s good to see your work here again.

    • William’s comment reflected my first thoughts exactly…the ‘room inside’ is what we are all recalling, as those spaces of our youth become a place inside us. We reside still in places we think we’ve left behind, but your words awake us to the truth that we’re still there. This was spectacular, Jane.

    • Thanks for sweet comments, friends. I love forms but cannot remember one from another. This one just sort of claimed space, so I went with it. I don’t know if it previously existed.

    • We colored in our rough outlines,
      our jigsaw-puzzled life designs,
      our paint-by-number thoughts refined
      enough to make us smile.


      So full of beautiful portions but this one stood out to me…spoke to me both visibly and audibly. I love your take on the room…internal and well expressed, too.

      Great writing, Jane!

  28. THERE
    Right there
    All alone on the swing
    Or cross-legged on the steps
    Of the front porch –
    The gateway of the inviting country home
    With the never-entered door.

    Right there
    Stretched out comfortably in the grass
    Contemplating the blue sky
    Billowing clouds
    And cool grass tickling my bare legs
    On the softly rolling green hills
    Gracing the inviting country home
    With the never-entered door.

    Right there
    Wandering the wheat fields
    Skipping along the narrow, bubbling stream, leading
    To the weather-vaned horse barn
    Acres from the inviting country home
    With the never-entered door.

    Right there
    Listening to birds singing softly,
    Songs wafting from weeping willows
    Reading beneath them
    To heart’s content
    Yards from the inviting country home
    With the never-entered door.

    Right there
    A beckoning door
    To an inviting country home
    In a watercolor scene
    Papered on our dining room wall,
    Right there.

    © Marie Elena Good, 2014

    • Oh, I enjoyed. this one. Knowing you would enter it some day–which you did, in your imagination. It reminds me of the picture of Jesus knocking at the door without a knob, which must be opened by the person inside. Makes one wonder what is behind the door. . .

    • Oboyoboy, this is goooood. The repeated lines act like recalls, saying, “see it, right there!” And I can. My aunt had wallpaper like this, so it’s poignant too. Marvellous, and it’s good to see your work again.

    • Marie, this is just beautiful…my heart was aching a little more with each refrain, hoping for the writer to turn and go up the front porch steps and place a hand on the door…then to be swept back into the unfulfilled longing in that last stanza. Loved where this takes me.

    • Oh, my, this is such a wonderful and present poem–zenlike in its ability to name and love the moment. This kind of recognition of possibility is so fine. Miss you back.

    • This is such a gorgeous poem, Marie!! I love how you draw us to the end to bring the truth about your refraining lines. I know just the one from the pictures, too…I immediately pictured it! Beautiful writing, Marie. I love your details that bring this fantastical place to life for us! ♥

  29. This is such a melancholic, nostalgic piece Marie Elena…I just love it and it took me back to those places with you and I was…right there. Nicely done.

    • Thanks so much, Sharon! I spent many-an-hour living in that wall mural. I actually got to walk back in time several years ago, as they had the exact same one on the wall of a bank I entered.

  30. This idea came to me this morning and I decided to write it. It qualifies for the prompt–just barely. 🙂

    The Closet

    The best room isn’t a room at all
    A mere closet, more of mind than of place
    A do not disturb sign on the door
    A cocoon of praise in song
    As common as a computer
    As singular as a journal
    The words read like a list for Santa Claus
    The dangerous words—ones that terrify
    Make me willing
    For the Reader takes me at my word
    And performs the needed surgery
    To leave the closet healed

    Darlene Franklin ©2014

  31. Damon and Walt, thanks for the pattern you set. Sets in motion a whole lot of memories.


    From east to west the land flies, changing
    as I travel on;
    the sights are variegated, ranging
    wide, and yet, anon.

    The eastern trackside wears a dress
    of unremitting green,
    the kind that sniffs at strain and stress
    and lulls me with its sheen.

    The Mississippi brings a shift
    as we begin to rise;
    leaving the prairies for the drift
    of plains and cobalt skies.

    The Rockies seem to be a spine
    along the continent;
    as we descend its sliding sine
    we can see where we went.

    The desert colors wear a veil,
    but as we pass them by
    they all luxuriate in pale
    and whisper to the sky.

    The journey’s over and I’ve saved
    each view, from cold heat,
    and everywhere the land has waved
    to me, in my ringside seat.

    These days, I fly from east to west,
    above the green and sand,
    and usually I am, at best,
    estranged from heart and land.

    copyright 2014, William Preston

    • William, this journey is precisely a dream of mine, having never been on a cross country train excursion. So I relished your verse as it unfolded scene by scene. I’d have to say this was my favorite stanza:
      ” desert colors wear a veil,
      but as we pass them by
      they all luxuriate in pale
      and whisper to the sky.”
      I know in my heart of hearts we would find the world around us not unconscious or passive but always expressive and responsive, if we will but take the simpler path within earshot of its voice, within eyesight of its dance.

    • You cause one to long for just such a trip, William. This is such beautiful writing in it’s entirety…the form serves it well, rhytmn and flow are flawless. Stanza two rhymes make my poetic ear happy and I love the way you used dress and veil to describe the landscape. Well written!

  33. My Shangri-La, By the Window

    Growing up, in a faraway land
    with one room housing families
    not really understanding, meaning
    or needing reasons, for privacy

    In the corner, by the window
    that overlooked the sea
    was my tiny, boxlike tawny desk
    that double flipped, unkeyed

    You may think it was a tad messy
    with books, and gathered things
    But there really was a special place
    in this mangered offering

    I’d wander free, with endless clouds
    attached to blue green sky
    breathing in the openness
    of gravity-less pi

    Learning, languages of numbers
    and balancing acts of zero
    I’d swing on bearded, grandpa trees
    Like the geo journal hero

    I’d stalk, helter-skelter frappy waves
    rolling, rainbow bands
    slobbering, their frothy foam
    In passages of sand

    Time would stretch its secret yawn
    in adjectives, abound
    my indigo write, would then wake up
    scribbling, without sound

    I’d gather yellowed, grainy shadows
    and gossamer moon spells
    and watch the pelting rain, come down
    to flood my castle well

    I smelt, a dreamy magic scent
    the one, that seeped through doors
    who knew its fragrance lingered on
    on this side, of the shore?

    • This captures worlds opened by books, better than anything I can think of. I especially like “Time would stretch its secret yawn.” Thank you.

    • Priti, I think this is lovely, descriptive and rich in the imagination that seems to be so common to the spaces of our youth. It appears you have that sense of wonder embedded in the fragrance that, thankfully, we find has “lingered on this [our adult] side of the shore.”

  34. “The Not Pink room”

    I snake around the mounds of socks,
    the heaps of baseball cards spread
    across the chipped linoleum. Pete Rose
    in triplicate follows my every move.
    There’s an odor of weathered leather mitts.
    Laces cracked from rain and heat.
    I wave hi to Joe, our vacuum cleaner
    guy with the balloon head and dressed
    in my brother’s Cub’s shirt. (We love
    Joe but he’s a little stuffy.) The paneled
    walls bulge from attic leaks, wood grain
    eyes sooty with mildew snap pictures
    of me so they can tattle later.

    I am on tiptoe. Holding my breath.
    This is sacred territory.

    Outside the crack of a plastic bat against
    a wiffle ball, a kid yells ‘he didn’t touch the bag,’
    there’s a tangle of cursings, through the
    window screen I see the bald kid rounding
    third in our backyard diamond. It takes five
    strides to reach each plate but no one cares.
    They just want to play ball.

    I turn back and see new letters etched with a
    Bic pen in the cherry head boards.
    (I’ll never tell. I’d never tell.) The bedspreads are
    deep red plaid. There is not a stitch of pink,
    not a hint of Victorian lace or antique white or
    gingham or baby powder. There is action
    here. GI Joe action. Water pistol action.
    Army men stuck in clay puddles, their decapitated
    legs melting into the grooves on the linoleum
    stand on point. They wait until called into
    action. Again.

    Cradling a half dozen water balloons,
    I open the cedar closet door, crawl inside
    with the silverfish and wait until the
    baseball game is over.

  35. My Buddy

    I had dolls
    with clothes and blankets
    but I also had a dog
    and he was not allowed
    on the carpet.

    So when Mom and Dad went out
    I’d grab my baby blankets
    and lay them in a path
    from the hall to a few feet
    in front of the TV.

    Then my buddy and I
    would sit side by side
    and watch a little telly
    before bed.

    Then quick as lightning
    pick them up
    and my buddy
    would head back out to the hall –
    never a paw touched carpet.

    My parents never knew.

  36. Under the Sumacs

    While in my room
    of sky blues and earthy browns
    I would long to be outside,
    under the sumacs
    with my thougths
    or a book
    but the rain kept
    me indoors,
    so I took my box
    of treasures
    from the secret hole in my closet,
    and laid on the blue carpet
    pretending to be a detective
    with the hidden evidence
    in my hands.

  37. Pingback: Night Light | echoes from the silence

    (a shadorma)

    Paint-peeled walls
    are covered by shapes
    formed by the
    moonlight’s glow;
    peace-filled distraction from the
    angry sounds below.

    P. Wanken

  39. great points altogether, you just won a new reader.
    What might you recommend about your put up that you just made a few days
    ago? Any sure?

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