Well, I will have hit the road to head up to the North country to spend Thanksgiving with my daughter and son-in-law and his family. Haven’t been up in over a year and a half. So the car will be loaded up and I’ll be traveling.

Think of a mode of transportation and write it into a poem. Planes, trains and automobiles. Snow shoes, roller blades. Covered wagon (if you’ve got one). Head to your destination and tell us about it poetically. Even a garden cart to the back yard is going somewhere. Give us a view!


Remotely Interested in Travel

With suitcase in hand as she leaves,
the thought of it drives her to heaves.
Oh what joy it might bring
but it isn’t her thing,
so she now leaves it up to Rick Steves.

© Marie Elena Good, 2021


Four-wheeling across the state,
the slate is clear. I am here
steering this starship, hip 
to the restrictions in place
to keep the world safe
from miniscule bacterium,
people staving I'm
with a smile hidden behind a mask.
The task not taken in 18 months.
Up to the Great White North
to spend Thanksgiving with
my daughter and her family.
Giving thanks for this gift!

(C) Walter J Wojtanik – 2021

187 thoughts on “PROMPT #355 – HAVE CARD, WILL TRAVEL

  1. Kayak
    That far side of this long lake,
    where the lee of a cold wind lies,
    as an angry storm front rolls
    across an autumnal forest ridge
    descending to its rocky bank—
    I can get there with some fervent rowing,
    I can reach that other side.
    Here, out on the open fray
    the gusts decide to all unite,
    conspiring into a steady gale,
    spitting spray into my face,
    pushing back against my paddle,
    straining muscle, heart, and will,
    whitecaps forming
    as I split them with my prow–
    I can get there with some fervent praying,
    I can reach that other side.
    Lightning strikes, I crouch low,
    thunder roars across the water,
    there’s electric danger in the air,
    then a pelting rain released by rumbling,
    water gathers in my kayak and
    my bones anticipate the deep–
    I can get there with a fervent struggle,
    I can reach that other side.
    Dark by cloud arrives, surrounds me,
    does not calm the torrent’s rage,
    flashes of my destination
    are my only glimpses of a
    bearing I might hope to compass–
    I can get there with a fervent faith,
    I know there is an other side.
    © 2021, Damon Dean


    Could I rummage through the folds of your
    mind? Take a sightseeing tour to find the truth?

    Do you wish the roof of the mountains?
    Scale the height of the Himalayas?

    Glean the wild for a while? Surf the countryside,
    for a whiff of sweet Shasta daisies?

    Do you want to palm the peach-brewed sun?
    Lather in her locks, comb her golden running

    Do you want to mount up and stroke the skies?
    pluck her baby blue heartstrings, sound her dripping

    Catch a ride alongst teal poured raindrops,
    race and splatter happily amongst the fields?

    Soak the depths of hickory smoked soil grains,
    lavish hidden roots, just to see how it feels?

    You have traveled heaven and earth,
    But now, you have reached my field.

    I am craven soil.
    You have rained on me—
    gifted my root.
    Slacked my thirst.

    Now they burst deep,
    down to find new earth.

    I am awakened,
    anchored, by your visitation.
    Strengthened by your

    My stalk is vibrant green.
    My leaves are wet with
    your presence.

    Remnants of finely dropped
    kisses rest on unfurled

    I am a Shasta daisy.
    You are the fire of peach sunrise.

    I open, reach toward your skies,
    lather in your coming, running rays.

    Benjamin Thomas

  3. This is an older poem of mine…no church for me… woke up with a fever and sore throat…

    Pearl’s Last Road Trip
    In memory of Janis Joplin

    I lived in the mountains
    Where time stood still.
    New music invaded that stillness.
    I was one who heard it.

    I heard a voice one day-
    A woman’s voice- who did not sing
    Like women I knew.
    There was no twang in her voice.
    It was wild and freaky and out there somewhere-
    A taste of honey out of the comb,
    Or a lemon off the tree
    With a touch of smoky whiskey, and
    The smell of the promises of roses…
    Rough as a cat’s tongue
    Gliding over your skin…
    And yet
    She seemed lost and her pain made you bleed.

    I was seventeen, the age she set out to sing her songs.
    I wasn’t brave like her.
    She once said she came from pioneer stock, and that
    Need to travel into the unknown was a hunger in her heart.
    I understood that pain….
    That hunger.
    I was not brave.

    She dressed like no one I knew…lost
    In a style of her own, and tainted with
    The drugs that raided her body, but
    Kept that pain away- when
    She could not sing it out to make us bleed.
    She was a tough broad, and sometimes a bitch- but
    When she sang and you felt the blood pouring out of you
    It was there her pain was sweated from her pores onto you.
    In those songs she freed us all as the notes clung.
    The air echoes floating it away, but it was back,
    In the memories of a place I was not brave enough to go.

    It was the drugs that took her.
    Hurting to know that there was no one like her- who
    Sweated pain in her songs and then for a moment she was back
    Singing about a road trip, and love, love lost, and
    Though her road had come to an end….
    It did not mean mine had…

    Many years have passed…
    I had a cat named Pearl for her,
    And when she died young,
    I brought her home listening to that road trip song…
    An elegy in many ways to them both.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    May 4, 2016 Edited January 2020


    I travel along the routes
    of unconscious lines.

    Hidden in the depths
    of droughtiness.

    I hear the echoes
    of the living.

    Thick haze
    confounds the senses.

    There is no fence—
    between dream,
    and lawns of reality.

    The lines shudder,
    blur, switch places.

    The eyes stir, blink
    see distant faces.

    Is it the face of dawn,
    or another?

    An awakening of the
    cheer of day?

    Or has it been taken away,
    fallen asleep…

    Awakened into a day
    of fear? Dreams? Or living

    Benjamin Thomas

  5. The Road Trip I Long to Do…

    My father built roads,
    Long winding roads
    Through mountains
    That people ride…
    Never knowing the man
    Who built them.

    I want to ride on those roads…
    Before I leave this life.
    I want to travel
    Across the Smokies,
    And visit Cades Cove,
    Travel down to where
    The road to no where
    Was never finished.

    I want to journey to Kentucky…
    And see Mammoth Cave again,
    And go when the moon is full
    To see a moon bow
    At Cumberland Falls.

    I want to travel north one summer,
    To ride on the Gunflint Trail.
    He spent summers there
    Working on that road…
    It was there he learned to Polka,
    And taught his daughter how to dance
    While riding on his shoes.

    In winter, I want to journey
    To see the Everglades…
    The winters he worked there,
    And Ma stayed home
    Getting her boys off to school
    And dealing with her daring daughter
    She didn’t know could walk on our roof.

    I would need to hop a plane,
    And head to Chili
    Where he was chosen
    To add his expertise
    In building roads,
    To the Pan American Highway.

    I know that some of those road
    Will be hard for me to travel…
    But if I make this one last road,
    It will be one I want to travel most.

    That road over four hundred miles,
    Travels across two states
    Was the road that was my father’s heart.
    The Blue Ridge Parkway
    Is that road,
    With mountains of azure blue,
    And wrinkles of hollows much darker.
    To see the sun set on those mountains again,
    And to see moon glow over them
    With the stars dancing close enough to touch,
    And hear the music they make in the night-
    To rest my head and dream of love,
    And where that journey might take me.
    To smell the perfume of the balsams
    (A scent my father often wore.)
    My heart longs to do this
    For the man who loved roads.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 10, 2021


    The weight of your lips,
    are like petals upon me.
    They transport me to gardens
    far, far away.

    They are fresh botanical
    companions. Their burden
    of love is weightless.

    Light as feathers, yet we take
    flight; defying the laws of gravity
    between us.

    Our talons are locked, wings—
    addicted to the agility of attraction,
    chase one another to the heights.

    Our eyes sing wild, silent charms.
    Our hearts tumble, sound the alarms.

    As we fall—
    in love…

    Into the exotic death spiral
    of bald eagles.

    Benjamin Thomas

  7. My Prius and the Boat

    My little blue Prius has taken me
    over a hundred thousand miles—
    to Pennsylvania a couple of times,
    Nebraska, Ohio, Wyoming,
    North and South Dakota,
    Texas, Arizona and many places
    in the Four Corners region
    and all over my home state of Colorado.
    It gets great gas mileage
    and it’s about the only car I ever
    owned that I enjoy driving.

    The last nine days it has taken me
    every day the nine minute ride
    across town to my friend’s house
    who was recovering from COVID,
    helping her with chores and meals.
    We celebrated her 69th birthday.
    We talked and laughed together
    and recalled our many experiences
    we’ve shared over the past thirty-some
    years since our kids were little.
    We each had four sisters, and called
    each other “my fifth sister.”

    Yesterday, October 9th, 2021,
    she got in that music boat,
    the one Michael rowed ashore
    and sister helped to trim the sails.
    She’s at home on the other side—Hallelujah!
    But I sure will miss getting in my Prius
    and going over to her house.

    A good name is better
    than fine perfume
    and the day of death better
    than the day of birth. Ecclesiastes 7:1


    It was the kiss of disunion.
    An onion that caused
    unwanted tears.

    Your lips gifted me
    with the displeasure of

    The facade of love
    pressed hard against

    Failed to resuscitate
    the death of our

    Our hearts failed
    to pump the viscous respect
    of honorable human beings.

    We lacked the visceral
    gut feeling of mutual
    give and take.

    Our vital organs gave way
    to the disease of distrust,
    infections of anger.

    Your kisses I still fret,
    the peril of your scent,
    I will always regret.

    You are smoke to me,
    as we became fire and ashes,
    cinders and embers.

    You consumed my good
    nature. It became the food
    for hungry, licking flames.

    You are the road with no shame.
    No outlet. A detrimental
    dead end.

    Benjamin Thomas

  9. Crosstown Bus

    Crosstown Bus

    Neon lights on brick walls,
    visions shine in the station,
    and I’ve been waiting
    for my bus to come.
    Transfers, my life in change,
    I’ve already paid the toll.
    pass by me, then they’re gone-
    people in different stations
    transitions in life. One
    person has a ticket
    out of town,
    but here I’ll stay.
    Drivers bark out departures
    and I’m swept out the door
    by others to my bus.
    The driver grasps
    the steering wheel, guiding
    us on the way over bumpy
    and broken roads.
    I gaze at others
    at their unfocused stares
    while listening to silence
    of unspoken dreams.
    Points of arrival
    dance across a screen.
    For every person who says goodbye,
    another says hello.
    One location bleeds into another
    when I gaze out a clouded window.
    I’ve seen them all before.
    Memories whisper,
    one thousand lives
    lived in the city
    I’m destined to live again.

  10. Traveling On

    Across the Sea

    There was a time,
    when our legs still worked
    and our feet did not hurt
    and we were too young
    to fear exotic places,
    never considered illnesses.
    There was a time,
    when drachmas were still used,
    before the euro ruse,
    and we’d hop on a ferry to
    somewhere, some island
    we did not know,
    just a place to go,
    trusting, without a doubt,
    it would all work out.
    We even floated on the Nile,
    northward, from Aswan
    to Luxor, the only way to
    see the Johnny Carson ruins,
    the temple of Karnak.
    It was an earlier time
    with only two smallish cruisers,
    one going north, the other south,
    five days with stops along the way,
    with local transportation,
    one day a carriage,
    another a bus,
    once a walking tour,
    then even a felucca.
    That was a time
    before the crazies
    started shooting people, with
    real-life Uzi’s,
    real-life bullets,
    real-life hate.
    My sweetie was mugged three times,
    we still went,
    the big cities,
    Barcelona, Paris, London, the rest,
    all called us and we answered,
    driving, walking, snapping,
    truly blessed.
    Yes, there really was that time.
    Now, I can’t imagine travel,
    it’s harder to see,
    and there’s a lot more than an ocean
    between other countries and me.
    I understand my father now,
    after they
    opened him up,
    closed him up,
    why he said no when
    I offered
    a trip to the Old Country before
    it was too late.
    He knew that time had passed.

  11. Blazing a trail…

    I walked a path
    Into forest…
    There were two paths
    Others had walked
    Though fewer
    Had traveled the second one.
    I looked at both,
    And saw a harder climb.
    Why should I go
    Where others have gone?
    I had my walking stick,
    And my ax,
    And decided to blaze
    A trail all of my own…

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 10, 2021

  12. I fly to heaven through songs and prayers
    Sharing with my Savior all worldly cares
    Through whispered words, tears, and pleas
    Through songs lifted high and a little off key.

    Miraculously though my feet have yet to
    depart this spinning orb,
    My heart soars to heights far above
    As my my soul becomes united to the One who is love.
    In the presence of the Creator and King I find relief and comfort for grief
    As He takes all life’s burdensome baggage from me.


    i was lost at sea,
    except the sea was within—
    tossed about by wayward waves,
    time and again.

    enveloped and encompassed
    by deep pearl of blue,
    saltwater seeps, assaults
    open wounds, stings only on cue.

    undercurrents of emotion
    attempt to sweep me far away,
    drifting crest to crest, without rest
    and roaming day to day.

    borne by waves of circumstance;
    from one peak to the next, tides attempt
    to drown out life, again and again,
    i fret.

    slowly wandering, floating,
    the jaws of blue reject…riding
    relentless waves, taken captive—
    only hoping to be shipwrecked.

    Benjamin Thomas


    Along the road the old man drove
    across the land, through field and grove;

    the road was long but all the while
    he hummed a tune and wore a smile

    because the course was not a race
    but held instead a calming grace

    that proffered hours of touring pleasure
    through autumn bursting in full measure.

    From dawn to dusk he travelled far,
    just one small man in one small car

    who looked ahead to evening coming;
    to driving at night with the tires thrumming;

    to feeling at one with the car and road;
    to freeing the burden of life’s lumped load.

    Most questioned why he loved to drive.
    His answer was, to remain alive

    to the thrill of peering around the bend;
    to a new beginning for every end.

  15. Gone

    I’ve ridden the Choo Choo
    Chugga chugga toot toot
    Through the hills and dales
    But not since a little child

    I’ve seen many a freight train
    Chugging up Northern Maine
    Long ago but not today
    The railroad has gone away

  16. Inside the Bullet

    Long, sleek, and shiny white
    Cleaner than clean all the time
    It idles softly awaiting launch
    I anxiously step on board
    Find my seat and settle in
    About to find if the rumors are
    Anywhere close to the truth

    The doors close
    We start to roll
    My excitement builds
    As we leave Tokyo station
    On the way to Kyoto
    320 miles by rail
    In just over 2 hours
    Inside the Bullet

  17. Travels by Rail

    How I would love to travel by train,
    looking out at rushing scenery
    of lands with exotic names.
    How I would love to travel by train,
    with view of snow or Spring greenery.
    How I would love to travel by train,
    looking out at rushing scenery.

  18. This comes from some of the research I am doing on my novel series…. it is a form of traveling…

    The Brave Ones

    They were children…
    The battle was before them…
    They were the chosen ones
    To go into white schools
    Where black children weren’t allowed.
    They were pioneers
    Going into a foreign space.
    Many walked passed
    Adults calling them names…
    Some walked pass soldiers
    Keeping them safe…
    There were others who applied,
    But were denied and had to wait
    Until the first chosen ones survived.
    They had to work harder
    Because all of those waiting
    Could only walk through those doors
    If they shined despite the darkness
    That they traveled into each day.

    They were the brave ones…
    Those children and teens
    Who traveled each school day
    Where they weren’t wanted,
    Except for maybe one or two.

    It is a shame, damn shame…
    That this was the way it was…
    Sometimes it takes a sledge hammer
    To break down those cruel rules…
    But sometimes it takes
    A child traveling into a place…
    Where each step of that journey
    They heard that they were unwanted, but
    Those steps they took was
    To make it better for all.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 10, 2021


    Lies perpetuate
    like springing wildfires burning
    throughout the forest.

    Once the flames get a
    taste, they’ll utterly devour
    the morsels of truth.

    Ashes to ashes,
    they leave fragments, dust to dust—
    buried, six feet deep.

    Benjamin Thomas

  20. She Travels by Shanks’ Mare

    pulls on her Wellies and heads out
    doesn’t need a destination just the going
    where wind whips through her hair
    ahead of the front coming in heavy with rain
    that will dampen the puff ball at her feet
    with its puckered dome that dares her
    to toe it releasing smoky brown spores

    counts lucky her find of two lone spikes
    of pitcher sage sky blue against the brown
    of mid-October. Buries her face in the cedars’
    thousand berries’ dusky blues bending
    feathery branches as if begging her
    to bruise them just enough to scent
    air with autumn days and frosty nights

    spots a single field daisy blooming out of season
    rising from a thicket of purple asters
    with their golden eyes unlike the red-eyed
    box turtle with the algaed emerald head so wrinkled
    tilting to listen to her chatter as she greets doves
    whistling through the sky that she’s routed in passing

    peels back the brush to find a new pathway through
    barely parting limbs where she plunges through
    onto a barely perceptible two-track so faint
    she almost imagines it save for the license plate
    she kicks free—2009—proof of another’s passage
    hikes until she’s at the back of the salvage yard
    on the highway where dead bodies tumble
    their own monuments in an eerie graveyard

    jumbled chassis gaping windows yawning hoods
    flattened tires split and curling now and
    denned by coon and opossum crisscrossing trails
    signed by coiled scat shiny with black dung beetles
    lifts another strand of silk from her face dangling
    from spiny micrathenas in their glistening enameled shells
    swaying beside mummy-wrapped prey

    doubles back only to find the neighbor’s deaf horse mid-pasture
    wrong side and begins to tramp the fence line to find the break
    bangs the feedpan until her hands ache shoving and cajoling
    until his huge hooves step over the bottom strand beneath her boot
    and he buries his huge head in waiting carrots and apples

    dusk dulling day now and the fields gone from green to gray
    only the waist-high poison ivy burning with its orange flames
    tiny beacons she follows until she gains the big trail
    inhales the coming night and lifts her eyes then
    to a grinning basket moon.

  21. “Strong women and men aren’t simply born. They are made by the storms they walk through.” – Unknown.


    In the midst of this blitz of storm,
    I walk and move with no shoes.
    I feel every waking step beneath
    my feet. I can’t see the end….

    The puddles around me, mock my
    beginning. The smeared reflection I see is
    a distant version of myself. A blurred
    stranger I’ve never seen.

    The onslaught of pelting rain shows
    no signs of mercy. Angry clouds overhead
    sizzle with lightning, and casts bold bolts
    of thunder, but offer no solution
    to circumstance.

    The riled darkness harbors offense against
    me; like irate rattlesnakes that seek to bite
    my soul, elicit veiled poisons into my frame
    of mind.

    The movement of gray shadows stalk
    my every move. They take aim like evil
    snipers bent to terminate my sense of
    will and fortitude.

    My steps are heavy and labored. Each
    foot a cinderblock, under the weight of
    determined expectations.

    Each breath is weaker than the next,
    like descending into a sick, spiraling
    staircase, leading to a dank basement
    of doom.

    I am wet with regret, drenched in the pain
    of careless mistakes. The sky is broken.
    Heaven is leaking. The shards of rain are
    sharp arrows that hunt me down, abundant evidence of my dire conviction.

    I am crawling in the storm. My hands
    and knees are bleeding with lost confidence.
    The waters are rising steadily—but I can’t

    I’m forced to stand, learn how to
    walk through the defiant resistance of
    the flood. They know my name, but they
    don’t know my surefire resilience—
    She has no shame. She has the power
    to turn the engine, drive through the flying
    debris of life’s worst hellish hurricanes.

    My legs are weary with buckling knees,
    but I’m strengthened by a single ray of
    light. Its brilliance draws me toward
    the end of the road, although my journey
    is just beginning.

    My unyielding tears are the storm;
    brokenness of heart seeking a crack
    in my withering soul. The flood of emotion
    flowing to the forefront of my consciousness.

    The dark clouds of condemnation
    penetrate my conscience. The puddles of
    anxiety discolor my naked feet. The gray
    shadows, indiscreet, shimmer at the
    brink my mind. But I take courage in the
    thunderstorm around me, within me,
    about me.

    I learn to embrace the pelts of cleansing
    rain. Let them slide gracefully off my back,
    hear them splash far behind me.

    I no longer dread the pain of walking
    through the storm. Because now I know—
    I am the storm.

    © Benjamin Thomas


    The breath of God.
    Was our beginning.

    Image—of God
    Was our beginning.

    The word of God.
    Was our beginning.

    The Serpent.
    Skins of sacrifice.
    Was our beginning.

    Benjamin Thomas


    The color of skin is a hard road
    that leads to no paradise.

    The appetency for divisiveness
    has no exit.

    The color of skin can be a catalyst
    for the casualties of human respect,
    honor, the binding mutual love.

    The color of skin can cause one
    to drive under the hidden influence
    of bias, disdain, and hate.

    The color of skin can cause fatal mistakes—
    Wrecks of what it means to be human.
    Passionate. Empathetic. Honorable.

    The color of skin can cause us to miss
    our true destination, become hopelessly
    lost in the wild of unknowns.

    The color of skin can blind us
    to the reality of another person…
    Who is on the same road to recovery.

    Just like us.

    That’s just it.

    They are—just like us.
    We are just like them.

    Underneath the brittleness of our skin,
    behind the shallow layer of pigment,
    we are the irrefutably the same.

    We must strip off the skin of indifference.

    The shallow skin of divisiveness.
    The subtle skin of uniqueness.
    The perilous skin of arrogance.

    We must strip off the labeled skin of race,
    and discern the true face of our neighbor.

    We need to put on the true skin of sameness;
    and with enlightened eyes, see the true face—

    Of a human.

    Benjamin Thomas

  24. Blame this on the dream last night

    I was walking in a dream world,
    And all I could think was
    What was with all this traveling.
    I came upon an old woman
    Selling apples beside a hedge row.

    Spoke to me and said,
    “I see you have traveled far,
    And need a rest for the night.
    I have place you can rest
    Within my row of hedges.”

    I asked, “Who grows this hedge?”
    As I walked through a door
    That had appeared.
    And as that door disappeared,
    I dropped a penny on the ground.

    The old woman walked
    As if she was young, and
    She said, “Oh you asked me a question.
    I wasn’t listening.” She smiled,
    “It isn’t just a hedge,”
    As her wrinkles began to smooth,
    She cackled, “It is a maze.”

    I dropped a penny as she laughed,
    She danced a jig and said,
    “You must find your own way out.”
    I should have turned at that point, but
    She smiled and said, “Where are the figs?”
    My love of figs nearly ruined me.
    As her hair turned from gray to black,
    She smiled, “Yes, come with me
    They are down this way.”
    I dropped another penny
    And after that I dropped pennies
    Along my way.

    The hedge grew taller, and
    There were more thorns
    Than green leaves, and
    There before us was the fig tree,
    With the figs rotting on the limbs.
    She realized I had seen them, and
    Tried to make them sweet and ripe,
    But it was too late for that.

    “How do I leave this place,” I asked
    The diabolical woman before me spoke,
    “This is a labyrinth and
    The spider is my friend.
    She needs feeding you see.
    You will never leave hear.”

    As the spider began to come
    Out of the darken corner,
    I pulled my ax made of gold,
    And threw it at that spider.
    It screamed as it withered.
    I grabbed my ax, and turned to her.
    The rage within her was deafening.

    I did not wait a moment for her
    To gather her storm.
    As I raced away, I recovered my pennies.
    For I did not want her to follow me.
    I put the pennies in turns I did not take,
    Trying to misdirect her.
    The earth rumbled under her stomping feet.

    I came to the last penny, and
    Used my ax to break down that door.
    Outside I built a fire,
    And burned down that hedge, and
    As I walk towards the nearest town,
    I looked back once
    As the black smoke threw vulcanoid ash
    Upon the road, and I was glad
    For my wits and my gold ax.

    At the inn, I asked one question,
    “May I leave whenever I want?”
    The innkeeper asked,
    “You escaped the hedge.
    There are only a few that do.
    Sleep well tonight
    For tomorrow you can continue your travels.”

    I woke up a moment,
    And wrote down this dream.
    Smiling as I remembered
    How Ma and I used to discuss our dreams,
    And she would tell me this was a warning,
    But I would defeat this thing I was fighting.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 12, 2021

  25. This from a section in my second novel… it is just before Christmas 1953
    Bus Ride across the South…

    They boarded the bus separately.
    The woman and the man-
    She was white and he was black,
    And they had to pretend
    They didn’t know each other.

    She boarded the bus first and got a choice seat.
    He paid in the front, and went to the back to get on.
    An older woman rode beside her, and
    Whispered as she got out in Atlanta,
    “You need to be more careful
    Because they might catch on
    That you are together.”
    She warned the young man by dropping
    A package in front of him, and
    As she thanked him for picking it up,
    She warned him.

    She worried over him,
    And when the airmen got on the bus.
    They saw she was alone and harassed her.
    She held her own while praying
    Her man would not rush to protect her.
    She shouldn’t worry an older man sitting
    With him said, “She is holding her own.
    Let her.”

    In Biloxi the airmen got off,
    And a nice woman who would be her friend
    Asked her to come sit in the back with her.
    The bus driver told her she was in the wrong place,
    And told her where she had to sit, and
    She told him I feel safer back here.
    His face was red, and he raised his hand,
    But seeing other white people watching
    Didn’t slap her.

    In New Orleans, his Cajun father
    Welcomed home his son,
    Who cried on his shoulder, and
    Then welcomed her,
    But as long as she lived…
    She never forgot that ride,
    And how afraid
    She had felt
    On that bus
    That took them across
    The south.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 12, 2021

  26. If I could travel back in time…

    I would go to a land
    That I loved…
    I would play games
    At dusk
    Of kick the can, and
    Laugh while catching lightening bugs.

    I would go to a place
    Where I knew that sassafras tea
    Would purify my blood,
    And poke salat
    Was a spring tonic-
    But you had to cook it
    Right because if you
    Cooked it wrong..,
    It was poison.

    I would understand
    That you’uns meant “You ones”
    That if someone said,
    “My years hurt.”
    I knew it was their ears.
    If some one asked for a latch pin,
    They wanted a safety pin.
    I would know
    That I was wanted if
    The person said, “I am proud to see you.”

    Our dinners might be
    Cornbread, chow- chow, onions and soup beans.
    Breakfast on Saturday would be country ham,
    Biscuits and red eye gravy or
    If Da went fishing early, trout fish.
    Ya picked the trout fried in cornmeal,
    By the head and the tail, and
    Gently bite… if you did it right
    You didn’t get a bone.

    Our neighbor Luther
    Would take us to some revival
    Where I would hear about God’s judgement,
    But also, about His love…
    That love always won.
    I would hear Emily Bell Boney Bell
    Play the piano loud and singing even louder
    And have her teach me that service
    Meant giving of your time
    Which she did
    Searching pawn shops for sewing machines
    For young mothers to make her children’s clothes,
    And making bridal gowns for poor brides
    Who could not afford a dress.
    She would say every bride
    Deserves to look like a princess
    On her wedding day.

    At night as I went to sleep
    I would hear my father
    Playing blues on his harmonica…
    He learned to play when he was young,
    From men who grew up with blues
    Taught a young man
    How to be kind
    When his father wasn’t.

    I would listen to the tall tales
    My brother Jimmy would tell,
    And the jokes my brother Joe
    Could tell like no other,
    And Gary would be pontificating,
    And the rest of us rolling our eyes.
    Ma would be watchful,
    And fuss at me
    For my behavior was less than perfection.

    I would travel there if I could
    I would absorb the moments with joy…
    For when they happened
    I didn’t realize those moments were going away
    And would be lost to me forever.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 13, 2021

  27. AWAY WE GO!

    The Great One, Jackie Gleason, used to strut
    across the stage akimbo, his great butt
    in time with tunes that bore no trace of rock:
    a little travelling music from Ray Bloch.


    A cheering star afar—can be more faithful
    than a man across the room.

    It traverses time, infinite empyrean space,
    to glisten our eyes and reveal its burning.

    Human affection may fail to reach you at all,
    becoming cold in the near distance.

    The sailing of starlight is at least four years old,
    at the time of its anticipated arrival.

    Always eager, tickling the senses with its colorful,
    majestic manner of speaking.

    The energy of bridal light, is a radiant cheering
    seeking—that overcomes a road of endless darkness.

    The twinkling of a cosmic star is a wave, or
    blinking from distance friends who truly see us.

    The twinkling of a cosmic star, is a fan, a glow,
    thinking—we’re closer to home than you know.

    It’s amazing how the light of stars—travel
    so long, so far, to cheer a man afar.

    Benjamin Thomas


    Words can travel faster than bullets,
    and can do far more damage than lead.

    Tearing through the flesh and fabric
    of a defenseless soul.

    Easily breaking through the bony
    structure, and stability of one’s mind.

    Most don’t know the carnage, of words,
    once they find—its intended target.

    A mouth can be an automatic weapon.
    A plethora of words, the continuous ammo.

    Not all wounds are visible to the naked eye.
    The veiled soul can have internal bleeding.

    The broken mind, fevered will, deflated feelings,
    needs the most care, needs the most healing.

    Benjamin Thomas

  30. Today’s Travels…

    I rose before the sun rose,
    And as I drove
    Out for my adventure…
    I saw the sunrise, and
    Smiled for this
    I was given
    Seven thousand days…
    I have been given
    To live…
    That were
    Almost not mine to live.
    What a gift
    Is these days…
    And I saw the moon
    Rise at the end of this day,
    And I smile
    Because tomorrow morning…
    I have another gift,
    Another adventure…
    Another day
    I almost did not have.

    Mary Elizabeth Todd
    October 14, 2021

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