Memories on the Downslope

Memories on the Downslope

It was winter, early 1966.
Do you remember where?
Of course you would,
but you’re no longer here to say.

Somewhere in Pennsylvania.
A grandparents’ farm, family friends.
We camped there several times,
but for that visit we stayed in the farmhouse.

All for a fun day of sledding for the kids.
Why shouldn’t a dad join in?
Diving onto that wood and metal glider
you raced down the hill, unstoppable.

Until you found the one bare spot
on that long slope of a farm field.
The sled came to a dead halt,
but you rocketed forward.

We found your metal frame glasses coated
with blood from the gash in your brow.
Just like that, the cold seeped into all of us,
so we went inside while you were taped up.

But the day was early, so once our bones
were warmed by hot chocolate
we loaded up the grandparents’ van,
ten of us packed into a ’64 Econoline.

We headed for an old logging road,
snow covered and perfect for sledding.
Of course, you were more than content
to let the kids have all the fun.

This is my response to Twiglet #298 – a bare hill.

Shared with OpenLinkNight #324 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image – Lightning Guider sled

Missed, in Any Weather ~ memoir poetry ~ with audio

Missed, in Any Weather

The farthest thing from my mind
when I’m chipping away
at the frozen layer on my driveway
on a chilly, mid-Missouri February morning
that, as usual, has as much rain as snow
is to wish for more of the same.
But here I am on a ninety-six degree day
in August crossing a Target parking lot
as I wade through heat waves
rising from the asphalt that remind me
of that Vegas hospital parking lot
in early June of ’93 after visiting Dad
and thinking he’d be flying home soon –
we know how that worked out –
wishing I could have one of those
ice-crusted snow days. Or better yet,
just one more minute working beside Dad
at Overland Express back in Buffalo
in the ’70s with the snow blowing
between the trailers and across the dock,
his face just as red from the cold
as it would get if he were here with me
on this hot, August Missouri day.

This is my response to Twiglet 290: ice-crusted snow.

As it happens this also meets the challenge for Poetics: Sometimes August isn’t recognized, the prompt from Sanaa at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Effortlessly ~ sijo

Effortlessly

It seems I only see you
       when you come into my dreams.

I hear words, conversations,
       remember what I learned back then.

Lessons never seemed to be lessons
       when working by your side.

This is my response to Ronovan Writes Sijo Wednesday Challenge #19: Dreams.

Sijo (a Korean verse form related to haiku and tanka)
~ three lines of 14-16 syllables each
~ a total of 44-46 syllables
~ a pause near the middle of each line
~ first half of the line contains six to nine syllables
~ the second half should contain no fewer than five
Originally intended as songs, sijo can treat romantic, metaphysical, or spiritual themes. Whatever the subject, the first line introduces an idea or story, the second supplies a “turn,” and the third provides closure.
Modern Sijo are sometimes printed in six lines.
Read more here: Wikipedia

Shared with OpenLink Night LIVE at dVerse ~ Poets Pub

Ripe Tomato at 3 pm

Ripe Tomato at 3 pm

Not a meal, but a Saturday treat.
Heirloom, of course, ripe with memories.
Savoring the process of your hand moving,
slow and smooth, the serrated knife laying
each slice on the bread, each slice layered
with mayo turning pink with juice.
Now held in two hands, that second slice
firmly in place, mayo in a bead, hugging
the crust edge, juice falling to the plate
in languid drops. Eyes closed with each bite,
you relish this simple pleasure.
My pleasure now in recalling this,
bringing you back after so many years
as I take my own bite and savor the memory.

This poem is my response to Poetics Tuesday – food!,
the prompt from Sarah at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: washingtonpost.com

A Simple Gesture ~ with audio

 

A Simple Gesture

Need I say already
when so much time has passed,
when each passing moment
seems to take moments with it?

Sight and sound blurred
and muffled, impressions
that bring new meaning each time
my mind tries to repeat them.

Amentalio. The word would be
foreign to you, but I can imagine
your reaction to it, that gesture
not lost to me, yet. A shrug,

the slightest tilt of your head,
followed by a question.
How can you forget something
that is such a part of your soul?

This poem is my response to Poetics: The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, the prompt from Linda Lee Lyberg at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to use one of ten words taken from The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows, by John Koenig. I had written a poem using one of John Koenig’s words when they were still available to be seen on his website. Since that source is no longer available, I definitely will be getting a copy of the book, so thank you to Linda for the heads up.

From The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows:

Amentalio: the sadness of realizing that you’re already forgetting sense memories of the departed- already struggling to hear their voice, picture the exact shade of their eyes, or call to mind the quirky little gestures you once knew by heart.

Distant Voices

Distant Voices

A bench, at first, where solder flowed,
and wires glowed in anticipation
of the words and music that would dance
across waves that filled the air
before rasping from a tiny speaker.

A desk would follow, dials and needles
on your radio measuring signals,
those received from far places,
yours, a response to those voices
and clicks with your own.

I may have had the desire to follow,
and you did encourage me,
but my discomfort in talking to others
over the air was just as real for me
as talking to them in person.

Years later, I found myself at a desk,
talking to the camera as I vlogged.
It seemed that I was finally ready
to talk to people, even if remotely.
You would have enjoyed that.

These days, it’s blogging, and I could be
anywhere. At the kitchen table
or in a recliner with a laptop,
or on my phone as I remember you
and write a poem about your ham radio days.

This poem is my response to Poetics: In the Light of Other Days, the prompt from Laura Bloomsbury at dVerse ~ Poets Pub, which is to write a poem recalling some specific thing or things from the past, or more generally about what evokes a memory or memories in you.

August Lemonade

August Lemonade

This late summer month,
when heat clings
with an air of resignation
of fading persistence,
was always your favorite.

Retirement spent outdoors,
gardening, preparing
for the coming change.
Shirtless, you wore the sun
like it was your own.

I always see this month
as yours, see you
holding a lemonade
in the still air
beneath a blazing sun.

 

Lemonade in August was written for Monday’s haibun prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.
I decided to rewrite it in free verse.

Shared with Open Link Night #297 at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: WPNGITEM

Lemonade In August ~ haibun

Lemonade In August

This late summer month, when the wind seldom gusts and the heat clings to the skin with an air of resignation, the knowledge that its persistence will not last, this month was your favorite. In your retirement you spent more time outdoors than in, as you gardened, tended to your animals, and prepared for the coming change in weather. Shirtless while mowing your acres of lawn or relaxing with a game of horseshoes, you wore that warm sun like it was your own. You were born to this month, and I always did see it as yours. You are always on my mind, but most especially in this month.

lemonade
beneath a hot sun
the still air

This haibun is my response to Haibun Monday 8-2-21: August,
the prompt from Frank Tassone at dVerse ~ Poets Pub.

Image source: PNGITEM

R.R.G.

RRG

R.R.G.

There’s no way to know when our time will come. I sure didn’t.
Would I have done things differently if I did? Probably not.
Life teaches as it tests, so we do the best we can with the time we have.

Who am I to say whether you learned your lessons well?
I had my own lessons to learn, but those days are long gone.
Yes, my life was cut short, but, hell, my family was cut short.

A brother I never knew, gone almost before he could breathe.
My mother gone before I was fifteen, when I had to learn to breathe
all over again for myself and my father, devastated for the rest of his life.

I learned early on not to expect something for nothing,
that hard work brings rewards. Life may be cruel, but it can be
just as generous. Your love, even since I’ve been gone, is proof.

You’ve had your own lessons to learn. Those that were easy balanced
with trials. One at a time, you’ve managed. Life is meant to be lived
one day at a time. Live it. Don’t dwell on the past. Continue to learn.

 

This poem may not be quite on prompt for Day 8 of napowrimo.net, which challenges us to “read a few of the poems from Spoon River Anthology, and then write your own poem in the form of a monologue delivered by someone who is dead.” Mine is definitely not in the same style as those by Edgar Lee Masters. I chose to write it in the voice of my father – therapy for myself, probably, since it’s more in my “voice” than his. I suppose it could be an epilogue to my Day 6 poem, “Instillation.”

NaPoWriMo 2021

~ Day 8 ~