Garden of White Flowers

The Notes:  A triple Cherita. A cherita tells a story and is written thusly: one line, then two lines, then three lines for a total of six lines. There is no line length, no rhyme, no syllable requirement. This first Cherita is the beginning of a series of poems in my Garden of White Flower Series.  This first section is dedicated to the memory of my dear friend Jeff, a sweet and gentle soul. He committed suicide this past June 18, 2018.  I miss him dreadfully.  I seem to be on a roll here with poems about suicide. I am working on clearing my system of three deaths this past June: my mother and two friends by suicide, all within two weeks of each other.

Garden of White Flowers
“If you are not too long, I will wait here for you, all of my life.” Oscar Wilde

I. Jeff
He loved white flowers in his garden especially bathed in moonlight.

He began his white garden when he interred the ashes of the love of his life,
His lover who died from AIDS thirty five years ago and cremated.

He dug the corner of his yard by hand putting in much sweat equity.
He planted a scented white rose that climbed and then iris bulbs,
Paperwhite narcissus, and wisteria, in the corner with the magnolia tree.

He watered the flowers with his tears and sweat.

Next into the garden he buried his precious Cocker, Duncan –
Rescued from a dog hoarder, abused and starved.

He sat out here often talking to Gabe and Duncan.
He planted more white flowers to breathe their life into him,
He whose loves had all died leaving him alone.

He was sitting in his white garden in the moonlight

When he decided there were enough white lowers, enough memories.
He stroked the petals of the white iris and the white rose

Then went into the house on that beautiful June night.
The next morning he took his cat to the vet to board her for a few days.
He returned home and hung himself, the scents of his garden wafting through the windows.

Haibun: Things I learned in the CIA

Posted for Mish’s prompt at dVerse Poets Pub – finding beauty in the ugly.

Haibun: Things I learned in the CIA
“Skills can be taught. Character you either have or you don’t have.” Anthony Bourdain
Many years ago, I attended and graduated from the CIA – The Culinary Institute of America that is. I was paired up with a tall lanky homely young man with curly hair and large deft hands. Unlike the rest of us, he always had a piece of rotting fruit or vegetable on his work station. Out of reach of the knives and other items, but always there. I remember once one of the instructors yelling at him to get rid of that damned piece of rotten fruit. He would but the next day, another one took its place. I think the others felt sorry for me because I was paired with him but I liked him a lot. He was dryly funny and open to everything. We became lovers after a fashion and finally I asked him the question: Why the rotting fruit? He smiled and said, “in its own way, it is so beautiful. And we all come to this you know.” I would sometimes see him lift a pear, an orange, a bell pepper and look at it from all angles before carefully replacing it on the table. After graduation and working under some excellent chefs, he went his way and I mine. I never forgot him. And no, it was not Tony Bourdain.
rotting fruit
in its season –
so must we all

The weight of Love

For Kerry’s Prompt on Real Toads – Camera Flash and a Flash 55

The Weight of Love
All those love locks fastened to all the bridges –
Each one telling of eternal love,
Each one making note of a love commemorated –
Each lock pulling the bridges to pieces,
Adding weight to their load.
Destroying the bridges,
We fasten love locks on people
Destroying them.
Pulling them down,
Such is the nature of love.

**Pont des Arts Bridge, Paris, France, Hohenzollern Bridge, Cologne, Germany, N Seoul Tower, Seoul, South Korea, **Vodootvodny Canal, Moscow, Russia, Mount Huang, China, **Most Ljubavi, Vrnjačka Banja, Serbia, **Malá Strana district, Prague, Czech Republic, Ponte Milvio Bridge, Rome, Italy, Butchers’ Bridge, Ljubljana, Slovenia , **Brooklyn Bridge, NYC, New York, United States

**these love locks are being removed from the bridges due to safety concerns and tearing apart the bridge

You Don’t Know Me

I will be posting this on Real Toads Tuesday Platform.

You don’t know me
As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life — and travel — leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks — on your body or on your heart — are beautiful. Often, though, they hurt.”Anthony Bourdain

You don’t know me.
I have listened to men making crude comments
about women in the kitchens I have cooked.
I have been beaten, stabbed, raped and robbed.
I have lost people I love due to
Illness, murder, and suicide.
I have been in the depths of despair,
I have danced on rainbows of joy.
I have loved deeply and been loved in return.
I have eaten the food from a James Beard Award winner,
I have eaten beans and beans,
I have starved.
I watched my mother dying
and identified the body of a friend dead by suicide.
I walked out on being a chef after having won an award
and almost hung myself that same day
but was saved by my little needy cat.
A year later I watched that cat being stomped to death
after my home was invaded and she hissed at the invaders.
I have seen lonely days and nights
And I have been alone by choice
And I have chosen my few friends wisely.
I learned the languages of water, trees and stones
and the language of the French and Japanese kitchens,
the language of the heart,
the language of cicadas at night.
I have dwelt in darkness of spirit
and darkness of the sweet night.
I have scars on my body and soul.
I have wept and laughed.
You don’t know me.

copyright kanzensakura
Kanzen in the snow 1957

The Rain

For the Tuesday Platform over at Toads.

The Rain
Listen to me the way you listen
to the rain – with your head cocked
to one side and your eyes half closed,
a faint smile on your lips.
Touch me the way you touch the rain –
your fingertips extended and your hand cupped
feeling it with all your self.
Dance with me the way you
dance in the rain –
with total abandon
with joy and knowledge of the fleeting
nature of the rain,
holding your face up to take the kiss
of the rain fully and deeply,
your arms extended like the
wings of an owl,
ready to lift off into the sky.

Red is the color of peace

For Paul’s prompt at Real Toads about Peace.  This is an old poem previously posted but reworked and tightened up a bit.  I truly believe that we carry peace around with us, that it must be found within and shared out like excess red tomatoes from my garden.

copyright kanzensakura

 

Red is the color of peace
Peace comes in many colors – like the rainbow,
like us humans or animals or flowers.
You may not think so, but red is the color of peace –
the tomato plucked from the bounty of my backyard garden
and handed over the short fence to the neighbor next door –
red of holly berries nestled among dark green clusters
of leaves hidden deep in the forest, with white snow
softly falling or the cardinal perched on the branch –
The red of maple leaves preparing for winter sleep
or the red of the rose given to a beloved.
Long blondeblackbrownred braids tied at the ends
with perky red bows.
Red is the color of peace – of units of blood donated
for someone about to undergo life saving surgery
for the child with cancer
or the service  person needing
emergency treatment.
The wild apples are red and hang down far enough
a herd of deer can satisfy their hunger.
Red are the azaleas planted by my father years ago
that continue to bloom after all this time.
Strawberries from my garden are rich and red and sweet.
Red is also the color in the jars of preserves
I make and give out as gifts to anyone.
Red is my generations old flowering quince
blooming in a freezing snow.
The heart your child drew and the words “I Love You”
hangs with pride on your refrigerator door
photographed and posted on Facebook so everyone would know
– drawn with a bright red crayon.
Peace is what we make it and it is colored by our souls,
our hearts our words and actions.
If our words and actions do not speak of peace and hope
how can we be peace and hope to a world
sadly in need of both?
You may not think so, but red is the color of peace.

copyright kanzensakura

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The Southern Wind

In Honor of Walt Whitman’s birthday and his poem The Song of Myself – a song of myself for Tuesday Platform at Real Toads.

 

Eno River – public doman

The Southern Wind
I am a southern woman born and bred.
Compared to my Yankee cousin I move….
Like a sloth. Which is cool by me.
I like to dawdle behind and look at the overlooked things –
The tiny flowers hidden in the grass
or the acorn still attached to the branch
wrenched by the wind from the oak
or the small yellow butterfly
drinking from the honeysuckle.
But I am also the dragon tea set –
two of the cups cracked and mended with gold.
I am the Smokie Mountains covered in mist
And I am also Fuji covered in clouds.
Peaches warmed by the sun are my skin.
One day my ashes will be scattered
into the South Wind –
Minamikaze –
Blown across the red dirt fields –
Blown across the slow moving Eno River
Blown into the ocean, The Crystal Coast
Blown back home

Public Domain, Crystal Coast NC

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