The Moon in the Water

For Marian’s prompt at Real Toads today – “and you and I” is the prompt.

The Moon in the Water
A hot august night –
We’re sitting on the rocks by the creek.
here in this spot the creek has wandered
and just before plunging over the branches
And rocks and such
the water has pooled into a small pond
about eight feet wide and two feet deep.
Pebbles and rocks and sand
form our own private beach.
Except for the night visitors –
We are alone.
We are silent and so still a raccoon
comes up and drinks and then starts
and waddles away when he sees us.
We quietly laugh and agree
“He’ll be back” said ala Ahhhnold.
The moon flutters on the surface
of the pool – pure white on pure black.
I put my feet into the water and the moon
ripples even more, as it were laughing.
You put your arm around my shoulder
and I reach into my small shoulder bag
and give us another spray of insect repellant.
The cicadas whir and click,
an owl hoots.
A soft flutter of wings as it drifts overhead
and a soft rustling as it lands on a branch.
You and me and the moon in the night sky
and the moon in the water
and the owl in tree
and the night creatures –
Oh yes, and the neighbor’s dog
that followed us down the hill.

stock photo

Ticket to Philadelphia

For Fireblossom Friday at Real Toads. Welcome back Shay!

Ticket to Philadelphia
The ticket to Philadelphia cost
$43 in 1983 –
It was a one-way ticket.
My friends said I should be safe –
get a round trip ticket.
It was the midnight train
arriving at 6 a.m. in the morning.
You met me at the station
and thoughts of the round trip ticket
melted with colors of dawn
bounced off the cobblestones
finally came to a stop in the gutters.
I fell in love with Philadelphia.
I didn’t need the round trip ticket
So I cashed it in.
I cashed you in a month later.
I still love Philadelphia
But now I live somewhere else.

Haibun Monday: A Little Romance

Today I am the pubtender at dVerse Poets’ Pub and….it is Haibun Monday! I am giving the prompt today and I want us to write about romance – first love, puppy love, unrequited, forever love, engagement, marriage…We’ve seen the wonderful movies:  Say Anything, Sleepless in Seattle, Casablanca, Murphy’s Romance, Shakespeare in Love…the list goes on and on.  Sometimes our romance is like a movie and sometimes, it is delightfully ordinary.  People are writing about the loves in their lives.  Come and join us for a little romance!

One on One

After long years of being alone after a tragically failed relationship of years, I had finally put myself out there. Typically, I went straight to computer dating. I placed an ad on AOL Personals and had received over 60 responses. There were the typical just looking for sex, needy whiny types, aggressive in your face types and about three actual real humans. I emailed them and decided on one. A local guy who loved roller coasters, was financially and emotionally stable, no baggage, and…a sense of humor. We met and began dating. Slowly my heart began to heal but still it held back. We both discovered we loved ballroom dancing and frequently went and enjoyed. Summer came and he was invited to a cousin’s big splashy wedding. We went, both of us dressed to the nines and when we heard the band at the reception, we were ready to rock. A few songs went by to give us the courage to get up and dance. None of his relatives knew he could ballroom dance.

We were sitting when the band began to play Hall and Oates’ One on One. My heart shriveled in my chest and I wanted to run away. This was the song I had taught my absent partner to dance to, to rhumba. It became our favorite song and a secret message between the two of us. Brad said to me, let’s dance. I looked at him in horror. No, not to this one. He frowned and insisted, yes – to this one. I reluctantly followed him to the dance floor and we began to rhumba. Rhumba – the dance of love. I remained stiff while he smoothly danced around me. Without warning, he grabbed me and dipped me down, my hair brushing the floor. Moving with me, he put his lips to my ears and whispered, “That was then, this is now. That was him, this is me.” He pulled me up close to him and held me close. My heart melted and I fell deeply and unrestrainedly in love with him, just in that moment. The song ended and we went back to our table. The rest of the evening we danced and spent time looking into each other’s eyes. We were married a year later, on that same date. And I am still head over heels in love with this true hearted man with eyes the color of a clear summer sky.

summer skies – cloudless
and bright with warm sun grows a
rose in a frozen heart

 

dVerse Poets Pub: Quadrille 5

It is so good to be back after a long trip and visit to my ailing mother.  And today is World Poetry Day!  For today’s Quadrille, the prompt word is “melt”.  Submit your poem of exactly 44 words (not including title) and use the prompt word.  Come dance with us the Poetic Quadrille at:  http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/21/quadrille-5/

Melt into Spring
Melting into spring is
to melt into rosy flowers and
bright blue skies, drifting
along on clouds… –
To become one with the sound of
wind chimes, a hidden mocking bird
and the coo of doves.
To melt into spring is to melt
into love.

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

d’Verse Poetics – Dog Days!

Tuesday at d’Verse Poetics, I am the bartender!  I always enjoy this – not only posting an article and giving ideas for a poetic prompt, but the interaction with the other d’Team members and the friends who drop by to talk and/or submit one of their poems.

Today, I am writing about Dog Days – the hot days in which we are in the midst.  With heat indexes ranging from 103F to 108F, it has been hot!  How hot is it?  Trees are running around looking for shade – the lifespan of a popsicle is 10 seconds – so hot a fire hydrant was chasing dogs – you get my drift.

Come visit us at d’Verse today and read some cool poetry about a hot season.  Pop in and say hi or leave a poem behind.  I am submitting a haibun today and because it is a seasonal prompt, traditional haiku with seasonal words (kigo) are used rather than the 5-7-5 tercets or American sentences so-called haiku…Anyway – please come visit.  We’ve lots of ice cold lemonade and stuff on tap and great conversation!

  Haibun (俳文
Dog Days – days of harsh, merciless white sun and heat. Trees cast anemic shadows and birds hide deep within the foliage, seeking refuge from the heat. Other trees and plants seem listless in the heat – except for the thick tall crepe myrtle in my front yard. It is heavy with deep pink clusters of blooms – it seems to thrive in the torrid warmth. I have seen and heard several cicadas on and under the tree.

under the crepe myrtle
dried shells of cicadas lie –
emptied of songs.

In the dead of the hot summer night, the whir of cicadas fill my head with their droning sounds. It has come to this – we are silent, not daring to speak. I feel you staring down at me, waiting. Waiting for me to speak or make a move so you can respond. I put my hand lightly against your chest as if to push you away. You lean against my hand. I feel your heart beating. You feel warmer than the night against my hand.

August moon dissolves
Into clouds – fragmented light
dapples your skin.

I dare not look up at you, if I do, I will be lost. We’ve danced around this moment – carefully measured steps, always avoiding the embrace. Mirrored steps, forward and then back. But never the rocking in each other’s arms – a tango without satisfaction, a tango with no heat. Here in the night alone, you pull me close and stroke my cheek, lifting my face to look into your eyes.

the huge orange moon
hangs in the starry sky – it
sees all, tells nothing.

14th Anniversary – Halfway House

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August 5 was our 14th wedding anniversary.  We always like to do something special foodwise and also, historic.  Dining at the Halfway House was the perfect option.  Established in 1760 as a tavern, inn, and coaching house, the dining room was in the “basement”.  The walls are original brick, the floor, original brick and grooved by many feet.  Three fireplaces:  one at both ends of the dining room and one in the center.  Colonial décor circa 1760 was the look.  Warm brick and wood, simple wooden tables, brass candlesticks and chandeliers was a lovely backdrop to excellent food.

Some of their specials and regulars include a filet mignon topped with fresh Chesapeake Bay blue crab lump meat, a pasta topped with fresh Bay scallops and shrimp in a spicy Creole tomato sauce, crabcakes made from the same fresh crabmeat, and the night of our dinner – prime rib.  We ordered the prime rib.

When it arrived, our jaws dropped.  A gorgeous rib of probably a good pound weight covered the plate.  It was surrounded by flavorful aus jus and a ramekin of freshly grated horseradish.  Accompaniments included a twice baked potato (almost a whole baking potato!) stuffed with potato mashed with sour cream, sharp cheddar, fresh chives and parsley and butter and the other side were sautéed fresh tiny local green beans.  My husband had the appetizer of Onion Soup Gratinee’.  The broth was redolent of brandy, thyme, freshly ground black pepper and full of sweetly caramelized onion.  A homemade crouton topped it and was covered with bubbly Gruyere cheese.  I took several bites.  My appetizer was a salad made of local Manakin greens (a farm that caters to local restaurants with organic, fresh, unique veggies and salad greens.  The excellent housemade dressing was a Roquefort vinaigrette – refreshing and full of bits of tasty cheese.

And as if this were not enough, the bread basket consisted of hot yeast and cinnamon rolls, both made from a recipe originated in the late 1800’s.  Homemade butter from the Manakin farm was offered to slather all over the hot rolls.  I would have been happy with just the bread basket!  The prime rib was melting tender and full of flavor provided by a rub of a variety of peppercorns, fleur de sal, garlic, rosemary.

My husband toasted.  As we clicked champagne flutes he said:  To my beautiful bride and to our marriage.  I pray we will have 14 x 14 more years of happiness and love and that each day, our love grows deeper.

When it a

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Friday Fun…Spontaneous Acts of Grocery Aisle Dancing.

My husband and I love to dance. We are big on ballroom dancing and we really like it when we can indulge in spontaneous acts of dance.

Several years ago, we were both of us tired out from a mutually hard day at work and both of us had worked after hours. We stopped at a local grocery chain to pick up a few necessary items. The store was almost empty. We were moseying down an aisle just sort of in a tired trance. At one end of the aisle was a hugely pregnant woman looking at cereal. Her husband was at the opposite end of the aisle looking at protein bars. The muzak was ubiquitous as usual but then, out of the blue, Every Breath You Take, began drifting around us. The man came sashaying down the aisle as if we were invisible. Within a few feet of his wife, he held out his arms and began crooning, “Come to me, my melon belly baby”. She went to him and he enfolded her and they began to waltz slowly to the music.

My husband and I stood entranced. The couple was not even vaguely self-conscious. When the song ended, they continued with their shopping and went down the next aisle. My husband and I were delighted and no longer tired. When the muzak version of Shake Your Booty started up, we were in the cleaning products aisle, all by ourselves. We looked at each other and in a blink, we were quick stepping up and down the aisle.

This has become a regular thing with us now. The last act of aisle dancing was last month, in another grocery, at 9:00 am in the morning. A couple of people were in the aisle with us, but we had plenty of room to Mambo to “Love is in the Air” – a favorite and even on Muzak, a darned good dance number. After a moment, a woman and her little girl joined us – twirling and bouncing with much laughter.  We so love dancing and especially with each other.  Ballroom dancing is a vital part of our romance with each other.  Tango, Paso Doble, Mambo, Waltz….each dance an expression of love and joy in each other.  And the spontaneous dance – I wish more people did these spontaneous acts of love and fun.

“Love is in the Air” is one of our favorites and is on a regular rotation in our Kitchen/Ballroom.  We stopped worrying about people thinking we were crazy long ago.  Love is in the air, in the grocery aisle, in the hardware store, in Walmart, in the apothecary, in the parking lot…

Love is in the air everywhere I look around – Love is in the air every sight and every sound – And I don’t know if I’m being foolish – I don’t know if I’m being wise – But it’s something that I must believe in – And it’s there when I look in your eyes. . . . (songwriters, Pennington/Lemaire, Performed by Paul Young). The dance sequence is from one of our favorite movies, Strictly Ballroom.

So again I say to you, let’s dance!

 

Throwback Tuesday – a little more romance

Last night, my husband and I were listening to a radio station that plays hits of the 80’s and 90’s. I was ironing clothes and he was washing dishes. Nice, dull domesticity. Then, on the radio began yet another one of Rick Astley’s wonderful danceable songs. I started shaking my hips and I heard my guy drying his hands. In a breath, he grabbed and pulled me to him and we began to dance. He smiled down at me, “Remember the first time we danced to this?” I grinned and said, “oh my yes!”. And we danced ourselves into a sweat.

Years ago, at the wedding reception of one his numerous cousins, we were sitting at a table and watching the bride and groom gyrate and several guests twisting, jumping, clogging, whatever it was…this song came on, an oldie the DJ had thrown into the mix in an effort to get more people on the dance floor and a song with a definite beat that anyone could follow. It was Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up”. Inside, I cringed. This song had had a lot of meaning to me when it came out in 1987 but now it just meant memories and heartache.

My husband and I had been dating several months and felt a definite connection along with our many similar interests: odd bits of Trivia, Star Trek, Civil War history, mathematics, good food, and dancing. It never ceased to amaze me, considering how clumsy he was at some things, how well he could dance and how good he was in martial arts. We enjoyed each other’s company but me holding back, afraid of another massive heartbreak. He sensed it but never pried.

So, that song came one and he took my hand and said, “let’s dance”. I shook my head. “It’s a good one. Let’s show these folks how it’s done”. Reluctantly I stood up and we stepped out on the small floor. In about a minute, we had people standing up, watching, clapping in time. At one point, he pulled me close and sang in my ear:
Never gonna give you up
Never gonna let you down
Never gonna run around and desert you
Never gonna make you cry
Never gonna say goodbye
Never gonna tell a lie and hurt you…

I gave him a little push and said, Don’t. Don’t sing, just dance. He looked down at me and before I knew it, he had dipped me down in a graceful  Latin tango dip. Close to my lips he whispered, “That was him. That was then. This is me. This is now”. I looked up into his sweet blue eyes and thought of another pair of eyes – brown, almond shaped, who had left a few years earlier. I closed my eyes and my love came closer and kissed me. This sweet man, 10 years younger and a private romantic had laid it out for me. He pulled me back up into his arms and we did one last swirl. The music ended. We stood looking at each other and his relatives all cheered and clapped. We then went back to our table to sit. Several cousins came by and said, We didn’t know he even knew how to dance! I thought, there is a lot you don’t know about this quiet, serious man. I thought, there is a lot I don’t know.

A couple of months later, he used another Rick Astley song to propose to me. And it is true, when he sang those words, he meant them. So…..If you haven’t had a dance with the love of your life lately, or sang them a love song, or grabbed them and kissed them as if it was your second date, then do it. And hey, let’s dance!

Throwback Thursday and Today in Romantic History

This morning as my husband went to work, he turned and said, “Do you know what today is?” I looked at him. I knew it wasn’t his birthday or our wedding anniversary. He started laughing and said, “Yep, that’s my romantic girl. Go over to your computer, after I leave” and out the door he went.  So I did. Queued up was the music video at the end of this post. Today, 15 years ago, he asked me to marry him. We had been dating a few months and after a slippery beginning (I forgot I had a lunch date with him and stood him up!), we had been doing well.

We found ourselves remarkably compatible, even though we were so very different and I had not allowed myself to feel for anyone in years, since the love of my life went back to his native Japan. Somehow, this shy, awkward, geeky, and intelligent accountant had managed to pull the stones from around my heart.

He asked me to go with him to try for his black belt in tae kwan do. I had been to some sessions with him before and had watched him spar. He did not fight like an accountant and for someone who had two left feet when it came to dancing, he was really good.

I went with him. He got his black belt (woo hoo!). We went out to lunch and after we were through, he asked me to go with him to his parents’ home. They were out of town and he had promised to check on the house for them. We did a walk through and when we were in the family room, he suddenly became very quiet. He started twitching. Then he said, “I need you to sit down here” and he sat me down in his grandmother’s rocker. My heart sank. I thought to myself, “He’s a nice guy and he is going to break up with me.  He doesn’t want to see me anymore and he is going to be nice about it.” I was surprised at myself that I actually cared about this.

“Now, just look over me, okay? I’m not very good but I have been working on this for a month”, and he went over to the piano, and played a couple of chords and began to sing. A good voice but a lousy piano player, however, knowing how much I like Rick Astley, he plunked some chords and began to sing, starting with the chorus first:

Together forever and never to part,
Together forever we two …

Logical, pragmatic, stone hearted me – melted. And when he was through, he came and on bended knee, asked me to marry him and then placed his grandmother’s engagement ring on my finger. Obviously I said “yes”.

I am still the logical one and he is still the full tilt romantic one. But today, I’m going to dance around my kitchen to this song. And when he gets home, I am going to take out my violin and play for him, “When I fall in love”.

I hope you all have a date in your romantic history that you remember as if you were there again. I hope it is a happy memory.

Valentine #2 Strictly Ballroom

A shortened clip from one of my favorite movies, Strictly Ballroom.  the song is the lovely “Time after Time”.   A wonderful movie for this day of love.  later today, my husband and I will be watching the DVD of this, yet again and dancing along.  We aren’t Fred and Ginger, but we love Ballroom Dancing, this movie, and each other.

Love is in the air – in the movie and today for Valentines Day.  Love to you all.  and find someone to dance with today!!!! 

Valentine Snow – tanka

beautiful sweet snow
you said and kissed the flakes from
my face and lips but not as
beautiful as you.

snowy_central_park[1]

The Samurai and the Wren Part IV: The Art of War

Note:  There are five parts to the Samurai and the Wren.  This is chapter four of that story.

Many years ago, a wizard from another universe was teaching me in the art of war. He wrapped my hands around the hilt of his katana and said to me, “Before you start, remember: Accept your death in battle as a given. You will be freed from fear. You will be able to focus more clearly and correctly. Empty yourself. You will be free. You will be more alive than you have ever dreamed”. Then he smiled and in my ear whispered some lines from one of his favorite songs, “Seasons don’t fear the reaper. Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain. We can be like they are. Come on baby… don’t fear the reaper.” (BOC Don’t Fear the Reaper)  And with his arms around me and I, moving with him, learned my first fighting form.

The wizard of course, was Ken. He was looking at me and frowning. He had wrapped his obi around my waist and tucked in his katana. I was standing correctly. I was pulling the sword correctly. “Do it again”. I pulled. “Again”. I pulled. Huge frown and then, a huge smile.
“Short. You’re too short for the blade.” He strode over, pulled out the hilted sword from the belt and replaced it with his wakizashi. “Now, try this. Pull.” Considering look “Again”….”Again”…”Again”…”Perfect!”

He lifted me up and spun me around. “Misosazai, you are too short for the katana. By the time you almost have it drawn, your opponent will have beheaded you. But with this short sword, you will be formidable”. Now I was frowning. At 4’10” and 95 pounds, I was as formidable as a bunny rabbit. But if my lover said so, then it must be so. I trusted him and he was rarely wrong.

It was hot and I was sweaty and irritable. He decided it was best we go sit in the shade by the koi pond and cool off. His hair was pulled up from his neck in a high tail. He stretched out on the grass with his hands behind his head. I sat and leaned against the ancient oak, with the obi and swords pulled from around me. Sun and I do not get along well. I closed my eyes feeling sunburn creep across my face and down my arms. I didn’t want to learn this. I didn’t want a crash course in the levels of Japanese sword technique and history. I wanted a soak in a tepid bath scented with lavender and a tall glass of lemonade while I soaked. He shifted. I groaned. I could tell from his body language, it was lecture time.

“It’s like life. We all die. Accept it. Once you accept it, you can begin to live. Empty yourself of those fears about death.” Ken rolled over and looked at me. “Come here dear heart, lie down beside me”.

Petulantly I muttered, “Grass makes me itch”. He snorted. “Everything makes you itch. Come lie down with me and let’s watch the clouds travel across the sky”.

We had been living together for only a few months. We quickly learned the other needed times of silence and solitude, to back off when told to, that we enjoyed cooking together as much as we enjoyed making love together, both of us had an eclectic taste in music, a sometimes twisted sense of humor, that slapstick humor made us guffaw with glee, both of us an odd and changing mixture of pragmatic, mystical, and spiritual, we always had something to talk about and never tired of talking to the other, and that amazingly, we were born the same day and same year within five minutes of each other at opposite ends of the earth.

I crawled over and lay down beside him. Impishly he grinned. “Now, as you say, isn’t this comfy-cozy-friendly?” And it was. My small form beside his tall form, on our backs, hands under our heads, ankles crossed, my black hair braided and pulled up over my chest. We both sighed and watched the clouds. Peaceful sounds – the koi occasionally breaking the surface, a dog barking in the distance, a cardinal sounding his territory, a lawnmower droning across the way, an occasional car going past, a few yards down, children laughing as they played. We sighed again.

“Now dear heart, what think you of the clouds?” He knew I would answer when ready. We both continued to watch the clouds, be peaceful, and let thoughts drift inside our heads.

I said, “Kobito, clouds don’t live long. They travel across the sky in their allotted time and then when it is time, they end. Yet, they come and go and drift. No cloud stays at cloud-home – it sets out and completes its journey regardless. No stopping until the end. And then they fade and become part of the universe, forever.”

He turned to face me. “And that is the point Misosazai. I would have expected no less of an answer from you. After all, you sat and watched snow fall at Ryoan-ji. You rode a horse into the desert to watch meteor showers. You stood at the edge of the waves at Atlantic Beach and threw your arms out wide and laughed into the wind. You rescued this worthless man and captured his heart, mind, and soul. So I tell you this: In battle, just as in life, accept your death as a given. Empty yourself of the death and fill yourself with life. You have begun that journey. Now continue and never stop. Pursue life relentlessly.” He sat up, “Now go get the obi and my sword and let’s start again.” He stood up and held out his hand. “And afterwards, I will prepare you an amazing bath and rub your little red face with aloe gel.”

I took his hand and stood. A couple of weeks later, he came down the back steps of our home. He was competing that night and was dressed in the beautiful black hakama he was wearing when we first met. He was carrying a long narrow wooden case. “Come here honey chile”, he drawled, imitating me. He called me away from raking the kare-sansui. He sat carefully on the steps and placed the box on the floor between us, motioning for me to sit.

I sat across from him, as I had that first night. He smiled, brackets around his full lips. In his soft husky voice he said, “Dear heart, this is for you. Her name is 南風 Minamikaze – south wind.  He opened the box and I gasped. Nestled in black velvet, was a new wakizashi. He looked at me solemnly. “I will teach you to use her, care for her, respect her, love her. I pledge this sword to you and I pledge my heart to you.” He placed the sword in my hands.

I sat there, tears dripping on its surface. It reflected light and colors from our surroundings. He stood and walked down the steps and I followed. He placed my hands on the hilt and leaned down to kiss my forehead. “When you draw this more than six inches, it must taste blood.” I knew the skin between his thumb and forefinger had many tiny scars and some new cuts.

Carefully, I held the sword and then quickly, drew across that bit of skin on my own hand. Criminy! That hurt. A bit of blood welled up. He took my hand in his and placed his lips on the cut.  “They say the sword reflects the soul of its wielder. May this sword only reflect light and never any darkness”. I slowly moved the sword. It glinted in the sun. I held it up and saw blurred reflections of the stones behind me in the garden, the green from trees – my life reflected on its narrow edge.  At that moment, I have never loved more or felt more alive.

And thus, the Samurai and the Wren (Misosazai) began the great journey of their life together.

In teaching me the art of war and death, he was teaching me the art of life and love. Now years later, it still holds true. Empty yourself of death and never stop filling yourself with life, love, and light.

sword

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