dVerse Poetics – Kudzu

Today Kim is prompting us at dVerse: http://dversepoets.com/2017/07/25/poetics-flexing-your-verbs/ “The challenge is to write a poem, of any length or form, not about an animal or bird, but about a landscape, using verbs in unexpected contexts. I don’t want to see any nouns or adjectives turned into verbs, but verbs doing their job, flexing their muscles, moving your poems across your chosen landscapes.” I am also posting this for the Open Poem Format at Real Toads hosted by Marian – http://withrealtoads.blogspot.com/

kudzu roars down the mountain
like an avalanche – obliterating everything
in its path –
a tsunami of green that devours houses
trees fences boulders cars
in a snarl of leaves and vines.
it begins on a night when the moon
is asleep –
a tiny tendril silently explodes
out of the rocky soil
and by the next sundown
it has marched steadily forward –
it covers consumes chomps away
and before you know it
the Japanese green dragon has
gorged itself and eaten well –
the mountain has disappeared
under a tattered veil of jade.

public domain photo

dVerse Poets Pub: OLN

Today for OLN at dVerse Poets Pub….http://dversepoets.com/2016/10/06/open-link-night-181/

The Last Crape Myrtle Bloom
Second week of October –
Last week was cool.
this week it is hot again.
the trees and grass are still green.
The crape myrtle has dropped all its leaves
one bloom holds on –
persistent under a lowering sky.
Matthew is scouring the east coast
ripping away homes and lives
two hours inland it is ghostly still and quiet
hot humid grey – perfect hurricane weather
The last crape myrtle bloom of summer
Holds on persistent under a lowering sky

copyright kanzensakura

copyright kanzensakura

Open Link Night: Magnolias

Open Link Night Thursday at dVerse.  Submit any one poem of your choice!  Come join us and find a new favorite poet!  And no, they are not uppity pretentious poems either!  Samurai, cowboys, beaches, everyday wonders….oh my.

I find I am missing magnolias –
Dinner plate sized blooms of creamy white
and the scent of lemony rose.

I find I am missing magnolias
in the huge tree that presided over
the yard of my old home place.

I find I am missing magnolias
in the old crystal punch bowl
in the downstairs hall.

I find I am missing magnolias
with white blooms soft and fragile
as summer stars in the velvet night.

I find I am missing magnolias
glowing in the moonlight and
acting as beacons for searching fire flies.

In the long lonely night when
I am sleepless and needing some peace,
I find I am missing magnolias.

public domain photo

public domain photo

Haibun: July 3, 1963

Today at dVerse Poets Pub, Matthew Henningsen is our guest prompter. Continuing on the travel theme for prompts this week, Matthew wants us to write about a travel in such a way we want to go there – or not! Join us for the interesting links on this prompt.  This may not be high adventure, but it is is a wonderful trip.  Come and join me!   http://dversepoets.com/2016/03/01/poetics-adventures-in-travelling/

Time Travel: July 3, 1963 6:00 PM
The early summer evening is like a delicious bath fragrant with magnolia, gardenia, and old roses; warm enough to lull into relaxation but not so warm you want to hurry and towel off and stand in front of a window fan. Neighborhood sounds of a mother calling children into supper, piano practice from the house across the street, Mr. Williamson’s car with its putt-putt muffler pulling into their drive. You have been invited for a special supper – Kathy’s 16th birthday. As you step onto the generous wrap-around porch, the front French doors open and an older woman with dark hair and brown eyes flecked with gold and green and her granddaughter, with the same brown eyes, smile and welcome you. “Just go ‘round to the right. We’re having supper on the side porch tonight. Honey, show them around.” The little girl grabs your hand and pulls you behind her. You are the ship coming into harbor and she is your tugboat, pulling you to the proper place. The smells of fried chicken and biscuits lures you eagerly forward. “It’s Aunt Kathy’s birthday and we are having homemade peach ice cream with peach pound cake for dessert. Come on.” Because you are not moving fast enough to suit her.

From the side porch, you can see behind the house – several fruit trees, rose bushes, a large kitchen garden in full green growth. Several cats are hopefully prowling on the porch but quickly disperse at the arrival of you and the skipping tornado. A long table is set with pieces of old mismatched china and down the center, two platters piled with fried chicken, a large bowl of small steamed new potatoes sprinkled with chives, pole beans and ears of corn picked that morning, a gravy boat of rich chicken gravy, colorful cole slaw, and at the last, two small baskets filled with hot biscuits. Another platter holds the first tomatoes of the summer, sliced and carefully placed on the special altar of a pale yellow platter.  Tall glasses of iced sweet tea are beside every place setting. The family comes to sit, the birthday girl at the head of the table and wearing the tiara her mother wore at her coming out party. You smile because she is dressed in Bermuda shorts and a sleeveless cotton blouse. The rest of the family is also wearing shorts and teeshirts or polo shirts. Coolness is important on a July night. On the steps of the side porch sits a freezer of homemade ice cream, resting and getting hard under a pile of ice and covered with a towel.

You don’t want to but you eat one of everything – twice. The conversation includes you and bursts of laughter at family tales frequently ring out. The dishes are cleared and then the peach pound cake is brought out with one sparkler lit and festive in the center of the cake. “Happy birthday dear Kathy…” and all laugh as her eldest sister and mother of the little girl croons out…dear Toad…and it is explained it is the family nickname for Kathy. The father strips away the towel and ice and opens the ice cream freezer. Slices of cake are handed to him as he spoons the pale peach colored ice cream over the cake and hands back. Glasses of milk or cups of coffee accompany the cake and ice cream. This perfect place in time is a beloved destination. No adventure, nothing exotic – but if you decide to stay, there will be croquet and badminton after dessert.

Summer tomatoes
First of the season – croquet
Laughter and fire flies.

free public domain image

free public domain image

dVerse Poets Pub – Meeting the Bar – narrative: Kudzu

Victoria is in charge of the Poets Pub today, asking us to write a first person narrative. I do not usually write such long poems but this one has been working inside my brain for a year and I decided to finally let it out. The Pub opens at 3:00 pm EST. Come visit. And I hope this long one doesn’t bore you – it’s almost as long as a tendril of kudzu….

public domain image

public domain image

“The night the Kudzu has your pasture, you sleep like the dead.” James Dickey: Kudzu
The summer before we married
I told my fiancé about a road trip – taken by
a friend and I in my flower child salad days.
Walter died the summer of ‘93
From lung cancer. I looked
at the kudzu taking over an abandoned house
and remembered:
Twenty years earlier we both
were employed in a new restaurant genre –
Vegetarian…health food/hippie food with
Poetry readings every weekend –
Usually long rambling self-important
rants about the government, The Man, peace,
Sex, drugs, and Ravi Shankar. The ones about peace
Were always angry which I never understood why…

But one night the owner/chef went off on a bad bad trip, man
And I was pulled off the line and did the job that night
So much better, I was promoted – on.the.spot.

The restaurant had the unfortunate soubriquet of
Chez Kudzu….lord have mercy on us
but it was at a time all Southern Writers were
writing reams about kudzu and sweet tea
and Walter read how all kudzu was just really one plant
stretched out for vining miles.
Chez Kudzu closed for two weeks in July
And Walter and I decided to follow the kudzu,
starting with the kudzu forest in Duke Forest.
He and I followed the kudzu twined on the power lines there
all the way to Charlotte where we pulled over
in the soft July night and smoked a joint
and breathed in the aroma of the cornfield
On both sides of us –
In the humid air – sweeter and more fragrant
than the Thai pot that made our ears buzz
and the air vibrate with the sound of cicadas
and frogs and the trill of bats
On that black country road.
he went to sleep and I watched a summer storm
in the distance – watched the distant flashes of lightning
and inhaled the scent of rain with a sense of deep peace –
The scent of distant rain floating
over the perfume of the corn
and rich earth and wild creeping jasmine –
I inhaled the fragrance of lemon and Thai and rain
And when the storm hit,
I felt the car shiver in the wind but
I never closed the windows letting myself
be purified by the incoming rain –
in the lightning flashes
looking up at the ghosts of kudzu climbing up
telephone poles and moving steadily south
by way of the wires. I watched it stretching
towards the rain and the deeper south
and could I hear it as it grew and twined.
And the song of it lulled me to sleep.

I awakened early in the morning –
The sound of birds and Walter snoring
and the sound of a dog barking –
away across the fields.

I started to awaken Walter
and then stopped –
Creeping in the car window
wrapped around my wrist
was kudzu – grown in the night
while I slept – fed on my dreams
And Southern summer night air.

free public domain image

free public domain image

No Return

Today Ahbra is in charge of Poetics at dVerse. He wants us to write about returning – perhaps. I feel you have memories, good or bad but you can neither go back nor come back. Come join us for this interesting prompt and all the takes on “What would I be if I could come back” or going back to a time or place. I’m in a cynical mood today! http://dversepoets.com/2016/02/02/poetics-coming-back/   The poetic form is the Bussokuseki. –

public domain of old southern home

public domain of old southern home

No Return
streets are smaller and
trees are fewer – someone else
lives in the homeplace –
all is faded into mists –
the past has passed no return –
look forward angel to now –

d’Verse Poetics – 4th Year Celebration – Icebreaker

This is the FOURTH ANNIVERSARY of d’Verse Poetics community – woohoo!!!! We are celebrating poetry, each other, contributors and commenters. Yesterday Grace, in Pubtalk, gave us the theme of gratitude and it is part of the prompts for this whole week. Today Marina Sofia is providing an icebreaker for us to get to know one another better.

We choose three words that mean a lot to us or describe us and three words that state what we are grateful for and then writing a poem with those words in 12 or less lines. Come join us for the celebration, the amazing poets, join in the conversation and contribute poems of your own.

My words:  Japan, the South, Phoenix, family, husband, love

southern woman – a family heritage
of hard work, courtesy and respect to all,
unconditional love of family -for them, by them.
knocked down by cancer but a survivor –
lessons of hard gained, deep romantic yet hard lost love.
locked away in loss and pain but reawakened to life and the joy of words
Phoenix poet rising from the ashes.
discovering along the way and living by,  equally –
Bushido and the Ten Commandments – The South meets Japan.
rising from the pain of lost love to new love –  a husband, friend, lover –
travelling the world, diving into different cultures –
The Phoenix southern woman poet finding her way home.


Bushido - public domain image

Bushido – public domain image


Nishikigoi poem

cat and koi pond - Cat and koi pond by Utagawa kuniyoshi (歌川国芳)  January 1, 1797 -  April 14, 1861

cat and koi pond – Cat and koi pond by Utagawa kuniyoshi (歌川国芳) January 1, 1797 – April 14, 186 


Years ago, we had a koi pond – nishikigoi: brocaded carp. It is a pleasure to feed them and watch them nibble bits of lettuce and melon, to watch them break the surfacte and play. A good friend of mine wrote the first three lines, which so delighted me, I wrote the rest of the poem from that inspiration. And, my friend loves my fried chicken!

A forbidden desire:
A fishing pole, pond,
Carp sushi–and fried chicken.  by Beni

Unmoving, sleeping.
At peace in the sun.

Barely rippling,
Fins and tail calm.
Dreaming of lettuce.

Flutters ripples hides –
Carp sushi nightmare.

Looks up and sees
Tall thin one with
Pole is not topside.
Sees short round one
With lettuce and melon.
Safe, he rises to eat.

Nishikigoi laughs.
Tall thin one comes
Eating fried chicken

Bits of biscuit
Float on water – Snap!
Gone without a trace.

ゆうだち Yuudachi – sudden evening rain

“Sudden Rain” Author: Takahashi, Shotei (Japanese, 1871-1945)

“Sudden Rain” Author: Takahashi, Shotei (Japanese, 1871-1945)

breathless summer night –
wind rushes, quick taps on leaves
sudden evening rain.

dVerse Poetics – Papa’s Peach Cobbler

Today at dVerse Poetics, I get to be the bartender and give the prompt. The prompt for today is food. And y’all know how I love food! And if you want the recipe for this, here is the link: http://kanzensakura.com/2013/06/18/papas-peach-cobbler

Papa’s Peach Cobbler

When I feel the need to go to a safe place,
A happy place,
A time when things were simple –
I close my eyes and when I open them
I’m six again.
Papa is teaching me to make his peach cobbler.
Fresh peaches – juicy drippy happy peaches –
Peeled and sliced into quarter moons –
Dropped into a bowl and sprinkled with sugar and spices.
He gives the slices a stir
And puts into the pan
With all the other good stuff
(this time he let me put in the flour!)
Into the oven….
Soon the smells of sweet crust
And cinnamon and peaches
Fills the air.
Torture. Sitting through dinner
Pretending to eat so
I can use my stomach area for cobbler….
Papa’s peach cobbler.
Safety, love, family.
A bowl filled with hot peachy love
Topped with thick country cream
Or vanilla ice cream
Or just….plain it cannot be called plain.
I stand by the table and pretend I am six again
and as he taught me, make the cobbler.
I wonder if the tears that fall into the cobbler
Change the flavor…

Summer Tomato – Love Poem

Summer Tomato:
I’m not talking about those
Mushy wannabe red globulous things
In plastic trays in the pro-duce section of the store –
I’m talkin’ ’bout tomatoes born
And raised in the heat of the summer sun,
Sassy summer tomatoes full of juice,
So tangy and sassy that before
You can stick your fork into a slice
Lying innocently upon a plate,
One of those bad boy slices
Jumps up and slaps you across the face –
No, not talkin’ ‘bout those demure sweet things,
Those tame ‘maters with bland flavor –
I am talkin’ bout those full fledged
In your face, deep red, full of bite,
impertinent summer tomatoes
And we all know the best ones comes
From the gardens of your mama,
Your grandmama, a neighbor, your own backyard
Or from a basket in the back of some sorry looking
Pickup truck parked on the side of the road –
“Fresh Vegs – Cheap!”
The bed filled with sweet sticky pearl kerneled corn
and all sizes of ‘maters: Rutgers, Better Boy, Homestead –
none of those trendy purplebrownromagrape ‘maters,
unpretentious no apologies ‘maters,
or still moist from dew butterbeans,
Begging you to open them and strip out the beans
Into a bowl – plopplopplop
And those toe-may-toes…
Warm from the sun – skin smooth and tight
Sayin’ to you –
Stroke me, hold me, bite me –
Slice me on the plate with those cooked butterbeans
And corn and let me join my juices with theirs –
Spoon me up, sop me up with warm golden cornbread…
And swallow down with sweet iced tea –
Summer tomatoes – The feisty street punk of tomatoes –
No sweet mushy debutante,
No dry flavorless academic,
No all on the outside nothing on the inside
Vegetable hypocrite…
The Real Summer Tomato:
‘tween my fingers and my thumb,
Watch out belly – here.it.comes.

Posts are sneaky buggers – 655!!!!

A blogger friend of mine – Sirena Tales – reported doing her 500th post. Wow. I was just amazed. And me being me, decided to check how many posts I have done as.of.today – 655! Posts fly when you are having fun. Happy dance, happy dance, happy dance!!!

THANK YOU Every one of you, thank you. Your comments, sharing, kindness has been an inspiration to me. Truly. And I know there are some of you muttering about all the poetry I’ve been posting. Don’t worry, I’ll start posting other things – again. Along with the poetry.

You see, I wrote my first classic haiku when I was six. I wrote poetry all through high school and university. I wrote poetry afterwards…and then – stopped. I began writing poetry again soon after I left the hospital after surgery for cancer. And while the surgery, anesthesia, meds took away my taste for seafood, it gifted me back the inspiration to again write poetry. I hope I don’t write any stuffy, twisted, complicated stuff. I hope I write something that will touch you as much as my prose has done in the past. I’m a simple person and so enjoy life. Being a cancer survivor does that to you.

My love of falling snow, blue skies, cherry blossoms, still nights, falling stars, being in love – simple things that bring such joy. I want to share those with you. Poetry seems to be the best way to do that, sometimes.

Don’t worry though, the recipes, the stories, the smart aleck Southern woman will be once again sharing this blog with the poetic Southern woman.  BTW – this post makes 656 – woo hoo!!

Again my friends, THANK YOU. God bless you everyone.

View of Fuji - Hokusai

View of Fuji – Hokusai

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