Poetics Tuesday: River of Silver

Today at d’Verse Poetics, Bjorn is our Pubtender. He has given us a variety of petroglyphs, carvings found in caves in Sweden.  There was quite a variety of them.  Their primitive beauty is timeless.  Although I know this is not the story behind this, I chose to write a story of two lovers caught in hard times and longing to sail away to something better.  Come join us at d’Verse to see more of these amazing cave carvings and read the poems written by poets of today about those people of so very long ago.  Here is the link:  http://dversepoets.com/2015/10/13/dverse-poetics-carved-in-stone/

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River of Silver
Up here in the cold north I
Looked out on the blurred black and white photograph
Of the landscape, in the pouring rain –
Ruts full of water
Bare trees shivering in bitter wind.
Sat on the edge of the bed
And watched you sleeping.
Wanting you to wake up and
Hear me say how much I loved you
And how much I hated it here in this cold land.
Let’s go south babe.
Let’s just take that river of silver south
To the land of sidewalk preachers
And yes ma’am and no ma’am
And where flowers bloom all year
and rushing out of
opening and closing screen doors
of small cafes
the low buzz of cordial conversation and
the perfumed glory of coffee
and fresh hot hushpuppies,
Where we can order a basket of them for cheap
And slather with sunshine butter
And drink with coffee black as coal
And thick as the slow voices
And lightened with sweet condensed milk –
Babe, it’s warm there.
Let’s leave this land of grey cold
Let’s take that river of silver –
Us two – where even in the rain
You can find places of warmth.
Let’s take that river of silver
To the land of gold,
Even if we can’t spend it
We can be together
And be warm.
Let’s take that river of silver.

Scenes from THE trip Part II

After 20 hours of assorted oddness, hellacious travel conditions and a motel with a moldy shower curtain, we arrived in TN right where we wanted to be, safe and sound.

So these are different pictures with different purposes the absolutely biggest crown of thorns I’ve seen (houseplant with lots of thorns and pretty pink flowers, if you’re lucky), the last tomatoes of the season on the vine, a display of family pictures in my aunt’s guest bedroom, blue sky from the plane,  shadows on the side of an old barn, a beautiful interior of a small local public library, SamCat again in the suitcase refusing to budge.

East or west, home is best.  Now, to catching up finally on missed posts from you all and hoping the “Like” button doesn’t hate me.  BTW, I’ve heard from quite a few of you who also have problems with the “Like” button not working.  It’s good to know I’m finally running with a good crowd.

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Scenes from THE trip

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I’ll be honest: a 20 hour trip was not always fun. Day one was monsoon rains so intense I could barely see the taillights of the car in front of me, one of a huge mass of other cars going over 65 MPH in this rain! About 20 miles south of Tallahassee, we were sideswiped by a couple of students wearing headphones, texting, and not wearing shoes. No one was hurt, thank God. It shook my mother up badly and made me want to pull them out of the car and spank them. I wanted to but did not.

The purpose of the trip was not fun either: I discovered the woman who was supposed to assisting and helping my mother was stealing from her bank account and keeping her in the rehab facility to continue to have access to her money. So, down I went to Tampa to take her out of the facility, get her things together and try to pack into a huge SUV, resist body slamming the woman, and then getting the hell out of Dodge. So…it was very trying, hard, painful, and helping my mother deal with all this was beyond hard. But we did it. Mama is now safe with her baby sister in TN and feeling stronger and happier and safer everyday. Mission accomplished.

Along the way, we saw lots of funny, beautiful, odd things. I didn’t get a picture of it but the rest stop in Florida where we took a few minutes break had a huge sign, right beside the handicapped parking signs, pet area sign, and no overnight parking sign, this sign: BEWARE OF POISONOUS SNAKES Yes, really. Needless to say, that was a short stop.

Our halfway point in Tallahassee was uneventful except for the fact we stayed in a motel that catered to construction and contract workers on short term stays in the area. The next morning in the area for the “free hot breakfast” area, were about 30 guys rushing about, fixing their food, slamming it down, and then grabbing wrapped muffins and pieces of fruit to take with them. When several of them realized “ladies” were present, they curtailed their usual morning conversations to simply,Good morning ma’am. Nice sleep ma’am? Can we get something for you ma’am? I was more interested with the conversation that abruptly stopped when we came in that started with “Woohoo, that little redheaded gal was wrapped all around you…”

The “hot” part of the free breakfast consisted of packages of instant oatmeal and grits and individual packages of two pancakes each to microwave. No one ate any oatmeal but mama and I noted the minimum amount of pancakes to nuke, per plate, was a dozen. Eating time was about 90 seconds. They freely added coffee to their thermos bottles and doctored with instant creamer and sugar. Oh yeah, the coffee was instant. Hot water goes over a cartridge consisting of a solid block of instant coffee. Yes, it was horrible. But as the men left, they all wished us a good, happy, safe, blessed day and trip. We told them the same.

several hours later, we crossed into Alabama. Immediately over the border, in the miniscule town of Cottondale, was a place on the right advertising Bait and Tackle, a 13 foot alligator (it was plastic), fresh pecans, pumpkins, and locally made molasses and cane syrup. We couldn’t resist and pulled over. This stop reminded me of why I am proud to be a Southerner.

I helped mama down out of the SUV and helped her into the place. She was still weak and unsteady but wanted to explore. That’s my mama!!! She found some fresh produce for sale and among the items, freshly pulled pods of red and green cayenne peppers. She grabbed a couple of handfuls and when the young man who owns the place asked her what she was going to do with them, she told him she was going to make a quart jar of pepper vinegar to put on her greens when she cooked them. And now, this made me cry but then, kindness does this to me a lot. He picked up another handful of peppers, put them in the bag and told her to take these with his compliments and when she sprinkled that vinegar on her greens, to remember him and to pray for him and his family and he would do the same for her. Oh yeah….what I talk about often – the kindness of un-strangers.

I picked up several pounds of unshelled pecans, a jar of cane syrup and a jar of molasses – made in Cottondale. The young man told us the syrup and molasses was still made by a 9o year old man who raised his own cane and still ground it and cooked the juice to syrup and molasses. Roulaison The season for chopping, grinding, and cooking down. We got to talking about and comparing biscuit recipes and methods. He then said, if you ain’t in a hurry, come on down the street to my house and I’ll fix you both a batch of cat head biscuits to sop up some molasses with. Unfortunately, we needed to make tracks but it was hard to resist.

A young, skeletal, tattooed, pierced biker was in the store buying a bottle of water and a bag of pork rinds. As I started with mama to the vehicle, he set down his purchases, picked her up and then established her in the SUV. He adjusted the pillow behind her, fastened her seat belt, and kissed her on her cheek, put his hand on her forehead in blessing. Came around to my side and said, Safe trip little sister and placed his hand on my forehead as well. I can still feel that warm, calloused hand.

Later into the journey, at one of Alabama’s incredibly clean and well maintained rest stops, the sign that got our attention was: NO WEAPONS BEYOND THIS POINT. Again, really. As I was walking into the place, a truck driver was behind me. He read the notices on the door: NO WEAPONS BEYOND THIS POINT and NO SMOKING. He commented, damn, can’t do nuthin’ anymore….

The rest of the trip was uneventful but long. I’m safe home. Mama is safe in her new home. I was again reminded of how people can rise and the heights of kindness and grace they can attain.

 

 

 

 

Guest Blogger: SamCat – Sakura’s back home!

Good morning Every one – two legs, four legs, how ever many legs.  My most favorite upright, Sakura, is back home again after a too long absence.

The male upright took care of me while she was gone.  He’s okay but he isn’t…he’s….I’m trying to be kind here but he just isn’t cat material.  I mean, he is acceptable as a shredding post but that is about it.

I’d tell him I was hungry and he would say, SamCat, there is food in your bowl.  And yes, there was that wonderful new food my Sakura got for me:  no grains, no artificial flavors, colors, bye products (not sure what that is, is it products who are always leaving?). She told me it was full of salmon, Alaskan whitefish, sweet potatoes, greens….yummy.  And my tummy feels better and I don’t itch the way I used to itch.  But that was all he would do.  He kept my food and water bowls full, he cleaned my private loo.  He didn’t play with me or pet me or let me sleep in his lap.  He ….. he prefers… dogs.

When I tell my upright Sakura I am hungry, she walks over and checks my dish and then leans down to pick me up and scratch me head.  SamCat, you have a whole bowl of fresh yummies and fresh water and it looks like the treat fairy left you a treat.  Some animals have to work for their treats, don’t you know?  And she is right and when she puts me back down, I eat my treat first and nibble a few yummies to make her happy and then rub against her legs as a thank you.  The male upright does not do this.

While my Sakura was gone, I didn’t feel like playing with my toys or taking naps in her chair.  But she is back and I am so happy!  I heard her say once, Absence makes the heart grown fonder.  As usual, she is right about things.  When she came back and I heard her voice, I came running!  I loved her more than I did a week ago.

And I have a plan so she won’t leave again.  I have made her suitcase my new bed.  Now if she leaves, she has to take me with her!  I think that is a good plan – my bowl full of yummies and her suitcase full of me.

All of you out there have a good week.  Be kind to each other and do something to help feed hungry animals and humans in your neighborhood.  It is hard to smile when your tummy is empty.

sam in bag

January Solitude Part II 2:14 am

I awaken.

Lying in the warmth of the bed

I orient myself to the strange room.

I snuggle in with satisfaction.

I am at the beach.

I am alone.

The sliding glass door

Off the balcony is cracked.

Ocean waves slough softly.

The air has a sweet smell

In addition to the salt.

I breathe more deeply

Testing the smell.

Sweet with salt?

Out of the bed and into my robe

And slippers.

I open the balcony door completely

And step outside.

It is snowing.

I stand and watch the flakes

Hurrying down to nestle on the sand.

Flakes gather on my hair

My robe

My hands and face.

Snow and ocean.

Sweet and salt.

Back into the room

And I rush to put on my clothing

And down jacket, gloves, and hat.

I grab the door key and out

Into the night.

No one is around.

I cross the sand and

Go to the edge of the surf.

Black waves, white foam

Dark sand, white snow.

I wave my arms and jump up and down.

Snow snow snow snow!

Ocean snow ocean snow!

I laugh and hold my face to the sky.

Flakes settle on my skin, my glasses.

I stick out my tongue and taste snow.

I walk along the edge.

Because of my boots,

I walk close enough

For water to touch me.

Snow and surf.

Snow and sand.

Darkness to my left.

Hotels barely lit to my right.

After awhile, I turn and head back.

Shells on the sand

Are fuzzy with snow.

Snow melts on the sand.

I turn back to the surf.

The flakes are falling faster,

Disappearing into the blackness

Of the ebbing waves.

I stand until my face is numb

And my nose runs with the cold.

I hold out my hands to collect

Flakes on my gloves.

They stay long enough for me to

Fall in love with each one

And then they disappear.

 

 

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