Thanks to NEKEEREJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting this week’s photo challenge. For NaPoWriMo the prompt is ” to take one of your favorite poems and find a very specific, concrete noun in it. . . After you’ve chosen your word, put the original poem away and spend five minutes free-writing associations – other nouns, adjectives, etc. Then use your original word and the results of your free-writing as the building blocks for a new poem. The last letter of the A to Z Challenge is of course the letter Z for a GoodRead’s quote.
“All warfare is based on deception. Hence, when we are able to attack, we must seem unable; when using our forces, we must appear inactive; when we are near, we must make the enemy believe we are far away; when far away, we must make him believe we are near.” — Sun Tzu, The Art of War
Noun – “arbitrary blackness”
– “drops dead, “head,” imagined you”, come home, never did, lost love, war, hoping, never returned so he was lost in the war, she becomes this blackness, because he is gone, “Satan’s men” – the Nazi’s in Germany, exit, dreamed was with him in bed, dreams always, but she is mad, he exists no longer, never returned so never was?
Today’s NaPoWriMo prompt is to “write a poem that is a portrait of someone important to you. It doesn’t need to focus so much on what a person looks (or looked) like, as what they are or were.” The corresponding GoodRead’s Author’s Quote for the A to Z Challenge, begins with the letter I. Thanks toNEEKNERAJ of MindLoveMisery’s Menageriewho provided the wonderfully creepy photograph.
“If I’d been born a ghoul, I think I would’ve killed people. I just happened to be born a human. That’s the only reason why I’m allowed to live a moral life.” ― Sui Ishida
I knew her as a little girl,
Though others thought her odd.
She had that “something” about her,
People either loved or abhorred.
At first, I thought, she was enormously strange,
But her quirks endeared me to her.
She protected me from those cruel girls,
One smile from her, they stumbled away on their heels.
She had shocking violet hair on one side,
She was never quite a blond.
Always experimenting with new looks,
Trying to glean from her appearance,
Who she was inside herself.
Her eyes a brilliant cornflower blue glimmered,
When some person made her enraged.
Her friends all knew some stupid student,
Would soon regret their actions;
She only had to smile.
And some bullies face turned violet, rouge, or primrose.
My friend was odd but lively,
Never afraid to do anything.
Dragging me along, to be a part of her drama.
Of her wicked practical jokes,
Others whispered she was a bit ‘Tim Burton,’
Calling her the ‘corpse bride.’
But she would always smile,
In a way that scared many,
Who never knew the truth about her —
She was passionate, kind, and loyal.
If you could get past her walls, her insecurities,
She was most lovely and grew to be a beauty.
Her hair still half-purple — it was her thing.
How we knew her for her.
Her terrifying smile gleamed,
She could now afford braces,
For teeth that had scared everyone.
And when the braces disappeared,
Her teeth stood in straight white rows.
Her grim frown had turned forever upside down,
She was no longer that weird girl.
Though there was still ‘something’ about her;
Strange became a talent, something sought after,
When she transformed into a swan.
She became a cut diamond, no longer rough, she was —
Phallon watched the fish swim in the pond his Grandpa had installed in his backyard. He enjoyed visiting his Grandpa each Saturday. Grandpa had put the pond in because young Phallon loved the fish so much as a toddler; ‘fishes’ had been his first word.
Now he sat with Grandpa who asked him about school and of course the girls in his school. Uncomfortable, Phallon wished Grandpa didn’t ask him about that.
Grandpa simply laughed,”Phallon, I’m only teasing you. It’s good you have friends who are girls and that there are girls you like. This Jennifer, have you asked her out?”
Phallon’s face turned red, “Yeah we’ve gone to a movie together and bowling. I want her to be my girlfriend but her parents say she’s too young to have a boyfriend.”
Grandpa nodded a smile on his face, “You’ll find the right one when you’re older. When I saw your Grandma the first time, my heart lept out of my chest. I wonder if I will ever meet that right girl of yours and see you marry her?”
Phallon felt uncomfortable again, “Why wouldn’t you be there Grandpa? You’re only eighty-one?”
Grandpa patted Phallon’s hand then squeezed it, “You know, my boy, I’ve been sick a long time. It’s a battle I’ve mostly conquered, but my strength is waning these days.When you get married someday, think of your old Grandpa, okay?” Phallon nodded feeling a lump in his throat.
Two-years later Grandpa succumbed. Phallon was sixteen and felt raw inside. He returned to the fish pond in Grandpa’s back yard. He noticed the fishes were floating and the reality of life made tears wet his cheeks. In the mess of the last two weeks including Grandpa’s funeral, no one had remembered to feed the fish.
My tires, they’re full of air, we’re driving fast,
Back in the days, driving was a pastime.
*Jantzen – swim suits more like swim dresses from the 1920’s made out of a stretchy thick jersey, not wool as many previous swim suits were made from. Jantzen jersey swim dresses were stretcher than regular jersey material.
*Cloche hats – swim caps with a strap under the chin to hold them on a woman’s head and worn in the 1920’s.
“The Judgement card calls for a period of reflection and self-evaluation. Through meditation or quiet reflection, you may come to a point of deep understanding about the common themes throughout your life and what you can do or change to avoid these situations in the future. Judgement tells you that you are close to reaching a significant stage in your own journey. . .”
“I’m sorry. I never meant to hurt you,” Jared told his girlfriend Ashlen. The words tasted bitter in his mouth. He hated having to apologize to her; it made him panic.
“Are you really? I’ve heard that so many times before from you, Jared. Are you sorry because I caught you or sorry for flirting with Sara and leading her on?”
Jared stared at his feet and scrunched his eyes. He didn’t mean to flirt with Sara. She was one of thosegirls, the kind who put out easily and hit on every guy she thought attractive.
“I’m sorry Ashlen. I don’t like Sara that way, she’s just like that you know –a whore; she hits on every guy and probably sleeps with many of them too,” Jared said.
“Well, why didn’t you brush her off right away?”
He shrugged, sighing.”She doesn’t mean anything to me. I love you Ashlen and I’ve been with you two-years; I’ve told you — I want to be with you forever.”
Ashlen blushed, Jared had said exactly the right words. But something he said about Sara earlier, bothered her.
“Okay, I forgive you for flirting with Sara, but don’t let it happen again,” she said. “If Sara bothers you too much when we see her, wave to me or text me in the bar — I’ll get rid of her fast. I don’t flirt with random guys, Jared. So, don’t flirt with girls like Sara, is what I’m trying to tell you.”
“But I will say this: I think when you and your guy friends pay attention to Sara –her sexually explicit behaviour, her itty–bitty clothes, and when you guys all let her touch you —-you’re all leading her on. She thinks she has a chance with one of you –but you all have girlfriends or fiancées.”
Jared started to get mad. “It is what it is, Ashlen. I can’t control how Sara acts. If you forgive me, let’s not talk about her. I don’t want to spend our night talking about some girl who doesn’t matter to me. I’m grabbing another beer.”
(10 minutes later)
“Jared, you know you not wanting to talk about Sara, it’s kind of a problem for me at the moment,” Ashlen said.
“Listen, you and your buddies call Sara a slut and you’re really just being disrespectful to her as a woman. When you openly call her names, especially to her face, you’re encouraging her to act exactly like the names you guys call her.”
“If you ignored Sara and acted uninterested and normal around her, she’d stop acting how she does.You guys flirt with her and call her names, instead of finding a way to politely tell her to get lost,” Ashlen explained.
“She’s a skank and isn’t going to change her ways because of how my friends or I treat her,” Jared reasoned.
Ashley punched him in the shoulder, not too hard, but hard enough.
“What was that for?” Jared asked.
“You’re not paying attention to what I’m saying,” Ashlen remarked. “How you treat Sara, yourjudgement of her, directly correlates to how she acts. Understand ‘College Boy?'”
Jared started to speak and Ashlen cut him off, “She’s not a slut. No woman is, even if she chooses to sleep around. I mean presumably if she is doing it as a career, it’s different. But what I’m saying is, don’t call women degrading names, especially, when you don’t know anything about Sara forsure.”
“She may talk and flirt a good game, but it doesn’t mean she’s slept with all these guys you think she has. I think most of her bad reputation is nasty rumours. She thinks acting how she does will get her friends and guys –what she believes is the right kind of attention.”
Ashley studied her nails before continuing to talk: “I don’t like Sara because she hits on guys she knows have girlfriends, namely you. But on the other hand, I can’t judge her entire character because I don’t know her. I wouldn’t want to be a called a whore over rumours about me. And I don’t want to put-down other women just because,” Ashlen said hands on her hips.
Jared listened to Ashlen, he knew she’d be mad if he didn’t. Plus, what she said made sense strangely. He wouldn’t want anyone to judge him, when they didn’t know what circumstances he came from. He probably wouldn’t care, but he knew from having a younger sister, judgement of a girl’s reputation was exceptionally tearful and mean.
“Okay fine. I’ll be nicer to Sara and I won’t flirt with her again,” he said carefully, hoping he’d chosen the right phrase for Ashlen.
She smiled and hugged him around the waist, her head resting on his chest. “Yeah, in fact, if she tries again, lets tell her she doesn’t have to act how she does to have friends or a boyfriend –in a nice way.”
“Sara may not care, but then again, it might help her and us.” Ashlen mused. “She can actually find a guy who’s single and likes her, and leave my and my friends’ boyfriend’s and fiancé’s alone.”
Jared nodded subtly, taking a swig of his second beer.”We could try. Maybe it’s better coming from you, than me?” he said.
“I think those words coming from a guy might be more effective actually. We’ll see how it goes.”
“Okay babe. Sounds like a good plan for next time we run into Sara. Do you want to go home now?” Jared asked, draining his beer.
“Yeah,” Ashlen said. “2:00 am is a long night with work in the afternoon tomorrow. I’ll drive don’t worry.”
The couple headed home, satisfied with how they would handle Sara in the future.
“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the thinks/things you can think up if only you try!”
― Dr. Seuss
Alice was growing older and she hadn’t been to Wonderland in years. Yet, she had not forgotten the lessons she learned there.
She was an imaginative girl, so much so her mother could not figure out where Alice came up with her fanciful ideas.
But Alice’s mother adored her daughter so she let her creativity run free, including playing outside and having tea with her imaginary friends.
While having tea, Alice talked to the Mad Hatter, the White Rabbit, the Door Mouse, and March Hair. Often, she talked to a smoking Catipillar, whom her mother naturally disapproved of. But Alice only laughed at her mother saying:
” Why the Caterpillar needs the medicine he smokes. He’s in a great deal of pain becoming a butterfly.”
Alice’s mother had been making ice tea in a pitcher as it was summer. Alice didn’t know what to do at first, her friends enjoyed hot tea. But she determined after a while, they would have to make do with ice tea. She poured the cold tea into her prized teapot.
She brought the tea to the marigolds and dandilions in the field by her house and poured the cold tea at the base of all her flower friends. She even brought them a few cookies, which she crumbled around their stems.
Sometimes Alice liked to sit out in the field and read. She brought out a fancy white cushioned chair from the parlour to a field of grass and flowers. She sat there considering life and paging through a novel. She was wearing a hat her grandma had given her to keep the sun from her face.
Alice fell asleep outside in the chair and dreamed she was in Wonderland. She dreamt she had eaten bread to make her big and tall.
She found herself next to a curious house with the appearance of a giant 🍐 pear ; it had a small red door with steps going down to the grass below.
There was a handsome Raven sitting on the house, opposite of where Alice stood. She placed her ear against the house, trying to hear if anyone was inside.
“You won’t find anyone in there,” the Raven told Alice.
“But why wouldn’t they be at home?” Alice asked. “Its Wonderland, creatures here don’t go to work even if they’re adults. Besides, wouldn’t a mother or wife be at home?”
“I wouldn’t quite call them adults and it’s presumptuous to think all women should stay at home.”
“If they’re not adults, how come they have a house?” Alice wondered. She looked back to the Raven, “I only thought the wife or mother might be home because she could be like my mother who stays home.”
Alice sat down, reaching towards the small red doorway of the pear 🍐 house; it was locked up tight. “Why is the door locked? Who would break into their home here? My father never locks our door.”
The Raven chuckled in the weird way birds do, “I think they are avoiding unwanted guests of giant proportions.”
“Also, I think you’re forgetting everyone needs something to do in the day, work or otherwise. We all have tasks, seasons of life to experience, even in Wonderland.”
“Seasons of life?” Alice asked confused. “Well, what season am I in? I don’t feel young, but I’m certainly not old. I’m only nine. But since coming to Wonderland years ago, I think of things adults don’t even consider.”
The Raven squawked, continuing to chuckle.
“Hmmm,” Alice said, “It only occurred to me, no one ever told me why a Raven is like a writing desk?”
The Raven ignored Alice but began to whistle a discordant tune.
“That’s awful,” Alice said but he continued his song.
When he stopped he peered with little black eyes at Alice, “See everyone has a song to sing. Not everyone thinks their neighbour’s song is pretty, but it’s theirsong and so they must sing it.”
“It is the same with the creatures in this pear 🍐 house. They are off singing their life song, doing what they feel they are meant to do in life, in this season.”
“Each part of life has a song,” the Raven said. “I hear you singing your song when you’re out in the fields having tea with your Wonderland friends, using your imagination. You’re in the spring of life and your song is lovely and new.”
“But,” continued the Raven, “I am in the Winter of my life. I’ve had many children and I am old, but I sing mysong anyways. Even when we are old, we have a purpose and must sing our own song.”
Alice thought a long while about the seasons, singing, and what the Raven told her. Then she smiled, ” I understand what you mean now. But do you think you and the owners of this pear 🍐 house would mind joining my other Wonderland friends and myself for tea?”
The Raven cawed laughing at Alice. He nodded his little black head and flew away.
The next moment, Alice awoke and found herself sleeping in her mother’s plush parlour chair out in the grassy field. Her mother looked down on her gently and smoothed Alice’s hair:
“Alice there you are. Oh, my good chair. It’s white and you’ve got dirt and grass all over it,” mother said sternly.
Alice sleepily smiled and said,” I was in Wonderland and talking to a Raven about the songs we each sing in life in different seasons. I’m sorry about the chair Mama.”
Her mother shook her head sighing and ruffled Alice’s hair, “Oh you and Wonderland. Will you ever grow out if it? Little girls will be attending school again in Fall.”
Alice sighed and helped her mother bring the chair back into the house to be cleaned. She decided to visit the roses in the backyard later.
Aluce had told her mother many strange stories about red roses. So much so, Alice’s mother gave her the job of watering and caring for the roses in the garden; she babied her roses. She didn’t want anyone to think she’d been painting her roses and that they weren’t truly red — that always led to problems.
She wondered about what season of life the roses and all the flowers in the field were in? What was their purpose except to be beautiful? Alice began to hum the particular song of the flowers, watering her roses and caring for them.
Suddenly, she remembered it was her birthday in a week. She would be ten-years-old; how could she forget? She must go inside the house and remind her mother she needed more bowls to match her tea set.
For a moment Alice sighed thinking about school beginning soon. Children at school didn’t understand her much. Often, they knew less about things than many adults. Girls at school sang their own songs and Alice as usual, sang a unique tune.
Thanks to MindLoveMisery’s Menagerie for hosting last Friday’s music prompt challenge. The song this week is: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter.
“Bay Day” – Daniel Powter
Thomas needed a job. It wasn’t okay to do nothing anymore. His Masters Degree was finished and he had incurred a debt of student loans over the past eight-years. He had recently received his MA in History and he was choosy concerning where he would work — that had been six-months ago.
Thomas had figured he had six-months worth of savings to live on before he had to payback his loans. He knew there wasn’t much luck for him finding a job in academics. His marks weren’t high enough for him to teach or pursue a PHd.
He also felt he required a change, something different in life. Thomas had had his head stuck in history for the past eight-years; he had forgotten so much about the modern world around him. For this reason he spent six-months sleeping as long as he liked, drinking, picking-up girls, restablishing old friendships, and meeting new people; he took life easy after working so hard on his studies– perhaps too easy.
Thomas was facing his first payment on his mountainous student debt and he wasn’t sure how much longer he could pay rent from savings, afford food, or have WiFi. He didn’t want to end up working for Starbucks or some place like that. He wanted a real job; a career which incorporated history.
Yet, Thomas had one terrible interview after another. One older woman interviewing him commented: “You don’t seem to care about anything Thomas. Not your appearance and not your career goals. You say you love history but you have no passion or drive in life. Try applying for other positions in our company when you find your moxie.”
Many employers didn’t want a scruffy looking guy in ill-fitting dress clothes such as Thomas, who didn’t know what he wanted out of life. Either that or they said he could start in a low-paying administration job. No guy with an MA wanted to be a receptionist or work in the mail room.
Now Thomas wished he had taken a job as some guy’s receptionist. He had been too proud and if he didn’t nail his next interview, he wouldn’t be eating soon.
He had spent some money ensuring he was groomed perfectly, hair cut trendy and face shaved clean. His brother’s old suit he had tailored and he bought a fashionabl coloured tie. His black shoes were old but still in and polished, glinting in the sunlight.
The past six-months had been one long badday. Thomas was tired of being hungover and of girls who only wanted him to buy drinks and never wanted any type of connection the morning after. He loved his friends but he knew he had to stop being so proud. Any job which would pay the bills right now was fine.
When Thomas arrived at his interview he tripped over the door as the receptionist led him into the interviewer’s office. There was a burning pain on his forehead where he had rug burn.
The middle-aged guy sitting at his opulent desk chuckled as Thomas sat down across from him.”It’s alright. I’ve tripped plenty of times walking over that doorway. I guess we really should get that ledge fixed,” the man said.”I’m Greg, I’m the owner of this company,” the man said gripping Thomas’ hand and shaking it.
“Oh, its fine. I’m just clumsy. Sorry,” Thomas said nervously and stretched out his fingers after Greg’s mammoth hand shake.
Greg smiled and asked Thomas: “So who are your favourite sports teams? Did you play any sports in university? You look as if you did?”
Thomas had practiced several interview questions and situations with his sister so he was prepared: “I’m a Seahawks fan and love the Seattle Mariners of course. I didn’t play football or baseball but I did golf on the university team. Did decently too.”
Greg grinned at Thomas. He’d won Greg over with simple sports talk and the fact Thomas was great at golfing. The owner continued peppering Thomas with more questions which were typically relayed to work habits. The interview questions were standard and easy enough for Thomas to answer.
“When can you start?” Greg asked after a half-an-hour had passed.”We could use someone to start from the bottom up. Learn the administrative ropes and move into a Junior Account Manager position and beyond. We need a guy who’s willing to stay and learn about the company and grow with us. Are you our guy Thomas?”
Thomas grinned trying to contain his enthusiasm and excitement. Finally, a job he was interested in and a business owner who thought like him.
“I’m most definitely your man Greg. I love history, especiallysportshistory and working for a network that broadcasts hockey and football games and also, looks back on bygone moments in sport’s history is exciting to me. I’m happy to start whenever you need.”
They negotiated a starting salary and Thomas would begin work in two-weeks. He was so relieved to have a job, even though he would begin on reception. Doing a job centred around sports, interested Thomas. It was the end of his bad luck and days spent worrying.
He was so happy, Thomas didn’t notice the car pulling out in front of him in the parking lot. He broke his arm on impact in the crash but luckily, being in a parking lot, the accident was no fault for either driver. Thomas though injured, had the most contented smile on his face. Life was turning around.