Minor Interruptions

Minor Interruptions

What are stone walls to the intent of a slope?
Water will reach the bottom just as intently.

Vines will love them more than a bare hillside, as much
as they do the trees they choke in their race to the sky.

Yet they will dislodge the stones with their effort.
And that water. If it happens to be slowed, its seepage

leaves no question as to its opinion of the wall.
Will the dirt that washes through be any cleaner than that

beneath your feet, that you wash from your shoes?
Restore the wall if you must, but that soil will

reach the bottom, like the water that carries it there.
Stone walls mean nothing to the intent of a slope.

Like a slice of pie, the lot on which my house sits (on a cul de sac) is wedge shaped, with the “point” fifty feet lower than the crust side (maintaining that pie analogy). My backyard is one continuous 250 ft. slope broken up by stone walls to ease the transition. Even so, it’s a stiff climb uphill. The lower area is heavy with 25 years of brush and honeysuckle. It’s pretty clear that neither of the previous owners maintained it. I’ve discovered walls I didn’t know to exist, including one (above) that formed a well around a vine encrusted oak. Un-raked leaves made it appear to be a continuation of the slope, and the well itself was two feet of composted leaves. And the wall is collapsing.

Some of the vines I removed

Always Here in Heart

Always Here in Heart

I am not at home in my place,
yet transplanted by choice.
Such is what the heart will do
to be fulfilled. And it is.

She will always be my muse; has been
since our eyes first met. Many times
the words I write have been
taken from the joy she brings.

I see the birds, am inspired
by cedar and oak, as I walk
along magnificent bluffs, paddle
on muddy rivers and streams.

But they are not the maples
I have known all my life.
Not the blue waters of great lakes,
nor mighty falls with their mist.

Yet happiness is mine, by choice.
One I would repeat again
and again. A choice made clear
when I was there and she was here.

The prompt from Gina for Poetics: your poetic hum asks about your life when you are not writing. How does it influence your writing? I moved from Western New York to mid-Missouri nearly seven years ago to be with someone special, and she is now my wife. I bought a house in October 2013, but it has only just occurred to me that, as much as I miss New York, I do consider Missouri my home.

Image:  Autumn at Ha Ha Tonka State Park, Missouri

Peripheral Divisions ~ ekphrastic poem


Peripheral Divisions

The past is open to interpretation,
memories just shadows of the stories
we want to hear but are afraid
to tell. Like the black cat
on the edge of vision, holding
the truth to the darker side
of those shadows, the slide show
we play in our minds
is the truth behind our reason,
each frame with the potential
to be our downfall.

A recent prompt at The Ekphrastic Review featured a painting, Untitled (2011) by Omar Odeh, an Iraqi artist living in Canada, as an open challenge for ekphrastic poetry. I started a draft, the first two-thirds of this poem, then promptly forgot about it, until seeing the responses chosen for the final results. The writing process started with the thought of “memory,” as the shadowed half of the painting reminds me of elephants.

a fitting farewell ~ haiku


a fitting farewell
her final post a whisper
keeper of secrets

Jennifer / jennifer kiley / jk (Marge) was The Secret Keeper. My interaction with The Secret Keeper was limited to her weekly writing challenge and her haiku review challenge, but through her blog I came to understand some of the challenges she faced in life.

Since you’re only seeing one side of a person through their blog, I recognize that connecting with someone in that way is a limited experience, but it’s still troubling to lose someone you may never have met. Through The Secret Keeper’s blog, her partner, Shawn MacKenzie, informed us of Marge’s last days of failing health (here) and of her final passing (here).

A regular feature for The Secret Keeper was quotes from The Remembrance of Things Past, by Marcel Proust, some of which are common to many of us as inner secrets. One of the earliest was:

“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy;
they are the charming gardeners
who make our souls blossom” – Marcel Proust

And her last was:

“Pleasures are like photographs: in the presence of the person we love, we take only negatives, which we develop later, at home, when we have at our disposal once more our inner darkroom, the door of which it is strictly forbidden to open while others are present.” – Marcel Proust

This link will take you to her collection of Weekly Writing Prompts.

Here are her prompts for her Haiku Review Challenge.