Ahab’s Mate

A cup, a sleeve, a siren song scent, I
pick her up, outbound, spend too much – a tall
extra-hot, double-shot made sufferable
“because we care about our planet”. We
sail on, addicted, believe in her tale,
and culpable, gulp her mythology.
With paper-thin desire, I stare into
green-haloed, star-crowned, green eyes, lips, hair. She
surfs lazy brown, bony, corrugated waves
environmentally aware. We skim
the sky, a flat white winter foams below,
a strawberry frappuccino dawn blooms.
Maybe “Time and tide flow wide” but I fear
this convenient relationship is doomed.

(Posted for Bjorn’s dVerse invitation for Handbook of Forms.  We were invited to write a sonnet.  Here is the link. Poetry Forms – The sonnet )

starbucks sleeve

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Nuclear Power – by Melissa Ballard

 

Leon

A writing mentor, Richard Taylor, said recently “What do you do with the shit in your head if you don’t write? Hit a supersize bag of cheetos and a litre of Coke?”  So many reasons to write. Here’s one of my favourites –

I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means. What I want and what I fear. – Joan Didion

 

Or how about this from a great Canadian writer:

I’m concerned about the unknowability of other people. – Carol Shields

I can guess why my friend, Melissa Ballard, wrote this story. See if you can, too. Whatever drives Melissa, I’m grateful for her beautiful non-fiction stories and exploration of events and people in her life. She finds the universal in the particular as you’ll read in her latest story in Belt Magazine. I hope you like it as much as I did.

 

 

A Shot at Redemption

I wake to my mother’s black and white image every day. Her photo hangs over my dresser and she stares directly at me. Its one of those photos where the eyes follow you. My husband has never objected to the location of the photo or that her gaze is focused on our bed. Perhaps its because she is very beautiful and serene.

Judging from the hairstyle and clothes, the photo was probably taken around 1940. She looks like a big city gal which belies her rural Midwest roots. I wonder if it was taken while she lived in Chicago where she finally settled down after years trailing her Dad in the Dirty Thirties as he looked for work.

Propped in my bed with the dog snoring beside me, cozy in a nest of pillows and books, we loll in soft grey light. A squirrel skitters across the roof and I tense, hoping he doesn’t fall down the chimney as happened to one of his brethren on Boxing Day. As I hold my breath, I hear my mother’s voice. Continue reading

Fear of Authenticity

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Christmas morning – Authentic dog and snow

“If I brought my authentic self to work, I’d be fired.” This was the most authentic thing I said in the 2.5 hour long discussion my employer held on the new corporate values. My authentic self is quick-tempered, opinionated, potty-mouthed, and arrogant. These are not highly prized attributes for an underling and certainly, during a corporate group-think values session, I was not about to expose my true self. Continue reading

A Pagan’s Creed

I believe in big trees
Douglas firs, maples, white pine
rooted in damp earth, fertile,
abundant deep breathers,
sweepers and cleaners
of air.

I believe in one swaddling sky
the only sky above me,
universal, maternal, fragile
revealing light,
blue infinity,
eternity.

Misbegotten, I became a lover of you
and your children, rain and sun.
Through sky and earth I know
my body, spirit, mind live
here and only
here.

You whittled me, made me fit,
gave me space to be,
to crucify and bury worry,
grow hope repeatedly,
a seedling, sapling, fledgling
being.

I look forward to my resurrection
born anew as a tree,
where I exhale for you
and pray this earthly heaven continues
despite our sins and trespasses
against you.

I believe in big trees,
earth, sky – and her children
sun and
rain.

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Bespoke

In 1981, I owned two pairs of corduroy pants, four hand-knit sweaters made by my mother, a pair of Adidas running shoes with a loose heel that slapped my foot as I walked, and two dresses I sewed using material found in remnant bins of fabric stores. That year, I shifted my job hunt from the careers section of the Ottawa Citizen to the classifieds. An English Literature degree had not guaranteed entry into any work I aspired to and I needed a job. I borrowed a jacket, a blouse, and a pair of shoes that blistered my baby toes for interviews. I landed a job as a secretary with the Canadian Construction Association. At 24, my real education began. Continue reading

How to Clean Your Closet

Close your eyes, slide the door open, and pluck 12 items randomly from left to right. Ignore the weight of your choice. You touch it, you pluck it. Ignore texture, too.
Make no conjecture about your selection. You don’t know if that silky feel is real or synthetic. This moment is your emetic. Commit to the decision at your fingertips.

Continue reading