Broke

Nelson keeps his deformed left hand in his jeans pocket, rolling a two dollar coin between his three fingers. No matter what happens, with this coin in his pocket, he’s never broke. With two bucks, a person just can’t be broke.

He zips his sleeping bag closed with his right hand, then leans back against the boarded storefront, underneath a gray awning that sheltered him from most of last night’s rain.  Waiting for Old Man Russell to move spots paid off, and Nelson is determined to keep this space for himself, even if it means a few more bloody fights.    

He squints his eyes, blurring his vision and softening the surrounding scene of cement, garbage cans and rusty cars. When Nelson squints, he sees only the centre of the picture: maple trees bursting autumn within the confines of the tiny city park across the street.

Crimson. Pink. Gold. Brightest red. The same colours that painted the horizons of his childhood. His family’s home, nothing more than a rundown shack if he’s honest, had the best view on the reserve. Aunt Gladys said they never had to decorate inside because nature provided decoration enough for anyone. Nelson closes his eyes, carrying his aunt’s words and the fantastic colour, a phantom of comfort, into his sleep.

In his dreams, his family are happy. They sit at picnic tables, waiting for the day’s salmon catch to cook on an open fire. Children play and run around. The adults are telling stories and laughing. But Nelson strains to hear their laughter. It’s blocked out by a loud crackling – the sound of brittle leaves as a strong breeze passes through the tree branches.

And now Nelson can smell smoke, can actually taste smoke from the air. Light wafts have grown into thick billows, raging out of the untamed fire. Salty resin catches in his lungs and takes hold of him.

Bystanders are too distracted by the flames to see a two dollar coin roll into the street.

Rapport

We could not capture the rhythm nor rhyme of each other’s stories.

Conversations weaved and wandered, mundane and misunderstood.

We heard sentences not sentiments,

Feigned commitment to our cause.

Curiosity faded so we cast hopes towards the stars.

Too many explanations spoiled our love.

44 words for d’Verse Quadrille prompt today: ‘Spoil’

Extinguish

What molten rage appears behind frosted windows
Your panic rises, scorching, then cools icy and remains
Tempers your home cannot, scarcely, contain
Trembling crumbles your well planned calm
You’ve known the truth for far too long
A wink, a blink, a flash, you’re gone.

d’Verse quadrille: 44 words using the prompt ‘wink’ (which admittedly I used in a darker way).

Yet Further Evidence of Autumn

My writer-friend-across-the-miles, Chris James, loves autumn as much as I do but takes much better photos of this extraordinary time of year. So, I’m stealing his latest blog post for my blog so I can look at them.

Chris James's blog

There are some days when, as an enthusiastic amateur photographer, you can’t ask for better conditions, when certain scenes just beg to be captured.  The “Golden Autumn” is a well enough known phenomenon in Poland, but like many weather-related events, it is never guaranteed.  This year, however, we’ve enjoyed long, hot sunny days which have slowed autumn’s progress.  In most years, by now the trees would be bare through a combination of the first winter frosts followed by leaf-stripping rain or snow.  So far this autumn, it’s been more like summer.  And with a sky of deep, Mediterranean blue as a background, it really is simply a case of taking Crazy the dog for a walk, and pointing and clicking with my camera.

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For this and more, I give thanks.

This year, I’ve discovered poetry. Yes, of course I knew of its existence previously. I had even rhymed and waxed on about a few words. But now, I delight in it.  I often participate in the biweekly Quadrille prompts over at d’Verse Poets Pub.  It’s a lovely way to shake up my thinking and staid, stale writing habits.

I’ve settled down. I know I’m slower but I tell myself it is because I’m more deliberate in my actions. No flitting, no flouncing, no sudden movements.This includes my thinking. No flitting or sudden movements of thought either. What a relief. Maturity has settled in and I’ve made it my friend.

I’ve realized the beauty in engaging others help. This actually began a couple of years ago when I called in 1-800-got-junk to take away the inherited broken patio furniture on my balcony. Three eager young people arrived, took it away, swept the balcony thoroughly. They insisted I just sit (playing to my strengths there) and point out what needed doing. Here’s the thing. I’d worried about that ‘stuff’ for a long time. It was a burden. When they took it away, I realized just how much it had bothered me. I pledged to myself to take the kinder, gentler way from then on: ask for help when I need it.

Quiet. It’s been months since I turned on the television. While I have always enjoyed listening to the news, and watching old movies, the noise of tv stresses me. When I get home from work, I like calm quiet (as much of it as a city neighbourhood can provide). I keep up to date through online sources, and at low volume.

Vegetarianism. I don’t think I can label myself truly vegetarian as I still eat seafood. But, the label isn’t as important as taking the action. It was a gradual change but one I felt called towards. I’m not an exciting vegetarian, I’m a mundane one. No fancy recipes, no moves to become vegan. Just me. Me and my carrots.

For all this, I give thanks.  In celebration, here’s Yo-Yo Ma, with Kathryn Stott, playing one of the most beautiful pieces of music ever written. The Swan encompasses the seasons in the arc of a life. At least that’s what I think. Perfect for autumn and Thanksgiving.

 

Unedited morning

I love the early morning on dark rain pitter-patter days
When the hours after will stretch out unspoken for
When the choices of time are only mine
The serenity of the cool pavement filled with water from sodden clouds
Bursting at the seams to unburden themselves
To share the sadness created, brought together from a thousand miles
Clouds see a thousand sights, stretch slowly, stretch slow lee across the gray skies
What do they see? Only tops of buildings, apex of trees trying to touch them
Or do clouds fill themselves with the thoughts of those whose lives they cover and uncover
Are clouds full of memories and is that why they rain?

Whethers

Though I cannot touch your shirtsleeve, I reach out.
You answer me, pull me close with softly written words.
Soothe. Calm.
We shield ourselves with flannel paragraphs,
Hold life’s storms at bay,
Understanding, no matter what our whethers,
Friendship moors us in undeniable harbour.

44 words for d’Verse Poets Pub Monday quadrille prompt: harbor/harbour