Facing the Far Side – Writing 201: Poetry, Day #6

Today’s Theme

Faces

Today’s Form

Found Poetry

Today’s Device

Chiasmus

(I’m afraid I didn’t manage a Chiasmus…but I was working with the picture and the print in front of me at the time)

Facing the Foreigners of the Far Side

Facing the Foreigners of the Far Side

The Poetry I Found Before Me

The Poetry I Found Before Me

Apologies for not working out how to rotate the photo. Here is the text typed for the convenience of your neck’s alignment:

There is initial cultural resistance

The things he’d done

Were good at heart,

Just rarely equipped to stop a runaway stage

A barbarian faux pas that quickly cost him his life.

What should I do about it?

How to be wise and sensitive,

Spend time connecting with the helpful and friendly local people

Entertaining themselves from the far side

Becoming confident

Challenging

Encouraging

The wellbeing of all

We have the same need,

That is going to be revealed:

The light bulb’s going on.

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My Mind Mapped – Writing 201: Poetry, Day #5

Today’s Theme

Maps

Today’s Form

Ballad

Today’s Device

Metaphor

The Map of My Walks

The Map of My Walks

She walks all the streets of the Inner West:

A project, a plan, a self-imposed test.

Can her size 11 feet track from East to West,

Before those same feet cry out for a rest?

She walks up, she walks down

She walks all over that town

For the map’s her way back

From that shaded cul-de-sac.

In the morning, she sees families with time that is tight.

In the evening, it’s workers heading home for the night.

When the sun shines, retirees make the most of what’s bright,

Before settling in for the night by the TV’s light.

She walks up, she walks down

She walks all over that town

For the map’s her way back

From that shaded cul-de-sac.

She sees gardens with flowers and neat, stone chip paths.

She sees front yards of concrete – no fruit for the vase.

She sees cacti and succulents she’d rather were on Mars,

And she tries to remember to keep an eye out for cars.

She walks up, she walks down

She walks all over that town

For the map’s her way back

From that shaded cul-de-sac.

She imagines the lives lived in each house, each place.

She wonders if they’ve faced the things that she’s faced.

Her thoughts are kept in check as her body keeps its pace:

‘Your life is a walk, take your time, it’s not a race!’

She walks up, she walks down

She walks all over that town

For the map’s her way back

From that shaded cul-de-sac.

She colours each street, once it’s walked, with pink.

She walks the sweet streets and the streets that stink.

The map is a plan – it’s her life – there’s a link:

She’s walking, she’s changing the way that she thinks.

She walks up, she walks down

She walks all over that town

For the map’s her way back

From that shaded cul-de-sac.

Putting Skin in its Place – Writing 201: Poetry, Day #3

Today’s Theme

Skin

Today’s Form

Prose Poetry

Today’s Device

Internal Rhyme

When it comes to skin it’s all about the context, its place, be it face or foot. Some might have a fetish for the skin on another’s foot – but just a few, perhaps not you. Not me. I like to see the skin of your foot on the floor – its rightful place – not in my face.

Yet, when I look at my foot. I see my dry heel and the skin I could peel. I can’t help myself. I pick and I peel the rough edges from my heel. I throw them on the floor without a thought. Ought not that foot skin be in the bin? Yes, but my thoughts digress as I peel my heal.

Until you come to call and your eyes fall upon that skin, not in the bin, but on the floor. I am disgraced. The skin on my face turns red. My skin is shed.

I’ve no one to blame but myself for my shame. Skin is beautiful, in its rightful place.

A Life Unwrapped – Writing 201: Poetry, Day #2

Today’s Theme

Gift

Today’s Form

Acrostic

Today’s Device

Simile

Unusually, I’m more taken with the wrapping than the gift.

Not so much the shiny, sparkly sort of wrapping, but plain, brown paper, the

Wholemeal among the slices of paper from which one might choose.

Red ribbon, on brown (red salmon on rye?) will capture my eye.

Add a simple bauble, a feather or a frill. Red on Brown.

Please.

Place a little something within. One thing. Anything? Most things

Enthrall me, if they’re wrapped with a nod to my wholemeal life:

Dressed with ribbons of passionate red, if you please.

My Eye’s View Haiku – Writing 201: Poetry, Day #1

Today begins another two week poetry writing challenge from the good folks at WordPress. I’ll attempt to keep up.

Today’s Theme

Screen – writing about the screens in our life.

Today’s Form

Haiku (3 lines: 1st line 5 syllables; 2nd line 7 syllables, 3rd line 5 syllables)

Today’s Device

Alliteration

Screen! What have I seen

Since I set my sights on you?

Souls’ struggles, not silent.

Free Writing – Day #4

The aim: to get writing again.

The method: using Free Writing Prompts from this list, over the next couple of weeks. Today’s prompt is in bold at the beginning of the piece.

The time limit: 15 minutes

Location: the communal cafe table at The Drugstore in Summer Hill.

The stain will not come out, no matter how hard I try.

I love these old linens from another time. They belonged to a dear friend whom I loved. A hero, a model of hospitality and style, a pioneering spirit.

I could keep soaking the tablecloths in ‘Vanish’ – though I feel I should give that up.

I should sit and be OK with those echoes of cups of tea shared, or sipped quietly alone. At least they’re not rust spots. Rust spots on old linens are just a tragedy. Perhaps not a tragedy in global terms, but on the domestic scene those spots represent a fear of using special things. Keeping those special things, never using them, simply reserves them for the conquering advance of rust and the invasion of the moth.

Likewise, those sharp creases, where long ago the cloths were lovingly laundered, starched, ironed, folded and placed in the back of the linen press for an age.

Not so, these linens. They’ve  been used. Cared for, but used.

A photo of a section without stain.

A photo of a section without stain.

I remember sitting with my conquering hero at her table, the table that is now my table, covered with one of these cloths. Both the cloth and I were cared for.

My hero was a real gem – a woman with the name of a gemstone – a rich, red, gem of a woman, living a rich, passionate life for the glory of her God and for others.

I miss her. I didn’t get to say goodbye.

But I’ll keep bringing out those cloths – dressing the table with the linen that gives a surface soft to the touch – not sticky like the varnished wood beneath it.

I’ll sit there by myself, making my own stains. I’ll sit there with others giving them freedom to make their stains too. ‘Vanish’ will get the new stains out. Nothing will get the old stains out. They’re fading a little with time and use.

I trust they’ll not fade too much. There’s memory in those stains.

I also play Scrabble at this table...just not with these letters!

I also play Scrabble at this table…just not with these letters!

Not Neglecting the Book (Not Much) – With Marcella #119, #120, #121, #122, #123 (of 466)

Forgive me readers. It’s been four months since my last posting of anything regarding my Marcella-n cooking adventures. Not that I’ve been working through the book at any great rate, anyway.

Here are the five that I’ve cooked over these past four months:

#119 ‘Pan-Fried Thin Beef Steaks with Tomatoes and Olives’ (with steak cut and served by my lovely nephew at the butcher shop where he works) – with my brother, my niece and my nephew (the butcher) at their table.

Pan-Fried Thin Beef Steaks with Tomatoes and Olives

Pan-Fried Thin Beef Steaks with Tomatoes and Olives

#120 ‘Sautéed Sea Bream or Sea Bass with Fennel, Sicilian Style’ – cooked for a dear, old friend (the friend took me out for a beautiful dinner that I wrote about here) – with Byron at the table of a kind friend who loaned me her harbour-view apartment while she was away. I didn’t take a photo of the food – but I did take a photo of the view.

The View

The View

#121 ‘Tuscan Peasant Soup with Cabbage and Beans’ – with Peter and Sonja at my table.

I felt the need of something green!

I felt in need of something green!

Shazzameena following Marcella's instructions!

Shazzameena following Marcella’s instructions!

The soup with the requisite poached eggs and parmesan on top. It really worked!

The soup with the requisite poached eggs and parmesan on top. It really worked!

#122 ‘Spinach Sauce with Ricotta and Ham’ – with Helen and Janet at my table. I forgot to take a photo…but just imagine pasta with lots of green sauce. Very yummy.

#123 ‘Tomato Sauce with Sautéed Vegetables and Olive Oil’ – with my brother, tonight, at my table.

Sauce cooking on the stove.

Sauce cooking on the stove.

I plan to get back to the free-writing prompts tomorrow. If you’ve missed the past three days of 15 minute free-writing stories, take a look back at the past three posts.

Ciao!

Free Writing – Day #3

The aim: to get writing again.

The method: using Free Writing Prompts from this list, over the next couple of weeks. Today’s prompt is in bold at the beginning of the piece.

The time limit: 15 minutes

Location: the communal cafe table at The Drugstore in Summer Hill.

That girl's face

That girl’s face

Tracing the outline of her face from a photograph, she took her imagination back with her to the age she was then.

She’d been counselled to imagine what life might have been like if her Kindergarten teacher hadn’t selected her, the tallest girl, and him, the tallest boy and had them lay down on butcher’s paper – long lengths of butcher’s paper. They were tall, after all.

The other children, of more ordinary height, were then instructed to trace around these extraordinary specimens.

Perhaps the outlines were decorated by the class before the lengths of paper were pinned on the front wall of the classroom for the rest of the term? No, in her mind’s eye, she sees them clearly – black outlines on white paper.

Her life on a wall – an unremarkable outline of a remarkable height. Nothing of her inner life. No decoration. Nothing worth remarking on, nothing but her height.

They’d traced a path for her that day – a thick black outline before her – a shape that time would fill with expectations – mostly other people’s expectations.

What if the teacher had asked that girl and, let’s not forget, the boy, to take a day or two to fill their outline with shades of their heart, splashes of their dreams, spatters of their fears, brave stabs of the brush to mark the hurts – all covered with a wash of bright hope and dreams for the future?

Perhaps if that girl had been given a brush, way back then, something more than the restraints of an outline drawn by others would have appeared on that wall for all to see.

In its place, there might have been an announcement to the world of the whispers of her inner world. A beautifully coloured understanding of who she was – before others had a chance to colour it for her.

Imagine that!

Could she? She would certainly need a little time. A pen in place of a brush. Beautiful writing paper in place of the butcher’s offering.

She’d begin by tracing again the lines of that girl’s face in the photograph. She’d note the subtle colours of her face and hair, the shy dimple on her cheek as she smiled. Then she’d look deep into those blue-grey eyes and find some truer colours there.

Free Writing – Day #2

The aim: to get writing again.

The method: using Free Writing Prompts from this list, over the next couple of weeks. Today’s prompt is in bold at the beginning of the piece.

The time limit: 15 minutes

Location: the communal cafe table at The Drugstore in Summer Hill.

He was known for his coffee order.

He was known for his coffee order.

After the door shuts and the footsteps die, all he’s left with is a pounding headache and a dull, indeterminable despair.

He’d invited his friend to join him at the table – no, wait, his friend had actually invited himself! Before that he had been quite happy sitting at the cafe table alone, with the distraction of the free newspaper, a half-completed crossword and his satisfactorily completed architectural designs.

He was a regular customer at the cafe and the girl at the counter had anticipated his order of a ‘Long Black’ as he’d entered. That felt good. Being known. Though, let’s face it, she only knew his coffee preference.

Then in came his old mate – more of an acquaintance really. As the mate settled into the chair next to him at the communal table, a feeling of impending doom settled in for the duration.

This mate thought he knew this guy really well! Thought he could get him sorted! Thought he knew the insights that would soothe this troubled soul sitting next to him. And so he declared,

‘We’re just sperm banks, mate!’

‘I don’t know about that…’

‘Well, I do know! I’m telling you, that’s all we are to them, mate!’

‘Well…actually…I had a pretty good relationship with a woman for 24 years.’

‘Yeah, but we’re more than that. We don’t need them! We’ve got our work, our skills, our success. Those women want to reduce us to nothing!’

The mate continued his pronouncements with the occasional thumping of the table and an occasional ‘Listen to me, mate!’ to ensure his point was clearly heard.

The ‘listening man’ had given up listening some time ago – or at least he wished he could stop listening – making occasional furtive glances around the cafe, hoping the girl seated at the other end of the table was not hearing this soul-crushing, emasculating diatribe.

His friend meant well…one would hope.

The well-meaning friend certainly felt better as he got up to leave the cafe.

‘I enjoy our little chats!’

The man, who’d earlier rejoiced in being known for his coffee preference, waited a few minutes after his friend’s departure, pretending to be interested in the free newspaper on the table before him.

Then he stood up to leave, with a sigh. Picking up his architectural designs, he glanced at the woman at the end of the table. Then he left, closing the door behind him, wishing he could have got to know more about her – starting with her coffee preference.