Friday, November 24, 2017

Friday 55 Thanksgiving Edition November 24 2017

Welcome to all who celebrate and all who don't this annual American voyage into the triumph of materialism over spirituality, known without a shred of irony as Thanksgiving. On this day we gorge ourselves painfully, watch football or not, gather with family and friends if we are so blessed, and then go out and spend our cash on trinkets and baubles in a mad frenzy of manipulated marketing. The original purpose of this holiday (to mark the kindness of the Native peoples to the starving Pilgrims) has devolved into a caricature, and the spirit of being grateful for such things seems to be lurking somewhere else. Nonetheless, there are many things to be grateful for, not least the memory of a warm-hearted and giving man named Galen Hayes, and the opportunity to share our words here in the meme he began--55 of them, no more no less--and of course, to enjoy our family and friends in spite of everything. So if you have found the time or the inspiration to write a 55 this week, please leave a link in the comments, and I will be by to check it out. Either way, happiest of holidays to all. This prompt will be good through Sunday.

And here is mine, in the spirit of the occasion...

Thanks Given

Thanks to the little god that
Hides in the moon, lord of night-dance
And spaces. On his face the sun, his back the dark,
Never talking, hands open;
Knowing to last you can't clamp on to
Fire or ice either one. He's my guide
Until the journey's done, from
Love to loss to harvest home.

~November 2017

Thanks to all who played. The 55 is closed till next week.

Images: The Harvest Moon, 1892, by Charles Rennie Mackintosh. Public Domain.
Moon and Cow, 1963, ©Alex Colville. All rights reserved. Fair use.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Burned House

Cosmos 'Sonata White'

The Burned House

When I wasn’t looking, the house burned down,
that tall one on the cliff’s edge that sucked in smoke
and died. It was full of mirrored rooms, that house
I used to own, each one a tank where dreamfish swam in fire,
where light flickered up on scales of copper-gold, now white
lumps of half-burned bone, refleshed with sudden coats of ash.

How were those rooms so full of light transformed to ash?
to flecks scraped from scorched love letters skittering down
the drive, black ink on blue paper burned feathery white?
Our words undressed became a script of smoke,
banded envelopes a fuel for chemical fire
that when my head was turned burned down the house.

Blackened beams, obscene leg-stumps of house       
frame possibilities negated. Nothing made of ash
can be reused. I sift the morsels left uneaten by the fire
that swallowed up the core, the spit-out shingles flying down
in flaps of flame, exhaling heat while carcinogenic smoke      
escaped from window-mouths on wings of restless white.

When it happened I was working soil for the Sonata Whites
but purity failed; so fire’s finger drew a circle round the house:
C. sulphureus instead, petals solar bright, tangerine smoke
drifting against the threshold wild alive, drawing flame from ash,
from rich dead dreamfish char piled in drifts of down;
now where white rebelled I fill my hand with redgold fire.

So I come to the doorway drawn by memory's fire       
to rake through dulled nails and teeth of white
half-melted days, look for the last inhabitants down
beneath the rotten timbers. The ghost-house
trembles, gives up its bones and sleeps in ash.
I pick and fuss at ruins, only to fill my bag with smoke:

photographs once rainbow stained to sepia, smoke-
colored faces turned to relics, eyeholes eaten black by fire
unreal as fingerbones of non-existent saints, grey as ash
and as unlikely to reignite; silver-colored trinkets faded white,
misshapen in the reflux of the firehose, lockets that housed
twists of burn-clipped hair lost in love's long down.

My insurance covers none of this disaster-whitened ash,
a total loss except for cosmos smoke, gold-warm as any fire,
embers at the doorway of the wild that can’t burn down.

C. sulphureus

~originally written September 2011, 
ruthlessly revised

 for Brendan's Doors

 Forgive the repost, but my time is not my own these days...

Cosmos is a perennial or half-hardy annual in the aster family, native to Mexico, Arizona, Florida and the southern U.S. down into Central and South America. It grows in both wild and cultivated form. It is heat and drought tolerant and reseeds itself so freely some forms, including C. sulphureus, are considered a weed in some places. Cosmos bipinnatus 'Sonata White" is a pure white hybrid form, bred for the cut flower trade.

Photo: Cosmos bipinnatus "Sonata White" by Julie Anne Workman, Forde Abbey, Somerset, UK
courtesy wikipedia Par Julie Anne Workman (Travail personnel) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Cosmos sulphureus 'Bright Lights' author unknow via internet. Fair use

Friday, November 17, 2017

Friday 55 November 17 2017

Welcome again to the Friday 55, where we remember the host who never failed to find the right word to elevate the weekend to a shared pleasure, Galen Hayes, and continue the tradition of writing flash fiction, prose or poetry, in exactly 55 words. If you have been inspired to craft an artifact of such dimensions this week, please leave a link in the comments, and I will be by to enjoy the result, as soon as I can. The prompt will remain open as usual, from Friday til Sunday evening, but comment moderation remains off, as I will be not always online.

I'll start the parade with this...


came to take me back 
where words can't follow,
to a turtle of a land
head drawn in,
full of secret life
that hides its eyes;

brought me
gasping in a dream
to see the patchwork creature 
sewn from thee and me
so long dead
suddenly alive

who I still want to be.

 ~November 2017


Sunday morning note: Ending things a little early this week, but the 55 will return next Friday.

Images: Turtle, author unknown, via internet. Fair use.
Turtle, © Luc Tuymans,  all rights reserved. Fair use.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Friday 55 November 10 2017

Welcome once again to the Friday journey, a space where we can assemble our word pictures for ourselves and each other, while we remember a fine man who gave of himself to support the best things in others, Galen Hayes. Here we have no social pressures, no strings, no obligation to participate, and no rules other than to allow our words to come together in any way they choose, prose or poetry, as long as there are 55 of them, no more, no less. Leave your link in the comments, and I will be by to see what the muse has dictated to you this week. As always, the prompt is live from Friday through Sunday, but I have turned comment moderation off for this session, as I may be out of pocket at times.

So, let's begin the trip...

Hospital View

Hawks and crows
make a mobile as they fly;
life outside the glass  
holds together trees and sky.
Inside a yellow quiet
blankets thinning legs,
hands withered on the covers
like leaves that Fall has wrecked.
From a night that has no rest
to a day screaming your name;

hawks, crows, and
 cold November rain.

~November 2017

Image via internet, author unknown, manipulated.   Fair use.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Friday 55 November 3 2017

Another Friday journey begins with 55 steps into/out of the imagination. We gather here each week to remember Galen Hayes, host extraodinaire who knew exactly what TGIF really meant, and to practice our craft together in that spirit of friendship and fun he bequeathed. There are no rules of engagement other than that your contribution of prose or poetry must be built with 55 words, no more no less. Comment moderation is on to repel invaders, and the prompt will remain live from Friday through Sunday, so please link your effort in the comments below (should you accept this mission) and I will be by to check it out.

And here is mine to start us off...

 On The Dryline

The sky's a stone
neither one color
nor the other;

on one side 

on the other 

throat-pulse warmth,
summer's wheezy death-pant,

the storm-horses
white-eyeballed in terror, 
 hooves hailing down green winter wheat;

but here
on the dryline

we sip coffee,
wear layers
 and labor

to keep our grip
on the edge.

~November 2017

(I've also used four words in this poem provided by angie for her Get Listed prompt at real toads.)

Images: November First, 1950, by Andrew Wyeth   fair use
Neptune's Horses, 1893, detail, by Walter Crane    public domain