Aleph

Thou art the freshness of a new beginning,
the first breath of a flawless day.

Photo: wunderground.com

Photo: wunderground.com

This morning on the porch
I breath in clear, sub-zero air,
soak in the early sun reflecting bronze
upon mountain snow.

A sip of hot coffee reminds me
that warmth is possible.
Witnessing the birth of today,
replete with promise,

I sigh in wonder at the gifts of grace
that will unfold between the blanketing
of dawn and dusk. Will plans be shattered
only to birth new and better gifts,

moments of pain, of joy?
Will the world heave a sigh,
continue to destroy her beauty,
succumb to the allure of greed

and hatred? Or will, perhaps,
a child be born within us—
a child to touch and heal?
That power lies within.

Today, another day to breathe,
to re-create, and to await
the fullness of the Gift. I turn
and enter, once again, incarnate.

In Judaism, each letter of the Aleph Beit (Alphabet) holds the power to create. Aleph, the first letter, is not sounded. It is, rather, a sigh, the first breath uttered before a word.

aleph journal

The brief quote at the beginning of this poem is a mantra I use from time to time. I paraphrased it from reading I did about the Aleph.

I’m linking this to Gay’s prompt for dVerse Meeting the Bar, where the prompt is to write a Birthday Poem. Stop on over and enjoy more on the subject.

Le Mendicant

Photo: flicker

Photo: flicker

Le Mendicant
A Narrative Poem

I make my way slowly toward la Gare du Nord, pass la Rue Phillipe de Girard. I lumber along at a slow pace. The ache in my feet shoots up my legs. The night was cold last night and us seventy-something’s have poor circulation, especially when we sleep in alleys.

At the entry to la Boulangerie, I pause, take in a deep breath and dream. The smell of bread, just coming out of the oven, fills me with pain. A young woman, dressed in a tweed business suit, three-piece, and three-inch heels, exits. She turns abruptly and walks hurriedly away from me. The scent of the baguette lingers like an expensive perfume. Its rough texture and golden color remind me of better days. Today I haven’t a sou in the pocket of my tattered jacket.

When I reach the station, I take my seat on the rough concrete of the steps leading to departures. The chill penetrates, creeps up my spine. As I extend my callused hand, I know what they think, but they don’t know my story. It hurts to look into their eyes and see them avert their own in embarrassment as they rush by. A few drop a coin or two, not enough for a loaf.

Counting them at the end of an hour, I think I may have enough for a small, day-old roll and a cup of black coffee. I stand, stomp my feet in hopes of regaining some sensation, and straighten my old back a bit at a time. Grasping the railing, I climb back to street level and make my way back to the bakery.

Maybe someday, someone will stop to listen and offer me the bread of understanding.

Written in narrative poetry, from a first person perspective, this is a fictional collage from a few images that linger with me from the time I lived in Paris. The reality is true world-wide.

For dVerse Poetics. The prompt is Bread and the pub opens Tuesday 3:00 PM EST. Hope to see you there!

 

The Biggest Little City in the World

images

The Biggest Little City in the World

Casinos’ distract—
neon lights and slot machines.
Locals know better.

Nearby the Truckee,
the mountains and four seasons
wait for your visit.

Listen to birdsong,
drink in the art scene,
ignore what you’ve heard.

The prompt at dVerse has led me to write of my current home–Reno, Nevada–nicknamed The Biggest Little City in the World.

I find myself wanting to defend her–her reputation so besmirched by a not-so-glorious past and recently so maligned by a crass television series–Reno 911 (which I’ve heard wasn’t even filmed here.)

Many immediately conjure up Reno’s history as the divorce capital of the world, a cheap gambling mecca and plentiful booze when they think of my city. Walk a block or two to the Truckee or drive a few miles to the Sierra Nevada and you will see that Reno, unlike Vegas, is situated in a high altitude, right in the middle of abundant natural beauty that offers many forms of outdoor activity.

A block or two to the west, or south of the center of town you will discover the arts–Nevada’s only nationally accredited Art Museum, the Reno Philharmonic, the Opera and Ballet, a Chamber Orchestra and small theaters. The UNR campus sprawls to the north of town, adding its venues to the art scene. The month of July hosts Reno is ARTown–celebrating art and artists of every ilk.

nvmuseum

Many now-defunct casinos have been turned into elegant high-rise casinos. restaurants represent a worldwide selection of tastes. Stop by Whispering Vine to sample a variety of vintages, then head over to Wildflower Village where an old weekly rental motel has been transformed into a home and studios for artists. Stay for a while and take in a poetry reading.

It’s true–there are enclaves of poverty and decadence. Alcoholism fires crime and domestic abuse. Homelessness, misery and sadness abound. But, is this any different from New York, Paris or Los Angeles, the city of my birth? The City of Angeles? Yeah, right.

 

Monday Meanderings–Welcome, Rain. Please Stay Awhile

The Truckee River, 2014--only a block from our home. It is usually fast and full, fed by Tahoe. Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

The Truckee River, 2014–only a block from our home. It is usually fast and full, fed by Tahoe.
Photo: KTVN News Channel 2

While much of the United States has been inundated with precipitation of one sort or another, we in the West have just suffered through our third year of drought. Our beautiful maple tree, in the front yard is languishing and if we lose it, we have mentioned the possibility of xeriscape, which seems so logical for those of us living in desert climates. (Reno, in Northern Nevada, is nestled in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada, about 40 minutes from Lake Tahoe. It is classified as high desert.)

At the moment, I turn my head to look out the window, at a lovely gentle rainfall. The bare ornamental pear tree right next to me is decorated with pendulous drops of water. To the West and North of us, there is a fine dusting of snow that hasn’t quite reached our 4500 ft. elevation. My prayer is that this lovely gift of rain will hang around for a while and water our barren land. But gently, I think, to give it time to soak in (I recall two floods we’ve experienced since moving here in 1993.)

Photo: Victoria Slotto Ornamental Pear Tree in Winter.

Photo: Victoria Slotto
Ornamental Pear Tree in Winter.

This morning “my” tree was full of birds, feasting on the tiny, inedible-to-human pears that still remain. Finches, Jays, a Chickadee–the first I’ve seen here, robins and doves compete. On the ground and in the huge blue spruce in the front yard, quail wait out the winter. Their babies, which delight us in fair weather, are mature now.

Will we have snow this year? Last year only one snowfall made its way to us just in time to get dirty or melt for Christmas. But for today, it’s a very light rain. Please stay a while.

Blessed Are They Who Mourn

Blessed Are They Who Mourn

Photo: reddit.com

Photo: reddit.com

In the northwest corner of Iraq,
in a Kurdish stronghold, toppled,
in a drafty hovel,
a child, alone, whimpers.
for his parents
who will not return.

In a small country on the African continent,
in an isolated region near the coast,
in the ruins of a burnt-out shack,
a mother wails.
Her child, her lover are dead
bled out by a virus.

In a remote village of Ukraine,
in an unsettled township,
in a frigid home,
an old man shivers.
His world is shattered,
he wonders what comes next.

In a not-far part of my city,
in a homeless settlement by the river,
in a flimsy tent made of old blankets,
a family waits,
dreams of a recent past
before they lost their jobs.

In a southwest suburb of here,
in the warmth of a mansion,
in a world not known to us,
a childless couple grieves
the death of the dog they loved
for seventeen years.

In a corner of my heart,
in the waking hours of morn,
in the silence of my room,
these losses loom.
How can I comfort
so much loss?

Linked to dVerse Open Link Night. Please join us. Somehow, as I enjoy so much abundance, these realities seem all the more expedient. Sadly, this poem could go on and on…

 

Thanksgiving, a Day Late–dVerse MTB

Thank You for Those Little Things
An Acrostic List Poem

Image: Acrylic on Canvas by Victoria C. Slotto 2009

Image: Acrylic on Canvas by
Victoria C. Slotto
2009

Giving Thanks

Green grass, each blade dormant now, sending roots below;
Icy patterns on the panes, nature’s graceful art;
Virgin snow upon the plains, blanketing our world;
Indigo—God’s nighttime sky, sheltering our sleep;
Nesting birds and buzzing bees, harbingers of spring;
Goodness in an aging heart, gently touched with grace.

Turkey, gravy, yummy food, shared with those we love;
Hedgehogs, chipmunks, furry things, living by the river;
Avian beauties in our yard, feeding on the seeds;
Nasty winds and pounding rain, steaming tea or coffee;
Kites and bubbles, children’s toys, keeping youth alive
Silent moments, solitude. Blessing so abound.

I’m especially grateful for you, all my blogging poet friends at dVerse, who have enriched my life these past years, with the gift of poetry and of yourselves.

I’m linking this to dVerse Meeting the Bar, where Brian is hosting a Thanksgiving post. I’m happy to see him back in the pub, and happy to be back myself, after a quite hectic few months and some very sketchy poetry.

Photography 101: Moment and Swarm

Moment

Photo: V. Slotto Attempt to capture the wind in the trees and falling leaves...not so successful.

Photo: V. Slotto
Attempt to capture the wind in the trees and falling leaves…not so successful.

Photo: D. Slotto My husband's quite successful attempt--this is a Leucistic Hummingbird that stayed with us for a while.

Photo: D. Slotto
My husband’s quite successful attempt–this is a Leucistic Hummingbird that stayed with us for a while.

Swarm

Photo: Slotto Sparrows at our improvised feeder.

Photo: Slotto
Sparrows at our improvised feeder.

Photo: V. Slotto Herbs and tomatoes from our garden, chestnuts to be roasted for Thanksgiving. A swarm of homegrown abundance.

Photo: V. Slotto
Herbs and tomatoes from our garden, chestnuts to be roasted for Thanksgiving. A swarm of homegrown abundance.