Your Wild and Precious Life–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

 

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Mary Oliver

A flock of starlings startled me this morning
flying randomly between city sky scrapers
before settling into formation
and heading toward the mountains.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

A perfect fence, white pickets,
with perfect shadows.
Is it there to hold in or keep out?
Or is it just there?

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

In May, along the river walk,
an abundance of pink wild roses, snarly branches,
rival our well-planned gardens
with their playfulness.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

My sister’s husband deferred retirement
so they would have more money.
She died the month before their trip to the Amazon.
He cancelled their plans and never went back to work.

Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?

Written in response to the prompt I’m offering for dVerse Meeting the Bar–Patterns. I’ve included patterns in the structure of the poem, using a short verse from one of Mary Oliver’s poems as the refrain. As a topic, I’m aiming to challenge over-reliance on the importance of patterns in our own lives.

And speaking of freedom and maybe a bit of the wild life, the Burners are invading Reno–that is, those who will be attending Burning Man, an event that celebrates art and culture. During this week, the Black Rock Desert, a Playa about 90 miles north of us, will become the third largest city in Nevada with upwards of 70,000 attendees. Check it out!

The Pub opens soon, 3:00 EDT. I hope you will join us with a poem based on this idea and look forward to reading your work.

Photo: NYT

Photo: NYT

Fences–Monday Meanderings

Today, walking the dogs through the neighborhood with my camera, a subject caught my attention: Fences.

I saw a variety of designs and purposes: both utilitarian and decorative.

A few appeared to be for the purpose of keeping things in: dogs, horses, mulch, flowers:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

 

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

One was clearly built with the sole purpose of hiding something unattractive: an HVAC system or utility box:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Many were obviously there to keep things out: other people or animals such as bears (not out of the question here in the Sierras during these days of drought):

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

And then there were those that contributed to the overall beauty or character of the house:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

They can even serve to hold things up:

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

 

Fences are powerful metaphors, and it’s fairly easy to apply them to human behavior. I won’t go into detail because you will figure it out yourself.

I’m going to post an older poem of mine about fences and invite you to join in with one of your own. A short story or essay would be great, too. You can either use the Mr. Linky icon below or add the direct URL to your work in the comments. Feel free to use any of these photos–but I would appreciate the credit for them if you do!

Boundaries 

Why do we build fences? They can’t hold out wind,

or leaves that flutter from neighbors’ yards into ours.

 

A flock of quail descends into our spent garden and feasts,

pilfering seeds that would have been fertile in the spring.

 

Remember the night raccoons purloined our koi?

Or how in summer we lay awake, listening to the long,

 

long, short, long whistle of the trains, into, out of Reno, dragging loads

of who-knows-what to destinations east and west? Sound’s intrusion.

 

Tonight, my fears are not of robbers or of things that harm.

What scares me most is what’s within—the limits of closed minds.

 

Have a wonderful week of writing and life. On Thursday, I will be hosting Meeting the Bar over at dVerse and hope you will show up there with a poem of your own. A short clue to get your muse in gear…patterns.

Silhouette–Weekly Photo Challenge

The Daily Post asks us to photograph objects in silhouette:

Photography is all about experimenting with light, and then positioning yourself (or your subject) in the right spot to achieve a certain effect. One such effect is a silhouette, in which an outline of someone or something appears dark against a lighter background. Silhouettes can be very dramatic and resemble black shapes without any details, but the effect varies from picture to picture.

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

This is an ash tree in our backyard.

 

Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

And I can’t resist this one, taken in Palm Desert, last winter.

Photo: David Slotto

Photo: David Slotto

Another from Palm Desert. The credit for this one belongs to my husband, April 2013.

Writing Practice–Monday Meanderings

Photo: V Ceretto

Photo: V Slotto

Writing Practice—Colors

One of the books I turn to for writing inspiration is Natalie Goldberg’s Writing Down the Bones. A few days ago, I read a short chapter on Writing Practice. Goldberg suggested that we make a list of topics from which to choose when the well runs dry. She offered a list of ideas.

Part of my “morning time,” most days, includes about 30 minutes of writing. Often it reads a bit like a diary or personal journal, but there are plenty of days when I begin with “I don’t know what to write about,” and then when I do, it’s sheer drivel.

So yesterday I combined one of Goldberg’s ideas along with one of my own. Her’s: I remember… Mine: color. And so far have written two days worth of  I remember pink. I won’t go into detail, although this afternoon I recalled that I wore a pink formal to my senior prom. And my childhood bedroom was pink—all pink.

The bottom line is, it’s important to write daily and it helps to have a topic for those times when you are at a loss for something to write about. Oh, and don’t worry about results, Goldberg emphasizes. Just write!

Check out my previous post for some “Pink” photos I took on today’s walk.

Weekly Photo Challenge–Texture

This is my first time participating in WordPress.com’s Weekly Photo Challenge. The prompt is Texture, which is, along with color, at the top of my favorite’s when considering the elements artists carry in their “tool boxes.”

Texture is all around us–smooth, coarse, rough, silky, actual, implied…think of the importance of the sense of touch to a person who is visually impaired. Here are a few textures I noticed on our daily walk today in our neighborhood:

 

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Succulent–a Haiku

though you seem prickly

smooth touch, each single petal,

but sharp on the tips.

 

 

 

 

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Hibiscus–a Haiku

your color seduces,

showcases, contrasts sun’s dance,

look to the center.

 

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Lava Rock

look what you’ve endured–

eons of harshness and heat,

borne through the ages.

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

Old Pick Up Truck

you’re always just “there,”

gathering rust and hist’ry

i want to know more.

Photo: D. Slotto

Photo: D. Slotto

A Pod

nature’s protection

keeping new life safe from harm.

can we say the same?

Photo: V. Slotto

Photo: V. Slotto

A Rose

silky, smooth petals,

drinking of dew, opening,

sharing her beauty.

 

N.B. I am new to the world of photography, though not of art or poetry.

 

 

the saxophone and itzhak perlman–dVerse Poetics II

Artist: Cindy McTee

Artist: Cindy McTee

the saxophone and itzhak perlman

counterpoint!

 

that blues brother’s guy plays an alto sax while
itzhak slides his bow across medusa’s snakes
playing “(black) swan lake.

 

pas de deux

 

hansel, wearing tights too tight
(he really shouldn’t)
dances the nutcracker—sweet
gingerbread, tries to lure that
dragon-lady, ice-queen, witch away
from the oven before gretel becomes toast!

2/2/cut time

poe’s raven caws “nevermore, nevermore”
to the half-time beat of the metronome
while that crazy old dude in the third
row back, center seat can’t stop clapping.

game point

then my wife, the old bat, comes in
waving last night’s empty bottle of vodka
screeching
“i told you so, bacchus, you ass.”

checkpoint!

Photo: Jim Varney

Photo: Jim Varney

My second response to the dVerse Poetics prompt for story-telling. There are a few of the cues in this one: a dragon, a bat, a greek god, a black swan, a nutcracker, a man who can’t stop clapping, a bluesmen playing a saxophone, Hansel and Gretel, the Icequeen, an old liquor bottle, a raven and a metronome.

I hope you will visit us at dVerse Poetics and also check out my other poem, posted earlier.

a cup of tea–dVerse Poetics I

 

Photo by Alamy

Photo by Alamy

a cup of tea

grandmother cradles her favorite tea-cup—
the orange painted flowers fading now
like memories
like poppy petals swirling of a windy evening

gauzy curtains flutter in the breeze
filtering thoughts of years long gone
of faces forgotten
of a lover’s touch
of hope now crushed

outside, alone, a child plays
wispy curls dancing like leaves
in the zephyr

a dog howls
echoes grandmother’s fear
echoes grandmother’s longing

alone she sits
clasps still the cup
with painted orange flowers, takes a long slow sip
of tea, now tepid

Photo: Pinterest

Photo: Pinterest

Claudia is offering a fun prompt at dVerse Poetics , asking us to be story-tellers, using one of a number of subjects in the story. This is my first link, using “a  cup painted with orange flowers.” Okay, it’s not a fun poem, so I will be posting a second one to a different subject. Make that subjects. Stop by and see what others have come up with.

The doors open at 3:00 PM EDT.