Mud Pies–dVerse Poetics

Image: Pinterest

Mud Pies

When we were young, two little ones at play,
our families thought that we belonged together,
so sweet, like milk and honey.

Sticks were our bows and arrows, then
Look closely. See that scar you gave me,
reminders of a rough-house game of kick-the-can.

When we played house (you acquiesced),
“That’s not a game for boys,” you said,
so I said nothing when you fed mud pies .
to my beloved, fair-haired doll.

Now, in my garden, thoughts of you swirl in the loam
—the scents of clay, the grainy texture of dank earth.
No longer play, but poignant memories tinged
with just a hint of sadness, just a hint of wondering

what might have been, had you not died so young?

I’m tripping back sixty-some years to a time when, living in a rural area, my only neighbor was a boy, a year or two my senior. We played together in the wild outdoors. He made a tomboy of me and I tried to domesticate him. I would be writing an epic poem if I tried to recount all our exploits.

I recall so well, after we had moved away, one evening during dinner (we were eating chop suey) the phone rang and I learned that my dear playmate, at the time only about 13 years old, had been crushed to death when he and a buddy had climbed a fence and tried to ride an oil well.

Please join us at dVerse Poetics where Bjorn invites us to play with words and dirt.

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Summer Fading, 1948

 

 

 

Summer Fading, 1948

Photo: Randy Robertson Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Photo: Randy Robertson
Labeled for non-commercial reuse

The leaves of my pepper tree tickle me as the gnarly bark scrapes the back of my legs. I take a leave and crush it, inhaling the pungent fragrance evokes a sense comfort in me. Red berries, peppercorns, hang in clusters. What better place for a 5 year old to consider all those important things that occupy her life.

Moments later, Mama beckons to me from the back door. I scurry down the tree with conflicting feelings of regret and anticipation and slam the screen door behind me. “Take your sweater, Vicki, it will be cool when you come home.” I grab it off the dining room chair and sprint down the hill, across the dirt road to Stewie’s house where, on his 12” black and white TV, Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent has just joined his buddies.

setting summer sun
slips gently behind our hill
peace-filled memory

Happy to have Lady Nyo hosting this week for dVerse Haibun. Please join us. 

Making Scents of Memories

Today for dVerse Poetics, Grace invites us to “drizzle your poems with fragrances.” I find this my most favorite sense to slip into both prose and poetry because it so easily accesses memories. I took you back to my childhood in the late 40’s and 50’s and just a few sensory related memories. I grew up in my earliest years in the foothills of L.A, in the home of my grandparents until my widowed mother remarried when I was seven. That is the setting for this poem.

Photo: araspot.com

Photo: araspot.com

Making Scents of Memories
i.
Mama melts blue cubes
in cold, then boiling water.
Clean, fresh smells erupt,
linger on my Sunday dress,
on starched crinoline petticoats.

ii.
I hide in branches of my pepper tree,
crinkle its leaves,
breathe in its pungent aroma,
taste secrets.

iii.
Mama smells like roses—
Grandma’s funeral,
like gardenia and cigarettes.

iv.
Incense—inhale the Sacred.
Clouds billow,
wisps snake around blessed candles
in dark, consecrated vaults.

v.
Fear—our hills are aflame–
acrid smoke from eucalyptus torches
and burning brush.
Grandpa carries me off the mountain
to Aunt Mary’s.

vi.
When my widowed Mama remarries,
I weep goodbyes.
Lilies of the valley wave
fragrant farewells.

Please join us and invite your poet friends.

The Summer of 1948

The Summer of 1948

Photo Credit: Floyd Bariscale/Google Images

I perch in my pepper tree.
Pungent scents, fingered
leaves embrace me.
A lady bug, dressed in red
with black polka dots
climbs my arm, tickles.

Ocean sand, white as the rind
of a watermelon, clings to my
bare toes.
Only hours ago I ran through it,
reaching out, stretching to catch
sapphires.

The smell of hot concrete
dampened by rain showers
lingers along with DDT
sprayed from a can with a
plunger like a bicycle pump.

I slip down the gnarly trunk,
enter the house by the
screen door near the
Bendix with the ringer where
Mama found a black widow
yesterday.

She’s melting a blue cube
of laundry starch
in hot water.

“Did you know I’m four
and a half today?”
I ask. She nods, smiles.
The black fan whirrs
in the background.

“Go on over to Stewie’s,” she says.
“It’s almost time for
Kukla, Fran and Ollie.”

Cross-legged on the floor
I watch the 12” screen,

Understand I am.

Fun his-tory/her-story prompt today at dVerse,  offered by Brian Miller. This is a really old one about a time way back when.  Hope you are able to read…Google Chrome users (only) are getting weird messages. I have no idea how to correct.