Spotlight–Becky’s Square/Light Challenge #10

On December 27th we went to a “Straight No Chaser” concert. They are an acapella group with a brilliant range of voices. I was as caught up in the lighting and stage production as in the wonderful music. I will post more of that evening, linking to Becky’s #JanuaryLight Photo Challenge.

Photo: D. Slotto

Remember Rain–dVerse Meeting the Bar

Pexels Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Labeled for non-commercial reuse

Remember Rain

Some people feel the rain; others just get wet.
Bob Dylan Quote

What makes you different?

Can you taste sunshine and
touch the texture of darkness?
Have you licked a rock
or smelled leaves? Rolled in mud
or run naked in the falling snow?
Do you linger in night’s stillness,
listening for crickets or falling leaves?
Have you closed your eyes and savored
chocolate melting on your tongue?
or walked barefoot on unmown grass?
Do you know the feel of purple
or drink in the scent of autumn?
Have you heard the sound of emptiness,
tasted loss and longed for something more?
Do you remember the touch of rain?

Of course you do;
you are a poet.

Today we learned that the Nobel Prize for Literature has been awarded to Bob Dylan…how wonderful to see the selection committee thinking outside the box and casting its sights on pop music. For dVerse Meeting the Bar, Bjorn invites us to write a poem inspire by this musician/poet and there is much to draw from. I found this quote of Dylan’s to spur me on. Please join us.

Music at Lake Tahoe

Photo: Victoria Slotto Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Photo: Victoria Slotto
Lake Tahoe, Nevada

music at lake tahoe

wind soughs her songs through tops of pines
a lone songbird joins in, counterpoint, riffs in three-quarter time
my heart crashes like symbols, in time with lake-ripples

we share words, poetry, a cool glass of raspberry tea
three hours—too brief a time for all we want to share
so we speak allegro con dolce, pianissimo—and we listen

words sigh away, diminuendo, as i descend the mountain, alone

Musical Notations
allegro: quickly
con dolce: with gentleness
pianissimo: softly
diminuendo: fading away

De Jackson (whimsygismo) and I shared a lovely afternoon at Lake Tahoe last week. It was a joy to meet her face-to-face. I’ve written this for Day 2 of dVerse Poet Pub‘s 5th Anniversary Celebration where I’m hosting an interview with dVerse Co-Founder Claudia Schoenfeld and asking for a Sevenling written on the theme of music. I’ve included three paintings of Claudia’s which you may use for inspiration if you like. Please stop by and catch up with this talented poet/artist.


Photo: V. Slotto Lake Tahoe NV

Photo: De and Victoria Lake Tahoe, NV

Photo: De and Victoria
Lake Tahoe, NV





Golden Slumbers–dVerse Poetics

Sevenling (Golden Slumbers)

Shake off dreams this early morn;
leave behind your world of fantasy;
gently emerge to that mythical riff

of reality’s beat-heat—relentless
drumming—life in allegro, pulsing,
relentless force into wakefulness.

Or, go back it bed. It’s Saturday.

Today, at dVerse Poetics, guest host, Lillian, invites us to have a FANTASTIC time, enjoy a bit of music if we wish and sip some poetry.

You may recognize the title to this poem that I’ve borrowed from the Beatles–I’ve included a YouTube video for those of you who are too young! And don’t forget Monday’s Haibun that will be open all week.

The form is a Sevenling. For info on that form, check out De’s post last Thursday.

Andante–Prompt Nights


Wikipedia Commons: Mozart

high octain

adagio thoughts inhabit me
beside the mountains or the shore
i live for music, nothing more

alone and aimless though i be
i play the blues and drink my booze
then jazz it up to vivace

when morning comes, i toss the score
adagio thoughts return to me

adagio thoughts conquer me
gravissimo my spirit’s core
i leave my music at the door

though from myself i hope to flee
i find my muse in nature’s clues
a gift of music sets me free

once more allow melodic roar
as dolce thoughts come back to me.

Musical Notations:

gravissimo—most grave

This is a poem I wrote a few years back that I am linking to Sanaa Rizvi’s Prompt Nights where the theme is MUSIC. The form, developed by Luke Prater, is a High Octane.

the saxophone and itzhak perlman–dVerse Poetics II

Artist: Cindy McTee

Artist: Cindy McTee

the saxophone and itzhak perlman



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
“i told you so, bacchus, you ass.”


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.

Calando–Writer’s 4th Wednesday

I’ve chosen a previously published poem from 2012 in response to my prompt for Writer’s 4th Wednesday over at The Bardo Group. Music lends itself to allegory.

Image: Wikipedia

Image: Wikipedia


Life lived in a minor key
(not empty)
waiting for the final chord.

You walked alone
and yet the song you sang
(gentle, haunting)

Dolce, my sweet friend
dolente, largo,
until alone, as you lived,



Using musical notation, this brief poem is about a loved one who suffered from agoraphobia. She died a few years back  from cancer. Many have commented on her life as wasted. I chose to believe she had her own symphony to compose, and it was full of a gentle, generous beauty.

Calando-dying away

Agoraphobia is literally translated as fear of crowds. It is a type of social anxiety disorder.

Calando–published in my poetry collection, Jacaranda Rain.

Keeper of Memories–Writer’s Wednesday at the Bardo Group



In musty basement dark
of that old house upon the hill
an old man finds a tattered leather case
(dimpled faux-finish, I now see)
caresses it as though it were his lover,
while I stand by and watch.

Gnarled hands fumble
at a rusted clasp that keeps
the contents from intrusion.
In spite of trembling that I know so well,
unwanted company of his later years,
he eases the lid on its loosened hinges.

Pungent aromas escape to fan
familiar once-upon-a-time remembrances
of when I was a child.

Images flash forward,
rape my ears, my eyes
and cold smooth surfaces, my touch,
so that a melding of sensations
hurl me back in time
to when I sat in expectation,
and listened to the quiet.

He brings the contents now to view.
No longer does she gleam,
yet there beneath patina tinged with tarnish
I smell music.

Clutching her now against his concave chest
he shuffles rhythmically across the room,
remembering, no doubt those evenings
spent upon the porch in twilight murmurings.

Once settled in between the cushions
of a tattered, dusty chair
he raises up the precious object to his lips and blows.
Diminished breath invades her inner being.

But I am overcome by remnants,
not of sound, but scent
that lingers still within the archives of my soul
in saxophonic exclamation.

 This is an older poem, which I hope will lend its title to my next collection of poetry.

I’m linking this to The Bardo Group‘s Writer’s Wednesday which I’m hosting tonight with the prompt for sensory description. The prompt will be available tonight at 7:00 PM PST. 

Photo: 123rf

Photo: 123rf

SALVATION Army–Monday Meanderings

Photo Credit: Deviant Art

Photo Credit: Deviant Art

In the background,
he strips thyme and rosemary from their stems,
into a stainless steel bowl.
The scent of herbs, apple pie and ginger
pervades the family room

he watches war unfold on A&E.
An enemy’s blood splatters the screen.
I block out the noise of contradiction,
search for words of love and peace
to celebrate the season in verse.

Music sounds an ending.
I raise my head to witness
a good guy die.
No winners here.

A fire dances in the hearth,
then Mozart fills the room.

Will it be in music
that hope will enclose our battered world?
Will winter snow
cover scorched land, satisfy sere hearts?
Will love supplant bullets,
peace settle in the crevices of wounds?

Bells ring at the entrances of a local Walmart
beneath winter solstice sun.

Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee

Photo Credit: Sacramento Bee



Photo: fxcuisine

Photo: fxcuisine

Nature loves her riffs—
dandelions run crazy
up and down our world.

Photo: bostonphotos

Photo: bostonphotos

Linking to dVerse Form for All where Gay asks us to jazz things up a bit.  In case you’re wondering what a riff is:


 noun \ˈrif\

music : a short and usually repeated pattern of notes in a song

Here a short Smooth Jazz riff on the saxophone: