Blue Skies Tinged with Gray–dVerse Poetics

Blue Skies Tinged with Gray
a Sestina
Iambic Tetrameter

This morning I painted my world in blue,
dreamt of new days beneath brilliant clear azure skies
and floated in mem’ries of life borne on waves—
the summer we spent making love by the lake,
when our love sang so sweetly of hours in the sun
and clear water soothed pain that I saw in your eyes.

More often was hope gleaming in those deep eyes,
clear mirrors of mys’try—not silver, not blue,
reflecting the brilliance of summer’s lush sun
this faith that I found in those cloudless, pure skies.
We washed away fear in our bay at the lake,
floating hand within hand on her cool, gentle waves.

Sometimes we are crushed by the force of life’s waves
and excitement can wane, dull the spark in your eyes.
Then return to those days of our love by the lake
to renew what we knew when we dreamt dreams of blue,
streaked with hues of Payne’s Gray as we looked to the skies,
adding depth to those moments of light in the sun.

Summer’s end soon drew near and our time in the sun
gave way to the wind, to the chill in the waves.
Autumn clouds came too soon, hiding blue of the skies,
cast long shadows on joy, dimmed the glow in your eyes.
Succumbing to dark, nature cast off her blue.
Thus we tasted the close of our days at the lake.

Arid sands took you far from our love by the lake.
In Iraq you would know desert dry, scorching sun.
Did that world of brown erase recall of blue?
Did you dream of the days we had shared in the waves?
Or did you forget, horror blinding your eyes
to all of the plans that we held ‘neath blue skies?

For my part, I still hope for the day when the skies
shall return you to me, to our love by the lake.
When you rush to my arms will the tears in your eyes
still be there as they were on that day in the sun
when you told me they called to you over the waves
and you walked from my life for the red, white and blue?

I still look to the skies, shield my eyes from the sun,
wait for days at the lake, for the calming of waves,
lose myself in your eyes, wrapped in dreams painted blue.



This poem is in response to De’s prompt at dVerse Poetics where she invites us to reflect on Blue—however you wish to consider it. (De is coming down off a Lake Tahoe high).

I write this poem as a Sestina in iambic tetrameter (first draft.) It is a fictional narrative. I spent yesterday afternoon with a representative from a local veteran’s assistance program and, of course, that sneaked its way into my writing. Please join us today.

Chester and Vi–Haibun Monday, Romance

Today, for dVerse Haibun Monday, Toni (Kansen Sakura) asks us to write of romance. The prose aspect of a Haibun is a non-fiction account. This event occurred when I was nursing in Long Term Care, Toledo, Ohio in the mid-70’s.



Chester and Vi
a Haibun

It’s early morning and the scene repeats itself. After bathing his wife, Vi, Chester trods down the neon-lit hallway to the unit’s kitchenette to blend an assortment of foods for her breakfast. He knows her likes and dislikes and takes care to please her. Though it’s been years since she has spoken, years since she has even shown signs of recognition, he speaks to her, telling her news of the day, of other patients and of his love for her. Chester once told me that he digs into his memories of those times before a massive stroke rendered Vi helpless, excavates moments when the love they shared was everything to him, as it remains. When he’s certain she is comfortable, he comes and finds me, helps me with other bed-bound patients, seeming to offer them the same care and gentleness he has given his beloved. Old, but healthy, Chester is my sagacious teacher. Without speaking a word, he gives me a glimpse into the true meaning of romance. The day goes on in its endless routine; his loving attention endures.

mourning dove still waits
scattered feathers mar spring joy
hawk feeds her young ones

Just to add a bit of humor, Vi did speak once when Chester was feeding her and I stood by, ready to suction her in case she choked, as she often did. He asked her how her dinner tasted. She responded, “Like shit!” True story.

Dedicated to a friend who is lovingly caring for her husband.


Writing in the Second Person

Some of the most effective poetry or prose that I’ve read is that written in the second person. The voice automatically becomes conversational and creates something of an intimate feeling.

Second person prose is often a challenge and tends to be confined to pieces of short fiction. Either prose or poetry can be addressed to a person, an object (ever say a few choice words to your laptop), God, a pet, or even yourself. There is no limit to span of emotions that you can express: anger, sadness, and quite often, love. The voice may be formal, informal, written in dialect. Grammar can be perfect or full of errors that will help to develop a character. Working with second person prose is a great asset for the fiction writer as he or she works to develop skills in writing dialogue

For today’s prompt, conjure up a person, place or thing–real or imaginary–and speak to it in poetry or prose. Consider the mood you wish to create and the voice in which you want to write.

To participate:

  • Write your short fiction, essay or poem and post it on your blog or website;
  • Access Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post and add your name and the direct URL of your post;
  • Take a few minutes to visit and comment on other participants’ work and return visits to those who’ve commented on your work.

For my poem, I chose an older one that celebrates Spring as the season of love. If it looks familiar, it’s been out there before. I will also link this to Open Link Night at dVerse Poets’ Pub, with apologies for not coming up with something new. If you’ve haven’t stopped by the Pub this week, you don’t know what you are missing! Come on down..

Garden with some tulips and narcissus


Do you remember the cloud
that looked like a white dog bounding
across the empty gray sky?

Or the coupling dragonflies,
their wings shaved slivers of
shimmering moonstone or fire opal?

Nearby, something moldered in dank earth.
Its smell mingled with
the scent of our sweat and sex.

A chorus of crickets undulated
in an outdoor theater,
unabashed by our nakedness.

You told me to get on top because
the grass beneath our blanket scratched me.
A breeze licked my body.

Do you think that it was love?
Or maybe because tomorrow would be spring.


Photo credit: Wikipedia

Long on the Finish–Wordsmith Wednesday

Scaled-down example of a Rubens full-figured w...

Image via Wikipedia

Here’s my short story for Wordsmith Wednesday (see the previous post on my blog. It’s a bit adult-themed, so be advised.

Long on the Finish

2003 Jacque Shaque Bordeaux
Big, opulent. Spicy oak accenting cherry and chocolate. Long on the finish.

April turned to view her derriere. The mirror, framed in mahogany, showed smooth skin – a plump ripe pear ready for tasting. She ran her hands over sensuous curves, sending ripples of expectation up her inner thighs.

Clothing hung limply on padded hangers. She walked the length of her wardrobe and fingered textures of the garments before selecting a velour sheath: strapless, in dark burgundy. April lifted the fabric to her cheek, closed her eyes and inhaled lingering scents of Patou’s Joy blended with sweat. Perfect.

As she raised her arms to slide the dress over her ample frame, April imagined Alain’s gray eyes studying her bosom. She bent forward, grasped her breasts and hefted them into the DD cups of her bra, dabbed a drop of perfume in her cleavage and anticipated her date’s response.

Her date. Her best friend’s fiancé. A laugh erupted from deep inside.

April knew what she was doing. She’d set her goal and formulated a plan the very day she’d introduced Trish to Alain.

A memory snuck into her consciousness: Trish sitting beside her in the park, nibbling a tuna sandwich. “He’s huge, April. The best I’ve ever had.” Trish elaborated on the details as April looked into the waters of the pond at their feet, fingering pussy willows planted in the shallows. April’s pulse bounded. She flushed and returned to the present moment.

From her assortment of lipsticks, April selected Ripe Cherry and applied it to her full lips before slathering on gloss. She pouted then fastened long strands of dark hair atop her head. Wisps of curls framed her round face and trailed down her neck giving April a boudoir aura. Taking in the results, she nodded in approval. An objet d’art, Rubenesque, seductive. Altogether sexual.

She’d invited Alain the previous Friday, the night of the engagement soiree. “I know her better than anybody,” she’d claimed as Trish’s grandmother stood beside the future groom. “I’d be glad to give you a crash course: Patricia Anders, 101.”

He’d laughed. So had the grandmother.

“I’m serious. My house, Tuesday, six o’clock. I’ll cook.”

“Go for it,” Grandma told Alain. “April’s known Trish since they were five; she won’t hurt you.”

How little you know, Grandma.

April stood, smoothed her dress and took another twirl in the mirror. She exited her bedroom, leaving the door ajar to showcase the warm glow of dozens of candles.

In the kitchen, April stirred the sauce before opening the bottle of red she’d purchased for the occasion. She poured it into the long-stem decanter, allowing liquid to slip into the narrow opening, before puddling into the ovoid glass receptacle. She held it to the light and swirled it, noting rich tones of red-almost-black.

A large pot of water with a splash of olive oil sat on the burner. April turned the gas on and flames licked the cookware. A bag of fusilli, twisted and hard, waited beside the stove.

At precisely six April hit the dimmer switch.

The doorbell announced her guest.

She caught a glimpse of herself in the mirror by the entryway. Dilated pupils stared back.
Relax, April. Breathe. You’re not supposed to be under the influence of Adrenalin. She sucked in another breath and opened the door.

There he stood, wearing a blue polo with gray slacks that matched his startling eyes. A smile spread across his face. A lock of chestnut hair had escaped and curled upon his forehead. Alain bowed then handed April a brown bag encasing a small bottle. “Far Niente Dolce.”

“For dessert,” April said, remembering the succulent strawberries she’d prepared for dipping in dark chocolate.

“You look beautiful. I’m afraid I’m underdressed,” Alain said.

“I like you underdressed.” It’ll be undressed before this evening is done.

“Come on in, Alain. Do you like French wines?”

“I do.”

He reached for the glass April held out to him but she drew it away, took his hand and forced her body against his.

“April, wait. What’re you doing?”

She answered with her lips, slightly parted, pressed against his.

Alain pulled his mouth away from her, but not before she felt his response pushing against her body.

“For the love of God, stop it.” His complexion paled, his breath came in spurts.

“Oh, Alain, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what overtook me.” April blushed. “You’re so . . . so irresistible.” She peeled away from him and approached the stove. Removing the cover from the saucepan, she stirred, feigned embarrassment. “It won’t happen again.”
He reached for the glass of wine she’d set on the counter and pulled up a barstool.

“What’re you cooking?”

“Pasta. Puttanesca sauce.”

“Putta-what sauce?”

“From Napoli. It’s named after their working women. Puttana means whore.”

She watched the color drain again from his face again.

“Whore?” he asked.

“Whore. It’s about living passionately, enjoying all the pleasures of life. My mama was Italian.”

Alain cleared his throat. “I’m sure I’ll like it.”

“I’m sure you will, too. How’s the wine?” April reached for her own glass, swirled, sniffed and tasted. She chewed the liquid, allowing her taste buds the full savor of the burst of flavors: fruits and oak. “Hmmmm…”

He studied her then imitated her motions. “Yes, good. Full-bodied.” Alain glanced at April then dropped his eyes to the crystal glass. “Oh God, I better go.”

“No, wait.” She dropped the pasta into boiling water that splashed and sizzled when it hit the burner. “You need to taste it with food.”

Alain made no move to leave. “Okay. Talk to me about Trish,” he said. “That’s what you invited me for.”

“Of course. What do you want to know?”

“I don’t know. It was your agenda.” Alain’s voice had a brittle edge to it.

“That was an excuse. I’ll never have a chance at you again.”

“I can’t do this. I just can’t. I love Trish and intend to be faithful to her.” He stood.

“Trish is insecure, Alain. You need to know that. This is a good test of her faith in you. Did you tell her you were coming here tonight?”

“No. She thinks I’m working late.”

“She’d be jealous. Have you seen her get jealous?”

“No. I’ve never given her cause. April, I’m outta here. I’m really uncomfortable.” Alain headed to the door. When he turned toward April and opened his mouth to speak, the phone rang.

April answered, “Hi Trish. What’s up?”

She watched Alain freeze in his tracks. Strolling over to the man, she held the phone so he could hear his fiancée.

“Alain told me he’s working late, but I called his desk and got voice mail. I’m scared, April. I don’t trust him. I think he’s with another woman.”

“Why do you say that?” April eyed Alain, raising her left eyebrow.

“Something changed the night of the engagement party. He’s preoccupied. I’ve got to tell you, I’m having second thoughts about marrying him. He’s got a roving spirit.”

“You think?” April rolled her eyes and watched Alain’s jaw go slack.

“I know. What should I do?” A sob accompanied the question.
“You can’t marry someone you don’t trust.” April stroked Alain’s cheek, his neck. She traced her finger down his body and cupped his groin. She retreated to the kitchen with the phone cradled in her neck. Out of earshot. “How about lunch tomorrow?”

“Can I come tonight?”

“Sure, I’ll see you then. Bye.” She replaced the phone on the charger, grabbed the two glasses of wine and returned to Alain who stood fixed with his hand on the doorknob, erection in plain view.

“Come on; as long as you’re here let’s eat. It’s ready.” She led him to the table.

As he took his place, April topped off his wine then dumped the pasta in a colander. Steam wafted into the air. She reached for a large bowl, added pasta and sauce, deftly blending them with the skill of someone who did this often.

As they ate, April’s eyes never left Alain.

He looked down until his plate was almost empty.

Suddenly, he arose, pushed back his chair with a scrapping noise and fled the apartment.

Not even a thank you, April mused, as she cleared the dishes and put them in the sink to soak. She escaped to her bedroom to change into something comfortable.

April was blowing out the candles when Trish arrived.

“He’s gone?” Trish asked.

Smiling, April grabbed her friend. “He’s long gone. Didn’t even finish the main course. Trish, this one passed the test!”

“Thank God,” Trish said, heading to the kitchen and pouring herself a glass of wine. “This stuff’s expensive. I get to have some this time. So, what do ya think? Should I marry him?”

“I’d say so.”

The two women toasted and settled back to enjoy the wine, which paired well with chocolate-dipped strawberries.

Old Love–One Shot Wednesday

Submitted to One Shot Wednesday:  Thanking my husband, David, for 20 years 1/19/91-1/19/11

Old Love

The Love that’s tinged
by Eros
is easier to write,
to live and
to imagine:
the silken touch
of water—
cool caresses in a Lake—
a kiss that tastes
of wine
and sweat.
Subtle sounds of
breath, and
pounding pulses
and images that linger
in the darkness of
a new-moon night.

But as the days grow old
and we, along with them,
winter shadows
cannot overwhelm
enduring Love.
You probe the
memory of
a day gone by
and stroke
a shriveled hand.
Then Spring breaks through
in songs of mockingbirds.

Room for Romance: Stewie and Me

As soon as I saw the picture prompt on S.I.S’s Room for Romance blog I knew I had to write a little snapshot from my life. The story that follows is true and I’d have to guess it began way back in 1948 or so. My mother, a war widow, and I lived with my grandparents on an unpopulated hill in Eagle Rock, California. The facts and memories in this story are accurate as I remember them, down to the details.

Stewie and Me

It was in my 5th year that I met the boy who everyone assumed I would someday marry. Spring had come early that year and so had Easter. Wild daffodils surrounded the rolling hills, separating us from our closest neighbor. Their subtle scent lingered in the air.

Not long after we returned from Mass, a tentative knocking at the door startled my family. “Who’s here this at this time of the day?” Grandpa said as he pulled his lanky frame away from the breakfast table.

When he opened the door there stood Stewie, our closest neighbor, with his mother, a florist. He stuck out his arm and proffered a box. “This is for Vicki.” A faint blush spread across his freckled face as Mama propelled me to the door and guided my hands to accept the corsage made of pink carnations.

In the years that followed, as we grew older, this tender scenario repeated itself over and over. Corsages for Christmas and Easter, candy for Valentine’s Day. As closest neighbors in a rural area of Los Angeles, we became playmates. He fed my dolls mud pies and I hurled after him into danger, down steep slopes in card board boxes or on cookie sheets. He split my head open in a game of Kick the Can and pummeled me with arrow-sticks in Cowboys and Indians.

The day arrived when Mama remarried and we packed up and moved away from that house on the hill. It wasn’t goodbye for Stewie and me because visits to grandpa were frequent and filled with fun.

I remember it still. We were sitting around the table, talking over the day’s events. I was probably eleven or twelve and not much caring for the canned chop suey that sat in a puddle of soy sauce on my plate. It was Mama who answered the phone. The expression on her face told me that there were worse things than the pile of slimy veggies on the plate before me.

“Stewie’s dead,” she said.

I dropped my fork.

What would life had been like, I wonder, if he and his buddies hadn’t climbed over that fence to hitch a ride on the oil well that crushed him? Mama told me once I was old enough to understand that, even if he’d survived, he could never have been my husband.

Check out more sweet romances at:

Big Tent Poetry–“Neon Kisses”

The rain came down

Submitted to Big Tent Poetry:  With thanks to Mallery for the first line/prompt.





Neon Kisses

I didn’t notice the color of your jacket
or your eyes.
Battered by rain and wind
we walked side-by-side.
Neon lights reflected on wet asphalt
blinked their messages in blurred colors.

Nor did I notice where you took me
or that we had to wait for hours.
Your words hung, suspended in air
like notes of a symphonic chorus,
at times harmonic chords,
reverberated, crashing down around me.

I didn’t notice that the rain had stopped,
leaving in the air a fragrant breath
of moon-fresh night.
Nor did I grasp the fact that when you left
the cold closed in, enveloped me like a shroud.

The only thing I hold in memory:
kisses. The taste you left upon my lips,
your touch,
your smile.

I am away till Tuesday–will visit other submissions when I get home.

Room for Romance–“The Rose”

This is a haibun–a blend of haiku and flash fiction, submitted for Room for Romance, a prompt hosted by Someone Is Special. Check it out at

The Rose 

What the hell was I thinking—asking my grandma for advice? I am so screwed. Corey couldn’t look at Melanie or the damn rose his self-appointed counselor suggested would make her take a second look. What would an old lady know about romance?

Does a woman care

that roses can cause bleeding,

that thorns can break hearts?

He felt the girl draw close to him. The softness of her skin brushed him when she took the flower from his hand. Corey turned and looked into her hazel eyes. 

Beauty in a rose

eludes if you are fearful,

consoles those who love.

“I’ve waited for someone like you all my life, Corey.” Melanie’s voice was like the whisper of a breeze. “So many guys just want what they can get, you know. I used to dream of chivalry, of a man who would care enough to think of little things like this. I’d almost given up on it. I have to confess, I never expected you would be the one.” She reached and swept the hair out of his eyes, then took him by the hand and led him into the next phase of their life together.

(And now I think I understand why I don’t usually write romance!

Room for Romance: “Old Love”

Here is my first post for someone is special’s Room for Romance. I’m prone to write a bit more on the dark side so this is a nice opportunity to branch out. I assume my seasoned citizen status may break through (but not always). I do believe in love!


Old Love

The Love that’s tinged
by Eros
is easier to write,
to live and
to imagine:
the silken touch
of water—
cool caresses in a Lake—
a kiss that tastes
of wine
and sweat.
Subtle sounds of
breath, and
pounding pulses
and images that linger
in the darkness of
a new-moon night.

But as the days grow old
and we, along with them,
winter shadows
cannot overwhelm
enduring Love.
You probe the
memory of
a day gone by
and stroke
a shriveled hand.
Then Spring breaks through
in songs of mockingbirds.