Red

RED SWATCH

I was talking recently with a good friend, a very talented artist, who also has a love for unique literature and for writing. Having spent a lot of time in Japan, he has an immense appreciation for that country’s culture and it’s literature. He’s currently working on a book of poetry in Japanese — poems with unique subject matter and perspectives on elements of the world and life. One of the things he’s experimenting with is being able to express color in words only — so that someone who’s never seen the color can get a true sense of what it is. He asked me if I had any ideas or concepts concerning the color red that might be worked into such a piece.

I shared with him that I had actually written a short piece like that a few years ago about the color green. And the idea of doing the same thing for other colors was intriguing. So I left the conversation with his asking me to think about the color and pass on any concepts that came to me in case they provided something more he might incorporate into his work.

Well, a challenge like that is just too much to withstand, so I found my mind delving into the subject repeatedly over the next 12 hours. And, sure enough, I came up with my personal version of describing the color red in words only. I shared it with him, of course, with permission to use any of the ideas or concepts he thought would be helpful. But then I decided that my followers here and on my poetry site might enjoy it as well.

And, no worries: my sharing it here won’t step on his toes where his own work is concerned. Because the only thing he’s considering using are some of the concepts I’ve shared,  not the poem itself. And, of course, since his book of poems is being written in Japanese, my English poem won’t interfere with the effect of his finished work in the least. So here’s my interpretation of that wonderful, unique color.

RED

Red is fire and passion.
It lives; it shouts; it takes possession
Of every scene in which it plays a part.
It is the exclamation mark of life.

It speaks of blood that flows throughout our veins.
It speaks of hate that steals away that blood.
It speaks of love that overcomes all hate.

It’s energy unleashed:
Invigorating, stimulating, titillating, aggravating.

Bold, emphatic, quite dramatic;
Life-inspiring, soul-empowering:
Red!

 

 


 

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Prompt Nights – Glimpse Into the World of Edgar Allen Poe

This week on “Prompt Nights” Sanaa has challenged us to get our inspiration from Edgar Allen Poe. I’m super pressed with my regular teaching this week, so I don’t have time to write a brand new piece, but Sanaa assures us that previously written work is welcome. So since the theme immediately brought to mind a story I wrote some time ago — and since it’s a story I think even Ol’ Edgar himself would appreciate — I’ll share it this week. (Those of you who have read it previously have my permission to skip it this time.)

THE FOG

LIGHTHOUSE WITH FOG
The fog’s especially heavy tonight. I can’t see three feet past the door, so I guess it’s a good time to stay inside and write this letter. The lighthouse on the island has sounded the foghorn every two minutes for hours now.

I haven’t been back to the island since that night. In some ways, I wish I had moved away when you did. I’m sure it’s a lot easier on you not having to look out across the water and see that island every day. I know the spot is overgrown now, but I can still pick it out as clearly as if we’d left a marker. And hearing that blasted horn blow every time the fog moves in really gets on my nerves.

Tonight it’s as thick out there as it was the night we buried him. I often wonder what would have happened if the fog had lifted in time for someone to see us digging the grave. But, of course, that wasn’t likely to happen. Once the dratted stuff moves in, it clings to us like a shroud for the whole night.

I wish you were sitting here with me, sharing a bottle of our favorite whiskey. I hate being alone with my thoughts. I’m always chilled and shaky when there’s fog. And it feels as if something’s choking me. I wonder if that’s how he felt as we tightened that rope around his neck until he stopped breathing.

I sure wish you were here with me. I hate fog.

~~~

Daily Post Prompt: Copycat

I admit I actually wrote this story last year, but it fits today’s prompt so perfectly that I’m using it anyway.

THE CASE OF THE COPY-CAT CRIMES

man-at-desk-brown

Detective Becker pressed his left hand against his temple. It was tender from the pain where a migraine was threatening, but he had to go over this list of people who had received threats in the past month. The letters had all been made out in the same way: typed words that had been cut and pasted – one word at a time – onto a black sheet of paper and mailed in red envelopes. He’d sworn he’d figure out the nexus they shared that had made them victims of such a hateful attack, but time wasn’t on his side any longer, because the first two people on the list had already been killed.

His buzzer sounded, and his secretary reported that he had a call waiting on line one: his superior, Detective Wagner. “Yes sir,” Becker spoke into the phone. “What can I do for you?”

“The press has gotten wind of the fact that eight other people have received threatening letters. They’re pushing for a story, but, of course, we can’t tell them anything that could disrupt the investigation. I just wanted you to be forewarned that they’ll be waiting outside the front door when you leave the office.”

“Thanks for the warning. I slip out the basement entrance.”

“Have you figured out any connection yet between the two who are dead and the other eight?”

“I think I may have, Sir. All of these people served on a jury together about fifteen years ago. The decision of that jury was unanimous and resulted in the death sentence for the man on trial.”

“Who?”

“Malcom Leiberman.”

Dead silence on the other end of the line caused Becker to stay quiet and wait. He could hear that the wind outside had started blowing harder, and he knew the storm that had been predicted was almost upon them. Finally, Wagner responded: “You know, of course, that Leiberman was convicted of perpetrating a series of murders after sending out threatening letters to his victims.”

Becker sucked in his breath. “No sir … no, I haven’t had time to research the case yet. But that’s too weird.”

“Yes,” replied Wagner. “And now I think I know who we’re looking for. His brother swore he’d get revenge. But then he got sick with some disease that the doctors said was incurable, and he was hospitalized for years. I guess everybody forgot about his threats. I know I did. But we need to find out if he’s still alive, and if so …”

“I’m on it, Sir,” Becker said. “I’ll call you back as soon as I have the information.”

Two hours later, Becker walked into Wagner’s office with a medical report. “He’s alive all right,” he said, laying the report on his superior’s desk. “And living right here in the city.”

“You’ve got an address?”

Becker nodded.

Wagner rose from his chair and strapped on his gun. “Let’s go get him and save eight people’s lives.”

~~~

Prompt Nights # 30, Autumn

Instructions this week include choosing one of five pictures provided by the prompt hostess and writing a poem or prose piece based on that photo.  However, my poem was actually prompted by one particular tree near my home, so I’ve used a picture of it here instead of one from the original challenge post.
To take part in this challenge visit “A Dash of Sunny.”


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MY HEART BELONGS TO AUTUMN

Leaf by tender leaf,
I watch this stately monarch
Dressing up for fall.

Gold, russet, yellow,
And brilliant red — her choices,
For she loves them all.

Hour by passing hour
The change begins subdued but
Then bursts into flame.

I revel in the site.
My heart belongs to Autumn.
It’s joy calls my name.

The troubles that have pressed
Throughout the year now ending,
Though they’re present still,

Are vanquished by the power
Of Autumn’s golden glory
To subdue all ill.

My heart belongs to Autumn.
Indeed, it always will.

~

 

100-Word Challenge for Grownups # 186

Julia has offered us another 100-word challenge this week with the following prompt:

“… looking back, I remember …”

I have to confess that I’ve cheated a tad. I’m about 19 words over, but I just didn’t have any more time to spend cutting it down further.

 

COMPUTER READING - TRQUS

STARTING OVER

“Looking back, I remember how easy everything was – especially communication.”
“Tell me, Grandpa.”
“Computers ran everything, including phones and automobiles.”
“Really!”
“And almost everyone could be reached by Internet.”
“I’ve heard about Internet.”
“It’s been twenty-two years since the grids went down.”
“And that shut everything down?”
“Yep. Nothing could be manufactured, vehicles couldn’t run, almost all communication shut down. Our nation had been attacked by E-bombs, and our irresponsible government had no back-ups.”
“Did we fight back?”
“Couldn’t. No way to fire missiles, no planes. And once we were down, other free nations were attacked. The whole free world reduced to walking, writing with wooden pencils, and bartering goods for food and water. Grandson … your generation has a big job ahead of it.”

 

 

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Prompt Nights 18 – Moonlight

This week’s prompt from Sanaa at a ‘Dash of Sunny’ is “Let us walk together in the moonlight.”  We can take the subject in any direction, so if your imagination kicks in, go to Sanaa’s site to get the details of participating with us. I decided to feature some graphics I created from a couple of my own shots of the moon — as well as a bit of free verse to round things off.


MOONSTRUCK

Well, now, you lovely silver orb
Rising nightly, taking up your throne
To rule the sky amidst your starry entourage,
You have the power to stir men’s souls
And capture their imaginations —
Fostering mysteries, romantic notions,
Ghostly tales, and lovers’ secrets.

But how you’ve gained so grand a place
Within the minds of earthly men is quite beyond me.
For truly you are but a piece of rock
With lustrous filaments that cause you to reflect another’s light.
With no light of your own to boast
And no control of how you make your way across the sky,
I fail to see why you should be the root of so much poetry —
Or epic tales — or artistry.

You’re just a great reflector,
And all your beauty’s lent you by the sun.
Yet, still you manage with your borrowed lumens
To capture hearts and minds.
And so ’twill be as long as time shall run
That men, in word and song and artist’s brush,
Will make of you a symbol of their highest expectations,
And set you as the goal for which they reach
As they attempt to soar beyond their realm of dust.

And I suppose in that respect, you do deserve some praise.
For were it not for you, perhaps there’s many a man who would have trod this earth
And failed to lift his eyes to higher heights and deep desires.
So shine on, silver orb,
And carry on your glorious procession
Each night across the sky.
For generations yet of pioneers, adventurers, and lovers too
Will need your light to inspire their hearts to dream —
Then strive to make those lovely dreams come true.

 

~~~

Daily Post Prompt: Circus

NO CLOWNS ALLOWEDI detest circuses!!!!!   Maybe I should add a dozen more exclamation points, because I don’t think the five used make the point effectively. Have I been to circuses?  Yes, but mainly because my family and boyfriend wanted to go. I’ve been to amateur party-entertainment circuses, I’ve been to moderate-sized professional circuses, and I’ve been to what is supposed to be the epitome of the circus world: the Ringling Brothers/Barnum & Bailey circus.

All of them are dirty, stinky, deplorable, detestable, and detrimental to my peace of mind. The acts presented are ridiculous — some of them even asinine — and the only thing in the “so-called entertainment world” that is more asinine is boxing. (I mean, come on: grown men spending their lives learning how to beat up other human beings, practicing until they are good at beating up other human beings, and then making their living for decades by beating up other human beings.  Sheeeeesh!)

And what about clowns???? I hate clowns.  They are one of the worst parts of the circus. I have never, in all my 60-plus years, been able to figure out why grown men and women actually want to put on abominably grotesque make up and clothes and go out in public for the purpose of acting like they are mentally deranged. And even in the Christian arena, I find clowning detestable. I have friends who think that if they dress up in some abominable clown costume, it will somehow help them spread the love of Jesus Christ to people.  For the life of me, I cannot understand that thinking!!! In fact, many children are actually afraid of clowns.  That fact should tell us something ……….

My detest of circuses has nothing to do with the animals, however. I love animals — wild and tame — but I don’t like the way they are treated or used at a circus, and I’d much rather see them in a responsible zoo where they can at least live with some measure of dignity in something close to their natural lifestyle. Of course, I’m sure there are some zoos that don’t treat animals well, but all the ones I’ve visited have been places where the animals are well cared for and presented in a habitat as close to what nature intended as possible.

I like visiting zoos, but will I ever go to a circus again?  Never.  I repeat: Never. In fact, I haven’t been to one since I was 21 years old — thank God.

So —– there you have it folks. My two-cents worth on the subject suggested by the Daily Post Prompt today. My apologies to anyone who performs in a circus if I hurt your feelings, but if you feel the circus is a worthwhile entity, then today’s prompt is your opportunity to sing its praises and share your side of the story.

 

 

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WP Discover Challenge: Apology = ‘Sorry’ (a short, short story)

SMILEY - SAD FACE - BLUEToday WP has challenged us to write a post that relates to an apology. One of their many suggestions for ‘how’ to respond to the challenge was to write a story about an apology gone wrong. I decided to take that direction just a tad farther, urged along by a couple episodes I’ve known about in real life that gave me the basis for this tale. (All names have been changed.)

One of the sad realities in this life is that not everyone who hurts another person can even comprehend that he/she is actually responsible for inflicting wounds and damaging lives. For those self-focused, clueless people, the word “apology” has no significant meaning. I’m grateful that the vast majority of people I know in this world do understand and practice making sincere apologies when they are warranted.

On to the story:

SORRY

“Get out! Get out! Get out!” Marcy’s voice bounced off the walls of the living room and echoed down the hallway to the front door, where Ryan stood, putting on his coat. Sadness overwhelmed him. He was beyond using words. They wouldn’t do any good anyway because she couldn’t hear them now. Her mind was so filled with her own pain and her need for revenge that it couldn’t receive anything from outside.

Ryan knew, in the objective part of his brain, that he couldn’t deny he was partly responsible for things coming to this point. But even as he accepted that truth, he also realized that he was more sorry that he had told her than he was about having committed the acts themselves.

He was a man, after all. Even the pastor of the church he occasionally attended had acknowledged that sometimes a man had needs that couldn’t be ignored. He’d heard him talking to another member, and he’d said that if a man couldn’t get those needs fulfilled at home, it was understandable that he’d feel driven to look elsewhere. That had surprised him a little, until he remembered that the whole reason the congregation had hired that particular man was because of his loose, liberal leanings where scripture was concerned. Ryan liked the way the guy explained scripture. You weren’t supposed to take it literally for every single situation in your life.

Ryan had told Marcy what that pastor had said and even offered to go with her to meet with him and let him explain it all to her. She’d refused, shouting, “Pastor! He’s no pastor! No man of God would condone what you’ve done! He’s nothing but a hypocrite the rest of you hypocrites voted in so that he’d tell you what you want to hear. His brains are probably the same place yours are, and I won’t lower myself to describe where that is.”

Ryan shook his head from side to side in obvious expression of his befuddled thoughts. Women! Who could figure them? It wasn’t as if he had left her and committed himself to some other woman, after all. He’d just had sex on several occasions. What was the big fuss about anyway? Marcy hadn’t seemed too interested in that part of their marriage lately, so why should it bother her if someone else took care of that part of his life?

He shook his head again in disgust as he opened the door and stepped out into the 0° chill factor. He pulled his coat up around his neck and hurried to unlock his car and get in. He was angry at himself for not at least waiting until warmer weather to get kicked out of the house. He guessed he’d have to bunk down in a motel for the night and see what tomorrow brought. Maybe during the night he could think up some kind of apology that would work on her. Confounded women!

Yeah … he was sorry all right – sorry he’d told her.

 

~~~

 

Daily Post Prompt: Music – ‘Word Music’

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I’m a musician. I play keyboard instruments mainly. Over the years, I’ve had the pleasure of using my talents to entertain in various venues, to minister as organist and choir director for two different churches, to help facilitate weddings and funerals for scores  of families, to compose and orchestrate numerous songs, and to teach others to use their gifts and talents to bless the world with music from their own keyboards.

These days I rarely sit down to a musical keyboard. Instead, I’m nearly glued to the kind of keyboard that is attached to a desktop or laptop computer. For,  you see, I’m also a writer. Now, some people feel that I have left music behind as I’ve devoted so much of myself to the writing. But you know what?  I’ve discovered a truth that, ten years ago, I may not have even thought about:

I’ve discovered that music — true music — doesn’t come from a keyboard on a piano, an organ, or an accordion. Nor does it come from a horn, a guitar, a violin, or any other instrument. On the contrary, music comes from the soul. It’s the melody, the harmony, and the rhythm of life that courses through our beings and finds its release through any number of avenues. Frequently, it is released through instruments constructed for that specific purpose, but the music of the soul is also released through words.

I find that I’m releasing the music of my soul constantly as my fingers whisk over the letter keys of my laptop. I’m letting all those melodies, harmonies, and rhythms of life course through me to touch every reader. And when those readers are touched, my words create emotions, thoughts, actions, and reactions as surely as the strains of sound vibrating from a piano or a horn. I’m calling to and capturing the soul of the reader as surely as the chords from a guitar call and capture the soul of the listener.

It is not the instrument that creates the music. In truth, the music is created from the deepest part of our being and simply seeks an avenue — any avenue — of expression. So, personally, I believe I am offering music to the world through the words that flow from my soul onto the page as surely as I have offered it in the past from the keyboard that sent forth vibrations of sound.

So, my fellow writers — let the music play.

~

WordPress Daily Prompt: Music

 

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Prompt Nights 12 — Earth Day

GLOBE WITH SMILEYIn honor of “Earth Day” Sanaa, the hostess of “Prompt Nights” has asked us to share a poem about one of the specific elements (wind, water, fire, or earth).  And since I missed last week, I’ll share two poems this week to make up for it: one focusing on rain; the other on wind.

Also, I know I’m going against the tide in my offerings today. I can’t seem to muster a poem that bewails the supposition that man is destroying this planet.  I just do not believe that’s true, so don’t expect poetry from me that goes there. Instead, whimsy is my bent today, so I’m offering a light-hearted look at the short, but significant life of a raindrop and the longer and more powerful life of the wind.

I AM A RAINDROP

I am a raindrop.

And I’m looking for place to plop.
I’m falling quickly and cannot stop.

I don’t know where I’d like to be,
But I definitely don’t want to land in the sea.

You see, if I were to land in the sea,
It would be so anti-climactic for me;

I would lose my personal identity,
Even I would no longer recognize me.

No, I must find some place solid instead.
Perhaps on a daisy in a flower bed,

Or a plant so parched it’s almost dead,
Or the page of a book that’s being read.

I must decide as fast as I can,
I’m falling quickly toward some folks on the sand.

So many are out there just getting a tan.
Hello, there, little bald-headed man!

His head sure was tempting, but then a breeze blew,
And drove me off course; what am I to do?

Oh, I see it! I see it! My target’s in view!
Get ready; get ready; I’m landing on you!

Plop!

*

I AM WIND

I blow where I will, and no one can still
My movement.

I rustle the trees and gust where I please
Each moment.

I sweep ‘cross the plains and often drive rain
In torrents.

Raging through canyons, I roar with abandon
And torment.

But sometimes I play; come April or May,
I’m a teaser.

On soft summer nights enrobed in moon’s light,
I’m a pleaser.

I’m gentle and warm, and sweethearts I charm
Into romance.

Then on to the fall, with crisp breeze I call
Leaves to dance.

I carry the scents: burning leaves, bonfires spent
Ripened fruit.

But I bring colder days, frigid nights on the way;
Find those boots.

For I’ll huff and I’ll puff, and the tempts will be tough;
I’ll bring snow.

Though the drifts may be bad, children’s hearts will be glad:
School’s a “no.”

Through the rafters I’ll sing, and my bite – it will sting,
For a while.

But in no time at all, I will bring springtime’s thaw;
Gardens smile.

I lift birds on the wing, and the song that I sing –
It brings rest.

I am wind, and I’m thrilled that I cannot be stilled;
I am blessed.

*

 

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