Monday, May 25, 2015

BLOG OF THE WEEK - an Update with ZQ

Here is an extra-special treat for you, my friends - an update with ZQ, of ZoralinQ, or, as he describes himself, "R.K.Garon, in mortal form". We last caught up with him in an interview in 2014, and very much enjoyed the visit. So much so we decided to go back for a follow-up and see what high-hearted mischief he has been up to since. 

Sherry: ZQ, wonderful to be visiting you again. Do bring us up to date since we last spoke. What's new? I know you moved recently to be closer to your family and that has made you happy. Kids all still rollicking along well? Any new grandchildren?

ZQ: Hello, Sherry. Always nice to talk to you. Yes, I finished writing in Belmont, New Hampshire, a small mill town, representative of a lot of great NH towns... now, defunct and having passed its hay day as an economic and prosperous community to grow up in. It now seems, “it’s get out of high school, join the Army or (very popular) Marines... get married to the girl you knocked up in high school before you left, or just saddle the horses and ride out of “dodge””. 

Those that stay and raise families? The girls become hairdressers and the boys become small engine mechanics or builders to the affluent summer residents that own most of the prime property on the lakes. Those that had nice little fishing camps, used for the summer and large family gatherings, have been bought out by developers and raise humongous condos, pushing the old mill generation's children further and further into the hills, modular homes, or sand pits.

Of course it’s not all bad and depressing, some are inking out a good living and some of the farms are doing well, hanging on.

New Years Eve at Mill Street

       ~~Baked beans in the pot resting with salt pork and hot dogs browning in a small amount of butter on the stovetop, brown bread, peeking from wrapped aluminum foil nested by the bean pot steaming, drifting, fills the house, with a familiar smell. The matriarch, is shuffled off with hugs and greetings, while straightening and re-arranging Christmas decorations as the children and family drop in. They shed coats for plates, salt and pepper, bread and butter, and toast the merriment of a season's joy and the ever present beginning of a new year.~~

                              The morning dishes, put away, washed and towel dried 
                               by the grandchildren, who, one by one, drifted in last night. 

                              Grandpa pegs out last, losing his second cribbage game 
                              to a thirteen-year-old. “Smart young fella with numbers”. 
                              Smiling, the boy gets up and pushes his chair against the table 
                              with a soft slide. Patting the deck of cards, unknowingly cryptic, 
                              he wishes his senior better luck next year, if he can hold on and                                                                   survive that long. 

                             More family arrive with traditional homemade dishes 
                             and table ornaments, others placed gifts, under the small well-lit tree,
                             by those relatives not seen on Christmas Day, and having to listen
                             to grandpa boast, if he catches you looking at it too long:
                             "was negotiated from twenty, down to ten dollars by grandma."
                             Winking, "one roll of quarters!"                              

                              New born, wrapped warm in the arms of entering parents, 
                              erupts with cooing and cawing… 
                              begging for first salutations, to hold the child first, 
                              especially those appealing with sadness 
                             “because they live so far!” 
                              But, whose love, promising the child being passed, 
                              will always live in their hearts nearby. 

                               No need for gifts, they all arrived. 

                               Rocking chair creaking, child asleep, 
                               grandmother humming. 
                               Grandfather, after meeting with the family, waits his turn. 
                               Having lost his job last week, his confidence, “hat in hand,” 
                               understanding his limited options, remembering what he learned, 
                               and where his life will now stand. 

                               Looking around the house, he cracks a smile. 
                               He remembers his prime, getting his first job 
                               after quitting school, then, going back for his GED 
                               after being offered training and a team leader’s spot. 

                               Buying a house and later a new car, 
                               rocking his last child; singing quietly 
                               with the innocence and purity 
                               in the comfort of life, in a proud and humble lullaby. 

                               The mill is officially closing at the end of this month. 

                               He picks up the grandchild from grandma’s 
                               slipping sleeping arms 
                               and starts to hum softly a reassuring song. 

                               The mill whistle shrieks a long, long, blast. 
                               The fourth shift ghosts were punching in. 
                                It is eleven-thirty, December 31st, the last shift. 

                                His severance check went into savings and taxes; 
                                his skills outsourced, betrayed by an economy, 
                                exchanged for work without future compensation: 
                                gets up and turns the forgotten oven off, 
                                chuckling “darn woman”. 

Sherry: You take us right into the heart of this family, a familiar scene in these times of downturns and outsourcing. But what comes through clearly is the love of family. The loss of job an incident - the love shared what truly makes life good. Wonderful writing, ZQ! 

Jones Farm Hand-Knitted Dishrags

                                These dishrags are renowned for their magnificence 
                                for every two-handed dishwasher this side of the Notch      
                                to Northwood, New Hampshire. 

                                Need I mention the dishes' endorsements,
                                that comes from as far as Colebrook?
                                And as close as a Belmont kitchen?

                                These dishrags, hand-knitted in pleasant tasks with time
                                are renowned for their magnificence;
                                as well as for edification, improvement in dexterity,
                                mortality or intellectuality. Thinking accomplished mentality!

                                Easy to use, easy to rinse, easy to ring out and dry.
                                Though they stretch and fade in time,
                                heck, working like that, so wouldn’t you and I.

Sherry: The usefulness of the right type of dishrag can never be over-stated, LOL.

ZQ: Anyway, Sherry to make a short story longer, I did move back, up north into the mountains to change my thinking, finish a play, and keep scratching out a novel… and yes to be close to my children (and their supervision) My 12 yr. old Dodge Dakota truck still runs, with a few long term loans (for repairs and maintenance) from my children …after I tell them I’m ready to buy a European scooter with a plugged into the engine heated suite and one of those new helmets with a windshield wiper… gets me an oil change and new springs.

I have four awesome grandchildren, Damien, Gavyn, Logan, and the latest, Abe and Miranda’s first, is Crosby Maurice Knott Garon... evidently Miranda (my daughter in-law, who hails from Wales), believes in four, yes four names... She, of course is another love of my life.

Sherry: Look at the adorable face on that baby! He looks like he has a bit of his granddaddy's impishness already! You two will be in cahoots in no time, and will double your children's supervisory duties, LOL.

ZQ: Yup! The boy is already telling me where we are going... saddle the horses and pack the bottle... just leave a note saying “don’t wait up, we’ll be back soon!” 

I don’t think I can ever express my love for my children, and the “flowers,” in our family, they are growing.

Sherry: In our last interview, I fell in love with your dog  Bubba's beautiful big smooshy face. I know you lost your old pal since then. Have you written about his passing?

Bubba ~ Rest In Peace, Old Pal

The children are gone. No one to harass him,
no one to rub his belly, no one for him to sleep on, 
with his snorting snoring dead weight; 
eventually to be pushed off with
stretching legs onto the floor.
It was his cue to guard and wait
in case a monster should approach
or their Guardian Angel should escape.
Though neither ever did. 
He sleeps on his worn multi-colored "blankie"
in the hallway by the cellar door. Frame still marked with fading
number two pencils recording the incremental height and ages
of all his best friends; with yikes and eeks the progress proclaimed,
including him-self. Except for being a little wider,
his last few marks of height hardly changed.
He wakes at the groan and creak of the sticking kitchen door.
Once a signal for action now takes some comfort in what he sees,
not having to get up, greeting only me.

               I miss the squirrels that insisted on joining us
               when we sat under the shade of our China Maple tree.
               And, those in the woods that would introduce themselves,
               seeing my small sack of pumpkin seeds,
               chattering along the path in welcoming screech.

              And you too, my fine companion, Bubba-Acorn St.Louis;
              chasing the squirrels that taunted you, scurrying to be seen,
              sometimes on a branch as low as only three feet.
              peeling in propensity they would squat and you would watch, 
              as they filled their cheeks, scattering chipped, empty, split seeds
              that you, would forever sniff with acceptance,
              and patience, as they gathered at your feet;
              as if returning their kisses, half on guard and half-asleep.

              And, when that final evening fell, having yourself to go home,
              reminding me it was time for me to go alone
              to refill an empty bag with something other than 
              a handful of black oil seeds. 

The house is for sale now.
The woods have been logged.
Weeds choke the once abundant gardens.
The flowerbeds strain to push up the surviving perennials.
The walkway pressed down by melting snow and driving rains
is covered with un-swept leaves.
The house is empty of comfortable furniture, warmth and laughter,
links frozen at the door.
Bubba passed away yesterday,
no oneleft to meet me as I come through the door.
Melancholy embraces me. I explain, apologizing
"no one I know lives here any more."
      I turn and leave without a trace, to a place I have never been before.

Sherry: Oh, my friend, this poem about does me in. To lose Bubba and your home at the same time. The same thing happened to me. Pup died, I sold my trailer, the last home of my own I will ever have,  and now I miss them both. Somehow I feel ghost-Pup is still there, wondering why it's taking me so long to return. Sigh. Such a poignant, heartrending poem. Our two pals.

Tell our newer members a bit about ZoralinQ, wont you?

ZQ: Zora=Dawn... lin= in the green forest Q= is an unknown variable Please go to my home page ... click on "about ZORALINQ” and read.

Sherry: What are you working on at present? You mentioned a play and a book you wanted to finish by the end of 2014. How are they coming?

ZQ: Haha, the play is almost finished; the book was due July 2012, and I may outlive both being completed. Although they are goals I continue to strive towards. Remember the two rules for the road “...begin and continue.” They did however forget to mention how long the path may be.

Sherry: I hear you. I have more books left in me than expected lifeline trajectory, LOL. Still going to your writers’ group?

ZQ: Yes, I attend my writers' group at Plymouth State University every Wednesday, with joy, and still flirt with the lady that makes my tea in the canteen.  I remind her how great she looks in a hat and uniform.

I do, on occasion attend other groups throughout the state and have met some other wonderful and creative writers, as well as those on Poetry Pantry, the Imaginary Garden with Real Toads, Online Poetry Society, Life and Literature, and poetry archives.

I do enjoy reading new poets as well as old ones. I have nothing but admiration for those who are willing to pen their thoughts and share their art for me (and others) to read and enjoy. Most I understand, others I applaud, and some I just read and say “well, that was different!” and thank them for giving me new insight and exposure to a personal and wonderful newness.

Sherry: The world of poetry is full of beautiful dreamers, for certain. Still playing music?

ZQ: Every chance I get. But, at 68, memory and aches keeps it limited to AARP hoot and nanny’s.

Sherry: ZQ, I want to include the wonderful poem M’Lady here, as it is so beautiful. Would you tell us a bit about this poem?

ZQ: This piece was a reflection of love that was sought for for all the wrong reasons, and discovered those reasons to be illusions and misplaced... and hoping this discovery is not too late to begin loving again for all the right reasons... to experience without reason.

“Once upon a time,”… that was enough
To put you to sleep in the strength of my arms.
Let me fill your hands now, as empty as mine.

Both scarred with, “when we knew each other
Way back then.” In love and young.

We fought the fire and the ice; both, yours and mine.
…not to burn, nor to freeze, but, to keep us safe from harm.

We’ve seen love
Dressed to be kissed;
Sometimes naked, sometimes, dismissed.

We’ve seen love
Rejecting bliss;
Whether sweet, sour, or completely amiss.

We’ve seen love
 Described where only a poet's soul
Still perplexed, tries and dies in an effort to surmise.

Oh, perpetual beautiful love!
So elusive cloaked in laughter and in darkness cries.

I had to be the villain; stealing a kiss
With arms extended,
Wrapped in a young corrupt heart;

When you
Didn’t insist for any other gift,
Embracing the fire of Joan of Arc.

What did I miss?

My shield is torn. My armor weak from worn.
Our victories?  Defeats without blessing;
When actions were wrong.
And my surrender?
You said,
It would have made me strong.

Kneeling, I await the sword upon my shoulder.
Or, my ride through the gate of aging rusted steel,
Un-knighted, head bowed on a horse as old as I.
We will ride rogue in the kingdom
Of M’Lady’s dream; love lost in my youth,
Having spent its final notice.

Whatever I have learned about love, I have learned from you;
Patience, understanding, perseverance, diligence, loyalty and acceptance. 

This lesson, having learned in primal ignorance,
I ask for your forgiveness before I cannot ride again.

I re-approach you, walking my horse.
I, without a sword, and he, without a saddle;
To an empty throne, with warm enlightened hands.

Buried under, covered in decaying guilt, in the soil of time lies the treasure of life I once declined. I shovel up debris, from its burial place, sifting through the past. Weeding the dirt for the clue, the space to plant a bleeding heart.

Sherry:  This one goes deep, my friend, straight into my heart. The rider walking, without a sword, horse without a saddle, just looking for a spot to plant his bleeding heart. Sigh. I love "whatever I have learned about love, I have learned from you." A wonderful tribute. And the spark in "we will ride rogue in the kingdom of M'Lady's dream."  I love that there is always hope. 

So now, might you have a few words for the good folk at Poets United?

ZQ: I do write from the heart, mind, and edited by wisdom... sometimes I feel foolish, sometimes I don’t care, but most times it just flows from somewhere that I have no idea where it comes from, but feel it’s something I need to say, both to myself and anyone that cares to hear. J Everyone should write and express themselves regardless of measure... anyone who would dare to think that their measure is the standard “to beat, or to be better...” has already set the bar (exposing themselves) lower than the art that has been intended to be shared. Poets United has become a wonderful blackboard to read, enjoy, and erased until the next creative words are injected or replaced... all with a smile, respect, admiration, and of course with humility of being shared.

Klick, klick, klatter, skitter scatter, slithers slinky;
down the stairs head first then in reverse.
Faster and faster thumping here and there,
arching, note-by-note, sliding
first to last, then, last to first.

Nothing has to be explained.
Children, encouraging their own pitter-patter,
giggle up the stairs

where there is no name for "nothin' matters".

Sherry: (smiling) I love it! Thank you, ZQ, for allowing us another peek in at your wonderful life. And for being part of Poets United. Good luck finishing that book, we'll see which of us hits hard copy first, LOL. 

Well, friends? There you have it, ZQ at his finest, romantic, poignant, with humor and depth. Sigh. Do come back and see who we talk to next. Who knows? It might be you!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Poetry Pantry #253

Photos of Moab, Utah, USA
by C. C.

"The colors in Moab are absolutely stunning and breathtaking."

A Moab View

"I took this picture early in the morning because the subdued colors made it so contrary to what I typically think of when I think of Moab, Utah.....and because the clouds were so very low in the sky."

"It always boggles my mind to see anything green, or really anything at all, growing out of the hard, dry, red ground in Moab. It seems such an unlikely place for anything to grow and yet things grow. I love the metaphorical meaning that can be found in that!"

Good day, Poets!

Hope each one of you is enjoying a good weekend. Today I am sharing photos taken by C.C. in Moab, Utah.  Beautiful, aren't they?

Tomorrow Sherry Blue Sky has another fascinating interview with one of our very loyal poets. You all will be familiar with him, I am sure.  He's here most every Sunday.  Curious? You will just have to check back.

And on Wednesday for Midweek Motif Susan will encourage us to write on the subject of "Weeds and Weediness."  I like thinking where one can go with THAT prompt.  So many meanings to consider!

And, if you haven't read it already, be sure to scroll one page back and read Rosemary's interesting article on the poet Jim Cole and his dog Cheeba.  If you are a dog lover, don't miss it!

With no further delay, hope that you will enjoy the Pantry today.  Leave a short comment when you post; and be sure to visit the links of others.  I will look forward to reading what you share.

Friday, May 22, 2015

I Wish I'd Written This

Dog Bones

By Jim Cole

Cheeba lays at my feet
a muffled barking in his sleep

his legs are twitching
and i wonder what he is chasing

is it a memory ?
or is he on a shamanic journey ?

i am no dog whisperer
but he knows whatever i am thinking

and somehow responds
before i say or do anything

some people have this instinct
an empathic intuitive distinctive

paranormal gift of knowing
i have it when i am used for healing

sometimes i think Cheeba
is a gift to me for my own healing

he knows what i am dealing with
and i affectionately call him Buddha dog

we often put our foreheads together
and we watch as we silently meditate

he doesn’t come when i call
but he finds me whenever i am lost in

deep thought and not paying
him with enough attention from within

without him i would be alone
spirit of my spirit and bone of my bone

Yes, you are getting two poems this time — the three-line poem to Cheeba with the photo, haiga-like, and the longer piece which echoes and elaborates on it. 

I have known Jim Cole for perhaps nine years now, first on MySpace then on facebook. He styles himself The Love Poet, and he can certainly lay claim to that title, as his poetry is written with the express purpose of spreading Love in the world.  

Here is what he said about himself when I asked him for biographical notes for this article:

'An old world poet who is a modern mystic, poet Jim Cole writes to remind us of our Oneness of consciousness in an emerging compassionate climate of change. Poetry became his voice in the 1960s and continues today as he admits he is a survivor of four suicide attempts beginning at age 7 and ending at his awakening at age 40. He shares his daily experiences of pain as a remembrance of release from the past and an enduring hope for the present.'

Having been reading him for years, I observed that he seemed to be in deep depression when I began seeing his writing, and that after some time he appeared to turn a corner and enter into the enjoyment of life again. This was apparent not only in the verses but also from his profile photos, in which his eyes stopped looking sad. The change in his energy, in both ways, was quite marked — and it attests to the power of his chosen practice of using poetry in the service of Love. I must add that his poems reveal that he also uses prayer.

He has no pretensions to being a 'literary' poet. He prefers simplicity and truth. 

(I think you know I'm a grammar Nazi. I did ask him if I could change 'lays' in the above poem to 'lies'. He politely declined, as he chose it for vibrational reasons. How could I argue? Spiritual / energetic truth of course prevails, and is the foundation of poetry.)

Sometimes I find his work a tad too sentimental for my taste, but many love and cherish it, and there is no doubting his authenticity. And sometimes — often! — the loving heart and the poetic language come together to create something truly beautiful, as in this tribute to his beloved old dog.

Here is a masterly haiku I also wish I'd written:

life explodes
leaves spring from trees
buds go bloom !

I'm giving you extra today, as Jim hasn't had a book published and the only place you can find his poetry online is at his facebook profile

I'm sad to report that his friend Cheeba crossed over on March 18 this year. Many of us know what it means to lose such a special being, and will feel sympathetic to Jim in his loss. Yet it is cathartic to read about such a faithful 'guardian friend' and we are richer for meeting Cheeba in these loving words.

Poems and photos used in ‘I Wish I’d Written This’ remain the property of the copyright holders (usually their authors).