Spicing it up

Basil had finally arrived
in Arizona dreaming
of repeating Krakow nights
with his saffron love,
Garam Masala.

After leaving sunny Paris
they had spent thyme 
watching Tuscan sunsets
before mulling spices
into a mural of flavour 
for adding some Aleppo pepper
to their long awaited reunion.

Laced with dill,
pickled appetisers set
a savouring mood 
for their evening

Cumin, coriander paprika
zatar and mustard seeds
ensured the main meal
was saucy, spicy and hot.

Sea salt, lemon grass 
fennel and sesame seeds
added potentcy to the salad

Nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla
heightened their senses
throughout dessert.

By the end of the meal
they were ravenous
for the after dinner mints.

Merril set this week’s dVerse prompt for we poets to spice things up using at least three of twenty-five listed herbs, spices, flavors, and spice combinations. For a bit of fun, I chose to cook up something that used them all.

Any door every door

One of the strange houses of Lee Madgwick

Today’s dVerse prompt was to undertake a very interesting ekphrastic challenge from Sarah. Sarah asked we dVerse poets to choose one of five fascinating images created by UK artiist Lee Madgwick . I chose the image displayed above.

How many times do you step through a door and
that decision changes the course of your life?
How many times?

You step through a door and
whether you know which way you are going or not
that decision changes the course of your life.
Many times.

You look through open doors and glass doors and
the view beyond each threshold can look better
much better with broad vistas of more promise 
than the narrow one in which you are standing.
You are a stand in
many, some days, every time.
How many times do you go through these doors
to where the grass is greener?
Many times.

You look through closed doors, opaque, the cracks and 
keyholes of doors
to wild skies of threatening, black clouds, heavy and 
threatening cloud banks of stormy weather
oppressive and threatening with worse to come
you know it will be worse for at least a time
many, some days, every time.
But still, consider.
How many times do you go through these doors?
Many times.

How do you choose which door opens 
to the best passage for the rest of your life?
The green of desire or of envy,
the passing black of fear or courage?
There are no obvious silver linings.
The lines are not clear.
Can you say your lines?
Your lines are not clear.
There are no obvious wishes to guide you.
Your wishes are not clear.
Can you articulate your wishes?
When will you wish honesty for yourself?
When honesty is a necessity?
Don’t close that door.

When is the right time?
Or the right place?
Or do you bother to choose at all?
When the right door opens for you?
Even when no choice is always a choice and
change will come regardless.
Change will come.
You know this.
Do you know this well enough by
understanding there is only luck at play?
Only luck is at play.
Do you know this?
You might not know this.

How often do those doors that are closed to you and 
blank with no offerings
get ignored because there is no obvious gain for you?
You walk past new worlds of wonder and peril everyday.
All the time.
Any door every door any time every time.
Every step is a decision.
Every decision is one to please, regret, grieve or rejoice. 
At the time or
in time.

But, you never know and
that is the reason for looking at doors
any door and every door
and always wondering about going through
into some place else. 
It should never be otherwise because
time is linear and time is limited.
All doors are only one door 
any door every door
in front of you when and where ever you are. 

And each door has its own nature
protecting you from the elements
or exposing you
locking you in 
locking you out
shutting quietly behind you 
slamming in your face 
creaking with foreboding or
letting in the fresh air.

You my be attracted by doors to the light.
It seeps in around the edges and under the woodwork and
you think to be in the light must be a good
place to be, you cross that threshold.
That threshold will be crossed.
to find a good place to be,
And sometimes it is a desert, a blazing sun, a hot, dry furnace and 
you retreat desperate with thirst, burned and changed.
Other times it is a moonlit field and you run through the soft green grass
before realising you have strayed enough to
never return to be the same person.
Does either door scare you?
Are you scared?
Hope is the latch, fear is the key.
Finding a way to use them
is finding a way to be.
You never have to stray far from yourself to change.
Crossing that threshold is no distance at all.
One that can take you al long way.
Crossing that threshold.
You are changed forever every time.
Many times.

Any door every door any time every time
go through. 
You change so the world changes
You change me and everyone else irrevocably.
You change us all.
All of us change.
Neither you nor I, neither will we and 
us ever be the same we, you and I.
For passing through any door every time will change 
us here and now in time.
The person you thought I was is no longer mine.
The person I thought was you is no longer in time.
The world changes instantly every time without design.
We pass through many doors many times.

How many times do you step through a door and
that decision changes the course of your life?
How many times?

You step through a door and
whether you know which way you are going or not
that decision changes the course of your life.
Many times.

It all started at the restaurant

I sat
Table set
Her late 
for date

She came
Soup came
Talk flamed
Soup good

Entree
She said
Problem lies
in bed

Main meal
She reveals
I’m heel
Big deal 

Drinks round
Table pound
Curse slur
From her

For desert
Her hurt
Expressed curt
Wants shirt

Stands up
Stamps out
What’s all
this about?

I know
I’m great
Super man
Super mate

Get home
Her stuff
All gone
Enough’s enough

I call
Mobile phone
No answer
She’s done

Oh oh
Really gone?
This time
I’m alone

Misery me
Don’t deserve
This treatment
What nerve!

Peer lust Peer sorrow Regrets I carry into Every Tomorrow

Rum tum tum Rum tum tum
I succumbed
Rum tum tum
When the words were flung

Saw the bait Saw the bait
Thrown to peers alust with hate
Saw the bait 
Do its work to humiliate

Watched his face Watched his face
Cloud to the many shades of disgrace
Watched his face 
Laid waste by such bitter taste

Witnessed the scorn Witnessed the scorn
For one different and elsewhere born
Witnessed the scorn 
As with thorny crown he was adorned

Turned my head Turned my head
When more weaponised words were said
Turned my head 
Away from watching as his heart bled

Felt my shame Felt my shame
As passive part of this vicious game
Felt my shame 
My brutal silence my silence to blame

I still regret I still regret 
No one’s eyes to have met
I still regret 
Complicit inaction I can’t forget

Where is he now? Where is he now?
Is he high or is he low?
Where is he now?
Does anger in him burn aglow?

Sanaa asked we poets to explore the issue of peer pressure for this week’s dVerse prompt. I expect there are few people anywhere who can claim complete innocence. Have you got anything to say for yourself?

life is to death as tears are to rain

Bright is the light that shines on me 
as I dwell finally
in deathbed reverie
the doctor he talks
and talks and he talks

my wife she weeps
and weeps and she weeps
and time it creeps
and creeps and it creeps

what is this light that shines above
lights pallid face of death
to my love
the darkness it resists
and resists and it resists

in brilliance it glows
and glows and it glows
in radius it grows
and grows and it grows

this light that calls me as my light fades
this light that draws me
to the night of shades
with death it walks
and walks and it walks

my feeble hand I raise and wave
I waver and it waves
faces watch uncertain so grave
grave and so grave

I see my hand stir dust in the air
second last thing I will see anywhere
the dust it wafts
and wafts and it wafts

my brow is mopped
and mopped and is mopped
my hand drops
I drop and it drops

as dust I settle back onto deaths bed
into the pillow sinks my head
life’s weight I shed
I shed and I shed

looking down into the room
I am surprised it is lit
by only gloom
the husk has collapsed
collapsed collapsed

hollowed of life
of life and of life
beside my wife
my wife my beloved wife

the dust dispersed draws my spirit in
and back to dust
I go again
the gift I leave is small but complete
I was loved and I loved
I am replete

Today’s dverse prompt is from Laura, to write words of departure based on your choice from a set of quotes. I chose the quote from a favourite and most remarkable movie – “All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.” Roy Batty, Blade Runner.

Juliet and Romeo

Juliet
is all slick and wet
her long hair in her eyes
she has been hit
by an idiot
drunk driving by 
bye bye

Romeo
roams idly by 
sees the girl on the ground
He looks at her 
quizzically 
then realises what he has found

Juliet
breathes in gasps
as blood pools under her back
She looks up sees Romeo
last look last love
as limbs go slack

Romeo’s
not much you know
but this time 
things are different
He wipes the hair from glazed eyes
and wonders where 
her life went

Juliet
rises above the scene
She watches Romeo
He cradles her head
gently in his lap
He whimpers out a moan

Romeo
struck by love’s full fist
his only love has gone
He whines he weeps
at his loss
Death into his soul creeps

Juliet 
bears final witness to 
Romeo’s last testament
“Did my heart truly love till now?”
he whispers
For the first time 
he knows what love meant
“Good night Good night”
“Thus with a kiss I too die”
He declares to her 
death pale face

Romeo 
bends his head down
tenderly brushes her cold lips 
with his own
he lets her head down 
lightly beside him
as he lies quietly beside her
takes her right hand
with his left

Romeo
from his pocket
retrieves a knife
meant for other men 
he eases the blade
between his ribs
it finds his broken heart
As blood pools under his back
his life is also gone

Juliet 
utters one last cry of grief
before she disappears
or was that one last cry of relief
in hope he reappears
for never was there a story of more woe 
than this of Juliet and her Romeo

Ingrid’s prompt for this week’s dVerse poetics was “Homage to the Bard.” I chose to write a poem approximately on the theme of Romeo and Juliet. https://dversepoets.com/2022/04/26/poetics-homage-to-the-bard/

The darkness 01

In the darkness there is fear of 
what we do not know where 
moonlit silhouettes change 
frequented pathways through
accustomed landscapes 
to unfamiliar tunnels hooded 
by shadows obscured 
by gloom alive 
with the colourless and hidden

In black night confusion 
and disorientation assert 
themselves by seeding doubt
Insubstantial surroundings draw an
inky deception across the known 
world where that latent but 
ever present dread of
losing our way will always prevail

Today, the dVerse challenge was from Linda to pick one line from a Jim Harrison poem and use it as an epigraph for a poem inspired by that line. I chose, “Yes, in the predawn black the slim slip of the waning moon.”- Remote Friends, Jim Harrison. https://dversepoets.com/2022/01/25/poetics-songs-of-unreason/

The reality / truth paradox

The only reality is in one place, at one time,
as a fleeting perception of what a truth may be.
That is to say, no reality at all.
Reality is a thought of a truth in the here and now,
only ever understood by one mind in one instant,
only internalised by one heart for less than one heartbeat.
Then lost forever, to ever evolving interrogation, explanation and dissertation.

External attempts at understanding another’s reality and truths are just that, attempts.
Interpretations of another’s reality are creative, transient similitudes at best.
Knowing of another’s truths can only be attempted by association.
Association by its very nature denies the accuracy reality and truth demand.

History is a barely valid interpretation of past reality and its truths.
Yesterday is reappraisal of reality, mere perception of memorable truths.
The future has no reality where truth is elusive and aloof.
Tomorrow is simply anticipation based upon expectation come proof.
Proof is a contextual misnomer ignoring the reality question, what is truth?

Strathbogie poetry
#strathbogiepoetry

A response to this week’s d’verse challenge regarding the Hemingway quote, “There is nothing else but now. There is neither yesterday, certainly, nor is there tomorrow.” - For whom the bell tolls (1940). https://dversepoets.com/2021/06/22/dverse-poetics-one-true-sentence/

These first two lines of the quote cited immediately drew me back to a repeated personal exploration of what I call “The Reality / Truth Paradox”. If the word “certainly“ had been “certainty” it would have been a perfect fit.

I think this is a discussion Hemingway would have willingly engaged in with me if we had met. I would start with the question, “Do you apply fundamental realities and truths to your characters at the time of their creation?”

Small Flies and Other Wings

Small Flies and Other Wings by Christine Ay Tjoe (Oil on canvas) 2013
Art in the pink, the hope that it brings
Wings painted from, the smallest of things
The joy of the colour, the mess of it all
A pleasure to view, this artist's call

Not quite abstract, the painting surreal
Based in fact, then allowed to congeal
Into pastel riot, of colour and lines
Into a many makes whole, artwork refined

What underlies, there's tissue paper petals
The subject mixed up, then left to settle
What was the intent, forethought soft light
To please the eye, or just to feel right

So busy so active, yet here is still life
Outlines overshot, not cut like a knife
In the blur there is movement, on a canvas full
But the subject is lifeless, the message - killed

When you look deeper, what do you see
Something different to me, most certainly
I see part of you, I see part of me
I see a gift, a sadness, in humanity

Did this idea form, in the artist's mind
Develop and grow, the mind to bind
An irresistible force, the desire to create
A bane and pleasure, that will never wait

This poem is a response to a dVerse ~ Poets Pub challenge