My Thoughts · poetry

Coyote Encounter in My Poetry

Coyote

Coyote in Native American folklore is a trickster, and I had my experience with this illusive scoundrel and recorded in a poem. My ex-husband and I lived near a Native American burial ground where we walked.

Coyote is a major mythological figure for most Native American tribes, especially those west of the Mississippi. Like real coyotes, mythological coyotes are usually notable for their crafty intelligence, stealth, and voracious appetite. However, American Indian coyote characters vary widely from tribe to tribe. In some Native American coyote myths, Coyote is a revered culture hero who creates, teaches, and helps humans; in others, he is a sort of antihero who demonstrates the dangers of negative behaviors like greed, recklessness, and arrogance; in still others, he is a comic trickster character, whose lack of wisdom gets him into trouble while his cleverness gets him back out. In some Native coyote stories, he is even some sort of combination of all three at once.

http://www.native-languages.org/legends-coyote.htm

This poem came after my personal sighting of a coyote one morning.

Spirit Coyote

Larada Horner

September 20, 2000

One velvety quiet dawn

I see you and my heart knows.

We know each other deeply,        

beyond time and space.

                        Where did we first meet?

On the prairies in southeastern Colorado?

Your eyes haunt me

            following my every step.

Your home, a sacred Indian burial ground,

separated from the world by a chain link fence.

Ancient ones honored!

I walk by daily on the outside—

you and them today on the inside.

Are you coyote?  Are you spirit?  I can’t be sure!

            This is Albuquerque,

                        The city

                                    People everywhere.

I question as you mesmerize me.

            You turn away from me, and        

                        I recognize your lean frame.

You are coyote!

Death has captured them

            and you, too.

Are you captured?

Are you free?

You follow my action,

            you sneak towards me.

I gulp worried you will charge,

            but your movement stops towards me.

Now you progress with me, alongside me.

I feel comfortable in your presence–

            no fear,

            a companion that knows my heart.

You rise up on a small mound

            then you’re gone—gone forever!

A chain link fence separates us.

            You locked in with the dead

                        me alive outside,

                        walking free,

            yet skirting you and death everyday.

At times, I hear the chains in the fence rattle in the breeze,

            yet I know it’s not the breeze–

                        the sound is too severe.

            I know it’s spirits, like you caught in that place,

                        that place between the unknown,

                                    a place I know so well!

We are one; I see it!

Death, spirit coyote and me

            roaming through this life!

Those ancient ones inside me clamor to be

            free, to be put to rest!

Your spirit sought me out

            with a message.

Some Natives see you as the trickster,

            the predator by ranchers.

Others see you as the tourist symbol of the Southwest

            and place a red bandana around your neck.

What a shame!

Your spirit is larger, filling the arroyo

            and canyon of my heart.

You roam free—

            So, take me along!

I yearn to roam free with you,

            to howl at the moon,

                           at my loneliness,

                           at my aloneness,

                           at the other spirits walking my same path.

This surreal experience happened twenty-one years ago, and magic realism took over my poem—wondering about mysterious disappearance of that coyote. So what do you think? Where did it go? (Scroll below & make a comment about this mystery!

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My Thoughts · poetry · Travel

Haunted by a Favorite Poem of Mine

Larada at the top of Uxmal, 1991 - Haunted by Coba
Larada at the top of Uxmal, 1991

Thirty-five years ago, I wrote a poem after my memorable adventure in Cobá, Mexico, in the summer of 1985. Laying solemnly unattended in a folder on my computer, it has haunted me over the years. Today, I recalled my surreal experience when I wrote the poem, remembering the physical parts of the Cobá experience, and then the magic I added.

 In 1986, also, I was finishing up my coursework at Colorado State University. We studied magical realism in my Spanish classes, looking at the works of Jorge Luis Borges and Gabriel García Márquez. This genre fascinated me—reality with a dash of magic.

 So, what is magical realism: 

 Magical realism is a genre of literature that depicts the real world as having an undercurrent of magic or fantasy. Magical realism is a part of the realism genre of fiction.

Within a work of magical realism, the world is still grounded in the real world, but fantastical elements are considered normal in this world. Like fairy tales, magical realism novels and short stories blur the line between fantasy and reality.

https://www.masterclass.com/articles/what-is-magical-realism#what-is-magical-realism

For several years, the Mayan culture and the Yucatán peninsula captured my attention, so I visited many Mayan Indian ruins there: Chichen Itza, Uxmal, Tulum, and Cobá. During tours at each ruin, I took copious notes. I bought several books and read about the Mayans, their culture and beliefs and absorbed details.

During our 1985 trip to Cobá, much of it lay overgrown with heavy jungle vegetation. Lynn Hafer, my travel companion and I stayed at a Club Med hotel nearby, but it wasn’t a “Swinging Singles’” Club Med infamous at the time but a research facility with a full library and a quiet, somber setting. Because of its remote location, the Mexican government had not commercialized Cobá yet, so what a raw jungle experience we had!

In 1991 I continued my Mayan treks. To celebrate my completion of my master’s degree, Lynn and I went to Guatemala to one of the largest Mayan Indian ruins, Tikal, a dream come true for this Mayan ruin lover. However, my experience, noted in this poem at Cobá, regularly surfaced and haunted me, so I thought I’d share it with you. In looking at it today, I felt the call to revise!        

                

Cobá—I Was there!!

Written – March, 1986

Revised – July 25, 2021

The year was 1985.

Walking down an overgrown jungle path with my friend,
	toucan birds squeak above my head
                nestled in the canopy.
A turn in the road, thick over-growth blocks the sun 
        for a minute.
		Shadows, sounds, smells--
			transported me back to 900 A.D.
      
A shiver pierces my soul.
I stare at crumbled ruins
        while an iguana lazily poses on a low step,
	       large but approachable.
Colorful in dress, Mayans step out 
        of the past and the bushes,
	       brush my arm.

I strain to see their faces 
        and 
               to hear their voices.
Is it real?

The bees buzz in the tops of the
        Trees among the orchids that
	       Decorate the canopy
		        With their color.
The bees’ hum above
	Joins the voices below.

Where am I?  
When?  
       With whom?
               A step back in time, yet caught between
                        Two worlds—then and now!

Had I been here before?
       At this spot,
       Centuries before,
              Standing at the foot of this Temple, 
                        surrounded by my fellow Mayans, 	    	    	        
              Worshipping the god "Chac" and 	   	    	    	    	
              Listening to the familiar
	    	    	Squeak of birds
                               and the laughter of howling monkeys.
   
The smell of Copal, sweet incense, fills the air
      The mingled 
             Odor of honey and grain,
                       My sacrifice to my god.
A bright fire illumines the scene
      With reflections and smoke.

The drums beat—beat—beat a familiar steady cadence.
      Draw me to them.
The Mayan priests chant—chant—chant soft sounds that join the 	    	    		
      Bass beat of the drums.   
The Mayan language a mystery to me,
      Yet I know it’s deep meaning.
I sway to the beat—the chant.
      It vibrates in my soul calling me forth
              Through the ages,
                      Past time’s illusive barrier!

Dark bronze skins glisten in the firelight.
      Brown eyes search our faces for safety.
             Flat heads surprise me with their symmetry.
I marvel at the feathery headdresses with multiple colorful gowns.	  
      I join the celebration,
             The ceremony!  

Small sturdy people crowd around me, 
      Greet me in a soft rhythmic tongue.
            Gently, friendly—a spark shines in
                     Their eyes with recognition!

THEY KNOW ME!  I'm among my own.  I'm home!!!

But it can’t be!
      I grew up in Colorado
            Not Mexico
	    Not centuries ago
	    Not Mayan

"Did you hear that?  What was that?" my friend grabs
      My arm.


TRANSPORTED
     BACK
            TO REALITY, or is it?  
I'm back—1985.
	    
The summer's heat presses in,
     The sun's scorching heat
           Eerie sounds and hums flow 
                   Through the air.
Eerie, yet familiar.

I strain to hear it better
     To hear the beat of the past
          To see those familiar brown eyes.
	    	    	    	    
I want to return!
     But can I?


Déjà vu? A poem capturing my experience or a fictional treatment? I can’t explain what happened that day so many years ago, but I know it was surreal. My poetry helped me express what I felt, not exactly what I saw. When I wrote the poem, the total experience happened. For years, this poem haunted me with its expression of possibility. I believe there’s unexplainable mystery in this world. Maybe that’s why I am attracted to the genre of magical realism and the chance that I witnessed a Mayan ceremony so many centuries ago.

A mystery happened this afternoon. I planned to use pictures from that 1985 trip to Cobá, but I couldn’t find my photo album. I found pictures from our second trip to Cobá 1986. Historically, I take lots of pictures on any trip—what happened to that album? Another puzzle added here—I wonder?

Have you ever had an unexplainable experience like mine? What happened? How did you honor it and record it? (Scroll below to make a comment)


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family · My Thoughts · poetry

Let’s Celebrate My Birthday Today!

My baby picture - my birthday
My baby picture taken August 1953

Today is my birthday—I turned 68. Hard to believe! Will you help me celebrate?

Here’s a poem I wrote about the day I was born:

 
 “She Was Born Dancing!”
 On June 26, 1953, my folks left
 their thirteen-month-old son with Millie,
 the family babysitter,
 to go to a square dance in Trinidad,
 fifty miles away.
  
 Mom danced one tip that night—
 She was nine months pregnant
 with me.
 They left the dance early
 feeling something was about to happen.
  
 Early the next morning
 Mom had labor pains
 that made her stagger across the floor.
 It was time!
  
 The fifty-mile trip back to Trinidad
 and the hospital
 was made in record time.
  
 At 10:30 a.m. I was born.
  
 Dad went downtown
 and ran into a fellow dancer
 from the previous night.
  
 Dad announced his good news—
 a new baby girl!
  
 Remembering Mom at the dance
 the night before,
 the only comment the stunned friend
 had to make was,
 “She was born dancing!” 

            Whenever my mom was alive, she made my birthday a special occasion. When I was a child, it was a party with all my friends and family and a birthday cake she decorated. Just inviting my cousins and family made a sizeable get-together.

4th birthday - my birthday
I’m the smirky one to the left with long curls!

As an adult, she continued to celebrate me on my day, making every year memorable. In 1983, when I turned thirty years old, Aunt Willie decorated a cake with one foot on a banana peel. My nephew carried in a watermelon for a gift (my favorite summer food). Then they gave me a gift of survival tools for being over the hill: my grandmother’s dentures, underwear and other key helping aides.

In 2012, Lin and I were at the National Square Dance Convention for my birthday, so Mom left me a voicemail wishing me a happy birthday. I kept that voicemail and recorded it on my iPad. After she died in 2013, I’ve started each of my birthdays off with playing it just to hear her voice and her greeting.

            In 2017, my brother and his two daughters were in Branson, Colorado, for my birthday. They have their grandmother’s birthday spirit, so they provided the props, and we took these photos to celebrate.

Today I celebrate being 68 years old. My husband, Lin, made it a special day. He wrapped his gift a couple days ago and set it on the coffee table in the living room, enticing me to wonder about it.

Roses for my birthday
Bouquet Lin bought me for my birthday

            This morning a beautiful bouquet of roses and lilies greeted me when I came downstairs. Then he sang “Happy birthday” to me and encouraged me to open my gift immediately. He bought me a CD player to listen to during my Quiet Time. Mine died a couple months ago, and I was going to replace it, but. . .

            For breakfast, he fixed blueberry pancakes, and we played a couple games of Cribbage and I won—a gift he hadn’t planned.

My birthday cake today
Me with my birthday cake today

            Then after lunch, he put a “Birthday Girl” headdress on me and came in with lit candles on a carrot cake. He explained the lettering on the cake. He had bought a cake decorating tube and wrote my name in the middle but ran out of room, so the last A was underneath it. Then he successfully wrote “Happy” at the bottom, but he told me the tube malfunctioned so he couldn’t do “Birthday.” What a sweetheart!

Other family members helped me celebrate. This morning I received a text from my sister wishing me a happy birthday. This afternoon, I received a phone call from my niece and two of her children, my nephew and his two daughters, and my brother wishing me a happy birthday.

            Yes, today we celebrated in true Horner fashion. Lin, who celebrates so much like Mom, channeled her celebratory nature the whole day.

            Don’t stop celebrating birthdays, no matter how old you are—that special day when you were born! Do something outrageously fun and make it a day to remember! Lin and Mom always have!

            What do you do to celebrate birthdays in your family or with your friends? (Scroll down below to make a comment.)

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My Thoughts · poetry

Haiku—A Trip Down Memory Lane

Walking down memory lane to haiku
Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh from Pexels

Haiku, an ancient Japanese form of writing poetry in three lines, has become one of my rediscovered loves. Since I took part in Natalie Goldberg’s “The Way of Writing” Workshop in March and April, and she instructed us in haiku writing, I have become enchanted anew. When I taught writing to middle school students, I included haiku as one of their poetry assignments, but I forgot this. As I remember now, I loved teaching haiku. I enforced the rule of syllable count for each line, which helped my students understand syllables. When writing one, they would tap out the syllables on their desks—and finally they understood syllables.

As I remembered my beloved poetry unit, what my students wrote blew me away! They loved the strict format of haiku, forcing them to focus. Also, it didn’t have to rhyme, and that freed them considerately.

This afternoon, I needed to see my students’ haikus again, so I just ran out to my storage shed, open up a box I have kept treasured “Teaching material,” in and rummage through certain assignments I’ve kept for decades. As I moved through the stack of papers, I held my breath. First, I found one folder named “Haikus.” Delicious short poems about middle school life in English and Spanish from my students—I taught Spanish so my students wrote haikus in both languages. I would love to share them with you, but I better not because of privacy issues, but once again I read haikus six-graders wrote in heartfelt three line poems about their lives. Still precious as ever.

Then I found my beloved poetry unit and read through the various poems I shared so any years ago, wanting to ignite the fire of poetry in them, and often I did! Because I guided them carefully with examples and then subjects to write about, many shared their deep hearts’ concerns and loves. I felt privileged to witness their poetry.

When I taught my poetry unit, I read them a large variety of poetry to whet their appetite. The haiku example I read them was one of Sonia Sanchez. I probably picked a Hispanic poet to connect my students to her because the majority were Hispanic.

Haiku by Sonia Sanchez

 

Today I participated in a three-hour writing workshop with Natalie, entitled “Write Your Pandemic Story—Three Lines at a Time,”—that’s what stirred up my reminiscing about my students and haiku writing. We delved in deeper with her, giving more instructions on writing haiku. She read premiere haikus from the ancient Japanese greats, then also haiku from more modern Japanese poets. After listening to these great poets, we wrote our own, divided up into breakout rooms of five and read some we just wrote. What a rewarding experience. We repeated going to the breakout room a second time after another teaching from Natalie and read again after writing more.

Traditionally haiku is written in three lines: five syllables for the first line, seven syllables for the second and five for the third. Natalie was first introduced to haiku by Allen Ginsberg in 1976 at the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado. He discouraged his students in adhering to the syllable count, because we have words in English that have less importance, like articles of speech (the, an, that).

“The only real measure of a haiku, Allen told us that one hot July afternoon, ‘is upon hearing one, your mind experiences a small sensation of space’ — he paused; I leaned in, breathless — ‘which is nothing less than God.'”

Natalie Goldberg, Three Simple Lines: A Writer’s Pilgrimage into the Heart and Homeland of Haiku (2021): 4.

In Allen’s introduction, he identified four famous haiku men poets: Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki. In her book, Natalie added a woman, Chiyo-ni.

For more information, here’s a website that talks about the four men poets: Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki: https://examples.yourdictionary.com/examples-of-haiku-poems.html

Here’s one about Chiyo-ni: http://www.earlywomenmasters.net/chiyo/

So, what’s the attraction? For me it’s the brevity, the crispness, the focus. It’s like taking a picture of something valuable in words then ending with an emotion. Also, I realized as I wondered back to my teaching days how much I loved haiku then and that love spurred me on to take this workshop today.

Since my workshop in March and April with Natalie, I’ve tried my hand at writing haiku. Let me know what you think.

March 22

 Life so wonderful
 So deeply charismatic
 A jingle daily! 

 One foot here on earth
 Gather deceived loved one near 
 One foot there with you!

March 23

 I hate politics
 Republicans, Democrats
 Families divided!  

 Eight years ago, Mom
 Left here, entered a new sphere
 Relief in her eyes. 

March 24

 Mom’s unique fragrance
 Covered my heart yesterday
 Thanks for the visit.

March 25

 Spring snowstorm blankets
 The piñon trees in white shroud
 Green, white and blue skies.
  
 Can square dance survive?
 We love to dance and connect
 Celebrate the beat! 

March 27

 Words hurt; words can heal
 Like a bomb or like a salve.
 Today I chose health. 

Simple, direct! Haiku poetry began in the thirteenth century and has gained momentum recently. I wrote many of these poems during my daily walks—the words, the themes and imagines came. I beat out the rhythm of the syllables with my fingers like my students did so many years ago, ran home and jotted them down before I forgot them.

How about you? Three simple lines to describe something specific in your world! If you craft one, share it with me. I’d love to know I’m still a teacher of haiku! To make a comment and/or share your haiku, scroll down below the following information.


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My Thoughts · Patriotism · poetry · Politics

Did Democracy Win? Hell, yes!

I heart the American Flag Democracy Won!
Photo by Edgar Colomba from Pexels

I cherish and respect our long-held democracy in the United States of America, but then on January 6, 2021, my heart dropped as I watched domestic terrorists breach our Capitol. I’ve spent the last couple weeks mulling over the the bizarre start to 2021. Insurrection has become an often-repeated word. Really? Pertaining to the United States of America? Oh, my God! For other countries, other angry people, yes, but here? I thought we were immune to this sort of rebellion.

So, I turned to poetry to process my feelings.

Words-Democracy Won!
Photo by Edgar Colomba from Pexels

Insurrection, Not a Part of My Vocabulary

January 11, 2021

Definition, “an act or instance of revolting against civil authority or an established government.” https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/insurrection

The word, insurrection

            Has never been

                        A daily word in

                                    My vocabulary.

Never

Until January 6, 2021

            Invoked its repetition

                        Over and over

                                    Again.

I witnessed

The invasion of our Capitol

            By a blood thirsty mob.

Shocked

Spellbound

Disgusted

Violence

            Planned

                        To take over

                                    Our Capitol,

                        To take hostage

                                    Certain congressmen and women

                                    Our vice president

                        To execute them!

Gallows with a noose constructed

            Within view of the Capitol.

                       

Elected officials heard

            Their names screamed

                        As they feared

                                    For their lives!

For months,

            I’ve heard rumblings

                        Of a Civil War

                                    From conservative and liberal

                                                Friends

                                                            And family.

I knew they were planning something.

            Facebook knew.

            Twitter knew.

Why didn’t the government know?

            A question that needs answered.

Insurrection in the USA!

            I’m 67 years old,

                        Never before

                                    In my lifetime.

An anger that has raged

            For years

                        Spun

                                    Out of control

                                                In

                                                            that insurrection.

What’s coming?

            On January 20, 2021

                        Inauguration Day

                                    Threats of massive protests

                                                All over the country.

The Civil War could be here!

            What do I do?


The two weeks before the Inauguration I wondered. I checked news’ source repeatedly. The FBI actively arrested the leaders of the insurrection which totally changed the atmosphere at the Inauguration.

The military presence of 25,000 National Guardsmen in Washington, D. C. sent a strong message to the disruptors—we will not let it happen again!

Here’s my poem after the Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris:

Insurrection or Democracy? Who Won?

January 22, 2021

On January 6, 2021

            Insurrection raised its

Bloody head

            Stood armed

                        And

                                    Dangerous.

Fear constricted my throat.

            A breached Capitol

                        Desecrated with

                                    Angry urine

                                    A Confederate flag

                                    Unfulfilled dreams

                                    The threats of death

                                                And

                                                            Execution

                                                                        Of

                                                                                    Legislators

                                                                                    Our vice president.

Did democracy win? Hell, yes!

Our legislators counted the votes!

Insurrection did not stand in the way!

Two weeks we waited

            As a country,

                        Holding our collective breaths

                        Multiple arrests

                                    Family members turning in protesters

                        More video of the vile carnage.

Rumors abounded—

            More violence

                        More threats

                                    For January 20, 2021

                                                Inauguration day.

Democracy Won!
Photo by Jill Wellington from Pexels

But democracy won!

            A civil exchange of leadership

            A warm presidential speech

                        Overflowing with calm,

                                    A call to unity.

Musical interludes

Patriotic celebrations

Then my heart exploded!

Amanda Gorman - Democracy Won!
Amanda Gorman

Amanda Gorman spoke,

            The young black poet

                        Crowned her black braids

                                    With festive red ribbon.

My poet’s heart soared.

            Her words captured

                        unquestionably

                                    A much-needed positivity.

            Her presentation,

                        Clear and precise!

Don’t let your political party affiliation

            Stop you! Listen to her words!

They expressed

            A positive spin

                        Of our wounded nation

                                    “The Hill We Climb”

                                                with multiple alliterations

                                                            and strong imagery.

Amanda’s words

Healed my heart

            Healed my fear.

I pray deeply, “If only we’re brave enough to be it.”

            The light

Did democracy win? Hell, yes!

As an English teacher, I printed Amanda’s poem and marked it up, circling the numerous alliterations and images. The repeated sounds created a poetic rhythm that soothed my soul. She made two references to the award-winning play, Hamilton, in her poem. https://bookstr.com/article/amanda-gorman-references-hamilton-in-the-hill-we-climb/

Poetry, above any other genre, needs to be heard, and there’s a magic if it’s in the poet’s voice. Reading it is good, but hearing it is so much better. Be sure and listen to Amanda’s presentation of her poem, “The Hill We Climb.”

If you’d like a copy of Amanda’s poem, download here:

As we move forward in 2021, insurrection no longer needs to be spoken or thought about. I choose to focus on peace and the spirit of Amanda’s intriguing poem.

How about you?


Flippo's Book Cover with Book Excellence Awards Review

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website & pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Here’s Christmas greetings from Flippo & Neeca, featuring his song, “When Its Christmas Time in Texas”: https://youtu.be/mpJCUGffU3A

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me & my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~Larada’s Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B00LLQTXSM

~ Visit my Etsy Shop for all my books:   https://www.etsy.com/shop/LaradasReadingLoft

~VISIT MARY ZALMANEK, A FRIEND’S BLOG: Cooking in a One-Butt Kitchen | Eating Well in Small Spaces: https://cookinginaonebuttkitchen.com/

Coronavirus · My Thoughts · poetry

Poetic View: Nine Months Later

Nine months later—exhausted

Nine months later! The world stands in disbelief of this current coronavirus’ surge! Is it the second wave or the third wave? I’ve lost count. Life continues but nothing is the same. I’ve changed my hairstyle. Covid-19 fatigue has become a reality for many, and as I contemplate my old life, I wonder?

Before coronavirus pandemic (BCP), I visited my favorite stylist every six weeks, and I loved his magic—a very sculptured hairdo, but I haven’t seen him since February. Why? For fourteen years before becoming a teacher, I was a beautician, so with my skills, I have trimmed the hair around my face and spiked the top, but I can’t cut the back easily.

After all this over, am I going back to my BCP hairstyle? Read my poem to find out.

My Hairstyles Before and After the Coronavirus Pandemic

November 10, 2020

BCP—Before Coronavirus Pandemic

            My stylish haircut

                        Manicured and neat

                        Six weeks regular appointment

                                    Worn spiked and short for seventeen years

The same stylist for years

            Slowly moved me into an isometric style

                        Super short on the left side

                                    Cut over my ear

Longer on the right side

                        Cropped close in the back

                        A strand of hair left longer on the left side

                                    In the back

At first I said, “No way!”

            But I gradually changed my mind.

I love this drastic statement!

            Stark

            Sharp

            Shouting,

                        “I’m different!”

Add to this

            Hot tamale red hair color

                        Started seven years ago

            Another strong statement

                        Extreme

                        Bright

                        Vibrant

NOW

ACP—After Coronavirus Pandemic

            No formal haircut

                        For eight months

            No visit with Mark, my stylist

                        No laughter

                        No exchange of heartfelt topics

I am a beautician

            Have been since 1973!

So, to compensate, I’ve cut my own hair

            Around my face

            I’ve spiked the top

            Combed the longer hair

                        In the back

                        Up to my spiked top

                                    Like so many years ago

                         For Farrah Fawcett’s long shag,

                                    Popular during the 1970s.

Hair—I now have hair!

            Nine months later

“My tail” has grown

            shoulder length

I catch myself fiddling

            With it,

                        Repeatedly!

My reflection in the mirror

            I see curls

                        Naturally

                                    Lots of them,

                                                An abundance!

Yes, the coronavirus changed

            Everything!

This last nine months

            Forced me to stop

                                    To slow down

                                                To change

So, I want my hair

            To reflect the change!

I’m no longer short-haired and manicured!

I’m still spiked

            But curly

                        Unmanaged

                                    Lengthy

                                                Not manicured

                                                            Mindful

                                                                        Different!


Also, these nine months of the stress and strain of the coronavirus pandemic has caused a phenomenon called “Covid-19 fatigue” for many. Here’s my thoughts:

Nine months later

Suffering from Covid-19 Fatigue

November 10, 2020

I’m tired!

            Exhausted!

Days of endless counts

            Record cases

                        So many deaths

                                    Serious, critical cases

Multiple concerns

The world

The United States

New Mexico

Swings, dips and dives

            On this rollercoaster ride

                        We’re on!

An apparent low

            After the first wave

                        A respite

                                    An optimistic view

                                                Of the future

Is it over?

Then the next wave

            The surge

Then the next

            I’ve lost count!

I’m tired

            Exhausted!

                        Worn out!

Personal choices

            For safety

                        Self-isolation

                                    No dancing

                                                No face-to-face interaction

                                                            With friends

                                                No travel

                                                No break

Just the constant

            Staying home!

During the summer

            Lin’s garden provided

                        A respite

                        A paradise

                                    To distract

Luscious time outside

            Sunbathing

            Working

            Enjoying the warmth

                        The flowers

                                    The birds

The cold weather forced us

            Inside

The mundane repeat of

            Every day

                        Not bored; I have too much to do

                                    Just tired of the same,

                                                Bone-tired!

One trip to our family ranch in late August

            Since March

Restrictions stopped that!

Cancelations of

            Favorite square and round dance festivals

The virus surges

Winter and colder temperatures crowd in

            On me.           

                        I’m tired

                                    Weary

An ah-ha moment

            I’ve held my breath

                        For nine months:

Lin and I have not gotten it

                        We’ve stayed healthy

                                    So far.

Yet, I’m tired of

            The stress

                        The fear

                                    The unknown

                                                The stupidity of

                                                            Naysayers

Will it end?

            Will we be able to resume life as usual soon?

                        When can I breathe normally again?

                                    In a month, two, or four?

                                                I’m tuckered out for sure!


In response to the duration of this pandemic, I stated to friends, “I want my old life back.”

One woman’s wise answer surprised me, “I don’t! I want to take what I’ve learned during the pandemic and make a lasting change!”

Here’s my thoughts:

Stop the rush nine months later

Do I Want My Old Life Back?

November 10, 2020

“I want my old life back,”

            I voiced to friends.

A response of one thoughtful woman

            Dazed me,

                        “I don’t want my old life back.

                                    I want to savor what I’ve learned and apply it.”

Her answer jarred me!

            Do I really want my old life back?

I miss my rich life

            Dancing

            Traveling

            Friends

            Activity

                        A positive lifestyle I’d chosen.

Looking back, I realized more

A life of

            Hurry

            Set schedule

            Rush

A life of

            Demands

            Commitments

            Craziness

A life of

            Travel

             But

             Extensive preparation

             Cat sitter for Jesse

             My travel list checked and rechecked

                                    Then the return

A life of constant

                        Going

                        Coming

                        Movement

A life of. . .

These nine months

            Stopped me

                        In my tracks

                                    A total change!

Now my life is

            Daily Cribbage games

                        During breakfast

            Three shared meals

            Simple evenings

At home

Now my life is

            Leisure mornings

                        Lingering over my daily Quiet Time

            Finishing books

                        Repeated readings

                                    And

                                                New discoveries

            Finally finishing

                        Long-standing To dos!

Now my life is

            Lin, my husband

                        Laughter

                                    Conversations

                                                Hot tub time

                                                            Deepened love

            Jesse, my cat

                        Daily brushings

                                    Daily lap time in front of the TV

                                                Constant presence

Now my life is

            Relaxed

            No pressure

            Finally feels like

                        I’m retired!

So, what I want to do

            When we return to our more normal life

Bring my relaxed atmosphere and attitude

            To my new life

Give up our hectic lifestyle

Keep closer to home!


After nine months, coronavirus surges.

Nine months and my life has changed forever! How has your life changed? Have you realized something special? Do you want to return to your life as it was or something different?


~Visit my blog from last week about Marsahll Flippo and Día de los Muertos: https://laradasbooks.com/2020/11/08/marshall-flippo-gone-for-two-years-but-not-forgotten/

Cover for Just Another Square Dance Caller

~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

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Coronavirus · Life Lessons · My Thoughts · poetry

Coronavirus Reflection: Bitter or Better?

Bitter or better? Life hands us a curve ball every once and a while. Then we have the option of how we respond. I have had several of those opportunities in my life, and sometimes I grew bitter, but more often than not I became better because of the difficulty.

Bitter over when it ends

The coronavirus’ impact continues to affect our lives six months later. Normal life activities came to a screeching halt. Yes, it’s been horrible for those 193,000+ who have lost their lives or families who have lost loved one. Also, people have lost jobs, and businesses have suffered extreme losses. For many, it’s been a psychological affront causing depression and anxiety. I have been one of the fortunate ones, not experiencing the extremes of the pandemic.

But many, like me, who have not experienced the dire side of this catastrophe have been impacted in our own ways. It seems people have reacted in two ways.

Some have become bitter over mandated requirements like social distancing and/or masks. People dubbed as “Karens” or “Kens” have violently erupted at various store clerks asking compliance to safety measures.

Bitter about wearing a mask

Many worldwide bitter rebels have actively protested like one organized event on September 15, “World Antimask Protest.” Others continue to believe this is a hoax and vehemently denounce the virus and any of the safety requests.

Others have decided to look at this respite as a time to stop the crazy pace of a busy 21st century life, slow down and go deeper on a spiritual quest. That’s what I decided to do early on. Because I was fearful and anxious, I processed my feelings through poetry. I became proficient at Zoom and participated in and hosted a multitude of Zoom meetings which helped ease the isolation.

As the pandemic has lingered, I’ve written more and more poetry, and a friend specifically asked me to address the positive outcome this slow-down provided for me, so here it is:

Reflections on Coronavirus
Coronavirus Reflection: Bitter or Better?

September 5, 2020

For six months
            The coronavirus rages
                        Ebbs and flows
Never have I faced
            Anything like this!
I remember
            The polio-scare
                        As a child
                                    But nothing like this.
 
Quarantined
            Deaths
                        Shelter-in-place
                                    Fear
                                                Confusion
Who do you believe?
 
My life style drastically altered
            NO dancing
                        NO traveling
                                    NO interaction
                                                With people
But the good news:
            I’ve stayed healthy
                        My family has, too!
 
It’s reflection time
            Has this focused time
                        Made me
                                    Bitter
                                                Or better?
 
Stripped
            Of normal life
                        And activity,
I sat quietly
            Listened
                        Breathed
 
I watched my husband
            Gather his strength
                        In his garden
                                    Working with his hands
                                                            His mind
                                                                        His soul 

Lin and I shared Cribbage games
            Numerous TV nights
                        Watching mysteries
                                    Each trying to solve them
                                                           Comparing our suspects
I celebrate this man
            Who I was quarantined with.
 
I focused on
            The Flippo biography
                        Which helped alter the horrible state
                                    Of our world
 
I gathered strength
            In words
                        Working with my hands
                                                            My mind
                                                                        My soul
 
In this forced respite
            I reconnected with
                        My God
                                    In a time of needed solace
                        Myself
                                    Exploring reactions and feelings
                                                To this fearful situation.
 
                        My husband
                                    A good person to
                                                Be quarantined with
 
I cleaned out age old belongings
            I connected with people on Zoom
                        I wrote poetry
                                    Diving deep!
                        I had weekly phone dates
                                    With hurting friends
 
Yes, I missed
            Monthly visits to our ranch
                        And my brother
            Family gatherings
            Square and round dances
            Travel
            Friends
 
But today, I relish all of those much more
            Hungry for their return
I savor what they
            Brought into my life,
                        How they enriched me.
 
I had moments of bitterness
            Hot August Nights weekend canceled
                        So, I scheduled a Zoom party
            Labor Day square dance weekend
                        So, I scheduled a Zoom meeting
                                    With long time friends.
I have flirted with bitterness
            The vile taste of bitterness
                        Discourages
                                    My lingering there long.
  
When this time of trial is over,
            I will step up and say
                        It made me better!
                                    And that feels good!
 
I savor this capsule of time
            That I used to benefit
                        My growth
Bitter or better
            The choice is yours!

Yes, I do have a choice anytime life deals me a blow—will the experience make me bitter, resentful and angry? Or will I take advantage of the opportunity present and plunge into a deeper relationship with myself and my God?

I choose better!

Here’s a poem to end on that is light, frivolous and courts with a genre of literature I love, magical realism, “. . .a style of fiction and literary genre that paints a realistic view of the modern world while also adding magical elements.”

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magic_realism

Salmon-Colored Rose in Lin's Garden
I Sunbathed in the Roses

September 5, 2020
 
A petal floated on the breeze
            Slowly
                        Settling on my forehead
Another landed on my stomach
            Bright red in color
                        Matching my sunburned skin
 
A plush cushion of white rose petals
            Gathered as my supple pillow.
Ivory-colored roses climbed
            The trellis
                        Near my feet
                                    And tickled my toes.
 
Salmon-colored roses
            Guarded my heart
                        And created a
                                    Vibrant crown for my brow!
 
Bright golden ones kissed
            The sun
                        As their next-of-kin
                                    And brushed my cheek
                                                With their satiny lips.
 
Peach roses danced
            In the gentle wind
                        A soft waltz
                                    In a lavish gown
 
To sunbathe
            In the midst of roses
                        Soothes
                                    Every ache
                                                Every pain
                                                            A galaxy of color
 
These flower friends lift me
            To the heavens
                        A multi-colored celebration
                                    Of life and love
                                                Surround me by a deep connection
 
Hummingbirds dive bomb my head
            Enchanted with the color
                        And the nectar
                                    I’ve invaded their sanctuary.
 
Lay still!
            I can’t!
                        I feel the prick of. . .
Yes, thorns
            Slightly
Careful where I lay
            But one foot strays
                        A little
                                    And I jerk it back
 
A reminder
            Sometimes pain hides in beauty
                        But mostly
                                    A restful soul
                                    A quiet spirit
                                                Surrounded by
                                                            A circle of roses
                                                                        My friends!

Did you giggle? Absurd—sunbathing in a rose garden! Let loose and laugh!

I hope I leave you better today for the reading of this than when you came!


~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW:

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

~On Wednesday, August 12, 2020 I wrote my 200th blog post. Be sure and check it out here: 200th blog post

Christianity · Dancing · God · Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · poetry · Sexual Abuse · Words Matter · Writing

Honestly, Do You Know Me?

Honestly, do we know anyone, really? I know I hide part of myself from the world, afraid to expose too much of my true self, concerned about safety. Will I get burned, again? Can I be that honest? I’ve struggled with this for years.

One of my favorite books published in 1975 was Why Am I Afraid to Tell You Who I Am? by John Powell. “Why am I afraid to tell you who I really am boils down to — if I told you who I really am and you didn’t like it — it’s all I’ve got.”

That explanation resonated with me forty-five years ago and still does today. Over the years, I’ve tried to be honest but have failed often. I avoided confrontation and making waves, but is that being honest? I’ve bit my tongue and walked away from a potential argument.

So, I offer you a glance inside me with these two poems: a country carefree child and an adult sizing up me and my life today.

The Slam of a Screen Door

July 16, 2020

Slam
            A screen door
                        Not today’s version
                                    But a relic from the 50s and 60s.
 
It bounced a couple times
            When shut
                        No latch to hold it
                                    Tight
                        Mosquitoes, flies and other
                                    Bothersome pests
                                                Escaped inside
 
Sharp, resonating!
Not as protective
            As the 21st century version!
 
But the slam
            The sound
                        The bang
                                    Echoes through
                                                 My childhood!
 
Running outdoors
            Giggling
                        Afire with life
                                    My brother chasing me
                                                With a water gun
 
Summer’s sound
            Of freedom
 
Slam!
            Close with a bang!

Mom’s repeated shout,
            “Don’t the slam the door!”
            Never heeded!
We didn’t do it in anger
            Only in haste
                        In urgency
                                    To get outside
                                    To start the adventure
 
Slam
            Too active
                        And driven
                                    To catch it!
 
Focused
            On other priorities
                        Other possibilities     
                                    Outside
 
A hike to Brown Springs
            To discovery
A bicycle ride
            To freedom
A secluded time in our treehouse
            To dream
 
Slam
            Close noisily
A new day
            A new adventure
A door opened to the world
            And
                        Possibility!
 
Let’s Go!

honestly hidden
You May Think You Know Me, But. . .

August 9, 2020

 
As I pondered a topic
            Old yet new
I marveled at the thought
            Daily Honesty!
 
Honesty
            Truthfulness
            Sincerity
            Frankness
            Freedom from deceit or fraud
 
To be honest
            Is to be vulnerable
                        To risk exposure
                                    To lay bare my insides to you.
Are you safe?
            Can I trust you?
 
At this moment,
            I feel compelled
                        To do so.
 
I’m country
            You know
I grew up embarrassed
            And ashamed!
Not sophisticated
            Like the ladies on TV
            Like the ladies in town.
 
I’m religious
            A Christian to the core
                        But unorthodox!
I’ve dabbled in
            Native American
                        Savored the peaceful sweat lodge ceremony
            Buddhist beliefs
                        Became a silent observer
                                    Valuing the art of listening
            Jewish wisdom
                        Honored the roots of Christianity

I’ve divorced three times.
            One heartbroken
                        But necessary for my sanity
            One victorious
                        Because I stood up
            One heartbroken
                        But a major turning point
 
I’m a political person
            Independent for years
                        Raised Republican
                                    But moved out
                                                Caused by disillusionment
                                                            With both parties.
 
I hate arguing politics
            Remember many hurtful conversations
                        With my dad
                                    We didn’t change each other
                                                In the process
Just bitter memories!
 
Saying that,
            I’m a liberal!
That’s not a dirty word
                        Dictionary says, “tolerant, unprejudiced, unbigoted, broad-minded, open-minded, enlightened; permissive, free, free and easy, easygoing.”
                        I can live with those!
I yearn for equality
                        For all!
 
I’m a talker
            Love sharing my thoughts
            Love heart-to-heart conversations
                        On spiritual real topics,
                                    Not head stuff.
I hate gossip,
            Yet I get sucked in!
 
I love people
            All colors
                        Shapes
                                    And sizes!
            Young and old
So much to learn!
 
My heart has been broken!
            I’ve faced despair
                        Depression
                        Suicidal thoughts
                        Alcoholism
                        Promiscuity
                        Incest
                                    Yet survived.
Recovery gave me my life back!
 
I was an English major
            I have book shelves lined with
                        Shakespeare’s plays and sonnets
                        Hemingway’s short stories
                        T. S. Eliot’s poetry
                        Hillerman’s southwest novels
 
I’m a poet
            At heart
                        Words inspire me to life
                        Words create images
                        Poetry gathers words
                                    And creates life.
 
I’m a writer
            The voice of the plains
                                    Of my heart
                                                And
                                                            Marshall Flippo.
 
I’m a dancer
            When the music starts
                        It sets me free!
                                    The movement
                                    The rhythm
                                    The connection to the universe!
 
I’m a computer geek!
            The magic of technology
                        Captivates me
                                    And I want to create!
 
I’m fragile
            Sensitive
I’m strong
            Resilient
 
I’m the baby of five.
            My daddy’s little girl
            My mom’s “baby girl!”
Adored by my parents!
 
I’ve feared obesity
            My whole life
I watched my mom struggle
            And her mom
                        And many of the women
                                    On that side of the family
 
I make friends
            I keep friends!
 
I’m a paradox
            So, my honesty jumps
                        From here to
                                    There.
I’m an expansive spirit
            Today a soul on fire
                        A God-driven energy
                                    And
                                                A sleeping cat
                                                            All rolled up into one!
 
That’s me!
Photo by Ivy Son from Pexels

Honestly, a dichotomy I am, but I know I have to be honest. I will engage with you; I won’t argue. I will share the depth of my spirit; I won’t hold back, and hopefully you will get a glimpse of Larada.

Tell me what “Daily Honesty” means to you! I’d love to hear your thoughts about honesty.


~HAVE YOU ORDERED A PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! Go to the homepage on my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW.

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

Coronavirus · Marshall Flippo · My Thoughts · poetry

Why Do People Avoid the Topic of Death?

Death—a topic most people want to avoid, but lately it’s in the news everyday with the coronavirus updates. Because of so much focus on death lately, I wrote “Are ‘The Dead’ Dead?” this last week and “I Want You Back! Or Do I?” six years ago—two poems very different in topic and tone!

Personally, I’ve not shied away from this topic. Possibly because I was raised in a multi-generational community and saw significant elderly people die like my grandparents and life-long babysitters. I don’t remembering viewing the bodies, just the loss.

In my early twenties, we buried my first husband’s grandfather, a dear man I loved. I remember seeing his lifeless body and a new reality hit me—that was not the man I loved. It was simply the physical shell that housed his fun-loving spirit.

Later, I had the privilege of witnessing the death of my best square dance girlfriend, Kathi Raver. The hospice nurse took the small group of friends and family gathered through the death process which fascinated me.

In 2017, I published a grief and growth memoir talking about my parents’ deaths, and readers recoiled at the title! I knew it wouldn’t be popular, but the response shocked me. Nevertheless, I had to share my process about my losses.

A natural segue for me now, surrounded by the devastating effect of the coronavirus and the mounting death count, I wrote the following poem:

Talking about death
Are “The Dead” Dead?

July 8, 2020

In this coronavirus world,
            We speak
                        So often
                                    Of the dead,
                                                The dying
                                                            Death itself
 
My thoughts linger over
            My dead
                        My family
                                    My friends
 
A thought whispered softly,
            “Speak their names!”
                        Say it
                                    Repeat it
                                                Caress it
 
As I pondered
            This charge,
I realized
            I do this!
I mention my dead
            Their names
Every day
            In my prayers
                        Blessings for where
                                    They are
                        Support for me
                                    Like my personal
                                                A legion of
                                                            Guardian angels
                        Remembrance of
                                    Our connections
 
But the thought persisted,
            “Say their names!”
 
Why?
 
When I say a name
            Of the deceased,
They come to life!
            Memories flood me!
 
I chuckle as
            Dad and I glide
                        Across the wooden dance floor
                                    Doing his step
                                                No one else can imitate!
 
I smell
            Mom’s sweet aroma
                        And
            Giggle with her once more
                        Sitting on the couch
                                    Shoulders touching
            Souls and spirits connected.
 
I laugh out loud
            At Aunt Willie’s
                        Outrageous sense-of-humor
The twinkle in her eyes
            Mischievous and youthful
 
I lean back and marvel
            At Flippo’s memory and
                        Storytelling skills!
He got me again
            And again
                        And again!
 
I hug Scott close to my heart
            My lifelong friend
                        As we reminisced once more
                                    Of
                                                            childhood days
                                                            high school days
Carefree
            And
                        Powerful
 
Say their names
            And they’re no longer died!
They’re alive
            Vibrant
                        Active
                                    In delicious memories
                                                In my heart and soul!
 
Speak their names!
            Don’t Stop

In 2017, I published the following poem in A Time to Grow Up: A Daughter’s Grief Memoir. After Mom’s death, I struggled with my loss, yet wondered about wanting her back here. She had polycythyemia vera which morphed into myelofibrosis, a form of leukemia, demanding repeated blood transfusion and a feeding tube.

I Want You Back! Or Do I?

January 27, 2014

I stand at that mysterious wall
between life and eternity
                        and scream,
"I want you back!"
 
I pound my fists.
I scream!
I cry,
but nothing changes.
 
You slipped
through my fingertips.
I grasped.
You were here one second
and
gone the next!
 
Nothing I could do
would hold you.
Where are you now?
Sitting next to Jesus and Dad—
                        smiling
                        youthful
                        relaxed
                        happy!
 
I hope so!
 
I am earth bound—
held in place
            by time and
                        my human existence!
 
I now know more,
realize there's more.
There has to be!
 
A small peephole
opened into eternity
                        at your death bed.
Surprisingly, a small kernel of hope was born that day for me.
 
Life ended here for you
so quickly!
Your shell of a body
lay limp and lifeless
in that hospital bed.
I saw your last breath,
but I also saw something else
                        slight
                        faint
 
Relief for you!
A passing
A knowing
                        that you are gone
                                    from here,
                        but will wait for me
                                    there.
 
In my solemn, desolate space,
I will still cry,
"I want you back!"
 
But today I know
that
I don't want you back—
I want to join you
                        there!

©2017 Larada Horner-Miller

Death is a part of this life, but I wonder—does saying the name of a dead loved one bring them back to life, for just a moment? Are the dead really dead? Are they waiting with open arms to welcome us home?

What do you think?


~DO YOU WANT AN PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! I am experiencing a delay from the publishers on the hardback copies—sorry about that! Go to my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW.  Apple Books (US) – https://books.apple.com/us/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id151164203                        Kobo (US) –  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/just-another-square-dance-caller                                                      Apple Books (CA) – https://books.apple.com/ca/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id1511642036                     Apple Books (UK) – https://books.apple.com/gb/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id1511642036                    Apple Books (AU) – https://books.apple.com/au/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id151164(US)                    Amazon Kindle (US) – https://www.amazon.com/Just-Another-Square-Dance-Caller-ebook/dp/B088QS9RH8         Amazon Kindle (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088QS9RH8                                                                   Amazon Kindle (CA) – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B088QS9RH8                                                                       Barnes and Noble Nook (US) –https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/just%20another%20square%20dance%20caller

~ RELEASE PARTY of Flippo’s biography on Zoom on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 7:00 pm MST! Be ready! Door Prizes, the inside story, Flippo song bytes & interview clips and more!~Visit my web site for all the information

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com

Coronavirus · God · My Thoughts · poetry

What is the Power of Metaphor?

As a retired English teacher, I love using metaphors in my writing because they come up naturally. I also love the power of metaphor and words; therefore, metaphor ramps up my poetry with imagery and connectedness!

Words create metaphors

What in the world is a metaphor?

A figure of speech in which a word or phrase literally denoting one kind of object or idea is used in place of another to suggest a likeness or analogy between them.”

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/metaphor

So, in two poems I compare serenity with some natural settings I love and wearing an emotional mask as a defense mechanism. Metaphors help readers connect emotionally, sensually and intellectual with the comparison.

See what you think. . .

Serenity is the beach
What Does Serenity Look Like?
 
June 21, 2020
 
In the midst
            Of the coronavirus pandemic
                        Storm,
I wondered,
            “What does serenity
                        look like?”
 
A hazy mountain scene
            Calm and quiet
                        Seated on a rock
                                    Connected to the grandeur
                                                Of Mother Nature
A lazy beach setting
            Reclining in the rhythmic waves
                        Carefree
                                    Undulating with
                                                The timeless rhythm
                                                            Of our world
Our secluded mountain home
            Nestled in piñon pine trees
                        Sweet meditative music
                                    Serenading me
                                                In the background
            Meaningful work
                        Done by Lin and me
                                    Gardening
                                    Writing
                                    Life lived together
 
Serenity’s many faces
            Some fanciful memories
                        Of better times
            One a realistic experience
                        In the here-and-now!
 
Peace reigns in my heart
            When
I stay present
            Seek God
                        Seek truth
                                    Seek myself!
 
A sweet flavor on my tongue
            An aroma of heaven
                        Come down to earth
            A beckoning sound
                        Of my God’s gentle calling
            A touch of my God
                        Through nature
                                    Peace
                                                Silence
                                                            Sound
 
Serenity lights on my shoulder
            Wraps me in a cocoon
                        Of tranquility and goodwill
            Dances my heart
                        To a new rhythm,
                                    A melody of love!
 
Then it’s gone!
            Quickly!
                        Quietly
                                    Without warning
The world roars
            And scares it away!
The coronavirus surges
            And wipes out any remembrance!
                        Cases
                                    Hospitalizations
                                                Deaths
 
Then in the quiet
            The dark
Again, serenity gently returns
            Ready to protect
                        Me once again.
 
I anticipate its return once again!

A couple days ago, I started reading Poetic Medicine: The Healing Art of Poem-Making by John Fox. I realized my connection to wearing a mask—I did it for years but a different type. The raging mask war fueled this poem.

A smile can be a mask!
I’ve Worn a Mask for Years!

July 3, 2020

Wearing a mask
            Isn’t a new concept
                        To me
 
For years,
            I wore a mask of
                                    Deception
                                                Pretense
                                                            Illusion
 
Invisible
            Illusive
                        All-encompassing
 
A veneer of acceptance
                        Compliance
                                    Fitting in!
 
You didn’t know
            No one knew me—
                        Only me!
 
I smiled,
            when asked and replied,
I responded,                        
            “I’m fine,"
            while I covered bruises on both arms
                        From my first husband’s attention
                                   The night before!
 
Yes, I smiled a mask
           For you to see.
In my heart, I winced,
           As that invisible mask
                       Suffocated me,
                                   But I continued to smile
                                               To wear it.
I lived in quiet desperation
           Behind that mask.
 
Before recovery,
           I donned it unconsciously
                       Early in the morning
                                   A regular part of
                                                My attire
 
Each night,
            In the loneliness of
                        My room,
I ripped it off,
            Tossed in a corner with all the
                        Other defenses I had learned
                                    Over the years.
 
I hated it!
            It smothered me
                        My truth
                                    My voice
            It hindered me
                        Like fetters
                                    causing me
                                                To stumble and fall.
 
At times,
            The wise seer
                        Looked beyond the smile,
                                    The mask
                                                caught a glance
                                                            of the true Larada
                                                                        and called me forth!
 
That’s exactly what happened in recovery!
 
Today, after years of recovery and healing,
                        My God melted the piles of masks
                                   into a fine powder                 
                                                that blew away
                                                          with the slightest breeze!
 
But now, because of the coronavirus,
        I must wear a mask 
                      proudly!
No refusal
        No explanation
 
Yes, I’m familiar with
            Wearing a hidden mask
                        For years
 
Today it’s visible
            For all to see
It’s not a coping skill any longer
            An invisible shield
                        An emotional blockade
 
Now it’s vital
            lifesaving
                       controversial
                                    appropriate

It’s a message
            To anyone who sees me
That I care
            About you
                        About me
                                    About we!
 
Today I proudly
            Wear a mask
 
How about you?

Metaphors, serenity, masks—tie them all together with imagery and you have poetry. And in poetry, I have found myself. I hope you to do, too!

I’d love to hear your thoughts!


~DO YOU WANT AN PERSONALLY AUTOGRAPHED COPY OF THE FLIPPO BIOGRAPHY?   AVAILABLE NOW! I am experiencing a delay from the publishers on the hardback copies—sorry about that! Go to my website and pay for it there: https://www.laradasbooks.com

ALL FOUR E-BOOK FORMATS OF FLIPPO’S BIOGRAPHY AVAILABLE NOW.  Apple Books (US) – https://books.apple.com/us/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id151164203                        Kobo (US) –  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/just-another-square-dance-caller                                                      Apple Books (CA) – https://books.apple.com/ca/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id1511642036                     Apple Books (UK) – https://books.apple.com/gb/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id1511642036                    Apple Books (AU) – https://books.apple.com/au/book/just-another-square-dance-caller/id151164(US)                   Amazon Kindle (US) – https://www.amazon.com/Just-Another-Square-Dance-Caller-ebook/dp/B088QS9RH8         Amazon Kindle (UK) – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B088QS9RH8                                                                                 Amazon Kindle (CA) – https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B088QS9RH8                                                                                       Barnes and Noble Nook (US) –https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/just%20another%20square%20dance%20caller

~ RELEASE PARTY of Flippo’s biography streamed on Facebook Live — TBA! Be ready! Door Prizes, the inside story, Flippo song bytes & interview clips and more!

~Visit my web site for all the information you need about me and my books:  https://www.laradasbooks.com