Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested writing a syllabic poem about a color using a word from a color chart she provided. I chose orange because it is close to my favorite color which is coral. For a word I chose joy.
Last year I posted a photo I took of one of our gorgeous Arizona Flame Skimmers, or orange dragonflies. This beauty is my inspiration.
Here is my tanka:
On a day of cares,
when the water heater leaks
and I am in pain,
I step outside and notice
with joy orange fairy wings.
The following photo is a closeup from the free photo library.
I had a poem published today in a cool Australian lit mag. It’s called Trash to Treasure Lit, and the idea behind it is that “every writer has a piece of ‘trash’ that we can treasure.” Look through your drafts, your poems you figured you could never do right by, and if you can write something that explains why this “trash” can be a “treasure,” they might publish it. In my case, I wrote a love poem to my cat Perry, who as you may know, suffers from a couple of terminal illnesses (so far so good in case you’re wondering). I hope you can tell from this poem that Perry is the real treasure.
Colleen Chesebro’s prompt for #TankaTuesday this week is in celebration of her 65th birthday. (Happy birthday, Colleen!) We were to create a poetic form using 65 syllables.
I created a form I will call the aînée, which is the French word for a female elder. I was going to use the Spanish word anciana, but I didn’t like the connotations which seemed less positive. Plus I like that I am honoring the French language which is a language that has originated a lot of syllabic poetry. 65 syllables are arranged this way: ten lines of six syllables each, followed by a line of 2 syllables, and a final line of 3 syllables.
Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested this prompt today: to write a shadorma using 3-5 selected words. Syllable count is 3-5-3-3-7-5. I think I used 8 of the words, but I am writing the poem on my iPad in this post so I can’t go over the word list again.
This spring month,
not yet hot, cloudy
I walk with a book and grapes
and wish spring to last.
I hope you enjoyed that, especially knowing how hot it will get here in Arizona by mid-May. I am lying on my back with this iPad because I am resting my legs. For over ten weeks my right leg has been a monster. Saturday I had an MRI, but I’ve had other tests with no diagnosis or idea of what’s wrong. So why did I write about walking? For one thing, it’s a word on the list. But I can and do like to do light walking with the leg issue. But then I have to rest it. And the leg prefers very limited sitting (at the computer).
Colleen at Wordcraft poetry suggested this prompt today: to write a syllabic poem about what you see out of your window.
The gardener and I were driving on the freeway in western Arizona yesterday, and I saw something unusual: two sheep were picking their way down the mountainside out in the “middle of nowhere.” So I wrote a tanka in the car.
My tanka topic is Scene Through a Car Window:
A hawk flies above
in yellow blossom
as two bighorn sheep descend,
their coronas glinting light.
This image at Pexels looks very similar to where I saw the sheep except that they were walking down a fairly steep mountain. And right now the brittlebush is in full bright yellow bloom. At first I thought they were goats because they were so graceful and agile amidst the shrub and rocks. But their large curved horns seem to indicate that they were bighorn sheep (although slender for bighorns).
Note: if you have trouble posting a comment on this blog or any other, here is something I learned from blogger Marian Beaman: If you use the back arrow after the error message appears, fill in your email address and name again. Then your comment should go through, and WordPress will recognize you in the future.
I was recently diagnosed with something called vestibular migraine. Or hemiplegic migraine. Or maybe both. There is a difference because vestibular is awful, but hemiplegic can be dangerous. Apparently there is no way to tell for sure, but I am not going to accept that answer. Story unfinished. But let me back up.
For twenty-four years, I have been plagued by something that was called “complicated migraines” by the neurologists I had seen. After Loma Linda mistakenly diagnosed me with TIAs (mini-strokes), UCLA and, later, Barrows in Phoenix, diagnosed these episodes as complicated migraines.
They are a migraine disorder, but they are not migraine headaches. I used to get the headache version until they turned into this other sort of migraine. In fact, I had some horrific migraines when I was a kid–seven to ten years old. The version I’ve been getting for 24 years is generally without headache. The symptoms include sudden severe vertigo, heaviness, inability to stand or sit, weakness, burning through the sinuses, widely fluctuating body temperature, brain fog, squinched up face on one side only, numbness of limbs, nausea, vomiting, falling asleep at the tail end of the acute episode, etc. It’s very difficult to go anywhere by myself, and this is why I don’t travel alone any longer. I can’t attend concerts or sporting events with lots of lights. I had to leave daughter’s wedding reception early once the goofy lights came out. Although we had planned ahead, what the DJ thought was mild was not. That’s ok because her friends all had a wonderful time, and I was tired anyway.
When I moved to Arizona, the complicated migraines got worse in that I felt sick every day and had acute episodes every couple of days. I had to go on preventative medication in the form of a blood pressure med. The meds kept the acute episodes from happening so frequently.
I would say my migraines have been under control for a dozen years until this spring when I started feeling sick (sore eyes, nauseous, slight vertigo) all the time. So I went back to Barrows, to their headache clinic. That’s where I was diagnosed with vestibular and/or hemiplegic migraines. No such thing any longer as complicated migraines.
My worst trigger is light, especially flickering artifical light. Fluorescents always have a flicker, even if you can’t see it. But LED can be bad, too. And fluorescents that have a noticeable flicker are the devil. When I have to go under artificial lights, such as the doctor’s office or grocery store, I wear a brimmed hat and sunglasses. Other triggers are sleep disturbance, stress, too much paperwork where I have to look down instead of across (computer better than paper on the desk or table).
Another thing that happened in the last few years is that I occasionally get migraines with very traditional aura in the form of sickle-shaped kaleidoscope images. And, yes, it is as vivid as in the image below.
I am going to try to continue to search for answers. My symptoms are consistent with having both conditions at the same time, but I haven’t been able to find anyone yet with my regular set of symptoms. There are rare individuals who have both vestibular and hemiplegic, but the forms occur at different times. Some of my regular symptoms apply to vestibular, and some apply to hemiplegic (especially the one-sided face squinch). So onward. And in the meantime, please hand me the hat and sunglasses!
After I got home from the Master Workshop at the Tucson Festival of Books I was exhausted. What in the world. Maybe the pandemic, by making us homebound for so long, has done this because the gardener was exhausted, too, and he didn’t even go to the sessions. But he did drive around a lot. While I was at the workshop, he went on household errands!
The sessions were fabulous, and the nonfiction workshop was a real treat. We had a stellar group of writers.
One of my favorite parts of the time was the poetry session by Felicia Zamora about hybridities. I’m so inspired to try some new and more experimental forms of poetry.
I woke up with a complicated migraine on Friday which might have been triggered from the lights in the conference rooms and/or the dehydration I experienced in Tucson. For some reason it feels much drier there than in Phoenix. This is the exact reason I can’t drive long distances and had to ask the gardener to take me to the workshop. I can’t risk having one of these monsters when I have to drive a long distance.
Have you heard that you can help individual Ukrainians by purchasing goods through their Etsy shops? This way they can get some $ coming in whether they are still in Ukraine or are refugees elsewhere. Some of them can still ship regular goods, but most are selling digital items. Lots of graphics and artwork, especially about Ukraine and #standwithukraine. The items are not expensive. There is a Facebook group devoted to this subject, and you can also communicate on there with Ukrainians (almost all women, though not entirely) and hear their stories and give them verbal support. They are so grateful even when you buy a $2 item. Many of them are giving some or all of the money to their army.
If you don’t have Facebook you can search Etsy for Ukrainian shops.
I’m not saying this is the only way to help Ukraine, but it is a very personal way and means a great deal to a few individuals. It’s also a very small amount of money for each purchase, so if you accidentally send to an imposter (word is that it’s pretty reliable) it’s not a lot of money. Be sure when you message back and forth that you don’t use specific words like stand and support because Paypal is being a real jerk.
I have a review of Jess L. Parker’s brand new debut poetry collection, Star Things, in the current issue of the phenomenal Rain Taxi Review of Books. This will give you an idea.
What a great magazine to subscribe to. Here’s what it looks like.
Anybody else register for the AWP conference? I signed up for the virtual format, and I am dismayed how few sessions there are. I keep wondering if I am reading the schedule incorrectly. I must be?
The wedding was a huge success. A little back story, first.
After twelve years as best friends, my daughter and her husband began dating. A little over a year later, they became engaged. Two months after the proposal, we signed for a venue for their wedding that was to be March 2021. About two weeks after the contract was signed, covid struck.
Eventually, it became clear that the wedding needed to be postponed. While this all sounds simple, it was very chaotic and stressful.
The couple chose 12 February 2022 as the new date. At that point, they both assumed that with the vaccine ahead of us that covid would be over by then. Last early spring we all got vaccinated. This fall, we all got boostered and crossed our fingers. Every time covid was on the news, I got so nervous. What was going to be a big wedding became a “decent size” event of just over 100 people.
Two weeks before the wedding, I stopped going in public because I was terrified I would get omicron and not be able to attend the wedding. By that point, the gardener and I assumed we were going to get omicron and were hoping for the best outcome. Most of the guests were coming from out of town, many on planes across the country (and one from Austria).
The couple had waited long enough and, really, needed to get on with their lives instead of everything “being about” the wedding. I planned to be as careful as possible. Well, the morning of the day before, I got to the venue for the rehearsal and the parking lot was filled with my daughter’s friends, many who had also been a part of my life for years. The hugging commenced! I decided to just enjoy myself.
We’re now over a week out from the wedding, omicron’s incubation period averages three days, and I have not heard of any person getting covid at the wedding. Are we really getting over the covid nightmare? Trust me, I know how very lucky we are.
My favorite parts of the wedding and related events:
spending time with friends of the couple, as well as those of the gardener and me
the speeches at the reception
the vows daughter and my SIL wrote for each other
chair dance (yup, I went up in the chair!)
Also, my daughter and her friend (an interior designer who gave lots of help!) made beautiful signs for everything with a cricut machine. I’m going to have my daughter teach me how to use it because it’s so cool. Here are a smattering of signs. You might need to click on the images to see the captions.
They had a table displaying photos of the grandparents who have passed on
This beauty was on a gift of a soft robe daughter gave to me
Gluten free signs so “Dad” would know what he could eat
Leaving you with an image of daughter and me (sorry you can’t see my boots).
Yes, my daughter’s dress was truly one of the most gorgeous wedding gowns ever. Just stunning. While I hate dressing up, generally choosing to wear ratty yoga pants, I did fall in love with my own dress this time around. The metallic pattern was light blue outside, as if it reflected the blue Arizona sky. And the sky was so blue and the air so perfect, reaching a temperature of 81.
Earlier last week, one of the hummingbird babies left the nest. That left her “brother” behind. For two, almost three, days, Mama continued to feed him. Then one day, he flew a bit falteringly and landed on an oleander branch near the nest. There he stayed for hours. Mama fed him where he was. She flew in place to show him how it’s done. She flew away and came back. But she was always right there in the vicinity, helping him transition to an adult hummer. In this video you can see them in action.
Pretty cool video, I think!
My DIL told me that one of their hummingbird babies flew before the other, and that before the “runt” could leave the nest, Mama disappeared. Seeing how devoted these birds are to their babies, I can only surmise that something tragic happened to the mother. But, guess what? The more advanced sibling began to feed the one left in the nest, and eventually that one joined his brother or sister flying across the sky.
For those of you who don’t have hummingbirds by you, remember that their nest is barely larger than a golf ball, so these birds are very small.