Last Night

Inspired by Carry On Tuesday’s prompt Last night I dreamt I……….

Last night I dreamt I was living in a farmhouse.  I awoke to the smell of fresh brewed coffee, sausage, biscuits, and eggs.  I got out of the antique bed and threw off the quilts and placed my cold feet on the even colder hardwood floor. 

My breath hung in a vapor in the air.  I went to the window and discovered I was on the second floor.  I looked down at the yard there at a layer of frost on the pumpkins in the field.  The frost covered everything, including the window pane at which I stood.  I turned and looked around the rose-wallpapered room at the antique dresser and ornate rocker which held a simple calico dress.   I quickly took off my night dress and put on the calico one. 

I looked at myself in the full length mirror in the corner and thought I stared at my reflection.  Something had changed.  I was too cold to care.  I grabbed a brush off the dresser and brushed the tangles out of my short curly hair.  I went to pour the water from the pitcher on the wash stand into the bowl underneath but when I discovered it was covered in a layer of ice, I decided against it. 

By the door there was a pair of boots with wool socks tucked inside.  As soon as I laced these, I opened the door into the hall and made my way down the winding staircase to the first floor.  I opened the door at the bottom of the stairs and found myself standing in the foyer.  I could see a fire blazing in the front room.  The warmth drew me in like a firefly to a street lamp. 

I crouched down close and rubbed my hands together.  I picked up the fireplace poker and put it into the fire and watched the flames spark as I disturbed the burning logs.  Once I felt thawed, I followed my nose to the smell of breakfast.

I stepped in the doorway to the kitchen and the hair on the back of my neck stood straight up.  My hands immediate flew to my lips and tears rolled down my cheek.  Grandpa sat at the large farm table with his coffee cup in hand, huge mustache grin on his face, his blue eyes twinkling.  Grandma stood beside him, cast iron skillet in her hand serving him eggs. 

My own sweet Nellie, was seated to the right of Grandpa.  She jumped up and squealed, “Mama!” when she saw me and came and wrapped her tiny arms around my legs.  Grandma said, “Hi darlin’ we thought we’d let you sleep, it being your first day and all.”  I looked around the room at the sea of faces that I’d lost long ago and some as recent as last month.   I leaned down and lifted Nellie in my arms and held her tight against my chest.  I put my face in her hair and once again smelled her sweet scent.  “Oh, how I’ve missed you, little one,” I sobbed into her ear.  Then the room began to fade and the faces went away, taken my Nellie with it. 

I awoke screaming, “No, please.  Let me stay!” 

I felt a sharp pain in my leg and looked up to see a large man wearing a large black overcoat and a cap pulled down over his ears, “No, you can’t stay here.  Go on, get out of my doorway, before I kick you again, wench!”

I couldn’t feel my fingers and my breath froze in front of my face.  I rose to my feet, then fell and my head hit the cold hard concrete.  It wasn’t always this way, you know.  I was somebody once.  I want to scream at him, but instead I just get up and move along.  The shelter was full by the time I arrived last evening.  I went and found a spot by the dumpster in the alley and tried to cover myself with my soiled torn blanket.   All day the dream stayed with me.  I ran into Stinky Pete in the park and shared my story with him.  

____________

The morning dawned and the old lady got up and decided to take a short cut to the bakery.  She entered the alley and saw the woman in the blanket.  This was the second night in a row that she had slept here.   A car backfired and the sound echoed in the alley but the woman didn’t stir.  The old lady shouted and tried to poke her with a bent finger. 

The police arrived and declared her dead.  “She froze to death, poor gal,” the first officer said.  “It looks like she’s smiling,” the second officer said.
“Died in her sleep, bless her!  What do you think she was dreaming about?” asked the old lady before continued on her way to the bakery.

Just then Stinky Pete came up the alley and said, “Aw, it’s Ma Brown, well I think I can tell what she dreamed.  She’s been dreaming the same dream for weeks.  Here’s what she told me yesterday~

Last night I dreamt I……….”

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Published in: on October 31, 2010 at 4:24 PM  Comments (10)  

All Hallow’s Eve

Inspired by 3 Word Wednesday’s prompt:  fragile, rampant, tremor
I’m also sharing with Jingle Poetry Potluck.

All Hallow’s Eve

Dressed completely in black, from the pointy brimmed hat
To the nails on her toes,
She was dirty and crusty and a stench there arose
Apparently it came from her hair and her clothes.
A spider was crawling on the bump on her back,
Her skin was the color of a brown paper sack.

Her eyes-how they swirled! her nose how immense!
Her cheeks were like leather, her face an offense!
Her toothless ugly grin down my spine sent a tremor,
A beam of moonlight on her hair made it dance, made it shimmer
The handle of a spoon she held tight in her claws,
And the liquid in the pot – it defied nature’s laws.
A fragile crystal ball reflected her fat cat,
That rampantly chased a deceased sewer rat!

She was ancient and bent, the most hideous hag,
And I trembled when I saw her, and I started to gag!
A spell from her lips, and a flick from her wrist,
Soon I’d have millions and more than I wished.

She spoke in a tongue archaic part gothic
She shot an ogle at me and licked a dry lick
Then pricking my finger with sharpened Skene Du
She added my blood to the bubbling brew

She opened three bags, and filled them with dough,
She shrieked, “A promised kiss, handsome, before ye can go.”
“Crone, can’t you see, you’re much too ugly for a rich man like me!
Happy All Hallow’s Eve” I ran shouting with glee!

Published in: on October 27, 2010 at 4:57 PM  Comments (35)  

If I should die . . .

If I should die, think only this of me:

He had faith, love and charity
His years were filled with hilarity

He had about a million pets
He once was stitched up by a vet

He broke girls’ hearts when he was young
In his Texan mother tongue

He sported a single rose tattoo
His eyes they flashed a hazel hue

Tongue of silver, hair of black
For building things he had a knack

Chose the service instead of school
Ignored the Bible, the golden rule

Did things for which he isn’t proud
Broke the promise that he vowed

He became a father at twenty-one
By year complete, a second son 

He left big Tex, he left his ex
His life derailed from off the tracks

A decade spent in long vacation
From the Lord and obligation

Found comfort from within a bottle
Pills and weeds and powdered poison
Eyes wide shut foot full throttle

Doing time in eighty-nine
A two week stint without a dime

A promise to God, a last recourse
As best he could he stayed on course

As fate would have it in  ’98
He met a girl and set a date

Five years later two became five
Reason to live, dream, and thrive

And when his time on earth was done
He yelled with love, ya’ll have fun!


NOTE:
I went a little silly with this one.  I should probably drop the pill line, shouldn’t I?  Let me know what you think!  :)
Inspired by Carry On Tuesday’s prompt “If I should die, think only this of me:”
I’m also joining “Poetry Potluck” this week. 
Published in: on October 24, 2010 at 4:23 PM  Comments (10)  

Ricochet

Look, if there’s one thing I learned from my childhood it’s………

Don’t shoot a BB from a Daisy Gun
When you’re only a foot away
From the target of a thick tree trunk
‘Cuz that baby’s sure to ricochet

~

Anyone else start singing this when they read the prompt?

. . . you don’t tug on Superman’s cape.
You don’t spit into the wind.
You don’t pull the mask off the ol’ Lone Ranger
and you don’t mess around with Jim.
                                                    ~ Jim Croce 1943-1973

Or any of these:

Don’t trust your soul to no backwoods, Southern lawyer. . .

Things like there ain’t no good in an evil hearted woman,
And I ain’t cut out to be no Jesse James,
And you don’t go writing hot checks down in Mississippi,
And there ain’t no good chain gang.

Inspired by Carry On Tuesday’s prompt #75 – “Look, if there’s one thing I’ve learned………”

 

Published in: on October 18, 2010 at 3:21 AM  Comments (3)  

Holly

The three sat staring at Holly from across the crowded lunch room.  The smell of pizza mingled with the stench of junior high sweat and floor wax.  Holly could feel their glare as she sat alone and ate in silence.  She  had been the bearer of their ridicule for years.  Apparently, this year would be no different. 

Holly picked up her half-eaten tray and carried it to the janitor standing beside the trash can without looking at him.  She went to the bathroom and washed her hands.  Her small brown eyes reflected back at her.  Holly splashed water on her round red face before removing her comb from her back pocket.  In vain she tried to manage her untamed tangled brown hair. 

Holly was so focused on her own reflection, she failed to see Stacey’s in the mirror beside her.  Until it was too late.  Stacey, Nancy, and Pam surrounded her.  “It’s not going to help, you fat witch,” Stacey hissed at her.  Stacey was the tallest of the three and the most vocal.  She had flaming red hair and a temper to match.  The other girls laughed. 

Holly tried to moved past them.  “Going somewhere?”  Pam asked and shoved her against the wall.  

The bell rang.  “Come on, guys, let’s leave this loser,” Stacey said. 

Holly sighed with relief and then crashed to the floor in a heap and began to sob.  I can’t take another year of this she thought.  Father McCourt may absolve her of all the hateful and ugly things she does, but I never will!  Holly vowed.  She went into a stall and grabbed some toilet paper to blow her nose.  Someone entered the stall beside her.  She went back to the sink to wash her hands and dried her eyes.  A toliet flushed and Stacey came out of the stall.  “Why are you still here?” She asked.

“Stacey, I know you are skipping class again and I’m going to tell Mom when we get home.” 

“You mean, my mom?”  Stacey said as she shoved her against the wall.  Then she pulled open the bathroom door and disappeared down the hall.

Written for Three Word Wednesday using week’s words:
absolve, hiss, ridicule

Published in: on October 14, 2010 at 5:15 PM  Comments (3)  

Until Now

“Close your eyes, have no fear….” he began to sing as he rocked himself back and forth.

She looked at him with pity in her pale blue eyes. She sat down in a chair next to him and was careful to place her purse in her lap. He doesn’t even know I’m here, she thought.  “Hello, Dad,” she said.

He held out his hand and she took it before she kissed the top of his bald head.  It was hard for her to see him so weak in mind and frail in body.  He was a Navy man and had a faded tattoo on his left arm to prove it!  It bore the name of his ship the USS Helena.  Like most in his generation, he was loyal, hard-working and dependable.  Each morning he would drink his coffee black, go to work, come home, read the paper, have dinner, watch TV, and go to bed.   Her mom was full of mystery and hidden secrets, but her dad was an open book.

“Shall we take a walk outside,” she offered, “Let’s get some exercise.” Mostly she just wanted to escape the smell of urine and sickness that permeated the place.

“What dear?” he asked.  She repeated her offer and he accepted. 

He still had moments of clarity when he could recall the past in vivid details, but those days were slipping away.  They were so alike, same pale blue eyes, same quiet spirit.  They sat down on a bench near the fountain in the center of the yard.  “Are you comfortable?”  she asked.

He didn’t answer but asked instead, “Do you know Helen Ford?”  He didn’t wait for an answer.   “She was my bride.  We were married right before the war.  She had beautiful golden hair that reached down to her waist.  She had the saddest eyes you ever saw and I loved her at first sight.  I wrote to her every day.  But when while I was away at war she fell in love with another.    I even got a tattoo with her name. After Helen and I divorced, I had my tattoo changed to say USS Helena and told everyone that I served on a ship by that name.”  He laughed, “It wasn’t true of course, but I didn’t want to explain about Helen.”  I never told my new wife or my children.” 

Until now, she thought as she struggled to make sense of his words.

Inspired by Carry On Tuesday’s prompt #74 Close your eyes, have no fear….

 

 

 

Published in: on October 11, 2010 at 3:03 AM  Comments (6)  

Mexican Chocolate Fudge

Mom always made several types of fudge at Christmas. My favorite was the old-fashioned kind, the one that required you to beat it until it lost its sheen. Today when I was going through her recipes I found a recipe that I don’t remember her making: “Mexican Chocolate Fudge” the card read. It was the hint of spice that drew me in. I read the card and gathered the ingredients listed there:

2 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
3 1/8 ounces mexican chocolate, finely chopped (like Abuelita brand, one disc)

Bing Crosby’s “White Christmas” played on the radio, the Christmas tree smell mixed with the aroma of chocolate, and the Christmas lights danced in the background.

First, I prepared an 8×8 baking pan by lining it with aluminum foil and spraying the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Then I chopped the chocolate disk.

Next I put the butter, milk, sugar, cinnamon, cayenne and salt in a medium saucepan and turned the fire to a medium-high setting. I stirred this and watched the sugar dissolve.

I picked up the recipe again and followed the directions to “bring the mixture to a boil. Continue to let the candy boil, stirring constantly, for five minutes.”

When the five minutes were up, I set the pan on a trivet on the counter. Next I opened the marshmallows and chocolate chips and measured them into the pan, Then I added the vanilla and mixed it until it was well blended..

I smoothed my apron and brushed away a stray lock of gray hair before I poured the chocolate into the pan. Finally, I sprinkled the Mexican chocolate on top of the still wet fudge..

I placed the fudge in the refrigerator and pulled out a pitcher of fresh eggnog. I poured some of the rich drink into a tall Christmas mug. I removed my apron and hung it on the hook inside the pantry and sat down at the kitchen table. I closed my eyes, lifted my glass, and said, “Mom, here’s to you and your lust for life! Thanks for all the Christmases that we shared and the memories that we made. May you enjoy a Christmas feast this year at the Lord’s dining room table.”

Written for Three Word Wednesday using week’s words:
hint, lust, sheen

Published in: on October 8, 2010 at 3:41 PM  Comments (9)  

Where Art Thou Muse….?

Today’s prompt for Carry On Tuesday is #73:

Where art thou Muse….?

All the students had left, it was my last class of the day – the last class before winter break.  I picked up my notes and placed them in my briefcase.  I turned to erase the words of Shakespeare that I had printed there when I heard her voice behind me.   I turned to face her and did a double-take.

“Professor, if you have a minute, please,” she spoke anxiously in a foreign and unfamiliar accent, “I need to speak with you.”

I continued to erase the board.  “Are you taking this class,” I asked, knowing full well she wasn’t.  Her beauty defied forgetting. 

Her emerald eyes locked onto mine.  “No,” was all she said.  But the tone told me that I wasn’t going to get any more information from her. 

“Walk” – my voice cracked in that funny way it does when I am flustered.  I coughed hoping she did not notice.  “Walk with me to my office,”  I said.  I closed my briefcase.  “How can I help you.”

“I” – she stammered, “I would prefer a conversation with you in private.”

Her words echoed in my ear like some forgotten dream.  Walking briskly in silence, her stride matching mine, I glanced at her from the corner of my eye.  The light fabric of her blue dress caressed her ivory skin in the warm  breeze as we crossed the lawn towards Thornton Hall.  

Her fiery red hair billowed out beneath the hood of her gray cotton cape which she wore despite the unseasonable warmth.  She looked so otherworldly that I wouldn’t have been surprised if she twirled into the air and flew beyond the campus tower.

We entered Thornton Hall and went up a flight of stairs to my office.  A note was taped to my door.  Without reading it, I quickly ripped it off and stuffed it in my pocket before I unlocked the door.  Pushing it open, I allowed her to enter and closed the door behind me. 

“Have a seat,” I said as I removed the pile of books from the seat in front of my desk.  The room quickly filled with the floral scent of her perfume.  I sat down at my desk and opened the mini fridge behind me.  “Care for a drink?”  I offered.  I pulled out two bottles of water. 

“Yes, thank you,” she said as she reached out to take the water.

She unscrewed the lid and removed her hood before she took a long drink. 

She set her bottle down on the desk and pulled out an envelope from her satchel and clasped it in her lap.  She closed her eyes and breathed a heavy sigh. 

“Keith, I know you don’t remember me – it’s been a very long time.  But still I had hoped you would remember.  Somehow.”

I searched her face for a clue of some forgotten memory.  Her lip began to tremble and a tear rolled down her cheek.  “Even though I should have destroyed it,” her voice trailed off.  From the envelope she pulled out a photograph, yellow with age and placed it upon the desk in front of me.  I saw myself standing beside her on the porch of some old farmhouse.  “This isn’t me!”  I protested.  The age of the photograph was clearly older than myself and I had no memory of it.

I pushed the photograph back across the desk and shoved my fists into my pockets.  I reached up to run my hands through my hair when I saw the note that had been taped to the door fall to the floor. 

“Where art thou Muse  .  .  . ?”  was all that it said.  At first it had no meaning.   I bent down and retrieved it.  By the time I had returned to an upright position – a flood of memories of a lifetime ago washed over me. 

“Scarlet,” my voice sounded strange and far away.  A cool mist swirled all around and the world faded to black. 

~~~~~

Honest feedback-grammar Nazis welcomed!

Published in: on October 4, 2010 at 10:40 PM  Comments (8)  

Friday Fill~Ins

friday-fill-in

So…here we go!

1. My back __is old and tired___.

2. _I prefer tame to___ wild.

3. Leaves are falling all around, _drifting silently to the ground____.

4. __I hate to admit my___ forgetfulness.

5. Healing is __a gift from God.___

6. __Looking for that blessed hope___ is what I’ve been up to lately!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to __a brand new month___, tomorrow my plans include __cleaning___ and Sunday, I want to __be in the house of the Lord___!

Published in: on October 1, 2010 at 2:09 AM  Comments (1)