Posted tagged ‘” With real toads’

“Parkinson’s (Father)”

June 17, 2018

Parkinson’s (Father)

My brain, see, now has to consciously
tell my feet to move.

I mean, he tries a laugh, your brain
always tells your feet to move
on some level, but now
I have to remind them how.

I do see what he means soon enough, as
my father, the opener of all
that needs to be opened, the keeper
of all that needs to be kept safe, targets a key towards a door
as one might aim a dart,
his forearm moving back and forth as if to throw it,
though he pushes–here–here–trying spots about the knob
as one might poke a needle into fabric
backing a button, pricking one’s way to its eyes,
or as one might thread the eye
of the needle itself, poignantly.

But the disease progresses, as territorial
as Genghis Khan, and soon all
the buttons in his world are blocked, refuse
to be battened, will not be pushed,
until finally, his own eyes seem locked
behind the placket of stiff lids.

I see the strain of forehead, the
conscious manipulation of muscle, nerve,
above his pushed chest, until at last
the marled blue of his pupils targets
our own. I love you, he says, the opener
of all that needs to be opened, the keeper
of all things safe.

 

************************************


I wrote the above a few years ago now, but have edited it a bit and am reposting it for Brendan McOdrum’s wonderful prompt on Real Toads and for father’s day.

Será – (From Nanowrimo, maybe) Doll/Dreamcatcher

November 26, 2012

Doll by Emma Whitlock, photo by Margaret Bednar

Será

“You know, like ‘que será será,’” he said, when she asked.

“Remember,” he went on,“when Doris Day, she sing it in that beautiful dress, yoohoo.”  Then, wiping beige (foundation) from his own tan fingers,  he turned over a hand-mirror on the countertop.  The back showed a picture of her–Doris Day, decolletée in a red satin as deep as his lipstick.

It was the style he too had adopted, Clare realized, with bleached puffed bangs,  elasticized sleeves he pulled below the pudge of sallow shoulder-

“You know her?”

In fact she’d seen Doris Day lots–afternoon old movies, TV nights late–Doris Day with the smile like milk, Doris Day with the voice like picnic tables, Doris Day with the little doll legs like Keds.

“She so cool, so fresh,” he laughed from his side of the blusher, “She don’t even have to try.  Like you, mamita” he looked at her in the big mirror now, the one in front of them, brushing one honeyed fingernail gently down her cheek.  “Ay que linda.”

She flinched, not used to being touched. And also, because, her cheeks were absolutely not, no way, horrible-to-even-contemplate, like Doris Day’s–

“Not the cheeks, no, mamita–” he laughed, understanding–

“No, no.  Her cheeks,” he looked at his picture, “they are rotund- eh – like the most beautiful bottom in the world.  No, this,” he stared back at Clare in the big mirror, gesturing towards her mouth as if it were something he presented, something on display.  “Those lips , see,” tracing the bottom curve, “that pout they love so much, mami.”  Her lips felt the warm whorl of his fingers; her nose. the fragrance of talc.

”They constantly want me to bite them,” she said suddenly.   “You know, to make them puffier or something.”

“No, no, Mamita, no biting.  Just a little sheen, here.”  And now his soft frame blocked the mirror, his index finger icy with goo.

“A little tinto.”  A baby finger this time, as he bent so closely to her that she could see the individual pores of his black eyebrows beneath the bleached bangs, the curled lashes around his even blacker eyes.

After a space of brush and fingertips, he stood back and she saw what she knew must be herself, only it was now sculpted, cheekboned, svelte.

“Looking good, mami.  Looking so good.  Grrr.”

She wanted to laugh too, but sucked it in like the cheek-hollows, pivoted her face back and forth while he, humming, unpinned the plastic cloak.

Será.   “Looking good,” he always said when she came in for a shoot, even when she knew she didn’t.  Even when he added “ooh but tired, mami,” one finger gentle below her eyes.   “What you doing so tired?  A little girl like you, eh?”

Then, he was gone.  For some time.  And she noticed, sure, but she didn’t actually do that many shoots, and nobody talked to anybody around those places, and so so she didn’t think too much about it, until he was back, only so different this time, round cheeks worn to bone, tan dulled grey.

She could not somehow ask why.  He did not say/ Only “hey you,” and “looking good,” and, after he started with the make-up, “look here, mommy,” holding up one hand for her to turn towards, until just once, when her tooth caught lipstick and he reached our his bare forefinger to wipe it off, to reach right into her mouth–

And then he stopped sharply, sighed, looked her straight in the mirror’s eye, and like a sunken magician who’d lost both handkerchief and dove, extended a small box of kleenex.   “Here, mami, you wipe it, eh?  Okay?”

*************************

This is sort of a draft excerpt from Nanowrimo novel I’ve been working on (in a terribly desultory fashion) – sorry, it’s so long.  I am posting it with one of the wonderful doll pictures posted by Margaret Bednar on With Real Toads.  The particular doll was made by Emma Whitlock.  Thank you Emma!  Thank you Margaret!  

I should note (as I wrote to Brian Miller), this is just a little sketch from the manuscript that I thought fit the doll.  It is not central to the story truly.  (Sorry!)  The book, if I ever get it together, is called Outsider Art. 

P.S. since posting I inserted “mami” in place of “mommy.”  It’s pronounced like mommy (when I hear it) and I wanted to keep that sound, but it’s usually used by an adult to a child as a term of endearment.  k. 

 

 

Looking For Coco – Channeling Chanel.

July 15, 2012

20120715-044818.jpg

Looking for Coco

I never could channel my inner Chanel.
I never could actually find
my inner Chanel. But my mother who used to
take me to
department stores each Saturday when
I was little, while she tried on this pale suit and
that dark dress, pivoting before the glass (front
and back) in her best smile, seemed to have a very
clear Coco, so I have to think that if I just look hard enough, starting
at the heels of my orthotic-ed oxfords, through the
ribs of my bunched wool
ankle socks, all the way
to the brush of cowlick at my crown,
taking a brief, but thorough peek,
below the bruised elastic of sports
bra, I would find some deep smidgen of
Couture.
But, until I do (if ever), I must content myself with
the occasional sniff of those teeny square
bottles, the sampler-sized Number 5s,
my mother saved, tucked
in the side of her jewelry case, their
scent not fading even when
the perfume itself
is long long gone.

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I’m posting the above for Tess Kincaid’s Magpie Tales, where Tess posts a photo prompt.  (I’ve done my own version of the photo.)  I am also linking to the Imaginary Garden With Real Toads Open Link NIght.

“Parkinson’s (Father)”

June 30, 2012

20120630-062732.jpg

Parkinson’s (Father)

My brain, see, now has to consciously
tell my feet to move.

I mean, he tries a laugh, your brain
always tells your feet to move
on some level, but now
I have to remind them how.

I do see what he means soon enough, as
my father, the opener of all
that needs to be opened, the keeper
of all that needs to be kept safe, targets
a key towards a door as
one might aim a dart, his forearm moving
back and forth as if to throw it,
though he pushes now–
here–here–trying spots about the knob
as one might poke
a needle into the fabric backing a button, pricking
one’s way to its eyes, or as one
might thread the eye
of the needle itself, poignantly.

But the disease progresses, as territorial
as Genghis Khan, and soon all
the buttons in his world are blocked, refuse
to be battened, will not even
be pushed down, until finally, his own eyes
seem locked behind the placket
of stiff lids.

I see the strain of forehead, the
conscious manipulation of muscle, nerve,
above struggling chest, until at last
the mottled blue of his pupils targets
our own.  I love you, he whispers, the opener
of all that needs to be opened, the keeper
of all things safe.

 

************************************


I wrote the above for dVerse Poets Pub‘s Poetics prompt of “buttons,” hosted today by the indefatigably kind and creative Brian Miller, but I am also linking up with Real Toads for their Open Link Monday.

Secondly, a big apology to my father in absentia – I am not sure what that drawing is supposed to be- it looks nothing at all like my father, or even really like a man, or a button come to think of it.  But I was at the hairdresser today in honor of Nora Ephron, and that’s the drawing I made, thinking of Brian’s prompt.

Do check out the wonderful poets at dVerse and Real Toads, if you have the time, and also check out my books!  Children’s counting book 1 Mississippi -for lovers of rivers, light and pachyderms.  Or, if you in the mood for something older, check out Going on Somewhere, poetry, or  Nose Dive, a very fun novel that is perfect for a pool or beachside escape.

“Through Tattered Clothes” – Shakespearean (?) Sonnet

June 27, 2012

“Through Tattered Clothes Small Vices Do Appear” (Before Going Out Almost Anywhere)

Even nearing ninety, she changes,
then changes again; electric rollers
a must as twixt mirror, clothes, eye ranges–
“They just treat you better,” (some shoulders
padded, all lined) “if you dress up a bit.”

The sins she tries to hide: that she was poor
as a child; that she lived on a rick-
ety run-down farm that had no power,
no water–she switches to  yet another
suit, navy better cover for that farm’s house–
And her sister, never quite right (a shudder)
in an age when right (beneath her bright, bowed blouse)
was required–and all her lifetime’s care
of her– smoothed now beneath the just-curled hair.

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I swore not to do prompts for a while — just too busy–but here’s a sonnet (of sorts) written for Kerry O’Connor’s challenge on Real Toads to write something based on lines from Shakespeare and also posted to Imperfect Prose (though not prose) where Emily Weirenga writes about how we are held by thepast.   In this case, my title is taken from some favorite lines from King Lear (Act IV, Scene VI):

“Through tattered clothes small vices do appear;
Robes and furred gowns hide all. Plate sin with gold,
And the strong lance of justice hurtless breaks:
Arm it in rags, a pigmy’s straw does pierce it.”