Flowering: A Poem

'Thai maroon' guavas, a red apple guava cultivar, rich in carotenoids and polyphenols. In public domain, by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

These are “Thai maroon” guavas, a type of red apple guava cultivar. Image in the public domain, by the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture.

Flowering

 by Leigh Ward-Smith

You want me for

your hot guava girl.

Succulently sweet,

            not too loud.

Squeezable, tease-able,

not too proud.

Juice, jelly, jam:

able to be quashed

under the press of your flesh.

Pulp: pink or cream,

and willing.

Prone to ardor, rot, parasites.

You’re convinced my fruits will mummify

without your potable vigor, sure

my feathered veins will wither.

Still, I propagate in any soil

I desire.

 


This poem—which probably would have been titled “The Botany of Desire” if Michael Pollan hadn’t used it already, darn him!—was inspired by last week’s Grammar Ghoul (Chimera) 66-word challenge #4, whose deadline I missed a few days back. My advance apologies for the formatting in this; I’m not an html expert.

The prompt word was guava, as you might have guessed. For more on this fascinating fruit, you can try the University of Hawai’i Knowledge Master database on pests, crops, and much more, as I did. And also be sure to visit Grammar Ghoul Press, which has a garden-ful of weekly prompts, boys and ghouls.

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Flash Fiction: If the Sea Spoke

Written for Friday Fictioneers

RedPavilionPhoto-Adam Ickes

Photograph by writer Adam Ickes. Be sure to visit his site!

GENRE(S): Flash fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, romance

WORD COUNT: 102

If the Sea Spoke . . .

When Helena McArdle reached rickety boards, she almost turned, with no fanfare and nary a flounce ruffled, back toward home. Father would be no wiser.

Instead, her footfalls hastened her forward. The inlet waits just beyond the pavilion flitted across her mind, a firefly waltzing with air.

At 17 years and ninety-eight pounds when not encased in a cage crinoline, she did not welcome the avoirdupois of womanhood. No one will make me marry Lucas Parish–that human Cerberus!

Still, the sound of waves slapping chert beaconed. “Hurry to me,” slipped from the swollen lips of the whitecaps, whose promises were lies.

What Erich Segal Got Wrong about Love

forgivenesslib_mandela

Cartoon can be found at truthdig (please consider purchasing it directly from the cartoonist).

Welcome to the large-hadron collider that is Words Matter Week, Day Two. If you haven’t yet, please visit the National Association of Independent Writers and Editors (NAIWE) Web site dedicated to this sixth incarnation of WMW.

Today’s WMW topic talks about life changes:

Tuesday
What word, said or unsaid, has or could change your life? How?

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”   ~Martin Luther King, Jr.

*****

I’m peering through a literary kaleidoscope on this mattersome matter; that is to say, on this important theme. I keep fishing up two words: I’m sorry.

And yet, we are told “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Most people know this famous phrase from the Love Story book by Erich Segal, if not the movie.

To be fair, I’ve never read the entirety of Mr. Segal’s book, and I’m probably taking his quote out of context. Plus, I don’t mean to rip romance novels, but what hubristic jerk of a character really thinks in this absolutist way? If that’s the point of the line (to set up an antihero or villain), then bravo.

In my experience, love and humility are intertwined. Human beings are fallible, hence love and other human emotions, as well as the words used to express them, are imperfect. Words slip, slide, perish, and even sometimes break–at least according to American poet T.S. Eliot (read “Four Quartets” for these lines).

Now, I’m no Sybil of Cumae, but I think a simple “I’m sorry” might have the ability to transform some part of a life I have rued (to rework a line from poet Robert Frost). I’ve been party, unfortunately, to a few toxic relationships in my time, but I’ve also had to make my own share of mea culpas. So I know how two tiny words, three syllables, two or three breaths, can budge bitter hearts and begin to rebuild ransacked worlds.

Forgiveness, of self or of others, could free us from the suffering born of regret or anger or loss. And it’s hard to love if we’re unwilling or unable to either forgive or allow forgiveness.

So, were he alive, I’d love to pick Mr. Segal’s brain about that touchstone line. I suspect he might even regret it himself, in that many people know him chiefly for that line, taken out of context.

What word or words could reorder your world? While you’re pondering this, I urge you to consider taking part in the Write Tribe Festival of Words, also 2 March to 8 March 2014.

Finally, I’m sorry, Ryan. I never meant to hurt you, but, conversely, I’m glad you are where you are today, as I am where I am. Things worked out exceptionally well for us both.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Treasure

FAMILY-hiking

FAMILY-pool

Rather than an object (or objects), I conceptualized this weekly photo challenge in terms of the people and things or values I treasure. I thought about posting more “categories” of treasures, but I think this is plenty enough to make me feel rich for now. Enjoy, and have a great weekend!

What I treasure

  1. Family and friends
  2. Art (taken to mean music, literature, dance, architecture, etc.)
  3. Nature

NATURE-fungusART-architecture ART-Will   NATURE-bird NATURE-robinettes