On the Edge of the Abyss

“So I sit on the edge, wagging my feet above the abyss”

–Jim Harrison, “Bridge,” Dead Man’s Float

 

The sun doesn’t have to shine

nor the moon to glow and hum

her shimmery tunes

at night when all the world

seems dark and full of despair–

and there

on the edge of the abyss,

he, she, they—perhaps I—

sit

wondering is this it?

Yet,

do not the stars twinkle

and the rivers flow to the sea

where life emerges to be

part of an endless cycle—

like despair from wishes

caught like fishes—

unable to be freed.

So, sometimes unperceived

a life not filled with joy,

but strife,

tragic when it ends

in midnight pain,

a sudden downpour,

a heavy rain.

Still, the stars twinkle

and sprinkle

hope

with sparkling light

what may be or might

like the sun

once again come

 

This is another poem for Jilly’s 28 Days of Unreason, where we are writing poetry based on Jim Harrison’s poetry. This is Day 8.

I’ve also linked this to Björn’s prompt at dVerse. He asked us to write using negation. I’m not sure if this is it. . .

There are have been two recent celebrity suicides—Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain—but we all know of more–people who are not so famous.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Balloon: Microfiction

le_ballon-pierre_puvis_de_chavannes-img_8274

Pierre Puvis de Chavannes [CeCILL (http://www.cecill.info/licences/Licence_CeCILL_V2-en.html) or CC BY-SA 2.0 fr (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/deed.en)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

She had raged against the war, raged against the loss, and raged against fate. Her husband and her three sons had been killed; her grandchildren would never be born. Her city was destroyed, and there was no one left to rebuild it. Bodies lay in the streets, dead of starvation, disease, and hopelessness. Now the fire of her rage had died to embers. Over it, her sorrow had once simmered and stewed, but now, it too was gone. She was hollow, like a shell abandoned on the beach. She wondered if her body carried echoes of her life before–when she had dreams.

As she walked toward the ancient walls of her city, she noticed a balloon rising in the distant sky. A sign of hope or help? Too late, she thought. She wondered if she imagined it, as she watched the balloon ascend higher and higher, mocking her. She knew she would never rise; the only way for her was down. She hoped her flight would be graceful, like the balloon’s, a final bit of beauty amidst the tragedy of her life. She stood at the top of the city’s wall, spread her arms, and dived into the wind.

 

After

She floated, carried by wind currents, by angels’ breath. She floated like a leaf upon the water. She heard a sound, like echoing voices, and a door between worlds opened. There was her city spread beneath her, filled with joyous people, busy with the tasks of everyday life. In a blink, she stood now in the market square. Her eldest son saw her and greeted her with a smile. She noticed a balloon high above her. She dared to dream. Here and always.

 

This story was for Jane Dougherty’s Sunday strange microfiction challenge. The prompt was the painting above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Surviving

woman_uhde

Fritz von Uhde [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“The newspaper stories were like dreams to us, bad dreams dreamt by others. How awful, we would say, and they were, but they were awful without being believable. They were too melodramatic, they had a dimension that was not the dimension of our lives. We were the people who were not in the papers. We lived in the blank white spaces at the edges of print. It gave us more freedom. We lived in the gaps between the stories.”

—Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale

 

She rose in frigid darkness,

hauled water from the well,

lit the fire, cooked the meal,

her work uninterrupted, invariable,

her duties clear,

no surprises, no light in her world,

(no lightness in her soul)

hours of toil,

before she could creep down the steps

to her cold, damp cell,

limbs stiff, ossified, a fossil of a woman

wearing her weariness like a shroud,

her life safe,

(as long as she could work)

well, safer than others,

who hid in fear,

she had a roof,

a bit of food,

she wished she could long for flowers

sunshine, love,

but the reality was

she only wished to survive.

 

This poem is for Secret Keeper’s Writing Challenge, using the words

Life/Work/Real/Safe/Clear.  I used reality instead of real.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January 20, 2017: A Quadrille

In 1799, George Washington died,

the nation cried,

with solemn faces,

tears leaving traces,

salt licks of grief.

No relief,

we look at the past,

and fear the future casts

black shadows—so we mourn,

torn

between hope’s whispers, freedom’s shout,

resist, watch out.

 

Another quadrille for Dverse.