Distant

Distant…

Hands long for the warmth of flesh
to touch
to hold
to love

The torn social fabric

Covers our mouths

Shielding us

From

Each

Other

This day, too, shall pass—
it always does—
not fast enough for most,
far too quickly for some…

We Mourn

Like doves, tossed in the storm,
Like sheep, led to the slaughter,
Like lone wolves…

Distant…

We howl at the insensitive moon.

It waxes.

It wanes.

It cycles.

We will sort through the carnage—
we always do—
and comfort each other
touch
hold
love
And mend the social fabric
Breathe the fresh air
And Celebrate…

a

…pandemic, DISTANT

©️2020 Tanya Cliff

No Turning Back

There is no turning back
Each push,
this birth a struggle
we will win
you and I,
my winsome child
Each push
a little closer
as you cross this swaying bridge
tethered
I’ve got you
almost in my arms
Let there be storms
I will hold you
comfort you, guide you
Each push
we’re almost there now
There is no turning back
to womb’s warmth
Fight through
the pain
the fear
and
cross
Welcome to your life
There is no turning back

my response to the following prompts from these awesome humans:

Beth’s “there will be storms”

Eugi’s “winsome”

Sadje’s photo prompt

Stephen’s Level UP Challenge that combines them with a twist

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

 

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Pedal On

We were supposed to turn our swords into plowshares
our spears into pruning hooks,
I thought, as the bombs fell,
as the city fell,
as the dream fell,
through miles of explosions, carnage, blood
This was the wrong stuff haunting my dreams
Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on
Pedal on
for miles through the end of nightmare streams
flowing like toxic sludge,
clogging the living artery
where hope
in heart-attacked, arrhythmic disturbance
beats on
Don’t stop in this dystopian flow
I never want that again
Don’t end it here
Beat on
Dream on
Pedal on
a road less traveled, rarely journeyed on
few find it
Pedal on
Take up the garden hoe, put down the gun
LOVE your neighbor
LOVE mine
Pedal on
Pedal on, pedal on
Pedal on
to clearly streaming consciousness,
visions stellar
Peace
Take up the garden hoe
and plant
Pedal on
through miles of mountains, valleys, stream
This is the right stuff filling my dreams

~

My response to the prompts from the following wonderful bloggers, taken collectively in Stephen’s Level UP Challenge:

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge: Tuesday, 25, 2020

Eugi's Weekly Prompt – Stellar – February 24, 2020

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/category/what-do-you-see/

(New!) Wednesday’s Level UP Challenge, 2/26/20 and Tuesday’ Writing Prompt Challenge Round UP

~

It is also my cry out after yet another mass shooting, this time in Milwaukee, not far from my home.

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

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The Sun Melts

The sun melts
Crimson pools spill across the horizon
staining clouds
oranges, pinks, purples
A beacon?
Welcome, Night
The moon
waxing, waning,
in a perpetual dance with an ever-jumping cow
A harbinger?
So long, Day
Sands
through the hourglass
falling, passing
“hush-a-bye baby on the treetop” time
A promise
Living art
rendered in warmest hues
broad strokes across the cool sky
Time
passes by

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Cardinals

The sun travels along the arch of a low horizon—the short path
of a winter day
when cold air aches
pressing into our bones
Later, ice-glazed tree limbs crackle
in the midnight winds
heard outside our shut-tight glass
Snow falls, covering
paths, dead leaves, and seeds
In the frigid morning, the birds seek
a meal to sustain them
They gather on our deck
where the filled feeder hangs like a beacon
juncos, chickadees, nuthatches, titmice
jostle with their larger brethren
the hairy woodpeckers with their zebra-striped backs
and the hungry cardinals,
their flaming feathers, a florescent highlighter against the snow,
marking the places where the seed falls
They write their stories in footprints as we watch them:
the male cardinals wait while their partners eat their fill,
then battle with each other for the choicest remains
Chivalrous? or cavalier?
Crimson heroes to their girls
Red villains to each other
Can a man be both things?
Do the history books tell?
For the cardinals, the chronicle of this winter journey
will melt, the empty seed shells scattered
will dissolve
into fresh earth and green grass
But we will remember both hero and villain,
their footprints transcribed in letters
of our poems and prose

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

The Playlist

Back from the dead
The tomb did not consume
I am being dramatic
It was just an MRI
It felt like a tomb,
except for the meditation music
I could have selected Alternative Rock
Is there a Spotify playlist across the River Styx?
What tunes comfort that lonely sail?
I don’t know; it was just an MRI
You enter an MRI breast scan face-down,
midsection supported by a narrow bar, breasts—
one still bruised from biopsy—dangling,
Don’t move, for 45 minutes
It is uncomfortable
I am not being dramatic
Technicians cover your eyes with a warm cloth before you enter,
pipe music through headphones
to distract you
from the loud bangs, clicks, whirs
of the mechanical tomb
You choose the tune,
The playlist, so you don’t forget
This isn’t a tomb
Don’t move
It felt like a tomb—
cramped, ill-fitted, distressing, dark
I am back
I am not being dramatic
I am struck by the light at the end of the MRI tunnel
Comforted by the playlist

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Mushrooms, Sensible

mushrooms, sensible,
savor the cold air of fall
peak in November
after flowers have given up hogging attention,
the blush of their petals long browned
in September’s hard breezes
Who wants to compete with summer’s bloom?
Or be buried by winter’s snow?
Not mushrooms, shrewd
They have waited, a humble audience of spores,
captive in the moist soil of the forest theater,
while the warm season’s wildflowers danced on the stage
and the grasses grew tall
By late autumn, those players are reduced to chaff
Not mushrooms, judicious
Now, brilliant hues of capped fungus grow—fireworks
born of the detritus
erupted from the ground
The winds of November shiver mushrooms’ umbrellas
and send their spores cascading
for a moment to glimmer against the Harvest Moon
then settle in beds made by worms
with dead-leaf blankets
protected from winter’s crystal show
as snowflakes bloom and blow

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Written in response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge at Fullbeard Lit. (I missed Christine Ray’s prompt for Once, because I haven’t seen the movie.) If you don’t already, please consider giving a follow to the talented writers who provided the prompts:

https://braveandrecklessblog.com/
https://amanpan.com/
https://fullbeardlit.org/category/poetry/
https://midwestfantasy.wordpress.com/
https://marylandpoetblog.wordpress.com/

For more writing prompts and a friendly place to share your work and support other creatives, visit: https://godoggocafe.com/

~

Note to my WordPress friends:

In late summer of 2018, I was diagnosed with Invasive Lobular Breast Cancer. I underwent a Nipple-Sparing Double Mastectomy followed by two reconstructive surgeries, and months of painful rehab. I am healthy and getting back to my creative endeavors. I have missed you! Please watch my site in the coming weeks as I work back into weekly posts and announce exciting new endeavors.

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The Glen

Impenetrable
or so it seemed
‘till the creek
by persistent motion
carved a path through hard rock
Now, the waterfalls
pool far below the ridge
light pierces the narrow gap above
and dances
in reflected ribbons
mingling like threads
that weave hope in ripples
illuminating the cool, moss-filled shade
highlighting the brook
no longer trapped
as it flows gently
down the valley’s earthen bed
filling soft crevices
completely–
a thorough lover,
penetrating
in currents
deep in the glen

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff

Posted in poetry & free verse.

Gossamer Threads

the gossamer threads unwound
like a bodice unlaced
or a shell cracked
or a brittle paper torn
skin so delicate
that the lightest touch
along the curvature of the neck
more whispered than felt
like a warm spring breeze
created such a tremor within
the old garment was undone
it couldn’t resist the fluttering
what chrysalis can?
the bondage fell away
in tatters, like late snow falling
melting into verdant ground
and new existence
in scales incandescent
a life with wings
resplendent
found

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.

Teach Me of Odysseus

teach me of Odysseus
in poetic words bled
ten years
churned in the waking wake
of departing the nightmare
what did Odysseus see in the rear-view mirror?
the sacking of Troy was no small thing
was Helen worth it?
how would Hector respond?
Achilles?
perhaps Patroclus or Paris might weigh in?
any insight?
I sigh
The Iliad has been repeated over and over and over again
Men, Nature’s most destructive force,
the innards of the Trojan Horse,
spill out and spoil every pristine thing they touch

but teach me of Odysseus
how does man leave the fatal shore?
what demons must he destroy?
what storms, prevail?
how red the wake?
before the safe harbors of home
he makes

~

Words and Photography ©2019 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

Posted in poetry & free verse.