Cherita #6

child went to the river

learned to bait
worms on his hook

released a dozen fish,
but love of nature snagged
was a keeper

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Cherita #4

carried mystery novel

bookmark fell
at the scene of the crime

returned to library
one year late and
received $70 fine

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Cherita #3

table set for two

wine poured into
crystal glasses

the course turned solo,
and her fingers tapped
a doggie-bag beat

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Cherita #2

the crowd pushes through the zoo

well fed creatures
stretch and yawn

screaming children and
tourist waistlines
form the ursine punchline

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Cherita #1

shut the box and locked it

grandma carried the load
to beloved garden plot

among the clementines and lilies
she labored, humming,
and buried it six feet deep

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Found

“We are lost.” *

It is a new beginning, an adaptation of my old fantasy novel, unearthed under mounds of verbal dirt. My writer’s brain grew. My editing skills sharpened. Like a painter learning a new medium, I have cultivated my storytelling skills in poetry and repainted the old tale on a fresh canvass. The rambling paragraph that once started this tale has been scrapped.  I’ve burned the dross off the plot and allowed my characters to carry it.

The book has a new cover and a new name. Loni and Dovni may be momentarily lost in the first chapter, but the story has been found.

Next week, I will be sharing the first four chapters of the book and providing a link to the $0.99 eBook on Amazon as soon as it goes live. This summer I will follow with the next two books in the series, both in final rewrite.

*Opening line of The Legend of the Lumenstones: The Lightbearer

Words and cover art©2017 Tanya Cliff

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Should I Warn the Neighbors?

“Should I warn the neighbors?”

We are lighting a smoke bomb today. I’m good at this. If the wind is favorable, the smoke will travel to the top of the old, oak tree that towers over my driveway. No one called the fire department in a panic last time. The man across the street lingered in his own driveway sweeping leaves that didn’t exist just so he could watch, but we avoided the sirens and red and blue lights.

Still, it’s a dilemma. Do we alert people or not?

This time we are shooting a stop-motion video in Barbie-doll scale. The smoke bomb for this shoot is full, human-sized. I could engulf a pink, plastic convertible many times bigger than the one my Ken doll occupies. That is a lot of smoke. It should make for a good sequence of stop-motion pictures, unless I am engulfed in smoke too, in which case I will simply keep snapping and hope for the best.

We are using fake blood for this video as we did for the last, “The Fake Guy”. I know a recipe that looks convincing and has a great splatter property. It is made almost entirely of powdered sugar with just a bit of cocoa and a massive amount of red food coloring. Yes, it’s edible. Yes, it’s gross. What is the amount of blood needed for a Barbie-doll bombing accident? Last time, I mixed a cup. I needed a teaspoon. Those dolls were small. I am good at math, but I tend to overdo things.

Ken’s doll double required some post-apocalyptic mutilation. I didn’t want to damage him too much, so I used a small hammer and tapped. That was pointless. Who knew that plasti-Ken had #absofsteel? I grabbed my industrial goggles – no selfies here – and the big hammer and pounded away with all my might. An exhausted 30 minutes later, and Barbie’s beau has a few gaping wounds.

“Should I warn the neighbors?”

What would you say? “Hey, I’m shooting a stop-motion video with Barbie dolls in my driveway. I’m going to be spilling fake blood and lighting a large smoke bomb. Please don’t panic when you see the mini-mushroom cloud rising above my roof line.”

My children think I’m weird and funny. That’s a good thing. It keeps them interested, laughing and engaged. My antics also teach them to think outside of the proverbial, collective box and take creative risks. We will be all hands on the “deck” of my driveway. At least one of them will be standing by with buckets of water should anything go wrong. What could possibly go wrong?

My only real dilemma:

“Should I warn the neighbors?”

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Quotas

The St. Louis

On May 13, 1939, the ocean liner, St. Louis, sailed from Hamburg, Germany, for Havana, Cuba. The Third Reich allowed more than 900 Jews aboard. We are counting now. When souls become quotas, numbers matter. The number was 937, most of them were German Jews. They carried what they thought were valid permits that guaranteed them temporary stay in the United States until proper visas could be granted.

The quotas…
The quotas!
The United States quotas were full.
The souls aboard the St. Louis had no clue.

The German-Austrian immigration quota for the United States allowed only 27,370 souls annually. The wait list for entry stretched for years, pages filled with longing names numbered. When souls become numbers filling quotas, what has humanity left to do but count? So we counted them. Number one got in. Number 27,371 did not. She received a free train ride out of Germany to a place called Auschwitz that reeked of smoke and shit and death, where she was given a new number. She died in a gas chamber and was burned to ash. We are counting now. She took her place among six million dead.

That was Europe, the other side of the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Louis safely reached Cuba, where 29 Jews were allowed to disembark. Cuba had immigration quotas too. We are counting now. 29 souls found a refuge. The ship was ordered out of the harbor in Havana. To be sure that number 30 didn’t sneak in, Cuban police boats followed the St. Louis. Several passengers attempted to commit suicide.

For three days, the St. Louis drifted off the coast of Miami, close enough to see that city’s sparkling lights. Pleas went out via cables from the ship. President Franklin D. Roosevelt never responded. The White House never responded. The State Department finally sent a telegram to the ship explaining plainly that the United States had immigration quotas in place and that the souls on board would have to apply for the proper visas and take their turn on the waiting list.

The quotas…
The quotas!
The United States quotas were full.
The souls aboard the St. Louis now understood.

How did we explain to men, women and children that they were nothing more than numbers in a quota-filling game? What words of comfort did we give? Were we present when many of them were torn from their families and piled like cattle into cargo holds after their bitter return to Europe? Did we travel with them sharing their terror as they were sent to concentration camps? Did we hold their trembling hands as their flesh rotted away from starvation? Did we hear their screams? Did we see them die? They each were given a number. We are counting now. They took their place among six million dead.

We laud a statue that reads: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, the wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Were these not tempest-tossed? The lamp went dark, blown out by xenophobic winds.

We have recycled those winds today in the forms of quotas, restrictions, deportations, bans and walls. We fear.

Souls become numbers, leaving humanity with nothing left to do but count.

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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Dear Donald #1

Dear Donald,

I understand that you are building a wall to keep dangerous Mexicans off our soil, and you have bravely banned humans of seven scary Muslim countries from entering our great nation.

While you are busy signing executive orders to make America great again, I was wondering if you would consider the following:

1. a ban on all grasshoppers
2. a nationwide flight restriction on mosquitos, especially the kind that carry the Zika Virus
3. a prohibition on plant blight
4. a restriction on drought that covers all except the designated desert plains
5. an immediate halt to the entry in United States’ air space of any cloud even thinking of forming a tornado vortex
6. an offshore boundary prohibiting hurricanes from coming within 200 nautical miles of our fine country’s shores, or else
7. an immediate ban on all forms of cancer
8. a strict restriction on flooding in urban or agricultural districts
9. an executive order calling for the immediate halt of all traffic accidents
10. a ban on the flu virus, something that would save millions of dollars annually in vaccines alone

I can think of many other items to put on this list; but, between your ban of people from those Muslim countries and your wall to keep Mexican people out, I don’t see how there will be enough working humans left in America to complete the tasks already mentioned.

Thank you for your time.

A Concerned Citizen

~

Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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