A Grateful Haiku

larval-shaped Monarch

shows Milkweed deep gratitude

with devouring bites

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

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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

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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An Inviting Haiku #2

hand-held wand crackles

casts sparkling, inviting spells

on warm summer nights

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

A Warm Haiku

his strong, ursine hug
gives her dangerous thoughts, dreams
pulse quickens, cheeks blush

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©2020 Tanya Cliff

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My response to Stephen’s weekly Level UP Challenge at GoDogGo. Please visit the following creative souls for the promts:

Tuesday Writing Prompt Challenge–February 18, 2020

Eugi's Weekly Prompt – Blush – February 17, 2020

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

Haiku: Angry North Winds

The complete challenge is available here:

Wednesday’s Level UP Challenge, 2/19/20 and Tuesday’ Writing Prompt Challenge Round UP

 

 

 

 

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

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Did I Say?

Did I say that I want you?

Alice enters the room and stares at Jimmy, waiting. How can he not remember? He yelled her name three times a few minutes ago. Her knees need replacing, and the hallway—stacked with bins of her half-finished crafts and quilts—requires negotiating. He had sounded afraid, almost panicked. She responded as fast as she could hobble, but, now, he looks up at her, baffled.

Alice’s children had warned her about getting involved with a man that late in life. Her daughter had complained, “He just wants someone to take care of him.” Her son had been less tactful, “He is broke. He needs your money.” What money? Her mortgage had been paid off a few months before her husband died (eleven years ago, but it feels like yesterday), and she is the sole the beneficiary of the modest life insurance policy he left behind. It covers the property tax and puts food on the table, not much more than that. She had heeded their warnings for two years, but Jimmy’s persistent pursuit had proven charming. Or maybe she had just grown weary of driving herself around town and pulling the garbage to the curb once a week.

Jimmy takes the garbage out now, at least if she reminds him; and he is a good driver, provided she pays attention and tells him where to go. When the kids ask her about Jimmy’s driving, she ignores them. (She doesn’t tell them about the woman he nearly hit in the parking lot of the grocery store last month or how she had to grab the steering wheel last week when turned the wrong way down Highway 35.) She hides the car keys from him, so he can only drive when she is with him.

Did I say that I need you?

He had told her that he was going to rake the leaves out back and then watch the golf tournament on tv. His shoes sit on the mat by the back door, clean, empty. He looks at Alice, vacant, the television remote upside down in his hands. The tv is off, the leaves, not raked. Jimmy turns away and stares at the blank tv screen.

Alice wants to yell at him, no, to scream, but Alice loves Jimmy too much to raise her voice. She walks over to him without saying a word and presses the power button on the remote control. He grins as “Wheel of Fortune” lights up the screen. As he fist pumps a correctly guessed letter, he shreds her dreams in a dignified air of victory.

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

This is my response to Stephen’s Level Up Challenge that combines several prompts. Thanks to all these talented humans for the prompts:

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/level-up-writing-challenge-2-11-moves-to-the-cafe/

https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/11/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-tuesday-february-11-2020/

https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/10/what-do-you-see-16-february-10-2020/

https://amanpan.com/2020/02/10/eugis-weekly-challenge-love-february-10-2020/

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

~

Cherita #17

the cat prowls the midnight garden

discovers scarlet rosebuds, sweet basil,
the flowers of chives, tempting catnip

as she explores
the moonlit Eden, grateful,
her senses come alive

kitten

~

©2020 Tanya Cliff

~

Written in response to Stephen’s Level Up Writing Challenge, using prompts from the following awesome humans:

Beth – https://godoggocafe.com/2020/02/04/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-february-4-2020/

Eugi – https://amanpan.com/2020/02/03/eugis-weekly-prompt-alive-february-3-2020/

Sadje – https://lifeafter50forwomen.com/2020/02/03/what-do-you-see-15-february-3rd-2020/

Stephen – https://fullbeardlit.org/2020/02/06/level-up-writing-challenge-week-of-2-3/

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?”

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Words and Photography ©2017 Tanya Cliff ~ to contact me

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