The Orchid Flower

img_0839Just as I wonder
whether it’s going to die,
the orchid blossoms
and I can’t explain why it
moves my heart, why such pleasure

The Orchid Flower by Sam Hamill (b. 1942), Poet and Founding Editor of Copper Canyon Press, from his book Dumb Luck

Inspired today, I decided to make the short trip from the contemplative solitude of my room to the busy, bustling, sometimes even boisterous-with-conviviality Trader Joe’s not too far from here. The purpose: to buy some orchids.  I thought I remembered that Trader’s had orchids for sale at reasonable prices. They do indeed. And how lovely they are. I bought two (the picture doesn’t do them justice) and two tea roses to light my room and softly complement and complete the green leafy plants that have been my companions for some years now.  With their complex formation and color variation, the orchids have a natural poetry that blends with the book-lined shelves. They make me smile as I spin my own soul’s poetry, which has to be worked for and which I can only hope will be as fully organic as the naked beauty of an orchid.

© 2014, words and photo, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved

just toking O2 … Hallelujiah! It’s a Leonard Cohen kind of day.

The view from my window of my new place, a Japanese Tea Garden

A Japanese Tea Garden, the view from the window of my new apartment in senior housing

it’s a Leonard Cohen kind of day,
walkers lined up by the dinning room
like race horses at the starting gate …
the Asians worship the Lord, Jesus Christ
the Europeans embrace Vipassana

at three they’re viewing Brokeback Mountain
but i’m staying in my room, playing Halleluljah,
my compressor humming in the background …
just toking O2, enjoying the complexities,
savoring the ironies, Hallelujah, Glory be

“Hallelujah is a Hebrew word which means ‘Glory to the Lord.’ The song explains that many kinds of Hallelujahs do exist. I say: All the perfect and broken Hallelujahs have an equal value. It’s a desire to affirm my faith in life, not in some formal religious way but with enthusiasm, with emotion.” Leonard Cohen (b. 1934), Canadian muscian, singer/songwriter, poet and novelist

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved Photo via Panaramio

the fairy who lives in the moon

480px-Wonderful_Fairies_-_45_-_Fairy_Girl winter has stopped rattling the glass
and spring has arrived, tentative in an
uncertain green, touching down and
than taking off again, peripatetic

night falls with a chill wind, hugs a tree
and the fairy who lives in the moon pens
ghost stories of Earth as she might be

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved Illustration via Wikipedia: A fairy girl (by illustrator Cora M. Norman), seen at the end of “The Cloud Fairies” in Ernest Vincent Wright’s The Wonderful Fairies of the Sun.

the good housekeeper

423px-Good_housekeeping_1908_08_aat sunrise with its shmears of
cream cheese clouds against
the quince-colored morning light,
Mrs. Goldberg is out of bed ~
a military tactician in war-time
no dust-bunny is safe, every
grease spot enzyme-bombed
out of existence, the wash thrashed by
machine, then hanged or folded, put in place,
her windows wiped, her floors scrubbed,
and woe betide wee crawling creatures,
so intent is Mrs. G on genocide

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ in the U.S. public domain, a 1908 cover of Good Housekeeping magazine illustrated by John Cecil Clay (1975-1930), American illustrator

haunting the years

silhouettes-of-childrenthere’s little i’d want to live over
but a few moments, with special people,
their memory held safe, gently wrapped,
with affection, like a
gift waiting to be touched,
opened and savored …

ribbon tugged
….. paper unfurled

the scent of other children, brothers,
the timbre of their voices, those early days,
the freshness playing in my mind,
in flickering light, like

an eight-millimeter film
…..t of toddlers and youths

haunting the years until today
when i found you again

i reached out 
…..and you reached back

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
Illustration ~ courtesy of George Hodan, Public Domain Pictures.net

FOR WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY: A Hunger for Bone

800px-Big_Sur_Coast_California…….For Ann who died a year ago of a rare cancer of the bone

we scattered your relics, charred bone
blithe spirit, to be rocked by waves,
to be rocked into yourself, the rhythm
enchanting you with sapphire spume,
sighs merging your poetry with the ether,
rending our hearts of their shivered memories,
shattering the ocean floor with your dreams
lost in lapping lazuli tides, dependable ~
relief perhaps after pain-swollen years of
suckle on the shards of a capricious grace

those last weeks …
your restless sleeps disrupted by
medical monitors, their metallic pings
not unlike meditation bells calling to you,
bringing you to presence and contemplation,
while bags hung as prayer-flags on a zephyr,
fusing blood, salt, water
into collapsing veins, bleeding-out
under skin, yellowing and puce-stained,
fetid air filled, we came not with chant,
but the breath of love, we tumbled in
one-by-one to stand by you

to stand by you
when death arrived

and it arrived in sound, not in stealth,
broadcasting its jaundiced entrance
i am here, death bellowed on morphine
in slow drip, i am here death shouted,
offering tape to secure tubing, handing
you a standard-issue gown, oversized -
in washed-out blue, for your last journey
under the cold pale of fluorescent light

far from the evergreen life of your redwood forest,
eager and greedy, death snatched
your jazzy PJs, your bling and pedicures,
your journals and pens, your computer and
cat, death tried your dignity and identity
not quickly, no … in a tedious hospital bed,
extending torment, its rough tongue salting
your wounds, death’s hungering, a hunger
for bones, your frail white bones -
but you, in your last exercise of will, thwarted death,
bequeathing your bones to the living sea

© 2013, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved * Photo ~ Big Sur in Central California looking south near the Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park by Joseph Plotz under CC A-SA 3.0 unported license

TODAY IS WRITERS’ FOURTH WEDNESDAY, a writing prompt we host each month with The Bardo Group. The prompt is facilitated on the Bardo blog by Victoria C. Slotto, writer and poet. This month the challenge is to write in second person. We invite you to link your own work to Victoria’s post. We’ll both visit and comment and we encourage you to visit one another to read, comment and encourage.

PROBLEMS WITH WORDPRESS: If you find – as a number of us have - that it has become frustrating to post poetry on WordPress, please let WordPress know.We are suddenly having issues with layout. The poems collapse into prose format and paragraphs in the prose portions merge into one another. Do blog and tweet about the issues and contact WordPress at help@wordpress.com. Thank you!

butterflies battling the wind

1385915381i0p98like butterfies battling the wind, these ~
the quiet afternoons pulsing peace,
Bach on the radio, sustenance simmering
on the stove of my tranquility, the days
chasing night, the nights chasing day,
rhythms caressing my face, love-bites
armouring the leg of my being, heart
beating at one with the sighing ocean
and only gratitude for the gift of life,
no longer scandalized by the news of
death, baptism into heaven, whatever
that may be, but the reports center on
confusion, Kiev, Syria, Afghanistan

easy to foment flash-points for horror,
even easier to forget just how sweet it is
to breathe with the moon and sun and
to grow with trees bending in the storms,
obeisance to the seas and sky and
living on the edge of eternity, time to
give it up, to give-up strife for Lent . . .
to never pick it up again, moved only
by the gentle breeze of butterfly wings,
color and transport for the hungry heart

© 2014, poem, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved; photo courtesy of morgueFile