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Writing letters

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Detail from a mural in Artists Alley, Ajo, Arizona
 
 

I would work harder
at writing letters
if I thought someone
would open the envelope.
There’s something satisfying
about going to my desk,
sweeping aside the rejection slips
from my latest failed poem,
and writing to friends,
a different one each day.
Despite my devotion
to penning words on paper,
few friends reply,
and I have to remind myself
that letter writing
is about to pass away
into that realm where
rotary dial telephones,
carbon paper, and chalkboards
are of blessed memory.

 

Poem and photo © 2017 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
   
More Sunday’s Whirligig #123
   
More Poetry Pantry #365 at Poets United

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Strange Fruits

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Each breath-of-a-poem begins with a phrase purloined from A Year in the World: Journeys of a Passionate Traveller by Frances Mayes.
 


 
~~ 1 ~~
 
the first foreign place
offering scissors for sale—
Unter den Linden
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
her cotton nightgown
swaying in the morning breeze—
Mexican summer
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
pulled out of the sea
ten skirts and other flotsam
from a shattered ship
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
trees beside a stone—
hiding among their branches
twenty frightened wrens
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
propped in a fig tree
an envelope with pesos
spilling out like leaves
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
down a quiet street
carrying chrysanthemums
to the dying man
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
trays of candied fruits
tumbling out of suitcases—
night train rumbles on
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
sipping orange juice
along with their chocolate cake—
the birthday children
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
the kitchen’s black stove
with germs in every crevice
leering at the cook
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
behind sunglasses
hiding a raging fever—
Bollywood starlet
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
local marmalade—
the sharp tang of orange rind
blunted by sugar
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
melon gelato—
savoring the memory
of that afternoon

 
Haiku © 2016 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #288
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #45

Small Tales

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~~ 1 ~~
 
a coatless woman
shivering under the bridge—
the scent of jasmine
 
~~ 2 ~~
 
slices of white bread
arranged on a blue platter—
the homeless shelter
 
~~ 3 ~~
 
memo to herself
scribbled on an envelope—
cigarettes and cream
 
~~ 4 ~~
 
the roadside barber
clipping shaggy pilgrims’ locks
a penny an inch
 
~~ 5 ~~
 
At first light of day
she bows before the mountains
in adoration,
while a dozen cactus wrens
sweep away leftover stars.
 
~~ 6 ~~
 
Time to say good-bye
to birds hidden in the bush—
one is in your hand,
one is nestling in your hair,
one is becoming a star.
 
~~ 7 ~~
 
It is not yet dawn
and already the old shoes
clamor for a walk,
their wrinkled tongues chattering
of paths they took long ago.
 
~~ 8 ~~
 
how the gods play games,
breaking open the bundles
of rye and oat straw,
while the farmer and his wife
take up their lamentations
 
~~ 9 ~~
 
breezy autumn day
tattered prayer flags on a fence
flapping crows away—
farmer’s unspoken longings
for a bumper crop of corn
 
~~ 10 ~~
 
exhausted pilgrim
thinking of another way
to make this journey
so that her threadbare tunic
will last another six months
 
~~ 11 ~~
 
in her small kitchen
a sip or two of cocoa
from a broken cup—
savoring the memories
of more than seventy years
 
~~ 12 ~~
 
one more touch of myrrh
to burn the tip of her tongue
with mortality

 
© 2015 by Magical Mystical Teacher
 
 
More Poetry Pantry #262
 
More Sunday’s Whirligig #17