Elastic – Stretching Our World


People with a rubbery personality – you know who they are – drive me nuts. They bounce from mood to mood, stretch the truth, stretch their sense of morality…have no consistency of values or expectations (of themselves or of others).

“I once…” stretches to “I’ve always…” “You didn’t…” stretches to “You’ve never…” “He did… stretches to “He does…” “She went…” stretches to “She goes…”

Generalisation. Judgement. Gossip. Conversation. Letters (TXTs, emails). News stories. Tweets – and who’s the elastic truth Tweet-meister, hmm?

Elastic doesn’t only stretch – it rebounds; it shrinks.

Planning a marriage shrinks to Planning a wedding. Now that’s elastic right there, and contributes to over spending, and later, failed expectations, which in turn may stretch to unfaithfulness, betrayal, separation and divorce.

Team-work shrinks to a one-man workload. Group projects shrink to a one-woman contribution – and her workload stretches.

A good family cook can stretch a budget to put food on the family table. An unemployed parent has to shrink the family’s spending.

Elasticity is a necessary evil in some contexts – and a pain in the proverbial in others. It’s only consistently effective use is in clothing – and even that use diminishes with age and over-use of the drier!


This written as a response to the prompt Elastic

Will I Float Or Will I Fly?


I thought I’d float within my dreams,
Lying languidly in a boat,
Drifting with the flow of lazy streams
Amid lilac-tinted water lilies,
Like the lady of the lyrical poem…
Drift, float… float without a helm
To end where the stream of life ends.

But, no, I didn’t float. I flew
Through my dreams, through a dark azure sky
Over navy seas bespeckled by reflections
Of moon and stars on wave tops;
Over cream-rimmed dark islands,
Twinkling with open fires far below.

I didn’t float, I flew; not gently,
But furiously fast, fantastically far.
High above the world I know,
Then over new worlds, flying low
To see the strange, the new
Places and people, none I knew.

I felt disquiet, sought familiar places,
But none were here, and with a bitter thrill
I swooped to return to known faces,
Known arguments, old disputes
Fast friends and firm promises…
I flew back, to reassurance.

I’ve not written any poems for some while now.

The Daily Prompt theme “Float” brought me to compose this… Be kind.

First 2017 prompt :: YEAR


Well, the Daily Prompt folks have delighted me, by not making 1st January’s prompt “Resolutions”. Thanks for the common sense, good folk. It would have been too easy, too over-done, too lazy … for any  to really give a toss about. So … “Year” – ‘A Year Of…’, ‘A Year For…’, ‘A Year In…’, ‘A Year With…’ – endless possibilities here. (You can probably tell I’m desperately thinking as I write this.) What will I wrap ‘Year’ around? Well, regardless of it being too obvious, it’s my view on 2017; plans? promises? problems? (Nah, not problems-let’s keep it positive.) politics? (Nah, not politics-let’s keep it positive. Did someone just say that?)  It’ll definitely be a year of remembrances and anniversaries, some light, some dire…

2017 Anniversaries

500 years:
– Martin Luther nails his 95 Theses to the doors of Wittenberg Castle’s Church (October 31)

150 years:
– Creation of the Dominion of Canada (July 1)
– Publication of Karl Marx’s Das Capital (September 14)

125 years:
– Début of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (October 31)

100 years:
– Centennial of the U.S. Entry into World War I (April
– US President John F Kennedy born (May 29)

75 years:
– Commencement of the Battle of Stalingrad (July 17) which continued to February 2, 1943

50 years:
– Hollywood releases “Bonnie and Clyde,” “In The Heat of the Night,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner,” “I Am Curious Yellow”, and (December 21) “The Graduate”.
“After decades of studio rule, the gloves were off, battle lines drawn and silver screen taboos toppling like dominoes.”*
– Monterey Pop Festival (June 16-18); With performances by Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding and The Who — before they were superstars
– Release of “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” (June 1); Also (no precise date) “The Doors” (The Doors), “Surrealistic Pillow” (Jefferson Airplane), “Are You Experienced?” (Jimi Hendrix Experience), “The Velvet Underground & Nico” (The Velvet Underground)
– Canada’s Expo 67 (April 27-Oct. 29)
– “Hair” opens off-Broadway (Oct. 17)
– Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” hits No. 1 (June 3-10

– the Biafran War (more correctly The Nigerian Civil War) with which came the formation of Doctors Without Borders began (6 July 1967)
– Commencement of the Six-Day War between Israel and Egypt (June 5–10)
– Greek monarchy is overthrown (April 21)

– Death of Che Guevara (October 1)
– World’s first heart transplant (December 3)

48 years:
– Woodstock, the bigger, more iconic touchstone for hippie music gatherings.

40 years:
– “Star Wars” hits theatres (May 25)
– “Roots” becomes a small screen phenomenon (Jan. 23-30)
– Elvis Presley dies (Aug. 16)

30 years:
– “Dirty Dancing” screened.

25 years:
– Johnny Carson steps down from “The Tonight Show” (May 21)
– Nirvana’s “Nevermind” hits No. 1. (Jan. 11)

20 years:
– Ellen DeGeneres comes out as TV’s first gay leading character;
– “The Lost World: Jurassic Park” screened;
– Pop band Backstreet Boys emerged

*Source: Joel Rubinoff, arts and family columnist at the Waterloo Region Record.

A response to the Daily Prompt for 1st January, 2017. Link-back will have to wait, as using the iPad App is not conducive to popping back n forth to get it.

2017, A Hopeful New Year – More Or Less


I do hope 2017 sees me more productive, more effective, more efficient, more fortunate (both in terms of fortune, and luck), more healthy, more academic of thought, more politically aware, more active (physically and socially), more spiritual (actively, not alone), more gentile, more and more free-to-be-me than in years up to now.

But there are also things I feel hopeful should be less, not more. I’m hopeful I’ll have less cravings for cigarettes (off cigarettes themselves, but triggers still twitch), less jittery, less dependent, less doubt about myself, less worried about others’ opinions, less clumsy, less fearful, less weary, less garrulous, less judgemental of others, less stressed by small things.

I’m hopeful I’ll be able to walk the treetops suspended pathway in the Redwoods forest (here in Rotorua) – so I have work to do on my fear of heights. I’m hopeful I’ll be able to start learning to swim – started, but agoraphobia triggered by the broad expanse of the pool’s wide open space (its surface) brought on a melt-down. Both of these conditions hit me at about the time Stiff Persons’ Syndrome did.

I’m hopeful I’ll get lots (and lots, and lots) more work done on my memoir. And I’m hopeful I’ll get myself cracking on writing and submitting shorter works to…whoever wants them. But this is also where hope is not enough. One must have a stern resolution to achieve what one hopes for. Which means setting down the “How To …”, and the “When To…”; so, a schedule, a “To Do” list…all of which do actually become a delaying tactic, a side-track. Getting ready to work is not the same as actually Working, is it?


What’s the betting the daily prompt for the 1st January (US time) will be Resolutions?
(This was intended to suggest a post for the last day of 2016, but I’m in the GMT +13 (NZDT) time zone, so I’m writing this on Sunday 1st January.)

Poetry & Tarts


I wish I could have peeped into your mind as you read just the title – I bet the image (for some) was a tad salacious.

Sorry, it’s rather less exciting… “Poetry & Tarts” refers to an event for New Zealand’s 2016 National Poetry Day, for which the Rotorua Mad Poets Society planned a month of poetry related activities for the community.
The event offered poetry readings by Mad Poets or the public – their own or other poets’ published works; and the only “tarts” available 9671_mini-raspberry-tarts
were not among those participating,
but sitting on plates for the refreshment break.

I’m hoping Poetry & Tarts will be included in 2017’s poetry celebration!
Maybe they’ll allow costumes to be worn!

Are there poems on the Tart theme? One jingle comes to mind:

“An empty gut, an aching heart –
Both fulfilled by a lovely tart.

(origin unknown)

If you know of others, feel free to either add them to the comments (accessible once you have clicked on the title of this post), or if a longer piece, post it at your blog then please pop back and leave a link to it in the Comments.
I Really hope to see more Tart poems (of either connotation)


This post brought to you via
dailyprompt_wordpress

 

 

Let’s Play ‘Pretend’


d “Let’s play ‘pretend’,” she’d say. And on a dairy farm, miles from the nearest town, and a long way to walk to play at your friends’ farm…what else could you do when you’re bored with dolls, toys, colouring in, and all the other indoor activities. On a sunny day, playing ‘pretend’ was the best way to fill our day.

“Let’s pretend we’re Robin Hood?”

“No, there’s only two of us here, and I’m fed up of being the Sherriff of Nottingham!”

“Let’s pretend we’re Sir Edmund Hillary!”

“No. That only means we walk up the hills to the ridge at the top. That’s not real climbing.”

“Well, let’s pretend we’re Biggles and Ginger.”

“Yes, let’s. Can I be Biggles this time?”

“No, you’re too small to fit in the cockpit. I’ll be Biggles.”

So that means I’m Ginger. Like I was the last times we’ve pretended.

“You don’t mind, do you.” It’s not a question. She’s already heading off down towards the cream stand near the gate.

I don’t mind, not really. At least Ginger gets to do more than Biggles, who just tells me what to do. I follow, as always, as we move across to the windbreak of old macrocarpa trees. No breeze today, so no riding the lower branches.

Beside – actually through some of the trees’ trunks – is the old almost-still-a fence, with its posts slanting every which way, probably supported more by the macrocarpa trunks than the posts. Lying across the sagging top wires is the old tree trunk, blown down years ago, stripped by the weather and the seasons of its bark and side branches.

We scramble over the fence into the old orchard, with its rows of neglected apple trees whose windfall fruit feeds the pigs when they’re allowed out from their sties. I’ve never seen the pigs myself. She has. She’s told me why Dad doesn’t want us to come into the orchard – the pigs are wild, she told me, and dangerous. That’s why we mustn’t tell Dad and Mum this is where we sometimes play.

Biggles checks the plane, making sure it’s not damp, it’s got no bugs in it. As she climbs into the cockpit, she gives Ginger orders.

“There’s parts missing, Ginger. See what you can get from the hangar.” So I get some likely-looking twigs, and pass them up to her. I start to climb up into the seat behind Biggles.

“Ginger, I’ll do the safety checks. But we’re short on fuel. Sort it out old chap.” I leave her to stick twigs into borer holes, for switches, climb through the fence again and get the old bucket from under the cream stand. It’s always there. I’ve told Dad about it. I asked him if he wanted me to bring it home, but he said to leave it there.

I carry it up to the house, going in through the front hedge and around to the water tank beside the back of the house. I refuel it, and carry it back to the plane. It’s heavy, and some sloshes out.

“That’s not much fuel,’ says Biggles.

“That’s all the chaps could spare. Besides, you said there was some fuel left from the last flight.”

“Okay, Ginger. Fuel her up.” I pour the ‘fuel’ into an opening in the old trunk. We both know the hole goes right through, and I’ve worked out how to stand and refuel without getting fuel on my feet. I put the bucket down by the fence, and climb aboard.

“Wait till I get the engine running, Ginger. I need you to pull away the chocks.” Biggles starts the engine. “Took, took, tchook, tchook… Took, took, tchook, tchook… Took, tchook, tchooka… Rrrrrrr, Rrrrrr… Chocks away, Ginger!”

I kick away two rocks, and clamber aboard. Biggles has the motor running smoothly, and it starts into a full roar, rising in pitch, as he revs her up and we take off. I run the motor when Biggles runs out of breath, so the engine doesn’t stutter and die.

“I say, Ginger,” calls Biggles. “We’re right over the enemy air field now. Snap those photos now, old boy!” Biggles takes over the engine, while I hold out the camera and take snaps.

Click. Kachick. Click. Kachik. Click. Kachik. Click. Kachik.

“I got four good snaps, Biggles. Will that do the major?”

“Keep snapping Ginger!”

Click. Kachick. Click. Kachik. Click. Kachik. Click. Kachik.

“Right-oh, that’ll have to do. One of their planes is out taxiing – they’re after us. Let’s head for home. Well done, Ginge!”

We fly back to base, land, and taxi to our spot beside the runway. Biggles does the safety checks while I replace the chocks.

“Great flight, Biggles. Are we going to see the major straight away?”

“Oh no, Ginger. Let’s stop off at the canteen for a cuppa on the way.”

We clamber through the fence, I replace the fuel bucket, and we walk up the gentle slope to the house – going through the back gate to the kitchen.

“Welcome back chaps. Good flight?” Mum asks. The teapot’s full, and there’s scones on the counter. Help yourselves, won’t you.” She smiles, and leave us to it, going out to the clothes line to lower the prop and unpeg the washing.

“Runs a good canteen, does Mum, eh.”

“Yes, she does.”


Dairy farm, c. 1955-56, in Whangarata, Waikato, New Zealand
This memory brought to you by
dailyprompt_wordpress

Recurring Theme


I have a recurring theme to my nightmares – fighting for someone, and it turning into fighting either someone I love or fighting for myself.

Most seem to start out in a surreal world related to schools. Invariably in the dream-to-be-nightmare, I arrive at a school to teach a particular class. The class is a group of miscreants who’ve been banished from regular classrooms to one isolated from the rest of the school. Sometimes they classroom is off away among a mini forest, or is in a broken, neglected building on the verge of collapse.

The dream students are all adolescents, and often absentees. They have their own “dress code” whereas the school’s other students dutifully wear the prescribed uniform. They keep to their own schedule, coming in and out to fit their other life on the street or just wasting it out at home. Some have a criminal record for minor misdemeanours, Some are hard core fighters against the world if only emotionally.

I find resources for them. I find second hand furniture, and show them how to upgrade it. I buy paint for the walls, scrounge carpet for the floor… I try to make it become “their” classroom. We get along well, as I apply a relaxed “teach what they need when they need it” approach. They come to respect me, and that’s all I need from them.

In the meantime I’m arguing the case for them to be in a safer building, as there is an ever increasing threat of the building collapsing or falling into a sink hole beneath it. Other staff become aggravated that I’m not following the regular curriculum, I’m being given too much leeway, too many resources, too much unaccountable funding…

And as the dream becomes a nightmare, I have to physically take action. I wrestle a falling student up from the gulf which has opened beneath her. I shove furniture off from on top of students as the building is shaken by an earthquake. I separate two fighting students. I defend a student from a walk-in attacker.

And that’s when I waken – as my sleeping body physically moves with the nightmare activity. More than once I’ve hit my sleeping husband (poor guy). On more than one occasion I’ve fallen back to sleep to dream it all over again.

I hate that nightmare. I’ve wondered if it reflects anything real from my teaching career. And, yes, I’ve had to verbally argue for better conditions, more resources. I’ve had to separate fighting students. I’ve had to face down other staff disgruntled by my department getting funs=ding for classroom improvements. But these things never upset me at the time or place.

I stopped compulsory education level teaching in 2001. Why does this come back to haunt me? Who can say – perhaps I didn’t fight the good fight enough for some students – I don’t know. But I so wish this nightmare would let me get over it!



Posted in response to this Daily Prompt:
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/nightmare/