Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-Two

“Here,” breathed Wil, “must I tread again.” She surveyed the fluorescent land; her land. Little had changed during her absence. Commoners scurried around her, too awed by her presence to engage her attentions. There, rested the wheeled carriages. There, the rows of labeled shelving.

Without map or list to guide her, Wil frowned. ‘Twas a regal frown, naturally. One mustn’t sacrifice one’s face to strain, after all, no matter how confused one felt.

“Ah!” she exclaimed, remembering. A harried woman jumped in passing. The action passed beneath her ruler’s esteemed notice. Wil strode forward, accompanied by the soft squeak-thump of boot and flup-flop of coat and scarf. Employing a carriage, she pointed it and her in the direction of a ceiling-hung label: Soups/Instant Rice/Box Meals/Cake Mixes.

What an odd assortment to collect within a single location, she mused. She drew closer to the mirror-floored aisle in question. Odd or no, she felt certain this was the first she must visit. She began sounding out the names of the items before her.

“Rice-a-Ro-Ney?” “Hamburg’s Helper?” “Raw-men?”

A youth in red half-uniform paused mid-stack to stare. Wil blushed, knowing he ought not to forget his manners yet simultaneously practicing her own in not reprimanding the impudent boy. Instead, she lifted her chin and continued her perusal within her private thoughts.

Insta-Taters? Scallop-ed Noodles? Aha! Tu-na Helper! Wil snatched the box in haste, incurring another surprised reaction from her lone teenager audience. Turning her back upon the knave, she secured a second box in similar fashion. There! Now all she required was the necessary protein complement: tuna.

“But where am I to find a fishmonger within this enclosed market?” she mused.

“Did you say fish?” The half-redded worker spoke. Wil deigned to turn since his voice sounded near. It was; he was. Her slight movement brought her eye level with an unshaven chin and she jumped and dropped the boxes in her hands. Embarrassed, she scrambled to retrieve her lost treasures.

Once within her grasp, she deposited them safely in the wheeled carriage. She faced the disrespectful youth again. Any commoner could read the disdain writ upon her face -any, it seemed, except the boy before her. Not only had he continued to stand whilst she chased the boxes, he hadn’t offered a word nor eye-blink since his only sentence. Wil could therefore not be certain of his intellectual abilities nor the chance of his aid. She decided, however, that little risk lay in answering his simple query.

“Yes; I said ‘fish.'” She threw a tattered length of scarf over a shoulder. “I require the tu-na this ‘Tuna Helper’ demands.”

“Right,” he said. She watched his Adam’s apple fall and rise below his impassive face. “‘Suh next aisle over.” He went back to stocking the shelf.

Wil gaped after his sudden manner. Recovering, she answered, “Thank you, good sir.” She grasped the steerage of the wheeled carriage and headed where he had indicated. She felt the less correct term of “sir” a safer formality in address; though, how anyone could call such an unkempt and rude person anything besides “peasant” was beyond her.

 

Continued from Ninety-One.
Keep reading to Ninety-Three.

The Author of a Long Night

The cursor blinked from an empty screen, the only light in a night-draped house. Walls slept; world slept; he, for a moment, slept. She looked over at his backlit-shadowed features; they frowned.

She sighed and could not frown. Or smile. Expressions felt as elusive as the absent story arcs on her page.

I must write something, she thought.

Blink, answered the screen.

Anything?

Blink.

Then; through morning oatmeal mind mush, an idea came. Her fingers poised to type…

He groaned. Sat up. Named her.

She turned to his care.

The cursor sighed, yawned, and went to sleep without her.

Dedicated to Charli, for this week’s prompt at Carrot Ranch.

April 25, 2019, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes exhaustion. Who is exhausted and why? Can you make art of exhaustion? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by April 30, 2019. Use the comment section below to share, read and be social. You may leave a link, pingback or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

(what if I hear them) whistle and cry

Always so apt at capturing The Song of Things: Frank Prem.

Frank Prem Poetry

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I hear the dead
cry out
in the colours
of the burning night

even my shadow
bows down
before them

these
are the stranger days
with ghost silhouettes
that I
can see

this killing ground
is the shade
of dying fire

and I am
alive
I wonder
why

I am alive
perhaps
to play
the witness

and what if I
were hung
to drain and dry
suspended
from my toes

what if the sound
of the wind
in my throat
was
the only proof

of a lie

troubled days
troubled thoughts
troubled visions

trouble
everywhere I go

there is no sound
that is not
the dead

whistling

the wind blows
without care

whistling

and the creaking
of each rope
is a separate song

the creaking
of each soul
is a sigh

I have to turn
away
lest these images invade me
in my sleeping

I think
I may have known…

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The Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

‘Sup, yo? This here’s the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest. We’re all up in yo’ proprieties fo’ 23 weeks now, bruh.

Wanna play? Being terrible isn’t as simple as ya think. That’s why I’ve got a basic overview and about 22 weeks of contests y’all can read through. This is more about missing a beat, tricking a pattern, an’ appalling audiences with lost metaphors.

Here are the specifics for this week:

  1. Chelsea’s all for equal treatment of genres, so the Topic is Cliché Rap.
  2. This beat don’t need to be as long as Mom’s Spaghetti. Keep the Length to a few verses or fewer.
    An’ keep the submission limit to 3.
  3. Rhyme? It’d be sublime if you’d rhyme sometimes; crime the mind and throw us all off when you suddenly stop.
  4. Above all, make it terrible. Nicki Minaj, Eminem, and Drake need to feel compelled to call upon the awesome power of Tupac to sneak into your house and steal the vowels from your keyboard, so they never have to sit through that again.
  5. This blog’s generally a general audience sort, but the judge is not ignorant as to the content of most rap. I therefore suggest you try for PG-13. Get creative with asterisks if you want; just don’t offend your mom.

You have till 8:00 a.m. MST next Friday (May 3) to submit a poem.

If you wish to remain anonymous till next week, use the form. Leave me a comment saying that you did so I will be able to tell you whether I received it.

For a more social experience, include your poem or a link to it in the comments.

Have fun!

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Photo credit:
Dom Hill

WINNER of the Weekly Terrible Poetry Contest

Sorry for the delay, but I will hold you all in suspense no longer! After a close bet between three finalists, the winner is: Bruce Goodman.

Acrostic to an unnamed personage

by Bruce Goodman

Hell!
I don’t really detest anyone much.
Look, I’m not happy with the unfashionable woollen fabric
Like what some people wear;
About as frumpy as possible I reckon.
Really, I guess that means a detestation,
You know, of some sort.

Congratulations, Bruce! You are once again the most terrible poet of the week!

As I mentioned, it was a close race at the end. The two others had some intentionally misused words and some rotten rhyming. Bruce ultimately won because of his overall terrible poem. It wants to sound like a poem; it makes us think it might possibly be poetic. Then, it leaves the mind hanging like a sandwich at lunch that may have had some not-quite-in-date mayonnaise.

I mention finalists but the others weren’t half bad, either. I eliminated most on minor technicalities like not being terrible enough or not really reading like a poem. You all know I have trouble picking a favorite child each week.

Read through the terribleness and see for yourself:

Voldemort

by Peregrine Arc

Very tyrannical are you, bald headed twit
Oh, look at your Death Eaters running away again, you idiot
Lost is Nagini, curled around your toes
Dementors would have nothing to suck out of your remaining soul.
Everyone knows you were a spoiled brat
Many a time you could have turned back.
Or did you not care?
Really, I don’t think you ever loved another in your life
Twould have been just another game for you to ruin and set fire to with strife.

—–

Untitled piece

by Cynical Wordsmith

Does she have to scream at every meeting?
I can’t handle it
Am I allowed to punch her?
No but I can get up and walk out
Evadable

—–

Scientia Pontentia Est

by Violet Lentz

Could I possibly implore you
Oh ye of little sense
Not to fall for every 
Schemers
Ploy, as you peruse the
Internet?
Really, I’m not the only one that thinks, you
Are coming off half cocked
Claiming insider information
You most assuredly haven’t got

The ‘truths’ you’re privy to online
Have to be weighed with common sense
Evidently, in which you’re lacking-
Or you’d have thought of this yourself.
Really, I’m not judging- 
I just absolutely believe, that when Sr. Francis Bacon
Said, “Scientia potentia est”- he knew 
That knowledge can only be power, when your
Sources are correct.

—–

Marilyn

by Ruth Scribbles

M alevolent woman
A ppalling stink*
R ight-always
I nstigator-you name it
L iar (because she’s not always right)
Y acker-constant
N icotine addict*

—–

Tove

by Ruth Scribbles

T errible
O pinionated
V indictive
E vil

—–

To My Enemies

by Fresh Hell

Thou fiend
Of hell

May you never see light
Yearn for …light

Even I don’t like you
Now go away
Ease my workplace drama
Mind your own business
I think you
Stink

—–

Henry Clay

by H.R.R. Gorman

He looks like a dead opossum
E
xcept with much less hair
N
ever won a duel in his life
R
otten butthole of a man
Y
outhful joy never became him

Corrupt bargains were his specialty
L
ost more elections than Nader
A
llied with gilded corruption
Y
our political party is dead

—–

John C. Calhoun

by H.R.R. Gorman

Just a rotten son of a gun
Obsolete before he was born
H
air was an absolute mess
Nullification was the sword he fell on

Campaigned against himself

Carolina was his weapon
Attempted to dissolve the union
Lied about Adams and Monroe
How ’bout that Vice Presidency?
Oh, you did nothing?
Until you became a traitor?
Nullification was so stupid

—–

Don

by Michael B. Fishman

Diarrhea complexion & smelly mouth. Why do you talk so much about so little?
Oafish lapdog smile, your man-boobs wiggle and you’re not funny so stop trying.
Nasty Muzak is more interesting than listening to you drone on and on and on…

—–

Thank you for the laughs, the cleverness, and the horrible feeling in my gut. Perhaps the latter is indigestion and not at all related to the poems.

Tune in tomorrow for next week’s prompt!

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Bruce: D. Wallace Peach created this graphic that you can use (if you want) for a badge of honor as the winner:

The Cure for Depression: Journal, Meditate, and Pray

Welcome to suggestion #12 on curing depression. I’ve got a word for you fellow depressors: Mindfulness.

Have you heard that one lately? I don’t even social media that much since realizing it contributed an unhealthy amount to my negative self-image and my -sorry; rambling. I don’t get around much, and even I saw that word everywhere.

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I think it means being full of yourself, right?

Mindfulness is meant to be synonymous with introspection, self-awareness, inner peace, and self-acceptance. It’s a calming state of mind similar to where one gets with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, but with more calming and less control.

In fact, CBT is the more-chosen recommendation of professionals at the moment. As a warning, we mental types can get a little crazy when we meditate incorrectly. Who knew?

Anyway…. why practice mindfulness?

A calm mindset in which we have learned to meet and release negative situations and impulses is very beneficial. This mindset reduces stress, keeps us healthier physically, tends to decrease depressive thoughts, helps when we feel bullied or belittled, improves learning, and gives us a general resilience to negative life situations.

Sounds great, right?

Let’s get some stretch pants on, then, and get ready to lotus right into it. Here are the top ways to get yourself mindful:

  1. Meditation.
    Set aside just a few minutes around the same time each day for a little calm introspection. Yes, you can sit cross-legged and hum if it’ll make you laugh. Then, you’ll need to get serious for any ‘inner peace’-type moments. I also recommend calm music and limited distractions.
    A very important warning I found online is that meditation can have a dark side. If you’re going to look into yourself, do it with guidance (like with the directions of a psychologist). If you’re extremely depressive and want to go 24 hours into deep meditative prayer, get professional instruction first. I have many addictive habits and negative thoughts, so learning that we can actually go a bit haywire delving into our psychosis didn’t surprise me all that much.
    A peaceful reconnection with ourselves for a few simple minutes each day, however, is great.
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  2. Prayer
    I grew up in an organized religion that I am still a part of. We were taught to pray daily. From this, I know both the positive sides (divine help, meditative benefits, divine worth, etc.) and the negative ones (anxiety, trust issues, etc.).
    Thing is, I’ve been reading about a lot of non-religious people finding some suspiciously-religious results from their definition of praying. Elizabeth Gilbert wrote in Eat, Pray, Love about writing to herself in a journal but that it wasn’t herself who answered. Whilst binge-listening to TED Talks, I heard a woman describe coincidental inspirational thoughts and events that led her to positive directions in her life.
    Prayer can work. Perhaps like the meditation, do it in a small, beneficial amounts -maybe even with guidance.
  3. Journaling
    “But, I’m not a writer…” “But, someone might see….” “But, but..” as your grandmother might say, “Buts belong in ashtrays, sonny!” Who cares about your skill as a writer? Just burn the journals when you’re done if you want. Journaling is for YOU.
    Despite the technically-advanced society we live in, consider an actual journal with actual paper and pencil or pen. We’re still very primal and tactile homo sapiens so the behavior of actual writing can be therapeutic.
    What should you write about? How about: guided CBT strategies you and your paid friend are working on, positive thoughts you had, goals for the day, hopes, dreams, and dark poetry …that ends with an inspirational message.
  4. Yoga
    When I think of yoga, I think impossible stretches and smug people with long hair and smoothies made from grass. Yoga doesn’t have to be that way, however. The wonderful world of online videos gives us simple stretches to do in your jeans, advanced positions you need to work up to, and even quick morning routines.
    It’s the marriage of meditation and exercise, so may be the perfect solution if you just want to get this mindfulness crap out of the the way quickly.
  5. Other things
    Like: Self-massage, visualization, rhythmic exercise, progressive muscle relaxation and deep breathing.
    Depression is the continual weather forecast of cloudy skies with scattered showers (in terms of hygiene and crying fits). Most calming activities that break us into relaxation and positive self-awareness are good. They’ll provide a sunbeam, or a full-on clearing of gray matter.

As always, start small and consider working with your doctor and/or counselor for any of these suggestions. Pay attention to how your body responds to each relaxation technique. You may not respond the way 75% of case studies do and it’s super important to do what does work.

Use your inner voice to channel light against the darkness of depression, young Care Bear. You can do it.

Namaste.

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Photo credits:
Lesly Juarez
Le Minh Phuong
Jacob Postuma

 

*Chelsea Owens is not a licensed anything, except a Class D driver in her home state, and shares all information and advice from personal experience and research.

Is Mental Illness Something We Get From Our Ancestors?

Recently over at The Bipolar Writer Longname Blog, James wrote an article asking if mental illness were a genetic thing. After reviewing some mental health history in his family, he noted opinions that professionals have on the matter. He asked curious questions, including: “Knowing that Bipolar disorder might be something that can affect other people within my own blood makes me wary of the future. The big question becomes, could I pass this on to my own children?

His article garnered a sizeable amount of traffic. Like, 206 ‘likes.’

I, in turn, was surprised. Flabbergasted. Flummoxed, Astounded. Etc. Is this even a question? Why is it a question?

I do not wonder if mental conditions are genetic. I look at myself and see my grandfather’s anger, my mother’s nose, the potential of cancer because of a grandmother, and a few sources of depression, anxiety, and addictive behaviors.

I assume that everyone feels this way about his family that came before, but maybe he does not.

Then again, this knowledge might be due to my upbringing. I’ve mentioned before that I am LDS and was raised that way. One (of many wonderful) quirk(s) is that we really know our family history. No joke. I know who my grandparents are/were on both sides. Further, I know my grandparents’ parents. If I want to, I can go on the computer and research my grandparents’ grandparents’ grandparents. I can often find a picture and who they married and where they are buried.

Sorry if I weirded anyone out. I bring up my ancestor voyeurism in speculation of its impact on my belief in heredity. Since I am perfectly comfortable knowing my progenitors and since I see similarities in features and behaviors, I therefore feel perfectly comfortable associating mental illnesses as yet another genetic trait.

True, there are some cases where Great-great-great-great Grandpa Bob may have been a little off because of those times his younger brother dropped a hobby horse on his head. Hopefully there are historical notations for aberrations like that.

Overall, however, I see serious mental illness as hereditary a trait as red hair and freckles. Or height and intelligence. Or photoptarmosis and liking black licorice.

Do you think so, too? Why or why not?

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—————-

Short, sweet; here’s what I did this week:
Wednesday, April 17: Moved with history in “There is Hope in the Flame of Notre Dame.

Thursday, April 18: “The Cure for Depression: Follow a Daily Routine,” another suggestion in a series originally posted over at The Bipolar Writer Mental Health Blog.

Friday, April 19: Nothing! Absolutely nothing!

Saturday, April 20: Responded to P’Arc’s post about her pen name with “A Chelsea by Any Other Name Would Still be Sarcastic.

Sunday, April 21: Wrote “Behind the Blogger Tag Thingamajig” in answer to P’Arc’s nomination.

Monday, April 22: Re-blogged Jennie‘s story about teaching.

Tuesday, April 23: “Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-One.”

Wednesday, April 24: Today.

I also posted all this week at my motherhood site. I wrote “Raise Strong, Independent Daughters AND Mothers,” and a poem titled “Good Morning!

I received my first and last paycheck from Kids are the Worst. It was fun while it lasted and I hope they contact me again once things settle down.

***REMEMBER TO ENTER THIS (TWO) WEEK’S POETRY CONTEST!!***

 

Photo Credit:
Rod Long

Wilhelmina Winters, Ninety-One

“And then,” Wil said, grinning at the memory, “Reagan asked if we were going to be like the Girl Scouts. I thought Derek would correct her -Stephen definitely would- but Derek said that yes, it was like the Girl Scouts.”

Wil looked at her single audience member, propped up on the couch. Her mother smiled a tired smile in reply.

“So, then he said we need to make a list of things we want to help with.” Wil paused long enough to drink from her mother’s glass of water nearby. She didn’t seem to realize she did so, and its owner’s smile only grew more fond. “But then the bell rang and I had to go to Mr. G.’s class. With Art.”

Cynthia’s brow furrowed. “You have art with Mr. G.?”

Wil saw the confusion. “No, Mom. Art is a boy in the lunch group.” She remembered something. “We’re going to work on a project together for class. With another boy named Calvin.”

“Ah.” Her mother settled into the cushions and lay her head back. She closed her eyes. “That sounds fun.” Wil watched the beautiful woman she loved breathe in and out. She listened as well, frowning at how the sound had a continual bass tone to it. Wil suddenly hated everyone who breathed without rattling; without obstruction.

She looked around the room for distraction. A ray of late sunset reached from their small window and fractured through the glass of water. “Oh!” Cynthia opened her eyes at the startled noise. “Mom! I ..I drank your… I’m sorry!”

Her mother snorted a quiet laugh, but the action still brought on a coughing fit. In panic, Wil jumped up, ran the glass to the sink, dumped its contents and rinsed it, then refilled. Sloshing a path on her way, she returned and handed the water to her mother.

“Thanks,” Cynthia managed. She sipped; swallowed; kept coughing.

Wil knew what to do. She rushed to the breathing machine they kept behind the couch. After setting it up, she watched her mother inhale its life-giving breath and exhale in stifled coughs.

They’d just about gotten things under control when the door opened and in walked Rob and Jakob. Rob took in the room, his daughter, his wife, and the nebulizer. He set his keys on their hook and went directly to the couch.

Pulling the mask from her mouth, Cynthia said, “Hello, Rob. And how was your day today?”

 

Continued from Ninety.
Keep reading to Ninety-Two.

Surviving Teaching and Finding Joy

Not surprising, the amazing schoolteacher, Jennie, writes of her attitude shift in teaching and her subsequent ascension to perfect preschool teacher. 🙂

A Teacher's Reflections

Times have changed.  Teaching has far more demands than it used to.  Required paperwork, overcrowded classes, and lack of support begins to take its toll.  At first it all seems manageable.  That fire of wanting to teach keeps the motor running.  Then bit by bit, as demands and expectations increase, it becomes more difficult to keep the fire burning.  The love becomes lost.

Teachers are quitting.

Children have changed, too.  Their lives have less (or little) room for play. Most of their waking hours are structured – from school to sports to after school activities.  Oh, and then the homework.  Frankly, homework in the early grades should be reading.  Period.

Children are often coming to school feeling everything from anger to being overwhelmed. They may not know why, they just know they aren’t feeling happy.

Is it any wonder that America’s children are ranked 26th in reading  among the world?

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