The Creative Spot

In every memory of my life, there has been a poem, a story or a verse written to express my innermost quaking.  I’ve been living exposed on paper for over thirty years, having started somewhere around third or fourth grade.  Words drawn from the imagination are no different than preparing a traditional tortellini, lasagna or straightforward spaghetti.  For it to be good, it cannot be rushed.  It has to come in its own time, to be authentic and one hundred percent natural.  The pages are simply the pasta upon which the soul is poured, but the real proof is in the sauce.  And, yes, saucy has at times been used to describe me.  All that I am: my creative flavor, my essence, my spice, the gentle stirrings or mad dashes of this and that are emptied out – not all at once but just a little spoon at a time.  You see, creating a new dish for others to savor is my passion.  It is how I flow.  It is fiction, flash, memoir, poetry and prose.  Everything it takes to express myself it’s in there, inside me, waiting – for the table to be prepared – the opportunity on which others can fare.  Shall we dine?

_______________________________________________________________

June 23, 2012

The following is an excerpt from my new manuscript, a work in progress, that I have committed myself to complete by month’s end.  I hope to keep up my program of mental stimulation by free writing and lumosity.com to see the novel on to fulfillment.  Let’s pray…

[IDENTIFY

Rema got her name from her daddy.  All she knew about him was that he was some kind of Arab and that he used to live off of Woodward Avenue between Seven Mile and State Fair roads on the east side of Detroit.  She never knew what country he was from, what language(s) he spoke or who his people were.  Her surname, Bondi, didn’t give away any clues.  On the internet, she kept coming up with variations of Italian.  As far as she was concerned, she belonged to the Walkers.  She’d been living with her grandmother – her momma’s momma – as far back as she could remember and nobody had a good reason to keep a picture of her daddy.  Like her momma, he could be alive or dead.  No way to know.  Her momma didn’t talk about him at all during the brief time she’d been around.  If she did, Rema had been too young to remember.  But the State had taken her away and placed her with her grandmother at four years old when her momma got arrested for doing and selling drugs.  If not for Grandmomma, she’d have been in foster care.  She ain’t never met anyone that had anything good to say about it.  So thank God for Grandmomma.

But by the time she was thirteen, life started getting tougher for them.  Or at least that’s when she started to notice it.  She couldn’t count how many times the lights and gas got turned off, or how often she went without the basics like deodorant, toothpaste and underwear.  And going to classes after gym or walking home from school in the hot July and August heat, those are things you just shouldn’t be without.

Every meal was typically something cheap over rice: fish sticks most often; chicken, a few days before expiration; a stir-fry concoction of tuna, onions, seasoning and sometimes mixed vegetables. Her best bet was often a bowl of cereal, which she would eat for every meal until it was gone.  Cramped her stomach and gave her terrible gas, but that didn’t stop her from eating it.  Grandmomma got cut off of food stamps and they hadn’t had WIC since she was five years old.  They had been living on fumes basically.  The SSI check that came after Granddad died was all there was.  Nothing to go crazy about, just enough to keep them alive until the next one came – barring any unforeseen occurrences like accident, illness or school supplies.

There was no expectation of anything new, whether food, clothes or any of the gadgets the other kids were always showing off.  She didn’t know if people talked about her situation behind her back.  No one ever said much to her face.  Maybe it was her expression, but somehow everybody seemed to think she was this tough ‘don’t …mess with me’ kind of girl.  Or maybe the dark circles under her eyes from so many sleepless nights worrying about the next day made her look crazed.  Whatever… she didn’t mess with nobody and no one messed with her.  Including the boys.

Her thick, black, curly hair, caramel color and light brown eyes got a little lost under the oversized jerseys, boy jeans and gym shoes.  Her hair stayed in an un-brushed pony tail perpetually.  It wasn’t the look she was going for, it just was.  Her cousins were mostly boys and they usually passed on their clothes to her – maybe out of pity or rightly so because she was family.  And the big, gold embossed hairbrush that Grandmomma used was only good for her wig hair.  Rema used it, but it never got deep, down to the roots.  She just kept her hair clean.  That’s what she could do.  With all there was going on from day to day, she just couldn’t find it in herself to ask Grandmomma for much of anything.  Grandmomma was pushing 80 and she had tried really hard with Rema.  But her health was going down and Rema knew it was just a matter of time before she’d find herself completely alone.

So she up and decided one day to leave Grandmomma’s house.  It would certainly be easier for Grandmomma to manage without the extra expenses of high school and the added drain on the utilities and food budget.  But she didn’t meet with fond farewells.

“Are you crazy, Rema?  Girl, you done lost your mind.  You’re sixteen years old!  Where you think you gon’ go on your own?  You ain’t got no savings or nothing to get your own place.  What you think you gon’ do?” Grandmomma worried.  She was a medium brown tone and still had the most beautiful skin for her age.  She had wrinkles around her tired eyes and just slightly sagging neck, but her face was round and clear.  Occasionally she’d wipe the sweat from her forehead with the towel she kept around her neck when cooking or cleaning.  She’d lost all her hair years ago, but vanity kept her wearing wigs even in the hottest conditions.

Grandmomma was slow but active.  It may have taken her a while to get up and down the stairs these days or to get out and run errands, but not even swollen ankles or angina was going to keep her from moving.  She made use of every ounce of strength left in her on a daily basis.  But now she appeared sapped as Rema announced her decision.

“Grandmomma, I already talked to Billy.  He’s got a place over near Wayne State.  He said I could stay there a while until I saved up.  You know I’m going to be working part-time after school. I start on Monday.  Things are better for Billy.  I don’t think I’ll be that much of a burden to him.”

“You wasn’t no burden on me, neither.  You’re my grandbaby and I love you.  I’d do anything I can for you.  Lord knows, I tried.”

“I know Grandmomma, but I feel so bad that you have to struggle so much because of me.  I don’t think you would’ve had it so bad if I hadn’t been dumped on you.  And you know I love you, too.  I just feel like you can do better without me.”

“And what about you?  You think you can do better without your Grammy?”

Rema paused and sighed.  She had no idea what she was getting herself into or if she was making a massive mistake.  But how much worse could it get?  They’d been scraping by for years.  The darkness had to give eventually.  It had to.

“I just gotta make do, Grandmomma, with whatever.  I got to.”

“Well, I don’t know if it’s the right thing, but you’re just about grown and you’re a smart girl, Rema.  I believe you’ve always tried to make the best decisions and I trust your judgment.  It ain’t much you know, but my door is always open.  Don’t be too proud to come through.  We’ll just keep on keeping on.  It ain’t gon’ be so bad forever.  Anyway, when I’m dead and buried, there’ll be something left for you.”

“Oh, I don’t want to hear about that ever again, Grandmomma.  You never gonna leave me.  You still got too much living to do.  You’re supposed to be enjoying your golden years.  You ain’t leaving this earth until you get the chance to do that.”

“Baby, my joy came the day you was born and again the day you came to live with me.  Nothing gon’ top that and ain’t no bad times gon’ steal that from me.”

Rema didn’t say anything behind that.  She didn’t want to end up crying and backing out.  She had to try.  She had to try something to make life better.  This old woman was all she had in the world and she wasn’t going to keep pushing her into the grave too soon with a responsibility that never should have been hers in the first place.

‘Where were momma and daddy anyway?  I could be passing them on the street every day and not know it.  If momma was dead, wouldn’t somebody in the family know? Grandmomma or my two uncles or somebody?  How they just gonna make a baby and not even care what happens to it?  Don’t they even wonder?  Grandmomma Walker’s been in the same house for 44  years; it ain’t like they can’t find me if they wanted to,’ Rema kept thinking periodically.  ‘Seriously, don’t they even wonder?’]

June 23, 2012

Why We Came Here

After Italy, life in a principal city

seemed spiritually assaulting, exhausting and too

mortally succumbing to take you, newcomer, there;

as for me, a defeat and regression

after so many positive strides made

leaving shadows and reinventing me:

Climbing mountains to castles near Riva,

Shoreline dancing at Lago di Garda,

driving three hours, aimless, destination Milan,

Bonfire cookouts in country farmhouses

overlooking panoramas – Bertinoro to Luna park.

How could I ever turn to crawl again?

Repatriation, by my submission, horrendous

even to nestle amid valleys and southern hills, green

On mission to let our children run free, not wild.

Once known, now nameless, became

like pangs overtaking a pregnant woman –

how heavy the burden of nostalgia.

Plunging into cola after cagnina, begs death.

Cravings for piadina, crescione and gelato shift

into tears that drop down unexpectedly, overwhelmingly

and increasingly, intermingling with foamy, salty waves

covering hands and knees. The ocean, the only connection left;

That is why we came here.

___________________________________________________________________________________________

February 14, 2011

Love on Blast/In Six Words

Hi, it’s me.  Are you mad?

Hey, it’s me.  I miss you.

Hey, are you home?  Call me.

Hi, I’m sorry about yesterday.  Friends?

Sorry about what I said.  Friends?

Still out?  It’s just me again.

Still not home?  Where are you?

Where are you?  Call me, okay?

Call me when you get home.

 

December 10, 2010

Time

I used to think it would last forever

Being young, you know

Life is endless as ever

But it rushed up on me

I couldn’t stand still

It pushed me so hard

What could I feel?

But older

So I worked through it, worked on it

Tried to find my way

Loving my Father, loving his Son

And his earthly son, too,

Even ‘til this day.

But ‘his’ ran out much too soon

But not before I knew him

Before I had made room

In my heart for him

Funny how everything always

Comes back to that –

Things of the past, you know

They never last

Because Time just keeps on moving

Never waiting.  Never gone

Always present.  Never done.

Still, moving on.

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

October 6, 2010~~

1.  The idea of this exercise sparked something in me so that before I awoke this morning I had ramblings of poetry in my head and my first conscious thought was of poems from childhood that I could use to accomplish this task.

2.  

The idea

of this task

sparked

something in me

so that, before I awoke

this morning,

I had

ramblings

of poetry

in my head

and

my first conscious thought

was of poems

from childhood that

I could use

to accomplish this task.

3.

Before I awoke

this morning,

I had

ramblings

of poetry

in my head

(the idea

of this task

sparked

something in me)

so that      

my first conscious thought

was of poems

from childhood that

I could use

to accomplish this task.

4.

Before I awoke

this morning,

I had the excited ramblings

of lyrical poetry

in my head

(the idea

of this task

both sparked and agitated

something within me)

so that      

my first conscious thought was

of familiar poems;

yet, from the dark days

of my depressed childhood that

I could use

to accomplish this.

_______________________________________________________________

A Café Rendezvous

 

How long will I have to wait outside?

How long will you keep me

standing in line?

I’ve got to wait to be seated,

like I waited to pay?

See that’s just the reason why

I don’t like the buffet.

Might be a different table,

but it’s the same old no name food

decorated on a platter, steaming,

smelling all good.

But when you finally bite down in it

the reality is clear to see

what once was an all-time favorite

might not be gourmet to me.

On sight, you assumed I like chicken,

mac & cheese, collard greens and candied yams.

But once I invited you into my kitchen,

you found the meal fresh, not out of the can.

I love a little Italian with my Chianti,

Si, un vino bianco con fettuccine ed insalata

There are more choices than

what you’re serving.

You’re not the only one dishing up enchiladas.

This is not some drive-through window where you can place your order then leave,

when there’s a Jamaican deep sea diver hoping to make a fresh catch of me.

Across oceans, my soul became Hungary

for a multi-course dinner surprise,

and the cuisine of Lebanon also

proved it could turn my eyes.

But this entrée of yours is getting cold, okay?

No more lingering for you to fill my plate.

Much too long have I waited outside.

You’re wrong for keeping me

standing in line.

You invited me in to dine,

but thought you’d give my table away?

You can keep whatever’s on your menu,

‘cause this ain’t the only café.

~The Gumball Machine Collection 4: Spittin’ Game by Adrienne Folmar c.Feb. 2005

_____________________________________________________________________

My Verona

 

A sense of peace, indescribable, overwhelms me

engulfs me from the air, before touching down at Villaporta

The familiar fog hovers over the Dolomites, as if to welcome me home

travelling north, my heart is drawn to Lago di Garda,

remembering the drive up its eastern banks

toward Limone and Riva.

I dream of waking every morning to that beautiful lakefront view

I dream of ending every night with a glass of Bardolino red,

in the arms of my love;

I muse over memories of gondolas in Venice,

train rides to Firenze and forever sunsets in Tuscany…

Exiting the autostrada, I am shaken from my dreams

and I pull into the mall in Affi, for margherita pizza and tea

Quickly, I gather my thoughts, as my beloved ones await

to greet me in Costermano.

The rains have already begun and the vines

are growing heavy and fragrant.

But it is this country itself that intoxicates me

and I smile passing by all the pastel homes on the hillsides

wondering which will one day be mine.

Then, biting my lips to quell the unexpected tears,

I roll down the window and inhale deeply, my Verona.

Anticipating again the moonlit skies, romantic nights

walking hand in hand, basking in the warmth of the one I love.

My day is eternal in this most beautiful country.

Il mio giorno è eterno in questo paese più bello.

This is my Verona.

~ The Gumball Machine Collection 3: Just Blowing Bubbles by Adrienne Folmar c.Mar. 2005

6 Responses to The Creative Spot

  1. DANIELA says:

    LOVED THE VERONA POEM, I GREW UP IN THE DOLOMITIES “MEMORIES”

    Like

  2. amazing collection. the story is beautiful.

    Like

    • Thank you. That makes me feel good about my plot idea and gives me motivation to finish it. I have a 6/30/12 deadline which won’t happen, but I have a month’s vacation and hope to have my sister watching the kids while I get my focus on!!

      Like

  3. Jan says:

    I’m going to have to go back and re-read and re-read your words. They are deep, esp….
    Sorry about what I said. Friends?

    Still out? It’s just me again.

    Still not home? Where are you?

    Where are you? Call me, okay?

    Call me when you get home.

    Like

  4. Rhonda Brewer says:

    Hey Sister Love,

    What’s up I enjoyed your blog. Jordis is growing up so fast. I miss you. Contact me!

    Like

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