What Kind of Traveler Are You?

Do you go where the pavement leads, facing sternly forward, the periphery merely, well, peripheral? Or is your

Head on a swivel, a series of exclamations perching just atop your tongue? Look there! Did you see that? Oh! That cardinal!

Those colors! The gypsy in me sees the forest, the hidden pathways, the possibilities in every turn and untaken road.

Murmurations of starlings, point no way and all ways, unlike the Canada geese who arrow forth, eyes forward, honking

Relentlessly. Following the curves I discover a stand of firs, surprise a doe and her fawns, utter a cry of delight.

For today this poem was wishful thinking. I am traveling, but I have no time to dally on my way to the airport in Panama City Beach. My flight leaves at 9:45 a.m. and should arrive in Austin, Texas, at 3:15.

A World With Guns Poetry Readings

Occasionally I write poetry, and when the spirit moves me these poems deal with the horrors of gun violence. When I came across a piece on Facebook about a series of poetry reading events across Florida to keep the conversation surrounding gun deaths front and center, I thought to myself, “Oh, I’d do this if an event was scheduled for Tallahassee.”

Scrolling down the list I read:

Oh. I see there is one here. Deep breath. Myself isn’t feeling all that cocky right now.

The thing is, I don’t know if any of my pieces are good enough to present. I’ve only ever read my own works in front of an audience once or twice, and then I shook so hard my teeth rattled.

What say you, friends? Is this one of those things I should allow to fall by the wayside, or should I jump in with both feet? Awaiting the wisdoms of my readers, especially the poets among you. Please be honest. I’d rather not make a fool of myself at this event.

Here’s one for your consideration:

Guns in Church

Will we take our guns to church now?

Jesus take the wheel, but leave me my pistol

Dylan Roof opened fire in a South Carolina prayer meeting

Now more dead occupy the pews in Texas

Just wondering which firearm goes best with Psalms.

Yea, tho I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I shall fear no evil,

For I am armed with an automatic weapon.

No doubt lawmakers will offer meaningless thoughts and prayers

Their mantra sounding weaker by the hour

Who will answer for these deaths?

And here is another:

Guns and Thorns

the fetishists have cried,

“leave our guns alone!”

when no one has called

for their removal.

paranoid fools who fail

to see or care, cry time

and time again that any

move breeds futility

while still more innocents

die and we offer up only

thoughts and prayers.

Peace, people.

Don’t

Don’t

Don’t be shocked by another school shooting, the eleventh in this brand new year.

Don’t tell me we are better than this; obviously, we are not.

Don’t send up thoughts and prayers. God honors action, not weepy hand-wringing.

Don’t try to console me; your words are empty.

Don’t tell me you are pro-life when clearly you support the industry of death.

Don’t.

https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/tennessee/articles/2018-01-23/governor-1-dead-many-wounded-in-kentucky-school-shooting

Odds and Evens

Odds and Evens

I’m on a roll with the odd word, feeling lucky in this odd world, moreover,

Never tell me the odds, even if I plead, even if they favor me. Odd one out,

Even Steven, even playing field, even I can read the writing on the wall. After

All, I’m an odd duck, even on my best days, even when I try to fit in. By

The way, this isn’t even one of those days. Odd, don’t you think? Then we’re even.

This piece of nonsense came about when I realized my previous two posts had the word “Odd” in the titles. Since two is an even number I had to go for a third post using the word “odd”; because I believe in evening things out. Or something.

Additionally, I spent the day frittering away my time, getting my hair cut and colored. Holy cow, is my hair dark! I’m even odder looking now. See what I did there?

Peace, people!

So Much Food; So Little Time

My waistline is more a suggestion now, instead of a well-defined feature of my anatomy. Because the pecan

Pie I made for Christmas dinner and the baklava my daughter sent packed in a box of gifts,

Were deemed too tasty to ignore in spite of the calories they boast in abundance. Do I feel a New Year’s

Resolution in the making? Elastic waist pants in my future? A regimen of calisthenics in development?

Ask me in a week or so. There are still gourmet marshmallows wrapped in pretty paper on my kitchen counter.

Calories be damned.

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

Things I Didn’t Do This Weekend

By Leslie Noyes

This weekend I didn’t decorate my house for the holidays, but neither did I run naked through the neighborhood.

On Saturday I didn’t bake cookies, but neither did I shave my head and paint it berserker blue.

I don’t think I cried, but then I really don’t think I laughed, either.

I purposely did not attempt to slide down any banisters; although, I was tempted to throw myself down a staircase.

I’m trying hard to balance the good with the bad, you see. I’m still here. Wondering if that’s good. Or bad.

A Drop in the Bucket

A Drop in the Bucket

by Leslie Noyes

One shard’s sharp clatter

Finally hitting bottom

Way down in the well

No splash forthcoming

Water dried up years ago

Does no good to cry

Keep shoveling dirt

Keep plowing those narrow rows

Keep harvesting naught

I grew up in the Texas panhandle, one of the areas hardest hit by the Dust Bowl. Although that was before my time, I heard many a tale from my grandparents about the dark days when the dirt blew non-stop, filling every nook and cranny and clogging lungs.

Several years ago, a book club I belonged to in Illinois, read the book, The Worst Hard Time by Timothy Egan. It’s a rather long book filled with firsthand accounts of the Dust Bowl Days, and while I don’t usually indulge in nonfiction, I found this book fascinating.

When the book club members met to discuss The Worst Hard Time I was excited to share my perspectives. One woman, a New Yorker transplanted to Illinois, couldn’t believe that people still live in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandles. I assured her that not only did people still live there, they thrived.

I highly recommend the book. If you read it, let me know what you think.

Peace, people.

Not an Option

Not an Option

By Leslie Noyes

Failure, under the spotlight, turned down a wrong road, dined at the bad trough, lessons learned.

Heartache, walked on the tightrope, fell into an abyss on the highway to hell. Seeking penance forevermore.

Trust, sought, but not earned, squandered in bushels, by deeds too heinous to tell. Forgiveness sought.

Grace, offered in buckets, washed in the blood of the everlasting lamb. Earnest prayers offered with hands raised in praise.

My Place

I know my place, here between the have nots and the one percenters. Aware of the inequities and the extravagances,

My heart catches at the injustices, the injuries, those who’ve not fallen through the cracks, as much as having been ground into them.

The ledge I occupy, precarious as it is, teeters on the edge of future fortunes and unseen pitfalls. I know my place.