Roses

Curved bowls long erased
carry the dust of roses
too fragile to remember
their sordid past

Nestled in a heap
dry as time evaporates
from lack of care
a monument of sorts

Recalling high school dances
faded photos of happy brides
birthday parties and cakes
an oak casket size small

Each flower breathes no more
colors faded from the original
attempt at beauty until passion
renews in one, sweet scent.

–Victoria Emmons, Copyright 2015

Engine No. 2

Niles Canyon

Black steam churns and spits
From every crevice of the old maid
Her body worn with travel
Soaked with time and stories to tell

She coughs with every breath
Attempting to please the crowd
Those who decry her age
Love her no matter what

Each chug makes her believe
She can, she can, she can
She thinks she can and she will
Fly down the rails yet again

—Victoria Emmons ©2015

A Mother’s Tale

Blocks in my shoes
Towels about the room
Cows moo, pigs oink
A farmer sings a tune

A smile and then a laugh
A boo-boo on your chin
All part of growing up
A phase you’re living in

Awakening at dawn
Greet a brand new day
Bananas and some Cheerios
And then a round of play

Before your little body
Tuckers out for the morn
Despite all your objections
Sleep before you’re worn

The day renews itself again
More snow, a brand new face
Just in time to search and find
A few good cats to chase

Discover slides and rolling things
Or even steps to climb
The local spot for little kids
Gives all some fun play time

Or take a spin upon a horse
A very different kind
Encircles merry songs
And a golden ring to find

Sleepy baby, your eyes do nod
So much to see and learn
A million miles in your young life
For knowledge do you yearn

Inquiring mind you have, my love
The cabinets are your prey
To open doors for bowls inside
As instruments to play

A string quartet, perhaps,
A drum or two in time
Your rhythmic beat upon the floor
Reminds me that you’re mine

And now the day grows dark, sweet boy
The time for bath is nigh
As music lulls you fast asleep
Night hugs you by and by

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

The Sting

of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the innocent
cheek, all
glowing and pink.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the lips,
the sensuous
lips, so
worthy and free.

The wrath
of the world
as it crushes
the head,
the pulsating
head, once
brilliant, now dead.

The sound
of the crowd
as it mimics
the man,
the jabbering
man, once
noble and proud.

The hush
of the wind
as it drifts through
the hair,
the beautiful
hair, all
silky and clean.

The joy
of the girl
as she opens
the lock,
the garden
unlocked, now
sodden and flush.

The birth
of the bud
as it carries
the sting,
the heart-wrenching
sting, all
hidden and fine.

The cry
of the babe
as he wants her
to stay,
the boy not
at play, so
tearful and pained.

The sting
of the palm
as it reaches
the cheek,
the hardening
cheek, all
knowing and deep.

The pain
of the sting
as it crosses
the heart,
the withering
heart, no
longer a part.

— Victoria Emmons ©2013

Rings of Time

In the middle ring
The oldest of the circular
Bands of time that surround
My life in the kitchen
Lies the center of my world

Lively areas encircle me
Hug the very middle in a
Friendly way that feels calm
And loving, comfortable
Yet in need of a dust mop

Yellow fur balls float
In mid-step on a staircase
Filled with 20 years of
Family ups and downs
To nowhere and everywhere

The middle ring houses
Sizzling salmon or steak
Teacups for a visitor
Books packed with recipes
A loyal sleeping dog

A door swings open to
Tables and chairs awaiting
A friend or someone else
Who cares enough to listen
To my pounding heart

Loud voices fill the next room
Strangers in a digital frame
Tell me to swallow a pill
To cure my heartbreak or
Headache or incontinence

Bottles beckon in a dance
Of red and white and brown
Along the well-stocked bar
An adjoining ring of hope
To splash away worries

Beyond the walls lie the newest
Of the circles, those that tell
A story of love, nature and loss
Under an umbrella of shade
That covers my acre of life

Fear prevents me from scaling
The walls to the outer rings
Unable to risk failure
Or satisfaction,
Worse yet, a grand success

Safety is in the middle ring
Protection under glass
My soul divided must be scorned
Shame hidden deep within
Paralyzes me with laughter

Beg you, come out and play
They always try to coax
Knowing I will refuse
In favor of the inner prison
Where I must live to thrive

–Victoria Emmons, © 2014

To Do List

Prepare for poetry.
Prepare for change.
Think more.
Make time for cursive writing.
Ignore Yahoo mail.

Get nails done.
Get hair done.
Believe in something.
Believe in anything.
Why believe?
Why not?

My head aches.
Blood is everywhere.
I am bleeding.
I am hurting.
I am bewildered.
I am emboldened.

Do not eat.
Do not drink.
Do not answer the phone.
Do not answer email.
Do not text.

Fast.
Lose weight.
Lose faith.
Lose teeth.
Lose friends.
Lose life.

Then gain.
Gain faith in humankind.
Gain friends.
Gain life.
But do not gain weight.
Gain gravitas.

Wente Concert Summer 2009

Palm trees wave at dusk
Blue backdrop to the stage
Backdrop to my memory
Of hits from the 70s

Graying heads bob
In rhythm to the music
Songs behind our minds
From a former time

A single lighter flame
Waves back and forth
Keeping time with
Familiar melodies

Others follow the lead
Of a digital flame
A sea of mechanical fire
Erupts in unison

Cheese on our knees
Share a Cabernet
Stars in the sky
Planes fly to SFO

The crowd is relaxed
So easy and free
Nothing less than
A three-song curtain call

Claps and whistles abound
An old man wearing a hat
Dances with a slender blond
The night’s still young

–Victoria Emmons, 2014