Flour

Flour’s in my candles
Wipe the kitchen down
Dusty piles of powder
Blowin’ all around

Ne’er thought I’d find all
That sifted, white ground
From drawer to floor
Floatin’ into mounds

But there it lived in
Every tiny crack
Chasin’ the day’s work
Breakin’ mama’s back

Pies and fresh pastries
Sweet raspberry tarts
Takes a lot of flour
And lots of false starts

Ain’t easy bakin’
Those cookies and cakes
Need a lil’ helper
For goodness sakes

Tie up his apron
Give him a good spoon
Young lad must learn
This cookin’ real soon

Flour goes a flyin’
Countertops to walls
Small fingers playin’
Makin’ castles tall

In between buildin’
Draw a shape or two
Learn to use a rollin’ pin
Pies for me and you

Smell the huckleberries
Picked right off the vine
Sprinkle ‘em with sugar
Add some brandy wine

Gentle with the crust, lad,
Crown must not fly high
Seal the edges now
Pinch, pinch, pinch the pie

Straight into the oven
Let’s all clap our hands
Flour rainin’ down
Formin’ mountains of sand

Forty minutes pass
Oven’s sweet perfume
Wafts throughout the house
Into every room

Timer wakes us all
Plates ready to go
The boy still plays
Apron fallin’ like snow

Thus my red candles
Got covered in white
Wouldn’t trade a speck
Of that wonderful sight!

–Victoria Emmons, copyright 2015

Inbox 

Random communiques appear,
Signal a familiar ding at all hours
To make me feel important, feel loved
In an otherwise ordinary life
Of early morning battles with my cat,
Both of us stressed over boxes.

Headlines selected daily by news editors
At The Washington Post or NBC Bay Area
Foist themselves upon me, assuring
Intelligent conversation with friends
Mourning the loss of a kind sheriff who tried
In vain to help a drowning victim.

My realtor asks about furniture, do I want any 
Of the beds laid in, chairs sat upon,
Tables eaten at by children growing into
Adulthood as their parents age in place,
Now selling out for a condo in Hawaii
And margaritas on a black sand beach.

Carly Fiorina needs my help, as do
A host of others scratching and clawing
To reach the very top of the world,
Earn the right to pin a medal on a hero
Or start a war with China, perhaps Iran, or
Unknown corners of the Earth yet to be found.

An invitation to breakfast in September when
Graduates of a Chamber Leadership Class
Offer pats on the back to neophytes
Only starting out, eager to become what
You are, what looks like success from 
Their vantage point, if they only knew.

FaceBook comments on whatever was said
That day of frivolity with photos taken in jest
And posted for all the world to see when
They should have been deleted before 
The submit button was pressed but
Could we have known the outcome.

Six clutter-busting tips to solve my problem,
Accumulation of life’s debris as it piles
High with unread copies of The Economist,
London Review of Books and Bon Appetit
Each crowding my mind for the little space left
To compete with collections of unlit candles.

Attachments carry an offer of employment 
Eagerly awaited after interviews, visits and
Proper conversations on goals and benefits,
An airplane trip away to the north where new
Friends will be made, new rooms to decorate await,
Life promises to be fulfilled or at least chronicled.

Neighbors write about a vacation to the east, so
Keep watch over their house while they are gone,
And by the way, did you get the job? Have you
Heard anything about paying for the asphalt?
Did you ever get your garage sale organized?
What did the house across the street sell for?

Contractor inquires about a check not yet received
For painting, building, repairing a bathroom,
Replacing a balcony, renewing a home to be
Lived in by someone else, except the same 
Sparrows that come back in the spring, as they
Always do along with the deer and bats.

A receipt for $3.99 to continue iCloud storage,
Small price to pay for false security that precious
Possessions will never be stolen or lost 
To thieves who lurk in CyberSpace, followed
By announcements about new data breaches
In the government and my health insurer.

Nothing in my e-mail speaks of love, no sweet
Words to arouse my sense of desire save
The Poem-A-Day from The Poetry Foundation
That graces my inbox regularly, yet today
“Enough” by Ellen Bass is about death,
But also about love of family and self.

Then love arrives electronically with two words
That ring in my ears, two simple sounds that
My brain allows me to recreate exactly as spoken
For more than 30 years, words taught over time
Part of a lesson in communication essential to life
A single key to my existence … “Hi, Mom!”

—Victoria Emmons, copyright 2015

Saint Tropez

Et puis un jour 
Mon cher ami 
Je serai vieille 
Et toi aussi 

Faisons l’amour 
Sous les étoiles 
Encore une fois 
Entouré par les voiles 

Parlons de nous 
Sans peur de larmes 
Mon beau visage 
Sous ton charme 

Tu m’as fait rire 
Tu te rappelles
Tu avais dansé 
Me tenant dans tes bras 

Je me rappelle 
Quand on dansait 
Dans la nuit sombre 
A Saint Tropez 

Tu m’as fait 
Me larmoyer 
Pour voir la mer 
En colère 

Mais nous chantions 
Comme toujours ensemble
Jamais en solitaire 
Nos coeurs tout proches

Embrasse-moi
Merveilleux amant 
L’un à l’autre 
Le désir est nôtre

Et ce jour-là 
Mon cher ami 
Je serai vieille 
Et toi aussi 

–Victoria Emmons © 2014


The Closet

I am coming out of the closet, little by little, as time permits. It isn’t easy to admit to yourself. I started small. A word here, a rhyme there. It felt so comfortable and reassuring. Then one day, I started a blog. But nothing was posted. It was a first step. An inch toward reaching a lifetime goal. A year later, still nothing there. I had to renew the blog subscription or lose it. So I started to post my poems for all the world to see. I was sure that no one would read them. They were there for me more than anything else, a storage place where they would not get lost in the clouds. I didn’t promote the blog, nor even tell friends it was there.

Poet. I pronounce the moniker over and over in my head. You are a poet, I tell myself. Being just a plain writer seems easier, not quite so bold. Poets are different, after all. They are funky, wear multi-colored hats, strange perfume and turquoise eyeliner. They look like cowboys or those girls in high school who only wore black. They drink Turkish coffee while writing at cafes … or mumbling to themselves. Poets gather in groups to listen to each other read. They cringe at some lines, applaud others. They always make a knowing “hmmm” sound when the reader finishes as though a universal understanding of the deep meaning just occurred. Poets spend hours thinking and writing about the good, bad and ugly of life. Their life. Poetry is, after all, a memoir in rhyme. Poets are in pain. I will fit right in.

 

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

Mud

A gift of mud
From a dear friend
Turns my head
In a new direction

Not just any mud,
Of course, since
This mud traveled
Long distances

Through customs
Weighting down an
Already heavy suitcase
Of trinkets and souvenirs

This mud revered
By millions over time
Anecdote for pain
Soothing an ache or two

And now mine
To ease the hurt
Of an aging body
And cloudy mind

The mud draws me
Closer again
Pulls me toward
The clear water

Falls tumble
Over the edge
Like so many
Nights I remember

The sound of the flow
As it eased his pain
Warmth the only remedy
For his affliction

All these years
I could not go
Near the water
Or the memories

Of that huge tub
Filled with pain
And agony
Loneliness and sorrow

At night I hear
The faucet running still
As it was those dark
And deadly nights

Awakening me with
The reality of a cancer
Poisoning life as
We once knew it

The mud equals
Renewal and healing
Fifteen to twenty minutes
Is all it promises

Skin renewed, soft
Gentle kindness
Rinsed away in
Warm waters

I can do this
My aging flesh
Will accept the hot
Pool beneath me

No longer must I hide
From the bathtub of death
When life beckons
Me to play

Ironic somehow
The birth of
This renewal mud
The Dead Sea

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

In Air

A very bumpy plane ride
Makes me rethink my priorities

It happened once before
An hour out of Houston

Fire in the cargo hold
The pilot told us

Life flashed before my eyes
Nothing I could do

Except be grateful
My kid was not there

If life is to end on an airplane
It should be romantic

Shouldn’t it?
Or at least over Bermuda

But Odessa, Texas?
Not too sexy, I think

Nothing to be done
Except imagine

What novels be written
Or poems to create

Were I to live
What shall life entail?

The skies are full of danger
Bumps and grinds galore

I feel the end is nearing
And what have I to show?

Hurry up now, dearie,
For your time is short

The bumps are even stronger
And the sounds very coarse

Clouds do not obey
Their master or even pretend

Every glass defies its space
Upon my dinner tray

All I can do is think of you
And how we are no more

This flight has me in ecstasy
Of purpose going forth

For I am free of thee
Free of me

My life is holding court
Judging all that is

As bumps and grinds
Take me onward

This plane in control
And I am not

My mind expands
And as we land

I am down to Earth
Once again

A normal being
Life without trauma

Life just another
Bumpy plane ride

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

Hope

Found in more than a thousand places
Hope takes on so many faces.

Will I pass my science test?
Does my father think I’m best?

Will this baby stay alive to
Live nine months and always thrive?

Will the judge be kind to me
Even I when I try to flee?

Will this flower bloom in red
Or only bloom inside my head?

Will I find sweet Allie dog
Lost today amidst the fog?

Will I finish this long race
And, win or lose, accept my place?

Will my love be always there
Even when I need his care?

Will Mom live another day
To smile with me, to laugh and play?

I hope for this, I hope for that
I hope I look good in this new hat.

Hope takes on another face
Hope I keep up this grueling pace.

—Victoria Emmons © 2015

Rhyme

Sweaters too large conceal self-control
About to deteriorate into a pool of blood
Razor sharp threats pierce the softness
Barking orders to run and hide away

Run and hide away while you watch
From a distance, your height in charge
Of keeping calm and stone-faced despite
A crumbling world of madmen and goons

Madmen and goons shake the very core
Of what is goodness, charity, love, hope
As flagrant lies begin to believe themselves
Cherish false words, worship a dead horse

Worship a dead horse to make a fake point
About being serious enough to die together
End everything and everyone before it’s time
Because your life and mine is nothing but rhyme

—Victoria Emmons © 2015