The Party – Short Story – January 2, 2016

ginestra flowers

Walking into the room shaking snow off the cherry red coat she was wearing, she looked around the feeling a little out of place.  At that moment she heard her name being called from across the room and went towards the sound like a lost soul in the desert goes towards water.

“Ah Virginia, how nice to see you, but dear!  Why don’t you take off your coat! Here, let me help you.” a tall pleasant woman said doing just that. “Now, let’s get you a drink!” the woman said as she handed the coat to a nondescript greying gentleman of about seventy.

Virginia took the drink her friend had offered and sipping it let her eyes roam around the room.  The chatter of the people reminded her of the old rusty springs of her Grandmother’s double bed.  Odd she thought, her Grandmother had passed away forty years before.  People came up to her and they greeted and kissed her.  They exchanged what is commonly called small talk and eventually drifted away.

“How have you been doing …”

“Isn’t that just terrible news about Anna and Mario …”

“Seems the government is going to fall again …”

Small talk for a small world she thought. After a few moments she found herself standing alone in the room and somehow felt more comfortable.

Her mind wandered and she imagined herself walking again in the woodlands of Tuscany among the trees of the Maremma. It was 1987 when she’d met Gaitano and they’d gone for the first of their many walks in those woods.  The yellow ginestra flowers were in bloom then, he’d always loved those bright broom flowers. He’d pointed out the different kinds of bird’s nests to her; she’d been impressed by one huge nest that had been made in the bough of a large tree, she couldn’t seem to remember now what bird that had been.

She was pulled out of her thoughts when another guest entered the room.  A buxom woman of around sixty with a carrying voice. They’d once been close friends a few years back, but she’d gone off to America and they’d lost track of each other as sometimes happens.  As soon as she had hung her coat up she made a bee-line for Virginia.

“Ah, Virginia my dear!  What a sight for sore eyes.  I’m just so very  happy to be back home!” she said as she kissed Virginia on both cheeks, “I’ve had a really harrowing time out in the sticks of North America, I can’t wait to tell you all about it.  But first, tell me my dear, where is Gaitano that adorable husband of yours?”

A sudden hush fell on the room and even the usually self-confident woman felt the collective embarrassment and she realized that something was off.

This happened more rarely now that he’d been dead for nearly three months, but still, sometimes it did happen but it no longer bothered Virginia like it had done.

“Oh my dear Carla, you haven’t heard.  He passed away last autumn. We scattered his ashes in the Maremma.” Virginia replied.

Carla with tears in her eyes embraced her friend.

© G.s.k. ‘16

(This is a work of pure fiction based on parties I’ve been to in my youth. Bastet)

hung, cherry, wearing, bloom, snow, springs, bough, trees, again, roam, woodlands, seventy

Lost in Their Love – Ghazal – December 26, 2016

You’ll never get to meet them as friends, they’re lost in their love
War has hidden them behind burnt windows, now lost in their love

Mismatched, brown and white, they stood together
Hidden, alone she birthed in a pantry a son, lost in their love

They stood painted as crimson sinners by howling butchers,
Palmless mobs stoned them, they were, lost in their love

Unmarked grave (no vowels nor consonants) was their fate
Because they were different, they were lost in their love

This poet’s tears still fall now as I think of their end
The fanatic’s hand felled them – they were lost in their love.


THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “Ghazal for White Hen Pantry” by Jamila Woods: brown, friends, white, palm, born, burnt, consonants, windows, unmarked, sins, paint, pantry

Whirligig Wordle – The Fly – December 10, 2015

Dew on a spider's web in the morning. Luc Viatour

Dew on a spider’s web in the morning. Luc Viatour

Once upon a sunny morn
Spider caught a clumsy fly
(Fleeing from a wasp and crow)

In alarm it hit that web
Shouts and pulling did no good
(Yet it begrudged fate her due)

With molecules of hidden strength
Called unto its tiny wings
(Fly broke spider’s silky web)

With a whirl it flew away
Across the red poppy fields
(Humming happy songs of life)

© G.s.k. ‘15

And here’s another spider and fly nature story:

THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “Philosophy in Warm Weather” by Jane Kenyon: sunny, clumsy, wasp, molecules, whirl, begrudge, spider, poppy, shouts, crow, alarm, pulling


Sunday’s Whirligig 36

The Old Grey Mayor – A Chained Kyoka – November 29, 2015

in his golden age
[as in frail senior years]
the city’s mayor
took steps to close down
the city’s discotheque

long forgotten
his lively fiery youth
his lustful ways
his quest for adventures
in envy – he betrayed youth

protests rang
among the citizens
petitions signed
marches marched and voices raised
but it was to no avail

the city split
between the young and old
[enter civil strife]
no solution to the crisis
seemed in the offing

then, the mayor’s wife
who never spoke – did that day
in favour of youth
and said it was just envy
that drove the senior mayor

and beyond all reason
the decision made
creating disharmony
among the population

a committee formed
to find a just solution
the mayor huffed
but collaborated
or he’d have lost his votes

the solution found
in the town hall that day
the order withdrawn
now there is a senior’s night
Fridays – at the old dance hall

© G.s.k. ‘15


Sunday’s Whirligig

THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “Mayor Harold Washington” by Gwendolyn Brooks: mayor, beyond, steps, close, never, forgotten, begin, health, age, enter, senior, adventure

The Shell – Free Verse – October 18, 2015

George Tooker, self-portrait

The Shell

needing comfort one crisp autumn morn
my daughter and I went out sailing
and beneath our rocking wooden boat
we saw a glass-like sea-shell shining.

[upon a stone halfway to the abyss
smooth without seams it called to us –
in wet suits and snorkels we descended
– breathing in deep the salt crisp air]

floundering, nearly drowning to reach the rock
which had seemed to be well within reach
without pretty words I called off the search –
but then gifted her a  George Tooker print.

© G.s.k. ’15


I’m using the words from “Sunday’s Whirligig”  which came from “Nightingale” by Tony Morris: daughter, rocking, words, wooden, needing, beneath, halfway, slapping, glass, seams, breathing, crisp

Fisherman’s Wife – Long Canzone – September 10, 2015

- Maciej Koniuszy

Listen now to her verses
As she pretends to ignore her pain
She plays with scarlet words in verses
Remembering those long-lost verses
Before the silence of her lover’s voice
He sang his songs in Italian verses
[rhythmic harmonic verses]
Of fishing as the dawn broke in the sky
And hunting gulls circled high in the sky –
(She loved his syncopated disjointed verses)
Like all fishermen who sails the sea –
He left one morn – now she looks to the sea

Try to pretend that the mighty sea
Is the lover sung in seaman’s verses
More a curse than a lover is the sea
[though fascinating is the blue-green sea]
She’s a sower of pain
A mean master is the grim sea
She tolerates no distractions, heed the sea
Or she will ill raise her keening insistent voice
[imperative and imperious voice]
Many perish into the sea
At morning’s first light in the sky
Until the last star appears in the sky

Inscriptions are written in the sky
In memory of those who are lost at sea
Unheeded by the bright blue sky
Demanding wails launched into the sky
With a sour stench of putrid verses
Mothers and wives cry for mercy from the sky
But they receive no comfort from the sky,
And even her infinite song of pain
[no one can ever ease that pain]
Is mixed in the west wind carrying her voice
As she sings for him – in her broken voice

“Ah lover hear my golden voice
As I raise my plea up to the sky
Hear my words as I give pain a voice
[hear the longing for you in my voice]
Return now from the treacherous sea
Hear now our lovemaking in my voice
I’m holding you tight here with my voice
With the panting words of our special verses
[remember the nights we composed those verses]
How you harmonized with my voice …
Don’t leave me here with this longing pain
[come and ease my longing pain]”

Fisherman’s wife with knowing pain
Raises each night her sombre voice
To an indifferent golden sky
For her husband lost at sea
In her haunting and lamenting verses.

© G.s.k. ‘15

THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from The Poet Slave of Cuba: A Biography of Juan Francisco Manzano by Margarita Engle: play, pretend, scarlet, flying, verses, scars, holding, inscriptions, silence, shoes, demanding, stench

Whirligig 23
Mindlovesmisery’s Photo Challenge

B&P’s Shadorma and Beyond – The Canzone

The long form of the Canzone is as follows:

5 stanzas of 12 lines – repeating word endings following the pattern below … no special rhythmic formula.

envoy: ABCDE

Zombie Mariachis – Wordleing August 20, 2015

Attracted by
the Zombie Mariachis
[mutants with gaping mouths]
who were performing
at Midnight Motors
I walked onto the car lot.

A man came up to me,
and more like a magician
than a salesman;
started his long-winded spiel
[or enchantment] …
and soon
the words buzzed in my ears.

I realized – looking closer
that those cars looked more
like they ran on meth
than on high-octane petrol!

Many passing through
said the price-list read
like the daily mortuary.
I thought:
“Maybe I’d better go down the road
to buy myself a new car … ”
but the car was already bought!

© G.s.k. ‘15


THIS WEEK’S WORDS at Sunday’s Whirligig #20 come from “No More Cake Here” by Natalie Diaz: mortuary, motor, many, midnight, mouths, mariachis, mutants, magician, meth, missed, more, maybe

Wordles with Senryu – August 19, 2015



separate the world
between the soft and the hard
then start bickering

in this lonely bed
awake – awaiting to hear
the sound of his breath

the frayed cord
signals that the mast will fall
the albatross laughs

to fall asleep
perhaps to dream … ah
wasn’t that Hamlet?

© G.s.k. ‘15

THE WEEK’S WORDS for Whirligig # 19 come from “Supple Cord” by Naomi Shihab Nye: separate, breath, hear, floor, asleep, bickering, signal, bed, awake, soft, cord, frayed

Whirligig 17 – Waka Wordleing – July 27, 2015

THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “Under Stars” by Tess Gallagher: flag, coatless, slices, stars, games, walk, touch, thinking, kitchen, envelope, roadside, say:

old flag flew
without stars on the roadside
we walked and you’d say
I want slices of heaven
to remember you by

our winter games
you enveloped me boldly
and your gentle touch
left me breathlessly thinking
coat-less in the kitchen

© G.s.k. ‘15

Wordleing Tragedy – July 14, 2015

- 5 letters

5 letters (from Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie)

dialing 112
that shattering evening
what had been a shady paradise
of drifting light and fun
transformed into the tragedy
of fingers poking from the carousel
the lolling horses no longer prancing
bathed in the wrathful tears
of a mother’s deep sorrow …
fairy lights danced in the night
under the Eiffel tower
ignoring the bomb
of a madman.

© G.s.k. ‘15

(this of course never happened in Paris that I know of … )


THIS WEEK’S WORDS come from “The Children Are Coming Slowly up the Stairs” by Thomas Hornsby Ferril: dialing, shattering, shady, drifting, poking, posts, fingers, loll, prance, bathe, wrathful, deep

Written for: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Photo Challenge # 69 and Sunday’s Whirligig