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Poetry Friday ~ Gratitude

8 May

Hi, everyone! It’s the first of the month, and that means poets choose their own syllabic poetry form, theme, words, images, etc. Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge

The year 2020 has seen its share of major historic events and bizarre incidents in just a little over five months–– including the acquittal of President Donald Trump in an impeachment trial, the bushfires in Australia, the rapid spread of the coronavirus pandemic, and the entire world grinding to a halt as businesses shut down and people are quarantined.

As I ponder on these events and others like the death of (a legend) Kobe Bryant in a helicopter crash, the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union, the Dow plunging 2,997 points due to coronavirus fears, the 2020 Summer Olympics postponed, and the fact that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle stepped down from their duties as senior royals in Buckingham Palace, I want to pinch myself to be sure I’m not in some dark and eerie nightmare. Despite the peculiar times we’re living in, I’m sure everyone can find at least one thing to be thankful for, right?

I’m thankful that my family and I are doing well, and that we have plenty to eat and drink, and our toilet paper inventory is full. I’m grateful that this nightmare has not prevented me from doing a lot of reading and writing. My cooking and baking skills have gotten better. Despite the fact that I miss my family I have enjoyed our zoom get togethers. I’m also grateful to be in such great company during isolation – there are no better quarantine buddies than my husband JC and Pomeranian Scribbles. I have a roof over my head and a great view of a golf course. How could I not feel gratitude in my heart.

Although there are a plethora of strange happenings there are also appreciable moments. To be honest, there have been times when I’ve been down, fearful, anxious – none of us has ever lived through times like these. It’s easy to feel vulnerable and like you have no control over the outcome of your life. But when have we ever had total control over the outcome of our lives? We can’t focus only on the negative – it won’t solve a thing. Let’s think about all we should be grateful for.

“The most powerful weapon against stress is our ability to choose one thought over another. Train your mind to see the good in this day.”

Gratitude should be

as natural as breathing

Inhale and Exhale

Photo by Candice Picard @candice_picard

Stay healthy, helpful, and calm, my friends!

Poetry Friday ~ The Day After

1 May

Hi, everyone! Happy 1st Day of May!

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Tanka Tuesday Poetry Challenge No. 175, Theme Prompt. This month’s theme is: “The Day After” chosen by Elizabeth from Tea & Paper (Blog)

Photograph by Jr Korpa

The Day After

As we hike through the wounded city

We search for something live and bright

Any remnant that we once

existed in the flesh

my ghost finds nothing

except the clear

evidence

that we’re

gone.

Photgraph by Clement Falize

Brilliant scientists

experiment in lab coats

doomed us all to hell

“This is the way the world ends,

not with a bang, but a gasp.”

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but for a while now I’ve been reading about how scientists are working with microorganisms to engineer them to perform certain tasks. There’s good that could come from this, for instance, if a bacteria was to be engineered to locate and kill only cancer cells in a person’s body, leaving the healthy cells alone. If this works, other microorganisms could be used in the same way to rid the body of many diseases. Things can go horribly wrong, though. So many discoveries and inventions were made for the good of the people only to end up in the wrong hands and used for atrocities –– just ask Einstein. I know this all reads like the premise to a Sci-fi novel, but once scientists discovered how to read and map a strand of DNA they’ve been busy experimenting with things we can’t even imagine. Who knows what they’re cooking up in those labs? Like maybe a solution to the overpopulation problem no one wants to talk about. Like maybe engineer a virus that can target the old and diseased, and kill them by the thousands? That can certainly solve the overpopulation problem in the world while maintaining the young and strong safe. After all, they are the future.

Poetry Friday ~ Idea & Fancy

17 Apr

Hi, everyone! Welcome.

Colleen Chesebro from Colleen’s Weekly Poetry Challenge picked the two synonyms for this week’s challenge. Remember, there are many ways to use these words.

Here are your two words:

Idea & Fancy

He’ll make love to the seven continents

and his offspring will rule the masses

but before then –– we surrender

to our desire to be led

the “We” campaign begins

a government scheme

Bring on the chaos

and they will

come to

me

Photo by Hudson Hintze

I have so many questions bouncing around in my mind about what’s going on in the world as it pertains to COVID– 19. I’ve been thinking a lot about the aftermath of this pandemic. What is going to happen to all the small businesses that are now closed? Will they recover? Will the school system be irrevocably affected? What changes will be made to the government?

We’re still a ways away from a vaccine, so when will isolation and social distancing end? When will people be allowed to go back to work?

How will this experience change our mindsets? Our mindsets shape our thought habits. And our thought habits affect how we think, what we feel, and what we do.

Now, we also have the Bill Gates coronavirus conspiracy theory to think about, too. I know I can’t be the only one with questions spinning out of control in my head. What are you thinking about? How do you handle the stress and anxiety that comes with all these questions?

***

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

20 Mar

Welcome, everyone! I’m thrilled to have you visit. It’s the 3rd week of the month, and that means we have a photo prompt. Colleen’s 2020 Poetry Prompt Challenge.

Padre, from Padre’s Ramblings, provided the photo for this month’s challenge.

Here’s my contribution for this week, a Butterfly Cinquain:

I Prefer a Book

tempted

by the Autumn

that labored to make it

thoughts of the soil and its duty

and the

full bellies of

grapes who hang on to vines

that twirl and reach to the heavens

s o r r y.

“Reading—the best state yet to keep absolute loneliness at bay.”

—William Styron

Photo by Tim Rebkavets @timreb9

“Reading is a discount ticket to everywhere.” —Mary Schmich

I know there are many people who are self-quarantined or in mandatory isolation due to the coronavirus. Don’t despair. Grab a book, and meet some fascinating characters, walk in their shoes and take an extraordinary journey. I wish everyone a calm, safe and happy Friday and weekend.

Poetry Friday ~ Comfort & Worn

13 Mar

Welcome, everyone! Happy Friday the 13th!

I have several topics I want to address today, and it’s going to seem random. I apologize in advance.

Firstly, let’s talk about the coronavirus and COVID- 19. Unless you’ve been vacationing on the moon you’ve heard these terms before. The coronavirus has been around for a long time. It’s the same virus associated with SARS in 2003. COVID- 19 is the disease caused by the newly identified type of coronavirus that emerged in China in December 2019.

COVID- 19 symptoms include cough, fever and shortness of breath. Now, these symptoms are similar to the flu, and we are in flu season so if you have these symptoms call your doctor and let her know, but don’t go crazy thinking you have COVID- 19. Don’t automatically go to the ER without speaking to your doctor first because if you don’t have it the ER (emergency room) is probably a great place to catch it, and if you do have it you’ll most likely pass it on to people that are probably in a more vulnerable state than you are. Please call your doctor and act calmly.

There is no coronavirus vaccine yet. Prevention involves frequent hand-washing, coughing into the bend of your elbow and staying home when you’re sick.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has these suggestions:

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly for at least 20 seconds (about a round of Old McDonald had a Farm). Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cover coughs and sneezes with tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects people frequently touch.

I’m not a doctor, but I’ve worked in the medical field closely with doctors for many years. There are a lot of nervous people out there acting in panic, and that only makes things worse for them, others and people in the medical field who are only trying to help. You can calm your nerves by simply keeping yourself informed and by applying the 3 Ps: Positivity, Preparedness, and don’t Panic.

Let’s stay positive, but prepared, and please don’t panic it only makes things worse for you and others.

I also wanted to mention that someone sent me a DM (direct message) on Twitter asking why I only feature certain people on my blog. First of all, I’m an equal opportunity blogger and always have been. I’m constantly volunteering to host people on my blog. If we know each other, and you want to be featured on my blog let me know. Contrary to what some people may believe I don’t own a crystal ball. If you’ve never asked me to feature you on my blog don’t bitch complain about not being featured on my blog.

Lastly, don’t allow anyone to influence your thinking or how you feel about another person. Give everyone the benefit of the doubt. Before you reject, turn your back on or completely disregard someone because another person told you to do so, think for yourself. Judge someone according to the way they’ve treated you and by their deeds. Make up your own mind who that person is. Don’t allow anyone to do that for you.

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly Poetry Challenge (Synonyms Only)

Here are the two words selected by Ruth Scribbles, winner from last month’s Syllables Only challenge:

COMFORT & WORN

Photograph by Aimee Vogelsang @vogelina

With painted on smile

she raises silent uproars

Once she brought you cheer

and kept you safe through the night

you happily held her tight

***

Now she’s forgotten

in a dusty li’l corner

wearing tattered clothes

recalling when a simple

hug could heal that broken soul

Photograph by Dominic Romero @domr_

Have a fun, safe and creepy Friday the 13th!

Photograph by Franck V. @franckinjapan

Poetry Friday ~ Wild Fire

10 Jan

Hi, everyone! Welcome.

Since September, 17.9 million acres of Australia have burned in one of the country’s worst fire seasons on record. That’s an area larger than West Virginia, and more than eight times the area that burned in California in 2018, the state’s most destructive year for wildfires. 

The fires have now killed at least 27 people and destroyed almost 2,000 homes. The blazes turned skies orange and made breathing the air in Sydney as bad as smoking 37 cigarettes. Those are just the impacts on people. The destruction of the country’s land and biodiversity is harder to fathom. An estimated 1 billion animals have been lost, and scientists fear long-term damage to many sensitive ecosystems. 

Though rain brought firefighters a slight reprieve Wednesday, the AP reports that hot and windy conditions that will keep the fires burning are expected to return later this week. 

It’s a disaster that’s particularly ominous: In a warming world, extreme fire events like this one will only grow more likely to occur. – Australia Fires: 7 Things Everyone Should Know About The Brushfire Disaster.

Photograph by Cris Saur @crisaur

What is happening in Australia right now is devastating. I feel terrible for the families that have lost loved ones and are suffering through this hellish brushfire disaster. The number of animals that have perished in the fire is perturbing. 1 Billion animals dead! The firefighters that are putting their lives at risk every day battling the flames are amazing. It is easy to feel helpless, especially if you live on the other side of the planet, but there are things we could do to help.

  • If you’re in Australia, Givit has a list of specific items needed by people and organizations affected by the bushfires.
  • People with emergency response training can sign up to volunteer in Queensland.
  • The World Wildlife Fund is collecting donations to restore habitats for koalas impacted by the fires.
  • You can donate to the Australian Red Cross’s fire recovery and relief fund.
  • You can also donate directly to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service, the Country Fire Service Foundation in South Australia, and the Country Fire Authority in Victoria.
Photograph by Mark Galer @markgaler

Colleen’s 2020 Weekly #Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge No. 159, #Poet’sChoice

I chose to share this beautiful and heart-wrenching poem by Philip Salom dedicated to the men and women who fight these fires. Below is part one of the poem. You can read the rest of it here.

Bushfire

As if going into battle, the knapsack 
full on my shoulders, its pipe and nozzle
slung up like a rifle.
We fought along the river, seeing shrubs
explode, riddled with fire,
eerie sounds of trees shrieking
like things alive, feral, flames like faces
spilling down into the ferns.
We staggered, sick with the hammering heat,
dousing endless flames that slammed at us
like nightmares, sullen ghosts
groping at our limbs. We plunged
into that day's red thunder,
subsumed like suiciders who stare into
the rifle, gulp the flame. Individuals
meandering in something huge.
We choked in smoking semi-darkness,
shadows through the lead-coloured
air of limbo.

Now the aching blistering weight
of the knapsack pulling my shoulders.
Exhaustion worries the scorched end
of some unity: thought and action
fused into one. Sagging now,
heavier than the slopping drums
behind the tractors coming in.
We see the new men walking in
and seem to meet our earlier selves
but are more certain and more tired.
I, older than my youth, seeing these men
as if they were children.
Photograph by Liam Pozz @liampozz

Enjoy the rest of your day!

What Happened to Flying Cars?

3 Jan

I hope everyone has had a great start to the new year.

I remember all the promises of technological advances for this period. By this time, we were supposed to have flying cars, robots in every home, and teleportation, among other things. So what happened?

I have no doubts that the technology for flying cars is already out there. They probably have not figured out a way to implement it without us killing each other in transit. I mean, we have trouble operating a car on solid ground. I do not think we’re ready to drive amongst the clouds. How would you know which lane you’re on? Where would they put the traffic lights, yield, and stop signs? I could see it now, vehicles crashing into skyscrapers and firefighters getting cars out of trees.

I love to travel; it is one of my passions. Traveling and reading give me the tools I need to write, especially for worldbuilding and characterization. Although I enjoy visiting new countries and enjoying the people and culture, I’m not too fond of airports and airplanes, so I was looking forward to teleportation. To be able to enter a pod and in seconds, be transported to another country––what a dream. Of course, what is probably delaying the process are the test subjects. I don’t know about you, but I would not want this technology tested on animals or people, so there’s the problem the scientists are facing. The last thing I want to hear on the news is that they tried to test teleportation with a human subject and only hamburger arrived on the other side. Gross! What if the other scientists are vegans? We wouldn’t want to offend anyone, would we?

Seriously, although we did not get every technological advance promised for this decade, we did get a plethora of cool things. I own an iPhone, and it’s like walking around with a calculator, compass, dictionary, camera, and computer in my pocket––among other things. If someone had told me in 1999 that my phone would speak to me, answer questions, and assist me with specific tasks, I would have thought that person was talking about something he or she read in a SciFi novel. How about gene therapy, reversing paralysis, Wi-Fi (devices powered by the air!), Nanotechnology, computers that are figuring out how to do things no programmer could teach them (anyone thinking SKYNET?), 3D metal printing, artificial embryos? Wow! We’ve come a long way since 1999, but have we gone too far in certain areas?

Let me share with you the 10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2019, curated by Bill Gates.

1. Robot Dexterity – Robots are teaching themselves to handle the physical world. (SKYNET comes to mind again)

2. New-Wave Nuclear Power – Advanced fusion and fission reactors. (This reads scary. Did anyone see the drama miniseries on HBO, Chernobyl?)

3. Predicting Preemies – A simple blood test can predict if a pregnant woman is at risk of giving birth prematurely. (This I like. I worked in the NICU (area in the hospital that provides care for premature infants and seriously ill babies) for a while, and it was heart-wrenching.)

4. Gut Probe in a Pill – A small, swallowable device captures images of the gut without anesthesia. (Another good one. Anesthesia is not suitable for everyone.)

5. Custom Cancer Vaccines – The treatment incites the body’s natural defenses to destroy only cancer cells by identifying mutations unique to each tumor. (It’s about time.)

6. The Cow-Free Burger – Both lab-grown and plant-based alternatives approximate the taste and nutritional value of real meat without the environmental devastation. (I do not eat beef, but I did once, and I do miss a good burger. Maybe I would try the plant-based one––lab-grown does not sound appealing.)

7. Carbon Dioxide Catcher – Practical and affordable ways to capture carbon dioxide from the air can soak up excess greenhouse gas emissions. (How do plants feel about this? Plants need carbon dioxide for photosynthesis, right?)

8. An ECG (Electrocardiogram) On Your Wrist – ECG-enabled smartwatches, made possible by new regulations and innovations in hardware and software, offer the convenience of a wearable device with something closer to the precision of a medical one. (Well, it’s practical, but that means ECG techs will be obsolete in the future.)

9. Sanitation Without Sewers – Energy-efficient toilets can operate without a sewer system and treat waste on the spot. (What does it use concentrated sulfuric acid?)

10. Smooth-Talking AI (Artificial Intelligence) Assistants – New techniques that capture semantic relationships between words are making machines better at understanding natural language. (SKYNET)

There you have it. We cannot teleport to Bora-Bora, but there were so many advances in the last twenty years I cannot wait to see what this new decade has in store. Please excuse my somewhat weird sense of humor. I wish everyone happiness, good health, love, and prosperity in this new decade.

What are some of your goals for 2020?

Happy Holidays!

20 Dec

I want to wish all my followers, friends and family a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, and Happy Kwanzaa!

I’ll be popping in and out of social media during my holiday vacay, but my next blog post will be next year. Take good care of yourself, keep warm, and enjoy!

Poetry Friday ~ Photo Prompt

22 Nov

It’s Colleen Chesebro’s Middle of the Month Poetry Photo Prompt Challenge!

This month we will use a photo chosen by last month’s “Photo-Prompt” Poet of the Week ~ Linda Lee Lyberg.

My contribution this week is a Butterfly Cinquain. I hope you enjoy it.

She yawns
spreading her wings
blinding the stars with light
chasing away the dark shadows
of night
angel of dawn
heralds another day
clouds set aflame with amber glow
birds rise

As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I wanted to thank everyone that follows and visits my blog. I’m grateful for your friendship and support. I get excited whenever I post a poem, story, or article in anticipation of your visits and comments. Thanks for being so great!

Happy Thanksgiving Day!

Poetry Friday ~ It’s time to check your “virginity” again.

8 Nov

Hello, everyone! Welcome.

Have you heard about rapper T.I.’s podcast interview in which he revealed that he checks his daughter’s virginity? I saw this on TV, but it’s all over the internet. In case you haven’t heard, this is the gist of it: Grammy-winning rapper T.I. (Clifford Harris) told a podcast that he forces his teenage daughter to undergo an annual virginity test at the Gynecologist. The day after her birthday, he takes her to get her hymen checked to ensure that she’s still a virgin.

To say I was outraged by this is an understatement. Firstly, how backward and ignorant do you have to be? Having sex isn’t the only way a hymen gets torn. It can happen in many different ways. Secondly, what lessons is he teaching his daughter? That she’s only worthwhile if she’s a virgin? Her entire worth as a woman is based on her virginity status? Her word has no meaning because instead of asking her if she’s sexually active and trusting in what she tells you, you need medical proof? Why doesn’t he make her wear a chastity belt?

As if this yearly ritual wasn’t humiliating enough, he revealed everything on a podcast heard by thousands of people. His daughter is eighteen. Even if you don’t know who rapper T.I. is or listen to his music, you need to know that this goes on right here in the USA. And you know what? Even if you’re a fan, you have to admit this is insane.

To top it off, T.I. has a fifteen-year-old son who disclosed that he’s sexually active, and the rapper is fine with it. What? It’s okay for his fifteen-year-old son to have sex, but his eighteen-year-old daughter has to prove her virginity by going to a gynecologist and getting her hymen checked? This is a huge double standard, and I can’t stand it.

I guess T.I. doesn’t care if his son impregnates several girls his daughter’s age or younger, and either he doesn’t know or care about all the sexually transmitted diseases his son could easily catch. Why can’t this man talk to and educate his children, so that they can learn to make the right decisions on their own?

I understand some fathers are overprotective with their daughters, but in my opinion, this is going too far. Deyja Harris is T.I.’s daughter, not his property. And his fifteen-year-old son is in danger of contracting aids, herpes, hepatitis, among other diseases – not to mention getting someone pregnant.

What is your opinion on this subject?

“It’s the first of the month, and you know what that means! Poets choose your own prompt words.” Colleen’s 2019 Weekly Poetry Challenge No. 152

A
woman
who speaks her
mind is not a
bitch. She doesn’t need
men to validate her.
She’s not his sex toy or a
baby machine. She’s who she wants
to be. Society won’t make a
puppet of her, because she’s a woman.

Thanks for the visit. Please, let me know what you think in the comment section below.