Sunday, March 12, 2017

Early Spring in the Sonoran Desert




Creosote bushes frame the edges on Sunrise Drive.
Mulberry feathers open from 
bottom branches of trees in the plaza.
Pink flowers are dampened by fountain spray
where St. Philip stands,
cross in hand 
as Lenten Bells ring:
It’s time for penance.

I give up nothing.

Instead,
I open to the season 
teasing me to trust,
to wander a bit off the well-worn path
considering--
how it would feel to fly like the red-tailed hawk 
searching for prey, 
finding it--
outside the shadows.

(from Poets & Writers Prompt, March/April 2017)



Saturday, February 25, 2017

Two more scenes from Vanessa's story


It was in Gallery 244, for European Painting and Sculpture: The Girl by the Window by the Window by Edvard MunchMama had not liked it, saying “Oh, Vivi, she looks so alone in the picture.  Let’s go see Monet with his yellows and orange haystacks”.
But I liked the colors of blues and grey and the girl…what was she seeing in the shadows, what was she feeling?
Now, as I gaze at it, I know she is me at twelve years old.  I am looking out my bedroom window in our neighborhood of Little Italy, seeing the man in the street.  He wears a dark suit and fedora and his watch and cigarette shine in the street light. I knew him then, and now, as Mr. E.  He is there to protect me from Papa’s enemies.  I didn’t understand what Papa did that makes men angry at him, but I do now.  Papa manages millions of accounts for businesses all over the world, especially in Chicago, New York, and these days, Russia.  


Back then, when I was twelve, I knew only this—Papa was downstairs as Mama lay in her bed they rolled in from the ambulance yesterday.  I could hear Papa weeping, but my tears were roped tight in my throat, my neck still bandaged. 
A few weeks before, I was in the car with Mama as it crashed into a wall, glass shattering into my neck.  They say the car brakes were not working, even though it was a new car Papa had bought for her in the late spring. Mama was driving me home from a symphony concert and she was happy; I was happy.  But all that changed with the crash.  Mama’s head slammed into the car door.  The doctors at the hospital said her brain was bleeding and they couldn’t stop it.  So she came home to die.

“Amazingly evocative, don’t you think?”
A voice startled me. I turned and saw a man with glasses, hands drawn across his back, revealing a blue and grey striped tie.  I noticed it was knotted European-style, like Papa’s with the skinny end of the tie hanging longer than the front-facing wider side.  For years, I would watch Papa make his tie before going to work, before going to Mass, and I often tie my scarves in a similar fashion.  I look at the man’s face: blue eyes, dark brown hair with reddish natural highlights, slightly tussled under a blue knit cap.  His face is still flushed from the outside cold.  It is a nice face with a smile that turns down a bit at the edges, as if he is practicing it. 
I nod, but remain silent.
“Yes.  I like this one by Munch very much,” he continues.
“Well, maybe ‘like’ is too strong a word for it.  But it’s one of my favorites in this wing.  I also like Monet,” I add, as if to bring Mama into the room.
“Sure.  Monet’s good.  But Munch goes deeper, finds a way to suggest a feeling, usually with shadows.  I get that.”
I am surprised he does.





Saturday, February 4, 2017

Paterson-inspired Poems

A few Lines
Butterflies settle on her stone ear.
They flutter against her cheek.
She sits against a cool wall
in the warm spring sun.

Yellow flowers border the wall.
Wind blows, flower stems bend.
Butterflies scatter.
NOTE:  The first line (with pronoun change) is attributed to "Paterson" by William Carlos Williams.

The Movie
In the theater,
dark lights
and the rustle 
of a tissue as
tears fall.

Friends and Lovers
The story shows
people at the neighborhood bar, 
playing pool or chess.
Two lovers argue
in the dim corner.
Outside, and English bulldog
puts his paws on the sidewalk
and sleeps.

In the End
He opens the blank book
to small possibilities
written in pen.

The water falls
on the other side
of a rusty chain link fence.


Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Vanessa's opening page

I rewrote my first draft which was in 3rd person/omniscient with past tense to first person and past tense.  Learning, as I go, how important POV (point of view) is to the voice of my story.

The ice storm was dripping into its third day. I wasn’t content to stay inside my apartment practicing the Vivaldi flute solo or reading Tolstoy, so I wrapped three woolen scarves around my ears and scarred neck, tucked the edges under my orange fleece jacket, and declared to Sam, my well-fed cat—
“I refuse to be held a captive any longer.”  Closed spaces brought back tremors in my hands and I had seen them tremble a few minutes earlier.
Out the door and into the cold.  But not for long.  My favorite café was just around the corner and I walked into the warm setting with a smile.
“Hi, Nate.  Busy day today for you, right?”
Pressing steamed coffee into a latte, Nate nodded, his brown eyes flashing a welcome to me.
After ordering my chai latte and warmed up from the inside, I made this a quick café visit and hailed a cab as I exited.
“Where to, miss?  Somewhere warm for you, I hope,” the cabbie asked as I slid into the back seat.
He switched on the meter and turned the heat fan up to high.
“Art Institute, please.  And thanks for that extra blast. It feels good.”
Driving down the slick roads took the usual ten minute ride a bit longer, but I was cozy in the cab and finishing my latte.  I began to anticipate my usual visit to the museum.  It was a favorite place to enjoy afternoons with Mama, and, since her passing three years ago, it had become a more important “artist’s date” to keep.
Mama had shown her own watercolors at small suburban galleries, but I hadn’t inherited the visual talent.  Instead, I’d watch her paint to classical music and felt soothed by flute sonatas even as a toddler.  So, when the time came to pursue my artistic training, I left my crayons in my desk and started elementary school Saturday lessons with Mr. Petri.  He was first flutist in the Chicago Symphony and, Mama had insisted to Papa, “We want the best for our little, Vivi.”
“The best for her at this age is to listen to her Papa and not fuss when we go to Mass,” was his reply.  But Mama had scoffed at the reminder of my rebellious shortcomings and so began my twenty year journey to first chair in the Symphony.
“Here we are, safe and sound,” repeated the cabbie.  He may have announced our arrival twice, but I was caught up in my memories.
“Oh, sorry.  Here you go.”  I paid the driver and scrambled out the cab, watching my steps on the slick steps.  The paired lions had frost on their manes and ice formed on their moustached mouths.  I gently patted one of the paws—a habit I’d learned from Mama and kept through the years. 
“Thanks for guarding the beauties inside,” I whispered as I passed the regal statues.

Inside the lobby, I sighed as I shook off the scarves, unbuttoned my coat and walked over to the coat checker.  My heart fluttered a bit as I anticipated my walk through the hallways to the painting that linked me to my past.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Two "Reset" Poems

(from Writer’s Digest December prompts) 12.3.16 by acfonte

Reset Uno

Nothing is quite right today. It started with the porch light blinking in the dark—
A response to a feral cat, blustery breeze or errant footsteps?
Unsettling, my dreams were dotted with
Faces from the ashen past, names from an afternoon movie.
In the morning, my toast burned.  I put too much water in the plant pot
And water spilled to the concrete floor.
At the gym, as I bicycled in place,
My muscles trembled and heart fluttered.
Then, at the café,
My sample coffee was too sweet,
The room temperature shifted from heat to ac and back again,
My orange sweater was tight.

Finally, I laughed at the poetry prompt to “reset.”
Okay, so I have.

Can I get off that bicycle now?



Ovillejo: Reset Deux (a Spanish poetry form)

How can I stop trembling in place?
It takes less space.

I practice my balance with care,
Arms high in air.

Like a cactus of certain age,
Nature’s green sage.

She offers me another stage
Where fear is quiet and hope is high,
So I grab hold as faith flies by—
It takes less space, arms high in air, Nature’s green sage.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

All Soul's Day 2016

Note to readers:  I did post a short new poem yesterday on http://www.facebook.com/anitacfonte if you want to read that one.  Here is the one I wrote a couple of weeks ago in response to a Poets & Writers Prompt to "write a poem that joyfully honors a loved one who has passed away..."

Mom loved to bake
and so did her mother--
sugar cookies with 
cherries at the center, 
butterscotch brownies
with coconut and walnuts.

One of the bakers is buried
on a hill in northern Illinois.
The other's ashes in a
brass urn under 
rocky desert.

In due time, 
I will take a few of those ashes, 
sprinkle them on 
the hill in Illinois, 
where
cornfields sway in the wind
and black crows caw
at dusk.



Friday, October 14, 2016

Bagging gold for the cold days to come

Bagging gold for the cold Days to come (last line of the poem "Neighbors in October" by David Baker.



Bagging gold for the cold days to come,
I picked up the leaf just fallen from the tree.
Like browned butter, but crisp,
it folded into my hand,
curling in the afternoon sun.

A day later, it is as delicate
as tissue paper and flutters on
a red book in my hallway
as I open the front door.

It will blow away someday,
fall on the floor and
crumble into dust.