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 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, 
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.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Coyote SLim Part 2

Image from

It was late July in Tucson and the rains had petered out.  All the washes were dry.  The mesquite pods were cracked and empty.  The toads had dug their holes deep beneath the hot sun.  Even so, their skins were bubblin’.

SLim was wore down to ragged fur on bones. His summer wilyness was wearing as thin as his skin. He recalled one week in May when, tethered by a rope, a two-legged critter in short pants fed him juicy strips of fried meat. Back then, SLim had snoozed in the shade and lapped cool water from a pan.  Considering his present circumstances, a roped-up life seemed better than becoming another carcass.

Trouble was SLim didn’t know how to get caught again.  Definitely didn’t know how to get himself into the same comfortable quarters.  So, what to do?  Slim sniffed the air.  Caught a two-legged whiff from the smooth path above the wash. 

It was dusk with stars just beginning to poke out of the sky.  SLim had enough daylight to saunter up the gravel and get himself caught.  So up he went.  Tail draggin’ and brushin’ up on a small dust cloud. 

“Look, mama,” a tiny voice chirped.  “A doggie.”

“Sweetie, that’s not a doggie.  It’s a wild coyote.  He looks tired, doesn’t he?”

SLim liked the sound of the voices.  They tinkled with possibility.  He lowered his head and began to whimper.  Figured he’d benefit by taking it a notch higher and pretended to limp on his hind legs.

“Oh, mommy.  He’s hurt.”

“He might be.  Or he might be sick. We better steer clear and head back to the car.”

They turned away from SLim.  He whimpered again.  More loudly, sensing defeat at sunset.

Just then, a cowbird plopped itself in front of SLim, flapping its charcoal wings.

“Hey, SLim.  What are you up to?”

SLim sighed.  He knew Charlie well—a pal from better days when they shared occasional chats on a distant cow ranch. 

“Tryin’ to survive.  But it ain’t workin’ out too well today.”

“Oh….  I just found a spot in town where a few chickens are runnin’ around and there’s no wall.  Just a wire fence that wobbles in the wind.  Want to trail me for a quick dinner?”

Since things weren’t working out has SLim hoped, Charlie’s offer sounded sensible.  He nodded, trotting after Charlie who flew low until they got to the designated backyard.  Sure enough, quite a few chickens were peckin’ stubs of grass in a yard with a droopy fence.  SLim scrunched under the wire and pushed a small wedge into the loose dirt so he could break through.  After a small tussle, he caught a hen and finished her off.  The ruckus drew attention from an unexpected well-fed and muscled guard dog on the other side of the yard who came running with growls and grunts.  SLim scrambled under the fence with the guard dog coming in close, nipping SLim's tail.  SLim yelped as dust flew.

Charlie saw the whole thing and cheered for SLim’s escape.

“Good job, SLim.  You can still kick up a fuss and come out okay of the other end.”

Panting and licking his sore tail, SLim wasn’t so sure.

“This isn’t the life I want anymore, Charlie.  I’m looking to find me the two-legged critter in short pants who treated me pretty good for a week.”

“Oh, I know him,” Charlie crowed.  “If you want, I can get you to his place in a jiffy.”

“Well, let’s go then.  I need to be tended to for awhile.”

So, Charlie flew and SLim, followed, loping over rusty railroad tracks to find George--the boy who made SLim a pet for a week.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Introducing Vanessa

image from NYTimes T magazine, September 2016

Introducing Vanessa, chic gal on the streets of Chicago.  She plays the flute in the Chicago Symphony and has a loft apartment on Wabash.  Her favorite off-hours place to hang out is the public library--when she's not visiting vintage shops in the suburbs like Geneva and Elgin. She is going along with her boyfriend, Brad, and his Cubs fan base, but she's really more interested in "da Bears."  Yes, she once lived in NYC but she moved up to first chair in the Chicago Symphony at a random audition last spring and doubled her income, tripled her living space, and bought a used VW jetta.  Let's follow her on her adventures. She may even start traveling with the Symphony's off-season quartet to a concert hall near you.

Scene 1:  Yesterday, after a quick jog around Lake Michigan, Vanessa took a cab to her favorite cafe. (Parking is always a challenge at this little neighbhorhood spot, so sometimes it's best to leave the Jetta in the garage.)  She met up for dessert with her best friend, Linda, who plays clarinet in the Symphony.  Vanessa was meeting Linda's new beau, Charlie, for the first time.  And even the lush desserts weren't as sweet as Charlie (first impressions are important).

"Where's the match up for me?"  Vanessa thought as she finished off the last of the tiny desserts.

So her story continues....

Tell me what you what Vanessa to do, say, experience--let's build this story line together and have some fun!
(An experiment with social media and comedic creatives)

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Return to 3 words to help you do happy today

Healthy--Exercise for me is an everyday challenge.  But I'm lucky to live in a walkable neighborhood and evening/sunset walks on north Mountain Avenue can be a spectacular experience.  Last night we also were invited to say "hello" to a puppy, and were glad to see a new herd of cows in the UA Campus Farm field.  We've enjoyed the flock of sheep who mysteriously appear and disappear each day this past month.

Music--If I were near Atlanta, I would go to hear Dave Mathews, Bruce Springsteen and others at the "Many Rivers to Cross" music festival that Harry Belafonte is bringing together.  My dad loved Harry Belafonte's music and I am still inspired by his thoughtful, consistent political activism.  There's a super article about him in today's New York Times, on the Arts page.

Celebrating--Tomorrow is the first night for the Jewish High Holy Days.  We're doing our Rosh Hashanah dinner early tonight because our son has a rare Saturday off from his chef job.  Mark and I are making two dishes from a previous NYTimes Food article on the food from Umbria, Italy.  I am adding a midwestern apple crisp recipe from a friend, topped off with Haagan Daas ice cream--my Jewish mother-in-law's favorite brand.  I love the Jewish holidays of Passover and New year and am grateful to have had many years at Lila's table with her friends (most of them also gone) and family who now are stretched across the continent.  So, we celebrate today, in its unique beauty and
start tomorrow anew.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Sweetwater Haiku

Sweetwater scenes on
Sunday morning: ducks,
trees, fallen leaves on pond.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

Hula and Happiness

Almost a month ago, I had my first (but hopefully, not my last) hula lesson at the Royal Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii.  My hula teacher, Sharise Dudoit #mauihulawahini, has been performing since the age of 12.  She still looks that young to me, but she is mom to three, performing, teaching and giving the gift of happiness through hula.  Here is the short video she captured on my phone after we had rehearsed the dance for about 20 minutes. Before that, she gave me by tea leaf lei, which I still have in my office, and showed me how to make my rosette out of plumeria blossoms.  I learned more than how to dance the hula that day--I also learned how important Nature and its elements connect to the dance--and, most importantly, I made a new friend.  Mahalo (thank you), Sharise.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Sunday Starbucks poem

Success (an erasure poem based on a Sunday Sports story from the NY Times)

A little more than three years ago,
The man
Told her the future.

The man seemed
An unlikely clairvoyant.
His predictions
Distinctly outlandish:
A romantic rise,
A cash-filled corporate push.

On Sunday:
The future,
Exactly as predicted,

Has arrived. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Honolulu's Beach Walk Haiku: A Mall on the Streets

Watching people pass.
Each one with a tale
to tell, carried in a bag.

Honolulu hype--
The beach is hidden by stores
Where no soul can shine.

It's about money.
Everything has a high price--
even the sandy beach.

For rent:  chairs, bikes with
floating wheels, shade umbrellas,
mats, boats, snorkeling gear.

But some time past:
Taro fields hugged the waters,
Stars danced in the sky.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Missing Maui

Missing Maui
One day later,
I miss Maui:
The hotel cats on the lush lawns,
The sunset hulas,
guitar music with breezes from the sea.

We walked and talked,
Admiring the aquamarine blanket of water,
The pillowing sand covering our feet
As the tide came in,

Our son caught sun,
Drank in his fill,
Opened and closed,
Opened again like a flower
On the Golden Shower tree.

We, too, found singular
And coupled rhythms.
And, like the sea,
We ebbed and flowed--
A rhythm we can carry

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A short short story with three more words of happiness.

Timothy's Time

Timothy enjoyed playing with his Tinker Toys,  Building a turning ferris wheel from wooden spools and brightly colored sticks entertained him for hours.  While other children were fixated on their phone screens following Pokemon Go critters here and there, Timothy built things.  Pleasure for Timothy was imaging his next build project, studying architectural plans in books, drawing images of it on scrap paper he picked up from the library, and returning home with ideas sprouting from his the top of his brown, fuzzy head.

His walk home with his mom, past the park and into his neighborhood was a celebration for all that was possible to an five-year-old, freed at last from chemo tubes.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Words to help you do Happy today

Hmmm.  It's interesting that although I am having fun writing mini posts on three-at-a-time of the "happiest words in literature" (Atlantic magazine 7/12/16)--others seems to be passing on my posts.  Oh, well, in spite of the low reader numbers, here we go:

Rainbow:  Of course, I think about "Wizard of Oz" the movie and Judy Garland's iconic song, but I also think about Irish folktales and a pot o' gold, and the scope of the sky when a rainbow arc extends across the desert sky.  All good and happy thoughts.

Smile: Science says that even when you fake a smile, moving the muscles of the mouth to an upward curve stimulates the brain to produce happy hormones.  Try it NOW!

Won: Oh, I could go dark easily and connect this word to the political convention we have just witnessed this week.  But he-who-shall-not-be-named will not come long to this blog post.  So I have to deliberately switch my mind to connect "won" to more light-filled types of contests such as:  a swim meet, educational award, or even romance as "she won his heart forever."  There--love came in through an open window.  Surprise!!

And here's a Buddha Doodle to take that message to another level of love--

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Wednesday's Win

[the next three "happiest words"]

Joy--gladness, delight, glee, cheer, sunshine, cheefulness (Roget's Thesaurus)

Successful--Last night we watched the movie "The Finest Hours". According to Disney who lost 75 million on the movie, it was not a success.  But we would argue that is was successful to us: it lifted our spirits into the cloudy night, amazed our eyes with its technical beauty, stirred our sense of hope in human perserverance through able acting, and distracted us (successfully) from the political noise on television.

Win--At what age do we learn that to win is better than to lose?  Does it happen before we start school, grades and ranking?  Do we learn it at home from our families, friends?  I am trying to recall when I first sensed that I would not always win (and that winning was happier than losing)--.  My memory goes back to playing jacks with my older cousin, Sarah.

Being older, her fingers and hands were more adept at throwing the ball and scooping the metal pieces into her hands.  I learned that "more" (jacks in hand) were better than fewer and the higher the ball bounced, chances to grab more jacks increased--to a point. But if the ball went too high or too far, all was lost.  I think I was four or five when I learned this.

And I guess I am still learning what it means to win....  Today it means a clean mammogram, results from blood work that need only modest tweaks in medication, and, of course a major win is waking up each morning and being able to breath, move, swim, write.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Three More on Monday

Laughing--I never skip my daily read of newspaper comics. Pearls before Swine, by Stephen Pastis, always helps me start my day laughing.

Excellent--We had excellent baseball seats at Chase Field, thanks to Costco's 1/2 price purchase card.

Laughs--We stayed up a bit late last night and had a few laughs watching tv reruns of "Mash" and the classic "Odd Couple."

[note: these are next 3 "happiest" words from the ATLANTIC 7/12/16 "The 200 Happiest Words in Literature" by Adrienne LaFrance}

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Next 3 "happiest" words

Happy--Pharrel Williams took this word to YouTube and Grammy Land

Laughed--Surprisingly, I laughed a lot while reading the memoir sections of Stephen King's book, "On Writing".

Laugh--Seinfeld (especially the "Festivus" episode) and Parks and Recreation (Little Sebastion tributes are great)  reruns are my "go to" place when I need a laugh, and that's usually everyday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

#1-3 Happiest Words from The ATLANTIC 7/12/16 "The 200 Happiest Words in Literature", Adrienne LaFrance

Laughter--the sound of ripples in a crowd of kids playing with water balloons on a hot, summer day.

Happiness--celebrated in 4th of July speeches and pursued by app users with Pokemon.

Love--what the world needs now.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Something Silly: Two Summer Poems

Finding Dory
[Response to Poets & Writers Prompt, 7/7/16—write a poem about a blockbuster summer movie]

Dory repeats,
Jumps in and out of sea water and fresh water--
A blue and yellow bird with fins.
Along her journey—
Her friends never desert her or
Want her to change her ways.
Dory never gives up.
She repeats,

Popcorn Snow
[Response to a prompt: the snow is falling but those are not snowflakes]

It’s a topsy-turvy land.
Trees grow with
Russet roots spreading upward into a
Gingham sky.
Children touch velvet clouds,
Sleep in hammocks perched on pillows of purple grass.
Winter brings rain of glistening pearl drops
In summer,
Hills are covered with popcorn snow.

Friday, July 1, 2016

A boy's story

This was written as a submission to a Hemingway short story contest.  Since I haven't heard from the contest sponsors, I am assuming this story will not be given an award, so I am free to publish it with the addition of a photo of "Raphael", my dad in his Army uniform.

Master or Fool: a tribute to Ralph P. Fonte by anita c. fonte

So while his wife was at mass with the children, he finished corking the last bottles of wine in the basement.  Satisfied with the job, he sat on the cool cement step and slowly ate an apple with a slice of cheese.  When his wife returned, he would ask Raphael to join him outside in the garden.  Ripe tomatoes hung from the vines and needed to be picked.  While picking, he would start the conversation that he practiced in his mind.

“See this one; she is almost too full. We must make sure we clip her stem and take her inside to Ma.”
“I know. I will do that.”
“Grazie, you understand.  And there is more I need.”
“Of course, just tell me what you need me to do.”
“I can’t bend and carry water to the trees and plants like I used to.”
“Sure, I can do that.”
“No, not just here. But at Flores’ place.”
“You mean where you work?”
“But you do that in the morning when I am at school.”
“So what are you asking?  You know I only have a few more weeks before I finish.”
“Si.  But now is when I need you.  It doesn’t matter if you finish.  You can work.”

At this point, his imagination failed him.  What would if he do if his son refused, insisting to stay in school?  Bah, he was the papa.  If his children didn’t obey him on all things, then he was also a failure at home.  No, he would insist.  If not with words then with the slap of his hand.  Si, if it came to that.  Just like his papa in the old country.  One is the master or one is a fool.
He got up.  He heard his children singing in the yard.  He went up the steps and opened the green cellar door to the blue sky.

“Raphael. Come here.  I need you in the garden.”
“Si, papa.”

Sunday, June 26, 2016

June Road Trip and "found" poem

At Starbucks: Haiku
Grab something: yum, yum—
The icy side of cold brew.
A splash for summer.

Road Trip to La Encantada

My Saturday tasks are done.  Time for a bit of fun and mingle among the foothills crowd for a summer road trip.  Up and down curvy Campbell Avenue, I easily find a parking spot.  The moneyed class is in California or Colorado and Tucson’s plebes benefit on the less trafficked streets and open parking lots.

AJ’s is air-conditioned chilliness and bustling with kids in soccer shorts, punk teens with studs in their tongues, and seniors cradling shivering Schnauzers in baby strollers.  I head straight for the “grab and go” counter and buy a slice of vegetable pizza.  In the shade and under misting sprinklers, I am at a table by a fountain and potted blue flowers.  Picking the onion off the cheese, the pizza is savory, but dry from too long under the heat lamp.

Sucking on a dessert chocolate with sea salt, I go for a mini-shopping spree and leave Crate & Barrel with a cruet rubber stopper and a single glass from Italy that fits precisely to my hand.  Up the escalator to browse in a bohemian clothing store.  I pick a bar of soap on sale that is wrapped in pink paper and smells of peonies. When I use it at home, I will be reminded of my mom who loved her late spring peonies that grew in our Illinois back yard.

Succumbing to the temptation of clothing racks on sale, I find a light cotton blouse that could match a navy pair of linen pants I already have.  I have never ventured into the dressing area before and am surprised to be greeted by Angela who asks my name.  I wonder why she wants to know my name, but see that, as I tell her, she writes it on the small blackboard sign on a dressing room door that, for the moment, belongs to me.  The blouse “fits” in the style of summer-loose, but it is beyond my weekly budget.  Indulge: yes or no?  Well, I am alone all week and no one to scold me, so I decide to buy it, too.  As I give Angela the clothes hanger she waves me to the treat table: lime-flavored water and tiny chocolate cupcakes topped with a red raspberry.  I sip the water and skip the cupcake.

After my purchases, I decide: enough!  It’s time to head down the hill and go to Starbucks to write.  So, with a smile and a song from Keith Urban, my Subaru glides through the turns and I savor my Tucson townie road trip on a Saturday in June.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Stack of Books Poem

inspired by a prompt from Austin Kleon's Steal like an Artist:

A stack of books at Bentley's
begins with a foundation: Fortune Rocks.
As if to make a joke, the next title is 
The Penny.
Even a penny can be a fortune, too.
An optimist sees
Breaking Dawn as a chance to live
another day and 
discover Sanctuary in a local coffee shop.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

A coyote named Slim Part 1

Once upon a time there was a coyote named SLim.  SLim scoured the neighborhood looking for fat bunnies who had gorged on mesquite seeds.  One day, SLim was spotted by 12 year old George who was out for adventure on a warm, but not hot, May afternoon.

George decided to follow SLim through the neighborhood and catch him with a rope.
George had just taught himself how to lasso by watching a video on Youtube.

While SLim was chomping on a bunny's hind leg, George threw a noose around SLim's neck and dragged him home.  He fed SLim crisp bacon twice a day.

SLim became his pet for a week and then George let him go.

After that, SLim always ate on the run.

[Note: this short piece was written as part of a simple exercise from Austin Kleon's "Show Your Work!" book.  The exercise was to "fill in the blanks" and write a story].

Friday, May 20, 2016

Erasure Poem: Keeping Calm

(words 5/19/16 NY Times/Arts Section, article by Ben Brantley "Keeping Calm and Carrying On Until Doomsday")

The forcast tomorrow--
noise of rain on the roof is steady.
It is a soothing sound.

The couple
have made the choice:
of course, there are no children.

What's the point?
The crystal balls
do not

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Coachella Erasure Poem

(one of my pro-trainers just returned from the Coachella Festival, so I had a particular interest in the NYTimes/Style Section article 4/28/16 "Where Coachella is a Playground and Muse" by Sheila Marikar)

It was just after 1 a.m.
Over the next few hours
Kylie beamed and bounced
as if on a tiny trampoline:
"I just wanted to have the feeling
of when I am in the fields."  

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Erasure Poem and 19 Word Story

“Don’t You Forget about Me” NYTimes/Styles 4/21/16 note: Erasure poem genre inspired by Austin Kleon, author of "Steal Like an Artist" and "Show Your Work!"

Six nights and two afternoons a week
Thumping a book like a Bible—
That year has never left us.
Their strange things are creeping back:
Music and lyrics ripple.

Writer’s Digest May/June 2016 p. 53

Those words, burnt into the sand will be washed away by waves as our conjoined bodies float on foam. (19 words)

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The Big Question

(Writing prompt response to “write a 1, 3, 5 minute story Poets & Writers, March-April 2016).  This is a 2 minute-to-read story).

They had been sharing his L.A. loft condo for only two months, but Brad was ready to ask the big question.  He had liked being married, and seeing the kids for the weekends wasn’t much of a life.   But would Carrie be ready to make their relationship permanent?  There was a risk in asking too soon.

“Go out and get a dog,” his best friend Charlie had suggested.  “If she agrees to that, you are halfway to engagement.”

“Maybe.  But the other half is what I am worried about,” Brad lamented.

Following Charlie’s advice, they had gone to the animal shelter and gleefully brought home Juno—a six-month old, crate-trained yellow lab who could play ball twenty-four hours a day.  Carrie loved Juno.  She took her in the car to go to the doggie beach, to the grocery story, even to their favorite café.  The three of them would sit on the café’s patio, drink a latte and watch the Ferrari’s drive by on Highway 1.

So another two months passed.  Then, one day, after a yoga class at the gym, Carrie came out of the locker room in her t-shirt and leotard pants, shaking her ponytail loose.

“I want to go home and shower before dinner, not take time to shower and change here.”

“Home?”  Brad was stunned.  This was the first time she had uttered the “h” word.  Usually, she would say, “the condo.”

“Home?  The condo?” he repeated.

“Yes, silly.  Home is where the heart is.”  Carrie nuzzled her nose into Brad’s neck.  “Don’t you know that by now?”

“Guess I didn’t.” Brad paused, pulling back to look at her, face to face. 

“But now that I do, I have a big question to ask.”

“Ask away.  I am a gal full of ‘yes’ today.”

Friday, March 25, 2016

My Manifesto

NOTE:  Inspired and challenged by “A brief guide to world domination: How to Live a Remarkable Life in a Conventional World” by Chris Guillebeau and by Poets & Writers 3/10/16 non-fiction prompt, I am sharing my “manifesto”. –anita c. fonte 3/2016

Beliefs:  Equal justice and opportunity for everyone; the cup IS half full (and I am grateful there is a cup); everyone is capable of creating something good; the world is complex and dynamic; we are connected to each other and to our natural environment; we share responsibility for each other and our natural environment; facts, based on verifiable and generalizable research is a foundation of truth but feelings cannot be ignored and need to be “heard”; stories give our lives meaning.

Principles:  Collaborate when possible and it’s usually possible; once committed to a task, I will do my personal and professional best to complete it; I am willing to be willing; I have and will continue to invest my time, talents and financial resources to invest in my community; I will take moderate risks—if and when I encounter them.

Goals:  Work with others to BuildUP^ a better community, keep learning, growing, changing; have some fun; combine creativity with productivity; stay connected to the people who matter to me; celebrate milestones of work and life.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Decima Italiana poem and one line story opening

--Writing Prompts Responses:


1.       Poetic Asides, Writer’s Digest, January 2016, decima Italiana (10 eight-syllable lines with the rhyme scheme:  ababcdedec.

The Costs of Spring in February

Early Spring in February

Makes the tourists hum with vigor.

The locals, though, feel contrary,

Knowing what such heat can trigger—

A boiling June too soon will come

And with it, days that never end,

But blister on from dawn to dusk,

Burning faces that will not mend.

So to their doctors they will fuss

About the costs, they won’t be mum.


2.       Enter your story, Writer’s Digest, February, 2016—the opening sentence in 25 words or less (to visual prompt of a red VW bug in a sunset landscape).


As dusk approached, I hurried back to the farm, seeing the red VW, its motor running high with no one in sight for miles.



Sunday, January 31, 2016

Old Man of the Cafe

Prompt response to Hemingway’s Iceberg from The Creative Writer’s Notebook.


Exposed iceberg:

In the café, Jerry studies the doctor’s report online.  He’s looking for hints of the number of years he has left.  Hoping to make it to seventy, he picks up the Wall Street Journal and tosses it into the garbage can. [written after the Water Line]


Water Line:

A man of sixty-plus years sits alone at the café table.  His neatly trimmed beard of mostly white hair partly covers his neck and black baseball hat shades his eyes from the sunlight. Wearing khaki shorts with no socks and black and white Converse, his legs are splayed around the table.  He swirls the cup of his half-filled iced coffee. Then takes a bite of his crumb cake with his right hand.  Wiping his fingers on his shorts, he begins taping on his tablet and glances at the newspaper.  Shrugging his black hoodie over his shoulders, he gets up and throws the paper in the garbage.  Folds down his computer tablet, carrying it under his left arm, and opens the door with his bent back.  A January wind blows the door open.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Journey to the Farmers' Market

Going to the Farmers’ Market could be a long walk or short drive.  Because of the six pins and metal plate in my right ankle, I prefer the short drive.  Heading to the market, my husband and I pass a strip mall, an elementary school, renovated apartments and the University of Arizona Village Farm.  I see a sign at the farm.  It says “Mushrooms Workshop This Afternoon.”  I smile, imagining bobbing mushroom caps, busy like Santa’s elves, in a workshop shed. 

It’s mid-morning in January and the market, across the street from the adobe church is bustling.  A variety of people and dogs parade around the canvas covered stalls.  At both ends of the market, stone fountains spout towers of water.  A few children dip their hands into the cool pools.  Their parents pull them back.

I purchase two half-pound bags of fresh pasta.  I buy a tan baseball cap for my husband.  It carries the brand name of the market:  FoodinRoot.  Together, we select three shiny red tomatoes and a two-palm sized head of lettuce, picked that morning from the university farm.  Damp roots still cling to the green globe.  We visit a favorite Greek food vendor and pay ten dollars for quinoa tabbouleh and eight stuffed grape leaves.  Tonight’s dinner is complete.  Our bag is full of items and we stroll to the nearby financial bank to replenish our wallets.

On the way home, traffic is light and we take Limberlost Road past one hundred sixty acres of the university’s animal research farm.  This autumn’s calves chew grass in one field.  Scattered horses stand in the shade of a dusty field.  A bicyclist on the road signals left.  Winter’s noon sun is soft and slanted.  Full of its light, the fields open against our desert’s blue skies.  We are almost home.

[Exercise for Pace (sentence length) from The Creative Writer’s Notebook/Hemingway Section.]
FoodinRoot Farmers' Market, St. Philip's Plaza, photo by anita fonte


Monday, January 11, 2016

from the headlines

Using a prompt from Austin Kleon's book, The Steal Like and Artist Journal, to use words from newspaper headlines, here is today's product (1/11/16)

Walls of kindness circle,
changing the world.
Canyons protect the weaker.
The strong continue life.
Mercy makes a difference
for pain is gaining fast.

 my artwork 12/15

Sunday, January 3, 2016

New Year's Poem

Wrote a short poem today (12/2014) in response to a prompt to write about hope, entitled "Hoping Today" (for New Year's 2015) and it is also a good way to begin 2016.

I hope for health for me and thee.
I hope for birds singing in a mesquite tree.
I hope for love for family and friends.
I hope for faith that never ends.
A new year brings snow in the mountains.
Icicles form on the edge of cement fountains.
I bundle up to take a walk
Then stay inside to write and talk.
This is a pattern I hope to repeat
With singing heart and dancing feet.
I hope you too find a way to start
This sparkling new year with an open heart.