I was raised in the shadows of Burleson Mountain, nestled in the cliffs above my childhood home were small caves, these and the surrounding woods were my playground.
There is a rich foliage that grows in abundance covering rocks, fences, and anything that gets in its way. It does not climb trees, but it does climb telephone poles. This smothering vine has no special appeal. It covered the face of the caves creating a curtain to close away the world that I lived in. Southerners believed it to be nothing but a nuisance.
Visitors who traveled the back road were in awe as to how the vine survived, they thought it to be worthless, but you can eat it. The leaves, vine tips, flowers, and roots are edible; the vines are not; the old southerners chopped kudzu leaves raw in salad or cook them like spinach leaves. You can cook kudzu roots like potatoes, or dry them and grind them into powder. Kudzu root powder as a breading for fried foods or a thickener for gravy.
How do I know this… between winter and summer garden greens my mother would cook the leaves and root together with a piece of “fat back”, that and a pan of cornbread would fill our hungry belly’s.
I have set aside promises I made to myself in my youth; my hopes and dreams have become dim memories. I gaze through the window of my future and I see tombstones of yesterday’s promises; all covered with reminiscent vine. I weep for the uncertainty of my future and the dreams I left behind. These ambiguous days is where I start my last journey, climb the mountains of my memories while trying to forget the rubble of yesterday. I ask myself, if I could turn back the hands of time would I follow the same path, of course, I would!
I must apologize
to all of you wonderful followers I have not been on site for some time.
I have been
on a rollercoaster ride. I took a two-week
vacation on beautiful Lake Michigan, the two cabins were quaint and they transposed
me back to 1950. My family just thought
they were old! I was quick to say that
at $1,000 per week they were “charming” and old.
was fun to watch the family goes boating, skiing and tubing; I sat near the
dock and worked toward finishing my latest poetry book, which is now on
Amazon.com. After the two-week rest, I
found myself back in the hospital; a liver problem, no it was not cause by
drinking. I was prepared to come back to
Wordpress and made yet another stay in the hospital when my sugar levels
spiked. It appears that “600” is not a
good number; I dodged another bullet cheating death, stroke or both.
Oh, by the
way…Mason my four-legged companion does not like it when I am away, he pouts and
I hope that we will not be torn apart for some time.
currently on R&R, this diabetes problem has set me back and I am working on
a new book of fiction. What good is it
to sit or lay around if you cannot accomplish something? I did a drawing of the countryside, birds and
all; I may try to get out the watercolors.
Thank you so much for continuing to visit The Last Chapter…your support is greatly appreciated.
My latest book “A Passage into Madness… A State of frenzied Activity.
This book of poetry has been ten years in the making; my daughter passed suddenly; my mourning has been hidden within the pages of life my pain constant. I found myself in a place of inner darkness, the threat of madness crouched above me; and it does not go away. I was in fervor to put the word down; what begin as writing, an accounting of me, turned quickly into “Poetry”. I felt like my spirit wanted the accounting, an apocalyptic writing begin; an it closed with shocking revelations into my personal life.
I believe that I have a “Sundry” of work filed away for safekeeping,
I begin writing at the age of five or six; I spent summers with my Aunt Vina,
my daddy’s sister. She introduced me to
libraries, Big Chief tablets and big pencils.
It was my job as she, my Uncle Wesley went to work, and I was under the
care of the housekeeper, to write what I had done during the day. Once dinner was over and bedtime neared, she
would gather everyone to listen to my accounting of the day.
Of course, I had help with many of the words, but at least one
paragraph emerged before the sun would set on Birmingham, Alabama. These sentences included a walk to the local
library, lunch, and the discovery of a dead bird, mouse or other creatures that
made my Aunt Vina put her hands over her ears.
At summers end I would return home to Burleson Mountain, life was
different there, very different. No
matter where I would hide my Chief tablet my mother would find it, throwing it
into the stoves wood box. This act would
follow with a lecture on the waste of time my summers were, and that she might refuse
to let me go the next summer, that threat she held over me no matter the day,
month, year. It took weeks of crying me
to sleep before I adjusted to my mother and the anger she carried for me.
I grew from child to teen and I continued to write, keeping a
journal, only to have my mother find them and toss them into the trash. Years of stories and my life covered with
last night’s dinner scraps. I stopped
writing. I was still in my teens when I
wrote a story, sent it off and received a letter back, not a form letter, but
one that encouraged my writing, to find my voice. Maybe I am still in search of that voice,
sometimes I wonder!
This love of writing stayed buried until one day I signed up for a
creative writing course at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Always on the back burner was the hope of
writing. My professor told me that I was
a natural storyteller, but I would need to work on the many components of
writing. I did, and this took me right
into retirement, yes, I had a day job.
It does not matter how much you want to spend your life creating or whatever
your desire, your passion is; you must pay the bills.
With a decent steady income, I was free to write. It sounds so easy when you think about it,
but it took a long time staring at a blank page before my brain was jump
started to create something, anything. I
had so many ideas and the short stories poured out of me, my computer folders
were full and organized. I could not
send anything off…what if they rejected my newborn creation. Well, they did, each time I placed them
lovingly in a box that fit under my bed.
Over a period of five years, I had enough rejection form letters to
wallpaper any room in my tiny apartment.
This including my divorce papers, the lease on an apartment, title to a
car, all of the things needed to survive as a single person.
Within the following years I discovered poetry, many forms,
structured, non-structured. I loved it
all but my favorite was Sylvia Plath. I
felt that I knew her, and that my life was filled with drop-offs, pitfalls and bad
luck. I begin to write poetry about my
life, nine poetry books later I wrote a bio of my daughter’s life she died in
2010, a picture book of my constant four-legged companion Mason and a coffee
table book of my personal artwork. I
continue to wear many hats. I have begun work on my own life story; it may be
the last chapter.
brings my post to full circle and a provocative question to readers and writers
everywhere…is poetry dying.
A character in the film Dead Poets Society said:
don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because
we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion.
And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits necessary to
sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive
Wordsworth described poetry like this: “the spontaneous overflow of
powerful feelings recollected in moments of tranquility”.
I believe that poetry has an important role and
function in society, just as poets do. Poetry
now, in its fundamental value, however, means nothing more than using relatable
mental images in order to communicate profoundly significant truths about logic
and life to human beings.
It is far after the midnight hour; the bed of stone makes one wretched and shattered, there is no sleep, now I hear someone knocking on the rough oak door, it tells me that soon I will be no more. In the distance I can see the ghost hovering over the dying that lay alone upon the stone. I listen as the angels weave a tale of sorrow, then sing of peace and love, soon when I am gone.
I am eager
to know what is beyond the veiled curtain where shadows can be seen dancing; I
hear my heart beating as it indeed grows weaker; I feel my soul growing
stronger, my hope sustained. I was
caught napping upon the stone as darkness hovers there where souls dance and
moan, the knocking grows louder, and time is almost gone.
I rise and stood before the door, wondering, fearing, then only one word was spoken, “Come”. The mystery I wanted to explore, the door opened, I walked through it, and time was no more. It was then that a colossal Hawk flew next to me, he was filled with sadness and sorrow, he said his name was “Nevermore”, with a soft flaying of his wing he closed my earthly door.
The future is viewless, that undiscovered mystery, at the Cocks
crow will death’s lifeless wings be felt with the morning sun. No one wants to know of ending things, not
even those who carry around a wasted body, and feels the human resistance to
the pain of taking a breath. Mostly
sorrow is the course of life; life is the soul in combat with death.
Does one hide behind curtained windows to keep the world from seeing dying eyes, face is not longer bathed in the dew of morning, it is filled with furrow’s, brown and leathery, the wisp of snow frames the landscapes of the face covering the bright colors of youth. A world lies outside; one that gave birth to many and one that will soon be forever gone to those who pass on.
The aging prays for a calmness not know in youth, it needs to grow and know peace before the spirit takes flight. If you embrace life it will be all too clear, live it as best you can in those waning years. Like the Moon, Sun and Stars strength of mind and essence of the Earthly-Self take their place in Heaven’s magnificent Sky.
There are times when I am dreaming outside my door is the gateway
to the city of destiny; nevertheless each night when I dream I open the door
walking into another sphere of everlasting pain, mentally and physically, a
bright light gives me hope. No one
pushed me through the gate, I walk willingly and I feel confident that I can
handle the tragedy that I know will be waiting there for me. Tucked deep inside my confidence there is
fear, within the fear there are secret things, distrust and lies that over
shadow happiness and joy.
The darkness is the most evil; a blood red moon framed by the
stars hangs above me. Hearing strange
tongues frightful and shrill, filled with anger, strikes fear into my heart,
they go beyond goodness. Sometimes I
weep as the outcries reach my ears, as I do not have a stainless claim to my
own life. I fear for the souls, even the
depths of hell may refuse them and they will be lost forever in the darkness. Don’t they see the light, the glow of wonder
I question, is there hope with death, will we have memories of the
earth and of the lives that remain when we are gone? The souls that I hear are loud, their tears
are blood red, and each is crawling in vile mud. I lower my eyes, on this path to the end will
they have rebirth, if they lived in blaspheming is this terrible wailing their
fate. Have I done enough to feel the
light on my face?
A bitter flood of doubt rushed over me as each pass going to their final resting place. They seem conscious of their nearing doom or happiness. It is in this darkness that each was given a second chance to feel the love of God upon their faces, many refused. At the entrance of another gate, the ground broke from beneath their feet, and I seem to be sinking with them to a meaningless dreadful shore and I am afraid that I will not wake from this nightmare. Will I be given a second chance?