Archive for the Theme Fridays Category

Theme Friday: Lilacs

Posted in Theme Fridays on April 29, 2011 by clancyjane

Even in Kyoto/I hear the cuckoo sing/and long for Kyoto.  ~Basho


The car coasted to a stop on the gravel between the graves.

You comin’, Dad?

Nah.  I’ll just wait here.

I let the car door close behind me and started down the nearest row.  I’d only taken a few steps when he called me back.

Listen.  You tell Mom I’m not drinkin’ again, I just don’t feel good.

I’ll tell her, Dad.  But she knows that already.

I checked my watch and wondered if he was close to needing insulin.  I walked past Uncle Charlie, Aunt Ruth, Cousin Casey, and the other townspeople who’d gone on before us.  I stopped when I got to Dad’s folks, and, as he’d asked, tried to tell them what they knew already.

It was the lilacs, I think, carried on the summer breeze, that caught the words in my throat.  I looked back toward the car, catching  sight of the Thompson stone.  I thought of Alice, in another season, talking about the snow on Bethel’s grave.  She cried with no excuses.  It was winter then, and there were no lilacs to blame.

I couldn’t see them, but they were thick in the pure village air.  They grew in common at our house on the hill and by the old barn in Grandma’s back yard.  I’d sat there with Sean one day, our backs against the wooden door and our heels in the rich, black dirt.  I told him the Basho haiku that embodied Lucerne for me.

Well, that doesn’t make sense.  He’s in Kyoto, hears a bird sing, and longs for Kyoto, even though he’s in Kyoto?

It makes perfect sense.  It would be like saying, “Even in Lucerne, I smell the scent of Lilacs, and long for Lucerne”.  I’m in Lucerne, longing for the perfect Lucerne I knew– the ideal or idyllic Lucerne, which can’t exist anymore, because some of us are missing.

The sun signaled time to meet Mom for lunch.

I said goodbye to George and Myrtle and walked back to the car and their waiting son.

Did you tell her what I told you to?

Yeah, Dad, I did.  And she said to tell you you’re not too big for a spanking.

His laugh filled the lilac’d air around us and we were in an old Lucerne,  in a different time, and a different place, where everything was fine again for just a little while.


Christine and Annie take on Lilacs.


Theme Friday: April Showers

Posted in Theme Fridays on April 14, 2011 by clancyjane

We boarded and headed upstairs for lunch.  Something Phil said.  We were all laughing, big and loud.  There was no wine yet, and we hadn’t left shore, but the pleasure of being together had taken us some happy where else.   No one was thinking about headstones to order, or test results pending.

It went on like that with the laughing, into the next day, when something about something had me saying Mom would have sure liked that, and I remembered they were gone.  Matt.  Mom.  Dad.  In nearly one fell swoop.

They were gone, and me with the laughing.

I felt something on my lip and excused myself.  The tissue turned a sticky red, and the bleed continued for the next 30 minutes.  A crimson April shower.  No way of mistaking the blood on my hands.

We docked somewhere the next day.  I felt on the verge of a cold.  We saw something and made it back to the ship with moments to spare. The next day,  I was burning alive with fever.  Tonya sent medicine, but I wasn’t ready to feel better.  I went to sleep in a frenzied fire.

There was my Mom.  I couldn’t get to her.  Large thorns from a foreign tree held me tight.  I asked her to help pull me free, and she did– she on one arm and Mary and George on the other.  I went down hard when the thorns gave way.  I noticed I was wearing pajamas.  Soren was there, running loose.  I caught up to her and discovered a large gash on her head.  She was covered in blood.  And there was flooding to contend with, from the rain that wouldn’t stop.   I would have to hike to my car, but suddenly Mary’s was there and already filled with the things I needed to carry.  And there was Anggie saying something about a book overdue.  She motioned me over, but I wouldn’t go over there again for nothing.  The young man from the ship appeared, and became my Irishman from before the hostage taking and police involvement and deportation.  It was difficult to break free from him and the heat and the rain.

Morning came.   I was still on vacation.  Matt and Mom and Dad, still gone.  My fever burned, my throat was on fire, I couldn’t breathe or even see straight.

I was miserable at last, and that made me feel a whole lot better.


Christine and Annie take on April Showers.

Theme Friday: Everything

Posted in Theme Fridays on October 1, 2010 by clancyjane

Sale Barn Sunday mornings

Casey’s coffee and a paper on Tuesday nights

2 cups of beer and an earfull on Friday at Russ’ Saloon

Breakfast at the East End with Elaine and Lou, Max and Dorothy, Bob, Ed,Wayne, Us

Pool Hall spaghetti on Thursday evenings

Treating the leg where his foot used to be

Driving her to Fairley’s to watch the swans swim

Pizza with the Sisters and the sisters we selected

Taking the old roads back to Lucerne–

In short, I only miss everything.


Christine and Annie (chooser of this week’s theme) take on Everything.

Theme Friday: Flower In My Hair

Posted in Theme Fridays with tags , on September 24, 2010 by clancyjane

He brought me a flower like the Andalusian girls used all the way from Fort Riley through the capital city to Quincy Magoo’s and I set his flower on the table in between us and I did not wear his flower in my hair

as I was not a flower of the mountain, wearing red

and I was a cornfed kid from Lucerne in a hayseed sweater and Levi’s jeans

and I left his wilted flower on the table at the bar and when he asked me in the morning over hashbrowns and chicory coffee if I’d remembered to bring his flower home I should have told him

yes I did yes with my mind racing mad

and I pressed it between the pages of Portrait Of An Artist but instead I smiled and changed the subject because

I didn’t know a thing about Andalusians back then.


Christine (chooser of this week’s theme) and Annie take on Flower In My Hair.

Theme Friday: Wind

Posted in Theme Fridays with tags on September 17, 2010 by clancyjane

We carried her over even ground, through the rough and narrow trail turns, and wended our way to the meadow.

Little Brother and I walked together to the clearing we’d selected, and watched the dusting of the field with Our Good Lady.

He started to let her go, near the ground, and stopped himself.

“This isn’t the way she would do it.”

“How would she do it, GA?”

“Like this”, he said, and showed me.  He was a boy then, as he raised her above his head, despite his 6’4″ frame, despite his wife and children awaiting us around the corner, he was the same sweet boy who pressed our ears together, as tight as he could, to tell me a secret when we lived on the hill, and I was six and he was three and she and dad were still around to take us fishing.

We lifted her up and let her go, and watched the wind carry her back to the sky.


Christine and Annie take on Wind.

Theme Friday: Teeth

Posted in Theme Fridays with tags , on August 27, 2010 by clancyjane

Near the solid dead center

of the city of Chicago

in a neighborhood known as Logan Square

on a dead end street called Chanay

lived an interesting spider

on the ceiling of a 2 flat

in a far corner of the front room.


The spider was beautiful

with its wonderful teeth

and battleship gray coat

that covered his long athletic legs.


She and He sat together

in the corner opposite the spider

and nearer the floor

talking out a break-up that wouldn’t take

for another few years.


She said this isn’t working out for me

so maybe we better cut bait

and he said we’ll see

like she was a teenager

wanting to drive his car to the movies.


Unbroken despite her best efforts

the two continued

together in their corner

watching Woody Allen

and drinking their wine.


Toward the end of the second chianti

another spider approached the first

and He said look! he’s got a companion!

and before She could say how nice!

their spider moved forward

on his long athletic legs

and ate his new companion with his terrible teeth.


Christine and Annie take on Teeth.

Theme Friday: Detour

Posted in Theme Fridays with tags , on August 20, 2010 by clancyjane

You can go home

if you can get there

if the bridges hold

and if they don’t

you’ll have to take H

and nevermind its

Dead End sign

you’ll have to drive

past that

and onto the gravel

mindful of switchbacks

and oncoming traffic

for which you’ll have

to pull over

and wait

until you can


move forward



Christine and Annie take on Detour.