10 DFABW – Fuel

I’m sitting on the back porch fueling up–oatmeal with banana today.

Thinking of my rocky ride on dirt roads, so challenging, yet so fun,
It is a joy to be healthy enough to work and ride my bicycle so hard.

After a long, fatiguing trek today, chai and breakfast are satisfying,
Now I’m refreshed and invigorated, ready for the rest of my day.
It looks like my e-bike battery finished charging too.

I had fun with my cherita today. I hope when you read that last line, you maybe had a bit of my former attitude about e-bikes. I used to think electric-motored, pedal-assisted transportation was cheating. The first time (and only time before this year) that I rode one was on a Lime bike in Seattle a few years ago. I thought it was magical and like I didn’t have to work at all.

Then I moved to the desert, where loose sand, rocky paths, steep hills, dirt roads and more greeted me on my bicycle rides. Those first months, it was a major workout for me to ride three miles on my regular bicycle. Then we got e-bikes, and I’ve learned that they really can give a great workout! Now, I encounter all of the same road difficulties, but I have help. I can ride 15 or 20 miles, for an hour or two at a time. I often push myself to use less power than last time. I am getting stronger. An added bonus are the occasional “fuel” stops we make while out on our rides–donuts, Starbucks, or breakfast out.

Riding a Lime bike in 2018

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Fuel. I had fun taking the word “fuel” literally, rather than metaphorically, as Charles Waters did on page 40 in Dictionary for a Better World. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

9 DFABW – Pause

9 August 2022 TwoWritingTeachers.org

Today’s word is pause, and Charles wrote a pausing limerick. I decided to write a limerick too, which comes from my memories of decades of Augusts past, getting ready for another school year:

There once was a teacher so mired
in work that she always was tired
With no time to pause
She dug in her claws
and waited until she retired

I’m thinking of all you teachers, praying for you as you start a new year! I’m a little sad that school is going on without me, but mostly I’m excited that I am retired and able to take time to pause today…

On my bike ride, I stopped to take a photo of a rainbow.
I enjoyed a cup of chai

 

I spent some time with this endearing novel in verse by Laura Shoven because it is National Book Lover’s Day.
I paused to watch the slowly-moving windmills. You can watch them too:

 

We went to Palm Springs to run some errands and to go out for lunch. Like Charles did in his poem, we took time to thank God for the food, but then we shoveled the food right in. I forgot to take a picture!

We paused our trip home to meet a friend on the road.

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Pause. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

8 DFABW – Reach

 

This week we received a gift from a neighbor–homemade soap and homemade chevre (goat cheese), crackers, and jalapeño jelly. It was such a sweet and delicious surprise.

I was inspired to pass the kindness to someone else in my neighborhood. The houses are few and far between in this area, and we haven’t met too many of our neighbors.

However, I can relate to Irene when she wrote on today’s page 77: “Sometimes the hardest thing for me is reaching out to another person. I’m shy and introverted, and I am completely okay with my own company.”

But I’m going to do it. I made some monster cookie dough and put it in the freezer, but this week I will get it out, bake it, and go visit at least two of my neighbors.

As Irene reminded us, “Sometimes you have to ‘fake it till you make it.'”


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Reach. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

7 DFABW – Epitaph for Hate

Image by Andrew Martin from Pixabay

 

Here lies HATE,

buried forever,

Freeing up feelings, once obscured by this imposter–

  • sadness, despair, abandonment
  • anger, betrayal, humiliation
  • disgust, revolt, embarrassment
  • fear, insecurity, rejection

Feelings often

ignored,

ruminated on,

avoided, or

acted upon

to harm self or others

Now that it is buried,

understand the emotions

that hate worked so hard to hide


I loved Irene’s wisdom about hate in today’s word. Irene’s mom “taught (her) that underneath the word hate, there is almost always another emotion” and her wise mama helped her to identify the emotion instead of using the word hate. In her challenge today, Irene asks us to try something: “The next time you hear yourself–or someone else–say the word hate, turn over the metaphorical rock and see what emotion lurks underneath.

Read more here, where I found some ideas and words for my poem today: How to Deal with Negative Emotions by Elizabeth Scott, PhD

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is (Epitaph for) Hate. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

6 DFABW – Nature

Nature.

Our word for today.

Every single day I live here, I am filled with gratitude that I got to retire in such a beautiful place. For the previous eight years, I lived in an urban center and “nature” was harder to find and enjoy on a daily basis.  I wrote about it last summer. But this summer, I have many opportunities for a “balm for my soul” (as Charles Waters called it on today’s DFABW page). Here is a snippet of my bike ride this morning:

 

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A post shared by Denise Krebs (@mrsdkrebs)

Nature from My Bike

a bevy of quail runs across the trail
a hawk swoops for breakfast to stalk
mourning doves rise with their loves
hummingbirds dart–just a blur
a blue jay seems to call “make way”
a jack rabbit races as is its habit
Joshua trees tower around me
I applaud and thank you, God.


During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Nature. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

5 DFABW – Service

Today’s word is Service, and Laura wrote a great senryu poem (like a haiku) about serving. This line makes me smile: “hope is gravy.” I love that. I loved Irene’s story about her childhood in Folsom, Louisiana, where she joined a friend to work helping in the kitchen in a neighborhood convent. So many wonderful memories. The Dictionary for a Better World‘s challenge today is to look into service opportunities in our area. “Sign up and serve one shift, and see where it leads you,” the authors challenge.

A lifelong political independent, I have not gotten overly involved in politics throughout my life. I’ve always voted, but I haven’t campaigned or worked for candidates. However, that is going to change. I am aghast about where our country is heading via the Republican party. I have made a commitment to work on voter registration and some kind of campaigning or volunteering for local Democrats. I’ll update later when I learn more, but I have some calls out so far. Thanks for the inspiration, Irene.

in fear, cling to might
no matter who is marginalized
power: a wicked god

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Service. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.

Poetry Friday – Shortened Sealy Challenge

Thanks to Marcie’s post last week about the Sealy Challenge, I decided to read some poetry books in August. This is my first time trying the Sealy Challenge, and I already know I won’t make 31 books. That’s okay. I have a small stack of books on my shelf (a novel in verse, poetry collections and anthologies, and children’s books that could be considered poetry :). I also have a few on my Kindle, so here I go.

This week I’ve read just three books: Call Us What We Carry (Amada Gorman), Dictionary for a Better World (Irene Latham and Charles Waters–just a quick read this week — I’ve also committed to revisiting this one daily in my reading and writing for August and September), and Life Songs: My Personal Poetry Anthology (Denise Krebs).

Here is a bit about each of this week’s books.

I love so much about this book by Amanda Gorman. Wow. It is at once mournful and grieving over injustice and the losses from Covid-19, and yet it is still so hope-filled and gracious. One of my favorite poems is called “What We Carry.” That line: “What is marred is still marvelous.” Wow! It reminds me of so many clever and perfect phrases and lines in this book. And what she does with the two meanings of the word ark as the poem progresses is beautiful. You should really read it if you haven’t. I shared one poem with my husband, and now he is reading the whole book, too.

I am excited to read this book slowly over the next two months with Kim Johnson, looking at a word a day. However, this week I read all the poems through in one sitting. It is full of so many new forms and topics by Charles Waters and our own Irene Latham. I loved this shadorma poem–staying open in the midst of so much that could cause despair. That’s what I need now.

This was an anthology of the poems I loved and those I wrote. This was a project I did annually with my junior high students a few years ago. It is a collection of my poems from that chapter in my life, and it was fun to revisit it this week. I wrote that sonnet in 1975.

This week’s Poetry Friday Roundup can be found at Molly Hogan’s Nix the Comfort Zone blog. Be sure to check out the baseball poems she wrote!

4 DFABW – Experiment

Since Tuesday, I’ve been experimenting making my own healthy ice cream sandwich. It was National Ice Cream Sandwich Day, and I didn’t have an ice cream sandwich in celebration.

I modified a recipe for homemade ice cream. It was so interesting to work with aquafaba–a fancy name for garbanzo bean water. I added half the sugar and no oil, so this was really a healthy recipe! I put a scoop on a graham cracker and enjoyed my ice cream sandwich a day late.

Today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day. I didn’t have one of those today, either. Maybe an ice cream sandwich on chocolate chip cookies will be my next experiment.

During each day in the months of August and September, I am responding to a different word from Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. Today’s word is Experiment. A small group of people wanting to make the world a better place are reading and responding together. Join us! Visit Common Threads: Patchwork Prose and Verse by Kim Haynes Johnson for more information. Here is the word list I’ll be following for August and September.