20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


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A Stormy Night With You

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As I listen to the rain spattering against my cabin’s window,
I think of that night when we were stranded here.
The roads were washed out and the creek overflowing,
but I was in your arms , safe, warm, a long-awaited dream.

I saw the lights blink on the alarm clock, the bang on the transmitter.
I smiled, we were alone, you and I , no one would check on us.
I tugged on grandma’s quilt and you tugged back-asleep.
I listened to the sweet sound of your breath, soft, even.

When I awoke, stars glimmered in the window, the clock was flashing.
Darkness still surrounded me, along with your strong, hard arms.
I wanted this night to last forever, the moon seemed satisfied with just a peek at us.
You and I, finally in a place where life brought a freshness-alone, together.


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There is a place

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There is a place in my heart, somewhere, I am sure-
where I can still feel, still love, still care.

My world is so empty, unfulfilling, sorrowful,
I cannot remember joy, peace, wanting to wake up.

I search for my little children, the son I lost,
Those who grew up and moved on without me.

I search for a love I tried so hard to believe in,
and never spent a night without a doubt or fear.

Surely, there is a place where my mother, my son,
my life still exists, waits for me as I wait alone.

I look, I try, but the lies, the lack of caring shouts.
Around me, it is like life laughing in my face.

I am your wife, I am your mother, I am your daughter,
You cannot change that any more than I can change you.

There is a place where I will get what I have toiled for
my entire life. That I have suffered and begged for.

When I get there, some of you may be there, and then,
some of you will not. Then, finally, I will have peace.

My world is so empty, unfulfilling, sorrowful,
I cannot remember joy, peace, wanting to wake up.

I search for my little children, the son I lost,
Those who grew up and moved on without me.

I search for a love I tried so hard to believe in,
and never spent a night without a doubt or fear.

Surely, there is a place where my mother, my son,
my life still exists, waits for me as I wait alone.

I look, I try, but the lies, the lack of caring shouts.
Around me, it is like life laughing in my face.

I am your wife, I am your mother, I am your daughter,
You cannot change that any more than I can change you.

There is a place where I will get what I have toiled for
my entire life. That I have suffered and begged for.

When I get there, some of you may be there, and then,
some of you will not. Then, finally, I will have peace.


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Thirty-Nine

Today I turn 39.  My last year in my 30’s.  If I had my nearly 4 decades to do over, I’d stay home with my kids, which is a total contradiction because I hated staying at home when they were very young.  Now I’d do it all over again and for longer, just for more time with them.  I’d go to graduate school the first time I had the chance.  I’d go back to that first relationship in high school, and I’d say no to that boy.  Yes, it would change the course of my life, but I’d avoid the pain of losing a friend.  I’d make and keep better connections with friends of my parents and my extended family.  I had no idea how much I would wish I knew them better as I got older.   I’d demand more of myself.  The status quo and self pity would never be in my coping toolbox.  I’d learn about self care early on and make it a priority.  I’d stop myself from picking up terrible interpersonal habits that negatively affect my relationships.  My poor husband really has to deal with a lot of baggage.  I’d let people get close to me, I’d be more vulnerable.  And I’d expect it of other people too.  I’d take back every mean word I ever said to my sister.  Maybe we were just kids, but I’m sure it affected her, and she’s the only sibling I have.  I’d set better boundaries for myself, and I wouldn’t be afraid to say no.  I wouldn’t find a sick comfort in relationships that make me feel bad.  I’d talk to my mom about her illness, I’d share my fears about living a life without her.  I’d snuggle up next to her that night when she asked me to.   I’d understand that in order to feel great joy and compassion, you also, at times, have to allow yourself to feel great pain.  I’d never stop writing.  Or dancing.  Or letting the world know how smart I am.  Or crying.  I’d cry a LOT more.  And I’d pray more.  I’d figure out early what makes me passionate and pursue that.  Or not stop pursuing that.  I’d have a job that I love, that fulfills me, that I can’t wait to get up and do every morning.  I’d force my foot into that Cinderella slipper and never let it fall off my foot.

“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

~Henry David Thoreau

Happy 39.  It’s going to be a great year.

©SpiritLed 2014


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UNTITLED

Pre-note: I apologise  for how long this is… but I do need your help. I would be really glad if I got title suggestions for this poem. It was written by my boyfriend a while back, and we only recently decided to publish his collection with his permission. I believe it only proper that we appendage the name of whomever’s title sounds as a right fit for the poem along-side it in the publication. Thanks in advance… and for taking the time to read.

Wind. Mind and illusion.

Three words of freedom and dream. Dream.

Dream and ambition.

Two words of bravery, audacity and ego.

Ego.

That which labels not two words or three, or four,

But one.

Neither dream nor ambition, neither mind nor illusion,

Four words of placid bewilderment.

Of deep thought and belief, of conviction and denial,

Antonyms and metaphors. Hypothetical self-esteem,

Purely primordial imagination, prayers and chants to invisible airs,

Wind.

Inferior noises to the blue skies of day, and black skies at twilight,

Dream.

Compounded sequences of disturbed segments of notion,

In reposed action, flowery paradises of the future.

Ironies of reality, desperate desire and inception,

Four words of critic and mockery,

Reality.

Extinct possibilities, like as melting glaciers in the winters,

Simmers of boiling emotion, freezing the ice,

Breaking the skies and pouring evils upon earth.

Desire. Desperate desire,

Needs of the soul, penumbral wishes of the body,

Vain. Dark and vain, aimless as the clouds,

Trailing the wind and erasing the silver lining,

Inception.

Foundations. The origins of the genesis, the irony,

And absolute misery of rains under the sun,

Illusion. The fantasy of a wet sun, melting the clouds to create the rain,

Chimeras that the eyes can feel and the skin can see,

Figments of daydream, visions of fragmented stars,

Is it the blue in the oceans, or the skies?

Is it the green in the park, or the illusion of the mind’s eye?

Mind.

Clockwork and timeless manufacture of fabrications,

Beauty inexistent, a whole new world.

That which is created in the mind, is that which is not

The action offered in the physical.

The real world.

Ego. Is all it is?

Decharacterised delusion of self,

Constructed being, that which we may not be- wind.

Airs that shred the summer leaves, that burn the rains,

Black skins in white coating, silver with a clouded lining,

Persons that we are not ready to be,

That is who we are. Non-realities.

Simulated mockeries of God’s image,

Wind. Mind and illusion.

Our minds, caught in wild illusions carried swiftly by the winds,

Carried away to a distant place in these dreams.

Utopia.


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Withered Hands

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She slowly got up from the ragged green chair,

hobbling to the kitchen, stirring something

as it boiled and rumbled.

The aroma reminded me of my grandma’s house,

long ago, me, a curly-haired child,

being chased away lest I get burnt.

A little girl sat playing on the floor,

a home-made rag doll, much-loved, it appeared.

The lady spoke to the child in a language

where I would not ever find proficiency-

yet I knew exactly what her words were.

In every place, every time, we are all one.


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It’s infectious (Prose)

It’s infectious
those
with troubled pasts
who
can’t explain or talk it out
the need to expel demons
carried on backs, or those that are
buried deep within hearts
It’s infectious
the mountain is there
that needs to be climbed
a pillow that’s held tight to a chest
a drink that is swallowed, they try to forget
abandoning yesterday’s in place of tomorrow’s
casting aside pain, forgetting past sorrow
It’s infectious
the need to jump fences
run free through the fields
survive what has happened, the need to feel real
to unlock the doors, to open their minds
regain their confidence, leaving darkness behind
words are around you, the answers in sight
write out your feelings…please just write
©jmtacken Feb 2014


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Say you love me (Prose)

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as for words sometimes spoken
that make us think
why others speak them, take
three syllables
we long to hear, sealing anxious
weeks or months after we ceased
being a singular I

the anticipation of who will
speak first, should I, should they

I love you
why, I ask what makes you love me
because I’m kindhearted
smile at strangers, a good hostess
in and out of bed, love all creatures
great and small, or perhaps my humour
that can turn your furrowed brow
into whipped cream smoothness

Is it any of these things or these and more
we wait, it’s said, what we started
pure and raw, now concreted with three simple words
and it’s not perhaps till time has passed

when we have grown old together
we look back and it wasn’t about who spoke first
that we see love for what it is
the importance of why it was said
no longer just syllables

©jmtacken Feb 2014


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Tommy and Faye (Prose)

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ocean coloured eyes, auburn curled hair
nestling on her shoulders, stuck with him
the restaurant, crushed napkin folded
kept safe in his worn wallet

her phone number
scribbled in ink, bled from his
sweaty palms over weeks
yet he hadn’t dialed her number

small town, back woods, trying
the best she could, to get out
leave the trailer park, an inner strength
held behind her cerulean eyes

words spoken of her existence
showed determination, he felt weak
amidst her charms, her softness
his a different pain to hers

the napkin dropped near his plate
alongside remnants of mashed potato
beans and meat, he stared at it a while
did she find him attractive

then left, closing the door to her world
to begin again with his, yet
she kept dragging him back, without
a word between them

just this napkin, he couldn’t throw away
she wanted out, she told him so
was he her meal ticket to a better life
to get somewhere, was this his doubt

and then he threw her number away
‘coz he knew he didn’t have the courage
to find out, the risk of being hurt again
to try and make it work

until one summer’s afternoon
when she played so badly on his mind
like a sweet violin
he made a sign

nailed it to the pole
in the street where she worked
and he waited near by
waited and watched for Faye to see

how much she meant to him
how proud he was of her
and how, with lives so different
they were meant to be

©jmtacken Feb 2014


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Glass

Three years ago, I lost my mom.

She had been fading for years, but we still talked,

we laughed and loved.

 

It seems like since then loss and loneliness

have been so much of my life.

I feel like I am drowning.

 

After loosing my child, hope, faith,

and that special closeness with my family,

I feel I will never capture the joy in life again.

 

I can only beg you, young people,

to take that joy, when you find it,

and treat it as thought it was glass, because it is.


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Kipling’s: Ignoring Eternal Truths

The Gods of the Copybook Heading

 AS I pass through my incarnations in every age and race, I make my proper prostrations to the Gods of the Market-Place.

Peering through reverent fingers I watch them flourish and fall,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings, I notice, outlast them all. We were living in trees when they met us. They showed us each in turn.

That Water would certainly wet us, as Fire would certainly burn:
But we found them lacking in Uplift, Vision and Breath of Mind,
So we left them to teach the Gorillas while we followed the March of Mankind. We moved as the Spirit listed. They never altered their pace,

Being neither cloud nor wind-borne like the Gods of the Market-Place;
But they always caught up with our progress, and presently word would come
That a tribe had been wiped off its icefield, or the lights had gone out in Rome. With the Hopes that our World is built on they were utterly out of touch.

They denied that the Moon was Stilton; they denied she was even Dutch.
They denied that Wishes were Horses; they denied that a Pig had Wings.
So we worshipped the Gods of the Market Who promised these beautiful things. When the Cambrian measures were forming, They promised perpetual peace.

They swore, if we gave them our weapons, that the wars of the tribes would cease.
But when we disarmed They sold us and delivered us bound to our foe,
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings said: “Stick to the Devil you know.” On the first Feminian Sandstones we were promised the Fuller Life

(Which started by loving our neighbour and ended by loving his wife)
Till our women had no more children and the men lost reason and faith,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “The Wages of Sin is Death.” In the Carboniferous Epoch we were promised abundance for all,

By robbing selected Peter to pay for collective Paul;
But, though we had plenty of money, there was nothing our money could buy,
And the Gods of the Copybook Heading said: “If you don’t work you die.” Then the Gods of the Market tumbled, and their smooth-tongued wizards withdrew,

And the hearts of the meanest were humbled and began to believe it was true
That All is not God that Glitters, and Two and Two make Four-
And the Gods of the Copybook Headings limped up to explain it once more. As it will be in the future, it was at the birth of Man-

There are only four things certain since Social Progress began:-
That the Dog returns to his Vomit and the Sow returns to her Mire, And the burnt Fool’s bandaged finger goes wabbling back to the Fire;

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins,

As surely as Water will wet us, as surely as Fire will burn,
The Gods of the Copybook Headings with terror and slaughter return! Rudyard Kipling

 


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A Bit of Grandma’s Wiisdom

Once, as autumn was blowing away

on  crunchy brown leaves,

and frost had appeared, taking the last asters,

I sat on my porch, shivering,

thinking how long it was until spring.

I longed for daffodils,

and warm breezes.

I looked deep inside and realized

that I longed for my past.

When my kids were little,

before I lost my son and health.

When my marriage made me smile.

When I was young.

Then two of my grandsons ran up the street.

They hugged me so tight,

“I love you, Beebee” they smiled.

And I smiled too.

I remembered my grandma used to say,

“We should never wish time away.”

She lived to be 96 years old.

She was so brave and so wise.

I smiled and hugged my grandsons,

and tried to appreciate the biting winds

yet to come before daffodils.


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Nature as a Child

After the darkness,

Blue skies surround me

Clouds drift on the horizon

Drifting away at last

Every day is different

Fresh and exciting.

Gladly, I look for

Hovering bees and bugs

Ice melted at last.

Just one warm day

Keeps me hoping

Long after cold returns

Moonlight sparkles

Night times stars

Overhead-your head and mine.

Perhaps I treasure nature

Questioning it’s rhythms

Reining in its surprises

Turning from chill to warmth

Until I come upon the first

Violet, a sure sign of spring.

Wonder if other over it as much

X-citined as I am

You may know-tell me

Zestfully smiling.


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One photograph or 20 lines or less, every day.

Are you writing every day?  Or taking a photograph?  Or doing one creative act that stimulates your mind outside of the routine?

20 Lines a Day is about feeding that creative part of you, to keep you writing, even a little, every day.

Whether it’s a prompt, or an image that moves you, write it down and share it with us.  It does not have to be a finished work — not at all.  The point is to keep writing.

I’ll share an image today.  What will you share?

 

goldenrod

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