2021: A NEW YEAR

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

I have been on my writing journey for five years now. The first four were primarily spent writing flash fiction and short stories and then last year I wanted to focus on polishing and publishing. I learned that revising is my least favorite thing to do with my own writing. While I love beta reading for other writers, going back and rereading my own writing is just not something I enjoy.

Having said that, I had a mildly successful year. I had short stories published in two anthologies (https://www.amazon.com/Jessica-Wilcox/e/B0795ZDHXM?ref_=dbs_p_ebk_r00_abau_000000) and a flash piece published online (https://www.drunkmonkeys.us/2017-posts/2020/11/16/fiction-first-catch-jessica-wilcox). I also had three micro pieces accepted into an anthology that will hopefully be published this year (as long as it gets filled)! However, I still have 11 or 12 stories that have yet to find homes and at least that many sitting in my googledocs waiting to be revised!

So, I am trying new things this year. One of my goals is to write daily, even if only for 15 minutes. Some of what I write, I will post here, starting with a poem I wrote this morning. I hope you enjoy this poem and yes, I realize it’s pretty ironic, but it encapsulates the complexity of my thoughts about all new years, not just this one.

New Year’s Resolutions
by Jessica Wilcox

A new year always seems like a doorway to a new you
You make resolutions

You want to be healthier
To lose a few pounds
To gain muscle
To get washboard abs

You want to learn a new hobby
To sew
To paint stones
To make birdhouses

You want to travel more
To Italy
Or Ireland
Or Iceland

You want to garden
Grow vegetables
Or irises
Or just weeds

You just want to be better
A better person
A better a year
A better you

But after a few weeks 
You eat that whole king sized candy bar
Or order that hamburger from applebees
You give up your sewing project
Or just put it down and forget about it
You never book that trip
You never plant that garden

And the end of the year comes swinging around
And you’re still the same person
And you make your new year’s resolutions
Which are different than last year’s
More manageable,
More important
Smaller
Easier
Yet still so unattainable

Because while January first is the beginning of a new year
It is still just the day after December 31
An arbitrary day like any other.

Fleeing

Free image from Pixabay

We are in transit, forever walking toward a destination we cannot see.  Mama says we got to keep on, but my feet hurt, my arms tired from carrying the baby. She told the little ones that Daddy will meet us there, but I know the truth.

Standing Ground

I blink to focus my vision,
And drink in my surroundings.
The sun brushes the horizon and
the cerulean sky is peppered with stars.
Tall, wispy grass blankets the savannah;
It dances in a gentle breeze that does not touch me.

Trees twist up out of the ground in the distance,
Shadows in the dwindling twilight.
My only company on this vast pasture
Is a lone elephant.
I walk towards the leathery giant
And he looks up.
I’ve disturbed his reverie.
He stomps his feet and barrels towards me.
I turn to flee and he follows.

The grass whips against my legs,
But I do not stop.
My breath grows rapid
and steel bands wrap around my lungs,
But I don’t turn.
I keep going
Until there is nowhere left to go.

With the irate pachyderm on one side
And a watery deluge on the other,
I have two choices.
Do I turn and face my adversary?
Or do I jump and chance drowning?
I clench my fists and turn.

Slam!

I wake up,
Sweat is beaded across my brow
And my palms are clammy.

The lock clicks and the front door creaks open.
Footsteps shuffle across the floor below me,
Up the stairs.
He crosses our room,
Goes into the bathroom.
A soft glow illuminates the wall in front of me.

He sneaks into bed,
Pulling the eiderdown comforter off my shoulder
And quickly replacing it.
I lay completely still.

Now is my chance,
But can I stand up to him?

He reeks of whiskey and cigarettes,
But under that is a musky smell,
Cheap perfume.

His form settles in bed,
His weight threatening to pull me towards him.
I hesitate,
But a vision from my dream flashes into memory,
of the elephant barreling down on me,
And turning to stand my ground.

I roll over.
I will not drown,
And he will not trample me.


Author’s note: I ran out of time on this one… at least in the editing and revising stage, but I still wanted to post it, because I think it’s got potential.
And a BIG THANK YOU to Laissez Faire for helping me with my formatting issues! Nothing makes me feel older than not understanding technology!!!

The Old Guitarist

Ekphrastic poetry describes a work of visual art. For this piece, I chose:

The Old Guitarist

Painting by Pablo Picasso

His lined face

bends over the guitar,

not looking at his fingers,

but instead somewhere past

his crossed ankles,

eyes unfocused.

 

His chapped fingers

strum the strings;

the tune unrecognizable,

yet strangely familiar,

like half-memories

Or deja-vu.

 

His ripped clothes

hang from his anemic frame,

thin, blue, and torn,

exposing limbs and shoulder,

leaving him unprotected

from the cold night to come.

 

His whispered words

float over the dim twilight.

His figure sags further

as his song continues,

disappearing into a world

that is not listening.

Microprose – Camping

A rustle wakes me. I sit up and reach for the matches, light the lantern. The flickering light dances across my daughter’s cheek, making her look much younger than her fifteen years.

Time rewinds.

The chubby toddler rubs her eyes and rolls over, a striking young adult again.