Center Stage


photo by Owen

who’s the star in frame?

mushroom, bike or trail-rider?

team sports all of them!

more than one age at once.


illustration by Jeanne

In her story “Eleven,” Sandra Cisneros says:  “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you are eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one.” Septuagenarians could say something similar, but it would take longer to say.  When we are very young, we view the elderly as if they were gentle aliens.  When my great aunt Ula turned 100, I asked her how it felt to be 100.  She twinkled at me and said, “You know, sometimes inside I still feel fourteen.”

In the butterfly

is the cocoon;

in the snail

is the trail;

in the bee

are more e’s;

in the mushroom

room to grow…

Riddle#10 Fungus

fungus on a tree

Here is my first CLIMBING RHYME POEM:

(“Easy, greaz-y, there’s a fungus among us.” Gary Moore)

Fungus in a tree
teases me to see
if I will fly to munch
mushrooms for lunch.

A bunch of roots
scrambling for my boots

climbing ‘tween my toes
to close the gap
of sap and growth,

lap dancing for me.

Look at this poem closely. The rhymes are not only at the end, but appear throughout in different places, like in African chants called g-hazels. There is a long history in poetry of rhymes being used in work chants such that one person starts a chant to set a rhythm to make the work go more smoothly and entertain other workers. Then the poem is handed off to another worker who keeps the rhythm but adds to the rhyme. In Africa, workers built reputations for being excellent rhymers or great game players in this form of poetry competition.
The CLIMBING RHYME has it’s history in Burma and the Burmese language only has one syllable words, but here in the US adaptations are needed.
Here is a graph for this poem.
Line 1 xxxxA
Line 2 xxAxA
Line 3 xBxBxC
Line 4 xxxC
Line 5 xCxD
Line 6 xxxxD
Line 7 xxxxE
Line 8 xExF
Line 9 xFxx
Line 10 Fxxxx

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