Thursday, February 24, 2011

Big Tent prompt: A day to celebrate (or not)

no reason to celebrate

a whiff of bacon trickled through the crisp
air, rousing the boy from another reckless
sleep, which seemed to be the norm since.
that. day. one. year. ago. slowly he opened
heavy eyes as his deadweight body remained
glued to the bed. shouldn’t he feel happy
for the time that had passed? for the new
life he had? for old Pawpaw and Granny’s
constant doting over every move he made?
yes he should, but no he didn’t. a year
come and gone, and nothing had changed.
sadness and guilt gripped his shoulders,
pulled him down. every day. and every
night. still. there would be no joyful
celebration like he thought. the boy rolled
over and fell fast asleep. not even bacon
would change his mind.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

PA Wednesday prompt: Use a song title as your poem title

Amazing Grace
by Laurie Kolp

amazing grace
it sets us free
  brings us home   
forgives our indiscretions
amazing grace
such eloquence
bestowed within
so blind we cannot see
amazing grace
until we ask
for truth at last
and that’s what sets us free

breathing in the silent gray
breathing out a joyous day

Monday, February 21, 2011

Raking Oak Leaves on a Windy Spring Day
by Laurie Kolp

The time of rebirth springs
forward as winter’s pallid
vista diminishes. Crunchy
oak leaves litter the yard,
their brown curls spent
into three piles perfect
for jumping. Wispy wind
carries the captives back
home where, like whirlybirds,
they dance gracefully. Back
to square one, I start all
over again at double speed.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Story for You from Me

The Messenger of Love
by Laurie Kolp

I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go, I will counsel you and watch over you.
~ Psalm 32:8

Penny stopped dead in her tracks. The road should be in front of her instead of the meandering brook which was blocking her path. She was sure she had retraced her steps correctly. Was she lost?

Follow the river upstream, or you will go in circles. Penny heard her father’s wise words echo through her mind. He had told her many times as a child what to do if she ever got lost in the Piney Woods. A brook leads to a river leads to activity. She heeded his advice and began walking along the trickling stream.

Above the tall timbers, a warm March sun peeked through cirrus clouds; but Penny felt chilled and afraid. All she had wanted to do was go on a stroll, get some fresh air. It had been a spontaneous decision. Penny had pulled her car over to the side of the road and locked her purse in the trunk. She had forgotten her cell phone was in the bag. Now she was lost and her family thought she had gone to the store. They would never know where to find her.

Penny decided to stop and rest when she happened upon a tree stump. Exasperated and tired, she put her face in her hands and began to pray. She asked God to help her find her way home. She cried until there were no more tears. Then she lifted her head and opened her eyes to the most beautiful sight she had ever seen.

Right in front of her stood a cherry red cardinal. His head was cocked to one side and his eyes stared pensively into Penny’s. She had never been so close to a bird in her life, let alone such a beauty. She drank in every last detail of his intricate feathers and alluring symmetry. The whole time, the cardinal kept his eyes on hers.

A peaceful rapture spread through Penny’s body as if she had taken a swig of whiskey. Her chill was replaced with a blanket of warmth. Penny instinctively knew everything would be okay.

At that very moment of clarity, the crimson bird hopped away from the water. He turned his head and looked at her. For some reason, Penny knew what to do. She followed the bird’s lead, the whole time praying.

The tiny leaps forward soon transformed into bigger spans as the cardinal continued to lead the way. Each time he moved forward, he turned his head and waited for Penny to catch up. They were advancing deeper into the thick forest, but Penny was not the least bit scared.

Before long, they came to a small gap in the woods. A pine tree had fallen and Penny had to climb over the rough bark to proceed. She remembered passing the same spot on her venture into the maze of mile-high trees. Penny was grateful for the reassurance that she was doing the right thing.

The light may have been fading as dusk drew near, but the warm comfortable glow within kept Penny hopeful. The cardinal was now flying low and stopping just short of disappearing from Penny’s sight. She sensed his urgency and quickened her steps.

What seemed like hours later, but was actually only thirty minutes, Penny began to hear the familiar sound of cars zipping by. She had finally reached the road. She turned her head to the left and spotted the splotch of red atop her car. The cardinal had led her safely out of the woods. When she turned toward her car, the bird flew away.

Penny had gotten lost in the woods and asked God for help. He had sent Penny a cardinal as red as love to guide her through the forest and back to her car. She had taken a leap of faith, hoping that she was doing the right thing. She listened to her instincts, was reassured through serenity, and found her way home. All she had to do was reach out for help and open her heart. Who would have known such a blessing would arise from being lost in the woods?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Big Tent prompt: Title first, then poem

Recess in the Sky
by Laurie Kolp

The tired boy took refuge
under his favorite oak tree,
hit the grass like a napping
pup. Pushing Pawpaw’s lawn 
mower through the winter worn 
grass had taken much longer
than planned; he was hungry
and tired, but the enticing
sky called his name. Above
a perfect scoop of vanilla
floating in a sea of Jell-O 
peeked over Cool Whip clouds
as if teasing his grumbling
gut; or maybe it was a marble,
swirls of blue and white,
a taw lofting through the air
inviting him to play. Funny
how they said his mother lost 
her marbles, yet he never knew
what that meant. Maybe they
were floating in the heavens
somewhere over the rainbow,
fading away with her memory.

Big Tent Poetry

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Soap opera email

A few minutes ago I was reading through my emails, many of which were follow-up comments from Facebook.   It went something like this:

First click- I read "Congratulations," and "Way to go," for a friend who just received a contract on a book.

Next click- Words of encouragement like "Hang in there," and "You're in my prayers," were sprawled across the screen for a friend facing a medical crisis. 

It didn't take long for me to recognize that a melodramatic pattern was forming.   Back and forth the clicks went from one extreme to another, like a yoyo vacillating between happiness and misfortune.

Click- "I am so happy for you. I want a book,"  ~YEAH!

Click- "I think this might be serious. Have you considered seeing a neurologist?" ON, NO!
These emails churned my emotions and left me feeling like a hormonal teenager; high on life, then sinking in mud- just with a simple click.  There were no other emails except for these; and I kid you not, they alternated back and forth for six to eight messages.  All this bizzare banter really made me feel... powerless

I found myself asking questions.

What is the reason for this?  I thought maybe God was trying to tell me a should become a soap opera writer or something. 

How does this relate to me?  It reminded me that I am not in control of people, situations, writing submissions, the man who cut me off, etc.  The only thing I can do is offer support, pray, and then sit back and wait for God's handiwork.  People everywhere are suffering while others are rejoicing.  It's the cycle of life, and it draws us closer to one another... and God.

I have so much to be grateful for today.  Right now.  At this very minute.

Whew- I am exhausted; I think I'll go to bed now (I have a lot of praying to do).

Poetic Asides Wednesday prompt: Isolation

Inner Isolation
by Laurie Kolp

The hole became bigger

as she dug further down,

until a seed was planted

that freed her firm frown.

No longer quarantined

because of isolation’s crown,

she buried misconceptions

covered attitudes in brown.

Soon the seed became a tree

whose limbs enwrapped her gown,

fulfilled that empty hole with

God’s love she did drown.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Why Just One Day?
by Laurie Kolp

‘Twas the day before Valentine’s
and all through the mall,
hurried shoppers scrambled
for love tokens to call
on sweethearts and honeys
friends, kids, teachers, too
one might think it Christmas,
this material zoo!
The flowers were ordered
(if not it’s too late)
plans made and confirmed
for that Valentine’s date;
all such a big deal
to say that you care,
which should happen daily
true endearment to share.

Love is...

A cardinal on high sings a glorious melody
His long-distance lover echoes earnestly
Anticipating their upcoming mate ~
A Valentine's Day date

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Lex Talionis

Postcard Shorts has published one of my short stories Lex Talionis, which means an eye for an eye.  The exact Latin to English translation is "law of retaliation."

Postcard Shorts publishes stories short enough to fit on a postcard- 250 words max.  If you are a writer, you might consider submitting a story to them. 

Lex Talionis is unlike anything I have ever written. I am not quite sure where it came from, but I think you might find it interesting.  Good or bad, I'd love a comment from you.  Don't worry about what you say.  I asked Pete if he liked it and he said, "No."  Nothing can be much worse than that (even though he
quickly added that he thought it was written well).  Lex Talionis!

Click here to read my story.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Big Tent Poetry Prompt-- 2-11-11


He is the one,
the only one is He
who lifts me up,
my spirits He lifts
in peaceful harmony;
harmony, harmony.
I ask and
He is here,
right here beside me,
beside me, within me
everywhere around me
for all eternity.
I ask and
He loves,
loves me
at all times,
good times
and bad,
bad or worse;
my God

The prompt over at Big Tent Poetry this week was to write a happy poem, since the gloomy weather has so many of us down (me, too).  This is what works for me.  Sometimes I put too much negative energy into worrying about wordly things- people, situations, stuff.  Therefore, I get let down.  But when I trust in God, I always find peace and love.      

Blessings ~ Laurie


In my backyard.
Five female, one male.
He's one lucky guy.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Writing through the seasons

The tug-of-war between spring and winter I talked about yesterday was symbolic of a battle I was fighting within.

Most of the time I can handle rejection, but not this time; it was personal.  My elephant skin peeled away layer upon layer, tear upon tear, leaving me standing in a pile of fear.  I found myself wondering if I could take anymore.  My doubtful voice was saying, "Admit it, you suck." At the same time, my inner voice was answering, "Never give up!"  Back and forth, back and forth.

Photo by Cameron Johnson
But then a great friend sent me a picture her son had taken of a cardinal.  She wanted to cheer me up, and it worked!  Suddenly I was inspired once again.  To top it off, I had a writer's guild meeting last night and was able to meet with some great friends. 

I knew there was a reason I loved the uniqueness of each season.  Each comes with its own set of challenges.  How I handle them will lead me through.  The same goes with writing.  On I'll march and I will persevere!

PA Wednesday Prompt: One of These Days

One of These Days
by Laurie Kolp

So close to breaking through
the barricade, I turn around
and try again. Next time
the sunshine might not burn.
I will tango in the pasture,
spin with joy.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


The ocean blue ceiling welcomes birds today; they dive right in rejoicing.   An ever-lasting light bulb breathes promises of spring soon to come, resplendent samples of warmth for all.  At the same time, a fan bites the face it kisses, gusting sassy reminders of winter's wrath.  For weeks yet to come, a tug-of-war will ensue between Unforgiving Winter and Youthful Spring; back and forth, warm and cool, in and out. 

Such is the life of a writer.
by Laurie Kolp

Why is it I am left
always wanting more?
When a poem gets chosen
I wonder why not four.

Nothing’s ever good enough
for me or you or them,
so today I will remember--
God thinks my work’s a gem!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Seeking Refuge (continued)

Nighttime Warfare*

For hours carried on a snail’s back,
the thirteen-year-old boy
knelt on hard, cold concrete
twisting and turning the Laguiole
his forearm rubber,
bicep pumped to capacity,
knees a kaleidoscope of colors.
Pawpaw and Granny’s liquor cabinet
held the key to his relief;
all pain would be washed away
with the first sip of his reward.
Shavings of walnut adorned sweaty flesh,
the floor a bedraggled sty
when he finally bore his way through the wood
 an alcohol-filled heaven awaited.
slid the warmth with the first sip.
Sleep would finally find him.

*Many wanted more from Friday's poem, so I decided to write this for you.  I hope you enjoyed it!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Faulty wiring?

I think I left my oomph on the counter with my teeth.  Why, might you ask, would I say that?  If you have a few minutes to spare, sit back and let me enlighten you.

I might possibly be brain dead.  I have written so much over the past several months (remember the book in November) that I'm drained.  My mind is like a car battery that won't turn over.  No matter how hard I try, nothing happens.

Not to mention my jumbled talking.  Words come out wrong way too often.  I have made typical mommy remarks like, "Put your clothes in the garbage," and "Forget your homeowrk." Yeah, the spelling is even a little off at times. 

But perhaps the strangest thing I have ever said came out last night before Pete and I went to bed.  He was going to tell me something, and I wanted to get my toothbrush so I could listen while I brushed my teeth.  I said, "Wait just a sec.  I need to go get my teeth to brush..."

So if you have been wondering why I haven't been blogging as much, it's because I forgot!

Big Tent Poetry prompt: 2-4-11

"Aha! A Wordle! Pick any number of words (yes, from one to all) and write yourself a poem!"
    Seeking Refuge

The Chateau Laguiole
boring deeper into corky flesh
his single motivation
as he grinds the resistant blade
deeper into walnut,
Pawpaw’s handle rubbing blisters
on his leathered hands.
To breathe again
function unpretentiously,
he must set free the darkening fear
remote seclusion
growing with each passing day;
rotate, twist
A Yankee candle dances vanilla
nothings float hypnotically,
hidden treasures locked within
the antique cabinet.
The basement door squeaks open
an acute angle of light
alerts the boy
of Granny’s approach;
horses trotting
the basement steps.
Granny calls the boy’s name.
He is a statue until the darkness returns.