Monday, May 17, 2021

100 Words (Exactly) About 4 Unrelated Images

Here's something fun to try:

Pick an image, any image, from your photo folder... and spend 5 to 10 minutes writing about it.

You might surprise yourself with the result.

Lately, at the Wednesday night virtual meeting of the New Milford Library's Photo Journaling Club, I've come up with about 100 words whenever we try this exercise.

Following are four I've edited to 100 words, exactly, uncovering some careless, accidental poetry along the way.


(Photo by Dad)

Nonna's Lullabye
    (100 words, exactly, about my grandmother)

Nonna was always calm, always smiling, and deeply religious. In this photo of us, I'm dangling the pouch that held her rosary beads.

At night, at her house, she knelt with me at my bedside to thank God and pray for others. A while later, I would hear her in the bedroom next door:

She whispered the letter S in a rhythmic cadence, as if she were calling a cat. Trochaic hexameter. A dramatic pause before the last foot.

If I concentrated, I could distinguish the words of her “Hail Marys” – grace… is… blessed… amongst…blessed… Jesus… – before I fell asleep.


Nature Speaks
    (100 words, exactly, about a visit to Sandy Hook Beach)

The trees seemed to invite me down this path. I was wary. The beach before me was empty; I didn’t trust its remote solitude.

A few stray leaves rustled against my shoulder, encouraging me. When an ocean breeze took hold of a branch, it pointed toward the shore.

I took a closer look and saw hundreds of footprints.

The sand told me that I was not alone, that there was nothing to fear. Many had traveled this route before. So I walked to the water’s edge and joined the others, leaving my own transitory mark before the tide came in.


Bridal Redress
    (100 words, exactly, about the power of perspective)

When a couple plans to marry at the City Clerk’s office, romance is a magical leap of faith.

Then plans become reality, reality changes perception, and everyone has a different point of view:
-The father doesn’t know what do to with the empty corsage box.
-The man in a baseball cap doesn’t care.
-A friend in brown shoes has lost sight of the groom.
-An older relative struggles down the stairs.
-The girl in a mini-dress is mildly amused.

Only this photo saves the illusion of romance because, for a split second, forever:
-The bride is the center of attention.


Blank Page
    (100 words, exactly, about writing)

On a blank page,
I can do anything.
I am bold.
The way you always wanted me to be.
I can dance.
Level mountains.
Erase the past.

On a blank page,
time has no power over me.
I conjure you at will.

You are not safe in New York.
That chill in the air is me.
In the shadows of a park,
our ghosts play chess.
Phantom dogs impatiently stare
at our empty chairs.
The meanest one snarls
at the passing cars.

On a blank page,
I wait forever for your next move.

On a blank page,
I never lose.

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