Naked Reflections The Shamelessly Sensual Blog

Prompt: Before There Were Words

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Eyes wide awake at 3:28 a.m.

The chilling rattle of her snore

Kept him in a quiet disturbance

Medication schedules haunted his sleep

If only she could wake up and talk

And say their life together had been full

He knew but he needed to hear it again

 

In the morning

She stared from her pillow

With dawn’s light catching tears

In the corner of her eyes

Before there were words

Sputtering out in chopped pieces

That died as he cried.

 

 

 

The Writing is on the Wall: Beautiful Blood

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She knew it was his sickness

But she held it as their secret

No one saw the worms of deceit

Because she painted perfect pictures

On a beautiful bloody canvas

 

 

The Writing is on the Wall: Counting Thousands of Sheep

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Happy National Day on Writing!

Lessons I Learned in July: Prompt 9 “No Summers in the South”

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My friends’ family reunion brought me to Gulfport, Mississippi. Heat and humidity, clouds in the sky heavy with rain in the middle of July.

Day One. Meet and greet strangers with warm hugs at a local breakfast and lunch buffet. Everything fried or boiled or stuck like clogged arteries. Beige, brown, and white meat, withered salad greens and unlabeled specialties I feared would kill me.

Late evening events began. Get to know one another, but how? Sisters, cousins, aunts, and uncles. Brothers, mothers, and significant others. Unfamiliar groups sat like isolated islands. A pushy cousin forced teens to dance. They didn’t want to dance and neither did we.

Day Two. The schedule looked dreadful. Family Feud and more fried food. We sat in stiff chairs under cool air, then crowded outside in stifling heat to eat rationed crawfish and watch children play. A stinging welt appeared on my arm. I prayed it wasn’t West Nile or Ebola. I didn’t spray my forearms like I sprayed my legs. By nightfall, the bump grew to the size of a baby bird’s egg.

Part two of Day Two. Biloxi Beach. Soft mushy sand. Dark brown water almost too warm to swim in. Women in panties and camisoles instead of swimsuits. Fish carcasses washed up on shore. One man was fishing for fun because he said they were too muddy to eat.

Early dinner at a popular restaurant with a beautiful ocean view. The kids were the only ones happy with their food. I guess you can’t go wrong with chicken tenders and french fries.

Day Three. Sunday worship at the little church down the road. The same families, same hugs, same heat on a different day. Music, scriptures, praise, and gratitude for the air-conditioned room, but nothing soothed my tired and hungry attitude. I had not eaten anything satisfying in 3 days. I wondered if we would survive until the end of this trip. All I knew was I wouldn’t die out on the Mississippi roads. I must die in the church.

After service, everyone gathered for barbeque at one family’s home. Light rain, thunder, tall grass and bushes and trees amidst two table tents shading outdoor seating. Inside the tiny house, the family members packed in like jammed feet in plastic shoes. We sat outside and finally ate a delicious meal. I craved a tall Mai Tai or even a Margarita. But they served water, kiddie fruit drinks, and beer. I had to remember where I was. I needed to hydrate. Period.

I listened to the eldest aunt tell stories of her childhood, almost 90 years ago. Her struggles of living in the south with little money and an unfinished education. She raised more children than most and she was healthier than many of her daughters. She entertained us with memories of being hit by her husband and how she bit him so hard he never hit her again. I wondered if maybe that’s why her teeth were missing. Well worth the loss.

Day Four. Our one-day trip to New Orleans finally arrived. My friends and their children were as excited as I was to be out of Mississippi. When you’ve never been somewhere before and all you know is how it looks in your mind, you can be easily deceived. Our first stop was Cafe du Monde for beignets. Each powdery bite completely satisfied my appetite and erased my worry that I would hate beignets. Not too sweet, not too thick. Just perfect with a cup of coffee that actually gave me a morning jolt.

Next. Time to shop and explore the French Quarters. I don’t have much to critique about the merchandise or the stores or the service because I was so hot and sweaty that I believe I lost ability to sort my thoughts. I bought souvenirs, walked until my ankles and toes hurt, and sweat poured from my skin. It ran down my legs and made me think my bladder was failing. Who would say this kind of humidity was bearable. It was dreadful and I needed to sit down.

Last stop in New Orleans. Deanie’s Seafood Restaurant. Yummy, delicious, and relaxing but the walk to and from almost killed us. All I could think about was getting in the car. My wet clothes, souvenirs, tired aching body, and sticky everything said good-bye to The Big Easy. That was fun. I think.

Lessons Learned. I am not a summer southern girl. Humidity is harmful to my health. Some family reunions are more like strange gatherings. When I alter my eating habits for a week, I suffer the consequences for twice as long. Layovers should never be longer than 90 minutes. Someone should have told me to keep baby powder in my purse. My thighs suffered more than my appetite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

End of School Year Reflection: Sort of Funny Naked Truths

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This school year went fast

Doesn’t time fly when you’re having fun

No

I’m glad I am done

It was hard

Stressful

Demanding

Sometimes downright insane.

I have never looked older or more tired

Than I did this year

My hair is so gray

It looks like spiders have nested across my scalp

And the spider veins in my legs creep like grapevines

My crow’s feet are longer than the side of my face

And I have pains in my stomach from all the chips I ate

And from waistbands on pants rearranging my insides.

I averaged 6 hours of sleep 5 days per week

Woke up at 3:27 a.m. to contemplate choking my cat

And contemplating with sincere intentions on how to tell a child

That cheerleading isn’t shaping her bright future

If she can’t multiply.

I wondered why one boy came to school angry

Another one so dirty he left smudges on his work at the start of the day

And several who cried at the sound of correction

Teaching and learning both require correction

So some days I chose my battles and won

Other days I lost.

In addition to my students, their needs and mine

My commitments to two university apprentices lived between my eyebrows

Watching new teachers teach and guiding their practice

Resemble teaching a baby to walk, throw a fast pitch, and speak 3 languages simultaneously.

Throughout this time, my students took on multiple personalities

I did not always know who was who and what was what

Elements of surprise lingered

Cupcakes showed up without prior approval

Birthday cakes delivered without knives for cutting or plates for plating

Text messages asked what time school dismissed

Daily university emails demanded feedback on positionality and equity

Immediately I wondered if my position was actually an imposition.

Students inquired why I wasn’t doing Middle School Day

Hmm.

Middle School Day required me to

be 3 different teachers

with 3 different accents

for 3 different subjects

I did that

My students just didn’t know it.

I apologized

To myself if I wasn’t spectacular enough

To my students if I hurt anyone’s feelings

Or didn’t make them feel special

To my body and soul for wearing them out.

Every school year is different

Every class has their unique spirit

Every summer

I detox

I rejuvenate

I become an aquaholic

I worship God and my gifts

And ask Him to heal me and renew me

In time for my new class.

If He doesn’t

He will retire me.

 

 

Happy Mother’s Day to my Mom

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When she went to Heaven

I thought missing her

would be unbearable

I didn’t know

she would live

in a million different ways

 

She touches my life

like scattered rose petals

She is in my selfies

the little neck wrinkles

that were so genuinely hers

the gently furrowed brow

that I can’t filter away

She is in my reflection

the eyeliner that now wiggles

the thin lips that lipstick laughs at

the leg veins that resemble lightning

on thunder thighs

 

She is in my work

her writing on my students’ tests

her lectures about making better choices

her commitment to do more instead of less

leaving frazzled at the day’s end

 

She is my bedtime at 8 p.m.

and waking at 4 a.m.

She is coffee in the quiet of a new day

and prayers for her daughters

She is tired but doesn’t quit

She smiles and laughs and loves

without limits

I am she

Together always

we will be.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

Rest Peacefully and Joyously in Heaven, Mommie!

Lessons I Learned from Domestic Violence: Prompt 8 “No Visitors”

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San Bernardino School Shooting

Husband enters classroom

kills wife

and an 8-year old student

before killing himself.

I do not want visitors

while I am teaching.

We protect and serve

in classrooms

that are presumed safe.

Students should know

that no one would hurt them

inside of school.

Teachers settle arguments

and stop fights between students.

Teachers diffuse anger

and never tolerate bullying.

Teachers prepare lessons

group students for special help

and sit with individual children

who need that one-to-one time.

Karen Elaine Smith’s student

Jonathan Martinez

had Williams Syndrome

and probably spent many days

at his teacher’s side.

Karen Elaine Smith

did not have a chance

to protect herself or her students

but I believe Jonathan felt safe

as he ascended to heaven shortly after her

while she assuredly led the way.

Teachers and students don’t need visitors.

A surgeon does not receive visitors in the O.R.

Visitors are prohibited from approaching judges’ benches

Athletes don’t welcome visitors in the middle of a game.

But we who provide education

for students who seek careers

as doctors, judges and athletes

open our doors

open our arms

open our hearts

and give welcoming smiles

completely unaware that our visitors

may be armed

may be dangerous

may be ready to die.

How would the office staff know

that a visitor intends harm?

If someone needs to talk to the teacher

during instructional time

it should be forbidden

for the sake of the children’s learning time

and out of respect for the teacher’s time.

It should be forbidden

to interrupt protected classrooms

where students believe they are safe

where teachers leave their personal issues inside their homes

where unsettled family problems are locked outside the gates

and where life’s lessons

that children come to school to learn

won’t be nightmares of their classmates and teachers

shot in their safe zone

by a visitor.

 

Rest in Peace Karen Elaine Smith and Jonathan Martinez

 

 

 

 

Lessons I Learned from Teaching: Prompt 7 “ADHD, Gifted and Hungry”

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He comes to school late

almost every day

Moseys in with curved posture

under a hoodie covering uncombed hair

His backpack dangles on the back of his chair

it holds junk compared to others

packed with books and homework

Breakfast has already been served

but he’s hungry and glances at the table

where his tray of processed options begin to stiffen

He devours sweetened pancake-like dough

packaged pineapples and berry juice

while others read and write

He opens his tattered book

expecting to begin the day’s lessons

without a sharpened pencil

He raises his hand

to trade his dull pencil for my sharp one

we exchange pencils before engaging routine courtesies

while my eyes fight to conceal irritation

because 141 days of school have begun without readiness

His page is torn and smudged

like his backpack

like his hoodie

like his shoes

Holes in front from feet forging

heels breaking down the barriers of high-tops

until thread-bare socks graze the ground

Life moves in reverse

the way he backs out of his shoes

he writes yesterday’s answers

does not have today’s homework

saves Thursday’s fruit

for Friday’s snack

What will his future hold

if he never finishes anything he starts

if his feet never have room to grow

if his fingernails carry crud

if his hands never stop fidgeting

if his knees never stop bouncing

and his mind never breaks free?

 

 

Lessons I Will Share When She Falls in Love: Prompt 6 “Worthy”

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When she falls in love

I will tell her to accept and admire who he is today

Not who she wants him to become

I will tell her that he has to love her more

Than she could ever possibly love him

I will tell her that the sun will always set

But it can not bury lovers’ anger

I will tell her that if he won’t do something

She can’t make him want to

I will tell her if she seeks more than he does

She may find it alone

I will tell her how love changes over time

It will get old but it does not have to die

I will tell her how old love writes its own story

And young love is barely a poem

I will tell her that he has to be worthy of the kingdom

Otherwise she will be the queen alone on her throne.

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons I Learned from Friendships: Prompt 5 “Holes”

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Women friends

Soul sisters

Ever wonder

Who chooses

The path

We cross

Leading us

Various places

Shopping and

Eating and

Walking or

Jogging or

Laughing after

Yoga because

Sometimes we

Can’t bend.

Women friends

Soul sisters

Ever wonder

Why we

Don’t take

Advice and

We defend

Broken men

Who drill

Holes into

Our skin

Ripping apart

Lives that

Never mend.

Women friends

Soul sisters

Ever wonder

If we

Listen with

Our hearts

But the

Holes won’t

Hold truth

So we

Scatter it

Like crumbs.

Women friends

Soul sisters

Keep pouring

Your love

Giving encouragement

Sharing stories

And honoring

Our connectedness

And somewhere

In between

Us it

Becomes love.