Bisterne Scarecrow Festival Trail 2018

Too good, too much fun to resist reblogging this post!

derrickjknight

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This afternoon Jackie and I followed:

Pokestop carries a Pokemon.

I just squeezed The Bisterne Royals into one frame.

Worzel is in trouble with Aunt Sally required a couple of shots, one from across the road.

We surmised he had been on the tiles with his next door neighbour who was Half Cut.

Head over Heels about Scarecrows also required a vantage point on the opposite side of the road.

Intergalactic Beastie Boys were suitably attired.

Rusty Diesel Engine is a reincarnation of other trains in previous years.

As happy as a Pig was made from a hay bale.

The stretch of Oh Look, there’s a Dragon required two frames,

and its recently hatched baby warranted her own.

Scary Crows lurked beside each other in the trees.

Baked Beans on Coast has to win any pun competition,

and the tins in…

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Theo’s Golden Ticket

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”                     – Dr. Seuss

“A book is like a garden, carried in the pocket.”  – Chinese Proverb

“Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading,  to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him.”  – Maya Angelo

                                                                         *

Theo’s golden ticket

       –

I hear plastic wheels clacking

Crossing the kitchen floor

From ear to ear he’s grinning

A surprise he has in store

          –

Struggling his passage

Now carpeted terrain

Seizing grandma unaware his goal

His eyes have taken aim

       –

Theo aims his vessel

Stories to behold

Hungry for some cuddles

Possibilities he’s trolled

             –

The treasure at last

Their prize is now in sight

Observant from the mast

Grandma’s arms ready

To seize this impish mite

     –

The treasure’s in sight

Stories the prize he’s won

Love of reading – will he take the bite

Learning has begun

*

Bisous,

Léa

RAINBOWS, PRIDE AND JUST LOVING MY DAUGHTER

“Love isn’t something you find. Love is something that finds you.”  – Loretta Young

“Sometimes the heart sees what is invisible to the eye.”   – H. Jackson Brown Jr.

“The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”  – Audrey Hepburn

When I left my ex-husband, I took my children and moved away from a very toxic family of origin. For the fir!st time in my life, I had some support. A young man who taught a class the previous summer provided a link that had been missing all my life. (Yes, Michael, it has been 26 years this Friday.) Michael and his partner, Cliff, became the ‘brothers’ that I had wished for as a child. Michael had lived in Sacramento before and since his ex was moving there with Michael’s son he was going to be there for him. They kept telling me I had to take the children and go there as well. Michael and Cliff were the first openly gay people I had ever met. I remember early on when I first saw Cliff plant a little kiss on Michael’s lips. It was brief but sweet. I remember thinking to myself how beautiful to see two people in love. Yes, it is true that some demonstrations of love and affection probably should be reserved for private venues but that includes demonstrations between heterosexuals as well. However, something as innocent as a kiss or holding of hands are reflections of love and beautiful regardless of the gender of those involved. Life can be difficult with many a rough edge, when you find love, embrace it, rejoice in it.

Despite all my “I can’t do it because…” I knew that I would do it and did not want to be without these kind, generous and supportive people. Upon arrival, we stayed with Michael and Cliff while looking for that first apartment. Within a week, I found a two bedroom just across the alley from their place. Since we didn’t know anyone else, we were introduced to many of their friends and went to numerous events right along with them. The weeks before the children and I could go were a nightmare and re-enforced the decision to move on. It was one of the best decisions I ever made.

Mid-town Sacramento is also known as Lavender Heights. It was and remains a hub of activity for the LGBT community. Always a champion for those who are are discriminated against, I joined the ranks of demonstrators and supporters. Despite my being straight, I was welcomed with open arms. It was true acceptance from the beginning. One of the first people I met there was a woman named Gayle Lang. She was a tiny but fierce advocate and a vital resource in the community, more than that, she symbolized its beating heart. She advocated not just for gay rights but women’s rights and a variety of other causes. A cause dear to her heart was a library which she was instrumental in establishing. She was determined to rectify the imbalance of literature and information about and for the LGBT community. Gayle died of cancer at a very early age. Yet she lives on at The Lavender Library which remains a vibrant resource for the community. Each year there are requests from students and researchers in the gay and non-gay community for information which is not attainable elsewhere. There is a staff and governing board that is dedicated to maintaining the vision that Gayle set in motion.

A few months after our arrival, I was able to commit myself to my studies. I entered the local community college to begin working on a degree. My background was one of abuse and low self esteem. Yet I also had a history of stepping in and volunteering when ever I could. There were also questions in my mind and the subject that stood out as the focus for my degree was psychology. When I had achieved sufficient units to transfer to the university, the old fears shook me to the core. Michael who had received his Master’s Degree at Sacramento State took me by the hand and gave me the tour of the campus. It was much larger than the community college. Michael’s Master’s Degree was in Theatre Arts and I received an exhaustive tour of the Theatre and associated buildings. There was also a nod to the Psychology building. In his defence  it was rather closed off that day so not a lot to see.

During my undergraduate work I did some field studies which included serving as a case worker at the Sacramento AIDS Foundation. There were always more clients with needs than there were resources. The answer was to network among the community for support. By this time I had become familiar with some of the more prominent members. When a client was faced with having their utilities turned off, a walk over to a nearby gay club, chat with the owner and the bill was paid. I never once had to twist anyone’s arm. They never inquired if the client was gay or straight. Yes, there are and were many straight people with AIDS.

Being a single mom, my children accompanied me to demonstrations and other events. They also were happy to have their two ‘uncles’ who praised their accomplishments and listened to their problems. They witnessed the discrimination of people they cared about and learned a lot about love. Over the years there were frequently people, usually young, who had been disowned by their families for being gay. It was not uncommon for someone to show up at our house just looking for someone to talk to who was not afraid of a hug. Our financial resources were limited but I was an expert on stretching meals and there was always room at the table. Often they would join the children and I for a movie and just be happy to be part of the family. Of the many who crossed our doorstep, each one brought their own gifts. Those without a smile often had them before leaving.

Rich was the one who cut our hair from that first haircut soon after arriving and quickly became part of the family. He would come over and visit and watch Beauty and The Beast with my daughter and youngest son. During a particularly rough patch at our house, he showed up with two sacks of groceries and proceeded to make us dinner. That is family! There was a huge hole in our hearts when Rich died suddenly of a complication of AIDS. Rich was 28 years old. At his funeral, there were two sides. On one side was his mother, friends and my children and I. It was quickly obvious who was running the ‘show’. Rich’s father had a microphone and called from people who were sitting with him and turning away from the other side. He wanted testimony about Rich with no mention of who he really was after the age of five. Numerous people gave their tributes to Rich but it was so strange, it was obvious they didn’t have a clue who he was. As young as Tovah and her little brother Joseph were, they knew that those people were not speaking of the Rich we knew. During this whole time, not one person from the mother’s side of the room was invited to speak. It was clear that they wished we were not there at all. Regardless, we were there for Rich and his mom.

When I had received the call of Rich’s sudden passing, I was angry. My response was a poem. I had not planned to take it to the funeral but at the last minute grabbed it on my way out the door. While the testimonies roared, I shared the poem with two friends, David and Miki who had worked with Rich for several years. Our eyes spoke volumes and they nudged me a bit too far. Now I am quite the introvert and would rather face the root canal than get up and speak but I quietly walked up behind the last speaker and took the microphone from his hand. He was too surprised to respond. My heart was pumping fast but this was for Rich and for his mom. I have no doubt my hands were shaking as much as my knees but I read it as I had written it. There were no apologies for any language used and his mother was very touched. Now the children and I knew all too well why he never spoke of his father.

And I have to believe for now

You’re not that far away(Richard Bonilla 1966-1994)

Good Night Sweet Prince

Yes, it really hurts!

Yes, I’m angry

And a 28 year-old man

Is not suppose to die 

To gasp for his last breath

Alone

Because the onset of P.C.P. (opportunistic infection of AIDS)

Was sudden

He said it was the flu

And he was gone

Before his mother got word

He was sick

Before she could return from Alaska

Before we could be there

He died

Alone

And I hurt

And my children hurt

And the black hole has tightened

Its grip on our lives

And I hate this fucking disease

That ravages the flesh of the young

Stealing their tomorrows

And our tomorrows with him

And I’m sorry I didn’t tell you

That last haircut was the best I ever had

And I’m angry

That you won’t be sitting next to me

When Joseph dances the nutcracker

And I’m angry there wasn’t more time

For more hugs

And there are always more things

We planned to say and do

And I’m angry that when I walk into your shop

Your not there

With your flick of the wrist “hi girl”

And your bear crunch hug

Your toothpaste grin

Your liquid black eyes

Full of laughter and tears

And I’m sad

And my tears are for you

And for us

And I’m grateful

For the three years we had

For the hours you played with the kids

Praising their triumphs

Accepting their shortcomings, and mine

You always saw the best in them

And when their father rejected them again

And when I was down

You left work early, shopped

And cooked a chicken dinner with all the trimmings

(Forgetting I’m a vegetarian)

And I thank you for nurturing the bitch

With bottles of red dye

Coaxing her out of me and into the open

And I am grateful

You were part of our family

For such a short time

I was proud to say I love you

And I’m just so fucking scared

Of how we all will miss you

And the world has grown so much colder

But the stars are brighter now

                    –

As Rich’s father and his friends parted, the rest of us gathered outside. We hugged each other, released balloons, sang Somewhere Over The Rainbow and the sun shown upon us.

Like many parents of LGBT children, I was not surprised when my daughter decided to ‘come out’. A few of us had known for some time and knew she would when she was ready. I was grateful to all of these wonderful people for making it safe for her to do so. “Coming Out” in such a vitriolic society, sharply barbed tongues and ignorance abound and I was unsure of my own ability to buffer the blows. I’ve seen a number of these beautiful young people succumb to the intolerance and judgment that surrounds them. I shall be ever grateful to the dear people who helped surround my daughter with a safe and accepting environment in which she could discover herself. Being gay is no different than the beautiful brown eyes that smile so brilliantly and can coax a grin out of most anyone.

Our lives are punctuated by what is often called “Rights of Passage”. That first driver’s license, the prom, a Sweet-Sixteen, graduations, weddings and so many other ‘Firsts’. Tovah wanted a party and that is exactly what we had. A Coming Out Party was the order of the day. Someone cut a huge rainbow shape out of wood and hung it over our front door after painting it to resemble a rainbow. Michael brought two large canvases, paint and brushes. On one canvas he had painted The Emerald City with a fairy flying above. Guests were encouraged to paint something for Tovah and many did. In the background were playing both the film and the soundtrack from The Wizard of Oz. There were members of the community, friends. My older son, the big jock, invited all his good friends from school and from his baseball team. It was beautiful to see them come to support Tovah. What was missing that day were three beautiful people, Gayle, Cliff and Rich who were stolen from this life way too soon. Gayle knew early and actually gave Tovah her first leather jacket. Tovah was eight years old and Gayle had cut down an old jacket of hers to fit Tovah. I didn’t have the heart to tell Gayle how quickly Tovah grew out of it.

While a parent can not always protect their children, we must give them our unconditional love and support. We cannot decide who or what they will be. That is their job. They must ‘try it on’ see what fits them and not try to copy who we are or who we pretend to be. Our job is to accept, respect and celebrate who they are with them. For some parents, it is uncharted territory. Give your kids a chance, open your heart and your mind and enjoy all that awaits you.

A few years before Tovah made her declaration, I had been thinking about what this would mean for her and her life. In such a situation I try to put myself in the other person’s place. What would it be like? For me, writing, especially poetry, has been a way of processing things and the following poem was the result. It may not reflect what the experience is truly like, but as I said, I could only imagine.

in a woman’s arms (for Tovah in her first relationship)

in a woman’s arms

there is softness

and I fall

into the silky

embrace

and it is new

and different

uncharted

yet

intoxicating

in its hazy familiarity

I trace the

Topography

Of curves

And flesh

I plunge deep

Inside her caverns

Her salty sweetness

Beckons me

Deeper

She quivers

And the rumblings

Echo throughout me

Fanning flames deep inside

So unfamiliar

So new

Caution yielding

Heat rising

Her voice

Deepens

Catches

She moans

We embrace

I am finding

Myself

in a woman’s arms

Today my daughter has been in a relationship for the past eight years. She and Ashley live near Ashley’s family and Tovah cares for Ashley’s two nephews and niece. The children adore her. They are at all the boys sports events and while the niece is still very young, no doubt Tovah and Ashley will be there for her interests as well. They continue the commitment to animal rescue that Tovah has been dedicated to since she was twelve years old. My daughter is a beautiful young woman. She is kind, gentle with a bubbly personality and her eyes sparkle with laughter. Yes, she is a Lesbian. She is also an author, a reader, a woman devoted to those she loves and so much more.

She recently had her first book published and is currently busy with the second. I am proud of my daughter and of the wonderful people who have become our family and friends. They have enriched our lives beyond measure. I shall always remain grateful for these stellar role models who reached out to my children and myself. To those who are so filled with hatred and ignorance, I am sad for you. You are missing out on knowing some amazing people, people of all ages and walks of life who are filled with love and just want to be accepted for who they are. They threaten nobody. Can you say that?

Bisous,

Léa

Paix et d’espoir (Of peace and hope)

Today we’re dumping 70 million tons of global-warming pollution into the environment, and tomorrow we will dump more, and there is no effective worldwide response. Until we start sharply reducing global-warming pollution, I feel that I have failed.” – Al Gore

We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment.” – Margaret Mead

Paix et d’espoir (Of peace and hope)

weapons of cowardice

rang out 13 November, 2015

ricocheting across Paris

echoing over France

heard across the world

lives lost – lives forever changed

in each small French village.

city and town

les enfants on planté

un olivier – de pais et d’espoir

we do not forget

symbols of hope – olives

of peace – its branch

l’arbre – biodiversité

un abre pour le climat

children across France armed,

resolute with shovels, spades,

trees, soil, hope and smudged faces

in Paris gathering commences

COP21 (Conférence sur le climat à Paris)

if only they would listen –

hear the children who plant trees,

run in the leaves, delight in the

harvest – the animals that enrich our lives

insects , plants, biologic diversity

the living tissue of this planet

fragile under human assault

what will you do?

what will you say to the children?

bisous,

léa

bond-less day

“Parents and relatives commit murder with smiles on their faces. They force us to destroy the person we really are: a subtle kind of murder.” – Jim Morrison

*

bond-less day

no, they say

you never miss

what you never had

yet I kept searching

for that bond

turning each stone

attachment of infancy

maternal bonding

it is celebrated

every year

and every year

I busy myself

to focus on

what I have that

is mine

despite familial rejection

the years of abuse

the violence

children she never

wanted – a choice

that was not mine

if you had that

magical bond

assuming we all did

i’m happy for you

but don’t assume

this is universal

i’ve worked with others

who lived in dread

of the pretense

who asked ourselves

over and over

why wasn’t I

acceptable

being who I

was, childish

attempts to change

your mind, your heart

changing who i was

trying to be good enough

finally accepting

without a conscience

there is nothing

you have to give

never to look into

my eyes

we were both

victims – who chose

different paths

no terms of endearment

no kisses, no gentle touch

i’ve learned to glue

pieces together

scarring is deep

but now i am free

i’ve built a life

where acceptance

is my cocoon

emerging i 

take wing and fly

*

bisous,

léa

cuddling oblivion

Inspiration comes from all around us. On several ocassions, I have been inspired by one or more of the blogs that I follow. The following poem was inspired by a title on a post by Lotta Wanner. If you are not already following her, stop by and see what she is up to!  http://lottawanner.com

*

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we spent with a favorite book.” – Marcel Proust

*

cuddling oblivion

the image stolen –

poem of a friend

but i’ve cuddled

oblivion more times

than I could count

squirming children

plucked from their bath

dampness of freshly

shampooed hair

leaves its mark

upon chest and soul

in jammys we snuggle

sofa rather crowded

to one end

the scent of them

lingers in perpetuity

like the softness of

freshly bathed arms and legs

stories and poems

before slumber

voices I didn’t know

I possessed

telling tales of the ages

so many years passed

voices deeper

no longer interested

in childish stories

oblivion safely tucked

in the corners of my mind

oblivion –

who knew you

could return?

Bisous,

Léa

Tempest Tamer

“Never argue with a fool. Onlookers may not be able to tell the difference.” – Mark Twain

*

Tempest Tamer

Twain said it – I believe it

Experience as a therapist

Proves it over and over

Again

 

And again in the bar

The party of elite

Voices rising takes me

Back

 

In graduate school

Stressing the importance

Conflict resolution

The angriest client speaks

First

 

Survival skills honed in

Infancy – an excellent listener

Often called on to diffuse the

Tempest

 

There was one storm

Where failure was

Abysmal – one does not choose

Parents

 

*

Bisous,

Léa

Mind’s eye

Originally posted on 31 December 2011

“Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.”  – Martin Luther King Jr.

“The first casualty when war comes is truth.”  –  Hiram Johnson

 

Mind’s eye

My father fought

A war

Years before

My birth

As I grew up

I watched him

Fight it

Again and again

His sinewy hands

Trembled

As he pried apart

Venetian blinds

Scouting the enemy invasion

Of our suburban neighborhood

Armed with a bottle of juice

A newspaper

Or any other munitions

At hand

He held his ground

Paralyzed

By his reality

Bisous,

Léa

The other side of the story – National Adoption Month

After reading an article on National Adoption Month, I wrote the following poem. The author of the article blames adoption for her issues. I remember as a young child praying each night that either my ‘real’ mother appear as ‘the mother’ hated me so and couldn’t actually be my mother or that my father would find someone kind who would have us both. After my unanswered prayers, I would cry myself to sleep.

My steps took me to university where I majored in Psychology obtaining my Master’s Degree and as a single parent then began working at a private therapy clinic and with Child Protection.

I do acknowledge the woman’s pain. However, she appears to have other issues and is so focused on ‘being adopted’ she cannot put a foot forward. I’ve been the kid that should have been surrendered for adoption. I’ve also worked with both sides both as a private therapist and in Child Protection. I know how bad the system is and often the kids end up with relatives who are not far from the parent/s they were removed from and/or do not protect them from said parent/s. 
When I was about four, I began going to the next door neighbors home to help with her clients. Mrs. Jones was a speech therapist for the Crippled Children’s Society. There were often children sitting in her living room waiting to be seen or siblings that needed to be distracted while they waited. Helping with these children and being an early reader helped me to focus outside a situation that was out of my control.

The poem below is offered to all those parents who put the child first and to all those children adopted or not who are survivors of some of life’s harshest realities. This piece is also for those brave individuals who step forward and make a difference in the life of these children.  In the end, it is all about love. Some never have been on the receiving end and don’t have love to give. Some have love in abundance. My sincere wish that all would find peace. I know from personal experience that my peace came from learning, understanding and perhaps most of all, reaching out to others who were or are still in pain.

 

“Biology is the least of what makes someone a mother.” – Oprah Winfrey

*

The other side of the story

 

Yes! I’ve no doubt

How painful it must be

Finding out your mother

Didn’t want, didn’t keep

You

Always knowing that she

Didn’t want you

Couldn’t keep you

Left you to the care

Of others

Whoever they may be

Searching crowds

For genetic similarities

Are they a part of me?

Where do I belong?

That eternal search

For home, acceptance,

Unconditional love

 

From my earliest memories

I would pray that my “real”

Mother would find me

I must have been put

Here by mistake

Yet her proof – horrific

Caesarean scar – my crime

Fragmentizing for a girl of three

Prayers for my father to

Find someone else who

Would be kind to us both

Hatred by – the mother

The word ‘mother’ still

Makes me queasy

 

Target for her rage

Making sure bruises didn’t show

Sold off to the grandma’s

Boyfriend – deacon of the church

For him to scatter his holy seeds

And cleanse my wickedness

Father unable to defend him self

Becoming his defender

Deflecting her rage onto myself

Believing he wouldn’t survive

And I would be alone, yet

I was always on my own

Never a kind word, nor

Gentle touch

 

I tell my story not for pity

Now at last I’m free

If you were adopted

Perhaps that mother

You search for

Spared you from my fate

And others who suffered more

Knowing she was not able

Perhaps the choice was not hers?

If you were treated kindly

You’ve much to be grateful for

Try forgiving – we never forget

It is on the road to healing

Then reach out to

Those who still suffer

Taking the focus off ourselves

Catharsis for healing

*

Bisous,

Léa

You are what you read…

 

“Every day we should hear at least one little song, read one good poem, see one exquisite picture, and, if possible, speak a few sensible words.”  

  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

 

“I must say I find television very educational. The minute somebody turns it on, I go to the library and read a good book.”   – Groucho Marx

 

“I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.”   – Oscar Wilde

 

*

 

You are what you read

 

That is what he said

I read it today

On his blog

One of the lines

On his blog post

Re-reading Borges

Caught my attention

Waved that carrot

Of taking a line

For a walk

Across a snowy white sheet

Virginal papers – now splattered

With specks of black – letters

Letters forming words

Tony’s poem puts it out there

You are what you read

I think back to the diet of this year

My summer sustained by

Hemingway – a little light reading

Then on to Sinclair Lewis

Earlier in the year there were

Antoine Saint Exupery

The Little Prince – resplendent

En français et anglais

Speaking to me in my

Annual reading of each

Jasper Fforde for humor

There is always a generous

Helping of poetry on the menu

Baudelaire, Paul Éluard, en français

Recently discovered, Serge Roy

With a generous helping

Of Dorothy Parker and Neruda,

Razor sharp wit and passion

Books about writing – reminding

Me, to just write

Journal of a Swedish ancestor

Crossing the plains circa 1890’s

The book thief, several memoirs

Biographies of the great and everyday people

Tony, it is just as you say

You are what you read