Prompt for SOC Saturday


SOC Prompt for 2-28-15:acquaint and/or friend
The Saturday SOC prompt is from the blog of lindaghil
Please Join in the Fun! Rules are on her blog…link above.

I had no idea where this was going, and I don’t think I got there!

It’s always hard to acquaint myself with someone I really want as a friend…and on the other hand, it’s easy for someone I don’t think I want as a friend to familiarize… rather quickly … themselves with me.

Am I a snob? I have to really be honest and say that at times, I am. There are certain qualifications I have at the top of my list for choosing a friend. Humorous, loyal, fun, and I want a friend who” gets me” and who I “get.”  Or is that whom? I don’t know and I don’t want my friend to know either. Maybe it’s more like I want my friend not to care. I especially want my friend not to point out any bad grammar, unless I’m asking for a proofread on my writing. No way do I want a friend to correct me when I’m speaking even when we’re alone. To correct me in front of others … most offensive and qualifies for a punch in the nose. There’s no right or wrong grammatical application to my fist flying into a part of the body. OK, I’d never do that, but I’d imagine it in full color.

So there I was at my “chosen” friend’s tea and book discussion. I tried hard to acquaint her with my amazing personality by commenting on how I once entertained royalty at a tea held in my home. It was a lie, but I  wanted her to have a complete realization about how many people…truly qualifiable people…enjoyed the way I told stories that lifted one into another world and could hold my own conversationally in any company. Her response wasn’t exactly what I desired.  I don’t think she believed me because it looked as if she was trying very hard to hold back laughter. When she asked me to name the royalty, I blubbered around a bit and came up with the “Earl of…  oh, what’s that kingdom’s name.”

So much for the hold on laughter…. and  embarrassed looks from several women.  I was avoided during the rest of the tea and whenever I tried to add to the discussion of the book of the month, someone interrupted.

Yet, there was this one lady.  She wasn’t much in the way of “fun to be with.” The entire tea, she hadn’t said a word. Just as  I was leaving, I felt her give my arm a gentle tug. She asked, with a straight face and seemingly in all sincerity, for advice on entertaining. royalty. She told me how impressed she was that I had entertained an Earl. I stared at her, waiting for a punch line, but none came.  My list of friend qualifications, aside, I asked her to come over on Saturday for lunch.




Girlhood ( after Billy Collins)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA                   claras_dollhouse10

I’ve  always loved Billy Collin’s poetry. One of his poems, Boyhood, haunted me for a long time after I read it. It dawned on me that it brought back emotions related to my own childhood. I wrote the following poem for one of my MFA classes. I used a lot of Collin’s form and style. My critique group enjoyed it and gave me good feedback, but I never sent it off for publishing. Writing a poem after another poet is done in the poetry world as long as the poet gives note that it is “after” and then the poet’s name. I felt my poem was too similar to his, so I didn’t want to send it. However, I was looking through some of my old papers and there it was hidden beneath sheathes of free writes!  Again, it brought back feelings I’d left behind. It was as if I’d found an old friend.

I’ve decided to share it on my blog as a tribute to Billy Collins and as a tip for writers. It worked for me. and I hope others will find it a helpful tool in their writing toolbox. I was taught that it is a good thing for poets or writers in general to find a poet one likes and actually copy their style and form and even voice for while. I’ve done that with many poets I love. What I’ve found is that after awhile, I began to develop my own voice, my own style, and my own form of writing. Like I was taught…It’s Good Thing. So here’s my poem written after Billy Collins.

( After Billy Collins)
Leigh Mackelvey

I would lie beside my dollhouse in the attic
and level one eye against the largest window
to watch the plastic suited father sit downstairs

on the tiny sofa while the mother rocked
the pink-gowned girl in the  nursery upstairs,
an imaginary lullaby
filling and soothing the house
and me.

There was something about that time
before I reached my hand into the house
and moved the family
into other rooms.

It wasn’t the dishes the size of  my thumb,
unwashed in the pretend sink,
the miniscule posies on the nursery walls,

nor was it the sparkle of the silver-balled
evergreen on it’s round stand.
Not the orange glow of the battery-

lit logs in the wee fireplace.
What I wanted
was to be
calmed over and over

by that lullaby as I let it
drift slowly downstairs to the
father, then let it

melt  into
until there was
nothing left

but a softly sung song.


Now this is Billy Collin’s Poem! Much more gorgeous than mine.


Alone in the basement,
I would sometimes lower one eye
to the level of the narrow train track

to watch the puffing locomotive
pull the cars around a curve
then bear down on me with its dazzling eye.

What was in those moments
before I lifted my head and let the train
go rocking by under my nose?

I remember not caring much
about the fake grass or the buildings
that made up the miniature town.

The same went for the station and its master,
the crossing gates and flashing lights,
the milk car, the pencil-size logs,

the metallic men and women,
the dangling water tower,
and the round mirror for a pond.

All I wanted was to be blinded
over and over by this shaking light
as the train stuck fast to its oval course.

Or better still, to close my eyes,
to stay there on the cold narrow rails
and let the train tunnel through me

the way it tunneled through the mountain
painted the color of rock,
and then there would be nothing

but the long whistling through the dark –
no basement, no boy,
no everlasting summer afternoon.

— Billy Collins, past poet laureate USA