#TBT (A Poem & A Picture)

Getting Me Back (the original poem)

Tissue thin transparent bits and pieces

by the millions I gave to you…

To be received, to be tended or

to be rendered useless as you deemed fit

old inhabitants of terra firma.

Slivers of my soul….

What did you do with these pieces of me?

Where are the misplaced microscopic stars of

my spirit, where are they laid?

Did they dissolve beneath a soft autumn rain?

Or burn in the heat of a cruel summer day?

Were they consumed by the dust mites of fate?

Giving me away was easy….

Getting me back seems nearly impossible.

I saw a fleck of glitter this morning,

caught in an abandoned web of time.

I retrieved it ever so carefully, pulling away

the tiny choking strands; polishing it in the palm of my

hand till it shone bright like a

minuscule star… exploding… and

I recognized it as the twinkle I once saw

in a smiling photo of me.

If you recognize the above poem and picture it may be because you saw it two years ago. Or… maybe you read the book.

The Sharecropper’s Son Chapter 1 (Friday’s Free-for-All)

Waiting

For hopes that hung on a chicken bones
For hearts that lived in chains
For pods of green that died unknown
While waiting for the rain

For dreams left bare on empty prayer
For souls that wished in vain
For tears unshared in mute despair
While waiting for a change

For you and I and all mankind
For worlds where peace was slain
For faith and mind no man can bind
We wait and wait again

“All eyes were on Wall Street, but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro County drought.”

Cast of Characters:

Jamison Baines Weir
Liam and Coletta Weir
Jeff and Diane Flint
Bob and Maddie Hallet
D.W. and Bell Crom
Colored Dan
Ronald Gore

theatre masks
Chapter 1

The news of Black Tuesday came and went as little more than dry morsels between flapjacks and red-eyed gravy. Black Thursday was no different. Margin calls and ticker-talk; it was all a foreign language to the average man of Navarro county. New York, Chicago and any place not adjacent to the dying province could have just as well been another country – another planet.
<>Suicides headlined newspapers across the globe. Although desperate men (and women) chose gas or bullets; poison or tablets to avoid poverty the stories of men leaping from windows sold more papers and it seemed to pacify the masses, at least for a while.
<>The headlines went on and on. Tales of a brutal bearish market where stock prices were plummeting and fortunes were being dissolved. The days grew long and the soup lines grew longer as billions of dollars were lost, except for the sparse crowd who knew how to short the market and profit from despair.

<>The caste system was readjusting; the prudent wealthy settled into middle-class; the so called middle-class went back to being poor and the poor resorted to begging or starving. Even the outcasts felt the impact. Amidst all of the chaos and realigning there was one morphological thing that everyone understood; a fact that every race, creed, class and religion agreed upon – the roaring twenties had come to a crashing halt. Literally.

EIGHT MORE TAKE THE PLUNGE.

A somnolent bedraggled man stood in the doorway of Crom’s Cafe and eyed the headline of the Navarro County Herald. He thoughtlessly tapped his hat against his thigh to loosen the grit before tossing a nickel into the box that read COFFEE & TOAST 5¢. There were a dozen nickels alongside his.

<>“Thanks Bell” he grumbled to the portly matron behind the paper as he filed past the register and took a seat in the back of the diner.
Half a dozen men sat scattered about the dimly lit eatery, each one scarcely aware of the others presence. They all sat in the same fashion; silent with their elbows on the table and their heads bowed over crumbs and half empty cups. One man’s groans interrupted the silence, erupting between broken verses of prayer which quickly evaporated without regard.
<>“Here you go Liam.” Bell spoke just above a whisper as she sat the mug and saucer on the table, “If there’s anything left after breakfast I’ll send it home with you.”
<>“Thank you ma’am but that fella over there looks a heap worse than any of us.” he nodded toward the sniveling man, “Looks like he might need any scraps you can spare.”
<>“Tut-tut!” Bell shot a glance at the praying man and shook her head, “Don’t you know who that is? That is Daniel D. Starnes; the same Daniel Starnes who owns the cotton gin over at Mexia; the same scoundrel that cheated fifty men out of their wages. I know he makes a sorrowful spectacle with all that praying but do you know what he’s praying for?” the woman paused long enough to fill her lungs and did not wait for Liam to respond. “The beast! Yep, he is praying that the stock market will recover so he doesn’t lose any more money on his investments. I tell you I am at my wits end with all the moaning and groaning and killing over filthy lucre and that blasted stock market! ” Bell wiped her hands on her apron and marched toward the kitchen speaking so the entire café could hear her, “Money! That is all some folks care about.”
<>Money can’t buy you rain, Liam thought, as he quietly dipped his dry toast into the weak coffee and watched as the diner filled.
<>The usual crowd shuffled in, in their habitual manner. More coffee was poured into waiting mugs, more nickels dropped into the box, a few at the bar ordered a real breakfast and those who could afford to buy a copy unfurled their paper. Liam inconspicuously glanced at the man’s next to him. The dismal headline meant nothing to most tenant farmers. It meant even less to Liam Weir. He saw it as one less gluttonous banker and they could not die fast enough to suit him.
And greedy cotton ginners can go to hell right along with `em.

Navarro County Herald

<>If I had five cents to spend, I wouldn’t waste it on that rag. They just as well call it the New Yorker! Liam decided he had seen enough of the Navarro County Herald. There was no mention of the drought, not on the front page anyway. When the man beside him turned the page, Liam went back to watching the idle patrons throughout the diner.
From his seat in the rear he could see the entire café and a portion of the adjoining store, the same store he was determined to visit and purchase a decent bill of groceries before the day was up.
<>Liam studied the room; watched as men felt blindly for cups and sopped dry biscuits in air while soaking up the news of investors going broke. All eyes were on Wall Street but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro county drought.
<>He watched as a billion dust particles danced overhead, swaying recklessly in rays of smoke stained sunshine until the weight of grease and nicotine and worry forced them to settle. The grimy mist settled on everything – on everyone. It covered every field cap and fedora. Without prejudice it landed on burnt necks and white collars alike and no one, other than Liam appeared to notice. He listened to the moans and grunts that followed each turning page. Some lingered on the specifics, others on the gruesome photographs but at the end of breakfast they all shrugged their shoulders and went back to waiting.

Get the rest of the story @ your favorite e-book store.

Paperback available @ Amazon

Thanks Y’all!!

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The Working Man (A Labor of Love)

Happy Labor Day to the muscles, masses, heartbeats, sweat and backbones that make America great.

With all the troubles and tension felt in today’s USA y’all deserve to relax and be recognized.

However I must say  as tough as it sometimes seems I believe this country has certainly seen worse. Our predecessors and ancestors would probably attest to that. As a matter of fact The Sharecropper’s Son, though written as fiction was based on such history.

As many of you already know The Sharecropper’s Son was inspired by a photograph (and a few stories) of my husband’s late grandfather who was indeed a sharecropper in Navarro County, Texas. That is him on the cover dressed in his “Sunday best”.  My work is not always as grueling or strenuous as that of the ‘blue collar’ man but it is  a labor of love nonetheless . If you haven’t read The Sharecropper’s Son yet, today is a good day to start.

All eyes were on Wall Street, but truth be told, the market crash paled in comparison to the Navarro County drought.

Between the stock market crash, a rich man’s greed and the Navarro County drought an indentured slave is left with few choices. Jamison Baines Weir is born the son of a sharecropper where hard times and sorrow are a way of life. It is a way of life Jamie never questions until famine and malice force him to leave the dying farm and follow a path that leads to murder and mystery.

From Getting Me Back (A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me)

I cannot count the number of trips taken in that old station-wagon, but I do recall the passengers (nine, twelve and sometimes fifteen) packed liked sardines in a can; damp and smelly and filled with anticipation.

janna 1976

Looking back: It is like sitting in the third row seat of an old station wagon, staring ahead at the road behind you…

It is not enough to sit in the front seat and see where you were going – you didn’t know anyway. To understand how you got here you have to look at where you have been.

In that third row seat facing backwards you might be tempted to stare at the floorboard or the marks on your shoes or the stripes on the asphalt that never seem to end, but don’t. To understand you must look up, look back and accept the scenery for what it was.

When the pain and fury and fear rise up —  remember it is only a hill in the distance, you have already passed over. That queasy feeling in your stomach is no more than a sour memory.

I speak as if caressing scars and lament but what of the scars I have inflicted? Do I grieve for them? The answer is yes; indubitably yes.

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Reminder: This is the last day Getting Me Back (The Voices Within) will be FREE  (April 18th through the 21st). It is also the last “A Poem & A Picture by Me & of Me” for this year’s NPM. You can do your happy dance now. 😉

Oh, and Clan Destiny (Unjustified Favor) Book 3 in the series is your complimentary title for April 21st -23rd. Have a super-fantastic read filled weekend and I’ll see you next week.

A Poem & A Picture (Hungry Eyes)

I said I would try to focus on unknown poets this year, and I will, after this digression.

Merle Haggard passed away yesterday, he was known as “the poet of the common man” but we called him the poor man’s poet. It’s no secret that I grew up poor, and now the fact that I thought the name of this song was My Mama’s Hungry Eyes, is no longer a secret. These lyrics always made me think of my own mother. They make me think of her now, no longer with hungry eyes… her and daddy, no longer struggling.

Rest in Peace & Happy Birthday Merle.  Say Hi to Mama & Daddy for me.

Merle Ronald Haggard (April 06, 1937 – April 06, 2016)

Hungry Eyes by Merle Haggard

A canvas-covered cabin in a crowded labor camp

Stand out in this memory I revived

‘Cause my daddy raised a family there, with two hard-working hands

And tried to feed my mama’s hungry eyes

He dreamed of something better, and my mama’s faith was strong

And us kids were just too young to realize

That another class of people put us somewhere just below

One more reason for my mama’s hungry eyes

Mama never had the luxuries she wanted

But it wasn’t ’cause my daddy didn’t try

She only wanted things she really needed

One more reason for my mama’s hungry eyes

I remember daddy praying for a better way of life

But I don’t recall a change of any size

Just a little loss of courage, as their age began to show

And more sadness in my mama’s hungry eyes

Mama never had the luxuries she wanted

But it wasn’t ’cause my daddy didn’t try

She only wanted things she really needed

One more reason for my mama’s hungry eyes

Oh, I still recall my mama’s hungry eyes

 

Inspiration

I am still officially out to lunch but you know how it goes when a story gets inside your head and the schizophrenia kicks in. An old photograph comes alive, the landscape shifts, characters start cropping up and voila, The Sharecropper’s Son is conceived.

 

I have about two thousand (totally fictitious) words written so far and I have no idea how long the story will be. There are no deadlines to meet and though the destination is set, the path is not carved in stone. The only thing I know at this point is that I am excited to let the story tell itself.