NaPoWriMo Day 1: How to Honor the Visible and the Invisible

You may know her by her dazzling, infectious smile
Or breasts to die for, “the best money can buy”
(she’d quip)
In reality, this is only how you might recognize her
Her carefree brazenness masked depression inside.

Her kind, compassionate words; heartfelt, honest talks
A lifetime of experiences that made her hard, yet soft
Her volunteer work was far and above
Whether giving advice from a barstool or art from her loft.

Her imaginative paintings reflected her vibrant soul
Whimsical, off-kilter landscapes that seem exactly right
For those among us who’ve traveled a winding path
The colors of Puerto Vallarta are not as bright tonight.

Far too many brilliant stars are seen and not heard
Lest you think painting in the buff is obscene
(she often painted in the nude)
Know she’s in the heavens now, naked and unafraid
Paint the sky any color you want, my dear Francine!

~ Just L (NaPoWriMo, April 1, 2019)

Read Francine’s story here.

NaPoWriMo 2019, Day 1 Prompt: write a poem that provides the reader with instructions on how to do something.

Author’s Note: In loving memory of Francine Peters who lost her battle with depression on the eve of International Transgender Day of Visibility 2019.

A sunset celebration of Francine Peters life is scheduled for Thursday, April 4, 2019, 6:30pm at Langostinos on Playa Los Muertos, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. All are welcome.

“Do not assume that [s]he who seeks to comfort you now, lives untroubled among the simple and quiet words that sometimes do you good. [Her] life may also have much sadness and difficulty, that remains far beyond yours. Were it otherwise, [s]he would never have been able to find these words.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

I Didn’t Even Suck In My Stomach

I saw you on the street
In passing, We embraced
“Hi Sweetheart”…
You introduced me to your “friend”
Beautiful like a tiny painting
With a limp dishrag handshake.

I greeted you full, squarely on
With my usual over-the-top energy
“So great to see you; and meet you”
I didn’t even suck in my stomach
I don’t need your approval,
Or heartache.

~ Just L (February 5, 2019)

Where Two Rivers Meet the Sea

Tropical flowers are red,
The sky is blue,
The sun is hot,
And so are you.

Water taxis are white,
Yachts are rare,
The water is shiny
And so is your hair.

Roosters crow,
Chickens lay eggs,
Force is strong,
And so are your legs.

Mountains reach,
Up to the skies,
The sand is sparkly,
And so are your eyes.

Iguanas in hedges,
Mean no harm,
Arrival is safe,
And so are your arms.

Locals are pretty,
Guests have style,
My party is winning,
And so is your smile.

Two rivers meet the sea
In southern Jalisco
The Bay is beautiful,
Just like you.

~ Just L (November 29, 2018)

yelapa 2

Author’s Note: Yelapa, Mexico. Yelapa means where two rivers meet the sea.

Willa

The windows rattled but I was not shook;
Your strong arms, my protection.
Reminded of your house’s strong foundation;
I settled in to the kiss of rain’s affection.

As the waves crashed in this Cabo Corrientes cove,
We found our own native rhythm.
Skin to skin we crackled;
Was it the lightning or him?

You drug the boat back into the southernmost (of Bahía de Banderas)
In the calm of the morning light.
We headed toward the rainbow;
God’s blessing, our delight.

~ Just L (October 26, 2018)

Yelapa, Mexico, as we were alerted of Willa’s approach. Video courtesy of Romeo Tovar Chavarin.

Author’s Note: My great niece, Willa, turned 1 this month. Coincidence?

NAPOWRIMO Day 26: Tile Park PV: A Celebration of Puerto Vallarta’s 100th Birthday

NAPOWRIMO Day 26: Tile Park PV: A Celebration of Puerto Vallarta’s 100th Birthday 

At first I feel a little nervous and sweaty
It’s 83 degrees in April and the morning air is perspiring, too
I take a gulp of latte with my pineapple pastry
Common props for this not morning girl
Wishing now I had asked for an iced coffee
Already much of the plaza has been transformed by color
Themed mosaics cover the once gray concrete pillars
I’m excited to be participating in this art installation – Tile Park PV
Today we are working on the four elements, fire, water, air…
Two friends and a stranger are assigned earth, our team of three
Sifting through the tiles and beads before me
Conchas Chinas Beach comes to mind
When I first visited  I thought of Yachats, Oregon, immediately!
Lava rocks encircle tide pools surrounded by soft sand
Small agates appear where the waves break
Enveloped by a great expanse of a cheese-cloth covered sky
The only difference here is the water is warm
It invites you to kick off your shoes and wade
The other teams are talking with their hands
As they plan how they’ll integrate their designs
I grasp my first tile; it feels cool to the touch
Dip my scraper in the mortar and begin to lose track of time

~Just L (April 26, 2018)

Author’s Note: NaPoWriMo Prompt – Write a poem that includes images that engage all five senses. Try to be as concrete and exact as possible with the “feel” of what the poem invites the reader to see, smell, touch, taste and hear.

I skipped the last three days of NaPoWriMo as I was in Lazaro Cardenas Park in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, making history. Find out more about the project here: https://www.parqueazulejospv.com/

NAPOWRIMO Day 23: The Romantic Zone: A Street Symphony 

NAPOWRIMO Day 23: The Romantic Zone: A Street Symphony 

In the Romantic Zone of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, working and mating sound the same —

Outside my terrace, construction workers are using jackhammers
The locals are lining up to grab a few tacos al pastor from a street food stall
The man selling el gas competes with the mattress salesman
While in my casa headboards of lovers bang against the wall
The funicular toting laundry to the rooftop hums off and on
And the Great-tailed Grackle who gathers at the pool is the loudest of them all!

~Just L (April 23, 2018, a rewrite of NAPOWRIMO Day 19)

Listen to the sounds of the gas truck here.

Listen to the sounds of the mattress truck here.

Author’s Note: NAPOWRIMO Prompt – We challenge you to honor this idea with a poem based in sound. The poem, for example, could incorporate overheard language. Perhaps it could incorporate a song lyric in some way, or language from something often heard spoken aloud (a prayer, a pledge, the Girl Scout motto). Or you could use a regional or local phrase from your hometown that you don’t hear elsewhere, e.g. “that boy won’t amount to a pinch.”