Little Things (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: Little things can make all the difference in the world.]

A little wave can influence a costal shore

                since every gentle brush pulls grains of sand into the sea

                and delivers treasures from the deep onto the land

A little water can give rise to a mighty tree

                given with patient fondness over many long years

                like a mother who watches her child grow by the day

A little kindness can turn a stranger into a friend

                to weave lifelong memories alongside throughout a lifetime

                or to reach out and embrace whenever darkness falls

A little thing can make all the difference in the world

                because our world consists of countless little things

                each one of us affects the universe in countless little ways

Empowering Words (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: There are so many ways that I want to help other people, such as friends and family members who are struggling with various issues. Sometimes, writing seems to be the best means to do that.]

You are powerful

      I want to tug these words off the page

            like threads from a much broader quilt

                 and twist them into a bracelet to place

                             right around your wrist—

                                                           To touch late at night

                                                                  when doubts crouch about your bed

                                         and whisper of scars

                                                      from years ago

                                                                                                 and of concerns

                                                                                                           for tomorrow

You are smart

      I yearn to use this message

           In a similar way to a long

           and sturdy ribbon

           used to hold up your hair—

          for you to remember

                          at every step taken

                                          until its meaning

                                                                  becomes

                                                                       an understood part

                                                                                                         …of you

You are loved

     I hope to arrange each letter of that truth

          as if they were beads along a length of yarn

                 tied loosely about your neck—

                         there to lay upon your chest

                                     and harmonize with your heartbeats

                                like a symphony played

                                              for all the world to hear

                                                       at long last

                                                            …without hesitation

A Written Soul (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: More musings on the creative process.]

I have read that writing reflects its author

   as if texts were images upon a pond surface

But unlike a pond that ripples and changes

   what writers set down on a page can linger

   centuries after we have disappeared into time

Sometimes I wonder in quiet moments

    much of our identity gets crafted into the words

   that make up the creative works we weave together

Are traces of our souls left behind in what we create

    fragments that hint at a larger picture scattered about

    with great care in whatever we choose to bring to life?

How much can we ever place of ourselves

     down on a piece of paper?

Can a person come to know the soul of another

     based on what she or he writes for the world?

I lay awake at night sometimes

     with many such questions in mind

Oblivion Avenue (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: Inspired by a dream filled with ideas for characters and places just waiting for their chance to appear in fiction somewhere.]

Along Oblivion Avenue           or so I have heard

  ideas exist in a state between what might be

                   and what might never have been

        the road

           winds

                         about

                 like

             a

              discarded

                    ribbon

                             upon

                          the

                ground  

    sometimes composed of cobblestones

        or marble

           or smooth      canvas blankness  

             or unidentifiable surfaces 

                  that stretch into shadows

                        which turn anyone who dares to enter them

          back onto the same path

                                       aside from dreamers

                                                         such as us

I have ventured into this realm cast in eternal night

               while lost among dreams

     (of which I suspect each person has their own version

                                only to forget later)

           led along by the Cloaked Lamplighter

                                          with a green scarf

This mysterious guide has led me

     past repair shops presided over by animatronic workers   

          often in argument with the objects brought

                                           for their attention

I have noticed butchers who cut up enormous vegetables

                                   then hang them on hooks to chill

                                                          just outside their shops

              sampled the goods of bakers who add rose petals

                                       to their pies for extra fragrance

       and watched candlestick makers able to create candles

                                          from special types of paper

                                                folded in just the right way

 I have listened to clockwork mockingbirds

        perched atop the roof of a small red schoolhouse

            while the children inside dance a jig to a math lesson

                   (headed by their teacher)

             done to the rhythm of the birds’ melody

                         again

                      and again

                       and again

                      and again

                to practice their steps for the day

                     when they can find freedom

                                (as the Cloaked Lamplighter says)

                             in another artistic medium                  

Each resident of Oblivion Avenue

     has different circumstances

                          dreams

                              and hopes

       from the lone violinist  

                  with ambitions to one day

                             perform “Amazing Grace”

                                    before a large audience

             to the patient toyshop owner

                            eager to make children smile

                                   through elaborate toys

                                         made by his nimble fingers                     

All of them wait for a recognized rescue

                                 from obscurity

                at the back of the mind

       like knickknacks placed

                      on a thrift shop shelf

           until someone carries them away

Or perhaps

      as my Cloaked Lamplighter guide has hinted

           the very mention of them here

        has allowed them to leave

                          onto new journeys

                                       …. freed by creation

The Queen of Dusk (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: Inspired by a skillfully done portrait created by a friend of mine on DeviantArt, who suggested that I might like to try composing a poem or short story based on her work. Here is a link to the portrait by Lily-in-Snow: https://www.deviantart.com/lily-in-snow/art/Queen-of-dusk-918673256]

She slips down the slope from her humble village

      as the sun falls between the distant mountains

            like sweet nectar drained from an ancient chalice—

                            her long       curly      chestnut hair bouncing

                                      among the lengthening shadows

                                                 that trail after her figure

                                                        as if after a royal personage

The final streaks of daylight seem to live

           in the teardrop-shaped pendant that glitters

                    around her graceful neck

                           while the hem of a long dress

                                   swishes about her ankles                                   

Neighbors watch her pass in silent respect

           from curious toddlers to wizened elders                    

                                       …as she strides out to the golden meadows

                                                    filled with solemn purpose

Her thin fingers brush

        the tops of the tall grasses—

                   provoking bright lights to take flight

                                 and swirl about

She dances out there

                                                              in the meadows

              like a swan

                           …. expressing great love

                                                          for the audience nestled

                                                                   within the growing darkness

“Here      I am,”       she says with each swirl

                                            “a light in the darkness         just for you.

                     So never despair

                                                                …please never despair.”

Sleep comes easily to those who watch her

       comforted by her regular dance

                  among the specks of illumination

                                           …their tender Queen of Dusk

Journal Entry #21–Creative Gems Collaboration Released!

A project four months in the making is now available, Creative Gems. My friend Andrea, a brilliant children’s book illustrator, challenged writers to match poems and short stories with her artwork for this collaboration, and every step of the process was exciting to see happen. I was among the more than 20 writers to submit pieces to this publication, and I can say from firsthand experience that the works in this collection are brilliant and uplifting experiences (something that the world could use more of, especially during these rough times).

Here is a link to the posting (which I’ve also reblogged elsewhere): https://edoodless.wordpress.com/2022/06/27/creative-gems-volume-1-is-out-now/

Knowing that something like this is possible… well, it really brightens my day. ^_^

Creative Gems Volume 1 is out now! — Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator

About 4 months ago, I posted a silly idea of making a book together. I asked people to write a short story or poem based on any of the drawings on my website. It quickly became clear that more than just a few were interested. More than 20 authors have submitted their story and I […]

Creative Gems Volume 1 is out now! — Andrea, Children’s Book Illustrator

Constructed World (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: Hope you enjoy this trip into a peaceful landscape.]

Bring your readers into a story

       (or so I have read            among the lines

                                 of various writers)

   like someone who guides readers beyond a doorway

         beyond which stretches another world

                  filled with unknown sights

                                                          sounds

                                                                 smells

                                                                      and sensations

Become their eyes        

                         ears

                         noses

                 and sense of touch

Such as to have a tall                oaken door

    that materializes before them in the darkness

        creak open to reveal such radiance beyond

             they must squint and step back a step

                   even as a warm breeze

                          wafts its way inside

                               and gently brushes their cheeks

Anything might exist beyond that door

     but here it will be a grassy hilltop

          where blue skies       

               spotted by puffy white—

                                           well, let us flick their colors to light pink

                                                                    (this time

                                                                        because it is our choice

                                                                                 to pursue realism

                                                                                            or fantasy)                  

                   Mountains in various shades of purple

                          line the horizon

                                      on either side

                                               of a widespread valley

                                            where villages are visible

                                                        among dense forests

Also         on the hilltop       lays a turquoise blanket

            with a picnic basket at its center

         around which lay plates that hold cookies

                       of every description

Teddy bears sit arranged around the blanket who

      all look up as the reader notices them

                     An old               rugged bear

                          with wire-rimmed spectacles

                                        and a red vest

                                  motions for her or him

                                                to take a seat

                                                      between a lavender bear

                                                                dressed as a ballerina

                                                          and an enormous    black bear

                                                                      dressed as a train conductor

                        ….and every cookie the reader tastes

                                       is as warm as if they were just pulled out

                                                 from an oven by her or his grandmother

                                                            and just as sweet

                                      …where they can spend

                                                   many               peaceful hours

Katie Casey Goes to the Ball Game (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: It turns out the iconic baseball song, “Take me out to the Ball Game,” was originally part of a much longer tune–with an empowering message about a woman who cheers on the games at her local baseball stadium, during a time when women were mostly banned from attending them, apparently. The Smithsonian’s Sidedoor podcast series has a great episode on it, found here: https://postalmuseum.si.edu/exhibition/baseball-america%E2%80%99s-home-run-highlights/take-who-out-to-the-ball-game-sidedoor-podcast.]

In the annals of baseball fame

    exists someone who deserves acclaim

             for the bases she reached at long last

                         more than 100 years in the past…

Katie Casey loved ball games

    when women seen there were strange

                Katie became known for her confidence

                     as she encouraged others to never relent

          . . . she was the first to sing the root   

                                                                   root    

                                                                   root for the home team

                                       that has since gained such wide esteem

                       Nowadays              

                                             Katie could          

                                                                      play ball all day….

                         Nowadays                                             

                                                she could

                                                                       hit a homerun into space…

                         Nowadays

                                                crowds would

                                                                         shout “Hip-hip-hooray!”

                   Because Katie took herself                            to the ballgame

A Miner’s Curse (A Poem)

By Joyce Jacobo

[Author’s Note: Based on an actual legend from near my hometown.]

Abandoned somewhere in the mountains

     deep in Southern California           or so legends say

                         exists a deep mine filled with gold

                                                                              silver

                                                                     and valuables left behind

                                                                                     by Gold Rush-era miners

                                                                                                  for inexplicable

                                                                                                              reasons…

However

     there was an elderly prospector who

           claimed to own a map to the mine

                          but was too feeble

                                       to pursue the treasure

                                                    on his own—

                whose reported deficiencies

                           mixed with greed

                                   brought one soul

                                      after another

                                              to the door

                                                    of his humble shack

                                                             in the desert

                             to whom

                                      he relinquished

                                             with great reluctance

                                                    a copy of his prized map

                                                           (in exchange for

                                                                     a small donation)

Each hopeful soul headed straight for the mountains

          where they encountered the same figure—

                     of a tall skeleton                 that held a lantern

                                          within its ribcage

                                    and creaked wicked omens

                                                    as it reached for them like

                                                              (they must have thought)

                                                                             an evil specter

                                                                       or a monster

                                              …which moaned but was too slow

                                                                    to catch those spurred on

                                                                                   by avarice

Each soul would disappear into the mountains—

         while the lantern light in the ribcage of the skeleton

                          would burn brighter and brighter

                                   every night

                                        as it turned an eyeless gaze to the moon

                                                    and howled a lament

                                                                  to the heavens

The skeleton wanders the desert to this day

                                 or so the legends claim—

                  alongside the questions

                            of why it still exists

                                        and what or who

                                                  was the greatest curse

                                                         for those souls

                                                                   lost without a trace

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