skates laced tight
straining to fall
penetrates my legs
like shards of ice
in the freezing mist
I breathe the paralyzing cold
and gasp for air
failing to exhale
just one week later
I beg to go ice skating
the glow of friendship
and steaming cocoa
in the warming house
Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is by Randy Mazie. Thank you, Randy!
by Jan Brown
No one noticed when our little office complex died, because no one knew it was there.
When our efforts to develop genetically modified soybeans backfired, farmers were left to battle human-sized, herbicide-resistant weeds. The stalks were so wide, so tough, their combines came screeching to a halt.
We worked 24/7 to modify the mutated weed. But nature is unpredictable, and we discovered too late that humans are violently allergic to the new species.
Now my co-workers are entombed in the office complex. The weeds have travelled outside the brick and stucco, climbing the walls and sprouting flowers. Blood red flowers.
To learn more about the unintended consequences of genetically modifying crops to be resistant to herbicides:
To learn more about the safety of genetically modified foods, both pro and con:
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Today’s poem is about thanksgiving with a small “t.” It is not specific to the holiday of Thanksgiving. Rather, it is a lovely litany of the natural gifts of our generous planet, gifts that give us a reason to be thankful every ordinary day.
Its sentiments and structure are Native American in origin. The poem, known as “The Thanksgivings” or “The Iroquois Thanksgivings,” has been credited to Harriett Maxwell Converse, dating to the occasion of the Iroquois Green Corn Festival in New York in 1890. Ms. Converse was a Native American advocate of the 19th century and an adopted member of the Seneca Nation.
The faith and beliefs of the Iroquois imbue the natural world with both human and divine characteristics. Their rich, luscious vision of our physical surroundings reveals a profound respect for nature, man and God.
The poem honors “our supporters, who had charge of our harvests.”
According to legend, the “supporters” are a trio of sister spirits who are guardians of the corn, the beans and the squash, respectively. I really like the idea of a spiritual guardian for my squash, especially the pumpkins that become a tasty pie….and spicy muffins…and bread
The poem celebrates “that the voice of the Great Spirit can still be heard through the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o.”
Ga-ne-o-di-o was a controversial leader whose name, in English, is Handsome Lake. He helped the Iroquois Nation deal with the destructive effects of colonization by renewing traditional beliefs, eschewing alcohol and elevating the importance of family and faith. He wrote The Code of Handsome Lake, a moral and spiritual guide for the people. These are “the words of Ga-ne-o-di-o” to which the poet refers.
I hope that you have many blessings and many strong, spiritual guardians to watch over you, now and all year long. Happy Thanksgiving!
Click the link and enjoy the poem! The Thanksgivings, by Harriett Maxwell Converse
For more information on the poet: Harriett Maxwell Converse bio from pbs.org
For more information on Handsome Lake: Wikipedia bio, Handsome Lake
Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is by Ted Strutz. Thank you, Ted!
This year, the eight days of Chanukah begin on Thanksgiving eve. This is a rare occurrence, and one to be celebrated. Mazel Tov! Or…Gobble Tov!
Naturally, I had to find some music to celebrate the occasion. The Maccabeats, an a cappella vocal group from Yeshiva University, have received over 10 million hits on their YouTube videos. In addition to being adorable, they are involved in a campaign to save lives by matching potential bone marrow donors with recipients. I’ve also included a link to the Miracle Match charity site below.
May you all have a meaningful Thanksgiving, and a Happy Chanukah!
by Jan Brown
Last year I missed New Year’s Eve. I missed my nephew’s bris. This year I’m missing both Chanukah and Thanksgiving: a two-for-one family disappointment.
My handler assures me it’s because of my linguistic skills. It’s hard to find an agent on holidays, particularly one who speaks fluent Pashto and Farsi. I tell him I’m fluent in the romance languages as well, but he’s never asked me to be in Paris or Milan on Rosh Hashanah. Damn it.
I walked onto the empty ferry just before sunset. My parents, my brother, my sister and their families jumped out: “Surprise! Happy Chanukah!”
The Maccabeats have teamed up with Mayim Bialik of “The Big Bang Theory” to raise funds for Miracle Match, a bone marrow donor matching campaign. Click here for more info: https://www.makesomemiracles.com/miracle-match-2013
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At Thanksgiving, we gather at the dinner table and celebrate new beginnings: new babies, new marriages, new jobs, new friends. We remember things that are gone from this plane of existence: loved ones lost prematurely, grandparents lost to age, husbands and wives lost to the bitterness of divorce.
Today I read a poem by Joy Harjo, celebrating the glue that holds so many of us together, the social rites of the kitchen table.
Click the link and enjoy! Perhaps the World Ends Here, by Joy Harjo
For more information: Joy Hargo bio from poets.org
I have readers from 70 countries across the globe, and I give thanks for each and every one of them!
This week, we celebrate the holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States. The Poetry Foundation has gathered together some very special poems about Thanksgiving, and I will be sharing a few of them with you.
This moving piece is by Richard Blanco. He was President Obama’s second inaugural poet. I’ve also included a link, below, to his inaugural reading.
His Thanksgiving poem is called “América,” about a Thanksgiving celebration in his Cuban-American home. It strikes me that it is about the difficult loss of the old world, and a somewhat tentative incorporation of the new. I think it is a universal truth that parents, aunts and uncles are prodded into trying strange new things by children, and in this case, by the poet. By the end of the evening, whether they liked or hated (mostly hated) the new tastes, smells and stories, they celebrated each other. They celebrated family.
Click the link, and enjoy! America, by Richard Blanco
For more information about Richard Blanco:
Richard Blanco’s inaugural poem, “One Light”
Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, when writers from around the world post 100-word stories based on a photo prompt provided on Rochelle Wisoff-Fields’ blog. This week’s photo is by Sean Fallon. Thank you, Sean!
by Jan Brown
Like most other buildings on the block, it looked vacant. It wasn’t.
It was anonymous. A good place to hide.
A well-dressed man paused, looked furtively down the block, then walked quickly around back. Unlocking a solid steel door, he stepped into another world.
A reception area with tasteful art and marble flooring gave way to twin operating rooms with perfect lighting and sterile air flow. Recovery areas were beautifully furnished. He did the surgeries others wouldn’t. His talents were legendary. He never lost a patient.
Except for that little incident with the death of his pregnant mistress. So sad.
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