Home | About Patti | Contact Patti | Starsongs Magazine | The Over 50 Writer


Published Spring 2012

Bitter Coffee
Leah Ford

Fragile little coffee cup, its porcelain eggshell thin, 
holds precious drops of amber “mud.” The power wedged within. 
Stubby, groping fingers reached, trying to seize the prize.
But as they did, the chalice broke, and liquid flew awry. 

A saucer caught the liquid and its delicate white shell.  
Trading rage with hopelessness the problem it would quell. 
Burning acidity scathed the glass, which soon boiled away. 
The fragile little coffee cup was replaced with stony clay. 

Selfish lips began to suck the potent drug within, 
but liquid killed their hateful greed using no chagrin. 
The brew transformed to dark black ink, the bitterness so strong
that those who tried to quench their thirst gave it up before long. 

Gluttonous hands are thrust away, by the ugly taste
for bitterness, caused by greed, will let its coffee waste. 

Published Winter 2011

For the Love of a Llama
Keara Lenehan

“Have you ever been spit on?” 

This question, when asked out of context, sounds quite odd. Yet, it is the most frequent query I receive. It is not posed because I am a teacher for beginner’s trumpet or a grasshopper catcher, though I have heard both of those jobs involve a lot of spit. 

I show llamas. 

My passion for llamas started about four years ago. I am a member of a club called 4-H that allows me to do a wide variety of projects, including llama showmanship. One year at the fair, while presenting my other projects, I happened to watch a llama show and was instantly captured by the uniqueness of the creatures. As much as I wanted a llama for my own, my land is not annexed for agriculture, leaving me unable to own a llama. I was not about to let that stop me. I immediately began to look for a way that I could show llamas and was rewarded. A trip to the eye doctor led to the solution. 

My eye doctor just so happens to love llamas too. Her son had started showing llamas with a 4-H club named Rocky Mountain Leaping Llamas. Over half of the club’s members did not own their llamas, but instead were showing them for a lady named Bobra Goldsmith. Upon my annual check-up, I happened to see a picture of her llamas and inquired about them. Through a brief conversation she informed me all about the club and gave me some contact information. I was soon on my way to showing llamas for Bobra Goldsmith.

I can distinctly remember my first time to the farm. There were about eighty llamas in several pastures. A few kids ran around the pastures, presumably trying to catch their llamas. Bobra, a lady in her mid-seventies, pedaled up on her bike to meet us at the pastures. Her limberness was evident as she quickly caught one of the llamas and handed me the lead rope. That day was my first time handling a llama, and it was exhilarating. I made an instantaneous connection with the animal as I took the lead rope in my hand and we began to canter down the path together, side by side.
Even though llamas are not usually ridden like horses,  my imagination went wild with all the fun I would have if I worked with these animals. There are certain people who are made to love llamas, and I am one of them. 

I committed to the club that day; I just needed to find the perfect llama for me. Every Saturday for a month I went to the farm and worked with the llamas, trying to find my personality match. I met a whole string of llamas with unique names like Nikoles, Galileo, Einstein, High Spirits, and Allty. After a thorough search, I finally met my perfect match. He stood a little taller than me, completely black except for a white splash around his mouth, and moved with a lively step. He had deep brown eyes that were full of expression and he strutted with pride. His name was Solitaire.

Ever since that day, Solitaire and I have worked together and I have shown him at the fair. The first year was not the easiest as we grew accustomed to each other, but all of our hard effort paid off. We both enjoyed a great victory in 2009 when we took grand champion at the county fair. 

And no, I have never been spit on.  

Published Fall 2011

“Gypsy Gold”
Shelly Li

Two gold coins lay pressed to his palms, glittering as the morning sun filters into the kitchen, lighting up the breakfast table. He rang the doorbell just an hour ago, grinning at her with a missing front tooth—he had pulled it out last night for five dollars from the Tooth Fairy. 

But instead of five dollars, he found gold coins under his pillow the next morning. He tells her that they are gypsy coins. And he and she are going to bury them.

Now, sitting at the kitchen table, she watches him stir a big bowl of macaroni and cheese. As they wait together for the silver wisps of steam to permeate the air, he comments that they look like a dragon’s breath after flashing fiery orbs have exited from its mouth.

She smiles because she doesn’t like macaroni and cheese, but the nanny told her to have this thing called courtesy, which basically means that she is not supposed to say what she thinks.

He splits the pasta breakfast into two smaller bowls and nudges one toward her, meanwhile rubbing the two foreign coins together in his other hand.

She opens his juice box for him as he tells her all about European gypsies, how they travel by day and find peace in nature and, when evening falls, play music and dance and sing and fall in love.

He lets her take a good look at the gold. Running her fingers across the dusty black edges of the coin, she wonders if this dirt is from across the ocean, carried here in the lining of a gypsy’s pocket. At least she recognizes the anteater embossing on one side of the coin, though the words below the animal are indistinguishable.

She props one arm up on the table and leans against it, lost in thought. Maybe the gypsy came alone to New York on a great boat, ready to walk on new soil, see the world through different lenses and perspectives, all the while carrying an insignificant amount of the world’s most precious type of coin. The coin probably was traded for food or new clothes, then given as a gift, then traded again, passing from hand to hand until it reached hers.

After finishing his macaroni, he looks up and asks her why she isn’t eating. She tells him that she isn’t hungry, and he accepts this answer by asking her where they want to bury the gold.

But her imagination has wriggled away from her reality, and she says to him, “Let’s do more than bury these coins.”

Soon she finds herself leading him through the woods, skipping over fallen trees and ducking under waning branches sleeved with nettles. The woods lay just behind the fences of her family’s country home, an hour’s drive from the house in the city.

She prefers this home away from home, away from the light, noise, atmosphere, pollution of Manhattan. Here, under the coddling rays of the sun, clutching onto him, palm pressing palm, fingers fitting against fingers, her hands are steadier than she can ever remember.

She decided that the two of them are building a fort, a home away from home away from home, where they can lay their blankets and store their marshmallows and Cheez-Its and Capri Sun juice boxes—never forgetting, of course, the telescope that her parents gave her for Hanukkah. It will be a secret fort, shared only between the two of them. And in the center of that fort, they will bury the gypsy gold, and it will bless and protect them forever and always.

When they reach the burrowed area between two sycamore trees, their hands set to work. While he covers the forest floor with blankets and handles the rest of the interior decorating, she collects thick logs and piles them up to form an entrance.

Soft, white flesh grows red and sore around the top edges of her palms.

Occasionally a piece of bark will fall into her hair as the two of them work and talk, When this happens, he will point it out, and she will run her hand through her short dark locks, searching for that something that does not belong.

As pale fingers stream down a thick ebony curtain, fingers spaced perfectly, and as the sun’s glow casts a warm film across the motion, dark hair and pale fingers can transform into moving black and white keys on a piano.

“Come in, it’s time to bury them!” His words press against her skin like a warm touch. 

He gives her one coin and saves the other for himself. Together they dig and dig until they carve out a 
site about a foot deep under the ground.

“Make a wish,” she whispers, rubbing the coin between her hands to warm the magic.

Their coins make a clinking noise as they brush against each other on their way to the bottom of the hole.

Slowly she feels a smile appear in her chest, expanding and expanding until it seeps outward, spilling onto her lips. With the smell of wood in the springtime, the dampness hanging in the ambience, she already knows that this is one of those moments that her future nostalgia will center around.

He reaches for her hand and voices what they are both thinking. He displays an air of confidence that she will spend her entire life trying—and failing miserably—to fall out of love with.

“We’re going to live here forever.”

Published Summer 2011

We Can Do It
Courtney Fennessy

Year 1942

Hello, my name is Rosie. I am a housewife I have two children named Molly and Charlie. My husband is at war. I live in Burbank, California.

I am going to tell you how I helped the war. One hot summer day I was picking up a couple of items at the store when I saw a poster. It said “We can do it.” At the bottom it said, “The more women at work the faster we can win the war.”

That poster inspired me. So the next week I drove to the factory. I was nervous but I kept thinking about my husband and the other soldiers and how much I wanted them to come home. 

When I was driving I almost missed the plant because it was camouflaged. They put sheep on the roof so it looked like a farm. This is how they protected the plant from enemy attack.

They also had houses on the roof that were made out of burlap and trees made out of feathers and wire. Streets were painted on the roof. Prop cars were placed on the fake streets. The people had to move the cars around or it would seem suspicious.

The building was huge. Inside hundreds of people were running around. There were about two hundred planes. That building must have been at least thirty five-thousand squarefeet.

Everywhere I looked I saw airplane engines, wings and tails. Oh, oh. I don’t know if I can do this.

Before I could make airplanes I had to take a test to get in. I was scared but I still passed. Guess what happened? I got to wear overalls. I usually wore a house dress. Now I wore jean overalls and a red and white polka dotted bandana, and a leather wrist band.

When I walked in, another woman looked at me and said, “Together we can do it.”

The foreman showed me what to do. I had to put a B-17 bomber together. I had to hold on with both hands because the riveting gun was very noisy, enormous and heavy.

I was on lunch break. I took out my turkey sandwich with mustard, mayonnaise, lettuce, turkey and two pieces of white bread.

At the end of the day I was tired, hungry and my bones hurt.

It was hard work, but working together we can do it. We can do everything by working together, even win the war!

No comments:

Content Copyright Patti Shene
Site by Eagle Designs