OLWG #26 – The Gypsy Life

 Written for OLWG #26

I have a story to tell you. I’m sorry about my English. I don’t have many opportunities to practice it. I was about six years old when they came and camped in the wood just south of Fără Vaci. I remember that my father came to my room and woke me late one night, “Shhh,” he hushed me, “let’s go see the gypsies. Don’t wake your mother.”

It was exciting. We crept out into the dark and followed the river till we came on their camp. It was alive there with music, dancing, games, food, drink, and laughter. Everything was lit by campfires and as we moved into the thick of things he stopped and bought me sweets. He bought himself a bottle and soon got involved in a card game. It was like a circus; so much to see, so much to do. I came across some boys my age who invited me to go down to the river and skip stones with them. I ran back to ask my father if it was OK but he was still playing cards and drinking. A tall, thin, dark haired girl was perched on his leg and his hand was on her backside. I didn’t want to interrupt so I thought I would go for a short time and come back in a little while to let him know where I would be. It didn’t look as though he was planning to go anywhere soon.

The boys taught me to skip rocks in such a way that I could get at least seven skips each throw. I lost track of time and before I knew it adults were hustling us back up to the camp where everything was being loaded into caravans and the campfires were being doused. I couldn’t find my father but I saw the tall thin girl he had been with. She was laughing and joking with other girls who looked just like her. She was buttoning her blouse. I headed over to her.

“Excuse me. Do you know where my father is?” I asked her.

She raised her skirts and laughed, “Part of him is in here,” she cawed, pointing to a thatch of black hair between her legs, “the rest of him is in the river.” The other girls turned away and I found myself immediately wrapped in the arms of an old crone, an elderly gypsy woman who glared at the girl I had been speaking with and hustled me to a wagon where she changed my clothes. She rubbed coal dust in my hair and instructed me to sit down and stay quiet.

“Don’t speak to anyone, except me,” she admonished, and I complied. The band broke camp and moved on. The next day police came by and talked with some of the men. Questioned them and apparently satisfied with the answers that they received, left us alone. We kept moving. Two or three days later the old woman asked me if I could read. I shook my head, no. She reached in her bag and pulled out a parcel wrapped in gaily coloured cloth. She unfolded the material and showed me a book then, patted the seat next to her. I moved next to her and she read the book to me. She showed me the pictures

“You can learn a lot from books,” she said. “Would you like me to teach you to read?” I nodded my head and the lessons began that very day.

I never saw my father or my mother again. The old crone appointed herself my surrogate mother. She told me her name was Jaelle but that I should call her Bunică, she was kind, filled with love and laughter. I gladly accepted her and never asked questions about my other parents. We moved about constantly, like nomads. We made our money by stealing, gambling and selling the young girls to the local men who would come to our camp late at night. The way my father had done.

On my eighteenth birthday my adopted mother took me and a sack, filled with bundles of blue and red money. We walked to the center of the nearby town where we came to the University. She left me on the grass and entered a building. Bunică was gone a long time and when she came back she told me that I was going to study at the university. I was to keep reading books and continue to learn. She told me to read for the law and that when they needed me again they would find me. She told me that my first year’s tuition was paid but that I would need to pay to finish school. She told me that she was sure I had learned enough from them that I would have no difficulty earning money with card games and the like to pay for my school.

I’m now a lawyer. I have been for a year. I’m waiting for Bunică to come back for me. My people can always use a legal counselor. I’ve learned that now.

This week’s prompts are

  1. You can learn a lot from books
  2. The gypsy woman said
  3. It won’t be available until April 1st


OLWG #25

 Written for OLWG #25

American Sentence

She pulled back and she smiled, you know the way she does; yeah, she smiled that way.



money to burn.
his, all his; his money.
money he’d worked for, burned friends for.



it’s a curse, I say
my good looks, my wealth, my friends
fast women and cars
all a scheme to ruin my chance
for a tortured soul, and fame



I like this
this exercise in
the process
that we call
creativity. Pare it
trim it – less is more.

This week’s prompts are

  1. She smiled that way
  2. It’s a curse
  3. Money to burn


Billy and the Busker

With apologies to Dr. Suess

it was a lovely, sunny day – Frank decided that he would play
he liked the corner at Yesler Way
he grabbed his old geetar, and he grabbed his old hat
in hope that the tourists would drop money in that
He picked up some milk crates on which he could stand
he placed a call to Billy to help round out the band

Billy wasn’t answering his phone
Franklin decided he’d go it alone

Frank rolled up his pant legs, he got ready to play
he stood top his milk crate there on Yesler Way
tuned up his geetar and found a good beat
but something was missing it wasn’t complete
there was one empty milk crate where Billy should stand
again he tried Billy to round out the band

Billy wasn’t answering his phone
Franklin resolved he’d keep going alone

he played through the morning – he played past midday
he was making no money there on Yesler Way
then suddenly – Billy arrived close at hand
Frank climbed from his milk crate said, “Now we’re a band.”
“Billy, where’s your accordion, your horns, your things?”
Bill watched mutely as Frank riffed his strings

then he said, “Frank, ya  know, I’ve disconnected my phone
you’re holding me back, I’m gonna go it alone.”

a heart-broken Frank just continued to play
he couldn’t watch his friend Bill walk away
but he did, he walked slowly, down Yesler Way
Frank packed up his geetar, he picked up his hat
he stacked up the milk crates, the this and the that
the mighty fine day had now turned to crap

Written for a fun photo prompt found here:
Thanks Ms. Rose

OLWG #24 – Whiskey in a Glass

 Written for OLWG #24

It had been a good day and I was happy when I walked in and took a seat at the bar. She was washing glasses. We locked eyes and she raised her chin in my direction to let me know that I had been noticed. That she’d be right with me. I spun around on my stool and surveyed the place.

Low lights gleamed off the dark wood bar and walls. The stools were dark wood too, backless, perched atop heavy brass poles. A brass foot rail ran the length of the bar, it seemed like a nice place. High backed booths with brown leatherette upholstery clung to the perimeter of the room and a smattering of low tables occupied no man’s land, between the bar and the booths. There was a girl in a red sequined gown playing a nameless tune softly on a baby grand piano while sparkles from her dress flitted around the room like butterflies. It was crowded but still, hushed.

A voice came from behind me, “What’ll it be, Sweetie?”

I spun around and saw the barkeep leaning there, she was wearing a name tag; Misty, “whiskey would be nice, Misty,” I said, “maybe a single malt; neat.”

“I can do that,” she said and she spun on her heel and went to work.

I turned back and continued to survey the room. In the booth directly across from me sat a well dressed couple, millennials. They were arguing about something, but I couldn’t hear what. A table down by the piano player was crowded by a bunch of middle-aged conventioneers. They were knocking back drinks and shoveling peanuts down their necks as they huddled with their heads close. Maybe they were discussing some business strategies.

A tall thin, long haired, blonde girl, wearing shorts and a tight top moved across the floor working the room. She carried a tray with her and scribbled down orders as she went.

I spun my stool back around when I heard Misty behind me she was smoothing a white lace doily on the bar. She smiled at me and sat my drink on it. Then reaching below the bar she came back with a bowl of peanuts.

“Would you like water back with that?”

“No, no thanks, Misty”

“My name’s not really Misty, you know,” she held out her hand to shake. “I’m Destiny.”

“Destiny?” I queried as we shook hands, “that’s not even close to Misty.”

“Yeah, I know. The boss named me Misty. He says he likes ‘M’ names and that Destiny makes me sound like a stripper. He says, and I quote,” she lowered her voice as she impersonated her boss, “This here is a high class joint, we cain’t have no strippers workin’ here. We cain’t even allow the impression that strippers might work here.”

“Hmm,” I said, “he sounds old and opinionated.”

She nodded her head, “I just need to be careful when my mom finds out. She’s the one who named me.”

“She might be disappointed?”

“Disappointed? No, she’ll be angry though. I have to tell her it was my idea. I have to tell her it’s just like a stage name. She’ll understand that.”

“Is she an actress?” I ask and, pick up my glass.

Misty cocked her head, “Kinda, she was a dancer. When she met my dad; she was working as Chesty LeFemme.”

I raised my glass to her as a grin spread slowly across her face. She turned and moved towards the waitress who was waiting nearby. I looked at the waitress and read her name tag. “Evening, Marcia.” I said.

This week’s prompts are

  1. Whiskey in a glass
  2. The keen edge
  3. Antimacassar


OLWG #23 – Sabayon

I only got two of the prompts in this week, but that’s OK by me. Come on, check it out and play along.

 Written for OLWG #23

There wasn’t one in this cupboard either. There was only one more place to check before I was going to give up. Reaching for the last cabinet door I heard a commotion behind me and turned. It was you. Of course it was you. You’re always there when I need you.

“Hey, Po’Boy, whatcha lookin’ for?” you ask sweeping into the room and smelling wonderful. I still have no idea why you call me Po’Boy. You know my name, but you never call me by it.

“I want to make sabayon,” I say, “but I can’t find your double boiler. Where do you keep it?”

“I think I have one right here,” you tell me as you head for the pantry. “It’s not something I need too often and I did loan it to Heather a few months ago, but I’m pretty sure that she brought it right back.” I hear you moving things around in the pantry. Pretty soon you’re back out in the kitchen holding two fitted saucepans made of copper. “Here, try this,” you set the contraption on the counter top, sarcastically, adding, “Do you need me to separate the eggs for you? Get the sugar? Do you know where I keep my whisk?”

I shake my head and hold out my arms. You leaned in for a hug and a cuddle. My eyes close, as I savour the moment and hold you tight, “Can I borrow some Marsala?” I whisper in your ear.

To this, you laugh and smack me on the shoulder. “Let me do this, just get out of my kitchen,” you tease, and I run for the door.

“I put fresh berries in your fridge,” I call over my shoulder.

“Put the game on,” she calls back. “The Leafs are playing the Habs tonight. They drop the puck at seven.

This week’s prompts are

  1. Diamonds on my windshield
  2. Try this
  3. I think I have one right here



Random Thoughts About Poetry

Whiling away some time

Lyrics linger in the wake of her passing, and the memory of her scent. The floral arôme that falls lazily to the pavement and lingers.

Oh, to hear the poem shouted by the fog creeping silently up the quiet streets of this decaying seaside town.

The wet smell of the swamp arrives ripe with rhyme and emotion.

Verses flutter earthward from the limbs of the Ginko where they wait to be collected by groundskeepers and hidden from our sight: forever.

Song lives in the words of the poet and the lingering drops of a summer shower.

This Vet group has prompted me to think.

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