No, this is not a Six-Word Memoir, but a celebration of my awesomely talented friend, Melanie Green, who just published another collection of her gorgeous poetry.

Through daily life challenges that might feel like a battle for many of us, Melanie has somehow found an overflowing of peace, cheerfulness and a sense of gentleness that she generously shares with everyone around her. Her poems are a lovely contemplative journey, a respite from the stress of the world, an invitation to enjoy the peace waiting for you beneath the surface.

In A Long, Wide Stretch of Calm, Melanie Green establishes herself as an astute observer and reverent appreciator of worlds within and without. With the ease/ of non-striving (“Revelatory”), she explores the momentarily unshackled/ now (“An Unconfined Astronomy”) of birds, flowers, trees, lakes, galaxies, and a human body that can overdo into illness/ and fatigue (“Blessing for Self-Kindness”).

Haiku-like in their intensity of language, Zen-like in their meditative quality, these lyrical poems invite us to pause, catch our breaths, and marvel at a poet who invites us to Feel/ the psalm/ of lingering/ calm/ in afternoon’s/ echo of light (“The Luster of Silence”).

—Carolyn Martin, author of The Way a Woman Knows
and A Penchant for Masquerades

I heartily invite and recommend her poetry to everyone. If you enjoy it enough to want more, I invite you to get in touch or comment here, for there may just be copies of her previously published books available.

Get your copy here at the Poetry Box.

(A Six-Word Memoir and a poem of six-word lines).

Every year the bunnies come out.
Not the cute and fluffy ones.
I mean Easter–we’re talking chocolate.
Not that chocolate isn’t there regardless.
But Easter, it’s okay to binge!
Eating a whole basketful is legal,
If not encouraged, especially for kids.
I am a kid at heart.
And dark chocolate is my reward.
But the darker bunnies are rare,
Diligence is needed to find them.
But I have seen them before.
I know they are out there.
I’ll find my dark chocolate bunny.
And nibble its ear right off.
()()
(~.~)
c(“)(“)

Every year a poem appears to hint of my love for winter
… or lack thereof.

This year’s goes something like this…

Pilot flame lit, shivering
I loathe the click and hiss
of the metal box in the corner
for it calls farewell to summer

Fall days grow dimmer, shorter
skirts lengthen to pants
coats cover soft shoulders
ankles disappear into boots

Smiles and skin flee inward
huddle indoors for the winter
Only smokers left outside,
cussing, indifferent to the chill

Summer sprouted love, grew
then withered in autumn shadow
died in winter ice, leaving
no seed to greet the spring

The season of intimacy wanes
while others carefully cultivate
their love, I too wander indoors
to escape the chill, alone

Except for my kittens, who purr
happy for the warmth of my lap
and their love of that metal box that
clicks and hisses in the corner

Despite how much hope and love you have for the people in your life, sometimes you just need a little closure, even from family.

Silence

Your time is up
A window of opportunity
Closes
Your silence begets

Silence
Five years I gave you
To decide
Am I human … or not

Patiently I watched you all
Dig your holes of hypocrisy
So deep
You can’t climb out

Traded sharp words
Knives in my back
Now you fear bleeding to death
To remove them

In family love is unconditional
Until you have to explain
Me to your friends
Sharing blood is not done in

Silence
Five years waiting for you
To make an effort to
Understand

Life continues on
One day you’ll wake to find
You wasted it being
Uncomfortable

With love to my mom, who has been quietly wonderful, but all too far away. Hugs!! ^.^

I’ve mentioned my weird happiness around heights before, but have I told you how high I’ve gotten so far? Oh, stop giggling, silly. I didn’t mean that way. I meant physically . . . though the euphoria of doing it was pretty mind-blowing.

I’m talking about flying. Not the unassisted flying I do so much in my dreams, but when you climb into a plane–in the front seat, with the wheel thingie and pedals–and fly yourself into the sky like a deranged penguin with an engine strapped to its back. Sure, I enjoy getting on a commercial flight and taking off to heights that made my little two-seat Cessna jealous, but to sit behind that windshield with your hands on the controls flying yourself into the sky . . . That’s the biggest self-inflicted wonder of all.

But this post isn’t really about me . . . it’s about my grandfather, a quietly amazing man I never really got to know. My grandfather was an engineer . . . an aerospace engineer. He was one of the many who helped create the very first space shuttle, or parts of it, working for Martin Marietta out in the desserts beyond the suburbs of Denver, Colorado.image

Perhaps it was no fluke that his engineering talents were directed toward that particular project. I wonder if he too was inflicted with this odd desire for altitude. Perhaps he even yearned to be one of the engineers aboard the shuttle when it finally left earth’s hold. I like to think he had. I kind of wish I’d had that opportunity myself.

I never knew my grandfather in his heyday. I hope one day my mother will regale me with her memories of him then. All I truly know about him was that he was happy off of the ground. And he loved to build things. Those two desires came together in his garage, where a cloth-winged airplane was taking shape by his hands. Perhaps this is where the seed was planted for me, seeing this project at such a young age.

A couple of decades later, I would embark on an adventure in flying that sadly began when his ended. It was such a poignant irony I found myself writing a little piece about it in my poetry class. It’s about the weird day I officially earned my wings after months of practicing to fly, first with an instructor and then on my own. It goes something like this:

               Last Flight
My grandfather’s home was the sky
His heart aloft from the ground
An imagination that helped
Launch our first shuttle to space

I remember purple-doped wings at eye level
Drying on sawhorses in his garage
But a fluttering heart stole their air
His license floating away in the wind

Unsmiling pictures of him, fettered to the ground
I ached to see him take wing again
Taking lessons as soon as I left the nest
But the ground took him too soon

The morning I earned my wings
I alit from my perch so early
Wing’ed faeries still flit about
Setting diamonds to the leaves

A stern stranger sat right seat with clipboard
Ready to catch any falling mistakes
Checklists and run-ups, then “Clear!”
Pointed questions as we taxied

Cessna’s were not designed for the ground
An empty coke can rattling on asphalt
But once the Earth drops beneath
An aluminum bird returns home

The climb brought my grandfather’s eyes
To unruffle my sputtering nerves
The clipboard man slipped behind a cloud
My purpose became clear blue sky

I’m a bird, climbing, rolling, stalling, diving
Seeing the airport reminded me of rented wings
Runways shaped like a crooked cross
The shorter piece tree-hemmed and disused

I faltered here when clipboard pulled a lever
My engine mock-failing before approach
I saw a sloppy circle to runway’s end
The shorter far too close beneath

My confidence veered, I froze in midairimage
Then … I imagined a hand touch my shoulder
I heard “Whoa!” from the right seat
As I banked, left wing pointed at the ground

Right pedal down, flying sideways
We side-slipped straight down,
Righting, flaring, touching like a feather
Before my hands were my own again

I felt my grandfather’s proud grin
In place of clipboard’s shocked stare
I taxi back to undeserved praise
Happy he got his last flight

One day I hope to take to the skies again. I know I’ll be thinking of my grandfather when I do. And thank him for helping to make it happen. Happy flying Pop-pop.