Afterstory

in the midnights

of my mind

when the sun

turns her back on earth

I wonder

how many stars would shine

if they

only knew their worth

(c) Janni Styles

Advertisements

Double Standards

Home was a safe place in our A frame house in the country until the day the phone rang and my mother answered it only to start weeping ferociously. At six I was old enough to help with some things so when she gestured for me to pass her her cigarettes and lighter, I did.

I stood watching her for a while, her pretty legs crossed and pink chenille mule style slippers keeping her feet warm in our drafty winter home. I wanted to know what was wrong but I knew I couldn’t ask until she was off the phone. I idly played with some toys and books nearby, keeping an eye and ear pealed toward mom’s conversation.

My mind ran to all sorts of catastrophes including about dad and my older brothers and sister. It’s a good thing something happened to take my attention off my impatience before I got myself into trouble for interrupting Mom on the phone.

Mom lit a second cigarette and at once, her laquered bun she’d carefully crafted to look pretty like I Dream of Jeannie’s hair, took to flame. I tried to get her attention.

“Mommy, Mommy, your hair is on fire!” I said this several times but she whooshed me away with the hand holding the freshly lit cigarette.  I was panicking and thought about grabbing a bowl of water to pour on her head when she suddenly dropped the phone and it swayed to and fro on the black curly cord.

She set her cigarette down in the ashtray and began pounding at her head with both hands, smashing the stenchy bun down altogether and collapsing the flames while looking at me.

“Why didn’t you say something?” she asked.

“I did,” I said. “Lots of times I did!”

“Well, I never heard you,” she said before picking up her cigarette, grabbing the phone back up to her ear and resuming her tearful conversation.

When she finished the call she told us kids her grandaddy had died. We didn’t know him so it wasn’t upsetting to us but we knew death was a bad thing that meant you’d never see the person again so we felt sorry for Mommy. We knew our loving grandfathers and couldn’t imagine losing them.

Upstairs I went to resume playing with my sisters, our makeshift Sears catalogue people and furnishings our little dolls and houses which we often spent hours enjoying.  All at once Mom bellered up the stairs with such a start to us that we two girls jumped.

“What’s wrong?” I asked, thinking she’d had another phone call.

“I’ve been calling you for ages. Come down here and watch the babies while I cook supper,” she said. “How many times does a person have to call you?”

“Well, I never heard you,” I said as I skipped down the stairs to help.

“You hear just what you want to hear,” she said.

(c) Janni Styles

(Originally posted here in 2015 as a prompted piece in a weekly fiction feature)

The Rose Series: False Virtues

Sister Rosa, please do tell

why so many see writing truth

as speaking unwell

 

They are mistaken, said she,

the false virtue they protect their own

for the dead are long gone and free

 

Never mind what they all do

nevermind what they all say

just you keep on being you

 

They all know you speak facts

they lived through it all, too,

just don’t be unkind or nastily wax

 

Truth is a light many wish to dim

just keep writing truths no matter the chatter

it is always worth it to grow a new limb

 

More joy to be had from more blooms

to silence the naysayers wittering

about bodies long since entombed

 

They forget the soul is flying high

they know not what true loyalty is

just keep writing truth across the sky

(c) Janni Styles

 

 

 

 

The Rose Series: Best Things

Nodding together in the wind

the roses spoke softly:

some humans spend their

whole lives

searching

never realizing the simple things

are the best things

opening a new bar of soap

the fragrance of fresh cut grass

resting your head on a soft pillow

reading by a sunny window

Look, there go more seekers

racing to places and acquiring

things they think they need

Oh, what will they do

when all the petals fall

when lingering to touch

a rose

is no longer possible?

Their heavy heads bowed:

Will they still remember us?

(c) Janni Styles

Kindness Karma

you’ve only to sit back

watch the heartless get what they deserve

karma goes direct

it does not swerve

doing nothing is the same

as being actively unkind

“nothing” karma always returns

when something is needed down the line

so let the bitter hearted do whatever they do

don’t get mixed up in karma not meant for you

if they ignore the hurting

instead of being kind

they’ll never truly know

genuine connection of humankind

queen karma always visits

though she may be  somewhat tardy

wherever there was cruelty

she returns to strike the hardy

withholding love or kindness

a sorrowful legacy to impart

kindness always leaves the kind

a very peaceful heart

better to be kind whenever we can

a kindness insurance for the soul

in living a life of grace

love shining out the everlasting goal

(c) Janni Styles

 

Christmas: Do you find hard times harder at this time of year?

best-poinsetta-light.jpg

Capture christmas comfort piece blog

 

First posted November 29, 2015 but not much has changed since then. Sadly. I recently lost a brother one month and a sister the next in autumn 2017. Some social media post crazy maniacs were so unsupportive as to be abusive in telling me all about Facebook algorithms and saying “I hope you find someone who shares in your grief at this time.” Passive aggressive? Absolutely. Abusive?Absolutely. Not to mention extremely rude and most unkind. Now, that said, I heard from a “ton” of people I did not expect to hear from and they were very kind in their messages and checking behind the scenes to see if I was okay. Thank you to all of those kind hearts and to a few folks I know I know in the “real world.” It was surprising how many I know in  the real world who just stayed silent, posting their “baloney” sandwiches or gripes about life while saying nothing to me when I was always there to show support for them and their challenges. Lessons by the dozens are now learned. And to those others who were blatantly rude and unkind: “Straighten up. Wait until it’s your turn to mourn someone you love. I have saved your message(s) and will post them on your pages for you when that happens to you.” Well, maybe I won’t because I am not so hurtful as they are. Queen Karma will be visiting them, I am sure. Meanwhile, I am left wondering, how is it that people have time to lecture you at length by the page full online, post lengthy passive aggressive messages, share their constant griping about problems that are not even really problems at all and yet no time to simply say “I am so sorry.” Social Media, as I have said many times in the past, is not so social after all in my opinion. Wherever you are, whatever you are doing this Christmas, I hope you know someone cares. You can always message me behind the scenes here if you need a kind ear. Peaceful holidays wished to all. ❤ ❤ ❤