Day #42

Day #42

On January 7th, I decided to spend 50 days working on my next chapbook. Today is day #42. I have written 5 new poems since I started this journey.

I pause to remember when I picked up the pen. It was the summer of 1992 when I decided to write for public consumption. I’d always written for myself but after a few writing classes I started looking towards submitting my work. My first poem was published in the fall of 1992. Shortly afterwards, I stopped writing. I was promoted at my day job and took on a 100% travel assignment. I lived on the road, traveling from city to city, sleeping in hotel after hotel all across the USA.

It wasn’t long after that when I found myself living and traveling overseas for nearly 6 years. I came back to the USA, focused on family, raising 2 wonderful little girls and concentrating on my day job career.

In the Spring of 2013, I was home alone. My wife was traveling, the children grown and gone. I was watching a television show, “Elementary”, and the subject matter of that night’s episode’s caught my attention, my thoughts churned, I looked at the junk mail envelopes laying on the floor. ( I normally go through junk mail while watching TV)

I found a pen, picked up the junk mail envelopes and started writing on them. I wrote for 2 hours that night and that is when it all started again. I’ve been writing ever since.

Day #47

Day #47

On January 7th, I decided to spend 50 days working on my next chapbook. Today is day #47. I have been working diligently on a new piece titled “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone”. I’m submitting it to Rattle Respond tonight. If accepted, rights will return to me just in time for my book release.

I love this piece and I do believe that it represents some of my best work. I did a lot with punctuation in this piece. I normally don’t use punctuation but lately I have been thinking about using it a lot. What really helped me decide was my taking a look at several poems in said magazine and noticed punctuation in a lot of the poems that the magazine contained. I thought to myself, hmmm, perhaps for this journal and others, my lack of punctuation is holding me back.

I tried adding punctuation to “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone” and I liked how the poem flowed. It looked good. I felt like I was letting the reader know when to slow down, when to pause, when to stop and when to start up again.

I feel like I will be using more punctuation for certain works in the future. We’ll see. I’m done with “Pillars Salt, Pillars Stone” for now. Time to rest. I will rest for a day or two, read someone else’s work while I’m resting, watch one of my favorite television shows, etc. After rest, I will pick up the proverbial pen again. See you at my next post.

Afternoon Lunches at O’Hare

Part VI – Afternoon Lunches at O’Hare

From the Business Travel Log

The cavernous passageway between concourses L and H is vibrant with the movement of people. Business travelers, tourists, airport workers, TSAs, security officers and more flow in both directions. A few talk excitedly as they walk, others walk with earbuds plugged into their ears and some are like zombies, blanked faced, slowly trudging along, staring straight ahead.

I look out the tall, wide windows. Baggage trucks dart around airplanes and food trucks are raised up to aircraft loading doors by heavy duty cranes. Far away at the edge of the horizon, the silhouette of Chicago’s skyline stands tall.

I enjoy afternoon lunches at O’Hare. I remember the time I had meatloaf here in the same spot facing the same passageway and the same tall windows. That restaurant is gone. Another has taken its place and they do not serve meatloaf.

I was quite tired then and I’m quite tired now. Back then I wrote a poem titled “Meatloaf at the Airport.” Right now I’m writing this blog post. History does repeat itself, I think.

“May I have my check please?”

“Thanks for stopping by”, says my server 3 minutes later.

He leaves the check on my table. One sausage dog and a sparkling water for a total of $15.32 reads the long slip of paper.

“I’ll be right back”, he says taking my credIt card as he dashed to the register.

I leave the signed slip along with a tip on the table, grab my bags and I head towards my gate. The dog was good but I miss my meatloaf. I reminisce about the last time I ate here:

MEATLOAF AT THE AIRPORT

I’m eating a late lunch at an airport,

at a restaurant named after a notable, 

noted, well known chef

who deserves redundant adjectives

for the food is just that good.

Maybe it’s not the healthiest choice,

turkey meatloaf wrapped

in a thin slice of bacon,

mashed potatoes smothered

in a layer of light brown, turkey flavored gravy.

 

The meat loaf looked like it was gently placed

by gentle hands on top of the potatoes 

while thin cut, brown coat onion rings

were sprinkled over the layered stack, 

topped with one last spoon of gravy,

just a dripping from top to bottom.

I have prime seating, facing main concourses,

two in the afternoon, prime space,

prime time, prime people watching,

truly, it does take all kinds to make a world.

I peer at the large windows, 

gazing outside, I see several planes

parked at several gates and I think:

it’s gonna be a long ride.

#travellogforatravelblog

#jerryjohnsonblog jtjohnpoet.com

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

From the Business Travel Log

Part V – Riding the Double Decker

My plane makes a long downwind track past the Whitestone bridge before making a longer arc to face the runway. I think about a long journey I took in 1995 from Krasnoyarsk to Moscow.

The plane from Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, to Moscow was not a puddle jumper. It was a huge double decker Russian airliner. It was not the most modern of airliners but it was modern enough. My translator, Sergey, and I rode in first class.

“Jerry, how are you feeling”, asked Sergey.

“This toothache is killing me”, I replied.

“When we get to Moscow we can get some good medicine for you”, said Sergey.

“Zdravstvujtye, chto-nibud’ vypit “, said the handsome lady elegantly dressed in the blue, and white uniform with the long purple velvety scarf draped around her neck.

“I know what she said Sergey. What’s on that cart she’s pushing? I see vodka. Wait, what’s in that tall brown bottle?”

Sergey looks at the cart. “That’s Cognac.”

“French?”, I respond.

“Okay, Jerry, it’s Brandy.

The young lady pops the top of the Brandy after Sergey asks for it. My toothache is pounding.

“Nyet”, I tell her, “just give me the bottle”, I say.

She understood. Her eyes met my grimace. She winced.

Her language quickly switched to English, “Sir, I hope you feel better soon.”

“Spasiba Bolshoi”, I responded.

“Pozhaluysta”, she replied, smiling.

Hearing the wheels of my aircraft lock down awakens me from my daydream of memories.

“We are on our final approach to LaGuardia, please put your seats in the upright position with seatbelts buckled and your tray tables stowed” boomed the flight attendant over the intercom.

I comply. I look out my aircraft window at beauty, I marvel at nature, my heart is thankful, my mind is at peace, my hands are steady, my feet are grounded , my emotions contemplate joy. We touch down. Spasiba Bolshoi, we arrive.

#travellogforatravelblog

#jerryjohnsonblog jtjohnpoet.com