Archives for posts with tag: clothing

Me in My Mother’s Hat
by Margo Jodyne Dills

My displeasure at being molded into
my mother’s vicarious perfection
made our connection
rocky and often turbulent. At different stages
of my life she
dressed me, sometimes
in antique garments
of her own,
which were worn for
birthdays and
blessed events. My Danish costume,
hat included,
worn to perform traditional song and dance,
was donated to a museum
decades later, causing a horrid family
kerfuffle. Among these garments,
made of heavy wool;
highly starched muslin;
prickly, irritating crinoline… were
her hats
that defied placement on my
downy head. My hair,
which refused to do anything but
fall straight as a straw, rebuked
almost anything
that was placed there. My scalp was
slathered with
chemicals (eyes
tingling) (tips of ears
burning), the likes of which
today are likely banned, outlawed…
Nothing struck more fear in my
heart than seeing
a box of
on the kitchen counter. My first wave
was applied before I was barely able to walk on
my own two fat little
legs. Thick elastic
under-the-chin bands, long pins
that caught fair hair and held a
hat in place, exasperated me
from every age until I
a foot clothed in crocheted woolen
socks and buttoned leather
kidskin mary-janes.
All these things and
Hats be damned.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken in our front yard in Enumclaw, Washington, when I was about three years old.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: A series of photos exists displaying me in my mother’s mothballed clothing, including leather shoes with pearl buttons that I eventually and thankfully outgrew. I wasn’t often forced to dress for occasions, as much as having photos taken, but my resistance involved defiance and discomfort. Many of these little frocks are still preserved, some worn by dolls, and when I look at them, I consider my own mother as a child, now gone several years, and regret the constant battles I had with her until we found our common ground. So much time wasted. My own blog is It’s Always Somethingand I would love to post something there every day but that usually doesn’t happen unless I’m doing a PAD Challenge, which I don’t always have time for, because it IS a challenge. I love having a good prompt but often words pop into my head uncontrollably that manage to find their way to paper, if I’m lucky. I am currently working on the editing of a novel that has been accepted by a small press. I used to tell people I’m a writer and do property management on the side but lately I seem to be doing the writing on the side and something needs to change there; wish me luck.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Margo Jodyne Dills is an active member of PNWA and Hugo House in Seattle, former staff writer for Banderas News, Puerto Vallarta; writes as a guest blogger under the names of Jake Diego and Adam Garcia in Panama, Colombia, and Mexico; works as an editor, web script and travel writer on both sides of the border. She keeps busy writing poetry and editing a soon-to-be-published novel The Boys. Seattle is her permanent home but she keeps her condo in Mexico and runs there to hide when the weather gets too unbearable up north. Her friends call her Jodi.

Mexican Hat Dance
by Betsy Mars

Golden, capped in the strong sunshine
against my father’s shoulder I stood tall,
and between my parents I felt alive

in this land so distinct and familiar.
The air was redolent with chocolate and spice,
electrical with lightning storms and surging hormones.

Taking the leap, cliff divers descended
in sheer drops for my entertainment
as I ate up the scenery and the sensation of being weightless.

My hat perched at a jaunty angle,
confident in a way I never felt
at home in a strange land.

Between pulpy bulls and bleeding fruit
proffered from vendors at the beach, I felt
like Hemingway discovering his muse —

but much less courageous,
cowering at night in the hotel room,
thunderstruck and hatless.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in Mexico at age 13. This is one of very few photos that exist of me in a hat. Hats were my mother’s domain, and she wore them well. I have no idea where this hat came from or why I was wearing it, but this photo captures a side of myself I rarely see in photos.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:  I hesitated to write for this prompt because, to me, hats were something that only my mother could pull off. When I wear them, I usually feel like a fraud, as if I am taking on a fake identity. Someone more bold. This photo brings back one of my favorite memories involving my parents. We took a trip to Mexico which was perhaps the first time I was abroad since leaving Brazil at age six.  It was an exciting and sometimes disturbing trip, but fueled my love for travel and experiencing other cultures.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Betsy Mars is a writer, traveler, mother, animal lover, and educator who is wearing a number of hats these days. Her work has been published in several anthologies, by Silver Birch Press, and soon will be published in the California Quarterly Journal and by Cadence Collective. Her writing is a means to define her identity after many decades of blurriness.

That Hat
by Terrence Sykes

That hat — that cool cat hat — I rarely wear a hat
But there I was in Los Angeles & was going to meander
That Pacific shoreline from Venice Beach to the far side of Santa Monica
That hat I bought at the 99 Cent Store … was it one of Sunset ….no

That hipster hat make me look different for several spoke to me in
But pale Irish me with that touch of Cherokee that made me look Asian in
     my youth
That bookstore down on Venice Beach …French Bulldogs everywhere
That hat told me took me around the globe ….It’s a Small World .. is it not

That hipster sat down at Flake on Rose Avenue & composed cool poems
But it took a year or two to get them published in journals but so what
That Pacific breeze was calling my name & that thrift store I adore on
That hat shaded my eyes so that I could see … handsome joggers and

That hat was a good luck charm — for I found fifty bucks in cash on the
But I spent it on a dreadful meal at the Getty Center… not so fancy restaurant
     after all
That art … the art of being a hipster in a hat and that ain’t all …if I do tell
     the tale
That hat strolled with me all over LA …taking my memories.. but I left it

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: That hipster sat down at Flake on Rose Avenue & composed cool poems

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I composed this autobiographical poem to… tell a story — sing a song — remember a photograph from my adventures on my yearly trip to LA ….


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Terrence Sykes was born and raised in the rural coal mining area of southwestern Virginia, and this isolation brought forth the theme of remembrance to his creations, whether real or imagined. Though not traditional in his spiritual path, these traditional threads of his past are woven into his tapestry of writing. Terrence is a GASP — Gay Alcoholic Southern Poet and Italian by rebirth who also does heirloom vegetable research & reintroduced Large Oxheart Cabbage to Jefferson’s Monticello . His poetry- photography-flash fiction have been published in India, Scotland, Spain, and the USA.

AUTHOR PHOTOGRAPH: The author in Santa Monica, California (2013).

An Old Rain Hat
by Casey Derengowski

The weather was blustery, the night air was cold
a steady downpour drenched all about
when out of the mist came a simple plea
“Sir, could you spare a quarter for me?”

His request was so simple, his words sincere
a paltry coin to quench a need
some broth for his stomach with warmth for the soul
a cup of hot coffee, some soup in a bowl.

His name was Gary, his clothing quite worn
his shoddy shirt drank the rain like a sponge.
What turn of events, what cosmic force
brought us to this place, both on this course

Rain fell on his head wetting his hair
it ran down his neck and on to his back.
I shivered to see its chilling effect;
I had little choice, I could not reject.

Why must he bear the brunt of the storm
while I am spared a common fate?
I gave him my hat, so wrinkled with years
to rescue his face from these heavenly tears.

That weathered hat he placed on his head
as if it were a priceless chapeau.
He made some protest but my insistence was strong
Had I not done this it would have been wrong.

PHOTO: The author in his rain hat.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My wife and I, along with three of our grandchildren, were entering a restaurant on a rainy day when a homeless man approached asking for some assistance.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Casey Derengowski has been writing for numerous years, professionally as a teacher, later as a probation officer, and personally as a self-imposed hobby. Although his writing began as narrative it has since evolved into the genre of poetry, both free verse and rhyming. He has been published in Summation, Chicago Poetry Press, and Silver Birch Press as well as various other anthologies.

I didn’t blame the hat
by Lin Whitehouse

An interview invitation in response to
my letter was the prompt to
purchase a hat, even though they don’t
suit me, and I haven’t worn one since.

Summer work experience, assisting the
window dressers in a high class Regent Street
fashion shop, had made the decision a
Careers Advisor did not offer. The workshop,
in a side street, was where the backdrops
were made, scenes painted and mannequins
stored. Creating the shopper’s dream was
what I enjoyed most.

I posed often for tourist’s photos,
half a naked fiberglass torso tucked under my
arm, or other sundries in my hands that I had to
take to the shop through the staff and trades
entrance, never the front door.
Sometimes I wore the wigs rather than carry
them, the synthetic hair always kept its style.

Aiming high, I’d typed my letter, the golf-ball
rotated with each key depression, leaving an
inked impression on the Conqueror prestige
paper. A signature I wasn’t used to signing was
added with a flourish, and a first class stamp
stuck on the envelope addressed to:
The Personnel Officer, Harrods, Knightsbridge.

My mother accompanied me. It was my first
interview. The train rattled and shrugged
us to London, shaking nerves into a squirming
snake-like pit in my stomach. My dusky pink
wool coat with Mandarin collar almost
matched the felt hat with ribbon trim.
Under the six inch brim I resembled Marlene Dietrich,
or so I fancied, and neither hat nor coat were
removed for the interview
on an upper floor of the store,
conducted by a semi-wizened man
in a dark suit, starched white shirt and tie.
I felt like a Caribbean cocktail against the
sobriety of his suit: a Flamboyant
tree to his charcoal stick.

Questions were asked and answered and my
Mother’s head nodded as if on a spring. It went well,
so it seemed, the man smiled frequently until,
rather pompously, he announced:
Harrods don’t employ women in their windows.

A letter would have sufficed and no
offer to reimburse expenses was made.
They wouldn’t get away with it now.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Hat like the one I didn’t blame.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I will never forget that interview. I thought I had done so well only to have my hopes of a career as a window dresser dashed by that single phrase. I could have gone elsewhere but decided to take a completely different route.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lin Whitehouse writes as often as life allows, juggling a day job working for a children’s charity, looking after her family, and networking. Published twice in Silver Birch Press anthologies, her poems have also appeared in Turbulence and Writers News.

The Hat of Many Colors
by Derek Kannemeyer

Or the other hat, the Hat of Many Colors,
because of all my hats ever it’s my favorite,
and why I think of it fourth when I hear hat
after the school cap Paul Smith liked to snatch
from me, and toss into a tree—after the flat cap
I topped my afro with in college, nesting it high
in my tree of hair because this time it was my idea—
after the Dada hat, just a battered top hat, really,
but in grad school I conducted a Dada play in it—
well, I can’t imagine. Because of all my hats ever,
even the other hats you’ve made me, it’s my favorite.
But an afterthought, now, because there’s no story to it?
Since it’s only another hat you’ve knit to say you love me?
In its colors of ice cream and of carnival, its cherry red
ribbings and checkerboards, from the lilac fringe of it
to its rose gold sunburst crown. It’s like one of those
goofball jigs we’ll dance when, for once, our world
goes right, and we’re home where we should be,
in this privacy of our four arms—that’s all—
hearts flowering, or hatching, or what
have you, in a tangle of April leaves,
in a skein of wild, ordinary sky.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: In my hat, in my old classroom, St. Catherine’s School, (Richmond, Virginia, 2013)

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As an actor, I was once proclaimed the biggest ham in the cast, the trophy being a yellow rain hat; as a school group chaperone, I was hooted at by some random Parisians as the leader of “Le Bonnet Club” (we’d all just bought berets); each Christmas, I wear a hat in the shape of a spruce tree hung with lights and Christmas presents. The cowboy outfit, the zip trek helmet, the Martiniquais straw hat—when, in fact, aren’t I in a hat? Most of them with some cool story. But much as I love to tell stories, this was clearly the hat. I hope that the poem and photo say why.

Version 2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer lives and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His work has appeared in a wide range of online and print publications, including other series from Silver Birch Press.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: In yet another of Sally’s hats (Winter 2016).

Ear-Flap Hat
by Leah Mueller

I wore a pink wool ear-flap hat
on a visit back to the Northwest
after four years in the Chicago suburbs.
No one in Illinois liked Peruvian headgear,
though temperatures were frigid in the winter-
my hair froze into icicles
when I stepped outside after a shower.

My rebound to the land of my birth
hadn’t gone well. Midlife returned me
to flat brown cornfields and brick six-flats.

I figured I’d save money,
and live again among people
who spoke their minds: not the
Northwest tribe of passive-aggressive
ghosts, people who complained because
they thought I was loud, and talked too much.

In Illinois, I stayed up late,
drank beer, spent hours debating in hot
apartments, while friends told me
“We don’t do that here” and
“You’re not on the west coast
any more.” I dreamed of Mount
Rainier, and evergreens,

and the Washington coastline
with its severe rows of sagebrush,
damp bristles thrashing
as rain squalls blew across the ocean.

I bought a plane ticket to Portland,
drove over mountain passes coated
with unsalted ice, soaked naked in hot springs,
wearing only my ear-flap hat.
Around me, people with beatific faces
slowly lowered their bodies
into the steaming water.

Drove north to Olympia:
drank espresso downtown
while surrounded by hippies of
various ages: Evergreen students
and townies, all of them clad
in wool and fleece, proudly
sporting ear-flap hats.
I had found my tribe again
after years of fruitless wandering.

In Olympia, I picked up a friend
and a sack of marijuana cookies.
We drove to the coast, and I
danced like a child in the foam,
wearing my ear-flap hat,
while pellets of snow rained down from the sky.

I felt sure I was home at last
and would return to live there forever,
as soon as I could get my ass out of Illinois.

In the morning, at the hotel restaurant,
my husband phoned, and I spoke to him
enthusiastically about my adventure.
A man at the next table
told me to keep my voice down,
because he was trying to enjoy
a quiet breakfast with his family.
We were the only people there,
so he struck me as bizarre.
I had some re-acclimating to do.

I was face to face with
the troll at the gate, but nothing
would stop me from returning-
so return I did, a few months later:
with my ear-flap hat,
perched on top of my head
like a flag of victory.

PHOTO: Author at Ocean Shores, Washington (February 2011).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem about my experience of visiting the Pacific Northwest in February 2011, after four years living in the Midwest, land of my birth. I’d previously resided in both Washington and Oregon from 1985 until 2007, then left the area on a whim and returned to my roots. In 2011, I realized the Midwest represented my roots, but the Northwest was my branches. I still feel that way.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leah Mueller is an independent writer from Tacoma, Washington. She is the author of one chapbook, Queen of Dorksville(Crisis Chronicles Press, 2012), and two full-length books, Allergic to Everything (Writing Knights Press, 2015) and The Underside of the Snake (Red Ferret Press, 2015). Her work has either been published or is forthcoming in Blunderbuss, Memoryhouse, Atticus Review, Thank You For Swallowing, Sadie Girl Press, Origins Journal, Silver Birch Press, Cultured Vultures, Quail Bell, and many others. She was a featured poet at the 2015 New York Poetry Festival, and a runner-up in the 2012 Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry contest.


My Daughter’s Hat
by MM Wittle

I stole my daughter’s hat while we were drinking hot chocolate at Max Brenner’s.

It was a big, floppy hat in black felt she purchased from Target two nights before. She said she needed the hat because it made her feel more glamorous and cheeky. I suspected she needed the hat to be a barrier between her and the wedding guests she wasn’t interested in making small talk with.

But then, while we were together, she wore the hat. We walked around Center City, Philadelphia and sat in Washington Square Park discussing her recent break-up and my tiptoeing back into the dating pool. We talked about books and shared memories from years ago and I realized our ages are different, but our paths are running the same course. Sadly, my history was not skipping her generation.

After our dinner, I took my moment and I stole her hat. I was hoping osmosis would deliver me some of her protection or her sass because I knew this new chapter of my life was unwritten for both of us.

All I got was a picture of me in my daughter’s hat.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Me in my daughter’s hat (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Summer 2016).

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: MM Wittle is a literary coach for writing and a writing professor. her fiction has appeared in Transient, The Four Quarters, The Fox Chase Review, and others, and her poetry has appeared in The Bond Street Review and Philadelphia Poets and the Decades Review’s IX issue. Her creative nonfiction piece, Presently in the Past, is in Volume 20 of Thin Air Literary Magazine. Her creative nonfiction book Three Decades and I’m Gone (Creeping Lotus Press, 2014) details her struggle with learning to live with the death of both her parents.

That Top Hat
by Richard Harries

I was twelve
Yes twelve
The youngest of four
My sister got married

I was a thin
I was put into
A top hat
Yes a top hat
And tails

I felt
An utter prat
Yes a prat
This was the sixties
I was meant to be swinging
Not stood around like a geek

I was tall
Nearly six foot
Did I mention I was lanky?
Well how tall did I feel
In a top hat?
Top hat
And with those tails!

It is so long ago
Yet I remember it still
And when hats are mentioned
I return to that
Very memorable day

© Richard Harries

Photo by Sofia Pallares, used by permission. 

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by the prompt. The mention of hats immediately brought this occasion to mind, and as it is some 50 years ago I think that it must have been traumatic to a pre-teenager!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Harries is 64 years of age and writes many sorts of poems. He appears at many festivals and charity events. His varied work ranges from serious subjects like homelessness, Aids, and suicide to children’s stories and comedy. He has a youtube channel where is work can be seen — just google rcpoems and to view them.

AUTHOR PHOTO CAPTION: The image is me in performance earlier in 2016 at the Filey Folk Festival . Photo by Julie Cawkwell

drooped artful like
by Wanda Morrow Clevenger

turns out online
a profile pic
was required
at every turn

putting a face
to the name
to the work
to the byline
when luck smiled

and at first it was
lack of good angle,
quality camera,
the right lighting
that finally put me
in a hat
a black and ecru
straw-ish thing
that drooped
on top kind of
artful like

I stood bone still
in a wall corner
hidden by and
blinded by the brim
the laptop mouse
rested on my thigh
fixing one shoulder
at a downward tilt
and clicked

and it came out
not half bad
so I used it
for everything
for a long while
including inside
my first book

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My first profile photo.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I first entered the internet, providing a profile pic for every writing or social site I joined was intimidating for a couple of reasons; 1) actually getting a self photo taken that didn’t look like a deer caught in the headlights, and 2) showing myself to what felt like a million strangers, and having to deal with the overt attention and advances of so many of those million male strangers. Getting that shot of myself hiding under that hat made a big difference.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Wanda Morrow Clevenger is a Carlinville, Illinois, native. Over 410 pieces of her work appear in 145 print and electronic publications.  Her nonfiction “Big Love” was nominated for 2016 Best of Net by Red Fez literary journal. Her debut book This Same Small Town in Each of Us (Edgar & Lenore’s Publishing House, 2011) was released in October 2011. Visit her magazine-type blog, updated at her erratic discretion, here. A full-length poetry manuscript is currently seeking representation.