Archives for posts with tag: Florida

Beach at Hollywood Beach

How to ride a bike in South Florida
by Stephanie Casio

     1. Wrap your legs with four layers of sweatpants like bubble wrap. Don’t mind that your sweat from being outside so long has soaked through a pair and a half.
2. Try not to let the fresh sweat glazed onto your forehead bother you too much. Those two seconds of wind hitting you before you fall down will cool you off.
3. Make mom and dad proud by getting back up after having a heavy metal machine collapse onto your eight-year-old body, that’ll really make them proud.
4. Try, try, try.
5. Don’t give up when you feel like you’re having heat stroke.
6. But also drink some water every once in a while. Like holy crap kid don’t make mom go to the hospital for something as lame and preventable as heatstroke. Again.
7. Accept that the gravel bits in your driveway are now a part of your skin, that the lodged-in pieces belong in your system like water and blood and salt.
8. When you fall on the ground — because you will, multiple times — don’t twist your wrist or your ankle. You will cry, and then your parents will cry, and crying people aren’t really that coherent or good at making decisions.
9. Allow your mother to give you provisions as you tame the wild beast that is your bike. Orange slices, animal crackers, and Gatorade are a soldier’s food, they are the supplements of an Olympians.
10. Now that you are comfortable in your soggy sweatpants, have refilled your internal energy by eating food, and learned to break your fall — you have successfully completed the trials every bike rider has gone through. You have earned the ultimate ending of riding off into the sunset on your mighty steed and are now not the only kid in your class who can’t ride a bike. Hopefully.

PHOTO: “Hollywood Beach, South Florida” by tomato66, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I prefer prose to poems, but I like to do poems when I have a very simple idea that needs to be made, such as for this anthology. Working around or with a prompt is a big part of getting inspiration.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie Casio was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is currently a junior at Miami Arts Charter school in the Creative Writing program.

venice, fla
An Accidental Vacation
by Michele Hyatt-Blankman

Arms flailing, feet perched
on water-worn piling,
They soldier against
a stiff ocean breeze
in the Florida sun.

Cross-country cousins,
now young men.
Boyish antics, long abandoned, now reclaimed
in laughter, dares, and fist bumps.

Paradise of play fades into sunset.
The funeral would soon begin
Time to race inside, fix ties,
buff shoes, gel hair.

Joy slips in a window.
A cocked cap, goofy smile,
a quick nudge that goes unnoticed.

When the funeral’s over
and parting words are said,
the cousins must leave behind
golden moments untethered by age.
A sad occasion, an accidental vacation.

IMAGE: Postcard, Venice Beach, Florida (1986), available at ebay.com.

blankman cousins

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: “An Accidental Vacation” was based on a trip that I took to Venice, Florida, for the funeral of my mother-in-law, a sad occasion that also turned out to be a wonderful opportunity for the extended family to reunite. The sadness we had anticipated; the joy and lifetime experience we had not. My mother-in-law, Iris Blankman, would have been so very proud.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO: The Blankman cousins enjoying their first time together in many years on the Florida beach hours before attending the funeral of their beloved grandmother. This was taken a few years ago, and they’ve not lost touch since.

Hyatt-Blankman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Michele Hyatt-Blankman has enjoyed writing stories and poems since elementary school and pursued both seriously throughout college, where she earned her BA in English and as a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Journalism. Her professional experience has included public relations as well as feature news writing for both broadcasting and print media through the Baltimore/Washington DC area.

1024px-Casselberry_northtriplet
Aubade in Casselberry
After Milosz’s “Mittelbergheim”
by Amy Watkins

Alex sleeps in a nest of cotton sheets.
I am wakened by the firing of an engine in the streets
of Casselberry. I hear my young daughter
whispering into her pillow in the next room,
a door slam in the still-dark outside.
I keep my eyes closed. Don’t rush me,
jealous god that you are, for it is too early.

Here and nowhere else is my homeland.
I carry it with me: a breeze, a palm, a fire ant,
lightning splitting the low clouds, walking sand dunes
in the hot gold of day beside waters green
as my love’s eyes in the morning.

I have lived through thirty years and never, even in dreams
attained anything beyond these few rooms
and the limited frontier of my imagination—
no truth, no insight, no unity more profound
than my foot against his calf and our daughter
nearby sleeping. Let me believe it is enough.
Let the family sleep in Casselberry

SOURCE:  Originally published in The Louisville Review.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem after reading Czeslaw Milosz’s “Mittelbergheim,” in which the poet slowly wakes up in a strange city feeling a sense of connection to the world that is almost transcendent. Unlike the world traveler Milosz, I can’t say, “Here and everywhere / Is my homeland.” I love his poem, but the connection I feel to the world is smaller in scale.

PHOTOGRAPH: “North Triplet Lake, Casselberry, Florida” by Seldom4.

watkinsphoto

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Amy Watkins grew up with the armadillos and scrub oaks on the Central Florida ridge. Her poems and essays have recently appeared in Atavic and Animal: A Beast of a Literary Magazine. She lives near Orlando with her husband and daughter, a maniacal cat, and a very patient dog.

Micanopy Palms
COAST TO COAST BLUES
by Mary Bast

Sequoias drummed a riff
across the miles
through swaying chants
of cornfields, psalms of snow,

to sea, flat cool-
white sand, jazzed
waves, the syrinx song
of oystercatchers.

Edward Hopper days:
palm trees etched
on turquoise sky, a painting
lonelier than death.

To halt the salty
appetite of blue
I think of
risqué words,

of robin’s eggs
and Bessie Smith
no one to tell
your troubles to.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: For most of my adult life I swore I’d never live in Florida, picturing the hot sun, flat vistas, and sinkholes. California’s Sequoia National Forest was the rich and redolent landscape of my dreams. Then life happened, gradually taking me from the West Coast to the midwest and eventually to north central Florida. I’ve come to love the terrain and wildlife that inspired Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings, but wrote this poem when I first arrived, still grieving the losses that brought me here.

IMAGE: “Micanopy Palms” (Micanopy, Florida), painting by Mary Bast.

bast

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Mary Bast writes poetry, found poetry, and creative nonfiction. Her poetry chapbook Eeek Love and two found poetry collections – Unmuzzled, Unfettered and Toward the River – are available at Amazon.com. A Wergle Flomp Humor Poetry Contest finalist, Mary’s work has been published in Bacopa Literary Review, Blue Monday Review, Connotation Press, right hand pointing, Shaking Like a Mountain, Six Minute Magazine, Slow Trains, The Found Poetry Review, The Writing Disorder, Pea River Journal, and Poetry WTF!? She’s also an Enneagram coach, author of seven nonfiction books, and painter of landscapes, waterscapes, and animal portraits.

bill_wisser

PHOTO OF A MAN ON SUNSET DRIVE: 1914, 2008 (Excerpt)
Groundbreaking Ceremony, City of South Miami, Sunset Drive Improvements
by Richard Blanco

And so it began: the earth torn, split open
by a dirt road cutting through palmettos
and wild tamarind trees defending the land
against the sun. Beside the road, a shack
leaning into the wind, on the wooden porch,
crates of avocados and limes, white chickens
pecking at the floor boards, and a man
under the shadow of his straw hat, staring
into the camera in 1914. He doesn’t know
within a lifetime the unclaimed land behind
him will be cleared of scrub and sawgrass,
the soil will be turned, made to give back
what the farmers wish, their lonely houses
will stand acres apart from one another,
jailed behind the boughs of their orchards…

Photo: ”Miami Sunset,” Bill Wisser Photography, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Blanco arrived in Miami shortly after his birth in 1968, the son of Cuban exiles. His acclaimed first book, City of a Hundred Fires, explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban-American, and received the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press (1998). His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005) won the 2006 PEN/American Beyond Margins Award for its continued exploration of the universal themes of home and place. In January 2013, he was invited to read a poem at President Obama’s second inauguration. Blanco’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Michigan Quarterly, Best American Poetry 2000, Best American Prose Poems, and National Public Radio. Blanco earned both a bachelors of science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (1997). He currently lives in Bethel, Maine, where he writes and works as a consultant engineer. (Source: Poetryfoundation.org)

bill_wisser

PHOTO OF A MAN ON SUNSET DRIVE: 1914, 2008
Groundbreaking Ceremony, City of South Miami, Sunset Drive Improvements
by Richard Blanco

And so it began: the earth torn, split open
by a dirt road cutting through palmettos
and wild tamarind trees defending the land
against the sun. Beside the road, a shack
leaning into the wind, on the wooden porch,
crates of avocados and limes, white chickens
pecking at the floor boards, and a man
under the shadow of his straw hat, staring
into the camera in 1914. He doesn’t know
within a lifetime the unclaimed land behind
him will be cleared of scrub and sawgrass,
the soil will be turned, made to give back
what the farmers wish, their lonely houses
will stand acres apart from one another,
jailed behind the boughs of their orchards.
He’ll never buy sugar at the general store,
mail love letters at the post office, or take
a train at the depot of the town that will rise
out of hundred-million years of coral rock
on promises of paradise. He’ll never ride
a Model-T puttering down the dirt road
that will be paved over, stretch farther and
farther west into the horizon, reaching for
the setting sun after which it will be named.
He can’t even begin to imagine the shadows
of buildings rising taller than the palm trees,
the street lights glowing like counterfeit stars
dotting the sky above the road, the thousands
who will take the road everyday, who’ll also
call this place home less than a hundred years
after the photograph of him hanging today
in City Hall as testament. He’ll never meet
me, the engineer hired to transform the road
again, bring back tree shadows and birdsongs,
build another promise of another paradise
meant to last another forever. He’ll never see
me, the poet standing before him, trying
to read his mind across time, wondering if
he was thinking what I’m today, both of us
looking down the road that will stretch on
for years after I too disappear into a photo.

Source: Place of Mind (Floating Wolf Quarterly, 2011)
Photo: “Miami Sunset,” Bill Wisser Photography, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED Image

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Richard Blanco arrived in Miami shortly after his birth in 1968, the son of Cuban exiles. His acclaimed first book, City of a Hundred Fires, explores the yearnings and negotiation of cultural identity as a Cuban-American, and received the prestigious Agnes Starrett Poetry Prize from the University of Pittsburgh Press (1998). His second book, Directions to The Beach of the Dead (University of Arizona Press, 2005) won the 2006 PEN/American Beyond Margins Award for its continued exploration of the universal themes of home and place. In January 2013, he was invited to read a poem at President Obama’s second inauguration. Blanco’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, TriQuarterly, Michigan Quarterly, Best American Poetry 2000, Best American Prose Poems, and National Public Radio. Blanco earned both a bachelors of science degree in Civil Engineering and a Master in Fine Arts in Creative Writing (1997). He currently lives in Bethel, Maine, where he writes and works as a consultant engineer. (Source: Poetryfoundation.org)