Archives for posts with tag: Romance

jerry w. mcdaniel
I found you in a jewelry store on a side street in Madrid
by Lourdes A. Gautier

Two young lovers, arms around each other’s waist
Strolled the streets of Madrid biding time
Till lunch when restaurants opened and shops closed for siesta.

A jewelry store window beckoned as gleaming gold
Captured my eye and I tugged at your arm
Gently pulling you inside hoping there was something we could afford.

We chose a charm for my bracelet that would remind us of our trip.
Finally a most perfect circle of gold crowned with a bit of turquoise
Made a bid for my affection for the blue reminded me of the
     Mediterranean.

The shopkeeper sensed our reluctance to spend more.
He, a kind, older gentleman with a soft spot for young love
Placed the ring on my finger where it clearly belonged.

I wore it through the rest of our time in Spain.
Went snorkeling with it on in Costa Brava as it became
A repository of memories, I loved it and you for giving it to me.

A month passed and we found ourselves in Amsterdam.
Arrived too late to secure a bed and breakfast, forced to become
Homeless for our first night, we walked the streets to stay awake.

Fatigue set in and we found a bench near the end of the trolley line.
I looked at my hands only to find my ring missing.
It had slipped off unnoticed thanks to the cold and weight lost since
     Madrid.

Three o’clock in the morning, rats scurried along the streets to the canal.
You promised we would find it and somehow on the wide boulevard
There in the middle of the street you were the first to spot it.

What were the chances that anything lost on such a major thoroughfare
Would be found in the dark and gloomy hours of an Amsterdam night?
We both took it as a fortuitous omen, a sign of good things to come.

IMAGE: “Amsterdam at 4AM” by Jerry W. McDaniel (2007-2010). Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

Gautier ring

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: More than 40 years later, this ring still reminds me of the magic of finding that which we thought was irretrievably lost.

gaultier2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Lourdes A. Gautier
is a poet and writer of short fiction and nonfiction. Born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, and raised in New York City she earned a Masters degree in Theatre and post graduate credits in a doctoral program at the City University of New York (CUNY) focusing on Latin American Theatre. She’s taught courses in acting and theatre history and criticism at CUNY, Drew University, and Jersey City State University and language arts in a special grant funded program at Rutgers University. Her short story, “1952,” was published in Acentos Review. Her poems have appeared in Calliope and in the Silver Birch Press  “All About My Name,” “My Perfect Vacation,” and “My Metamorphosis,”and “Me, at 17” series, among others. She is also a contributor to the award-winning anthology These Winter Months: The Late Orphan Project. She has performed at the Inwood Local open mic night in New York City. Currently an administrator at Columbia University, she continues to work on a collection of poems and stories, and looks forward to when she can retire from the day job and devote herself to writing full-time.

joan-leotta-and-dad
First College Date
by Joan Leotta

My seventeenth September
saw me packing up,
leaving childhood,
for my freshman year at Ohio U.
Two weeks into my
new adulthood, standing
in a long line, I met a
real live boy from Cleveland,
fellow freshman who said,
“My friend and his girl are
going to Court Street (the bars!)
and then to a movie on Friday.
Would you like to come with me?”
My first college date!
That Friday night my roommate
helped me select a
matching skirt and sweater
ensemble — camel color
to show off my long dark hair.
From down the hall another girl
Colored my lips with the perfect shade
“to offset your too
much-studying pallor.”
(They already knew me so well!)
My date and his friends
picked me up at seven.
We walked to Court Street
chatting about dorm food,
whether we would stay to dance
at Steve’s College Inn,
or take in a movie after a beer.
We fell into line along the sidewalk —
lines to enter bars on weekend nights
de rigueur in Athens, Ohio, 1965.
One by one each duet and quartet
arrived at door for an ID check.
After minute of hesitation
over my out-of-state credentials
Mr. Doorman pointed at me and
bounced us all!
“You can’t come in — she’s 17!”
My protest resounded down the line.
“But I don’t even like 3.2 beer
I want to order a soft drink.”
He was adamant. Implacable. Obstinate.
All of those words.
We walked to the movie theatre
down the street and joined that line.
My date mumbled as he paid my ticket,
“Too young for the bar,
too old for child’s price.”
Don’t recall the film, only the
quick walk back to my dorm afterwards.
I wanted to assert, “I’ll be 18 in January,”
but I just said, “Good night.”
Never heard from that boy again.
After that night, I decided
seventeen at college needed an upgrade.
For my next date, I borrowed an ID
from a months-older friend so I could
get in to order my coke
while others suffered through
watered beer, returning to my
own identity only when the calendar
agreed with my self-assessment
of new adulthood, even at seventeen.

PHOTO:  Joan Leotta and her Dad — taken in her backyard in Pittsburgh, when she was 21 and could legally drink anything, not just 3.2 beer in Ohio.

joan-leotta-about-to-eat-a-pastry1

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Joan Leotta has been playing with words on page and stage since childhood.  She is a writer and story performer. When she is not chained to her computer, you can find her on the beach or traveling. You can reach her at  joanleotta.wordpress.com and on  Facebook. Her first poetry chapbook, Languid Lusciousness with Lemon, will be released by Finishing Line Press in March 2017.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: Taken in May 2016 in Spain by my daughter — I am about to eat a pastry, which partly accounts for the difference in my width from that youthful 1970-ish photo and the 2016 version of me.

sittner_1
Remembering 17
by Leslie Sittner

I met him in summer
first time away from home
a dry run at independence
before September college.
It was 1963. I was 17.

He will be a junior
at his college three states away.
this wasn’t like high school
no chaperones
no curfews
but drinking
roommates
working hard days
playing hard nights.
Independence.
Come summer’s end
we go our separate ways.

Or so I remember.

He cyber finds me in fall
divorced, widowed, children
grandchildren, retirement,
living single, practiced at independence.
It is 2016. I am 70.

He phones, he e-mails.
He mentions that summer‘s two roommates
I remember one.
I remember the one roommate’s girlfriend
He does not.
He remembers the going-away dinner he splurged on
I do not.
He says we agreed to continue our relationship long distance
I don’t remember this.
He brings up all the phone calls
I vaguely remember a couple.
I fly to his fall Homecoming Weekend
This we both remember.
Lunch with Little Richard at his fraternity
This I remember. He does not.
Departing, I sob, give him a friendship ring
This he remembers. I do not.
He comes East that Christmas to ski with me
I don’t remember this.
He wants to know exactly when I met my husband-to-be,
were we still a couple,
did I cheat on him,
why didn’t I break up with him sooner?
I just don’t remember.
At 17 apparently I broke his heart.
I own only my memories of that 17th summer and fall.
No more. No less.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This is me that summer. For some reason I’m strumming a ukulele─which I still do not know how to play. The photo was e-mailed to me this past fall by the man in this poem.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Coincidently, the first call from this long-ago “boyfriend” making contact with me from an internet search came just a week after I had been remembering that summer with him. Then this Silver Birch prompt appears. Hmmm. What does all this mean?

sittner_2

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Leslie Sittner has been turning to the written word as a form of self-expression and reflection. Her stories are now available in print in The Apple Tree by Third Age Press, and on-line prose at 101Words, 50 Word Challenge, and 50 Word Stories. A variety of other prose and poetry can also be seen on-line at Silver Birch Press. She has finished a book about travels with her ex-husband and hopes a publisher will find it as humorous as she and her writer-friends do.

wiley-amherst-senior-pic
Following Seventeen Magazine’s Rules for Making Out
After a Late Shift at Dairy Queen
by Lisa Wiley

1. Soft lips are best. Carry lip balm.
Never use sticky gloss or gooey lipstick.

2. Relax! Odds are he’s been dying to kiss you all night.
Let him tuck the loose strands escaping your ponytail
behind your ear.

3. Agree on a radio station before you park
away from conspicuous streetlights.

4. Start with light, closed-mouth kisses.

5. Place your hands on his broad shoulders or run your fingers
through the thicket of his dark hair.

6. Limit tongue. Pay more attention to what he’s doing.

7. Once things are warmed up — don’t forget about behind the ears,
under the jawbone, forehead, collarbone dip, inside the wrist.

8. Be gentle — avoid hickeys.
Otherwise, your supervisor and parents will be suspicious.

9. Inhale the innocent mix of varsity leather and starched white Hanes
that you will never quite smell again.

10. Don’t unbutton or unzip anything.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My graduation photo, Amherst Central High School (Amherst, New York, 1990).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I dove into a pile of Seventeen magazines for inspiration and to remember what it feels like to be 17.

lisa-wiley-picture

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lisa Wiley teaches English at Erie Community College in Buffalo, New York. She is the author of two chapbooks—My Daughter Wears Her Evil Eye to School (The Writer’s Den, 2015) and Chamber Music (Finishing Line Press, 2013). Her poetry has appeared in The Healing Muse, Medical Journal of Australia, Mom Egg Review, Rockhurst Review, Silver Birch Press, Third Wednesday, and Yale Journal for Humanities in Medicine among others. She serves as a regional judge for Poetry Out Loud and has read her work throughout New York State. Visit her on Twitter.

foley
Equus or, First Night
by Laura Foley

A group of twelve
from a fancy high school,
on a birthday outing for one of us,
daughter of a slain Kennedy.
We sit together, watching a teenage boy
romping onstage like a horse,
my first sight of a naked man
we cap off with piña coladas
at Trader Vic’s,
eluding Secret Service agents,
hailing taxis in the street —
I hop, buoyant, in my trusty sneakers,
among this loose group of friends,
harboring a secret crush
on one of them.
At his house, emboldened
by my first taste of rum,
or strangeness of the play,
or the famous company,
I reach for him and
in the morning we
eat cereal with his mom,
while the bells of St. Thomas More
remind me it’s Sunday,
and nothing has changed
and everything has changed.

SOURCE: “Equus, or First Night” appears in the author’s collection Night Ringing (Headmistress Press, 2016).

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My yearbook photo, age 17, at Concord Academy (Concord, Massachusetts).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote this poem recently, a memory of my “first time.” It was an eventful experience, in more ways than one. Caroline Kennedy was my classmate in high school, and for her seventeenth birthday party, a group of us went to see the Broadway play Equus.

laurabeach

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Laura Foley’s books include Night Ringing (Headmistress Press, 2016), Joy Street (Headmistress Press, 2014) and The Glass Tree (Harbor Mountain Press, 2012). She won the 2016 Common Good Books poetry contest, judged by Garrison Keillor, and the 2016 Joe Gouveia Outermost Poetry Contest, judged by Marge Piercy. Visit her at laurafoley.net

rayograph-the-kiss-1922-jpglarge
Untitled at Seventeen
by David Bennett

Mary and I were swaying
back and forth
on her front porch
being snarky
when I stopped the swing
and the laughs that came so easily to us
abruptly.
“Teach me how to kiss.”

The class of 1963’s graduation approached,
and we were headed to different colleges.
My chance to straighten out
a crucial experience I was missing out on
was disappearing fast.

We hadn’t really dated dated.
We’d just gone to events
and hung out.
But we’d never been

romantic.

Though I couldn’t articulate this
until years later,
it didn’t hurt
that her brother was a flat-out doll
who might occasionally parade around
in only his briefs.

“Johnny!” his mother said once.
“We have company.”
He came back with a chuckle.
“It’s only David.”
As though I was part of the family.

When I took a bathroom break
later that evening,
I examined his razor,
flecked with red hairs
that had recently adorned his face,
as if I’d found the elusive specimen
that would explain evolution.

“Stonewall,”
at that time,
meant only “obstruct,”
“obfuscate.”
Which I had mastered.

For the next few minutes
Mary and I discussed
what I’d just asked for.

“Learn how to kiss?
Are you serious?”

“I might need to know some day.”
A seventeen-year-old boy
and I’d never ridden the train.

She was game.

We took positions
— arms thus and hips just so —
and arranged our faces
with puckers
and low-lidded looks.

I took a deep breath,
closed my eyes completely,
ready to take the plunge
off the Acapulco cliff,
exhaled,

and backed off.

“I can’t do this.”

“Maybe you’re gay, David.”

I’d never heard the word,
but I knew its meaning
immediately.

I gave her idea
a three-second thought
and shook my head.
“No, I don’t think so.”

IMAGE: “The Kiss” by Man Ray (1922).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: As soon as I sat down to address the theme — something from my seventeenth  year — this poem flowed freely from my fingertips. It’s a vivid memory 54 well-traveled years later. The porch, the swing, Mary, Johnny, the razor, my sense of  being lost, my sense of the impending loss of a good friend. Many kisses later, I look  back on that confused, earnest, and wistful boy-man, whose temperate take on life was  still taking shape, and smile on him. Growing up gay in rural Texas in the 1950s was     not easy, I tell him, but it made him save room for charity and whimsy.

bennett_d

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: David Bennett made it to 71, after all. He solved lots of riddles and decoded plenty of puzzles and ultimately learned how to be in the world. Now, having retired from careers as a Registered Nurse and Licensed Massage Therapist, he can say he made something of himself. He’s now in a death-match with bone marrow cancer, which is incurable. It will win, eventually, but David can point with pride to Pyrrhic victories over the last eleven years. He’s content in general but would rather have a different President.

AUTHOR PHOTO:  The author in a coffeehouse in Portland, Oregon, named Rain or Shine, in September 2016, at a showing of some tapestries he fashioned.

eknoian
The Summer of Possibilities
by Barbara Eknoian

I entered Lake Hopatcong’s
only ice cream parlor.
He was standing behind the soda fountain
and I noticed his white blond hair.
Just so I could see him every day,
I ordered sundaes, apple turnovers
and banana splits.
By summer’s end, I had gained ten lbs.
One day he canoed past our hotel dock
looking for me,
but I had gone home for the weekend.
Many nights that winter I fantasized
how I would be more outgoing
and by summer
I’d land a date with him.
I arrived at the lake on a sunny
June morning and he whizzed by
in his pink convertible
with three friends.
Later, I entered the ice cream parlor
expecting to see him, but found out
he had just left for the Navy.
That summer, every time I heard
“Tears on my Pillow”
on the radio
I cried for him.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This was photo was taken in 1957 (Belmar, New Jersey).

SOURCE: Previously published in the author’s poetry collection, Why I Miss New Jersey.

barb-eknoian

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian’s work has appeared in Pearl, Chiron Review, Cadence Collective Anthology, and Silver Birch Press’s Silver, Green, Summer, NOIR Erasure Poetry, and Self-Portrait anthologies. She resides in La Mirada, California, with her family. Her poetry book, Why I Miss New Jersey, and a novel, a family saga,  Monday’s Child are available at Amazon.

Kioroglou

Christmas on Hydra
by Sofia Kioroglou

Christmas on Hydra.
Fingers interlocked
squeezing tightly
I and you
looking at
the shimmering sea
kissing each other as
passersby are surreptitiously
stealing a look at our eternal bliss
swathed in mufflers
with breaths misting up
the crisp winter air.
I and you
melting
into each other forever
during this holiday season.

PHOTO: The author on Hydra last Christmas.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Poet Sofia Kioroglou is a writer, translator, lexicographer, and painter born and bred in Athens, Greece. A lover of the countryside, she tried several times to escape from the soul-destroying dog-eat-dog atmosphere of this mundane urban life. Her first trip to Jerusalem in 2010 changed her whole perspective on life and gave a new dimension to her existence. Most of her poems are philosophical with religious overtones. At the moment, she is bound up in putting together her own poetry chapbook. Some of her poems have won commendations and honourable mentions in several reputable poetry competitions and are featured on various poetry websites. Visit her at sofiakioroglou.wordpress.com, which features some of her English and Greek poems.

devil dogs
Desire
by Barbara Eknoian

     “Boredom: the desire for desire” Leo Tolstoy

I’m bored so I search in the cupboard
for a tasty treat, but there is none,
so I nibble on cheese and crackers,
but it doesn’t please me
as I really desire
that chocolate and cream, devil dog,
that I used to buy
at the grocery store every time
I ran an errand for my mom.
But now I know they’re not good
to eat because of trans fats,
but crackers won’t satisfy.
I want, I need that sweet, artificial
sugar taste.
Or maybe, it’s really a need to kiss
my husband on his sweet lips
like we did when we first met.

SOURCE: Previously published in Cadence Collective.

EKNOIAN

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Barbara Eknoian‘s work has appeared in Chiron Review, Pearl, Newverse News, Cadence Collective anthologies, Your Daily Poem, and Silver Birch Presses anthologies: Silver, Green, Summer, and Self-Portrait Collection. She has participated in Donna Hilbert’s poetry workshop since it began. Her children and grandchildren live with her in La Mirada because there is always room at her table.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION:  Kidding around with my husband  during the summer of 1974 at the Palisades Park town pool in New Jersey.

henri-cartier-bresson131

Ten Days in Paris
by Susan Mahan

I fell in love with a frenchman.

We dined in a bistro
…at separate tables.
Pink lighting glowed softly
on white linen,
and I savored him between morsels
of warm goat cheese.
He was handsome and cordial,
soft-spoken and kind.
He sat with a woman,
but I was sure
they were business associates;
he did not tutoie*her.

His gaze held hers
as they talked of their jobs,
their interests,
their families.
His eyes were expressive
and the color of the Seine on a cloudy day.
His eyebrows moved in concert
with her every remark.

I wanted his rapt attention
and longed to bring him back to my flat.

© Susan Mahan, June 2000

*the verb tutoyer means to address familiarly (tu)

PHOTOGRAPH: “Sidewalk Cafe, Boulevard Diderot, Paris” by Henri Cartier-Bresson (1969).

outside d'orsay

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR:
My husband died in 1997. I had been married 26 years and had never really been alone in all that time. Two years after he died, I decided to travel alone to Paris. I thought I needed to prove somethingto myself. I brought a journal along to write my impressions of the trip. “Ten Days in Paris”was one of the poems that emerged. When I think of the initial fear I had on that trip — not being ableto read maps that well, only knowing a little French, being entirely alone in a foreign country,how can I submit a poem on “My Perfect Vacation,”you may be asking? It turned out that my time spent in Paris gave me great confidence in myself. I’ve traveled back two more timesby myself since the first trip.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Susan Mahan has been writing poetry since her husband died in 1997. She is a frequent reader at poetry venues and has written four chapbooks. She served as an editor of The South Boston Literary Gazette from 2002-2012. She has been published in a number of journals and anthologies, including Silver Birch Press.

AUTHOR PHOTO: Susan Mahan outside The Musée d’Orsay, Paris.