Archives for posts with tag: vacations

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Chinese Restaurant (London 1988)
by Tricia Marcella Cimera

This is my favorite
Chinese restaurant in London,
my dad declares as we climb
a long dark flight of stairs
in a timeless building
where a hostess waits at the top.
I order cashew chicken—
the sauce is clear, fragrant
(there & yet not there).
The chicken is so white,
the cashews are fat & golden.
Rice awaits in a red bowl,
every grain tiny as a second.
As the lights go on
in Piccadilly Circus, my dad & I talk
in a circle of candlelight
by the window while the cashews
resemble crescent moons shining
on the china plate or little ears
listening avidly to our conversation
(which flows like warm tea)—
& the check doesn’t come
for hours & hours.

PHOTO: Cathay Chinese Restaurant, Glasshouse Street, Piccadilly Circus, London, England (1982).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My late dad inhabits many of my poems. This poem is about when I went to London on my own when I was in my early twenties. My father met me there; he was working in Germany at the time. We had a brief, splendid visit together. I wish I could remember the name of that Chinese restaurant; it was a mysterious oasis above Piccadilly Circus and had the best food ever (authentic, as they say). My dad and I talked of many things that night like we always did. He was endlessly fascinating with a gorgeous sense of humor. During our visit we also went to a Russian restaurant called Borscht N Tears, where we had caviar and encountered unruly Germans – but that is another good memory.

EDITOR’S NOTE: According to The Guardian, Britain’s first mainstream Chinese restaurant, Cathay, arrived in London’s Piccadilly Circus area during 1908, setting off the UK’s love of Chinese cuisine that has never waned.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tricia Marcella Cimera is a Midwestern poet with a worldview. Her poems have appeared in various diverse journals online and in print. She lives, writes, despairs, and tries to hope in America. A cedar Poetry Box called The Fox Poetry Box is mounted on a post in her front yard.

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Duplex: Where Everything Gets Unraveled Just Right*
by Jonathan Yungkans

The lake glittered as if weightless and we laughed.
Birds rested and twittered on the tree of me.

          Foliage shattered, the perched flock startled.
          Bird flights like mountain roads—soaring curves and bends.

Mountain road climbed, twisted toward Yosemite.
I was seven. The ocean heaved out of me.

          The ocean heaved. Dad eased our camper truck down.
          Side road, thick with pines, led to a riverbank.

Walls of thick pines to a fabric skein of water.
Sun shone through loose strands, sparkled through the weave.

          Sun pulled loose as it sparkled through the weave.
          Its reflection flashed, a grin in the water.

The water washed a smile into me.
Weightless, the lake glittered as we both laughed.

*Title taken from the poem “From Palookaville,” in the collection Hotel Lautréamont by John Ashbery. 

An earlier version of this poem appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Issue 10 (October 2021).

PHOTO: Mirror Lake, Morning, Yosemite National Park, California by Ansel Adams (1928).

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE FORM: Jericho Brown combined aspects of the sonnet, ghazal, and blues poem to create the duplex form in 2018. It is a 14-line poem written in two-line stanzas, in which the second line of one stanza is echoed in the first line of the following one. Each line runs between nine and eleven syllables and is meant to stand, in the strictest use of the form, as an independent entity. The opening line is repeated, or at least echoed, at the close to bring the poem full-circle. While I have treated the form somewhat more loosely in several of my other duplexes, I have tried to remain on better behavior here. I have also written a craft essay on my use of the form, which appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This is the one memory of family vacations which has stayed with me consistently. (Since my mom raised and showed collies and Shetland sheepdogs for about 20 years while I was growing up, many of our weekends were taken up with dog shows and other business-related activities.) We were on our first vacation, on the outskirts of Sequoia National Forest in Central California. I got violently carsick while riding in the upper bunk of our cabover camper through a winding mountain road. Mom walked my brother and me down to the lake while Dad took care of the mess. I was scared and felt guilty. It didn’t help that I wasn’t a happy kid in general—I was mainly quiet, afraid to say peep. Maybe it was the sight of another family splashing and having fun just offshore, or maybe the river really seemed to laugh and smile to cheer me up. Regardless of why, it worked.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jonathan Yungkans continues to write while working as an in-home health-care provider. This gives him time to catch his breath and imbibe copious amounts of coffee while staying connected to humanity in something approaching a constructive manner. His writing and photography have appeared in MacQueen’s Quinterly, Panoply, Synkroniciti, and other publications. His second poetry chapbook, Beneath a Glazed Shimmer, was published by Tebot Bach in 2021.

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Dewey Beach, 2022
(for Paul and Estelle)
by Bunkong Tuon

The first time we went on vacation since COVID hit.
The first time my son put his feet in the sand,
Felt waves crashing, his eyes lit up.
Laughter cascading through his little body.
The first time my daughter dipped her head in the
Cool pool water, practicing trust in
Herself and the world,
The next day she kicked her legs, moved her arms,
Propelled her body forward.
Her Yiayia said, “You’re swimming, Chanda,
You’re swimming.” And the world we left behind
Disappeared. Of six million lives lost to the virus.
Of quarantines, school shootings, and isolation.
And childhood magic returned. I thought of my own
Upbringing. Refugee. Orphan.
Child survivor of the Cambodian Genocide.
How I wanted to give my kids a childhood
I never had. A father who is there
Holding their hands. Laughing as
Waves crash against their feet.
Chanting their names as they practice
How to live in this mad world.
Hollering in delight at their triumphs,
Hugging, and kissing their heads
When they need comfort.
Today, I’m giving extra love against Omicron
& its variants, against school shootings &
Police violence, against war & childhood traumas,
Against a world on the verge of destruction.
I’m giving extra love for orphans & refugees
Of the world.
Oh sweet, tender, crazy love,
Help me undo the hurt and loneliness
Of my childhood.

IMAGE: Dewey Beach, Delaware, birchwood postcards, available at Amazon.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I am an orphan who became a father to two beautiful children, and I wanted to give to my kids what I didn’t have when I was young. When the pandemic hit, all that love and that desire for my children to have a normal childhood intensified. In the summer of 2022, my wife’s parents rented a beach house in Delaware, where the kids had a great time. For a quick second, it almost felt like everything was back to “normal.” Dear readers, I take each day with my kids as a gift, as I should. I am grateful to be alive and be with my kids.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bunkong Tuon is a Cambodian-American writer and critic. He is the author of GruelAnd So I Was Blessed (both published by NYQ Books), The Doctor Will Fix It (Shabda Press), and Dead Tongue (Yes Poetry). His prose and poetry have appeared or are forthcoming in New York Quarterly, Copper Nickel, The Lowell Review, Massachusetts Review, The American Journal of Poetry, carte blanche, Diode Poetry Journal, Paterson Literary Review, Consequence, among others. He teaches at Union College, in Schenectady, New York.

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How to Return to Paradise
by Lisa Molina

Rhythmic pumping
whooshing womb wave
sounds crash upon the
darkening beach;

My toes sink slightly in soft sand;
White frothy foam washes up and clings to my legs.

I look up to the tiny sparkling eyes,
winking at me through
the onyx cover above.

Are they watching me
sparkle, wink, and shine?

As we gaze on each other,
I begin to spin.
As I turn turn turn,
the water begins to rise.

Rising up my calves, knees, thighs.

Up to my belly;
the scar that once connected
me to my mother’s womb,
and the belly that held my own babies.

It rises up over my breasts
that fed them warm milk,
and my heart still pulsing with life.

Feeling the soothing water
around my body and neck;

Throwing my head back as joyous
Laughter laughter laughter
Bursts forth from my mouth.

The stars and I still
shining on each other,
and Luna smiling down on me.

Louder laughter as the
nourishing waters of Eden
slowly climb
up up up
until my head is
covered completely;

My hair caressing my
face and shoulders.

My feet lift off the
floor of the Earth.

I’m floating,
flying,
in the
Wet
World
Womb

From whence all Life began.

My soul smiles.
It knows it
is safe

As it returns
to the depths
of Paradise.

PHOTO: Mermaid by Sergei Tokmakov, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: I wrote “How to Return to Paradise” as a way to help myself cope with many challenges of life during the past year. When I have anxiety, images and sounds of water, especially the beach, always help to quell my worries. Since I am unable to go to the beach, due to Covid, this poem enabled me to “go there” through writing poetry.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: While not bingeing on her new favorite writer’s works, Lisa Molina can be found working with students with special needs, writing, singing, playing the piano, or marveling at nature with her family. She has lived in Austin, Texas, since earning her BFA at the University of Texas. Her poetry has been featured in Trouvaille Review, Beyond Words Magazine, Poems in the Afterglow, Sad Girls Club Literary Blog, Ancient Paths, The Poet Magazine, The Daily Drunk, Tiny Seed Journal, Down in the Dirt Magazine, with poems soon to be featured in Amethyst Review. You can read her poetry at lisalitgeek.wordpress.com

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“On the road again…”
by Stephanie J. Morrissey

As a child I’d sing;
when the rubber
hit the melting asphalt;
the muggy city air
caressing my face.
We happily, hot and sweaty,
embarked to the Sunshine State
to see “Pots” and “Granna.”
We’d arrive irritated,
still hot and sweaty,
nonetheless relieved, three days later
at “the house in Florida.”
ENGAGE vacation whirlwind of:
Disneyland; Epcot; Splash Mountain;
Typhoon Lagoon; Boardwalk and Baseball;
Universal City; Busch Gardens;
Silver Springs; Cypress Gardens;
Vero Beach; Ron’s Surf Shop;
Kennedy Space Center; the golf course.
I had summer vacations
kids wished they had.
The All American Dream,
just like the Griswolds,
but without most of the chaos.
When I was little I loved it.
As I grew older I began to hate it,
the monotony; the idea
of what these places represented these icons
of what being an American meant.
The false American Dream
they all perpetuated.
I always hoped
to have the lesson at the end
that all that really mattered was
our family spending time together
Sadly, those amusement parks
were an attempt to fill a void.
I don’t enter amusement parks
of my own volition as an adult,
I just don’t have the time
to spend with them anymore.

PHOTO: Cinderella Castle in Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida, by Vivaltours, used by permission.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process deviated from my normal process for this poem. This time I prepped by looking at some recent vacation photos, talking to my kids about past vacations we had, reflecting on my vacations as a child, watching National Lampoon’s Vacation, and jamming out to some tunes we listened to on road trips as a kid while brainstorming with one of my best gals.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie J. Morrissey is currently riding out the wave of the pandemic in Austin, Texas. Since she’s devoid of the ability to travel, she has spent her summer at home with her partner enjoying their birthday month playing video games about being on an island. Since last writing for Silver Birch Press, Stephanie has released her first book of poetry titled The Heart, A Precious Organ through Hercules Publishing, available for sale through her Facebook poetry page @theconcretelabyrinth or on Amazon.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: This photo was taken on my birthday when my kids, my now ex-husband, and I went to Ocean Beach in San Francisco, California (July 6, 2009).

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Beach Party
by Clive Collins

I grew up hearing Americans sing about summer: beach parties, girls in tiny two-piece swimsuits and fun in Acapulco. One song I remember was called “It Might As Well Rain Until September.” In the English seaside town where my family spent two weeks every August, it probably did.

Our summer place was Skegness, “Skeggy” to the unfortunates who regularly went there. Each spring in our East Midland’s city the advertising hoardings of the railway stations and bus depots, the travel agencies’ windows, broke out in a rash of posters for holiday destinations all around England’s coastline, a paper paradise of fun, sun, sand and pretty girls, but my father’s meagre wage meant we were for Skeggy. Its advertisements featured “The Jolly Fisherman,”a cartoon fat man in a black sou’wester hat, red scarf, blue jumper and tight white trousers tucked into thigh-high sea boots skipping along the shoreline above a caption that read “Skegness is so bracing.” It was. Bitter winds blowing in from the sea usually are. Looking back, across the years, I cannot recall ever seeing anyone in Skegness who was inappropriately dressed for December.

As a seaside town Skeggy was more town than sea. As a beach resort it was more beach than resort, the sea just some distant rumour. In the 1950s, when my family members were regular visitors there, two ex-army DUKWs were used to carry fare-paying passengers down to the water and back again. We sat glumly at the top end of the sands trying to keep warm. When the time came that my parents could no longer tolerate the resort’s bracing effect, we retreated to a café for hot coffees. My sisters dropped sixpence into the jukebox and danced to warm themselves up: “Here Comes Summer.” I listened to the music and dreamed.

CAPTION: The author and his family bracing themselves on the sands at Skegness, England (August 1958).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Revisiting L.P. Hartley’s “foreign country,”where they do things differently.

Clive Collins

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Leicester, England, Clive Collins has spent the greater part of his life working as a teacher in Ireland, Sierra Leone, and Japan. He is the author of two novels, The Foreign Husband (Marion Boyars) and Sachiko’s Wedding (Marion Boyars/Penguin Books). Misunderstandings, a collection of short stories, was joint-winner of the Macmillan Silver PEN Award in 1994. More recently his work has appeared in online journals such as Penny, Cecile’s Writers, and The Story Shack. He was a short-listed finalist in the 2009 Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction.

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Beach Memories, A Haiku Sequence
by Roberta Beary

1)
at the end
of the hot bus ride
pink seashells

2)
under the boardwalk
the deep timbre
of the cop’s voice

3)
cabana —
brushing the beach
from my hair

4)
beach wedding—
the day dad lost me
in the waves

PHOTO: The author, age eight, at the beach in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: When I was eight, my father took us to Atlantic City, leaving my brother, age nine, in charge. I got lost somewhere between the sand and the shore. As my father lay dying in 2005, he spoke of his fear on that day in 1962. A visit to any beach reminds me of the day I was lost, and then found.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Roberta Beary is the haibun editor at Modern Haiku.  Her book The Unworn Necklace, a Poetry Society of America Award Finalist, is in its fourth printing. Her most recent book, Deflection, a collection of prose poems, is an Eric Hoffer book awards finalist. Follow Roberta Beary on twitter @shortpoemz, where she tweets her photoku.

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Modesty
by Derek Kannemeyer

There’s a photograph of me at the beach:
I’m four or five, skulking in a nook of rock
with one arm flung across my midriff
to prevent the lascivious exposure of my navel.
Where did it come from, this modesty my parents hooted at,
in sunny South Africa, on the frolicsome Cape sands?
The panic caught on my face can’t be coy, surely;
surely I can’t believe I’ve anything much to protect?
It’s terrible to be born so private and so self-involved,
to be so modest and so immodest, as if anybody even cares
about the flaws or the perfections of one’s ordinary person.
How much longer must I hole up so, for the indifferent world
to not gawp at, holding this same shy, brazen pose?
Still stricken so with wonder at my terrible, terrible bellybutton;
still singing, “Don’t look at me! Don’t look at me!”

PHOTO: Three Kannemeyers on the rocks, circa 1954, Western Cape, South Africa.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: The poem that appears here was written to announce an upcoming reading. In the few years since I wrote it, the photograph that inspired it seems to have utterly disappeared. Mmh. But I’ll offer another one, from the same year, I believe, in which you will notice that I am the only one of the subjects who remains decently clad. And unlike my brother and my father, I have my eyes closed: to draw attention, it may be conjectured, to my renunciation of all this unsavory (and yet poetic? rather charming?) self-flaunting of the exposed self.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Derek Kannemeyer was born in Cape Town, South Africa, raised in London, England, and teaches in Richmond, Virginia. His writing has appeared in a few dozen print and online journals.

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Long distance cruising on Tapini
by Mercedes Webb-Pullman

We ran the yacht’s diesel for an hour
morning and evening.
Everything on the water was important.

But we moved
to our own private Montana,
high on a mountain river near
drought-stricken Numeralla.

Lynchy on his crazy mare
popped up above high tussock.
she’s bucking and kicking but he’s still on
you called as they vanished again

then you were gone too.

I dreamed about Tapini last night,
when we bought her and learned to sail.

I dreamed we cruised to Lizard Island
as we’d always planned, and loved it

and we were still there.

PHOTO: Lizard Island, Great Barrier Reef (Queensland, Australia).

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My husband and I bought a yacht, a 40’ steel hull multi-chined cutter rigged bilge keeler, built specifically for cruising the Whitsunday Passage. We learned to sail, and planned our perfect holiday, cruising the Australian Great Barrier Reef. But things happened, we moved inland and sold the yacht. Then our marriage fell apart. That was 30 years ago. Last week I dreamed of him, and the yacht, and how happy we were, once. It was awful to wake up, and not be there on Lizard Island with him.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mercedes Webb-Pullman
graduated from IIML Victoria University Wellington with MA in Creative Writing in 2011. Her poems and the odd short story have appeared online and in print, in Turbine, 4th Floor, Swamp, Reconfigurations, The Electronic Bridge, poetryrepairs, Connotations, The Red Room, Silver Birch Press, Otoliths, among others, and in her books. She lives on the Kapiti Coast, New Zealand.

PHOTO: The author on vacation in New Orleans in 2011, about to drink her first Hurricane at Pat O’Briens. Cheers!

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Over the Pacific: A Chan Poem
by Yuan Changming

Flying high enough means to
Traveling far enough
To a new realm, where
There is neither borderline
Between sea and sky
Between day and night
Nor distinction
Between yesterday and tomorrow
Where every shape is softly roundish
Every line is tenderly curvy
While all colors become fluffily white
Like dehydrated snow
You would find yourself sailing alone
To an outer Hyperborea
On a heavenly boat
With no more attachments to the earth
There and then, your entire selfhood
Shrinks into a tiny dot of light
One and the same with your soul, your spirit
Gliding, cruising
In perfect pacificity

PHOTO: “Skyline view between two layers of clouds, taken through the window of a Boeing 777 flying over the Pacific Ocean” (2006) by Zuzu.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Yuan Changming
, eight-time Pushcart nominee and author of five chapbooks (including The Origin of Letters, 2015), grew up in rural China, became an ESL student at 19, and published several monographs on translation before moving to Canada. With a PhD in English, Yuan currently co-edits Poetry Pacific with Allen Qing Yuan in Vancouver, and, since mid-2005, has had poetry appearing  in 1,039 literary publications across 34 countries, including Best Canadian Poetry, BestNewPoemsOnline, Cincinnati Review, and Threepenny Review. 

PHOTO:  The author during his first visit to Hong Kong, the pearl at the Pacific Rim (Sept. 2014).