Archives for posts with tag: vacations


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.

rmb.1962.beach copy1
Beach Memories, A Haiku Sequence
by Roberta Beary

at the end
of the hot bus ride
pink seashells

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

cabana —
brushing the beach
from my hair

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.


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.

02011103 - Version 7
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.


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.

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.


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!

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.


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).

Silver Birch Press--Brad Rose Photo1

Bull-Leaping to Bach Cantata No. 54 (Stand Firm Against Sin)
by Brad Rose

I once knew a girl who sang in her sleep — hummed Bach cantatas. So pretty, the sleep-soaked notes, levitating above her pillow, her musical murmur, beckoning the night to draw closer. She was Danish, charming, traveling the Mediterranean. What did I know about music? A brash American, barely 21, flotsam in the blue latitudes where once, the minotaur lived and naked boys tumbled over the heads of bulls. In Heraklion, Bettina whispered the hot, still night to sleep, while in my tossing restlessness, all I could dream about was a rhythm section. And horns.

SOURCE: Originally published in The Molotov Cocktail (June 1, 2011).

PHOTOGRAPH: “Bull-Leaping to Bach Cantata No. 54” is set in the Mediterranean, on the Island of Crete, when the author was 21.  Pictured here, he is vacationing in Kauai, where the surf is much better than on Crete.  The photo was taken in the 20th century.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This prose poem is based on my vacation travels in Greece and Crete many, many years ago. It is a true story.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Brad Rose was born and raised in Los Angeles, and lives in Boston. He is the author of Pink X-Ray (Big Table Publishing, 2015). His poetry and fiction have appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The Baltimore Review, Posit, decomP, San Pedro River Review, Off the Coast, Third Wednesday, Boston Literary Magazine, Right Hand Pointing and other publications. His chapbook of poetry, Democracy of Secrets, from Right Hand Pointing, can be read at  His chapbook of micro fiction Coyotes Circle the Party Store, can be read at this link. Links to Brad’s published poetry and fiction can be found at Audio recordings of a selection of Brad’s published poetry can be heard at

“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.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTOGRAPH: This photo was taken on my birthday when my kids, my now exhusband, and I went to Ocean Beach in San Francisco, CA, July 6, 2009.

Now that Stephanie has escaped the hell that was her
evil childhood vacations, she now enjoys taking vacations
with her two sons, Xavier and Erick, that involve
anything outdoors, cultural or educational. Stephanie,
however, still retains her genetic love for travel,
she never really considers a trip
a vacation anymore, they’re all just adventures.

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 Lampoons Vacation, and jamming out to some tunes
we listened to on road trips as a kid while brainstorming with one of my      best gals.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stephanie J. Morrissey has been has been writing poetry for over 20 years — but, until recently, was hiding in a hobbit hole with her poetry as the protective walls. Ready to step out in the world and share her poetry, in the past three years she has performed at the poetry segment for Art Outside 2013, Austin International Poetry Festival 2013, Metal and Lace twice as a featured poet through Austin Salon Poetic 2013 and 2014, and hosted an Open Mic for about a year at Ruta Maya — all in and around her current home base of the ever-weird Austin, Texas. She has also performed for Expressions and was included the anthology for the venue titled A Gathering Of The Poetry Tribes: Instant Anthology 2013. If you can’t already tell, Stephanie likes to be on stage, and in her spare time, when she isn’t immersed in writing or drawing, she is having wondrous adventures with her youngest kid, her boyfriend, and her friends — most likely cooking at least one meal in the process.

by Veronica Hosking

Diamond jubilee
Dream vacation

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My youngest daughter had her 8th grade promotion in May. She wanted to celebrate by going to Disneyland. We enjoyed the park’s 60th diamond celebration in July.

AUTHOR’S NOTE ON THE PHOTO:  Gretchen (graduate), Rachael (pooh ears), and me posing with Winnie the Pooh July 15, 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Veronica Hosking is a wife, mother, and poet.  She lives in the desert southwest with her husband and two daughters.  Her family and day job, cleaning the house, serve as inspiration for most of her poetry. She was the poetry editor for MaMaZina magazine 2006-2011.  “Spikier Spongier” appeared in Stone Crowns magazine November 2013. “Desperate Poet” was posted on the Narrator International website and reprinted in Poetry Nook February 2014. She has had several poems featured by Silver Birch Press. Veronica keeps a poetry blog at

Kings Canyon Vacation
by Robbi Nester

Long ago, so long it’s almost mythical,

I went camping among the big trees—

Sequoia and Redwood, near a river.

The trees stood dark and silent

over our small tent.

The river sang all night, never still,

weaving in and out of my dreams.

Much later, I put words to the tune.

PHOTOGRAPH: Sequoia/Kings Canyon National Park (California) by Neale Clark, Robert Harding World Imagery/Getty Images, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem was inspired by Silver Birch Press’s vacation prompt. The vacation in question took place over 30 years ago, when I first came to California to attend an MFA program at UC Irvine. I liked it so much here that I never left.

robbi photo2a

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Robbi Nester doesn’t take many vacations these days, but she makes up for it by writing poems that take her far away. She is the author of a chapbook, Balance (White Violet, 2012), a collection of poems, A Likely Story (Moon Tide, 2014), and a forthcoming collection, Other-Wise (Tebot Bach). She also edited an anthology of poems inspired by public media, The Liberal Media Made Me Do It (Nine Toes, 2014).



IMAGE: “Icarus” by Henri Matisse (1943).


NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: This poem, originally published by Obsession, 3 (Spring 2012), was inspired by a flight over Hampton Beach, New Hampshire, on an ultralight airplane with no cockpit.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: J.C. Elkin is an optimist, linguist, singer, traveler, theater critic and founder of the Broadneck Writers’ Workshop. Author of World Class: Poems Inspired by the ESL Classroom (Apprentice House 2014), her prose and poetry appear in such journals as Kansas City Voices, Kestrel, The Delmarva Review, Ducts, and Steam Ticket.

PHOTO: The author at Redwood Refuge, Muir Woods, Marin County, California (2009).