Waking Into Reality waking into reality happens when your nail polish peels just enough to reveal the underside of what you have concealed for years when one day your serving of mashed potatoes reminds you of your grandfather's stories of Russian pogroms, and your hot lemon tea brings back childhood memories of your grandmother's morning ritual of hot water with lemons squeezed from trees in their back yard in Boyle Heights where they lived among other Jewish immigrants who came to America to escape religious persecution the avocado tree next to the wooden front porch of their East Los Angeles home used to be your look-out when you wanted to search beyond the Yiddish and Russian accents and instead found cellular memories that had congealed to remind us that we are more than the lines around objects that make up our daily routine more than the anesthetized ache of time moving through the hour glass as we disappear into the mist of ancestral ties that bind us
Canals Built in the nineteen-hundreds, the Venice Canals, reminiscent of Italy, reside at Venice Beach near Santa Monica, California brackish tendrils of ocean water creep along beachfront property near coastlines of wet sand canals lined with wooden houses now in disrepair wooden bridges form arched spaces, passageways to her life on the other side she dips her feet into the briny water wonders when the Mallards will return to lay eggs in mud-soaked nests along water's edge flathead minnow swim deep below the surface—undisturbed impassable sidewalks lead toward interrupted views stop her from wandering too far it is summer, and morning glories transform the waterways into a playground of purple and pink—but for her, it seems easier to settle for shrouded fog that twists and turns along tendrils of illusion where night and day merge into pools of murky by-products that quench her passion in winter months, she visits the canals when mist forms along edges of salty walkways that lead to nowhere in particular in her world of canals, it is only a matter of time until she navigates her exit she must wait for the Mallards' return, a comforting sign that weaves through chimera like sharp edges that cut through barnacles of apathy still clinging to wooden posts deep beneath the ocean (Canals was first published in Glitterwolf: Issue Seven, January 2015)
Carousel she was alone when the carousel stopped spinning the gold ring still out of reach silence in a weightless world where the newly opened French cafe had an empty table but the chairs were too high she ordered a latte and waited the sounds of indoor clamor muffled inside her head while she watched, detached stranger in a strange land that looked slightly familiar even the smells had off-scents that reminded her of Telegraph Avenue when she'd walk from the dorms to her early class at Berkeley stop at the Forum for a croissant before the yellow busses arrived and helmeted police moved through the student protestors like a swarm of black locust she returned to her apartment and dreamed of corral snakes escaping out of a canvas bag, slither around her bed and wait while she slept but now that the carousel had stopped even snake dreams seemed palatable and the double latte at the French café had a swirl of cream that reminded her of the one curl on her baby brother's head
Joanne Bodin Ph.D., is an award-winning author, poet, and retired educator. Her book of poetry, Piggybacked, was a finalist in the New Mexico Book Awards. Her novel, Walking Fish, won the New Mexico Book Awards and the International Book Awards in gay/lesbian fiction. She is past vice president of the New Mexico State Poetry Society, and is on the boards of Southwest Writers and the New Mexico Orchid Guild. Her poetry has appeared in numerous publications including: La Llorona Poetry Anthology, JB Stillwater Magazine, and Adobe Walls 5. Her new novel, Shadow Dreamer, a dark psychological thriller about the esoteric world of orchids, is now in publication.