Lots, Items, Knacks, Everything

Bargaining is almost a requirement where I live. If not to get the best price, it allows me to maintain face so that my friends don’t immediately claim “But I got it for only …” As a guest in the country (Indonesia) I am always guaranteed to get a “special price” but it is rarely one I would choose. But I must beware becoming the smart shopper who knows too much. Bahasa Indonesian has a phrase for it that translates roughly as “overthinking.”

The following post illustrates the point in poetry.


By Deb Whittam

To the counter she marched
resolute, chin held high as
she looked the shopkeeper
directly in the eye.

That painting, there, the one
above the door, I’ll give
you twenty dollars,
not a penny more.

Silence met her words
but with a nod he agreed
and painting in her hand, she smirked,
there had been no need to plead.

At home she unwrapped
her highly sought after prize
only to discover on the frame
a notation that made shock arise.

twenty she had paid,
twenty she had offered,
but the tag clearly stated
clearance – just one dollar.

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A Remarkable Reflection Exercise for Year’s End 2017

I first downloaded Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur as a free sample. The power of the offered sample led me to download the full collection of poetry immediately. The sample was so good I would have paid the USD 4.99 price but I took advantage of KU to read for free. I will look for this in print; it is a book I want to keep around and show like-minded readers. This mesmerizing reading experience began even before I got to the content of the full work. I wanted to know about this writer. Clicking on a convenient hyperlink I learned she is based in Canada and is of Punjabi descent. What an interesting name. Where is she from? I followed her Facebook and Twitter pages. They are so interesting that I spent a lot of time reading snippets of her work as well as the work of writer followers. I almost forgot to come back to the book I had just downloaded. Those sites have beautiful prose, poetry, photos, and pictures. Off to Wikipedia where I was impressed by her background and the recounting of an interesting conflict with Instagram. Milk and Honey is great poetry. I don’t read poetry. I need to get out more.

Continue reading “A Remarkable Reflection Exercise for Year’s End 2017”

Land-Locked, City Dweller’s Lament

Three thoughts on this one. First, it is sad to hear that what started out as a lovely morning stroll provoked such a sense of sadness (see Kat’s comments as you scroll down). Second, those of us who live in the developing world are many times fortunate. We may not have all the conveniences of developed societies but I like my weekly visits to my nearby home village. The word “pristine” fits well as a description of my “desa.”. This is a bit of an alert to the “developing” world. Take it slow. Third, an alert (and a question) to my English as a Foreign Language students: Why is the last line of this poem so clever? There is more than one answer and I look forward to a discussion.

like mercury colliding...

‘I would that we were, my beloved, white birds on the foam of the sea!’
-W.B. Yeats

Land-Locked, City Dweller’s Lament

I mourn at dawn with ashen doves
rustling in nests of refuse
faggot butts and paper scrapping
littered amidst the fading leaves
roses singed by acid dewdrops
choke from mist infused with poison
vines erupting from concrete tombs
now cling to rain-swelled guttered eaves
may we rise from heavy slumber
remedy our careless keeping
see past gray horizons blighted
sprawling towers of brick and steel
beautiful dawn would I know you
wild, pristine, unobstructed
left untouched, nurtured, protected
would then, the mourning doves still grieve


What started as a lovely morning stroll, serenaded by doves coo-cooing took an unfortunate turn. I hadn’t set out to write this poem, but the muse insisted. For Jane Dougherty’s ‘A Month With Yeats’ – Day Twenty-Six with the verse above from…

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Coffee and Poetry Combinations

As I was trolling through my WordPress Reader looking at all the great stuff posted by my favorite bloggers, I came across this term: “chapbooks.” I had no idea what that meant. Off to Amazon search. I discovered a bunch of creative things that should go great with coffee as I opened up my office and prepared for “office hours.” Unlike some of my colleagues who looked at office hours as a waste of time, I considered the time well spent and encouraged students during my regular classes to just come in for a chat. Their English would improve with the practice and I could find out interesting stuff about the Indonesian culture. They might even tell me about police traffic surprise inspections so I could return home at the lowest possible cost. My search at Amazon turned up some amazing stuff. Like the following.

At 23 pages Coffee Thoughts by Amy Hill is “a small collection of poems about love and coffee” (Amazon page description) and is a perfect book to go with coffee … almost. It actually took me three cups of coffee to get through it. The poetry was soooo thought provoking and good that the first two cups of coffee got cold.

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Haiku #42 – Poets Unlimited – Medium

In an age of limitless warning packages and microaggression trigger warnings, here is some straightforward advice.

You should not love me.

Source: Haiku #42 – Poets Unlimited – Medium

Game on! – Poets Unlimited – Medium

If you compete with me I’ll compete with you And I’ll kick your ass To Timbuktu I may look shy But the game’s brand new You’ve no idea What…

Source: Game on! – Poets Unlimited – Medium