Full.

“I’m full of good ideas,” I told him,
“Full of something,” he promptly said,
And he was right: there’s always more
Than just bright ideas in my head.

Vivid memories stream on a cinema screen,
To a soundtrack of favourite songs,
A maple tree full of autumn leaves
So my heart can visit where it belongs.
There’s a flowing river of storylines
And a deep well of imagery,
A box full of timely lessons, hard learned,
And useful facts from world history.
The walls are lined with shelves of books
And pictures of beloved faces,
There’s a graveyard to visit with those who have passed
And doorways to favourite places.

And right at the back, where no-one can see,
In the darkest part of my brain,
There’s a very deep hole where I throw away
Things I don’t want to think of again.

©2018 Joanne Van Leerdam

Belly Ache.

Belly Ache

“Ohhh, it hurts.” He squirmed on his bed, gently rubbing his belly with his hands.

“Does it?” She sat on the edge of the bed and patted his arm.

“Yeah. Here… and here.”

“That’s no good.” She laid her hand on his slightly distended abdomen, finding it firm and warm to the touch. She could feel his muscles contracting as his intestines roiled and gurgled underneath her palm.

“And I’m hot.”

“Yes, I can feel that.”

“I want it to stop hurting.”

“I know. It will, soon,” she said, suppressing a wry, satisfied smile as she looked at her watch.

 

 

©2018 Joanne Van Leerdam

The Shadow.

ShadowThe child skipped down the sidewalk, laughing as she landed on her shadow. She began to stomp, landing her feet harder with each step.
Then, without warning, long shadowy fingers wrapped around her right foot while another dark, translucent hand reached through the pavement for her left. She tried to keep it in the air for as long as possible until, overbalancing, she fell to her hands and knees. As spindly, shady fingers swiftly grabbed each limb and pulled her down into the ground, her shadow leapt up, stomped hard with both feet until she disappeared, and laughed as it skipped away.

©2018 Joanne Van Leerdam

Flash Friday: Not Safe.

Not Safejpg

 

At 2.39pm, Caroline finally found an opportunity to escape from her desk as nature had been urging her to do for the past hour.

The only cubicle free was the last in the row, where a sign on the door read, “Not safe for use.”

“Don’t care!” she muttered.

She sat, then recoiled, certain something had touched her buttock. Before she could stand, cold fingers took firm hold of her like a bowling ball and pulled her into the bowl.

And the sensor on the auto-flush winked with satisfaction as it surveyed the empty stall with a locked door. Again.

Holding My Tongue.

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Someone told me this morning
That I should hold my tongue,
So I’ve taken heed of the warning
Using my forefinger and thumb.
It’s really quite uncomfortable
And swallowing is tricky,
My hand is covered in dribble
And it’s getting kind of sticky.
It’s difficult to talk much
So I have to grunt a lot,
In all my life, I’ve not seen such
Dirty looks as those I’ve got.
I’m sure it wasn’t good advice,
And suspect I’ve been misled:
I wonder if it would suffice
If I just shut up instead.

©2017 Joanne Van Leerdam

If you enjoyed this poem, please leave a “like” or a comment so that my post becomes visible to more people. Thanks in advance!

Beloved.

This poem is perfect to share for Valentine’s Day- and every other day!

All rights reserved.

Shares are welcomed and appreciated.

1.37am

Promo Leaf 1.37am Plain
I’m crying when I should be sleeping
And I’m not even sure of what’s wrong,
But sadness whispers it’s cruelest lies
When I’m alone in the dark for too long.

The blackness is filled with aching
And misery heavier than air,
Velvet blankets of darkness enfold me
As I drown in the waves of despair.

I wish that my mind would stop churning,
Let my body and soul find some peace;
But the pain and the fear keep returning,
Denying me any release.

If the coldest, darkest hour,
Is the one that comes just before dawn,
This darkness must give up its power
When the first hint of morning is born.

Oh please, let the first light come quickly
And replenish my heart with its fire
Let the daylight drive out the darkness
And bring me the peace I desire.

Leaf 2nd Ed Title Only copy
©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

This poem is one of 43 that appear in the collection titled Leaf.

The Artist

The Artists Plain

Pictures splash furiously onto each page,
Images shaped with both light and shade,
Memories and thoughts, things she wished she had said,

Emotions and fears that had never been shared.

Some pages were dark, some filled with desire,
Yet others glowed with heaven’s own fire;
Some scenes that exposed the true hearts of men,

Were blotched by tears she had shed over them.

Some pictures were smudged, some faded with time,
Others vivid with colour, rhythm and rhyme.
Some portraits brought pleasure, some caused her pain

That she had hoped she might never feel again.

And the truth looked directly back into her eyes,
Its gaze unashamed, its candour undisguised,
For what she had thought had been fiction’s domain

Was staring at her and speaking her name.

The shock of enlightenment jolted her soul –
Each page revealed truths that had never been told;
Every fiction created as part of her art

Had been drawn from the depths of her world-weary heart.

©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

The Artist is one of my favourite poems from ‘Leaf’.

I was inspired to write it by my friend Nicky, who is an incredibly gifted

Leaf 2nd Ed Title Only copyartist. On looking at one of her paintings, I commented that I wished I could do what she did.
She said, “You do. You just do it with words.”

 

Leaf is available in your favourite digital bookstore or in paperback.

Late Fall.

Given that ‘New Horizons’ just won first place for Short Story in the Summer Indie Book Awards,  I thought I would share a story from that book this week. 

I hope you enjoy it! 

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“Are you okay?” he asked.

“I’m fine,” she lied.

So he left, not worried at all.

And she stayed, as she always had.

She had always wished he would touch her face gently, or hold her hand, and say he’d be back as soon as he could be. She longed to hear him tell her that there was nowhere else he would rather be than with her. She wanted him to hold her close when the nights were long and lonely. She craved for him to love her the way he had promised to, all those years ago.

But her hopes had faded with her memories of their happiness. For all she remembered of those times, it could have been someone else in the faded pictures in the album that she knew by heart, but could no longer bear to open.

A wedding dress. A baby’s first steps. A smiling couple in front of a small house in the suburbs. A schoolboy. A graduation. Another wedding dress.

The only thing that mattered anymore was the baby, and he was long gone, a grown man living on the other side of the country, pursuing his own hopes and dreams.

Probably for the best, she thought. No point in him knowing what my life has become. Just let him be happy.

What she wanted now was to be somewhere – someone – else.  It almost didn’t matter where, or who. Those things are not so important to someone who has almost entirely forgotten who she used to be.

She gazed at the leaves falling in the yard, flurries of colour falling to the ground, skittering playfully in the breeze.

So free. So beautiful. I wonder how they know when it’s time to fall.

Then she realised: they just do. It just happens.

She  turned away from the window and went to the closet. She took out a suitcase and began to fill it with her things. She was preparing to leap from her tree and fly to another place.

She was afraid of falling; she was afraid of the wind.

But she was more afraid of staying where she was and ceasing to exist at all.

©2016 Joanne Van Leerdam

Promo New Horizons Cover eBook new with SIBA badge

 

‘Late Fall’ appears in New Horizons.
Find out more at www.jvlpoet.com/books

 

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