Monday, 26 March 2012

The house

                                                                                     Kat Mortensen©2012 



he says he will build a house facing the morning sun, 
wide clear windows framing the fields of yellow 

he will shade the high ceiling in blue cloudless sky,      
color the rooms with summer and frangipani petals   

plant mango trees and vegetables at the back yard,
so I can hear the squirrels racing around the bend   

as we talk, he caresses his prized rooster’s plumage,
crooning words of devotion I half listen to as I rush

dressing up to go to work, not wanting to miss my
subway and bus tram, squeezed like sardines in a can

which I eat when I ran out of dollars to send to him, 
and rest of my family, all perched upon my back as I

scrape my knees, cleaning floors and washrooms 
in the city of lights and marble, sweeping dust

covering the letters I read each week, all asking me for
dollars dotted with promises not to wager anymore, still   

I call every Sunday to tell them of the butterflies and  
grasshoppers I catch, and tulips I see on my way to work    

everyday for the last 10 years, and my now grown up daughter
gets excited of my "adventures" in another country, half a world away     

I fold my cheque in the mail envelope and walk back to small rented room,  
Like a bloodied cock fighter that I am,

dreaming to go home
to the house he said he will build for me 




Process notes:   I originally had this idea when I wrote it for Flash Fiction 55 for the G-man - How far to walk.   I thought of expanding the story based on a migrant worker's life.

Posted for Imaginary Garden with Real Toads - Photograpy by Kat Mortesan
and D'verse Poets Pub:   OpenLinkNight - every Tuesday at 3pm EST 
     

55 comments:

  1. Thats a fabulous and powerful take on the picture and the stark contrast to the opening lines really hits hard.

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  2. Wow! This is one to tear at the heart - it is so real and heart-felt a look at selfless love and sacrifice.

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  3. Pheww... a sorry tale too. It's all so true of migrant workers who go abroad to work but, end up having to keep sending more and more of it back 'home'
    This got right down to the nitty gritty and sweat without much in the way of dreams being realised at all.
    Great writing Grace!

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  4. ugh...wonderful spin of a tale...and there are def those predators out there that will promise you the world...i feel sad for her...giving up all she did...esp family...on a swindle...and i def see where she would be pioning for home...

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  5. superbly written...touchy end!

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  6. Yeah those people out there that pray on the dreams of others should be shot in the foot, that'd wise them up..lol...way better fleshed out like this than in a 55, although I'm sure you'd still make it work.

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  7. Wow! Just a stellar piece, heaven. I love your beautiful and traquil images (the frangipani and cloudless sky) juxtaposed with the bloody cock-fighter and the coldness of the subway tram. Really excellent!

    ~Kat

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    1. Thank you for sharing your lovely pictures Kat ~

      I am happy you like the words I wrote for it ~

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  8. Wow, what a story you have told here - so true to so many peoples' lives of sacrifice and hardship. Well done! Congrats on the one year anniversary coming up!

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  9. I agree turn this into a story and submit it! It held my interest and the magic of wanting more! I would love you to write a poem to an Adele song ;D
    So glad I met you Grace! You have a weigh with words! I chose weigh not way, because you tug at my heart! (((hugs)))

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    1. You are very sweet Ella. And Adele song? Of course, it would be fun to write about it ~

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  10. So many wonderful contrasts in this poem, quite heart-wrenching. Wonderful!

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  11. Truly an excellent story, one that so many live. Captured well the length one will go to care for their loved ones. Beautiful!

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  12. Oh God! So, so SO MOVING! Almost one year anniversary! What can I say ....you are truly magnificent! I just love everything your write Heaven. So lucky to have found your blog and so grateful that you have taken the time to dip in to mine now and then. Thank you for sharing the beauty of your mind! X

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  13. oh you did such a wonderful job on this one!

    you're so talented!

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  14. i also feel the migrant worker's story here. so many mexicans work and send money home. they do tough jobs, are often cheated becuz they aren't citizens, and work hard with the hope of a better life.

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    1. We also have them here in Canada, though not as many as in your country. Thanks for the visit Ed ~

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  15. This is very immediate and real, heaven--and the way you've sketched in both worlds, each so important to the narrator, is faultless. Lovely language,all the way through, too. Excellent poem (and you noticed the same sorts of colors about the house as mine. ;_) )

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  16. A compelling narrative; and the tableaux and images in this poem are so vibrant - trains, mango trees, roosters, chafed knees - that the reader is drawn into the story immediately.

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  17. a wonderful dream. i like the part where he plans to plant mango trees.

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  18. What a sad ending. But I just adore these words:

    "color the rooms with summer and frangipani petals
    plant mango trees"

    I guess with a promise like that, the not keeping of it would be even more heartbreaking. My husband built me a house a few years ago, said we'd never move again, and then moved us about 2 years later. Crushing.

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  19. This lulls you into a false security then hits you like a tank. beautifully crafted.

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  20. I'd love to wake up to the fields of yellow!

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  21. Intriguing. Your words paint a vivid picture of helplessness and in between, the varied attempts to look at a brighter side to life. All in all, very captivating.

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  22. The turn this takes is really powerful!

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  23. A wonderful write of hope that just never seems to become reality...

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  24. I agree with all above. And to think this started as a 55!

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  25. beautiful, poignant, full of dreams and reality - perhaps some day they'll match...

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  26. Wow... this was sad and troubling and angsty -- so good!!

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  27. From an immigrant perspective, the story s(t)old is usually far from the reality. You capture the truth so well and I like the way you arranged the verses. Beautiful flow too, Heaven. Are you doing NaPoWriMo?...no pressure:)

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    1. I will try my best. Though it will be posted in my other blog as we have a daily haiku challenge starting April 1.

      Thanks for the visit ~

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  28. Wow! Really great, powerful piece. I've read through it several times now and it still packs a powerful punch. I love the line about "the rest of the family perched upon my back as you scrape your knees cleaning and dreaming of the house not yet built".

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  29. Another resounding WOW from your fan club. It is amazing what people do to have a better life, the sacrifices they make. I bet they do get the house!

    Happy almost blogaversary. ANYthing you write will be captivating!!

    xo

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    1. Thank you Jannie for the lovely words ~

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  30. Superbly written--and a devastating write--what a talent you possess---

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  31. This is something powerful - about life and dreams and those who work and those who dream and those who wait for stories of both. Really well done.

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  32. Excellente!!!!!! I really enjoyed this. I identified so it hurt leaving family in the old country and working to help the out and putting dreams on hold because responsible pays more. You always write great, but this is one of my favs of yours!

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  33. This really wrenched me! Beautifully descriptive....my last read before sleep here and I shall dwell on this for a while! xoxo

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  34. Spins like a movie reel. Each image alive and vibrant...the hope, the dream, the sacrifice...nice job!

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  35. Love this, Grace. An amazing write. It breaks my heart...I know of true stories like that...such sacrifice.

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  36. This is like a movie (in synopsis and yet in toto). The picture you paint of a poverty stricken paradise (and they're are too many in the world today), and the refugee who struck out like a bantam rooster, full of courage, but now bloodied but unbowed. Beautiful.

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  37. sweet weaving Heaven - your narrative really delivers
    a picture to walk thru and feel the whole arena as
    a great created space - V.nice work ;)

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  38. there are many of them who leave their family and try a new start, sometimes based on wrong promises..it's so tough i think...esp. if you have to leave your kids behind..

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  39. This is marvellous.You have captured the hard life of the migrant worker so sensitively and the despair it entails. Very very good!

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  40. A bitter sweet story, sensitively and skilfully told. Great job.

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  41. Some fantastic descriptions here and great flow...a tale of hardship and perserverance for sure

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  42. Just careful of predators out there! They prey on the unsuspected! Great verse!

    Hank

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  43. Beautiful, amazing work. I followed this with bated breath as this woman came alive and spoke before me. You captured so much of her and her struggles and dreams. I saw her spirit grow while I also saw her body bend under the weight of reality.

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  44. Grace....
    It's hard to improve on perfection.
    But you do....Thanks

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  45. this is so wonderful - a poetic story at its best. The images are beautiful yet bitter sweet with the situation the worker is in. really enjoyed this, Grace.

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  46. Hey great story, the beginning is so idyllic and WHAM reality hits hard, really great words.

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  47. Subdued but full of strength. Beautiful writing.

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Thanks for your visit and comments ~ I appreciate them ~