Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Border Crossing

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Border Crossing

by Samantha Prust


Red trolley wedged
in the coast's maw
rumbles down, down, down and stops
where bodies line up and cross the border
into Mexico.

Taxis pull over to curbs slowly
like smooth sharks
nosing their paths
among tan calves dangling
from a surface of clear, waveless water.

Smiling, you weave through yellow, green, gold
and silver masks reflecting the sun.
Devil dogs’ tongues wag in the waves of prickly heat
as you notice the best selection of lawn ornaments
you’ve ever seen.

Plucking a skull here, a flamingo there,
Dropping shiny coins into the women’s open hands
makes you feel much better as you watch them
wind, pull, loop and tie threads into bracelets
that you snatch for a dollar each.

Grinning politely, you whirl around and step
neatly into the customs line, serenaded while you wait
by a child wailing “La Bamba” as she picks her nose
and nudges a sombrero
with her bare toe.


Parents as Kids

Friday, October 28th, 2011

by Samantha Prust

Photographs were the least responsible for my realization that my parents are human, even though the pictures of them in various stages of their separate lives would seem to provide the most evidence for this fact. I had the realization as a kid, and it was a big deal because it meant that, yes, my mom and dad had been children, just like me. Finally, we had something in common. Those photos were to me rare and almost impossible images: Mom in grade school, standing on a small hill outside a white schoolhouse, pouting, wearing a lace bonnet and holding a small, white purse; Dad in a tight-fitting suit, not pouting, but not smiling, either, standing in front of a garage door. Older, they stood on beaches, in parks, grasped hands, let them go, beat up or got beat up by siblings, rode the bus, drove a car, went to prom, graduated from high school, and went to college where they met and thus ended their lives as human beings in the eyes of the children they had. The photographs were mere props to me, planted in drawers for me to find; it was my parents' stories about their childhoods that really made me understand that they're human.

Next Time, Just Ask

When my mother was 5 years old, one of her brother's friends had a used bike that was her size for sale for five dollars. Her dad said she could buy it if she saved up the money. So she worked and slaved, put a down payment on it, and finally, was able to buy it. She had a "new" bike and couldn't wait to ride it.

Her family lived in a big house that they could get to by going down a dirt path through a field. She walked her new bike down the dirt path—because she didn't have any idea how to ride it. She said that she didn't know where her parents were during this time. She would sit on the bike propped up by a white picket fence, trying to get up the nerve to make it go. Finally, after about a week, she did make it go, and she pedaled like crazy down the road toward another friend's house. Stopping hadn't occurred to her before, but now it was an issue; she just looked for something to hit that was fairly soft. It worked.

That whole summer, she would run the bike into big bushes to stop. When crossing intersections, she remembers praying that no cars would come down the street, and somehow, she survived those first few weeks. One good method she remembers doing was to just wipe out so that she wouldn't hit something really hard. She wanted to ride the bike, but she hated being scared and having to run into things. Sometimes, before she wanted to stop, she would just slow way down and then jump off before it fell over.

She had a lot of bloody knees and noses, and gravel pitted palms, until finally, her mom asked her why she was getting hurt so much when riding her bike. Mom confessed her bike-stopping methods and her mother showed her that you push the pedals backwards to engage the brakes. My mother thought it was a miracle. She still suspects that her brother Lance knew all about how she was her crashing her bike to stop, but didn't tell her how to use the brakes. She says that her parents seemed to feel that their kids would figure everything out if they wanted to badly enough; they didn't hover or offer much advice unless directly asked.

A Lesson on Revenge

My father, age 10, and his friend Keith Kilmer were riding their bikes back from the woods one day. As they rode past the house where the bad seed kid lived, he came out and blew a bunch of beans at them through a blowgun.

So they went to the mom and pop grocery store right next to their house and bought a bag of navy beans and a cane fishing pole. When they went back home, they cut the cane pole into pieces and it made handy dandy blowguns. Grabbing their bean ammo and weapons, they hopped on their bikes and headed back up the street toward the bad seed's house.

As they rode up the street, there came the bad seed, running at them full blast with his blowgun in his mouth. My father and his friend pedaled their bikes, sporting their blowguns, mouths bulging like crazed chipmunks, and brrrraaaatttt, brrraaaatttt, pttttewwww—a barrage of beans completely pulverized the bad seed.

Later that evening my grandfather called my father into the kitchen. It seems the bad seed had a bean stuck in his ear and had to go to the hospital to have it removed. Crack! and Splinter! went the blowguns and my dad had to endure an hour-long lecture about the riskiness of propelling legumes at bodily orifices. Maybe the lesson should have been about revenge, although I'm not sure that "be careful when you get revenge because you might hurt someone" is at the top of every revenge-getter's list.

The Good Die Young

Friday, October 21st, 2011

The Good Die Young

By Fay Ulanoff

Ulysses wobbled and tilted towards a blank area but would
not be pushed off.

Well at least not yet. He was not ready.

Being the biggest one of the cluster, he stood his ground.

As the day became shorter he tried to force himself to stay
on course and last as long as he could while being attached to a strong branch.

Ulysses watched and pushed a corner of his body towards the
smaller leaves that fell almost as soon as a breeze took them. He’d call out their
names. “Lillian, I just met you this spring. Don’t you recall the simple
pleasures of watching the sun rise and set, and then when the long days of
summer were upon us we were moist and pliable. Why I would not have broken a
sweat trying to grab one end of you while you still grew.

I had hoped that we
would always be friends and that we would be able to jump our last jump
together, but alas it might not work out that way.”

“Don’t worry about me. Save yourself and perhaps you should
try to break the fall of the small ones like me.”

Ulysses stood and watched as the smaller leaves, than the
medium ones were slowly unhinged from their branches and drifted to the ground.
He held back Lillian with the bottom of his body, but she was almost detached
when the sun faded and the wind picked up.

“Here Lill, jump on my back and as soon as I feel I’m on the
move to the ground we will go together.”

All right Ulysses, I’ll try,” she said while giving it her

The wind swept through the yard and became stronger while
both leaves drifted into an already pile of fall leaves.

Ulysses, with all his red, brown and green color lay on top
of Lillian’s small still green body and he smiled, while she did the same
because they knew they would be together forever.

The End

"Escaped Patients Killed by Train" by Samantha Prust

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

I used to collect weird newspaper headlines and stories. One of them inspired the poem below.


"Escaped Patients Killed by Train"

was the headline

that would have everyone believe

in irony as flesh:

hot-blooded and glamorous,

gorgeous and deadly;

always poised perfectly

to strike.


On the other hand,

may I point out

that the story itself

tells a different tale:

how the two women

"had walked out of the mental health unit


even though the two-story facility was locked,

and lay down

in front of a freight train

that struck and killed them."



in this case,

not hot-blooded at all,

but actually a bit clammy

and somewhat annoyed

at having to crouch patiently

under bridges

and wait for victims.


The Train,

in this particular case,

entirely free

from any real guilt,

just in the wrong place at the wrong time—

yet, to the women,

wholeheartedly right

on schedule.


Tolerance and Gratitude

Saturday, September 3rd, 2011

I admit it. I am overwhelmed by the information explosion surrounding me. I can't keep up. Fast paced rapid fire info confuses me, especially if it comes thru gadgets smaller than my hand that fill my head with details.

My disability has become apparent with situations with friends, like horseback riding pals. Something as simple as what time to arrive at a trailhead gets tangled up in a series of cellphone calls, and I miss important details.

For example, two times this week I showed up at what I thought was the correct time only to find them waiting for twenty minutes, horses already saddled--the morning air filled with tension and hostility of unmet expectations all around. Not pleasant for anyone. Now, I too dislike waiting, especially when I have hurried to get there on time. But I was there; I thought I was on schedule; I did what I agreed to. For these particular friends, I had not done enough.

The lesson of the week--give yourself a break. You tried to show up for life and inane details got in the way. Some of my friends and family are more into high expectations than I am. And they get snippy about it. My style is more along the lines of gratitude that another human decided to spend time with me on a horse outdoors. Horses don't know about time, or being late or early.  They just are. Horses also forgive easily, naturally, and I can do that, also. Why is it always the people I have the most problems with?

To my horse pals, I say "Seriously girls-- Tolerance and forgiveness make a nicer morning ride."




Is There a Pill for That?

Sunday, August 28th, 2011

by Samantha Prust

I panicked because I thought I my midlife crisis was beginning, but then I really examined the situation. What the heck is a midlife crisis anyway? I mean, how can you have a midlife crisis in a country where you can go to one department store and get everything you need to make your life better; full of appeal and free of all pain and inconvenience, all in all, more wonderful?

You start out in cosmetics: rows of coal black eye pencils, luminescent lipsticks, tubes of gritty mud masks, tubes of rub-in cellulite remover, tiny clear jars of sticky age-defying gels, pink bottles of hair-strengthener, and dandruff remover.

Then on to the pharmacy: headache-aides, stomach-aides, pills that make you alert, pills that put you to sleep, pills that dissipate uncomfortable and embarrassing gas, pills that make you think better, powders that make you thinner, powders that make you stronger.

In aisles of kitchen wares: shiny silver garlic presses, stout wooden pepper grinders, white plastic-handled carrot peelers, handy egg slicers, electric can openers, electric breadmakers, electric knife sharpeners, electric woks, electric waffle irons, electric sandwich makers, even electric salsa makers.

Make your way to bath items: faux-marble toothbrush holders, in green, black and grey, little matching rinse cups, little wicker baskets for soaps and bubblebath or shells, if you prefer, plush toilet seat covers in sheepskin, or a new toilet seat altogether in wood or sponge-filled plastic.

In bedding, bigger, softer pillows, double-cushioned mattress pads, fuzzy flannel sheets, smooth satin sheets, flouncy dust ruffles that hide unsightly junk lurking under beds, satin eye masks you wear to keep out all light while you’re sleeping so that even your dreams are better.

So what is a midlife crisis? It must be discovering that it's not much longer before you're halfway to death and there’s no mud mask or gel, no pill or powder, no electric anything, not the plushest toilet seat cover in the world, not the softest pillow, that can stop that. But that's okay. I don't want to live forever—unless there's a pill for that.

Impossible Blossoms

Thursday, July 28th, 2011









by Samantha Prust

This is the first year that my hubs and I have grown a full-scale garden. We turned our backyard from a place where we watered and mowed grass into a place where we grow our own food. We planted just about everything: beans, corn, squash, melons, broccoli, radishes, onions, scallions, snap peas, zucchini, Swiss chard, garlic, basil, dill, four lettuce varieties, four tomato varieties, four carrot varieties, two beet varieties, two cucumber varieties, two potato varieties, two pumpkin varieties and two watermelon varieties. I also planted marigolds, sweet alyssum and two kinds of sunflowers in and around the garden based on the organic gardening method called companion planting, which recommends planting certain flowers next to certain vegetables to attract beneficial insects or repel or divert harmful pests.

I love the idea of the potager garden: a mixture of vegetables and flowers, utility and beauty. But vegetable plants are also beautiful and flowers are also utilitarian; in the garden, there's no distinction between the two. I'm amazed at how the plants and flowers we stuck in the ground as seed have transformed to full grown plants that will eventually bear luscious gems that you can eat right off the vine or add to your recipes. Being in awe of how plants grow must be something that all beginning gardeners experience, something that you take for granted if you've never tried to grow your own food. Gardening also gives me a chance to be creative, to learn and challenge myself in unfamiliar territory and to get gratification from hard work. Being in the garden clears my mind, gets me out of my head and makes me focus on the here and now. It also has the ability to be meditative and reflective; you never know what you'll find among the foliage—spiders, ladybugs, bees, and epiphanies. This year is only the beginning; I plan to continue my "garden therapy" for years to come.

Here's one of my favorite poems, by Li-Young Lee, that says what I feel about gardening much better than I could.


From Blossoms

From blossoms comes

this brown paper bag of peaches

we bought from the joy

at the bend in the road where we turned

toward signs painted peaches.


From laden boughs, from hands,

from sweet fellowship in the bins,

comes nectar at the roadside, succulent

peaches we devour, dusty skin and all,

comes the familiar dust of summer,

dust we eat.


O, to take what we love inside,

to carry within us an orchard, to eat

not only the skin, but the shade,

not only the sugar, but the days, to hold

the fruit in our hands, adore it, then bite into

the round jubilance of peach.


There are days we live

as if death were nowhere

in the background; from joy

to joy to joy, from wing to wing,

from blossom to blossom to

impossible blossom,

to sweet impossible blossom.

The Breeze

Thursday, July 21st, 2011


The Breeze

            In the supermarket next to the checker’s cash register sat a miniature fan.

            It wasn’t the type of miniature you might place in a curio cabinet or set up on a shelf, just to look at.

            This was a working heavy duty machine, that provided a welcome breeze to a woman  plaqued  by the villains of the menopausal flash.

            I questioned her about it, because of its size, which looked to be about seven inches tall and about four inches wide and was incased in a slick plastic black tower, which made it look like an air purifier. Then  I wondered why she would need one in this perfectly clean market I had frequented for years.

            She told me that two years ago she had the same thought, and she was desperate for a solution, until the salesman in the electronic store turned it on and melted her perspiration away.

“Wow,” she said. “What a powerhouse this is in such a tiny body.”

He told her; by using the casement of one of their little air purifiers they could add enough power fore a strong flow of air and still keep a small foot print, which would allow it to fit almost anywhere.           

 She said she’d take it and never looked back.

            “When the flashes started they came every fifteen minutes and didn’t care if I was sleeping or at work. No matter what time of day, the sweat would pour off my face and drip onto my clothes. I must have registered eighty degrees. This fan was then and still is a lifesaver.”

            I smiled and was glad she found a solution.

           Just before I was about to pay for my groceries, she asked me if the breeze bothered me.

            With both thumbs pointed up, I answered in solidarity,  “No, I get it.”

Singing & Dancing in the Rain

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

Monsoons have descended upon Colorado.

Days are wet.

Spirits dampened.

Take a moment and watch these videos.

They’re guaranteed to put a smile on the faces of young and old.

1. Original rendition of Singing in the Rain by Gene Kelly:

2. New rendition of Singing in the Rain by Usher:

3. Side by side – different dance styles but both fantastic:

You gotta love it all!

Last Haircut

Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

The pressure dropped. The thunderheads rolled in and buckled against the city’s height, then cushioned there, they threatened. Nothing less than dangerous.

“I can’t wait to get outta the city,” you said.

It seemed everything was rusting.

“Give me a haircut,” you said.

The scissors were dull. Lightning flashed at the windows.

The ivy crept near. That red chair, scraping, scraping, until you could see just right in the china cabinet’s mirror (I didn’t want you to see what I was doing).  Thunder. The humidity and the roughly cut hairs made my nose itch. So much damn DAX in your hair, my fingers were shining. Smoothed the hair between my forefinger and middle finger, snip, snip. Here, there. No plan.

You complained: “Too long here.”

I always admitted I didn’t know what I was doing.

You liked it, after all. You preened. The storm had already ended.

After you had driven across the bridge toward the city, I realized you were gone. I dug a wad of your hair from the bathroom garbage. Rubbed it between my fingers. It produced no effect. I smelled it. Nothing. For a second I thought about stuffing it in my pocket. Instead, I stared at it until it was only hair, then I buried it in the trash can among the tissues and cardboard rolls, deep down, underneath everything.