Poetry

August Newsletter Poetry Corner: Insomnia

Insomnia

By Vea Anna Hooker

 

Hello computer, my old friend –

I’ve come to waste time with you again.

Because I sat to check out just one thing.

Now its two, and I should be sleeping.

But the vision that was planted in my head

Is the latest thing the meme artists said.

And the sound of scrolling.

 

So many pictures of the babies sweet,

And of relationships, before they cheat.

All the quizzes that people want their friends to take,

So we can compare results for heaven’s sake.

If you love God, then say this prayer,

And copy all your friends or else beware.

I hear the sound of scrolling.

 

Yet another story to make me cry

And lots more products that I need to buy.

I listen to a small angel voice sing,

And skim a recipe for chicken wings.

I give that awful post a “frown”

Then finally I shut it down.

And now, no sound of scrolling.

Uncategorized

May Newsletter: May Day

May Day

By Vea Anna Hooker

The earliest form of May Day seems to be the Festival of Flora, during the Roman Republican era. Flora was the goddess of flowers and linked to spring, fertility, and youth. The festival lasted for several days at the end of April and first part of May. Forms of celebration included drinking, the wearing of flowers, lightweight, brightly colored garments, and farces and mimes, especially those of a bawdy nature. It also has ties to Beltane, an Irish holiday that marked the beginning of summer. Rituals were preformed to protect the cattle, crops and people and to encourage growth. Special bonfires were kindled and the people and cattle would walk around and even jump over the fires or embers. They would have feasts and decorate a May Bush with flowers, ribbons and bright shells. If you washed your face in the morning dew on May 1, it was believed you would have beauty and stay youthful.

As Europe became Christianized, pagan holidays were absorbed into Christian holidays or lost religious significance. May Day became a secular holiday, with its celebrations including the gathering of wildflowers to weave into decorations that were often used to crown a May king and queen, as well as for decorating a May tree or Maypole. People then danced around the tree. These rites were probably intended to ensure fertility, and its celebrations involved joy and light-hearted fun in the outdoors as the warmer weather of spring and summer began.

In America, the Puritans of New England considered the celebrations for May Day to be licentious and pagan so the holiday never became an important part of American culture. In later times, it became a popular tradition to give May baskets – small baskets filled with flowers or sweets. These were usually given anonymously to friends and neighbors. This tradition had all but died out by the later part of the twentieth century.

On a personal note, as a child growing up in Iowa, we would prepare construction paper cones with a handle and try finding a few flowers to put in them. Since Iowa has intense winters, by May 1, about all we could find was a few dandelions and a handful of violets. We would usually fill the bottom of the cone with popcorn; add a couple candies and two or three of our pitiful flowers. We were encouraged, by our sweet mother, to hang them on the doors of elderly neighbors, knock and run like the wind. Simple pleasures, but we took so much joy in the doing.

may day

Recipe

April Newsletter Writers/Readers Quick Snack: Peeps Popcorn

Peeps Popcorn

Submitted by Vea Anna Hooker

Ingredients:
2 tsp butter
2-3 cups popped popcorn 1, 5-piece package of Peeps Instructions:

  1. Cook your popcorn. (I actually prefer to make stovetop popcorn—tastes so much better!) Remove any unpopped kernels. If you prefer the microwave kind, be sure to get the crispy white or tender white, NOT buttered flavors, which just get soggy.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Swirl the pan to coat.
  3. Add the Peeps and turn heat to medium, stirring until the marshmallows are melted and the mixture is nice and smooth. Keep stirring while they are melting, or the sugar will scorch.
  4. Pour the melted mixtures over your popcorn and gently stir with a silicone spoon.
  5. Dump the sticky popcorn out on waxed paper to cool. Be careful—the marshmallow gets very hot and can result in burned fingers!
  6. Spread the popcorn out to cool and then break into chunks, or form popcorn balls.

Peeps come in so many pretty spring colors, you can make several small batches for a colorful assortment. If using, one bag of microwave popcorn yields around 12-14 cups of popped popcorn, and therefor five to seven batches of sticky yummy, gooeyness.

Break up into small chunks and mix up the colors for an adora- ble spring Easter party snack!

Store any leftovers in an airtight container. If you have any leftover:)

peeps

Poetry

March Newsletter Poetry Corner: Birdie, birdie

Birdie, birdie ~ By Vea Anna Hooker

Birdie, birdie, on the ground, sing for me your beautiful sounds.

Birdie, birdie, on the tree, waiting for a lunch that’s free.

Birdie, birdie, you look hungry; I’ll try to find you something crumbly.

Birdie, birdie, on the dish, tell me please, what do you wish?

Birdie, birdie, for more you ask, and flick your tail with lots of sass.

Birdie, birdie, on the pole, you look at me with eyes of woe.

Birdie, birdie, on my porch, taking some warmth from the torch.

Birdie, birdie, on the bowl, waiting for someone to distribute the dole.

Birdie, birdie, eating my seeds, accepting my charity because of your need.

Birdie, birdie, on the rail, spitting shells out of the pail.

Birdie, birdie, taking flight, what was it that gave you such fright?

Birdie, birdie, on the wing, the songs are beautiful which you sing.

Birdie, birdie, flying by, could I fly too, if I just tried?

Birdie, birdie, on your nest, thank you for staying. You make me blessed.

 

Uncategorized

February Newsletter: I Meet my First Tarantella

I Meet my First Tarantella by Vea Anna Hooker

My husband grew up in New Zealand, moving to the states when he was eighteen and living in California for twelve years. I was raised in the Midwest, and only moved to California after marrying. My husband and I moved to Texas late in the year of 1992. Since Texas was the fifth state I made my home, I was unprepared for the culture shock I experienced.

When they speak of things being bigger in Texas, I didn’t realize they meant the creepy crawly things that bite and sting. Now, I have to interject a thought here. Most things in West Texas bite, sting, prick, cling or in one way or another, hurt you. Even the dry, thirsty earth blows into your eyes and other crevices, driven by the explosive wind.

I must also let you know of my unreasonable fear of spiders. Without knowing that, the following story lacks its edge. When I was an adorable toddler of two-ish to three, I was discovered at the gate from next door, shrieking “A pider, Mommy, a pider!”, my hand tightly clutching a mangled caterpillar I had been bringing to show my Mommy. The best she could tell, I had started to open the gate and been scared by a spider jumping at me.

Fast forward, thirty years, we had been living in Fort Stockton for a few months. We were in the midst of remodeling some small cottages on our property. I had been to our truck after a hammer and was on my way back to the cottage when a hideous black shape attracted my attention. The blob was bigger than my hand with eight legs and eight scary eyes that never wavered from my face. I stopped in my tracks and could feel the blood drain from my face. I looked at the tarantula. The taran- tula looked at me. I swallowed, convulsively.

I closed my eyes, but only for a split second. My gaze snapped back to the immense spider, making sure it hadn’t gotten any closer. In a panic, I glanced carefully around, attempting to find a defensive weapon. I remembered the hammer in my hand and looked from it to the spider and back again.

Now, anyone who has been in the grip of intense fear will tell you, time slows down. In my mind, I saw myself swing the hammer toward the terrifying creature. I also saw the enormous spider take it from my hand and hit me with it, right before biting me with its enormous fangs. I shook my head and gazed at the monster in terror.

In desperation, I looked for something that might save me. My mind ran calculations at the speed of light – I felt like a super computer, analyzing and discarding potential solutions for my life-threatening situation.

Finally, I narrowed my options to a cement paver sitting on the tailgate of our old work truck. Carefully, without taking my eyes from the menacing arachnid, I laid my hammer down, replacing it with the paver. I held it at chest level, using both hands. I was still gazing into the depths of the soulless creepy crawly’s eyes as I moved the paver cautiously until it was over the still body of my worst nightmare. I drew a shallow breath and narrowed my eyes, steeling my nerve. As I let that breath out, I dropped my weapon, prepared to run if I missed or the tarantula jumped.

Since I saw no evidence of an escape, I jumped onto the cement square with both feet and bounced up and down for what seemed a very long time. Finally, I stepped off and gingerly touched one corner of the paver. With my courage screwed as tightly as possible, I flipped the block over quickly.

A still scary black blob lay there, legs curled into itself. I sank to the ground, nearly sobbing in relief. The spiders were plentiful that spring.

~ Vea Anna’s story will appear in the Best of Critique Café/Texas Edition coming March 2019