Sequence: My Garden Overflow (Short Story)

Most avoid looking directly into the sun, but I embrace it. Laying on the plush grass making contact with the Beloved while the glare penetrate my every core and seeps into my minds eye. I am wide open to receive it’s code.

“Blessed sun take me where no one else can go, your warmth is unlike any other,” I said while my arms are out stretched, welcoming. “Possess me, Creator, I need to draw strength from your being.” I lay there, arms garnering the unseen forces that come to me, alone on this earth, hugged by only nature.

It came soft and caressed me, entering first from my arms, then the cavity of my chest which made me groan slightly. It was not painful, more so, it was as though I was being filled up, brought to life as though I was a tree, feeding. It flowed down and up within my limb stems and leaves. I lay sighing, short gasps, the oxygen escaping me. “This is love,” I responded.

This original short story, essay is written on the fly and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All photography was made/taken by Ms. Gumbs, all rights are reserved by her in February 2022 (C)

The Unsent Message To Niine – A Short Story

Benevolent One. My Niine, The Crown Upon My Head, and as if I wasn’t clear before, I would say it loudly to your beloved face if I could, as you are profound in your own creation and I yearn for it.

I miss your essence. Your reluctance to say and do sentimental things, listening to you speak about those elements and ideas that excites you and you are so passionate about all of it. I want to be there when life makes you livid and you need to vent and release, without input, just listening…the journey with you, has been an incredible one so far. 

I don’t expect anything from you in this immediate point in time. I just want you to know my thoughts and feelings and that I am very distraught for hurting yours. It doesn’t change how you feel about me in this current time.  So, Beloved, Benevolent One…i am patiently waiting…come home to me.

Many, many moons ago, a friend of mine turned to me and said, “love is…a funny and complicated animal.”

This original Essay/Short Story is written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in July 2021 (C)

Dream: Caves to Alternate Realities

Most of this dream I can not recollect but what I can remember, I will write as much as I can so that it makes sense. We all understand that most dreams may not make sense or may make sense while you are in the dream state.

I found myself in a barren cave made of dark brown-red clay. I seem to have been wandering, lonely for some time it seems. There seemed to have been a mission I was on, but as time passed, I forgot. Along the way throughout the cave system, entrance off the main path. Curiosity took me to enter the path, a dark hole in the wall. On the other side was a lighted enclave which was also made of the same dark brown-red clay, except there was a forest. There was a flourish of weeping willow trees and vines with purple-pink flowers all over them, and there was a breeze. I don’t know where it came from and turned abruptly to exit from where I came. Back into the cave system.

The cave was not cramped in most paths but spacious enough for me to walk upright without my head crazing against the roof. In some portions of the cave, the roof was easily twenty feet high. As I walked further, I found that the cave had wildlife that roamed the length of it, mammoths, to be precise. They were huge and shaggy with long hairs that also matched the color of the cave walls. They could stand still and you would not notice them, but when they move, you could hear, see and feel their presence. Why mammoths? Not sure why my psyche pulled an extinct creature into my dreams but the mind has a way of showing you things and manifesting symbolism in their place.

That’s all I can remember…my subconscious will reveal itself in another dream state, soon.

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

Blog: Is This Working?

I was given a writing prompt to describe eating fruit in four paragraphs, with the absence of revealing the fruit by name or color. I did create four paragraphs for this challenge but, I felt no end in sight. Here is the first paragraph:

“My mouth watered profusely as I stared and waited on the store clerk to peel, cut, and cube the sugary honey-hued flesh. The lush ripen husk bore an overflow of sticky juices that ran down the blade that sliced it. The scene caused a ruckus in my abdomen, pangs for hunger called out of my being. I looked around then consciously brought my hand over my stomach—as though commanding it to simmer.”

I’ve been doing writing challenges for the entire month of January, to improve my writing skills or using writing as a way to explore my talent. Writing prompts have been very helpful and I’m trying to diversify, writing in different genres and styles in order to find a niche.

This week I’ll do journaling instead of fiction. I’m very free spirited and the rigors of writing in a certain context is waring me out. It’s only been two weeks, I’m fatigued. Let me try this writing challenge from a different perspective…

Unfinished Business at Hollow Manor – A Short Story

A few weeks ago my mother was lowered into her final resting place of the EverGreen Memorial Park. My three siblings and I surrounded the hollowed burial place to mourn her passing. As I stood there with glass tears in my eyes, my mind filled with the bittersweet memories that still held images of my mother—her presence, her voice, her hugs, kisses, her love.

After the somber ceremony we went to my mother’s home. She hadn’t moved since we all lived together decades ago. Reluctantly, we walked into the house. None of us wanted to be there, but mom left some loose ends and we couldn’t decide who would be the one to tie them, so we all decided to work together. The house looked as if it was vacant for months—no dishes in the sink, brown house plants, stack of newspapers sitting on the coffee table. None of us were ever really good with keep up with her, so mom’s illness came as a total surprise for us. In some semblance of respect for her, we pooled money together to hire home care nurses to watch her. Some of us—two of us, came to visit on a monthly bases. Her passing was still a surprise, however. We separated and each took a room to complete. The emotions flowed heavily as we sorted and collected forgotten memories of our lives—joys, disappointments, successes and regrets.

By the time we were done going through all the things that once mattered, the feeling of a life long lived seemed to flow about. It was her home. It was our home. Even though she’s gone, It will always feel like our home. We all lived most of our lives there. Some of us grew up, left, returned and left again. Our very beings were forged within those walls. As we gathered in the black SUV, still shedding our tears, our hearts were full. But grief took us in waves. I sat in the passenger seat, watching our home shrink away on the horizon and I smiled through the grief. I smiled as the happiness followed us from behind.

Credit to Jae Davis, as Editor of this story.

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

TOUCH HUNGRY: CHAPTER THREE – SHORT STORY

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER ONE

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER TWO

At the end of the work day, Frankia came home to relax, but first, the plants need to be tended to, watered and touched. Plant care created such a sense of tranquility and oxygen production within her studio apartment. During her encounters as a plant mama, she would feel her mood lighten up while the connection and appreciation of nature heightens. Touching all the plants reminded her of how precious life is, daily.

As she observed each plant she realized something. The Sliver Leaf blades were taller, it was not a drastic change but subtle.All the plants seemed to have shrunk…perhaps. She wasn’t sure now, that in one night one plant grew or the others became smaller. Her instincts told her to measure the mysterious flora that she purchased and see if her suspicions were correct. Immediately, she picked up a sheet of white paper, a pencil and measuring tape to record the data. The tallest leaf blade was 16.4 inches long.

Then suddenly, her fingers grazed the Sliver Leaf and she was paralyzed, frozen in her retreat. Everything within her was still, her heartbeat escalated. She thought, “what is happening?” She could not tell how long she was standing perpetually in place. It felt as though she was under a spell, which made her as a stone statue. The light from the window, declined into dusk as she stood. After what seemed like an eternity, she could feel her body slowly relieved of this hold.

When her body was, once again, fully in her own control, a sense of panic filled her chest. Confusion flooded her thoughts: Was it the plant that caused this reaction? How could a plant do this? No, no I may have to go see a doctor, I may be sick. She thought. Denial, disbelief and rationalizing what happened during this incident made her slow her movements and gently lower herself to sit on her couch. She was exhausted but decided to move towards the bed within her studio space to lay down. Surprisingly, she was able to drift to sleep as soon as her head laid on her pillow. Deep slumber took her and she did not realize that this was part of the enchantment.

TO BE CONTINUED…

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

Blog: Opinions and Some Facts…Pandemic Woes

These are just some of my observations from media to actual occurrences while I am out and about in my local area and travels.

The ordinances placed upon us to stand six feet apart while wearing face masks, is a hit and miss with the human species as we contend with this recent pandemic. What is it about us that allows us to not only disobey orders but justify rebelling against them. I have heard all the reasons in the world as to why someone doesn’t wear a mask or not accessing mindfulness in order to stand at a distance away from strangers in the grocery lines and other public venues.

Immediately after the pandemic began affecting the current populace, Many of us felt like we were extras in a real life science fiction movie. A small group of folks felt like sooner rather than later we would find out that the infected would die and turn into zombies, just as our favorite zombie tv program. Not even the media could tell us how the disease was contracted. Paranoia set in, people in lines at the store was harassed and yelled at if they sneezed or coughed.

I have heard or witnessed people create reasonings to not wear masks that pertain to different ideals and idiosyncrasies. For instance, I saw a video from an individual that earnestly explained that God will protect them from the pandemic, as they avoid buildings with requirements to wear masks. Nothing is wrong with religion or belief, but I wonder if they feel the same way now, whereas, the anniversary of recorded cases is upon us with numbers still elevated across the America. Other people would rationalize not wearing masks because they can’t breathe well while wearing masks. Another group of individuals may wear masks below their nose because they feel that masks are uncomfortable. But then there are those that have medical respiratory issues and have had to use other means to breathe or contracted respiratory infections, such as bronchitis.

There are some that just refuse to wear mask because the threat is not real to them. In their world, the pandemic happens to other people, so they saunter into the local venues without masks until someone stops them to remind them that they cannot enter unless they wear face coverings. Then, you disturb their world. Perhaps that individual without facial coverings may retaliate, maybe they will just leave without tension. Some come back, mask in hand, begrudgingly fixing that mask upon their face while walking back to the building’s entrance.

We never knew life would come to this. Our fears and dreams culminating into a horror-fest. Such is life now, after the pandemic.

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

Poem: Dark and Light

Time has a night and day

In between, I have given all that I can

Especially offered my heart

Which has been eaten as though it was an apple

Masticated, swallowed and digested

Never let that heart fall into the hands

Of someone hungry for theft

But without care for that which they hoard

Love being taken for granted

Left out in the cold

Is the coldest darkest night

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

Blog: Soundtrack Of Our Lives

Music today does not have the same impression on me as the music from the 80s and 90s. It is hard to find inspiration in just booty shaking, clout chasing and corny puppy love songs. Music back in the day was more relatable, it felt real and even inspired you in many ways.

There are a few songs that I would like to add to a playlist for a soundtrack of my life. Songs that still make my heart sing, rave or dance. Songs that remind me of love making, lost love and finding a new love.

1. Doo Wop (that thing) – Lauryn Hill

2. Bitter Sweet Symphony- The Verve

3. Ex-Factor – Lauryn Hill

4. Waterfalls – TLC

5. Truly, Madly, Deepy -Savage Garden

6. This is How We Do It – Montell Jordan

7. Don’t walk away – Jade

8. Gonna Make You Sweat – C+C Music Factory

9. All Around The World – Lisa Stanfield

10. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-a-lot

Baby Got Back is a favorite at Karaoke bars all over. So don’t give me the stick eye for that one. You’ve heard the song before, you cannot deny how catchy it is and even of you can’t rap, you’d still singalong.

All of my soundtrack tunes have significance in certain parts of my life. What are your top ten songs that make up the soundtrack of your life?

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)

TOUCH HUNGRY: CHAPTER ONE – SHORT STORY

Frankia Krane collected the small shovel, potting soil and a terra cotta planter pot set from the garden supply shop. She took her time looking at all the indoor plants in the nursery. There was a vivid array of selections all about her and every time she passed a plant she wants that very one, then two steps ahead she would fall in love with another plant.

She finally came upon a plant that was very unique from the others. The leaves were similar to that of a snake plant or Dracaena Trifasciata. Snake plants usually have speckles of green and cream colors, naturally detailed in natural waves and ripples with long, tall blades for leaves that look as though they want to reach for the sky. The only difference is that the other plant bared leaves with a texture like that of a lizard or reptile, with splotches in spectrums of browns and greens, with varying tones commencing from the very tips of the leaf to where it connected to its roots, hidden in the rich dark brown soil. The tag on the pot read, Dracaena Valiveal, also known as the Sliver Leaf Plant.

As though the plant’s leaf was charmed, Frankia instantly became compelled to caress the Sliver plant’s leaves. The texture of the leaves instantly incited an emotional response from Frankia. While she stood there near the table, stroking the leaves of this two-foot tall plant, she did not care if anyone was watching her. Though not far in distance, the store clerk, an aged woman stood watching her as she smoothed and massaged the plant’s blossoms. A cooing sound escaped Frankia’s lips, and a calm and nurturing feeling washed over her mind and body. She was not consciously aware of herself in this moment. There was also a cautionary note below this plant’s name that read, “please do not touch.”

“Excuse me ma’am, can I help you” The older woman who was on staff at the garden shop offered.

“I was looking for a new houseplant…and I think I found the perfect one!” Frankia responded.

“Well,” said the employee, “This one is a new species, similar to the snake plant that its origins are from the Congo Basin.”

“Congo? You mean in Africa? Well…”

The clerk spoke abruptly. “Oh yes. They both have origins in that region of Africa but the Sliver Leaf grows specifically in Equatorial Guinea, deep in the rainforest…growing wild, but still very rare.”

Frankia only blinked, then her attention went back to the plant.

“Oh and please do not touch it. Just water occasionally and we have a specific liquid…serum that helps with its nourishment. If you would like to purchase it, I’m available to receive your payment.” The little old lady said then motioned towards the direction of the cash register. Frankia immediately picked up the plant pot and followed the little old lady to the front of the garden shop.

TO BE CONTINUED…😬

CLICK HERE FOR CHAPTER TWO

This original blog post was written and copyrighted by Juana M. Gumbs. All rights are reserved by her in January 2021 (C)