photo courtesy of Fashionslide (via Wikipedia)
photo courtesy of Fashionslide (via Wikipedia)

The Pachinko Machine

If I remember it right
they found it at a Sears store
among the hammers
lawn mowers
washing machines
garden hoses
rain jackets

(remember the Sears nut counter, where you could buy a warm paper bag of red-skinned peanuts while you shopped for nails and screws?)

They stood, looking at it,
for a sweet long time
talking to the salesman.
The pachinko machine
stood there, mute,
exotic, beautiful, unnecessary.

(how did it get here, from Japan to this midwestern hardware store? who signed his name to this shipment?)

My parents were generally
frugal and practical. This was not
the sort of thing they bought.
My grammar school heart raced:
“Please oh please oh please.”

I imagined hours of joy,
pressing that lever,
rocketing the shiny metal balls
to the top of the game
then watching them fall like hail,
plinking and jumping
among the wire pins,
willing them along the certain path
to release a fortune in shiny metal balls.

My heartbeat pleas
plinked in my chest.
“Please do this one wild thing”.

This is my offering for last week’s summer writing camp prompt: Plink.

This week’s prompt (if you happen to be playing along): Persuasion…

Summer writing camp: Update and new prompt


H and I both wrote poems for the first theme (“summer solstice”) of our summer writing camp. She wrote a concise haiku about a confident, cinnamon-furred fox, dreaming under the moon. And I wrote a rambler about the solstice being both the start of summer and the start of the plunge into fall (I’m nothing if not consistent, eh?).

I know that was a tease, but we’ve decided (for now) not to publicly share our work on this blog. We’ll see how we feel after we’ve done this for awhile.

But I did want to share this week’s prompt, which is (thanks to H), “Plink”.

Think of it as the sound of a rain drop hitting the metal roof, or a coin dropping into a jukebox, or an electronic wake-up alarm, or an ice cube hitting the side of a glass, or a pizzicatoed E-string on the violin.

What does it make you think of?

Day one



Our first day of summer vacation and it’s a rainy one.

I say “our”, but it’s really just H’s summer vacation. I’m horning in on her well-earned time off.

Not only that. I’m full of plans.

I read somewhere this morning about one of those super creative moms who bought these amazing scrapbook sets for her kids and they hang out in the afternoons and fill these scrapbooks with notes and ideas and pasted-in movie tickets and postcards and bird feathers. Presumably, they spend the rest of their day doing all the cool things that they later memorialize in their scrapbooks.

For 10 minutes, I had a little daydream about the scrapbook adventures H and I could have this summer.

I told her about the scrapbook idea and she said, essentially, “Yeah…”.

Ah. Understood.

Back, off mom. Let’s just spend some time reading, hanging out, watching grass grow. You know, the way summer’s supposed to be (with the regular application of “Doctor Who” episodes, naturally.)

I get it. When we were kids, my sister and I had large chunks of summers to ourselves, unstructured and unfettered. My parents were both in town, at their full-time jobs. We had our bikes, the neighborhood, the bus and train into the city. We did as we pleased during the daylight hours and no one made plans for us.

It’s my blessing and H’s curse (to some degree) that I work from home. I get in her face a lot. I have… ideas…. I want to do projects. She wants to, oh, wake up a noon, eat something, be a teen.

She is very patient with me. And very good about not rolling her eyes continuously.

I did have one idea she liked, though, because she’s a word nerd like M and I are. And that’s to have a sort of at-home, mother-daughter writing/art camp. Every Monday, one of us will announce a theme (this first week is my turn; I chose “summer solstice”), then we’ll each write (or draw, or photograph, or whatever we like) based on that theme, and share the results with each other on Friday.

I don’t know yet if we’ll share these projects with anyone outside the house. We’ll see how week one goes. But first, we have some rain drops to stare at.