Thursday, August 26, 2010

i lived there

I dream the familiar floor plan,
watch current residents
follow the muffled echo
of my former steps, shuffle

zombie-like, on the footprints
of a dance-step diagram,
up the gray halls, sullen, void
of laughter or tears of years

spent, absorbed in walls and rugs
mothballed in domestic memory.
Flies lie dead in the green
glass of the bathroom light

and one fluorescent bulb
above the kitchen sink blinks
and starts, but no-one sees,
or wants to see, the ghost town

of rooms, playing widescreen,
silent with no subtitles,
remote long lost, since I removed
and took its essence in my heart.



Tess Kincaid
August 2010



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111 comments:

  1. I was recently talking to my sisters-in-law about houses we lived in, in our childhood, how we dream about them and wonder how we'd feel if we visited them now.

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  2. That was lovely. I have dreamed of my childhood home, that I knocked on the door and the new residents let me in and I showed them all the wonderful hiding places, which in truth, do not exist.

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  3. I feel a strong connection to all of the houses I've lived in. I visit them (mentally) and remember what each room held, how it was decorated, what happened there.

    Nostalgia played out into verse, Willow. Well done!

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  4. You started out with wonder with the first line...'I dream the familiar floor plan'!

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  5. I noticed you mentioned zombi... got some skeletons in your closet (or under the floorboards) you'd like to share? Hmm???

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  6. Oh yeah, I used to dream often of places I formerly lived. One in particular, has its own involved dream-history of things that never actually happened, but happened in a series of dreams I still recall, mostly about hauntings!

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  7. reminds me of my grandfather's house in Minnesota...the floorplan line....i always dreamed of building a house with that floorplan because the memories were so heartwarming...bkm

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  8. how you poets can string such visual words together is a constant delight to me.

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  9. I'm another one. Dream about them all the time. Even when walking in the woods, places come back to my mind. I like it.

    What's happened? Usually I'm around 45th in your comments list; today I'm number 11.

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  10. Oh, I love this, Willow. I, too feel connected to all the homes I've lived in and oftentimes find myself thinking about them.

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  11. Whoa this is a resounding one for me. Well done, Willow.

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  12. Reminds me of my grandmum's house...

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  13. Yes, yes, this is how it is.

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  14. Very nice. About twenty years ago, it turned out that a flea market customer of mine lived (and still lives) in the house I lived in from 1968-1972. I've visited there several times since, and it is quite an odd feeling!

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  15. Oooh... I love that house and this poem was wonderful willow. Every house has it's history in the walls. It's the place where memories are made ... absolutely loved this. Very eloquent.

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  16. Lovely Magpie, Willow, such memories and wistfulness.
    Your magpie has made us think of home this week.

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  17. Truly emotive and catches the wistful spirit so well, Willow. :)

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  18. Your words create a magical sound, wooing us into the world of childhood! Very beautiful!

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  19. Beautifully written and so evocative willow.

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  20. How lovely to dream of your childhood home and have pleasant memories.

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  21. Very nice, Willow. I sometimes dream of the home of my youth, too. Kat should read this.

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  22. Great words. This is how a house becomes a home.

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  23. playing wide screan silent with no subtitles....i like that line...i think this one will be fun...

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  24. I went back to my childhood home on a trip to the UK a few years back. It made me quite sad. It was not as I remembered it. It seemed uncared-for. I had a very happy childhood and it had changed so much.
    Your reminiscences struck a note. Thanks for sharing

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  25. Beautiful words and touching thoughts! I have often thought this way..

    ...certain houses have their way with our hearts and they lodge their labyrinths in our minds...

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  26. The homes we lived in as children hold magical memories!

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  27. On the rare occasions I have trouble falling asleep, I mentally walk through my childhood home, opening closets and drawers and remembering...

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  28. I loved this one. I often dream of houses. Some I lived in and others not but they all have a maze of doorways and hidden wings. They always seem to be beautiful but I am anxious in them. Searching for something. Trying to accomplish something. Remembering something I am supposed to be doing or taking care of (like a child). I would like to orchestrate them so I could explore the houses and forget about all those anxious tasks that turn out to be meaningless when I wake.

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  29. Lovely willow. Great flow. Subtle imagery and unfolding of ideas. a pleasure to read. Honey smooth.

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  30. The memories of old homes can be so strong. I spent a lot of time with my grandparents growing up, and for most of my adulthood I dreamed of that house every night. It was amazing the impact those lovely walls had on my soul. Lovely Magpie Willow. :-)

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  31. Is that lovely cottage actually Willow Manor? It looks as if it could be made of gingerbread, opening exciting possibilities.

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  32. I recently met a woman from Mass. who had lived in my hometown and in the house were I grew up. She is quite a bit younger than me. I had never known her and was totally surprised when she told me where she had lived. I met her at a retreat here and was so surprised, I guess, since she had come from Mass. to be here.You did a great job on this post, as usual.
    QMM

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  33. Wonderful, full of imagery.

    (I didn't realise that this had once been your home.)

    I loved "Flies lie dead in the greenglass of the bathroom light" - I must have seen the very same thing at some point in my life as the image was so vivid to me.

    Excellent writing, I really loved it.

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  34. Pan, still is my home, actually!

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  35. Carrie, I also spent a lot of time at my grandparent's house growing up. A few years ago, after the funeral of a relative, my aunt and uncles and I stopped by the old house, in the tiny Indiana village. The current owners were kind enough to let us take a peek inside. It was the strangest experience, much like a dream. It was the inspiration for this piece.

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  36. Mrs. Trellis, yes, it's the back porch of Willow Manor.

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  37. Yes, this is a part of us. I loved what you wrote.....

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  38. So many memories are tied up with the homes we have lived in--I could so relate to the sentiments here, Willow. Lovely! I have such vivid memories of the house where I lived as a little girl. I also feel the same way about my grandparents' houses, even though I never actually lived there myself. I spent an awful lot of time there with them!

    My brother is the only one of us to do this, but he actually went back to what he always called "the Homestead," and knocked on the door--he just announced to the people that "I used to live here." Next thing we knew, he was inside, having a drink with them, swimming in the built-in pool they'd added in the back yard, and showing them the room he used to sleep in, etc. Cracked me up. I'd never have the nerve to do that!

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  39. Gorgeous poem... eerie and tinged with emotion.

    One of the best I've read lately. Thank you!

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  40. "mothballed in domestic memory.."

    is just fantastic in its back story, willow...

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  41. willow -- your poetry is insightful -- providing a window into a former home. Enjoyed! -- barbara

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  42. Does the banister rail remember we once slid down in glee, grandmother waiting at the bottom to catch us?

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  43. "...since I removed and took its essence in my heart."

    I dream the odd familiar floorplan (not all of them) and other things too - taking of gifts - essence - is something we should all be mindful of, I think. I suppose as writers and artists, we are.

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  44. This is a fun topic. Nice writing in the post too. Years later I visited a house I lived in for about 5 years, which was a very long time for us nomads. The house didn't look quite so large through my adult eyes.

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  45. Techno, it's truly amazing how the house from our childhood shrinks with time!

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  46. So well written .. I loved it.

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  47. I'm wandering in memory today and this is especially poignant.

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  48. A sad remnant that you have left us, Willow. Nicely written.

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  49. A part of us always remains in the houses of our childhood, walks the rooms, hallways, nudges open doors to other times, and feelings. Wonderful post Willow.

    Elizabeth

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  50. If a childhood home can provoke such sweet yet sad memories you must have left something of your soul behind.
    Some houses have a warm and safe feeling to them; they must be the houses that were well-loved by previous owners.

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  51. Part of my soul is here at WM, Friko. Whenever I do leave, I will be taking some of its essence with me.

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  52. i think i might cry. this echoes so many dreams i've had about old houses i lived in.......you nailed this willow.

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  53. awesome delicious poem! LOVE!

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  54. Wonderfully written magpie! =)

    -Weasel

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  55. Not too long ago, we drove by my childhood home to show Bach the house that I grew up in. I agree, the house and yard seem so small compared to the ways we remember them when we were young. I have very mixed emotions about going inside, not sure if I would. I know you all made the visit, and it does sound kind of surreal.

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  56. oh, good one! My parents now live down the street from where I grew up and I've never had the nerve to ask the current owners if I could come in and look around. Perhaps it's best left to my imagination.

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  57. It was like being shown an errie documentary, there's a real silence in the poem, an a real pungency to the images - Flies lie dead in the greenglass - one fluorescent bulb above the kitchen sink blinksand starts - loved it!

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  58. Wonderful poem. You have me remembering previous places I have stayed and some I called home, as well as the ghosts I know who were there waiting for me to acknowledge them.

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  59. A lovely piece of writing, and a beautiful home, Willow. Thanks for sharing it.

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  60. Houses so often contain our lives and hold pieces of them forever. 'playing widescreen,silent with no subtitles,' a vivid phrase! Lovely piece.

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  61. Most of the houses I've lived in (including the cottage where I was born) are still standing. I have driven past or pulled up outside them, on occasion. I always imagine the inhabitants in the places I once called 'home'. So, "..shuffle
    zombie-like, on the footprints
    of a dance-step diagram.." means a lot to me.

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  62. Every once in awhile I drive by my childhood home...I have never stopped...I don't know if I would want to see the changes that have been made. Wonderful poem willow!

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  63. i needed to read this twice to let that image seep a little more into my soul. how fantastic was this. wow. simply, simply "wow."

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  64. Old houses like old gardens
    can be brought to life,
    and often are
    by new occupants.

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  65. Message from my Id:
    "You are a poet
    and you know it,
    which is plain to see
    since many of your lines
    are long fellows."

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  66. I must say that a noisy gathering
    of magpies is a joyous event,
    and I am so very thankful
    that I heard all the warbling
    and chatter from far off,
    and felt drawn to it.

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  67. I, too, Willow, found it necessary
    to /follow the muffled echo of
    my former steps/. The line
    /absorbed in walls/ brings to mind
    all the smells in old apartment
    houses, cooking smells, sex,
    dead rodents, mold--but that
    might be the challenge of another
    round of poetics./playing widescreen,
    silent with no subtitles/ is gentle but
    jarring for my cinematic imagination.
    We film buffs often find it hard to
    tell our lives from a movie, or vica-versa.

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  68. Glenn, I often say, I live a movie. My words, most times movie quotes, my gestures, stolen from stars.

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  69. Glad you were attracted by the chattering magpies!

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  70. My cousin, James Currie, is a writer,
    among other things, and he wrote
    recently, "Writing can be a very lonely
    art, but we do it because there is no
    real choice." I remember that being
    the echo of our mentor at the Acting
    Conservatory I attended during the
    Crimean War. W. Duncan Ross said
    to us, that naive sea of young faces,
    "First of all know that you are all
    mad. Theater will break your heart.
    Only do it because you must,
    because you have no choice."
    Being a poet is a similar barb,
    a thistle that always lurks under
    the shirt, wanting to morph what
    you see into what you write.

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  71. wow this brought back memories of days gone by, very clever and well written dear xx

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  72. I have 1400 square feet of basement
    transformed into the History of
    Cinema Museum, where I have built,
    had built, erected, stacked divers
    shelves loaded with over 20,000
    movies on VHS and DVD. The screen
    pulsates night and day. I loan out
    movies to my friends. My screening
    room is always open, 24/7, and
    magpies are welcome. I am in
    a film club in Tacoma, and we
    watch and discuss film. I spent
    a decade as a professional actor
    before I became a special Ed
    teacher with the blind. But enough
    about me. See you at the movies,
    and will search for the cinematic
    clues within your poems.

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  73. "...a thistle that always lurks under the shirt, wanting to morph what you see into what you write"

    Love this. And so appropriate for today, since I had an episode in the garden, where I jumped out of my pants and gave them a hard flap. Out fell the biggest, fuzziest bumblebee I've ever seen. I'd much rather have a poetic thistle, than a bee in my pants any day.

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  74. 20,000 films?! And I thought my library of 400 was getting out of hand. I'm a huge film buff. If I lived closer, I'd be over tonight for a watch.

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  75. That's why I could never leave my house!

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  76. As I join the flock, or possibly
    the pride of Magpies Glorious,
    I am reminded of a quote from
    Jack Kerouac, who always
    considered himself to be
    "an outlaw of the sensorium".
    And we all know that
    women love outlaws.

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  77. oh...willow...this is so lovely

    i always wonder about houses i have lived in too...

    beautiful post

    and YES!!! "Invest in Kindness"
    i count you amoung my treasured blog friends...you're a dear

    sending love to you today, my friend

    kary
    xxx

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  78. An exquisite stumble through nostalgia that we should never take. One of your best.
    But as you admit it is still your home, please put everything back but do clean the dead flies from the light fitting before I visit. Bletch!

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  79. Stafford, I'll make sure the light fixtures are completely insect-free before your visit. I promise.

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  80. Kary, I feel completely the same way, dear friend! xox

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  81. Nicely done.

    I went back to my childhood home a few years back, and it was gone. What a strange feeling that was, because even though the house was gone, I felt the essence of my grandfather there. Bittersweet.

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  82. Makes me realize how lucky I am that my mom still lives in my childhood home. I just love your line "on the footprints of a dance-step diagram". What a great image.

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  83. An elderly lady, named Olive, came to our old farmhouse several years ago and asked to come inside. She had grown up in the house and told us many things about it. She showed us where she sat on the staircase and listened to her parents, in the parlor, discuss getting a divorce. Some of her memories were so sad.

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  84. This is lovely, your photo reminded me of a house in my past too.

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  85. You really closed the door on this old house..brilliantly done!

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  86. Willow,
    I love to meander old houses and try to imagine the day to day lives of the people who trod the halls before me. And to add my own footfall to the aura there.
    We've lived in our 110 yr. old house for 35 years now. Still don't know why there are bb's in the middle bedroon's wall.
    rel

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  87. Lovely Willow... I've never lived in a house so charming and full of character (okay... maybe the Tree House) so I made up a story. I did have an "Aunt Lou" but she lived with my grandparents... However, there were apple trees behind the house and my dad had a Beagle named "Oconee Kate."

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  88. This is fabulous - the image itself, the words it evoked for you, and the words it evoked in everyone else.

    Love, love, love.

    Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude!

    My Magpie.

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  89. that was lovely. i don't usually think about the house where i grew up. i wonder what it would be like to return there.

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  90. Beautiful verse Willow. I think we all think about where we have lived especially those happy homes.

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  91. It is marvelous and so interesting to realize that remembering/dreaming of former homes seems to be more universal than I might have guessed. I dream of one in particular, where we lived when I was in junior and high school. Potent years in a simple house at the foothills of the Sierra Nevada range.

    (new follower, first-time magpie effort this week; thank you for the venue.)

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  92. I now own the house I grew up in, but don't currently live there. I think that if it had been sold and then I went back it would be sad because it would likely have been remodeled by new owners. Now the house is 50 years old, and pretty much as it was during my childhood.

    I think you covered those feelings with your poem.

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  93. your poem reminded me of my old house no longer lived in...lovely words. Thanks for the journey

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  94. Wow Willow that really captured my attention!
    "mothballed in domestic memory" what a great use of words just love it!

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  95. I like the image of rooms playing widescreen...feeding your fond memories.

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  96. Beautiful and a little melancholy. It sounds like the memories bring sadness. Instead of counting sheep, I often revisit my bedroom in many former homes (we moved about every four years), lying in the bed there and seeing the room around me. Works like a charm.

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  97. This was am amazing artifcat... Made me wishing to go back to my old house...Our growing years' abodde has soo many memories attached to them that the house itself becomes a part of what we are...and you've captured this all so nicely... felt glad to read this...

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  98. Love the silent with no subtitles

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  99. An inspiration theme for our latest Magpie efforts...

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  100. Loved this! Truly wonderful. I still drive by the first house we owned, that we spent four long, dusty years renovating. A piece of me still lives there in the wallpaper that I hung myself, going almost insane with the monotonous intricacy. Really lovely poem. And thanks for magpie tales. I've met some great new writers, and have gotten such wonderful encouragement.

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  101. Woww... this was such a sad and well, creepy sort of a read...
    But the emotions well so very painted.. the longing so well conveyed...

    I am sure such places really existed for each of us, at some point.. but may now be just memories, etched into our hearts.. crumbling and deteriorating

    Your poem was absolutely beautiful, Willow!! I bow before you for sharing this piece here!!!

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  102. this was terrific, Willow. it made me think of some of the houses I've lived in and what it would be like to revisit them.

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  103. 'the ghost town of rooms,' really grabbed me. i like to think i'm still a 'ghost' in the places i've lived (moved 14 times!), left a little of myself in the walls. beautiful and haunting. i like the raw disturbed feel of describing the dead flies and the flickering light. well done poetess, i love this oodles.

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  104. I am in tears after reading this. There have been a few houses in my life that have shaped me,left huge impressions on me. You captured that feeling so well. The connection, the sadness, the memories; but most importantly, that the positive, pure message of the house could always go along to the next place. You are a brilliant writer!

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  105. Thanks for all your kind and generous comments, all. So many of you could connect on this piece on various levels. You are the best readers ever. Without you, I wouldn't have nearly the inspiration. xx

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Inject a few raisins of conversation into the tasteless dough of existence.
― O. Henry (and me)