Indelible characters worthy of the big screen -GEORGIA PINE

5.0 out of 5 stars GEORGIA PINE by Jacqueline Cioffa

FOREST CREATURES & WOODLANDS-6

GEORGIA PINE (Kindle Edition)

“An amazing read. The author weaves tragedy, love, family, suspense and disappointment into an amazing story. I have not read The Vast Landscape yet but after this, I know I’ll be adding it to my list of must read books. This is great fictional account of a tortured soul in the form of a fast-paced story painted with poetic scenes.

I was completely immersed in the story as the author switches from past to present. This is an engrossing read you will definitely think about long after you have finished it. An author who has poured her soul into creating incredible characters that are worthy of the big screen.” –Amazon Review

***I received a free book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.***

Georgia Pine

In His Boots

In His Boots 

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The mementos we hold on to, heirlooms we choose not to discard and throw away.

All the traditional, routine ways we try to live inside the memory of someone, some one precious,  beloved. To feel them near in the physical awhile longer can seem foolish and nonsensical.

It’s ridiculous to think an oversized, outdated, uncomfortable pair of black boots with fleece lining and thick rubber soles hold any value, and yet.

I wear my father’s boots when I head out to walk the dog. It’s crazy, they’re too big and my heels slip and slide trying to find solid footing on shaky ground. It doesn’t matter. I’m not trying to be practical, or looking for some mystical answer or hidden treasure. The cold air smashes against my ankles and makes my toes curl. I don’t care; I like the deep freeze against my skin. The winter frost reminds me I am indeed breathing as snow creeps in and drips down my exposed limb. I suppose I could double up woolen socks, try to fill the void. Why would I? I tried that once, my feet felt cramped and uncomfortable screaming for some space and air.

To feel the empty, sit in the hollow spaces he once filled effortlessly makes perfect sense.

I don’t want to box up the boots, stow them in a back closet or even gift them away. I want to remove the black boots with zippers on both sides from the shelf each winter, and grin. Another season to make new memories together, him and me.

I will carefully set them aside for when the inevitable seasons change again, and wait for spring. I want something to look forward to.

His smile fades as time and distance creates a vacuum, the gaping, fuzzy recollection plays tricks on the mind.

Was it a false memory?

Did I pile into the back of his rusted, pickup truck for Blackberry ice cream on many a summer’s eve? Did we giggle and laugh until we peed our pants from the smell of horseshit? Did he lift me up on his shoulders every chance he got? Did his eyes beam each time he looked at me?

Did I hear the snores while he slept on the floor beside me when I was fevered? Did he count laps as I swam lifting my head from the water peeking to make sure he was exactly where I left him? I still do that sometimes, turn my head to the side expecting to see him instead of an empty chair. My reflexes and muscle memory are still intact.

Were there tears in his eyes the first time I left home and the last time we said goodbye? Goodbye for now, not forever.

Did he love me?

That, I don’t doubt. I don’t need a faded memory to feel his love in my bones and smiling under my skin. His grin is the brightest, fondest memory I hold. My heart and his are forever entwined.
Still, doesn’t make the missing any easier.

I wear his boots and trip sometimes.

That makes me smile, on the inside.

 

To Sleep, but Not to Slumber ~ A Christmas Wish for the Brokenhearted

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Someone asked me the other day when exactly did I begin to hate Christmas?

I couldn’t quite place the precise date when the cheery, bubbly, naive child stopped believing in the magic

Five, seven, ten?

Who’s to say?

It happened all at once, the snow globe blown out of proportion and super-sized colored lightbulbs scorch and burn

I try but the sadness, maudlin and sorrow I am born
Lives in these bones, where marrow sits and blood oxygen flows

The neighborhood streets I stroll at night twinkle warmly while vanilla, clove and chocolate aroma fills the lungs I breathe deep

Are they happy I wonder? Are they okay? Are they loved?

Am I?

I am at times
It’s not all Maloja Snake dense grey mist and menacing cloud banks creeping and winding under the skin
I know this to be true beyond the sleigh bells and frivolous gifts I’ll tuck away in some drawer for a later date soon forgotten 
Later dates rarely come or never right on time
The sadness and tears well up in my eyes before I can manage a pretend smile
Half my heart belongs on the other side you see, and that I cannot fix
Time is moving too rapidly, I want to smash the clock

I greedily want to hurry past Christmas Day and the sad memories missing the magic pieces I can’t reclaim even seconds gone by

I am not afraid of death, not really
I welcome the quieting freedom and serenity of my orbs, the peace she’ll bring
Living with a serious mental illness there is no room for false niceties, unrealistic dreams, Santa Claus frosted cookies and cold milk in a crystal glass left on an end table
Who drinks the milk anyway, does it get tossed?

I die each time I lose my mind, bits and pieces gone forever, and missing memories I shan’t recover

The spirit gets discouraged, wants to quit, to scream fuck it

What exactly are you hoping for when the future is not a guarantee?

Being alive scares the shit out of me, it’s the goiter in my throat and sugar overload tummy ache

I am terrified of being alone

I am terrified of losing my Christmas people and the only ones I have needed

I am terrified peering through the white light wreathes, red ribbon bow glass panes filled with pretty, fresh linen tablecloth settings, red poinsettias, little ones smiling and dancing in plaid flannel PJs
I am terrified of shiny new-new families while I grow old

I hate Christmas

There, I said it

I hate Christmas because it’s the in your face reminder of the incredible luck I have been blessed with and the over-abundant love and over-bearing souls

A mother who cannot stay here forever, with me, a brother who challenges my every word and makes me fight hard, harder

For them, I am more than nobody

I am worthy

I’ve always been worth it no matter the mad hatter, nuttier than a fruit-bread, fruit-loaf, fruitcake (gross), or some idiot’s ignorant punchline I bear
 
There’s a tiny, rundown white house up the street where an elderly man lives.
 
His name is Ed, he doesn’t have any lights or decorations, or any visitors cars parked outside his door
 
Ed fell last winter, it was 10 degrees and I stayed with him, helped get him back into his car and to safety
 
He stopped me recently
I’d forgotten all about it and said, “hey, are you that Cioffa girl who helped last winter?”

I nodded and smiled, “no big deal.”

I am that Cioffa girl I thought to myself smiling proud 

“I’m Ed.”
“Hi Ed.”
I don’t think Ed has anyone, and he really is HOME ALONE on Christmas.
 
When I’m presented with difficult, challenging, scary and uncomfortable situations which is often,
I always ask what would my father do?
 
I didn’t try to fight or hold back the river of tears because missing him and the crucial piece of my heart he holds, is misery.

I hate Christmas because nothing stays the same, and life moves forward exactly as it should

I cry, weep and let it spill onto the pillowcase as I close my weary eyes

I can see his beautiful smile, feel his goodness and understand he is here with me despite my doubts

Encompassing me in a safety bubble of the most spectacular pretty, plentiful colorful Christmas magic

“Go on you silly girl, you have everything
You do
Bring Ed some cookies, your mother might get mad
But, it’s only pretend mad”
 
And that’s what we do in my home on the Eve of Christmas

We pretend smile and suddenly a baby’s giggles are infectious, and tiny flannel feet pitter-patter makes life less heavy and more manageable

Makes the magic real

I love the twinkle and sparkle of the lights, I will keep the starlight and the afterglow 

As the reminder the magic lives in the light-hearted
 
 
orbs
 
To believe in the memories because they are timeless
No one can take away or live the miracles, they are yours good and bad
The miracle of Christmas is the the star stuff dust you are already

 

Christmas, I hate you a little more and a little less

 

This is my Christmas wish to the brokenhearted

I hope your slumber is serene and the day’s beating heart comes tender, sweet and steady

I hope the joy finds its way inside your heart, hearth and home

“Snow Drifts” – The Vast Landscape #vignette

“Snow Drifts” – excerpt from The Vast Landscape by Jacqueline Cioffa #vignette

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The Gravity Imprint re-release, The Vast Landscape by Jacqueline Cioffa will be out soon!

“This story was quite the ride; it was raw and full of emotions, doubts, mistrusts, fame, love and it was like following a train wreck as it goes down the track.”

 “Poignant Narrative”

 “Remarkably Well-Written Debut Novel”

 “STUNNINGLY EMOTIONAL AND SOUL-GRIPPING”

 “BEAUTIFULLY WRITTEN AND DEEPLY MEANINGFUL”

Hands Off

*Trigger Warning*

Hands Off by Jacqueline Cioffa

I am not a patient person, no I am not. I bide my time, and busy myself with stuff. I should be writing, working, playing, struggling, worrying, and I am. I’m also waiting which is never good for an over active mind.

Yet here I am, hurtling forward going nowhere. Jumping ahead to anticipate the future. The past sneaks in, memories I cannot escape. They stick to me like a parasite drawing blood all around and everywhere I turn.

Can a five-year-old understand the meaning of true love?

I believed magic lived inside my daddy’s big, round, jovial belly instead of plain old spaghetti and meatballs. The sparkling lights on the Christmas tree, snowflakes stuck to the window, felt warm and fuzzy. Childlike wonder, tossing and turning the night excitedly awaiting the dawn and Santa. The yellow kick and go with the humongous red bow sat under the tree, brought raised electric hair of emotion. Spring couldn’t come fast enough, I’d be seven by then. A big girl, big enough to hit the streets. The alarm clock with the FM radio and ice cream cake at thirteen made me feel special. I believed that was L.O.V.E.

Seventeen came with an attitude, and a too expensive, fancy pink and white crepe silk al la ‘Dynasty’ dress complete with 80’s shoulder pads.

On to the first, real honest-to-God date. He was ‘hot-shit’ about town a decade older and he liked me. I had to beg, cry and cajole my parents to give in. They caved, eventually. High school was miserable. I left slivers of happy go star dust lucky  behind, the lights flickered and dimmed. When the date with the man-boy got too steamy, I was the scared little girl way out of her comfort zone. I panicked, jumped, slithered, smoothed out the bougie fuchsia floral wrinkles and called home. My daddy was there in minutes, at 2:00 a.m. to scoop me up. No questions asked. It was easy to leave another piece behind.

By twenty I was a smart mouth grownup living on my own. I met a guy who said all the right things, bought roses, sweet treats and diamond rings. He promised to take care of me. I shrugged my shoulders, and believed the hype.

Until he punched me in the ribs full fist, split my lip and blackened my eye. Yeah it was real easy to let go of love, for good. Again. And again.

To discard myself like some frivolous afterthought, no good soiled trash. To give away yet another piece of my damaged soul. To give in, to give up, to give way.

What did I do instead?

I married the tick infested nuisance, to silence the noise despising every single thing about him. Stupid girl, you can’t wiggle your way out of white orchid floral arrangements, church bells, and silk crepe clouded visions against the skin. Too late to turn back.

The only good, kind, sweet, solid, funny man who never judged me walked down the aisle squeezing my trembling hand in his steadied way and whispered, “I love you.”

I let go.

How? Why? When?

I simply let go of his hand. I let go of his hand shaking and unsteady. I let go of his hand and mine entwined, for all the wrong reasons.

I plain forgot. I shut down, shut off leaving a trail of stale rice dreams behind. Crummy crummy, unholy crumbs for the birds. I let go of love, and walked towards compromise. The capacity, belief and desire to give away the sparkly pixie dust parts died with each passing step.

Thirty came and went, the dizzying panicked blur of regret. Poof. Dissipated, time wasted, more and more wasted time. Eyes closed, heart closed, mind closed, brick walls crushing down heavy on my iron clad lung and cement filled suffocation.

Of course I made feeble, wobbly attempts to come and go.

Weak, strong, strong, weak, nauseating and top spinning heartbroken. Time clouded by shrouded veil, dense fog illusion, and stowed away dollhouse dreams. Denial, muddied, muddled, shredded eight foot faded ivory train-wreck and vows long forgotten.

Pummel my face as hard as you can, I don’t care. The wet, warm blood feels warm and soothing dribbling down my chin and tastes oh so sweet, so much better than numb nothing.

I am alive and bleeding crimson red.

 

I can no longer want, ask, believe nor care about little girl dreams. I must pull up my big girl boy shorts and act like a man. The five dollar frivolous, white horse prince saviors, and romantic cowboy brass buckles, burr boot straps dead and buried inside little house on the prairie garish fantasies.

Ride along, move along, mosey along this is my dime store fantasy flick. I have no idle minutes left for regret, I’m riding shotgun.

Who needs some hot-shot, horseshoe, horse-shit, five o’clock stubble smooth talker on a Harley to whisk you away? Take the keys, turn the ignition, and drive. Don’t look back, don’t look over you shoulder, don’t ask and don’t give yourself away. Keep self-esteem in check, and your holy womanhood held high. Little girls, do not give your heart away. Keep it, share it, love it, dance around and around in twirly girly pretty sparkly shimmery circles. Your heart is not a bargain basement sale, it’s gold glitter and swirls of magic. The key to your heart should be kept close and cherished inside your tiny, innocent, girlie hands and extended, graceful feminine forever curious fingers. The lines and maps etched on your palms are forever yours to reach further, hold tighter and aim higher. The hands, funny face little one are yours to reach for the heavens, feel the tickle from a blade of grass, and massage away the rough, coarse granite experiences and, to understand.

To love with your fingers outstretched and wipe the tears from your eyes.

Your fragile, pretty girl pink hands were never meant to cover your face and hide, in shame.

There is something else, something better, something bigger, something precious.
There is something tangible to hold onto when you close your eyes and dare to dream.
There is something mysterious pulsating inside, that never lies.

Do not ever forget how safe the world felt holding the right, kind gentleman’s hand. And do not ever let go of the love.

Don’t forget to love the hands attached to the arms and a direct line to your heart. Love comes in many beguiling and bewitching forms, unloved is something different, something not whole.

Sometimes love is a jovial round belly filled with spaghetti and meatballs. Others, it’s quieting, stoic, stubborn, and unwavering. A mother’s illogical love that does not give up on you, and your trembling hands. Maybe, it lives inside the gasp of an unexpected hiccup or giggle, or the perfect timing of a handwritten note from a friend in the post with three simple words imbibed, thinking of you.

Sometimes, it’s finding your way home.

Sometimes it’s finding your way back home.

And sometimes it’s finding your own way back home.

To love.

That five-year old was wise.

She understood she held the key in her hands, never too tight and always close to her heart.

“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance” – Oscar Wilde

5 Stars: “Kudos to you,for enchanting us once again.”-GEORGIA PINE

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5 Stars #BookReview: “Kudos to you, JC for enchanting us once again – GEORGIA PINE 

Whoa…what a ride!!! Somehow Jacqueline Cioffa managed to tie up some loose ends from her first novel, The Vast Landscape (a must read if you haven’t already) and stir up a whole lot more delving into the narrator’s story as well as those connected to her. I literally read it in a couple of days (probably could have finished in a day if it weren’t for the 4 kids yanking me away from The Cove and the heart of New Orleans). I laughed. I cried. I came away from the book a different person touched by the characters and the soul of this amazing writer. Kudos to you, JC for enchanting us once again.” – Amazon Review

 

 

 

Georgia Pine

 

Look for Jacqueline Cioffa on the Gravity Imprint of Booktrope Publishing

Forever Betrothed To The Night

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Forever Betrothed To The Night

By Jacqueline Cioffa

The rotten apple bobs atop the pond scum drowning and dunking under the sweet, brown silence of murky still waters.

And me, I understand.

In tune with the dark, the death concept softens the breath in an instant. My heart does not skip nor quicken under the harsh white rays of a chilled, September sun. It is calmed and quieted, intoxicated by the still-birth possibility.

The black and grey gravel, foreign misshapen pebbles, and boorish stones stab underfoot. They do not annoy me; I empathize with the rough surfaces and pierced, jagged edges. Bleed, I bleed forest green and dream of Parasol queen ghosts walking beside me. Heart shaped brown and red leaves curl and quiver in the breeze, hiding from the menacing sun discoloring their emerald green envy.

The Goldfinch dances above skimming over tree top branches in a frenzy. Pausing mere fractions of a beat, milliseconds, something I find intoxicating.

The obscure does not threaten, caressing the skin like a careful, thoughtful lover fully awakened and in tune. The dark washes free my sins baptizing the polluted thoughts, brain obstructions. There are no edges, disciples or boundaries in the midnight hour. The world is less loud, less demanding, less  everything the soul is expected.

The spirit feels safest alone; there is no need for words, responsibility or white noise complacency. The night and I are very much in love, betrothed and besotted to none other.

For the night and I agree; the light is purest, more radiant, more blinding and most magical undistracted.

Home, the night and I are at home in each other’s company. No false niceties, polite oddities. Solace is fondly found in the sweet dew evening. The sky blanketed by black oblivion. Only a splinter of smiling, silver crescent moon shines lovely in the evening.

Streetlights, the whirring nuisance jolt me back from daydream reality. Children’s raucous, the humdrum beat of the screaming orange basketball as dirty sneakers glide across the asphalt leave me weary and maudlin. The anarchy disappears behind closested shadow curtains and forty-watt, somber, dimly lit yellow bulbs. I don’t mind the absence, longing to fit in. I am enthralled, mesmerized and enchanted by the underbelly.

For the night and I are in too deep, too enamored with the quieting, melodic air wrapped and entwined inside the mysterious respites of the eve.

I am forever betrothed to the night, in love with the moon and the stars as I quietly walk the day’s thunder.

The Highway Halfway Mark

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The Highway Halfway Mark 

by Jacqueline Cioffa

I wonder, I do. I cannot help but wonder what’s down the road from the place I have ever truly called home. The wood and grass and nails and bolts, the wet familiar dew smells and giggling baby sounds.The joy and the sorrow. I can’t help but observe and wonder. The funny, peculiar, crooked way of seeing the world that is all my own. The structure has cracks, fissures and deep gaping holes, pockets that need love and attention, there is patching and mending to be done. I don’t know if I have enough glue stored in the chicken coop to hold the facade together before the walls come crumbling down. I am for better or worse, at the highway halfway mark.

I mind I do, at times. I mind a lot.

Sometimes, I don’t mind at all. I laugh and live, and get lost in the hilarious, fleeting moments. I get scared, frightened, and paralyzed too. Funny, I was never scared as a child. I was wild, fearless fierce and strong.

Maybe I greedily used up all the miles and worn down the treads on my running shoes. New Balance 574’s. There’s nowhere, no road, no mountain, no distances left, no place far and enough away to hide.

That’s okay. It’s all right. I do get tired sometimes. Mostly, I wish I could bottle up the Lupita lovely creature cuddled beside me. Her warmth and heat and breath and beating heart radiate and rejuvenate my childlike spirit. Her smile makes me weepy. I can’t. I can’t keep her here with me.

I cannot understand the death concept, wrap my head around this curious mystery called life. I try, but maybe I can’t comprehend a life without all the people and places I have cherished and loved. Close, always close by even when separated by continents and telephone lines.

My mother and I don’t see eye to eye on so many things. I talk too much, worry too much, cry too much, am crazy too much and yet she is here in her first forever home and mine folding the laundry. Her pace slow, her gait sad, her grit defeated and still she is cemented together, red brick stronger than I. She realizes her halfway mark has long expired, and that makes me hold my breath.

As if I could stop time between the inhale and exhale before the next.

As if. I’m stalling, still. Silly me, I am a grownup who’s not very grownup at all. I understand that hanging on tight to the breath is wishful thinking and I will most surely pass out. I can’t help be hopeful and delusional at times. It hurts to catch my breath.

Here, at the highway halfway mark.

White Wings and Things #StolenMoments #Poetry

From time to time you’ll see Stolen Moments show up on the blog. Words forgotten and misplaced, poetry, anticipatory memories, prose, joy and sorrow, pensive emotion, random and not so random thoughts scribbled in tattered notebooks. To not forget but remember the precious, fleeting stolen moments in time. I’m a writer trying recapture on paper how it feels to be alive.

White Wings and Things 

Happy Birthday to Me

March 2005

She has you now

In this lifetime

But she holds tight with fear

Her gut feeling freedom is your favorite word

I am not worried or sad

For you or me

Because I’ll most certainly know you beyond the ether

In the next and the next and the next cushions of white comfort love

The void in time and space

We imagine far up up and away

The secret elusive illusion

With sure and absolute devotion

We have lived this fleeting glance before

Without question

There are no walls to break

No bars to stand behind

Open your eyes

So you may extend your arms wide

And open your heart with wings

White wings made of cotton clouds

Allow yourself a glimpse of the most precious kind of love

And read Kahlil Gibran

For he dreams far better than I