Sunday, July 31, 2011


The skin doesn't seem to fit
Brain is tightly bursting with stress
and dislike. Restlessly prowling the
house, looking for a movie, book,
food, or activity that will remove
the unwelcome feelings of the
past week of too much
family and very little
down time.

(Posted for One Single Impression, "Uncomfortable", 7/31/11)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A moment in time

I want to be this classy woman
all heels and hose, exquisitely coiffed,
with delicate feminine gloves and hat
but I have never known how to pull
this look and moment off.
My life has always been a chaos
of jobs, kid, finances, school, men, and 
family of origin crap to ever attempt to
look this together, except perhaps on
my wedding day.
Wait, maybe that is what is going on in
this picture - an exquisitely constructed moment
captured in sepia, that does not show the
reality of her life either, the floor
mopping and machine washed and
line-dried diapers and clothing
and the drunk, smoking, smack-her-around
husband over a dutifully prepared dinner.
There I go again, comparing my insides
to someone else's (carefully crafted) outsides.

(Posted for Sepia Saturday, July 30, 2011)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Stepchild Blues III

Inundated with step-kids and
grand-kids this week. It's hard
to forgive and even harder to forget
the unexpected rudeness and attacks
of my first interactions with these
people, now of my family,
the only crime that I could see was
the falling in love with their dad/grand-pa.
But slowly, things are healing with
two of the three. They are trying to
reach out gently, peacefully, and
they listen when I diplomatically
tell them how hard it is to trust
their current behavior will continue
when I still hear the angry voices
and see the harming words written
on the screen of my mind.
Time will heal, but it is oh so slow.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


Dear Willard,
What a surprise to see your
name, my old elementary school,
on the envelope!
I have such fond memories of
you, especially my earlier years
in your halls, joyfully discovering
the fabulousness that is a library
full of books, and winning a
writing contest at the tender age
of 9, cementing my life-long interest
in wordsmithing.
Tether-ball recess,
trench digging, Girl Scouts,
choir concerts, state projects,
fitness awards, perfect attendance,
and writing, always writing.
I faithfully drive past and study
you when I am in the neighborhood,
remembering your safe influence.
(Posted for Theme Thursday, "Letter", 7/28/11)

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


                 Image credit: Flying Llamas
Black and white
darkness fading to light
misty or clear
craggy to smooth
confusion segues to clarity
mystery reveals knowledge
snow becomes spring
can all be known?
(Prompt from Poetic Asides, "Opposites", 7/27/11)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

In my head I paint a picture

A portrait of you
blooming with health
hair dark, long, curly and luxuriously
sensual, your skin clear and soft
your eyes kind and brown, your
body sturdy and strong.
Your arms open to me and your
other children, to enfold us in
affection and acceptance and pride,
while grandchildren and significant
others orbit with excitement
waiting their turn to bathe in
your gentleness and love,
you, the gloriously whole and
long-lived matriarch of a huge
clan of beautiful girls and their
families, of your own making,
cherished by your groom and your
children, adoring us too.
(Posted for Carry On Tuesday, #115, 7/26/11)

Truth in advertising

Happy, sensual, full of hope
breasts proudly displayed
reaching for the star, comfortably 
lightly seductively clad, 
all from the seat of a bicycle,
the main focus of the image.
You too can have a heavenly experience
and maybe the lady too
if you only had a Sirius Cycle to ride.
Mother's voice in my head can't see the
advertisement or the bike, only the 
near nudity and revelry and lusty joyful
femininity, which must be bad or 
evil in her heavily Catholicized mind.
Why not enjoy the scenery and the dream -
why must your voice always intrude with
negative and moral judgment of even the
simplest beauty?
(Posted for Mag 75, 7/25/11)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Night terrors

It is dark and scary
but there are stars
and we have each other.

(Posted for Bluebell Books, Short Story Slam 6, 7/25/11)

Sunday, July 24, 2011


She died a year ago
of a head injury from a fall
while drunk.
But no one mourned her publicly
no service planned no burial
by her family that we knew of.
Her friends decided it was past time for
closure, healing, and sharing and so needing,
we gathered at at a local lake to tell our stories and
memories of this amazing but tormented
woman who had so touched our lives,
praying together before and after and
in between, casting handfuls of rose petals
onto the lake, tiny rafts of our thoughts and
hopes and loves, each fragrant fairy boat
eventually captained by tiny blue dragonflies,
sailing our thoughts to her, our tears trickling into
the cool, healing water of  listening and
being heard.
(Posted for Poetry Potluck, "Nature and Life", 7/24/11 and for
One Single Impression, "Needs", 7/25/11)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

On writing

Working on a novel today and
yesterday, one that I have long
struggled to write and though it needs and
begs to be written, I am still
fighting this story, these revelations.
Once the story, the truth,  is out there, it's
impossible to deny or recall.
How can it be so hard to write and so
impossible to stay away from at
the same time??

Friday, July 22, 2011

Terrible beauty

The many and varicolored lights,
 the shapely buildings,
statuesque and artistic, 
squat and tall, 
wide and slender,
the lowering clouds enveloping the
insect-like busyness
of people, shadow and illumination, 
stadiums, water bodies, darkness too 
deep to explore, 
glittering danger, 
beautiful, attracting, and 
terrifying to one who grew up
and still joyfully lives in the 
inky absolute nights of 
sparsely populated landscapes, the 
only relief to a black night the 
occasional electric sparkle, 
such lone stars welcoming, comforting, 
contrasted with the glittering and 
appalling galaxies of the city, 
an intimidating profusion of glare.


I love the world  of my dreams,
a surreal landscape of misty rolling hills,
sparsely populated, colors and scenes
so perfectly quaint, traditional, peaceful..
The people I meet there and the adventures
I have are often seeded by the allegedly 'real' world
and sometimes happy, sometimes sad, but the
best times are those when I am alone, wandering
free, experiencing each color and temperature and
eyeful without the cluttering, limiting filters of
other's perceptions. I am never lonely here.
I am where I want to be.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wishing it was

I don't know if things will
ever heal with my sisters.
The wounds are old and caused
by others and it seems our
every interaction with each other
makes us bleed afresh.
Thin skins, strong wills, high
boundaries all serve to make
distances more profound.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


Boxes packed
closets bare
garage sale done
truck loaded
new adventures await.
Wait, you want me to stay?
Too late.
I am empty too.

(Posted for Empty Theme, Poetic Asides 7/20/11)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


An elaborate mask protects
the real me
from those who would misunderstand
dismantle or change or attack
belittle or minimize or
enlarge and magnify
beyond my interests or capabilities.
But even the mask is just a mask
like a colored butterfly eluding its prey
a spell to shield
a cloak to make invisible
with multiple eyes and mouths and features
distracting the viewer to believe
s/he has figured me out, who I am
and how to talk to me
while I crouch behind protective
covering, alternately laughing at 
other's ludicrous attempts to penetrate or 
crying at yet other's non-efforts or at 
all-out assault
despite all protection and the need to be
(Posted for MagPie Tales 74, 7/19/11 and for One Single Impression, "Phantom", 7/19/11)

Monday, July 18, 2011

Painting whispers

Summer's hike on Pilgrim Creek turned up a
secret, sunlight grove in the trees
quiet, misty, mossy clad, downed trees
dappled with rays, tiny insects, and
a breath-holding silence.
Easy to imagine and sense magic
in such a secluded spot, almost not-heard
sounds tickling the corner of one's ears
and almost not-seen movements dancing
on the edge of vision.

(Posted for Poetry Potluck Week 44, 7/18/11)

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The loneliest times are not
when someone dies or a 
friendship fades to gray
or even the days when
all are gone or busy and you
haven't heard a human voice
in many hours. No, the loneliest are
being with someone who
is in the same room with you but
really isn't there, body present but
mind off somewhere inaccessible
to you
while you sit there staring at them
nerve endings bleeding
wishing they would somehow engage 
with you besides the occasional
meaningless words, "I love you."


Image credit:

Reading the blogs of
newly sober folks and
their experiences keeps my
own program quite 'green.'
I remember the confusion
the withdrawal the continuing
obsession the family fights
the emerging feelings, especially rage,
changing playmates and playgrounds,
first disbelieving prayers, cussing out
God if He was there,
first time reading the Big Book,
red pencil in hand, figuring I could
straighten out these drunks
grammatically if not philosophically,
only to discover I was the one who needed
straightened out as the red pencil
dropped from my fingers and the tears dripped
on the pages of this newly found
biography of my life and drinking.
The saddest night of my life
was my first night of sobriety, pouring
all my booze down the drain and
hauling the empties to the dumpster,
afterwards sitting at my computer
reading about alcoholism, my rage
at the intervention making my eyes
bright red, hoping to find one sentence
or site that would prove I wasn't a drunk
and release me from this purgatory of
not drinking.
The excruciating embarrassment
of my first twelve step meeting, sure
everyone was staring at me in judgment.
They were staring all right, but it was with
compassion and hope as they remembered
early sobriety, knowing they were privileged to
have a front row seat at the commencement of
another's recovery, cheering for my tentative
attendance and watching hopefully for
sparks of willingness, honesty, and even
eventually openness.
Hoping the same for all I read
remembering the happiest day of my life
was after  my fifth step with my sponsor
when my Higher Power revealed
Himself to me for the first time in all
His compassionate and loving glory.
Being sober is an amazing experience
every single 'one day at a time.'
(Posted for Free Write Friday, "Addiction", 7/29/11)

Thursday, July 14, 2011


With my purple chalk
I draw a square around myself
big enough for me to stand or
sit in, and defy the world to
step over my boundaries,
physical or mental.
I must be who I am, I must.
I can't allow you to try to squeeze
into my square or pull me out
without my permission, though
I have permitted that in the past.
Yes, you must be true to yourself
but you only recently told me who
you were. I have always been honest
with you, though you chose not to
hear or thought you could change me.
You can't. And I don't perceive that
you are completely honest yet.

(Posted for Theme Thursday, "Square", 7/14/11)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The sound of lies

Dishonesty abrades one's ears and
sensibilities, as does the
crumpling metal of crashing cars
discordant music
bullying laughter
dishes breaking
gunshot echoes
crying children,
eardrums wincing at the clangor of

(Poetry prompt from Poetic Asides 7/13/11: write a poem about a sound.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Inner kids

I'm tired.
I want to go to the park and swing!
Did you steal my crayons?
Quit humming that disco song,
I am so over it.
I'm hungry and I want donuts!
...Kids, we need to work today.
I am going to make you so depressed
you will stay home and eat and sleep -
just see if I don't.
When was the last time we had sex?
I want donuts! I want donuts!
I don't like any of the clothing in our closet.
Did that man yell at us? We are not speaking
to him if all he can do is yell!
...Um, gang, let's negotiate...if you let me work
for a few hours, I promise we'll do something you
all want to do.
Dancing to Pure Disco 1, 2, and 3!
I don't suppose sex might fit in here somewhere?
...Well, the best I can do today is buy donuts,
go swinging at the park, and then home for a nap
after listening to some disco. Okay?
(peace-filled silence)

Okay, to work!

Today's prompt from Poetic Asides, 7/6/11: write a poem from the perspective of a bunch of people. My Inner Kids immediately clamored for the pen!)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Uplift my eyes

                             Image credit: Flying Llamas
I must remember to keep my eyes
raised to the horizon of dreams
rather than fixed on the dirt
under my toes so low
As high as my eyes 
So lifts my soul
to grow
(Posted for Form Monday- Nonet 7/11/11, One Stop Poetry)

To the old lover...

Too many years too late
you tender impassioned pleas
for understanding, explanations,
second chances, verbal trysting,
alleged face-to-face conversational
opportunities, where I suspect your
vocalizations will have more to do with
efforts to remove my clothing than
my reservations about interacting
with you at any level.
You only get a free pass on trust
once; after that you have to earn it,
if you even get another chance at
that level of intimacy at all.
Probably not.
To be trusted, you must act
That is not being demonstrated
even minimally by you.
Loneliness and disappointment
are inclining you to attempt to put a glow and
a spin on the past that was never there
and never true
because of your carelessness
with my heart.
I won't be enticed in again,
Mister Spider, especially as I
observe your online activity with others
that likely has the same tenor and
intentions as yours with me.

(Posted for Poetry Potluck, "Love and its not being there", 7/31/11)


Chaos, danger, and turmoil:
a broken ship, the encroaching water, dark skies,
oars and masts, downed sails, a serpent, flailing limbs,
a dog-like figure howling, many faces turned away or
blank, worrisome, genderless. And then the curious
figure in the middle, lighter colored garb
clinging to a muscular, twisting body:
cradling a ball, no face to be seen.
What is happening?
Shipwreck, game, dance, fight, drowning,
emerging, Olympics, family reunion?
Uncertainty, fluidity, disarray, and fear reign.

(Posted for Magpie Tales, Mag 73, 7/11/11)

Sunday, July 10, 2011


I want off this carnival ride.
We go round and round about the
problem, and as we go up and down
and round and round, it looks and feels like
we are going forward,
making progress,
but when I actually take my eyes off you,
I can see the horizon whipping by
the blur of others' faces, the reality, the
real world, just waiting for me to step away
from this life with you.  I long for
peace and serenity, not this insanity.
How did I reach this point where I thought
the merry-go-round of addiction was life, and
not simply a carnival distraction,
a moment of escape?
It's so shiny and pretty here, at times,
but then I look closely at the machinery twirling
it, smelly, oily, temperamental, uncertain,
clanking and looking like it will fly
apart at any moment.
The music is lovely and nostalgic,
but this is not healthy or actual or even
desirable. My stomach hurts from
the speed at which this has
happened and is still happening.
My legs will be wobbly for a while
now that I am off, but it's okay, children.
We will be strong and certain again soon
as we walk away from the music and
the lights, back into the real world.

(Posted for Theme Thursday, "Round", 7/7/11)
(Submitted for Thursday Poet's Rally, 7/14/11)


If it looks like skunk
smells like skunk
acts like skunk
it sure as hell isn't some
sort of queer condition
that one is helpless over.
Addiction still stinks!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Not crazy

A lifetime of being told
that I don't perceive things
don't believe the proper
have unreasonable expectations
of having basic needs met, and
any time I stand up for myself
demand to be heard, respected and
cared for (not taken care of)
I am told I am crazy and obnoxious
and unreasonable.
Well, I'm weary of that sort of
It's not crazy to want to be
treated respectfully
allowed individuality.
Nor is it evil to
seek God where I might find
Him or Her.
I told you who I was and
have for years.
You are pretending
like I didn't, which is especially
insane when YOU are the
one who wasn't honest
before and still isn't being

Friday, July 8, 2011


To my best high school
friend: congratulations on
the birth of your second literary child!
Someday, me too..but for
now, I am so very content to be the
wind beneath your wings as
you fly ever higher.


Bravely going forward
Decisions had to be made
Starting over is never easy
But craziness is harder.

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 
-Psalm 34:18

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Green thumb

Gardens and flowers were always
abundant in childhood, but so were weeds.
To a child who wanted to play, read, make-believe,
too many weeds needed to be pulled,
the child often feeling like a weed herself,
never right or quite good enough or acceptable,
no matter how diligently she strived or
how many weeds were culled.
Oh, just to be a plant, no category,
allowed to be one's self and grow and
thrive where planted.
All have green thumbs in
that light.

(Posted for BlueBell books, Week 5 Short Story Slam, 7/7/11 - they also supplied the image/inspiration.)
(Also posted for One Single Impression #184, "Weed", 9/4/11)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


If you don't like
what I write about
how I write about it
the specificity or
vagueness of
my writing,
don't read it!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Rage is a flaming sword once
wielded at any sign of betrayal.
A white hot flame, cutting cleanly,
severing relationships and connections
unutterably permanently.
I have not picked up this sword in
many years, but it burns
in my mind, beckoning at this
latest outrage.
The old ways are not gone
they have become distant and
untraveled for many years now
but a not-so-sudden turn brings
me to this road again, unexpected
and unhoped for, yet calling me
I am almost blinded by the powerful
radiance of this old tool, righteous and
unyielding anger, and I consider armoring my
mental self and entering the fray.
But is this betrayal worth the battle?
or should I brandish something else
white, the flag of surrender? And
what are the terms of that renunciation?

Hurting II

Another's FB comment
once again slammed home 
the reality of the depth and breadth of
this deception.
Feeling so broken
such despair
no solutions clear.
New understanding of when
others disclose their raging at
God and feeling driven to their
knees: not cliché, but bitter 
unblinking truth in these old phrases.
And the questions, once again
churning the mental hamster wheel:
why now?
why ever?
Onslaught of negative feelings
stirs the dormant beast of addiction,
scenting the wind for that intense
craving to not feel.
Normalcy was all that
was desired.
Incredible pain to be 
betrayed and abandoned
by one who should love 
rather than being so selfish.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Cruel crewel

Running my fingers through
richly colored threads in a
basket, I consider the tapestry that
might be stitched to
attempt to capture, however
feebly, the bittersweet feelings of
writing, death, and change.
I begin to sew.
Brilliantly pigmented patterns
emerge, corkscrewing hues
long silken technicolor rows
radiating golden ripples
shadowed emerald fields
border that might be ditch or stream
stained glass mountains
pumpkin tinted fence
faintly church-like building.
Are those people or trees or rock formations?
Orange blooms of fall trees
or is that fire?
Jewel toned scales command a section of
the hills.
Is the sun rising or setting?

(Posted for Magpie Tales 72, 7/4/11 & for One Single Impression 192, "Sunset," 11/14/11)

Original sister friend

In my dreams last night
my first sister friend and I were
once again in high school but as the
grown-up strong beautiful women
we are now.
It was the last day of school and
I was cleaning out my locker of
papers and backpacks, stuffing a
trash can full of detritus, turning in
the combination lock at the office,
ready to walk out the front door with
nothing in my hands except my
dreams and hopes.
Her locker, though, was a wonder
in this dream, a huge room
that looked more like a store, that
she didn't even put a lock on, she
trusted that much.
Hers was full of jewels and gems and
colorful fabrics and scarves, all without
number, all made by her and
many classmates were wandering through to
admire her amazing wares.
Jealous and inspired by the beauty
of her creations and the constancy of
her locker of dreams and creativity,
I asked to join up with her and
add a coffee counter and baked goods
and we laughed together at combining
our creative efforts just for the
sheer joy of doing so without any thought
of really making money at it.
At the end of the dream, we are walking
down Beck Avenue away from the high
school, just behind the courthouse,
laughing and talking, hand in hand,
following the same routes home that we
had in our actual high school days.

(Dedicated to EchoPandora, the best sister friend any girl could ask for.)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

To my sister friend

The first person in my life
to whom I have told everything.
She knows all about my childhood
abuse neglect rampant disrespect
my adulthood
the addictions and the
sleazy times and the oh-so-rare
good times
poverty and poverty
college and work
the two marriages
the child and how she was conceived
my feelings about parents and family
the struggles to become physically and
emotionally sober.
She stood up for me at my wedding!
She doesn't care what size I am
how broke out my face is.
She never judges or criticizes me, no
matter much I cry and cry when
we talk until I can hardly see or breathe
for sorrow and anger.
She is excited with me when I am
strong and powerful at times.
And I know all these things about her.
How would I survive without you,
Michelle? I'm loving you, we always
tell each other at the end of every talk.
So precious to believe she really does.

(Posted for Poetry Potluck's Theme of "Siblings, Cousins, and Friends", 7/3/11)

Something simple

When things were this easy?
The formula was beautiful and simple.
Boy plus girl equals love, 
not hurt.
Hunger plus food equals full, 
not fat.
Mom plus dad made happy kids, 
not abuse.
School with books created knowledge
and the fun of learning, 
not bullying.
Sunny day mixed with enthusiasm, fun
with family and friends, 
not judgment and critcism.
Drowsy plus bed equals sleep, 
not insomnia.
Idea stirred with a pen and paper birthed writing, 
not a mean ol' inner editor and writer's block.

Image plus inspiration, equal poem.
Not anything else for a change!

(Submitted for Theme Thursday, 6-30-11)

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Reunion V

Oh, I know that lip twitch
the one that is loaded with
judgment disgust horror.
I am who I am and not
who you think I am or
should be.
Who knew a tiny facial movement
of another's face could briefly
slam me back thirty plus years to
seventeen years old, insecure,
afraid, codependent, full of
despair and self-loathing,
desperately willing to sacrifice
self and serenity for fleeting approval?
Long period of reconstruction

Reunion IV

Feeling low this morning
missing my high school friends
who weren't able to make reunion.
It's weird to hang out with people who
were rather evil jerks in high school
but are now playing nice.
At least, I think they are playing
nice. My paranoid teen-aged Inner
Child seems certain those classmates
chewed over my changes and character
after I left last night - and that it wasn't in a
positive way. She assures me that
there was more of those 'things unsaid
at reunions' going on, all to do with
white hair, large ass, unusual husband,
and non-drinking.
What do I care? And why so much
paranoia about people I haven't seen
in thirty years and will likely
never see again?

Friday, July 1, 2011

Reunion III

Well, that was interesting.
A dozen folks showed up at the bar,
proceeding to drink heavily as we
caught up
except my husband and I.
I did discover one classmate that I
simply do not remember who also
wasn't drinking and we immediately
clicked and started talking!
How weird was that?
Not really...just God taking care of me.
He always does.
But anyway...looks like most everyone
has actually grown up (though statistically,
this was a very small sampling) and all acted
pleasant and surprised (yes, I've
changed a lot), especially at the rapid
realization that I am a 'water' girl.
A bunch of us charged across the
street to a nearby restaurant to harass
a working classmate - boy, was
she surprised!