Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Musings on death

Image credit

What happens after?
It seems illogical that we
are 'here' one moment and
'not' the following.
I don't buy into the whole
Christian afterlife shtick -
after all, only one guy
allegedly came
back to talk about it and
even his words are heavily
disputed and argued and
What is heaven and hell?
It seems a matter of geography
to my mind - heaven is the
Presence of God in my life and
hell is His absence.
By this logic, I'm already in heaven
and any hell I've experienced has
been definitely self inflicted.
But...what happens after death?
Reincarnation makes more
sense to my skeptical mind,
that life force moves to a
different form or time
but even that seems to have
little evidence to support it.
Neither of these concepts do -
it's all about faith or what
one believes in.
I believe in
what I can see
and touch and smell and read
and hear and write.
But yet I wonder - when that
which is me is released from or
leaves this body in death,
what's next?
(Posted for dVerse Poets Pub, OpenLinkNight Week 7, 8/30/11 and 
for dVerse Poetics In Memoriam 9/11/11)

Monday, August 29, 2011

Does it flow as it goes?

Image credit
A song once claimed
one could not step in the
same river twice.
Makes sense - the water is
ever rushing past, renewed and
wet and tumbling, rocks and
fish and flora and curves ever
evolving, alternately trickling or
raging, endlessly flowing and
changing, high water and low,
clear then muddy,
not a static body of

If love is a river, especially
romantic love,
can you enter it twice with
the same person?
The challenges and obstacles
resolve or change,
the flowers die and are bought
or bloom anew, jewelry glitters
and tarnishes, disputes meld
into contentment into passion
into seasonal cooling and freezing
and thawing, but the
emotion keeps flowing.
The very nature of love seems
to wax and wane and surge and
retreat, but always steadily moving,
sometimes passionate,
sometimes quiet.
Is love as a river the same?
What if one drowns or has
a near death experience by river/love?
Should wading be an option again or only
(Posted for Carry On Tuesday #120, "Love is like a river", 8/29/11)

Fireworks and flowers

Image taken at Alta Mira Gallery, Jackson WY

Excitement pounding my ears,
I still crave that weak-kneed feeling of
you enclosing me in your passion,
arms around and supporting me
as you bent to our first kiss,
emotions swirling as at last we
meld our bodies and minds in a
love we are certain no one
else has ever felt before
senses overwhelmed and vision
narrowed to just we two.
Truly, the bands played and the
fireworks exploded and tiny animals
frolicked and flowers burst into bloom and
stars went nova when we first
pressed our lips together that
New Year's Eve, confident we couldn't
be any happier.

(Posted for Gooseberry Garden, Poetic Picnic #2, "The Kiss", 8/29/11)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cinnamon memories

On a paper route I had as a
kid, creeping through the dark
before dawn, flinging
the news at silent porches,
ducking from shadow to
shadow, imagining heroes
and villains in equal measure
around every corner,
studying unknown profiles
with interest as the slowly
rising light revealed mowers,
lawn furniture, and garish gnomes,
one house stood out to me
every single morning as
I stole past it,
the smell of apples and
spices seeping from its
walls year round, a tiny
log cabin surrounded by
a seductively scented miasma and
the sentinels of fruit trees,
windows glowing softly
even in those early hours.
I imagined a kindly grandmother,
a white witch, or a Hansel and
Gretel scene lurked within.
Inhaling deeply, I crept past to
the next house, as that little
home didn't even subscribe.
(Posted to Monday Poetry Train #136, 8/29/11 and 
The Poetry Palace, Thursday Poets Rally Week 50, 8/30/11
and Theme Thursday, "Memory", 9/15/11)

Looking forward

Everything has a tint of gloom to it lately.
Looming empty nest status.
Troubled marriage possibly imploding.
No real ties to town or family now.
The horizon is wide open with
possibilities. I could do anything!
But I'm scared.
Of change.
Of pursuing old/new dreams.
Of being alone.
Of succeeding.
Of failing.
Standing still is more terrifying, however.
I will step forward.
I will try new ventures.
Paint pictures.
Write books.
See old friends.
Test new employment.
Acquire more education.
Try romance once again.
Travel to other countries
and other parts of this one.
Climb mountains.
Zip glide.
You know, bucket list stuff.
(Posted for Magpie Tales, Mag 80, 8/28/11)

Neighborhood emporium

Her eyes are dark, hidden, jaded,
a calm epicenter in a
maelstrom of advertisement graffiti.
Her arm shyly crosses her neck and
chest, cautiously gazing into the camera.
Life was both simple and complex,
we think, as we study this proprietress
of a small neighborhood store,
imagining the prone painter
reclining on the sidewalk to letter
the lowest of the index of offerings.
The sepia tones leaching the colorful
life out of her store, I imagine red brick,
white paint, green poster background,
red and yellow striped skirt.
Three pence for bread!
Mother's Choice for what?
(Posted for Sepia Saturday 89, 8/28/11)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mean girls suck

Image credit

You were careless
with his heart.
How could you not tell
how desperately in love
with you he was?
Are boys and relationships
just a game to you?
Did you even care?
Now he's gone.
His mother is grieving
and wondering why.
I am too.
Having never met either of you,
I am angry on his behalf and
blaming you.
Not sure if that's fair, but
it's how I feel.
So young and so hopeful
and now so dead for
someone who was certainly
so not worth it.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Rain, rain, come again

Image credit

The smell of rain on
pavement always evokes
an onslaught of remembrance
and good feelings.
The first drops hitting
put me at ten years old,
playing tether ball on the
playground, getting wet
but determined to win,
the moisture misting up from
the blacktop, the scent of
the wet rope and slick
leather ball clearing my
head for competition.
Continued downpour
reminds me of walking to
college classes in warm
afternoon summer rain,
so happy to be alive and
young and free.
The baker and nester in me
emerge in high spirits
when overcast skies appear,
with the ensuing smells of
yeast and cinnamon and lemon
polish evoking pervasive contentment.
Rain and thunder are mysteriously
safe and energizing for
me and I am always delighted
when the thunder clouds gather,
promising pleasant emotions and
sensually scented memories.
(Posted for Thursday Think Tank #63, "Smell", 8/25/11)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pounding on my high chair

Image credit

Though tired after vacation and
wanting to hide out and recharge,
we have guests instead.
"Come to supper at our house,"
says the husband, who then goes off
to work for twelve hours.
Guess who's making dinner?
Some salad makings in the fridge.
Little inspiration to make a meal
in the pantry.
No motivation to cook or clean
at all.
Simmering resentment, muttering
threats and imprecations,
rummaging through freezer
and cookbooks.
The Kid comes to the rescue
with a quick trip to the store
for greens.
Steaks marinate for the grill, 
stashed homemade apple pie warms,
greens chopped and mixed,
store bought potato salad is 
doctored to taste and look homemade.
An excellent meal is rigorously
birthed, casually enjoyed by all.
It looks like I worked hard
but I didn't. So there!
Posted for Poetic Asides #146, "Everything is against you", 8/24/11)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Time to say goodbye


So many deaths, farewells, and
changes in the last year
Foster father
other family members
some friendships
daughter an adult
old dreams briefly given life
but viciously betrayed.
I find myself wondering
how to go on after nearly
two decades of focusing on
parenting and now lately a
deteriorating marriage that
started out like a fairy tale.
What should be next?
The possibilities are endless
school - moving - job - dating -
writing -
but it is up to me to see
these negatively or
Wanting to be positive, but
the depression of perceived failure and
loss threatens to drag
me down to darkest dungeons.
Posted for Carry On Tuesday #119, Time to say goodbye, 8/23/11)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Quick! Say cheese....

Fresh-faced smiles, laughter
and young hopes.
They could be my parents
fifty years ago.
I love to imagine them
young and excited and
irreverently adventurous
rather than the older,
very religious and rather
rigid people that raised
six daughters.
When we are young,
we so do not imagine we
are mortal, that our parents
won't live forever, or even
that we will age.
We simply glow with
boundless energy and live in
every coming moment that is
a possibility that we are
certain we are entitled to.
(Posted for Magpie Tales, Mag 79, 8/22/11)

Me and my trike

Pinky-pink oh no oh no
the balloon has launched and
I must go!
I pump the pedals furiously as I
hunt adventure only I can see
along the block.
Danger, danger, the stuffy
nanny, pushing a pram,
her shifty eyes watching
sharply for me to do
something not right
as I expertly veer around her
while old grandmas
hang out windows,
calling out as I
study blowing paper bags and
staircase corners and doorways
and garbage cans for treasure;
the big people don't
want us to have fun, so
I ride fast and
listen for soldiers or Indians
while I repeatedly
conquer the sidewalk.
I can only go to the corner and
back and not cross the street,
Mom says!
(Posted for Monday's Child #52, 8/22/11)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Hope for Adam and Eve

Years of helpless disagreement
fury and soft voices equally
deployed, threats and promises
counseling and writing and pleas
and sponsors and silence
as what was deliberately concealed
became known.
Intimacy vanished where
once soul mates held
each other tight, gazes resting
in trust and love.
Those eyes now tired, jaded,
Emotionally and spiritually
and physically
Beginning again
to be reacquainted after the
bitterness and disappointment
of unreasonable expectations and
slithering dishonesty.
Standing outside the gates of
a once very personal Eden
unable to go back, we
consider building a life
together anew, with eyes clear and the
knowledge of each other's
good and evil
clearly to mind.
There will be birthing pains
but always hope and faith.
(Posted for Gooseberry Garden, Week 1: "Adam and Eve", 8/21/11)

Tell me now


Circling you like a cat
focused on its prey,
I poke and prod and question
and query and nag and badger
you about the problem.
You barely can take a breath
as I batter you relentlessly and
eventually you fail to respond
as I overwhelm, surround, and
consume you and your
defensive silence,
though I don't stop stalking
or talking.
I must have an answer, an
explanation, a reason, and
We never get there - I never
give you a chance and yet
I'm mad that we don't and the
obsession with resolution and
control continues.
Posted for One Single Impression, "Obsession", 8/21/11)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Summer of '11

Motorcycle rides.
Swimming in the hot springs.
Decorating graves and reprising first dates
Post holes for the new fence.
Working, working, working.
Fourth of July bbq and fireworks.
The Week of the Grandchildren,
fair and demolition derby.
Family of origin breakfast and photos.
A new book emerged during Camp NaNoWriMo
and dozens of poems penned.
Thirtieth class reunion and lots of contact
with old classmates, surprisingly interesting.
Photography and flowers.
The hair went from white to dark, again.
Tour of the Pacific Northwest and
Northern California, hanging out with
many old friends and family,
wading in the ocean.
Re-connection with high school best friend.
A whale!!
Bountiful cherries and apples on the trees.
School shopping for the senior year daughter.
(Posted for Poetry Tow Truck 34, "What I did on my summer vacation", 8/20/11
and for The Gooseberry Garden Poetry Picnic Week #4, "Summer Vacation, Grandparents, Anniversaries", 9/15/11)

Cathedral of trees

She walks without a sound,
feet reverently treading the
pine needle carpet,
her voice murmuring
to me about memories,
current day events,
We don't talk about spirituality,
but it is clear to me that
her love of this place is a form of
worship, simple and old and lovely.
I admire the life she has made for
herself and her calm self-acceptance,
no longer fighting anyone or anything,
even herself.
I can only hope to emulate
such peace.
(Posted for Sepia Saturday 88, 8/20/11)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Birthday sweet

every day
for the week before,
my office looked like
a floral shop with
vases of roses dotting
every surface.
It got to be kind of
embarrassing how much
he was spoiling me
but I adored it.
I'd never been cherished
this much
We had dinner with
one of my sisters and her
husband on the big day.
She showed up with a huge
helium balloon of a Valkyrie opera
singer that shrieked the Hallelujah
chorus every time the breeze from
a blink of someone's eyelashes
touched it.
I was so happy and loved
I glowed in the dark.
(Posted for Free Write Friday, "Birthday Memories", 8/19/11)

The castle of self

Dark castle

Ever have days where you
feel like you are under attack
by something in the universe?
Taken a couple virtual punches
to the head today from people who
are absolutely LYING about
what I have done and my
motives for doing so.
The adult in me knows the
truth and feels ambivalent about
these events, but the child deep
within is terrified, hurting,
crying, wanting to sleep or escape
somehow from the implicit threat
in these episodes.
Take cover.
Or attack back. Viciously.
Though that tends to result in
more hurt to us.
Do I give off a vibe or a scent
that draws in the wolves of
other people's problems to attack
or blame?
I don't get it.
But I am mentally
armored, drawbridge up and
moat full of 'gators,
ready to isolate.
(Posted for Poetry Pantry, 8/22/11)

The Great Divorce

As usual
my family of origin is
working overtime
to attempt to inflict
shame and guilt about
their own crap.
I love the attempt to once again
spank me about choices I made
twenty or thirty years ago
and then efforts to shame me a little
more about how I may or may
not respond to current day events.
I can't tell you how
to love me, but I can certainly
prevent whether or not
you are in my life to
make me feel badly.
As of now, you are NOT.
I will draw my boundaries and
feel empowered by them.
I choose how I feel today, not you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Ess You Ess...

Image from Graffitine.com

sweet and
sexy, always
singing some tune from the
seventies and sixties
studying writing and reading books
smiling my mother's smile,
scribbling poems and novels
securely married to my love.
"Ess you ess aye..." chants my tiny daughter
spelling my name in earnest imitation when
she was little.
So cute!
(Posted for Thursday Think Tank, "The Third Letter of Your First Name", 8/18/11)

The sweetness of new

A new baby today
a grand nephew so tiny
his grandmother, my sister, holding him close.
Her daughter, a brave woman to embark
on this maternal journey as her mother
did so long ago.

I remember her, my sister, as a screaming
insistent dark-haired baby, my fascination with
first my mother's belly and then the resulting
sibling no bigger than my dolls but a whole
lot more work!

I remember my niece, the first grandchild
as a bug-eyed newborn,
chortling toddler
poised grade-schooler
breath-taking young woman
and bride
and now mother of a miracle.

Welcome, little one.

(Posted for Thursday Think Tank, "She", 8/11/11)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Willful blindness

Image credit: redbubble.com

There are so many ways of not seeing
especially when one is hurting and
can only behold vengeance as a
solution to ending the pain.
A wise man said, "an eye for an eye
will make the whole world blind".
Perhaps he meant forgiveness and
acceptance were a better way to
preserve vision.
My quest to uncover, understand
and requite my old hurts has blinded
both myself and my targets to
the realities of the present, instead
bogging us down in the obscuring mire
of the past hurled at each other.
I have deliberately ignored, at times,
what is good and special and worthy
in my life out of desire to have my way
and my needs met, no matter what the
cost to self and others, often figuratively
blinding others in revenge
only to have it rebound on me darkly.
Well, I don't know that I can forgive yet,
but perhaps I can quit slinging the mud
into others' eyes.
(Posted for Carry On Tuesday #118, 8/16/11)

What's real in memory

Trudging through my adult life
I tend to get caught up in the day to day
minutiae, especially when the overall tone
of the day is negative, sad, disappointing.
Then the little children in me bubble up,
begging me to remember the fun, the joy
of being free of responsibilities and playing.
I don't remember childhood that way
most days
I recall the power struggles with my parents
the abuse by their parents
the bullying at school and the
resultant frequent escapes into
reading, books, make believe.
The children remind me that the
escape was what was
fun and joyful.
I then take their hands and we skip to a golden
kingdom of our own imagining, and leave
the sadness and the work behind
for another day.

(Posted for Bluebell Books, Short Story Slam 8, 8/17/11)

Monday, August 15, 2011

Golden silence

Anticipating the sound of the
refrigerator compressor
the birds chirping madly
the dog snoring quietly, blissfully
on my lap.
There is no other sound or
family voices arguing, debating
no rock stars shrieking 'poison'
footsteps stomping overhead in a hotel
sea lions barking madly on a pier
freeway traffic horns and screeches
are far away now
because I am home at last
after vacation
and no one else is here.

(Posted for One Single Impression, "Silence", 8/15/11)

Oh, the dreams of being real

There is nothing like the lately unpainted
canvas of a neglected room, needing
validation, self-esteem and a new coat
of paint. I carefully select the color chips,
debating between neutral and eclectic (eccentric?)
hues, then boldly commit to the paint being
tinted and mixed, and load my
cart with every painting gadget known to
the aspiring home artisan and race home,
gleefully rubbing palms together as I carefully
pry off the lid, fill the pan, coat the roller, and
commence coloring in the lines of my dream
with meticulous Tom Sawyerish dedication.
Afterwards, the gadgets gather together, forgotten,
velveteen dust slowly coating them,
in the corner of the garage, until
the next time something needs to be tinted
lovingly real.
(Posted for Mag 78, Magpie Tales, 8/14/11)

Remember when

Image credit: tylerlorr,com

One piercing direct pheromone-laden look
would drench me with unexpected need.
Thighs touching through denim would flush
my entire body, light-headed and thoughtless
with adolescent lust.
A finger linked with one of yours, sitting
side by side, made my fifteen year old body
throb with slow, newly experienced heat.
The full body hug weakened the knees and
instinctively tipped the pelvis forward to
fit carefully against your own bony straining hips.
And we hadn't even taken our clothing off
yet. And we never did.
But I will never forget those first feelings, newly
experienced, burned in my brain and my skin,
of desire, so heady and
innocently novel.

Posted for Poetry Potuck 48, "Passionate Nights of Love", 8/14/11)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Sacred trees

Reverently walking among ancient giants
hushed voices barely carry as we marvel
at the majesty and longevity of these majestic
trees, mourn the ones laid out into between
their descendants, at rest finally after
centuries of vigilance.
I at last understand how a forest can be
a cathedral full of Spirit as my eyes are
drawn higher and higher and the
rays of the sun trickle down in
blessing to my upturned face.
Pictures do not capture the scope of
their lives and our wonder.
(Posted for Theme Thursday, "Tree", 8/11/11)


Image credit: eyemaze.net

I stand on the sand
of the same shore I 
waded out into 
twenty three years ago
when I asked to be cleansed
into my newly developing life then,
once again mentally pleading 
with the sea to
wash away the shame and
 bad memories
of old behavior and poor decisions
made in the intervening years.
My daughter and husband frisk up
and down the shore, laughing, hunting shells,
joyfully splashing each other,
unaware of my emotional agenda.
I walk tentatively toward the water and
stop with my toes on the wetness of the
high tide line, watching the foam race
towards but not quite touch them.
I step cautiously forward, wanting that
physical and mental foot washing
and step again
and then again and at last 
the waves boil up and barely touch me, 
the next in-rush swirling around
my ankles and I relax as the symbolism
and my request are finally 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Before the marriage
and the sex
before the babies
and the war
the many jobs, the
traveling, the affairs,
the illegitimate children,
before the alcohol and the drugs
and the fights and beatings and
molestation and cigarettes and
heart attacks, cancer, death,
Alzheimer's, petty dishonesties and
major crimes, and
before so many other tiny losses,
murders, and family histories and mysteries,
there was just this young couple
full of dreams and schemes and cautious kisses
on a porch-lit night,
slapping mosquitoes while
listening to crickets and murmuring
parents, dreaming of
none of the above.
(Posted for Magpie Tales 77, 8/8/11)

Monday, August 8, 2011

In memoriam

"She did her best
and loved her best.
She gave all for
those given to her
by God to care for."

Reading the engraving,
the adult and the
child still in me
struggle to comprehend
the underlying message as
we feel the old hurts
that yet ache,
though my heart is
tender, softer, with
the reading of these
still hopeful that
she did love me
(Posted for ABC Wednesday, "I is for Insightful", 9/15/11)

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Slipping them on my feet, I am
transformed to other,
Native girl stealthily tracking
game in the forest of my backyard.
Not a leaf crackles under my steps
as my hair grows long and
dark and braided, bright
beads and feathers whispering
so that only my ears hear,
dark eyes studying shadows and
bent twigs for sign,
buckskin sliding silkily over my
dusky warm skin.
Invisibly content, I listen reverently to
the Great Spirit sing gently
in the wind, and carefully ignore
the faint shrill voice of that
white woman who thinks
she is my mother, calling me
in to lunch.
(Posted for Poetry Potluck 47, "History and Stories", 8/7/11)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Daring to cross

Is it the image about
the bridge,
the channel being spanned, or
the islands versus the mainland?
All aspects are compelling, though
I suspect the photo is about
the bridge
the journey,
rather than
the destination.
And which direction on it
would I be travelling?
Towards the most adventure, of course!

(Posted for Theme Thursday, "Bridge", 8/4/11)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Patiently waiting

Let's ignore the obvious that
there is a problem in the room
and just stare off into the distance
pretending you are alone and that
everything is fine in your life.
But that bear isn't going to disappear
because you ignore it.
No, it'll still be there, whether it is
sitting on your bed next to you or
cuddling you at night,
riding in your car,
hiding under your desk at work,
lurking next to the refrigerator,
or sitting at your dining room table,
waiting for you to officially take notice of
it and perhaps succumb to its
deadly embrace
this time.
That's the problem with the bear
or the elephant in the living room
or whatever others name your
tacky little addiction problem.
No points for style, it's still going
to be there, very patient addiction is.
Are you going to let it
hang out there, ignored, unchallenged
and untended, until it
attacks you again? Will you live
through that attack this time?
Or will that bear finally take you
down this time, chewing your bones
while everyone mourns that you were
killed in a car wreck, of an overdose,
or in a drug deal gone bad?
Or will you ask for some help and
get that bear out of your house and your
life? The Game and Fish of recovery
is awaiting your request, sedating dart in hand,
patient as well.

(Posted for We Write Poems, "Girl, Bed, and Bear", 8/3/11)

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Hey, little girl
yes, you
the betrayed sixteen year
old with anger sparking from
your fierce green eyes,
tears stinging your cheeks
more than her hand did.
You told the truth
you did the right thing
Bullies and perps should be
exposed, even when others
refuse to believe, even when
you know it happened to her
Don't shut up.
Never regret telling her
about her dad, the real one,
the closet freak, not the
macho swaggering cowboy.
Never hesitate to call others
on their crap.
Never regret being true to
No one else will be.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Tasty immersion

The most perfect food...
greatest mood booster...
smoothest mouth feel...
soul soothing sedation...
sensual seduction...
drug of choice...
any beverage is better with...

(Posted for Thursday Think Tank #50, Chocolate, 8/1/11)


The grass bobs and bows as the
prairie wind dances and twirls,
the windmill creaking in anguish as it
slowly spins in the current of time.
The tar paper shack is gone and only a
chunk of cement nearly buried
marks the place where a family once
lived, loved, fought, and died,
with one of them literally murdered
there, secretly buried and
lately mourned.
(Posted for Magpie Tales, Mag 76, 8/1/11)


Thank you to the Promising Poet's Cafe for the Perfect Poet Award for Week 49 - these honors very much humble me! And may I recommend Window Lad/Kelvin for next week's nomination!