It is the official release day! I’m honored and grateful that my friend, Candice Louisa Daquin, “gently” nudged me to do this. Additionally, I am indebted to Candice for believing in me and for her diligent work in editing. Thank you, Candice. You are one of the most giving people I know. I want to thank Tara Caribou of Raw Earth Ink who has been patient with this novice at every step in the publishing process.
I also owe a debt of gratitude to Susi Bocks,
Ivor Steven, and M. Brazfield who were willing to provide advance reviews on short notice. Thank you so much.
Nothing Ephemeral Exists Here
on the first year after the Uvalde mass shooting
All shapes of brutish violence, written in sprawling spray of innocent blood. Did Eden ever exist? Every rain of bullets instills doubt. Pray heaven exists for the sake of parents grieving still, their children, bloody sacrifices on an altar to the 2nd amendment.
Hair (Part One)
Women, we are tortured by our hair.
It is never what we want.
It never obeys our desires.
A mischievous heathen,
it laughs at our attempts
to bend it to our will.
We grow it, cut it, dye it,
curl it, straighten it,
treat it with carcinogenic chemicals
to beat the mischief making
blasphemer into submission.
All the while, it laughs at us
as our enemies, humidity and wind,
destroy in seconds the cooperation
we thought we’d earned
with our torturous machinations.
And the color—
and too-too much of everything—
Never exactly as it should be.
It will not follow our will.
Pull it into a ponytail.
Shove it under a baseball cap or a sun hat.
Why don’t we just shave our heads
And let it be done?
This woman’s crowning glory,
a temptation enough to make angels fall
from the heights of heaven at the sight it,
necessitates head coverings and wigs for women,
according to some.
After all, who wants it to rain angels
into the streets of the world?
That’s a sight I wouldn’t mind seeing
since I’ve got questions for those angels.
For one, why do women have to help angels
control such lusty impulses?
But I digress as I begin my morning battle
with my own head of hair.
Cruelty of Spring
a time of renewal,
life begins, grows,
April, the month of poetry,
inspiration to be found
watching nature as she yawns,
stretches, rubs the winter’s sleep
from eyes closed against the cold—
Then why am I cold still
this April morning
as i sit
this fine sun warmed
The three children of Covenant school,
The nineteen children of Robb Elementary,
All the children who knew terror
in the final moments of life.
All the children who live
now knowing the horror
of seeing classmates, bloodied, dead and dying
on the floor of a classroom.
This warm sun heralds spring’s return,
life’s renewal, the earth’s promise,
yet I can find no warmth.
I fled from days
of standing under your patchwork roof
offering no protection from the rain,
least of all my own rain pouring out of me,
threatening always to drown in its leave taking.
So I learned to float, flowing along the curves
others presented in my efforts to find
time, love, home,
the back roads where berry bushes
grow in abundance.
Yet I never tasted,
never picked any berries,
fresh off the branches.
Instead, I always found
the snakes hidden, lying in wait
beneath the berry bushes,
for the seeking,
and I, always bitten,
never learned my lessons
of serpents who lay in wait,
or the lessons of Eve,
I still sought,
in spite of the venom,
in spite of the bites—
I found the rains pouring out of me
to travel on
Like Old Photographs
If only life could be lived
in shades of black and white
like those in old photographs
where shades of sepia
and the spectrum of white to black blur
edges, cracks, crags,
leaving me able to fall
from the greatest of heights
to land softly
upon a loosely inflated mattress
no bruising, no bone breaking,
no soul shattering hard surface landings
in a life lived in shades of black and white
where the sharp edged colors of harness
in orange sunsets
so the dust
and the grime
can no longer
cling inside or out
of a me
of all of you
I am the prism
I always was
yet never was
What Moses Must Have Felt When Looking Upon God’s Back
This is an older poem that I’ve dusted off and changed around a little. The end is entirely new but in keeping with the hike in Colorado that inspired it. I was so struck by seeing the one tree leaning upon the other I did not think to whip out my phone to take a picture of the sight. In that moment of observation of the trees, it seemed a violation to do so.
In the woods two trees stand, equally rooted, firmly in the ground. Yet, as if deciding it a curse of solitude to try and touch a Sky who never reached back, one turned to touch the other, leaning its trunk against its forest mate’s. And so, I found them, standing as lovers, one resting upon the other, limbs entwined in embrace. I lowered my head out of respect mingled with a bit of embarrassment at glimpsing their beautiful intimacy. I turned, walked down the trail, crunching dried leaves beneath the fall of my heavy boots as I continued on among the trees in silence and solitude.
As a child, I survived the explosion of dreams that left hot greasy remnants dripping down the four-inch squares of avocado green ceramic tiles, marring their mirror like shine. As a grown woman, I survived the eruption of dreams that poured down an encasement of hot ash over all of life’s plans in the moment of diagnosis, leaving monumental statues of grief. Thus, I chose to live where silence drones, a rumble in the ears. Nothing left-- a hole, a void made by echoes of desires held long ago. So, I have taken a corn broom to dance with me in time to music only I can hear to sweep away the dust, the cobwebs, the fuss of other’s opinions and ideas of me, my doings, my words. Yes, from my words, I shake loose all the years of dust, the years of ash, the years of grease. All words, oh, so many words I never loosed upon the air to float free upon the winds, tumbling away, up, around, then returning once more to spring up as wildflowers when things turn to green. I begin to loose them now, freed to scatter where they will, root, spring up where they find a place to rest.
Time of Year
It is the time of grey skies and dead brown grass along the roadsides. The time when the trees are seen shivering, their limbs quivering in their nakedness. When even many of the evergreens drip down brown, bloodied from the lethal knife wounds of a sharpened frenzied freeze as they sag into their deaths. Yes, it is that time of year when I yearn for the green of spring, for limbs to wrap myself within, for a renewal of promises I once longed to make. The time of year when I empty forty years of myself.
Why I Have Always Wanted to Learn the Art of the Potter’s Wheel
clay slapped on the wheel shaped from spinning motion with the control of hands form, substance given before the heat of the kiln then give years of care secured from breaking ends in sharp edged shards broken: mosaic in form