Surprise Chemical Reactions

The “archetype of the symbolic flood…stands not only for the end of a formal universe, but also for the completion of any cycle by the destruction of the power which held its components together.  When this power ceases to function, the components return to the Akasha – the universal solvent.”  Juan Cirlot, Dictionary of Symbols

The bay freezes overnight,

a tease of winter

surprises the lake mid-sentence,

swirls and eddies iced over

in poses they will quit

only with the sun’s blessing.

In the garage, I wade

through flowing water,

grab buckets, towels, a flash-

light to reveal how precisely

an outlet valve fills its function.

In the kitchen, my father fumbles

a cup, sloshing liquid over the counter

just as my mother comes in clutching

her ostomy bag and an armful

of sheets.  (I don’t ask if it leaked.)

This must be the birthday

of the unconscious, so long

denied, spilling into new morning.

An era is ending

and everyone is wet,

wringing and wondering.

I leave to write and come back

to my father, soaked from

a hole in the bucket

he chose, disdaining the stream-

lined method I’d arranged.

The containers no longer

hold and we must finally

be authentic as this new


arises in front

of our astonished faces

damp from our exertions

to keep up with this flow.


Inspired by: Chemical, Quit, Freeze, Birthday


The mess is the message

I can replay the past

like a music video, 

scripted carefully

shot from angles

to present myself


victim, heroine,

the perfect blessing

to all her dependants.

And I have, believe me:

when you aren’t able to love yourself

as you are, to give what you have,

you invent elaborate versions —

what would people like?

what would make me worthy? —

distribute fantasy

a fairy godmother,

a generous lover who asks

for nothing in return,

a cook who feeds the crowd

lavishly, left eating crumbs

until the next paycheck.

Now I must stand here and say,

Look, the past didn’t work

well for me. 

I’m creating a new

song in all the keys

labeled discordant,

not to be played.

Crashing crescendoes

vehement anger,

sobbing wailing strings of grief,

fear in whispered minor chords

my truth

as I shed

the false harmonies

rising up

in a mess.

And you’ll surely look away

while I listen

for the whole notes

of me 

I’m finally reclaiming.

Inspired by:  Video, Past, Dependant, Tune 


A parody of functional

family values,

saying no!

an act of defiance,

the comminatory consequences

applied with vicious swiftness

castigation by corporal

belts and fists, open palms,

grabbed and clutched and pulled

frowns and anger seething

the harsh removal of solace


until the fire appears quenched.

Docile silenced child welcomed back


watchful as a ghost

I have carried all these years,

never questioning why I flinch

when someone asks brightly,

do you want some feedback?

And here today

my grandson teaches


so we explore

— under the disapproving gazes

of oppositional octogenarians

firmly holding disaster


preaching pain and

focusing on fear —

The child runs wild

and so

constantly presents

new opportunities

will you still love me

if I do this?  If you say

no, do you mean it

every single time?

to allow these pieces

of my deeply

buried traumas

to emerge


in the fresh air

this child and I create


our beating



the puzzled old eyes

watching stunned

by these new openings,

the ancestral lines quivering

as the past is finally


Inspired by: parody, quench, castigation, and comminatory

Class Report

In the playground, my grandson answers

what’s your name?

in a wide-legged stance, open

arms to embrace,

head flung back,

face to the clouds.


He is seething with passionate

clarity, his unique voice

stunning the other children

to gapes of Os

before they return to the slides,

the swings, the ladders,

the mulch.  No wonder he calls out

every plane in advance

of sight or sound; his field is

tickled by their presence.

Thankful that I’m in his advanced

class, I realize

I have been calling my teacher

the wrong name,

my subtle finesse

used to delicately show him the way

of the world

dropping flat and sinking

into the vast sea

of his perception

as he commands, Follow me, Bibi,

sure that I’ll catch up.


Inspired by: Unique, Finesse, Advanced, Seethe, Voice


This deep despair sucking at me,

and to teach the nearest

children watching,

— they all do —

I connect to the earth,

send all these toxins

down into her receptive joy —

this is fuel, and she transforms

arrowing back to me

energy to fill those empty spaces.

And the light shakes out more.

My breath guides me

in the new power

and out in a whoosh

all the emotions and thoughts

and poisons that obstruct me

cage me in this November sadness

and I feel that storm

of sorrow


into Gaia’s embrace.

We carry each other,

our connections fine

as light filtering

to the abandoned places

stirring the seeds of new

growth finally available

into this revealed soil.

Hosting wider in my system

expanded to feel your stream

as well, vivid

pulsing alive


in another dimension

we learn to feel into.

Inspired by: Guide, Tactile and Nearest.

Another little tidbit from the #nanowrimo project I’ve been creating.  If this is a novel, it’s an entirely new form.  I’m loving it, 16K words so far!