Blame Game

I’m carmelizing veggies while
I sip this hot concoction: old-

style tisane of elder, pepper-
mint and yarrow, ginger, clove and

licorice, rose hip and hyssop,
cinnamon and honey. Bleary-

eyed in this damp morning, rain
and still more rain to come.

My grandson’s teenaged sibling’s chain
a gift, he brought this link to me.

This tardy attempt to nourish
since my efforts to admonish

cover your mouth, wash your hands
betrayed by a sneeze–bless you

–right in my face. He’s three, he’s
innocent, if we must label

our intentions. I’m emptying
a kleenex box, clearing my throat

and coughing, heavy sighs as I
negotiate my breath. And this

just in: my father is choking
from the garlic I am roasting,

past and future generations’
circling irritations, try to

name the source of pain: here, we claim,
it started here, it’s all your fault.

Inspired by: Admonish, Nourish, Label, Betray and Sibling.


Free Climbing

In birdsong school, he’s shouting pretty
bird, prettybird, prettybird, preet

and a Carolina wren drills his
pronunciation, calling back and forth

in my stunned presence. This is why
I take to the woods with this guy.

Eye-opening, filter-smashing child
moving me out of my meditative

pose because he’s running, laughing
escape from the way things must

be. Lying prone now to sample
oregano, waking my artist’s

eye with a rainbow of vitality
to silkscreen this celebration of life.

Long after the doctors’ voodoo hex
–the deal was destiny, no way out–

I finally unheard them to examine
just what could exacerbate my symptoms,

eliminating nuts and seeds and stalled
traffic, deadlines and earning just

to pay new bills. Now I’m creating
quiet and slow, singing new cells

to emerge brimming in time
to meet this angel’s sanguine climb

up this unscalable trunk.
There is no reason in our

present moment, we smell and feel
and savor every droplet,

welcoming the wash of rain,
marveling as the trees crowd through

the luminous lake
leaving only ragged edges of sky.

Inspired by: Exacerbate, Silkscreen, Droplet and  Deal.

Oak Blessing


Shouldn’t my trauma be healed
by now, life on an even keel,

the wise untriggered matriarch,
deflecting your projections?

These arrows pierce a truckler child.
Cowering and shamed, open me

in this container, delving
ever deeper with you until

our dark resonance shifts us.
No one ever modeled an

evolutionary path, but
I see bitterness’ aftermath.

Prejudice calcifies bones.
My elders, shattered, demand

stiff drinks and little blue pills.
Donning the masks society

prescribes. Turning, I swear to mine
my depths, even if it hurts.

Never anticipating
this excruciating stratum.


I stand here, rooted by this
ancient oak, both of us damp

from tears or mist in this breeze.
A sudden sunbeam illumes

old scars and painful mem’ries—
ah, what I’ve lost. Still vowing

to sustain this heartsight, reveal
my tears and terror again and

again, each fractal of distress
moving my mighty limbs and yours

as we expand in our power.
I see now there is no end:

unremitting shifting as light
filters through shadowed branches,

touching what we have exposed,
tenderly or else

a burning blaze of these
dark places. You hold me, dear

knowing bubbles of
trapped joy rise up, released

my head held high, I
celebrate my shame.

Inspired by: Sustain, Mist and Breeze and this 400+ year old oak tree.


I wish

Oh, daddy, so wise, you always knew
that if you mistreated any woman, you harmed

me, your beloved daughter. You presented
a C-note tip to every waitress, paid handsomely

all those who taught me. Your secretaries
drove luxury cars and sported designer

jeans. The women who toiled to clean
your home, you treated like royalty.

You preached fair exchange, devout
and dedicated to the females who

rocked your world. You even petitioned the
God to bring back the Goddess,

kicked out by that old white guy
in the sky now laughing, splashed in mud

by his earthy lover. You insisted
that my worth be known to all,

instead of gratis, you taught me
to negotiate a salary with aplomb

and absolute certainty my demands be met.
Model for every father, you gave

me this platform so firmly supported
that I extend my hands to every

woman on this patriarchal planet,
look where we are today,

celebrated and loved, thanks
to the utmost respect and

endless toil to secure our rights,
by these dear and loving fathers.

Inspired by: Insincere, Gratis, Daddy and Father.

No Passage

I’m stuck today
in Disenchantment Bay

what lies beneath the
surface like a sacred Inuit

name seething below the
whiteman map–you can’t get there

from here so value plummets
cold as this glacial wind

blowing the stumps of cedar.
Turn the ship around and curse

this holy water, patriarchal
stain on ice. Don’t think twice.

Another woman you have failed
to penetrate, alone at last.

Inspired by: Glacial, (Sammi Cox’s weekend writing prompt to write exactly 66 words making sure glacial is one of them!) and the beautiful land around Hubbard Glacier.

Ain’t No Sunshine

In the predawn studies of subtle
shades of silver, the lake

and sky play with reflected
light, intimate rain

kisses instead of sun.
There was a phase when I

oh, once upon a time,
forgot to feel into my

social network, believing
my eyes that I was alone.

A fractal mirroring the missing
peace as all my friends

were pulled into the frantic
frenzy to keep their heads

up while the current
bore them down. Relentless

they’re urging five- and ten-year
plans. I am the loser

stuck in now, where true
tomorrows arise untainted.

Listen, this urgency proliferates
the ancient cast carrying

our traumas forward. The biggest
baby swallow pokes his head

out of the hole but doesn’t
dare to leave even though

his parents are no longer bringing
tasty morsels. Like me,

adjusting to the hunger, hunkering
down, awaiting a miracle.

Safe as this eagle flaps
his lonely trip across the sky.

Written for the Stream of Consciousness Saturday prompt: social and the word of the day challenge: shine.

Become Lucid

Be true to what’s real, become lucid about how your life is actually being experienced.~ Caitlin Johnstone

I’ve been running from my feelings,
denying–it’s all good–even though

before me, skeletons curve inward,
stature lost, bones crumbling as they

protect the shame, the guilt,
gratuitous lies like sticky webs.

So sneaky, imperceptible
with this narrative of power

—you can never break free,
not even in the darkest night.

Today a slap in the face,
a shot in the dark, a call

from the ethers, just as I
sashay into the day

light and I’m plunging
into the storm of withheld

unexperienced emotions. That
raging current will surely

drag me under.
Under, the place I surely need

to be, dragged from this
rage that sneaks out into

my stinkeye and my cutting
snark.  I thought I’d hidden

that volcano, puzzled as I watch
you cringe, singed, edging away.

I catch myself curling inward
with a fetal fold.  When will I

dare to stand proud, face instead
every shameful deed, welling up now

into the light as I slow for all
the detestable pieces of me?

Inspired by: Night, Sashay and Gratuitous.