Deadly Cavatina

This genogram I’ve drawn reveals my role:

I am a host

of epigenetic trauma that is

triggered by ghosts.

These deadly family patterns lurk unseen.

I am engrossed

in bringing them to light, a chance to heal

before I’m toast.

They will sideswipe even the most wary


Entanglements demand a heavy cost.

One life is gone, and so another’s lost.


Written for the prompt by Fussy Little Forms: Cavatina

And the second part of writing about a recent unexpected death.  (The first poem Celestial Driveby got deleted so I had to repost it.  Technological savvy has its ups and downs.)

Look Into The Souls

The family is the nucleus of civilization. ~ Will Durant

Who is willing to face this movement?  Who dares to take this path?  I look around and I know myself moved by another power. How are you?  Did you come along with us on the path to success?  Together with many, to the right and to the left of you, and behind you?  And some who walk ahead? ~ Bert Hellinger

The very first time is always

frightening.  Burping and nauseous,

headaches and back spasms,

coughing, breathless: the ancestors

all contact you. A few are jumping in,

waving your hand, choose me!

While others are bowing your

head in shame and silence, covering you

with a shawl in this frigid air

suddenly calling forth goosebumps.

You’ve stepped into the room;

there’s no going back,

and the changes you expect

are miniscule compared to the heart-

wrenching nutcracker experience

that awaits you.  This is a family

constellation, and whether it is yours

or you are standing as a representative,

the issues raised are completely

personal.  They touch you

sometimes like nails screeching 

a chalkboard, or a Tibetan singing

bowl allowed to resonate for long

minutes, dropping deeper

into your cells as you ring

along.  You could feel hands

choking the life out of you.

You may collapse in fear.

Tears or wails or the darkest

silence, all available here.

And embrace it wholeheartedly

but be warned: this is not 

a magic remedy.

The insights here illuminate

the steps you must take

toward your own healing,

sloughing through the muck,

sweat dripping down your face

to mingle with your tears.

It’s never easy, it’s always essential

hard work, but now you know

your ancestors have your back,

gleeful and proud, giving you a push

and cheering you on

past the obstacles that held them

like fossils preserved in sticky resin.

And you walk toward your progeny

with all your amber jewelry a shining

inheritance, the patterns you’ve

uncovered highly polished now

in your daily practice.

Inspired by: Practice, Contact, constellation, expect, nucleus

Lonely, Great and Precious

“Please let me take you
Out of the darkness and into the light
If you can hear me now
I’m reaching out
To let you know that you’re not alone.” — Nickelback

“One of the important dynamics in Family Constellations is the Interrupted Reaching Out Movement between children and their parents. When a child’s connection to their parent, particularly with their mother, is disrupted by a physical or emotional separation, strong feelings of hurt, rejection, despair, hate, resignation, and grief can occur. When the parent re-approaches, the child may turn away feeling rejected and hurt, which may persist throughout their childhood.” Barry Krost

My grandson is too young to call me

and his mother has grown distant.

My best friend let me know

my wordy emails are too frequent.

My nightly walking dog buddy

is on vacation.  

When I still my chattering mind,

there are tears in my eyes

not ready to fall, not yet.

I start walking into the sunset.

This is a clever game my mind plays,

refusing to let my emotions

ground, listing instead all the reasons

— oh, god, so many, I’m just devastated

— I have to be so sad.

I’m not interested in mind games,

not tonight.  I’ve been moving energy

and so there’s bound to be some

piece of me finally freed.

I can tell by the urge to throw

myself onto the pavement, wailing,

she’s around two.  She called

a friend the other night, a long

wide-ranging talk for hours

they called nourishing later,

not admitting they both had

the reaching out

interrupted very young, and

the temptation to merge, 

to hold each other was

the river running under

their words.  Unspoken, though.

But listen: tonight I am interested

in you, my beloved, landing in my throat,

that sad silent crying stuck there, 

unuttered after a busy, distressed

adult punished you for the noise.

I’m here, I’m available, use my eyes

to weep.  Gathering around my temples

now the pain of withheld tears.

We’ll embody this feeling together.

Such a lonely child, rocking yourself

to sleep.  Let me hold you now.

Your loneliness has seeped into my now,

and I’m following your trail,

determined to rescue yet another

child trapped in the darkness.

Family Matters

“All children are my children. I teach them the songs and whatever else I can. That’s what Grandmothers are for – to teach songs and tell stories and show them the right berries to pick and roots to dig. And also to give them all the love they can stand. No better job in the world than being Grandmother.”
Leila Fisher (Hoh)

It started with a head injury:

my father’s great grandfather, a night watchman

patrolling in the darkness when a drunk

clocked him with a metal lantern.

Erratic ever after, prone to sudden

bursts of rage, his family discovered

the calming technique of placing

my two-year-old father on the old man’s

lap. That prompted lullabies and soothed

the beast. I’d always found

this story charming when my gregarious

father told it.  At least, until the day

my grandson rushed into the office, only

securing my father’s attention by

scampering behind the computer

desk amid the jumble of wires. The roar

drew my protective swoop, separating

the two, perplexed by this inordinate

yet familiar fury, intent on saving

the innocent. I underestimated

this child’s compassionate wisdom.

He waited a few weeks,

at first ignoring my father’s overtures,

the blues he sang obviously inauthentic.

As advances grew

progressively kinder, I watched them

move to the country of healing.

The old man’s heart finally open,

it’s time to rock ‘n’ roll today.

My grandson runs into the room.

“Don’t scare Grandpa,” I call

so my father is ready, manufacturing

surprise when he feels a poke.

Giggling, the two-year-old master teacher

withdraws a few feet, curling into a ball,

the sportsman’s invitation to play.

When my father pounces with a shout,

the child screams in delight and runs

runs, runs to the safety of my lap.

We huddle in a blanket. “Scary!”

He declares. His heart is pounding.

Eyes wide, we watch the monster

approach. “Stop,” he commands.

And when it appears his boundary won’t

be respected — my father advances —

I throw up my palms, as well.

“Stop!” I plead, and add, “This is base!

We’re safe!” Ah, yes, the rules of sports.

He retreats.

We cuddle until our heartbeats calm.

And then the experiment repeats.

My warning song, the scream,

the panicked flight. Over and over.

Now crawling fast

over an ottoman, creating an obstacle

course, his pursuer always a step behind.

My mother is crying, she is laughing

so hard. My inner two-year-old perks

her ears at this uncharted territory,

learning how to feel this huge emotion safely.

At last I see the true story of the monster

my father had to comfort

when the frightened females in his family

placed his innocence like an offering

into the lap of the madman. And how he had

to take it in, keep it simmering for

this very opportunity. How often

do we miss the quintessential teaching

embodied in a toddler, the strong brave

heart offering to heal the gaping wounds

long papered over by our tales, yet

so obvious to this tuned-in being?

The energy worker of few words: the emphatic

“No!” and the passionate “Yes!”

He felled the demons

of seven generations with one exuberant

swoop. The figures — that I’ve spent decades

painstakingly setting up on my altar

of healing intentions — topple like dominos.

You can bet the ancestors are feeling

these embraces. “Hugs,” he commands

before he leaves.

Word Of The Day Challenge: Gregarious

Daily Addictions Prompt: Plead

I recycle 2016 Daily Word Prompts: Darkness

FOWC Prompt: Quintessential

Ragtag Prompt: Embrace

3TC: Country, Blues, Rock ‘n’ Roll

Like A Wake Of Vultures

Like a wake of vultures

all day, we excavated the hastily buried

corpses.  Even the ancient ones

that should have crumbled

at the first breath of air

clung stubbornly

until rooted out with diligence

and respectful tears,

outright wailing and pushing fiercely

past invisible barriers constructed long ago.

This is a family constellation, and we are aligned

to create the space for new

love connections.  We treasure

that black menace that comes

to sit on your chest in the middle of the night


take me, kill me, 

this life is too much to bear.

We turn the lights up slowly,

open the doors of the locked chests

and strip the tendons from the bones

until glistening white

they are ready for bacteria and fungus

to finish slow and steady.

I’ve made it sound too easy.

This is the hardest work you may ever do,

and it is never finished.

When we finally emerge into the blazing

blue sky, surrounded by loving resources,

two vultures are flying overhead.

I have seen them congregate often,

assume pecking order as they wait.

They can spot a carcass 20 miles away.

This is new: these two are not hunting.

Have we, performing their usual duty,

freed them to play?

One is leading the other like stunt pilots

twisting, turning playful as lovers.

They make a figure eight

above our uncomprehending eyes,

the harbingers of a great new life.

I’ve never seen this courtship dance

by beings who mate for life,

returning to roost with their big, noisy extended families.

When two vultures perform their graceful

rolls and loops right above you, rest easy

for the hard work is done

and now is the time

to read the signs and symbols

resonant in every sight and sound

pure love

the living world spreads before you like a feast.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: congregate

Following Clues

I am learning to honor the inklings,

discern the distant echo of a bell ringing,

feel into this ghostly ancestral triggering.

There are others with me

who share the discomfort of this attentive

focus on our wounds:

the bitter tears unshed,

the trauma calcified inside walls

we constructed so long ago

that we forgot them.

As we learn to trust

our listening hearts

hone to

the tiniest signs:

like the flutter of a bird’s wings on the periphery,

a shadow cast by its quick journey,

easily missed

easily dismissed,

observed with doubt until

painfully claimed

with one firm hammer strike

breaking open

bringing to the light

what was hidden behind closed doors.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: inkling


Those precise words

in that exact tone

formed an arrow

straight into the heart

of my paternal great grandfather.

He flew into such a rage

— nobody speaks to me that way! —

that his fury dialled in

your inner eight-year-old child

whose passionate sulk

at always being completely misunderstood

summoned my maternal grandmother

who will not tolerate that kind of childishness.

By this point, you and I had checked out,

unable to penetrate the murky

ancestral sandstorm

that was flinging stinging darts

at every exposed part

of our innocent hearts.

Even later, our tardy attempt

to uncover the roots

of our disagreement

left us clueless

about what we were arguing about

and why.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: tardy