Upwelling Presence

Map me the way to the placid place
welling deep in my heart
where nourishment is tasteful
and sweet, everything digested from the start.

You see, I grew, a twisted tree
reaching ever for the light
my roots in mystery
the trauma history
my lineage looms, late afternoon
shadows casting lines of gloom
stretching out next to me
all the past that I just can’t see.

All the heavy burdens that I’ve lugged
into every connection, every kiss, every hug.
Contributing by absence to collective trauma
scoffing, never seeing how I add to the drama.

Every moment that I froze in time
another pebble in the ever growing pile.
Garbage in a stinking pit
the smell of shit we flushed away
constructed rhymes
far away from it.

We all turn, free throws
from behind our backs, never mind
who we hit, talking smack,
intent to escape somewhere in time.

Drawing down the future as now expands
the past lined up beside me
like a forest of hands
a rich support, as golden light
illuminates what I could never see:
possibilities. No place to run
no time to hide, just open to
the upwelling presence inside.

Inspired by: Placid, Map and Tasteful.

You can listen to it on soundcloud here.

I’m loving the new twist to my morning prompt response. Creativity rising!


Each morning I’m prompted

to warp time and space

and breathe in peculiar

rhyme with no warning of

what I represent, rep-

rehensible base

a disgrace I expose.

Digging up bones from those

unmarked graves hidden

in this bucolic space.  I can’t

leave, faced with ferocious

resistance — how dare I

disturb what is seething

— malcontent label, dis-

trusted clear seeing.  Now

this thread of secret sorrow

linking yesterdays’

tomorrows brings me here,

my heart bared to receive

your arrows.  Aim and fly.

I yield.  My song unsealed

what we grieve.  A few more

tears and sighs before I

reach rage’s primal dance,

claim my inheritance,

singing, this tune is mine.

Inspired by Bucolic, Warp, Represent and Peculiar.

It’s Over and Then It Begins Again

I open my eyes carefully to start,
the dark unnamed things clinging to my breath,
this lineage trauma obstructing my heart.

For so long I’ve wished this pain would depart
in life before succumbing to my death.
I open my eyes carefully to start.

Pure wisdom’s what I crave, not so book-smart
and lost in worry, submerged in fear’s depth.
This lineage trauma destructing my heart,

my chance of magic, trying each dark art,
the scope of my search dizzying in breadth.
I open my eyes carefully to start,

the mirrors of my terror set apart,
each floundering exposed, rendered inept,
the lineage trauma constructing my heart.

The spiral of each step a vain restart,
life is a full progression until death.
I open my eyes carefully to start
this lineage trauma instructing my heart.

(This villanelle is written for a prompt at dverse poets.  Check out the site and see how many other poets do it!)

What’s At Stake

The practical mathematics we explore

look suspiciously like witchcraft.

Silver-locked grandmothers dancing

around the family tree

measuring with diametric

precision while praising

the infinite always get a

bad rap from the likes of Big

Pharma.  Unmedicated, noncompliant

so he can learn the burning

love triangle, child and parents,

the long chains of ancestors

as visible as smoke

I teach him to see.

We both devour these moments

fully present in the is-ness


to be seen and celebrated

in the fullness we give each

other in these flames.

Inspired by:  Chain, Diametric, Infinite and Devour.

The Tree of Life

i carry your heart with me (i carry it in
my heart) i am never without it (anywhere
i go you go, my dear; and whatever is done
by only me is your doing, my darling) ~ E.E. Cummings

My grandmother’s clutch

on her deathbed commands my face

too close for comfort.  I haven’t yet

realized the foundation of love

she’s constructed.

Nobody knows these words are her

last.  The day before, she was lost

in this grim institution,

howbeit I built bridges to reach her.

Grandma, do you remember

my finest hours, playing in her

four o’clocks, harvesting and planting,

delighted by the unexpected sprouts

she received as my heart-

gifts.  Spinning her collection of antique

marbles when the weather

prevented my intrepid

exploration of peach

and apple trees, magnolias and

sugar maples, the grape arbor

heavy and sweet, buzzing with bees.

Infinite patience as she taught me

botany and canning, tasting jams

and jellies as her true ghost

stories raised goosebumps.

The terrified nights of a sensitive

young child, mapping familiar

territory.  So I’m not the only one.

You remember for me, she said,

so today I am back, I’ve composed

a poem and I read it to her.

We sit in silence until her fingers

like talons bring my ear close.

I’m afraid.

I croon, oh, my darling,

this threshold you have crossed

before.  Listen to the call of love

beyond this heartbeat where

I hold you, always.  She slips

away, silent as the others finally

gather, watching her last breath.





Inspired by: Clutch, Howbeit, Intrepid and Sprout and my grandmother’s birthday tomorrow, 21 February 1907.

This Line of Code

I’ve searched through my trauma,

and it’s not in my lineage —

at least, not overt acts.

I lift the layers like finely

carved puzzles until it’s here,

etched into societal lines.

When I say, get fucked,

I’m not referring to a loving

exploration of tender intimacy.

My anger wakes me in the darkest

night, when I’m locked away

from celestial songs of harmony

by these walls, this ceiling

cage of desperation.

I don’t consider

mediating or compromise.

I’ve labelled this being evil

and I’ve loaded my gun

and killed.  And I’ll remind

 you, it’s not a solution

(I’ve never owned a gun)

or a last resort in my ancestry —

unless you examine war records.

My compassionate heart could never!

My logical brain wouldn’t even!

These chinks allow

an expansion in space

making room for this camouflaged

assassin breathing me.

Triggered by every televised

murder: the news, crime shows,

glamorous police detectives —

and let’s be frank about

the huge profits from the pull

of this directive.

Once upon a time, this discovery

would shock me into denouncing,

maybe try to yank it out.  Still

today I’m a calm heretic.

I spread my findings

at the zenith of this cold

calculation of constellations,

finally seeing the pinprick

in the reality informing me.

That’s a clever one.

That one can herd anguished

hearts straight into prison

— heels nipped by profiteers.

Have you wondered,

where are the roiling protests

of the oppressed masses?

They’re playing games

or locked away or entering the next

war zone, programmed

to defend the coffers

of the coders who keep

the insertion steady, relentless,

while we run like

ticking clocks

to this line of code.

Inspired by:  Zenith, Glamorous, Heretic and Camouflage.

Spin A Good Yarn

There really is an old white

guy in the sky

watching, judging your upload

of data in your devout

twittering, posturing,

measuring the difference 10 years

carves on your features.  He asks

you to acquiesce to the pursuit

of a two-dimensional ideal

photoshopped version of you.

Always searching, just missing

the mark, where all hopes

are pinned.  Far away from

unbearable trauma

dogging you like a loyal pet.

I can do better.

I can learn new tricks.

Your ancestors have woven

a neat trap where you hang

helplessly in your want.

All the hidden power forgotten

like female names, the women in whose

wombs life surges.

As a last resort, you sit,

too weary to fight.

You notice these skeins

of connection glinting,

pointing a different direction,

the way of aches and wrinkles,

dissatisfaction all here

deeper into the pain —

No need, take these pills.

His voice droning like a sermon

you’ve been avoiding,

running towards some version

of how things would be if

you could only change.

And the women in your heart

lead you in this darkness

to the divine core.

You release the dream

to include

and allow yourself

to be here.

Inspired by a treasured 1912 photo of five generations of my ancestral lineage (and the awesome yarn art filter!) and Devout, Acquiesce, Resort and Note.