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.



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.

The Clearing

~ Dedicated to Cristina Bevir and SETM.

I’m tuning in to this high intelligence

like a tool, a formula,

a magic wand to integrate

all the misinterpretations

cooking in my stew

of yearning.  I listen

to the longing for love

pushing the envelope,

painting the calumny.

“Bad boy,” my grandson says

with a fierce scowl.

I release the heartache

triggered by his tone.

There is an opening in so-called

reality, a way

to mitigate this ancestral

storm by bending before

its force with curiosity.

Allowing every image,

every buried memory,

my faultless intuition

guides me through darkness.

It is constant, holding

mild and humble

as I witness the great

power of healing.

I sit

and offer my expansive

lap: come snuggle.

As our heartbeats connect

we align to the deeper

places of pure possibility.

Inspired by:  intelligence, calumny, cook and mitigate.

Take To The Deep Snow

I scare up a sparrowhawk

opening the door

treading through the cold shadows

to emerge into

the kiss of apricity,

diamonds gleaming in the powder

I kick up.  If I were a snow-

suited child, I’d be deep

in the creation of angels

smiling into this bright

sun instead of snapping

close-up photos only

to discover no card 

in my camera.  An empty

gesture on a day

I am out desperately

seeking grounding,

slipping on the ice,

stumbling over the plowed

chunks along the road

until I choose to step

into pristine white

waiting and willing to show

my way.

A cardinal sounds the alarm

followed by a lone crow’s caw.

I search bare branches

to no avail.  Another bird chatters,

perhaps a bluejay

hidden, marking my passage.

I allow myself to feel 

the vital pull

of the earth until 

I’m back in the house,

my intestines clearing

in a rebuke at my attempted

natural healing, or

else this is simply letting go

of all the years of being

a doormat.  Stand up for yourself,

my ancestresses shout,

a dizzying chorus of browbeaten

women, back farther than I can

imagine, rattling the chains

of their servitude to abusive

men.  And I want to,

oh, goddess, so much,

even as I surrender

to my sickbed to lie

cold as a stone

until I rise again

to pen these lines.

Inspired by:  Rebuke, Vital, Apricity, and Imagine.

Bless Me If I Stay Alive

Freezing a waterfall is not…easy, since the water molecules are continuously moving and can therefore easily detach from the bonds holding them together. ~ Ashish


When I was 10, I wrote a letter

to my grandmother, seeking

facts about her lineage.

Finally, at 26, over cocktails,

she confessed she’d received

a missive from a maiden grandaunt

upon her marriage, an envelope

filled with family facts.

She’d pitched it, saying,

who cares about this shit?

finding out exactly decades later

reading my request.  Those are

our only two encounters I recall.

Still, I carry my grandparents’ enmity

like this photograph, a frozen

waterfall of immense power

inaccessible to two

drunk teenagers, dismayed

by the arrival of needy

children exposing their own

unaddressed wounds.  Only able

to call for more

alcohol and hatred,

finally repelled like magnets

from each other and the seedlings

their brief union sprouted.

I’ve tested the ice gingerly

to arrive at their trauma

locked inside my own genes,

now demanding I thaw

what has been blocked.

And so under the heat of my

regard, I set out to accomplish

this feat, releasing the flow

of energy to my own

descendants waiting impatiently



Inspired by:  Photograph, Enmity, Letter and Accomplish.

Title inspired by Bert Hellinger in Looking Into The Souls Of Children, “Behind the scene we…see something else is at work, and the individual is at the mercy of something that does not reveal itself easily…other powers are at work, and the people involved do not understand what’s really going on….Go to these dead…and say to them, “Bless me if I stay alive.”  

Photograph taken 1981 in Queen’s Canyon, Colorado.