Tiny Steps

Opening the heart

is a painful spiral path. 

An arrow pierces an old

wound, and we close. 

We gather our strength

and love and open again. 

The steps seem tiny

and insignificant, and this

is the way we heal,

ourselves and the world.  

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 

Re-member Roots

The trauma’s denied by my ancestors,

their own history torn like a page

fluttering, then sodden on the shore

behind them.  Best forgotten.

Harvest hay, milk cows, feed

those ravenous mouths.

Curtains drawn, that door

locked.  Survival demands we

turn away.  Life wants to live

so we crawl forward forgetting

we have to be strong

in the middle of the night 

when the plaintive voice

calls, quietly at first

then fist-pounding the rattling

frames in true panic.

We can’t go there.

Though sweat ices skin,

veins throbbing, thoughts spinning

we welcome the cluster

headache gladly

diagnose what has come

to fill the emptiness we refuse

to address.  The symptoms cascade.

Conditions worsen.

On the stage, the actors grow

more grotesque, mocking the values

we claim to treasure.  A kaleidoscope

spinning fractals of deliberate

obfuscation, impossible to predict

the next outrage.  We sit

like shocked puritans as the natives

claim the land beneath our

smugly-built brick houses

and we look at each other

and swear we never

saw it coming.


Written for #OctPoWriMo Day 4 – Denied and Cluster.

Health Hack

This disease is incurable.

I do not believe

I am going to survive.

The doctors prescribe

pills and potions and operations,

will never contemplate

vibrant health.

I must practice


inflammation like a wildfire,


Daily meditation

the option no one suggests.

It is obvious

with western medical thinking

I will never

get well.  Death is coming

no matter what.

Their message is dire.

And even though

their message is dire,

no matter what,

death is coming.

I will never 

get well with western medical thinking.

It is now obvious

the option no one suggests

— daily meditation,

persistent, controls

the wildfire of


I must practice.

Vibrant health

will never contemplate

pills and potions and operations

the doctors prescribe.

I am going to survive.

I don’t believe

this disease is incurable.


This is a reverse poem, written for a dverse poets prompt by Frank Hubeny.  I’ll quote Frank here, “a reverse poem is one that presents a message, story or a viewpoint for a few lines and then stops and rewinds all of it playing the message back, line by line, but in reverse order to present a very different story or viewpoint perhaps even the opposite of the first view. It can be quite powerful especially if the first direction is depressing and the reverse of that is uplifting.”

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.

What I Wish For You

Breathe and let go.  Release whatever it is that has you trapped or contracted. Isn’t that what everybody’s looking for, some healing? — Pablo Amaringo

Once upon a time, before 

I had a glimmer of true healing,

I’d wait for a crisis to seek specialists

clueless, hoping for a magic pill. 

Now in this ever after,

I meditate for an hour 

before my appointment.

I set my intention: exactly

what I will heal and the outcome.

I remain standing in the consulting room

until the healer enters.

We greet each other warmly.

When she asks, Why are you here?

I state out loud, sending the powerful sounds

to the universe’s waiting, responsive ears:

I am releasing and clearing

all the shrapnel from my recent

breakdown, and tonight

I will dance under the stars.

Obviously, I’ve left western medicine far behind.

This is orthobionomy, a subtle

work.  Every tiny touch 

enhances my intention:  I feel

zaps of energy spark up with

vivid images and anchoring thoughts

now fizzling as I remember 

I am here to let this go.

There is a music school next door;

an apprentice shaman adds drumbeats

to my healing vibes.

When she reaches my

pelvic bones, all the worries I hold

about my son flood in,

then flow out the bubbling wells 

at the soles of my feet.  

A cough chokes out when she reaches

my throat.  I should have spoken

my truth yesterday when my father yelled.

Let it go, blossoming like

a sudden hibiscus flower

vibrant for one day

before it dies.  I am amazed

where I store my worries

and how they can dissipate

in my pure commitment aligned

with her skilled hands.

And later, I open the door to the sun

shining with such fire

it burns away the last

traces as I walk and then skip

past the mothers whose children touched me

through the thin walls.  They didn’t hear,

locked in their cars, and they look askance

as I celebrate.  Magic

flows in me like blood

pumping from the wisdom of my heart.

There’s no waiting for darkness and starlight

as I dance in the light of day.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: glimmer

Caveat Emptor

She is having such difficulty

finding the exact gadget

to froth milk for her lattes.

She’s taken a stand:

no more exorbitant fees

at the local coffee shop.

On her brand new iPhone

she pulls up reviews:

such a dilemma!  As she revels 

in this quandary, an alarm

reminds her to take her pills,

the ones that soothe and mask

all the messages her body

is sending her. She simply has

no time to read 

the signal fires, not

with all these looming

decisions.  If she orders 

in the next five minutes,

she’s guaranteed delivery

by tomorrow, that magical time

when she can purchase

her own salvation, with just

one click.

Inspired by The Daily Word Prompt: froth