Getting The Present Of The Past

Peeling back the layers 

nestled into each other

like onion skin at first,

tearing easily until the solid

sweet flesh is exposed

and the tears begin.

Trauma is like this,

lurking in the present

under the veils of making do,

getting past, 



It persists.

Round and around I go,

each tiny step 

a healing movement

when I declare it so,

like a child running

scared, heart thumping

to finally jump, turn around

and declare, “safey safe,”

clutching a blanket on base,

mommy’s bed where no

monsters reach, at least,

in theory.  Gathering up these

twice-bitten, no-use-crying

children, the stellar creators

of body signals

to slow down,

change course.

I drag the weight of them

until the symptoms crash 

and I fall, devastated,

into hell.  I only see

finally in this calm place,

space to pry open 

the clam and release the pearl.

My greatest irritants

like an explicit wish

from all these tiny

tortured selves: get better, darling,

in the new cycle ahead.

Inspired by: PersistCycle, Wish,  Explicit

Herxheimer Reaction

I leave my bed

absolutely miserable,

hosting my inheritance

my mother’s sick headache

at my temples, this pressure

from heavy low-hanging clouds

from unexamined beliefs

from work that needs to be done —

honestly, an easy task

shining a light

on these murky places

that make me curl up

and deny.

It’s comfortable here,

I realize, my habitual train

of thought chugging away,

never managing to make it

up the hill, but trying

so damn hard


Until I finally sink into child’s

pose, letting this weight

bear me down

wear me out


new breath,

a balmy breeze swirling

incense of sacred cedar.

The uniform pains become presents,

the muck a gift.

Resistance the uplifting song

love’s precision:

focus right here.

Simple inclusion

of all the confusion,

I don’t wanna,

maybe later, I don’t feel

good.  All the toxins

stirred up and fighting

as they make their way

finally past the obstacles

that held them in place,

sailing out of my body

as the snow begins.

The pressure easing

all around

as I repeat: I am wealthy

beyond belief

moving into

my new

narrative of love. 

Inspired by: Balmy, Cedar, Pending, and Uniform

Embracing Shadows


taking pains

to embrace all these dark fragments

of beings who simply want

to be loved


rendered moonstruck

in the darkness,

face toward the sky

in awed vulnerability.

The darkness has always been

the place of greatest danger;

that’s when the men come

and invade,


drunkenly innocent

in the sense

that come morning,

they can deny it all.

Night is the time

to hide, cower,

hope that the lack of light

will cause them to stumble

against some tower

of toys that escaped the fierce

admonitions to clean up

before you cause an accident.

The crash broadcasting

their presence

to the population of sleepers

who waken crossly,

with caustic words promising

retribution and a firmer

insistence on scouring

the pathway to your innocence

tomorrow.  And yes, it’s time

to shed those childish fears,

and this is how:

walking through the minefield


saying this is so

and this is how I survived,

admiring the intelligence

of the childhood hero

swooping out of the shadows

to save me.


Inspired by Moonstruck, Shed, Population, and Broadcast


A parody of functional

family values,

saying no!

an act of defiance,

the comminatory consequences

applied with vicious swiftness

castigation by corporal

belts and fists, open palms,

grabbed and clutched and pulled

frowns and anger seething

the harsh removal of solace


until the fire appears quenched.

Docile silenced child welcomed back


watchful as a ghost

I have carried all these years,

never questioning why I flinch

when someone asks brightly,

do you want some feedback?

And here today

my grandson teaches


so we explore

— under the disapproving gazes

of oppositional octogenarians

firmly holding disaster


preaching pain and

focusing on fear —

The child runs wild

and so

constantly presents

new opportunities

will you still love me

if I do this?  If you say

no, do you mean it

every single time?

to allow these pieces

of my deeply

buried traumas

to emerge


in the fresh air

this child and I create


our beating



the puzzled old eyes

watching stunned

by these new openings,

the ancestral lines quivering

as the past is finally


Inspired by: parody, quench, castigation, and comminatory


This deep despair sucking at me,

and to teach the nearest

children watching,

— they all do —

I connect to the earth,

send all these toxins

down into her receptive joy —

this is fuel, and she transforms

arrowing back to me

energy to fill those empty spaces.

And the light shakes out more.

My breath guides me

in the new power

and out in a whoosh

all the emotions and thoughts

and poisons that obstruct me

cage me in this November sadness

and I feel that storm

of sorrow


into Gaia’s embrace.

We carry each other,

our connections fine

as light filtering

to the abandoned places

stirring the seeds of new

growth finally available

into this revealed soil.

Hosting wider in my system

expanded to feel your stream

as well, vivid

pulsing alive


in another dimension

we learn to feel into.

Inspired by: Guide, Tactile and Nearest.

Another little tidbit from the #nanowrimo project I’ve been creating.  If this is a novel, it’s an entirely new form.  I’m loving it, 16K words so far!

Fall’s Enclosure

There is an ominous

feel about this rainy chill

after such a roasting summer.

I’ve been playing games

to avoid the niggling feeling

— it’s bad.  I watch myself

with compassion, curious

about why I cannot put:

down the game, 

out the words,

myself into what

steams like fog at

concentration’s edges.

Sense into it sideways,

this very early cage.

Perhaps when my mother left

to have my baby

brother, in weather just so,

I was mishandled

by people she trusted.

My panic and tears when she

finally returned dismissed

in the confusion of infant wails.

Resigned to my torment. 

No words, just

a cave painting etched deeply

in a place too difficult to reach.

Even so, I set down this game,

admitting the inutile distraction 

and just look into the darkness.

My bare feet chilled.

No stars, even the dock lights

dulled by the rain, this feeling

raises a finger.  Hush.  Pointing

to the trail of smoke, a cartoon character

following the scent of pie

from the open window.  I’m not safe

and no one understands.

Is this why I taught my own

children to speak early?  Not knowing

then that I could mother

myself.  It’s dark and cold

here now

I’m alone again.

I finally 

allow myself in.


Inspired by: Enclosure

Throwing Shade

When people express what is most important to them, it often comes out in clichés. That doesn’t make them laughable; it’s something tender about them. As though in struggling to reach what’s most personal about them they could only come up with what’s most public. ~ Terrence Malick

There’s so much spirit of integration and democracy in jazz. ~ Wynton Marsalis

I am a walking minefield today

so I’m giving you stink eye.

I have thin skin, you’re rubbing

me the wrong way and I bruise easily.

You think you’re dealing with a serenely

wise woman, walking in splendor

with a mindful pace.

But I’m juggling a basketful of babies,

toddlers clinging to my legs and one

hangs upside down by a cruel grip

in my braid. There is not a single

word you can say to soothe me.

Show up good-hearted, good-

natured, deliberately cast

shadows on the sidewalk.

Make me laugh with your folded

fingers, the hopping flop-eared bunny

chased by the one-eyed barking

dog’s head.  Bring out your jazz

hands.  All of my fragmented

pieces have dared to peek out

so let’s kid around

before they take insult

and burrow back down

into their lonely holes.

Inspired by: Serenely, Pace, Splendor