Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Recycled Argument

The sound of angry protests,
Proclamations of innocence,
Usually reverberate
Through the familiar fight.
This time his silence
Speaks louder than
Any admission of guilt.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Dark Destiny

I was born a seeker of the desolate,
Wandering in fields where
Serenity refuses to grow.
I possess a permeable soul,
Absorbing fresh shocks of anguish
That leave my feet frozen to the earth.
The depth of true despair
Is a flame that still startles
With its twisted misery,
Distorting reality,
Warping interactions.
And yet, knowing all this,
I continue in my mission,
For tomorrow is another day,
And another chance for redemption.

Unvarnished Advice

“Don’t ask me a question if you’re not willing to listen to the answer.”  

Sassy.  Opinionated.  Blunt.
You know how I am,
Yet you act so surprised
At my direct responses
To the latest crisis in your life.
Tact and subtlety
Are foreign tongues to me,
My stubborn adherence to integrity
A matter of pride, a part of my identity.

Truth is a stubborn thing,
And I will not dance around
In your veil of delusions merely
For the sake of your comfort.
I have no cruel intentions,
No malice toward you.
Honesty will prove
Much less cruel in the long run,
And my conscience remains
Untainted by a willing deceit.

Sassy.  Opinionated.  Blunt.
Perhaps the initials
Should have given you a clue.

Sunday, January 29, 2012


A hint of rebellion begins to stir
In the recesses of her mind, a venom
Rippling just below the surface.

He avoids looking beyond the surface.
Clean house, warm dinner waiting, nothing to stir
Suspicion, blissfully ignorant of her venom

A poison tainting their domestic bliss, her venom
Builds, straining to remain below the surface.
He still notices nothing, never even bothering to stir.

Perhaps it’s time for that venom to surface; that should stir things up.

Genealogy Expedition

Photo by Daryl Edelstein

I wander among the tombstones
In a long forgotten cemetery,
Brushing aside the moss
And dirt of countless years
In search of familiar names,
Unraveling their stories
From the faded inscriptions,
Hoping to find a clue to my future
Hiding somewhere in my family’s past.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Memories among the Melons

Our eyes met for the first time in years
Across the top of the cantaloupe display.  

It took just a moment for him to recognize me.
His icy blue eyes widened slightly,
Followed by that contagious grin
And sly little wink that always made me melt.

My reaction was predictable;
I smiled, glanced down, 
Looked back at him, smiled again.

He silently mouthed the words,
“I’ve missed you,”
Words my heart had been aching to hear.

“Mommy, can we get some of these?”
My daughter is standing at my side,
Eyes full of expectancy, 
Arms full of bananas.
I run my hand across her shoulders
And plant a kiss on top of her head.

“Sure, baby girl. Go ahead and put them in the cart.”

I look back across the cantaloupe display
And he was gone, no more than
A phantom memory among the melons.
I suppose some familiar gestures never change.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Next Step

I strip the trials and pain away,
Tomorrow starts a brand new day
Of searching for a way to start
To mend my aching, shattered heart.

To keep my spirit from decay,
I strip the trials and pain away.
I’ve tried but just can’t be consoled.
How many tears can one heart hold?

How can I be brave, be strong?
I’m tired of singing that sad song.
I strip the trials and pain away,
Abandoning the old cliché.

If I can make it through this night,
I may just find the will to fight.
For strength to carry on, I pray.
I strip the trials and pain away.

A Curious Pair

George has been her best friend
For more than five years,
A constant companion on
Escapades through her imagination,
Sleeping snugly in her arms each night,
Two monkeys swinging from tree to tree
In search of life’s next adventure.
His brown felt skin is well-worn
And just a bit dirty,
His left arm bearing the scar
From an unfortunate accident that was
Quickly mended by Mom’s needle and thread.
The keeper of her secrets,
Her comforter when learning
Her first lessons in harsh realities,
Wide-eyed and smiling as always.
George truly is her best friend,
And if his stitched mouth could speak,
I’m sure he’d say
She is his best friend too,
Even without the yellow hat.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Mom’s Errands Along the Mother Road

I’ve traveled Route 66
For thousands of miles
While running to
The grocery store,
The laundromat,
The doctor’s office,
Lost in my own worries,
Unable to feel
The history that hums
Through the decaying pavement,
Without any thought
To all those who chased
Their American dreams
Down that winding
Black river of asphalt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Calamity Jane

I’ve watched her lumber through her life
Wrapped in a bubble of denial,
Catastrophe nipping at her heels.
She takes no responsibility for her actions,
Fully expecting us to swoop in
To clean up her messes
And rescue her from disaster…again.
This time, when she crashes
Headlong into yet another wreck,
She’s on her own.

Two Kisses

The softest brush
Of lip against lip
Sends me spinning,
Weak-kneed and dizzy,
Further into his arms.

His kiss splashed
Across my lips
Like acid,
My heart
With yet another
Mark of his anger.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sweet Temptation (A Gift for Snow White)

Adam by try to touch at deviantART
Do not be afraid, 
My dear,
I mean you no harm.
I am merely 
A poor grandmother,
Stopped to rest 
On my way home 
From a magical orchard.

You see, 
My child,
Inside the gleaming 
Crimson skin
Of this apple
Lies a secret:
Magic lives
In its juicy flesh.

I can tell,
Sweet girl,
From your graceful carriage
And genteel manner,
That you were not born
To toil in servitude
In a dark cottage
Such as this.

Do you really believe
That is all there is for you?
I thought not.
Your dreams,
The wishes your heart makes,
Can all come true,
If you only
Take a bite…

Monday, January 23, 2012

Support Group

Sisters joined in a circle of sadness,
Each story unique but all too familiar,
The survivors showing how much healing is possible,
The new girls ashen-faced, whispering,
Their bruises just beginning to fade.
We share the common themes of our lives:
Words that scald when poured
Over our unsuspecting heads,
The conflict of our emotional urges
And our instinct to flee,
Men with a knack for charm
And a penchant for destruction
Who crush our spirits, leaving only
Jagged shards that shred our sense of self.
We cry, we hug, and we scatter away
To face the darkness alone
Until next week.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

A Few Words of Wisdom

Push the edges of life
Beyond your beliefs.
Dance with the wind.
Let your dreams catch fire
And light the way forward.
Live with courage,
A fearless warrior
Pursuing your potential.
Seize the possible.

The Old Family Farm

Photograph by Margaret Bednar
His daddy was the last of five generations
Born on the old family farm.
For over one hundred years
They scraped their existence
From the rich prairie soils.
The farm should have been his,
But after the drought, the fire, Mama…
Daddy just had nothing left to give
And the bank foreclosed.

Now every day he drives past
On his way to that jail cell cubicle,
His heart breaking at the sight:
Barn about to tumble to the ground, 
Mama’s roses lost to the overgrown yard,
And his hands still ache
To dig through the rich prairie soils
On the farm that should have been his.

The Grays and Browns

I’ve wandered this barren land too long,
The landscape drenched in
The grays and browns of death.
Nothing grows here anymore,
Lost in endless winter,
No warmth in sight.
All things need nourishment,
But there is no sustenance,
Nothing vital and alive,
All is decayed, putrefied, emaciated.
If I remain, the same will happen to me.
The time has come for escape,
To cross the border to a new land
Where my heart can once again flourish
Rather than join the withered remnants,
Lost forever to the grays and browns.

A Stolen Goodbye

We danced through that summer,
Painting dreams across the brilliant blue sky,
Full of hope for the upcoming seasons,
Knowing together we could weather any storm.

And then you were gone,
Faded from my world
Like a flower wilting when
It’s time in the sun had passed.
No warning,
No explanation,
No goodbye,
No closure,
Only a bitter harvest of confusion.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Outside the Margins

Crayons strewn across the table,
I would pick a promising picture
From my book and begin to color.
Never content with just the printed image,
I always extended that picture,
Stretching my imagination
To the edges of the paper
And beyond to new pages.
I find I still stretch myself,
My pen chasing the horizon
Across blank paper every day.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Writer's Block

I know this comes as no big shock,
I really do hate writer’s block.
I rant and rave. I scream and curse.
I just can’t seem to write this verse.
I try, but it's impossible to cajole
Coherent words from rigmarole.
This poppycock, this balderdash,
This gobbledygook,  I won’t rehash.
I pray that soon this trend is bucked,
This writer’s block can go take a hike.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Love by Design

A secret smile, random glance,
Meeting that was more than chance.
Some things are just meant to be,
Two hearts touched by destiny.

Catalogued Dreams

The mid-winter arrival
Of the spring seed catalogs
Sparks a gardener’s imagination.
Leafing through the pages
Inspires grand produce plans,
The fiery orange flesh
Of a pale green Charentais melon,
A rainbow of heirloom tomatoes
From Great White to Black Krim,
An exotic mix of gourmet salad greens:
Cressida. Tatsoi. Arugula. Mache.
I drift away in blissful
Mizuna daydreams
And pray for warmer weather.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Climb of the Misfits

Reaching the mountaintop
Was quite the task
For two misfit souls
Brought together
By freak coincidence.
Preventing the inevitable
Downhill slide is
Something else entirely,
A dangerous endeavor
That often results in
Slivered spirits.


Under his words, the shadows of
Evil done and
Lies told.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Soul on Fire

I will not be content
To remain a spectator to my life.
No longer will my dreams
Collect dust on a long-ignored shelf,
Festering in the poison
Of neglect and regret.
My deep-seated yearning for
Something real, something more,
Will consume the fear and doubt
That has frozen my ambition,
Providing the spark needed
To set my soul on fire.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Ability to Dance on Water

The first blush of love
Can set aside our rational minds,
Voiding the laws of physics.
We float through the heavens
And dance across the waters
With no sense of consequences.

However, when reality intrudes,
It often brings gravity along as well,
Sending us crashing back to earth,
Leaving us drowning in heartache.

Urgent Clocks

Our insistent alarms
                                        And the first rays of sunlight
Send us scatterings like cockroaches,
Chasing the who
                         the where
                                        the when,
Propelling us forward
 In our agitated race for survival.

We forget our need to
S l o w    D o w n,
Enjoy the now.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Statue on the Corner

Photo by Isadora Gruye

A forgotten angel sits
On a quiet city corner,
Frozen in stone,
Covered in filth,
Watching over
The rest of the forgotten angels
Passing by her corner
Frozen in their lives,
Covered in filth.

An Eviction Notice

I’ve become accustomed
To the voices in my head,
Castaways from my past
Who offer wisdom and practical advice
In navigating the spectacle called my life,
The Sunday School teacher reminding me
The best way to find resolution
Is by kneeling in prayer,
Granny passing along her recipe
For crisp oatmeal cookies dotted with raisins,
That sweet boy from my junior year
Who told me I had eyes like wild honey
And a smile that was even sweeter.
These voices gave me wise counsel
And much needed encouragement,
Adding depth to my thoughts
As I would contemplate impending decisions.

All was peaceful until you came on board.
Vain and cruel, your taunts still echo
Just below the conscious surface,
Whispers of “whore” as I put on my makeup,
Criticisms of my weight despite my dieting success,
Admonitions to sit down and shut up
Instead of standing and letting my voice ring out.
It’s been twenty years since your arrival,
Your presence in my head far outlasting
Your physical presence in my life.
The other voices have awakened
A long-dormant resistance in me.
Your derisions will no longer make me reel.
The tribe has spoken:
Get off their island,
And get the hell out of my head.

The Truth about Mirrors

Monalisa - Fernando Botero

Even an iconic beauty
Can view her reflection
Through a prism of uncertainty,
Her image distorted
By self-doubt into
An unrecognizable imitation
Of herself.

The Last Thing

After their meager
Wartime rations
Left them wasting
From hunger,

After their crops
Shriveled to dust
In the summer swelter
For the third year in a row,

After their only son
Met immortality
At the end
Of a sniper’s rifle,

After every drop of sorrow
In their souls has been shed
And hope has faded
From their barren lives,

The last things
They have left
Are their laughter
And each other.

Saturday, January 14, 2012


He chases speed and destiny
Down the dirt track straightaways
Every Saturday night
Where dusty tire smoke
Mixes with exhaust fumes.
He follows the tire tracks of the greats
Onto racing’s hallowed ground:

I understand his drive,
My pen accelerating full throttle
Through the turns of my own life,
My words laid down on a track
Much less permanent than asphalt
In a race against my own finite time.

The racer writes his own story,
Risking everything in his drive
To victory and legend.
The writer races to her finish line,
Risking everything as well,
A victory without the thunderous applause,
But victory nevertheless.

Friday, January 13, 2012

When the Season Passes

We planted our love in the spring,
Hearts flying high on true love’s wing,
But time’s march is a constant thing;
Greens faded into brown.
There is no song for us to sing
Since love came crashing down.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Unspoken Words

Haunted by the words I never said,
Not knowing if he ever felt the same,
Paralyzed by a heart filled with dread,
Haunted by the words I never said.
I don’t know where our path might have led
And I’ve only got myself to blame,
Haunted by the words I never said,
Not knowing if he ever felt the same.

A Disturbing Memory

I always liked my men edgy
And he was no exception,
Moody and sullen,
With a smile that could erase
Any misgivings from my mind.
I can’t remember exactly
What I did or what I said
That turned his tender touch brutal,
But in the space of a heartbeat
His clenched right hand
Left more than just my trust
Bloodied on the floor.

Plucking Promises

Every four years,
We are courted
By hopeful patriots,
Candidates plucking promises
And tossing them into the air
Like floating daisy petals
In a political game of
They love me, they love me not.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Crumbling Pillar

Sorrow by Dechobek at deviantART


Her resolute strength
Sustained her through
Those long last hours
Beside his hospital bed,
The morbid task
Of making final arrangements,
The solemn moments
In that quiet cemetery.
As her friends and family
Faded back into
The normalcy of their lives,
When she finds herself alone
In a bedroom no longer shared,
She cries.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Phantom Hope

A specter haunting my dreams,
He travels on the wings of the night,
Invites me to come fly hand in hand
To the space between the stars,
A whisper in my subconscious
Echoing through my bleak days,
A reminder that even phantom hope
Can sustain a broken soul.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Entering the sunset years
Centering thoughts on unfinished dreams
Winding through our tired themes
Finding we still have much to do
Blasting away all we thought we knew
Casting wishes to the sky
Praying with one open eye
Staying focused on our tasks
Peeling away the cracking masks
Revealing all the wasted hours
Will we discover our inner power
Still have time to make our

Note: The Raveled Rhyme poetic form was created by Laurie Kolp for a prompt at Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads.  You can find Laurie's blog posting describing the form and showing her examples here.

Double Vision

The Lonely Cry ~ Ken Simm

The vast wilderness
We traverse
Shrinks when
Viewed with
A companion
Set of eyes.


I’m living a imitation life,
Thousands of lies and deceptions
Thatched together into
A replica of authenticity.

No warmth emanates
At the hearth stones of this place.
Dishonesty burns with flash
But no heat to cut the chill
Deceit leaves in its wake.

My reality lies forgotten,
Screams unheard behind
The walls of my glass cage,
Still breathing, still fluttering,
Aching to break free.

I stand at the gate
And hear the rumbling
Of the upcoming storm,
The impending reckoning
Will soon be at hand.

Truth is bubbling through
The cracks in this shell,
A caustic cleanser
Capable of removing the debris
That fills my days.

I grope blindly for an anchor
To prevent the tempest from
Pulling me into the midst of the calamity,
Conserving as much strength as possible,
Knowing that I will have to rebuild
A more genuine existence.
The truth, after all, shall set me free.

The New Normal

Is a myth, a lie.
Embrace your
Revel in your oddities,
The quirks we each have.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Confessions of a Teenage Platypus

A complete misfit,
Random qualities
With no unifying theme
Piled into one
Hormonally charged package,
A seemingly cruel joke
Played by the Master Designer.
Surviving the jungle
Of adolescence
A difficult task even without
A nose too wide,
Feet destined for another body,
A combo platter
Of the intellectual
And the spiritual
With a dash of party girl spice.
Never able to
Run with the herd,
Instead lurking in
My own murky waters,
Seeking the shelter
Of nocturnal camouflage.
Evolution through time
Lends a gentler perspective,
An acceptance that nature’s prank
Has molded me into a being that’s
Simply unique.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Life in Storage

A tiny rental house
Demands spartan style,
Utilitarian attention to detail,
Stripped of anything superfluous.

The fun, the funky,
My sense of whimsy,
Absent treasures
Wrapped in paper
In dusty packing boxes
Waiting for a new home.

Among the Fallen

I dwell among the fallen,
Those who struggle
To conquer mountains
Only to tumble
Into the valley of chaos,
Mere humans
With tangible frailties,
Inescapable faults.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012


Resonates in
Every word he says.  He
Altered my reality.  Lies wither when faced with the truth. His
Sins have set me free, leaving me
No more.

Neutral Tones

I’m trapped in
A prison of beige,
Hiding my
Secret desire to paint my
World in pinks and greens.

Epistle to the Gods of Poetry

O ye gods of poetry,
Shine your literary light
Upon this cursed scribe.
I pray you remove me
From your naughty list
of the trite and clichéd.
I have been plagued
By non-rhythmic meter,
Inspiration that refuses
To be summoned
By any clever tactic,
Words mired deep
In the morass of imagination.
I ask your alliterative assistance
For this lowly bard,
That I may always have
The poetic license and freedom
To reach the zenith
Of my ink-stained dreams.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012


Change is the kinetic force
That keeps the universe
Moving, expanding, progressing;
Perpetual motion
Propelling us forward,
Creating causes and effects
That ripple through the cosmos.

Change is the filter
That determines our vision.
The significant will surge
Forward in our sight,
The trivial recede from view.

Change is the only certainty
In our spinning worlds of impermanence,
Ending only when we do.


Yearnings in the
Silence of the night, seeking
Transformation and redemption,
Inklings of what
Comes next.

Note: This was written for a prompt over at Imaginary Garden with Real Toads asking us to come up with our own short poetic form.  I call this a Symmetrical Acrostic.  I approached it like a traditional acrostic, with the letters of the title determining the first word of each line.  I used the title as the first line of the poem.  I then doubled the number of syllables in that word to determine the number of syllables in the next line, continuing doubling on every line until reaching the middle point of the poem, then reversed the pattern to get to the last line.  It actually sounds more complicated than it is.  Here's an example of how this particular poem worked out.

  1. M - 2 syllables
  2. Y - 4 syllables
  3. S - 8 syllables
  4. T - 8 syllables
  5. I - 4 syllables
  6. C - 2 syllables
It was a nice challenge, to be sure. I will keep working at this poetic form trying to perfect it.

Monday, January 2, 2012

A Confession

As I was
Lying in my bed,
I tried to
The reasons why love ended,
Why we split apart.

Never came.  Angry
Poisoned words.
Denials of upcoming regrets…I
Was lying then too.

Life after Death

She traded her black dresses
For sweaters of plum and lilac,
Topped with a flowery crimson hat.
Each of her letters spun
A new yarn about
Her latest adventure,
Pictures chronicling
The newest chapter in her story:
Leaning on a shovel
Searching for ancient relics at Giza;
Requiring seven stitches after
A wind surfing mishap in Oahu;
Flying over snow drifts
On a ski slope in Vermont.
Friends feared she would
Come to a crashing stop
After suffering such a sudden loss.
They never expected his death
Would lead her back to life.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Trail

On faith, on instinct,
On dumb luck,
Each of us
Pioneers blazing a trail
To our own frontier.


Accusatory bombshells
Tossed into the chasm
Separating us.
Explosions shatter
What peace remained.
Fragmented slivers
Slice love into hate,
Widening the breach,
Creating a distance
No bridge could ever span.