Poetry is just the evidence of life. If your life is burning well, poetry is just the ash. Leonard Cohen

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Church Has No Walls

I've never found God in a church
But I think I've found Him sitting at the bottom
     of a nice cup of tea.
I've never seen God in a temple
But I think I may have spied Him on a tree branch
     while the goldfinches ate thistle from the feeder.
I've never felt  peace while meditating
For my mind is too busy trying to be peaceful
But I've felt peace while watching raindrops 
     slide down my window.
I've never talked to God while praying
But when I move a turtle away from a busy road
Or squeeze through a door
     so as not to disturb the day's work of a spider
Maybe He understands me.

Am I somehow less to God
Because my religion has no name
And my church has no walls?

When I hear the barred owl call at dusk
I think I know God's voice.
When I witness the green striped caterpillar
     emerge into the swallowtail butterfly
I start to believe in the rebirth of the spirit.
When I listen to my child breath as she sleeps
And  feel the warm body of my love near me at night
I know I am blessed.
When I hear the gentle snores of the dogs
And the chirps of the crickets
And the coffee as it drips into the pot
     and waits, hot, for me in the morning
I believe.

submitted for Poetry Potluck Monday at Jingle Poetry

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What Comes After

submitted for Mag 50

"So, it's you again." She spoke to me in a grudgingly bored tone. "Um, yes, I suppose so. And who exactly are you?" I asked. She gave a slight laugh, rolled her cornflower blue eyes like an impertinent adolescent and said, "That always kills me-if you'll pardon the expression! No matter how many times you people do this, you never remember any of it! You always look so clueless. It really is funny if you could see it from my perspective." "Which is...?" "Oh, yeah, sorry. You're dead, hon. I'm your guide to the After. Again." I tried to process her words. Was this a joke? It didn't feel the least bit funny. I knew that I had been sick. I remembered the ambulance ride to the hospital, then...what? "I'm really dead?" "Yup." "Then that makes you an angel?" "In a manner," she answered, picking her cuticles. She really seemed to be taking my death very lightly, and I admit, I was a tad peeved at her casual manner.

I looked around me at the bare trees, the snow (which I now noticed wasn't making me the least bit cold), and then up at the figure of an arrow which looked as if a stencil had been transposed upon the entire scene. "May I ask where we are?" "This is the 'After.' You've been here before, you know. Well, you don't know, but I do. This is where you come when you die, to decide what comes after." "After what?" I asked her. "After this life, " she said. "You know, they really should give an adult ed course on this or something so it's not all so puzzling. The life you've just led was only one possibility. There are infinite other lives you could have led. All depends which arrow you choose. The one you see here is transparent because you've done it. You know it. But you can still choose it again if you want. There are loads of other arrows you can choose instead. But you can't see what's behind them yet. You have to live them first. It's like that show, you know, Door Number 1 or Door Number 2? Maybe you get a new car; maybe you get a year's supply of kitty litter."

I tried to wrap my head around the idea of my life as a year's supply of kitty litter. It seemed too random, too cruel. "And what if I don't want to choose? What if I don't want to play 'Let's Make a Deal?'" She paused, then shrugged, "You can always opt out, stop playing, stop living again." This was getting too weird. "What happens to me then?" I asked. "Well, nothing." "Nothing?" She attempted to explain, "Nothing. Zero. Game over. It's sorta like you're a playing piece that's removed from the game board. The rest of the game just goes on without you. Think of it like you're the iron in Monopoly. One day, the iron piece never existed so no one misses it. It isn't and it never was." So now I was being compared to the iron in Monopoly. Not even the car or the Scottie dog! I had never felt so insignificant in my life (or death).

"So if you don't mind," she continued, "would you hurry up and choose what you'd like to do next because I have others I need to guide too. I hate to keep people waiting in the After. They get enough of that in doctors' offices and the DMV and whatnot." "Oh, sorry," I apologized. "It's just that it's kinda hard to absorb all of this so quickly. Death and all. Alternate lives." She smiled. "That's always what you say," she replied, "and then you end up repeating your same life over again because you can't decide to do anything different. I probably shouldn't be telling you that, probably against the rules or something, but this is getting kinda tedious from my end, so I thought maybe I'd tip you off and perhaps you might, shall we say, take a leap of faith and do something different this time."

I looked up again at the arrow from where I'd come. It did look somewhat familiar, comforting, perhaps even a bit dull. Then I noticed hundreds of other arrows all around me, pointing in all different directions. I had no idea where any of them led, and the disorientation agitated me. This was ridiculous. What was the worst that could happen? I was already dead! "Well?" she goaded me once again. I looked straight in her cornflower blue eyes, pointed, and stated in a voice that sounded much more decisive than I actually felt, "This one."

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sunday's Sonnet

Oh woe! Poor brain, you won't produce a thought
And Monday's Potluck deadline time is nigh
My efforts thus have sadly come to naught
I stare at the computer screen and sigh.

This Monday's theme of rules and regs and laws
It leaves me uninspired, lacking muse
And tho' I always rally to the cause
I fear this time I may have to refuse!

Oh me! Where hast thou gone poetic pride?
Oh fie! My hand will not produce one line!
My heart such sadness it cannot abide
I feel I must console my soul with wine.

The mind it must be free for Art to reign
And rules and regs and laws serve to constrain!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

October Moon

Autumn wind brings you back
Like the fallen leaves
Ghosts of the dead, unborn
Ghosts of those not mourned

I hear your whispers
I feel you inside
Come back to haunt
The house where you died

Scraped clean like a Halloween pumpkin
Trick or treat; no one’s home
It’s been 30 years
Leave me alone

I danced with the Devil
Drank the witches’ brew
I howl in the nighttime
Beneath the October moon

submitted to PhotographProse on 1/20/2011
Photograph Stylist: Linda Gaspich
Prose Stylist: lolamouse

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Something Light For a Change!

Three daring and headstrong young lasses
Failed to heed the advice of the masses
Who warned, "The ice is too thin!"
And so they fell in
Getting soaked from their hats to their asses!

submitted for Mag 49
Thanks to Jingle for the awards!

Hate Has a Language

Hate has a language all its own
We learn it well when we are young
Those bitter words spit from the lips
Do battle with our mother tongue

Masha was Mary when she left the boat
A new name given for a new land
Still she was teased and called "greenhorn"
By a father she couldn't understand
Hate has a language

The lady asked Bubbe how we spelled our name
Is that  "-son" with an "e" or an "o"?
I just wanted to play in the pool
But they had their quotas, ya know
Hate has a language

Why is my Daddy chasing that man
And why did he call him a "kite?"
Why doesn't Mom think it's funny too?
They explained it later that night
Hate has a language

submitted for Poetry Potluck Week 18

Thanks, Jingle!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Poetry's Better Than...Nah!

Poems feed a need
Juicy words, lick up the rhymes
Sticky stanzas sing

submitted for Thursday Poets Rally Week 37, Poetry With a Theme, Poetry and Me

Status Migraine

She swallowed the pills and said goodnight
It hurt too much to even cry
She closed her eyes against the light

She counted her breaths, her chest so tight
The bed, her nest, on which she'd lie
She swallowed the pills and said goodnight

Tired of fighting the noble fight
Confronting her nemesis eye to eye
She closed her eyes against the light

Blurred edges between wrong and right
It made no difference, so why try?
She swallowed the pills and said goodnight

She prayed in vain, in pain, in spite
Her body was weak, her spirit dry
She closed her eyes against the light

Her mind a blank, a board wiped white
Again another small death she'd die
She swallowed the pills and said goodnight
She closed her eyes against the light.

(submitted for Thursday Poets Rally Week 37)

Thank you Jingle for the Perfect Poet Award for Week 37!

for Week 38 I nominate    

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


submitted for Magpie Tales 48
She heard the opening notes of the song with her body before they even registered in her mind. All of her senses buzzed. Panicked, she scanned around for a place to run, to hide, but she was trapped. With customers both in front and in back of her and she, with a cart full of food, there was nowhere to go. She felt the sting of tears and began to crave the warm, salty broth that she knew she'd soon taste. The fluorescent lights above shined halos around the store displays, the other shoppers, the signs. She saw it all as if through a rain covered window. She felt lightheaded yet heavy at the same time, her head a balloon tied around a brick in the bottom of her stomach. She didn't hear the woman behind her asking if she was okay. She heard her heart beating in her ears. And she heard the song...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Travel On

Travel on, restless one
Seek your fortunes
Find your gold
Save your maidens
Slay your dragons
Be brave, be bold.

Travel on, restless one
Climb your mountains
Reach your peak
Cross your oceans
Tame your jungles
Know you're not meek.

Travel on, restless one
Your journey waits
You must fly
You'll find your treasure
Back at home
It is I, it is I.

submitted for Poetry Potluck, week 17

Thanks, Jingle!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Genesis 2:24

submitted for Magpie Tales #47
Betty wiped her forehead to keep the sweat and the rogue piece of limp, gray hair out of her eyes. She'd been dusting, vacuuming, and doing laundry all morning, and the physical strain was starting to wear on her 60 year-old body. Still, she moved with a grim purpose, her work nearly complete. She was not a woman to sing while she worked, not even hum. There was nothing enjoyable here, so why try to pretend? She lifted the figurine from the dresser to dust it and paused just a moment. Studying the sleek, black intertwined figures, she frowned. It reminded her of that biblical passage, about marriage, about "cleaving unto each other" and "becoming one flesh." If that was so, then what happened when people divorced, she wondered. She replaced the dusted figurine and surveyed the room. Done. Betty exhaled a small sigh, sat down on the bed, and closed her eyes. And then it came. The voice from the other room. "Where's my lunch, woman? I'm hungry, goddammit, and if I have to wait for your sorry ass to get moving much longer, you're gonna regret it!" Betty startled slightly, then rose from the bed. She tucked the rogue hair back behind her ear again and quietly walked back over to the dresser where she quickly withdrew a twenty dollar bill from her husband's wallet. As she feigned straightening the bedsheets one last time, she pressed the bill under her side of the mattress where it joined the others.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Tree

We left the tree up too long
Reluctant to box up the ornaments
Wind the strings of lights
Declare the holiday over
And settle into the sameness
Of gray January days
But the water in the base
Became murky and sticky
And when we finally took down the tinsel                         
The branches were brittle
And the tree
Was dry and dead.

submitted for Thursday Poets Rally Week 36 

Thanks, Jingle, for all the awards!