Sunday, July 1, 2012

Compliant Child

                (Google Images)               

Too eager to please
somehow knowing
the key to survival
is submission
stuffing want and need
far far away

growing wiser
means understanding this:
being silent
avoiding notice
is far easier on the soul than attention

learning to bend will
to others
selling control
for lack of upheaval
a deadening but necessary

lessons learned in childhood
and youth
recreate the compliant child
into one ripe
for relationships


visible in waves coming off the street
baking my body to its core
a consuming sadness
competes for space stolen by hot hot hot
at searing summer days
making me prisoner of
cooler rooms
and dreams of yellow orange red
autumn days

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Somehow I've Been Away

This sky, a picture of storms about to break out, is me.  Inside there have been struggles so strong, so intense, that even writing has not been possible.  It is healing taking place, sometimes an excruciating process. I have not abandoned my friends, my blogs, my writing.  There has just been a pause while I learn and remind myself again and again that I am strong, I have survived great pain, and I will be victorious over the cruelties, torture, and control so suffocating they threatened to take my breath, my life.

So bear with me, please, as I work on healing.  For now, I believe I am ready to come back to writing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Two Tanka Poems

Mint spreads like wind blown
leaves filling my garden bed
with round leaves climbing
toward sunshine   ready for
hot   honeyed   light morning tea

Cornflower blue sky
heavy with cotton ball clouds
changing from castle
to ghostly cattle grazing
in a periwinkle sky

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dessert Too

 (Cupcake and photo by Stephanie Pride)

It should be something that
announces itself in the baking
enticing aromas
infusing the air we breathe
creating a longing
for the taste
moment of bliss
as we hold each fork full
to our lips
on our tongues
just for a moment
enjoying it to the fullest
before we swallow
and it is gone

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Dessert in the Desert

These despised hot days
here in the desert
collecting cacti
with my camera
heat dripping down
from my scalp
to the soles of my
crispy baked feet
all I can think of is ice cream
mint ice cream
soothing to my
tongue where heavenly flavor rules
In my imagination I ate
the entire carton
then went back to work
with heat dripping down
from my scalp
to the soles of my
crispy baked feet

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Five Poems

These are written in response to a prompt by Robert Lee Brewer in his Poetic Asides column.  You can find it in Writer's Digest Magazine and online at .    As always, thank you, Robert.

The Sun Fell (The Sun Also Rises)

That day he admitted his
crimes against you
against God
against me
against family
His words boiled in
my belly until
I needed to vomit

I did not know where
to turn what
to do
my mind spun out of
control I couldn't think
all I know is that evening
the sun fell

Emma's Wonderland (Alice in Wonderland)

Wonderland made of night dreams
day dreams
passages from books
lines from poems
brush strokes from paintings
stippling from charcoal drawings
verses from songs
instrumentals in their entirety
poem song stories built in my soul

No matter what part of Wonderland
I am visiting you are always there
I wake with you travel by your side
give you sparkling silver kisses
or deep red kisses never ending
you play my heart like a piano
late late night or early morning together
waking ends with you by my side
no matter what land one thing remains
I will always love you

Lord of Lies (Lord of the Flies)

Something is not right
way inside the core of you
truth is what you decide
it is
at that moment
lies are only explanations
or evidence of
the problem being with everyone else
never you
not your fault
because you know
what real truth is
an insight no one else has

A Good Soil (The Good Earth)

Shrubs gone
wall built
weed cloth laid

build a good soil
to feed my garden

potting mix, organic
so much better
than what they sell as topsoil

light compared to heavy
lets roots grow
instead of suffocation

peat moss
compacted treasure of the ages
holds raindrops

giving drink to flowers and fruit
veggies and herbs
long after a thunder storm

compost black gold
feeds continuously
coaxing growth

from stems leaves buds
in turn gifting us with
blooms in purples pinks yellows whites

fruits red blue green purple
vegetables enough for
now Thanksgiving bounty saving for winter

it is with love
I build a good soil
joy comes with harvest

Invisible Child (The Invisible Man)

Wake up to mother's general call
to all brothers sisters
Time to get up

Sit at the table
behind the row of cereal boxes
spread for each to choose

Eat in silence
Dress for school
Walk alone thinking alone

Take my seat in the classroom
saying nothing
following directions

Walking home thinking alone
come in the door to my
shared room without hello

Pick up a book
lie down on my bed
to read my mind's adventures

Dinner nervous time
dad is intelligent stern aloof
mom sighs too often

Back to my room
to read in peace not even
wondering how many words

I have said
or not said this day
of invisibility

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring Squirrel

Good mornin' little guy
Streets are bustling
park is still quiet
yours to play in
flick your tail
wiggle your nose
up on haunches
just in case
but then
drop and sniff
run again
scamper part way up a tree
turn head down and
scurry down into the grass
stop go
run wait
dig for something planted
before winter
how can you remember where they are?
grasping with paw hands
transfer to mouth
teeth firmly gently hold a gem
once again you run
up the tree
to the branch
holding your nest

winter is gone

Monday, May 7, 2012


Sign of the times
so beautiful a structure
stunning beauty
nestled protected
between two
sometimes bustling buildings

Carefully modernized
without sacrifices
to an earlier time
For Sale
like so many others
is it noticed at all?

Who could buy
this glorious building
and love it
as I do?
Down in the city
where night is
as busy as day

Dress the windows
in lovely drapes
with a center of sheers
Three floors to live in
One for meeting
buying and selling

Garden on the roof
giant pots and cauldrons
overflowing with
breakfast lunch and dinner
basking in the sun

Envision this place
in early morning
when people hurry
down the street
briefcase and coffee in hand
Off to work!
Quickly now!

Think of winter
looking out from the
warmth upstairs
at shoppers in
coats hats gloves
shiny paper bags labeled
Banana Republic Ann Taylor Dillard's

Consider summer nights
Theatre down the street
Opera just a skip away
Music venues all around
Chatting over a late dinner
seated in the patio area
Have another glass of wine?

Who could buy
this glorious building
and love it
as I do?
Down in the city
where night is
as busy as day.

Sunday, May 6, 2012


Please accept my apologies as I go through the posts AGAIN, seeing what I can do to improve, update, renew and edit.  Most of these writings are my response to experiences and work at healing.  I have new posts to add, some I may want to remove. This blog is a labor of love as I work and begin writing again, something I was prevented from doing for many, many years.


Thursday, April 19, 2012

No Luck at All

 (Picture found on Google Images)

At 17 we dated,
then we did not.
Why, when I had never loved like that?
We dated for a day at 24 or 25,
a day I did not want.
Sometimes I would get a rare visit
or call,
once a letter,
but I rebuffed again and again.
Then I married
a man from church
a man who was too attentive 
had sparkling eyes.
Ignoring what I knew in my heart and mind
until I needed something
I went to the counselor at church
in fear
I cannot remember what I told her.
She said she could not help
I needed someone with more education
more knowledge
a therapist,
Puzzled, I put that suggestion away.
He would never allow that.
More years drag me along
I was frantic
fear relentless
panic all around.
I found the therapist
and went.
She talked with me
the children
and interviewed him.
Puzzling because it was
not the kind of thing he would do
in his eyes there was 
never anything wrong
with him.
Always someone else's fault
at work
at church
the kids
but most often mine.
She talked with him for an hour
a full hour
then spoke with me the next week.
He was a sick man she said,
one who would never be well.
Diagnosis sociopath.
There was no hope for him
and frighteningly,
for me.
We could divorce
but I would never be free
she said
unless he found someone else
to victimize
or died.
What kind of luck was this?
I refused the only man I'd loved
married a man I thought was ok
because I met him at church
now trapped
till death do us part.
Trying planning
to get away
but never could work it out.
He watched so thoroughly
it was creepy and
I knew leaving was not safe
The man I loved at 17 found me.
I had been searching for him, too,
finally admitting to myself
the love had never died
He was married.
Another blow to the head and heart.
Luck? There is no such thing.
Death finally came
finding that man I'd married
lived under
been so afraid of
for more than 20 years
seated on the couch,
an empty shell.
I could not stop staring at the
gray skin
unseeing eyes
fearing he would sit up
and say
it was all a joke.
I stared through the police and paramedics
wanting medicine bottles
calling the morgue for me.
They were so kind
but did not understand.
Thinking I was in shock
they kept suggesting I go out of the room
until they were finished.
I went into the living room
where the kids were wondering what happens next
all of us finding it hard to believe
it was over.
Did my luck finally change?
No, I decided.
Luck is a myth.
My mistakes and decisions
inability to act on my own behalf,
a remnant of controlled childhood,
were the things responsible for the way
my life was.
No luck, nothing lucky.
It just was what it was.
Now, I was equipped by life
to make strong decisions.
Still fearful,
yes, terribly afraid,
learning to be free of his grip.
I am going forward

Something Under My Pillows

My bed, new, free of past pain
Cherry posts,
simple solid smooth
Black iron at head and foot
just enough of the feminine
yet simple strong
It is meant to frame art
creations in fabric and yarns
Today it is clothed in lilac sheets
lilac and cream on pillows
cream colored oh so soft blanket
Topped with a bit of art
crocheted in one huge square
colors from dark to heathers
a field of purples and lilacs
pinks and yellows hidden here and there
designed only as I worked
beginning to end.
(Sshhh! There is something
under my pillows of lilac and cream
there I save my dreams
and take them out sometimes
to look at them again
and remember how they feel.

Black and White

He is not what he seems.
sparkling eyes
that seem to smile and radiate
"It's great to see you."
No, that is not who he is
at all
not for a moment.

Honeymoon first morning
"You don't need your friends and family any more.
You have me now."

Six month anniversary
he awoke from a dream of
and punished me for it.

We walked in for our newborn son's
3 day checkup
A nurse's aide looked at my belly
rather than the newborn in my arms and asked
"When are you due?
Anger boiled over
with me for not being 107 pounds again
by the third day after delivering our child.

He came to me one night
looking puzzled
and said
"Your daughter is attracted to me."
I misunderstood.
She was 3 years old.
I explained a daughter craving
her father's love,
needing to know her value in his eyes.
That was not what he was saying.
Not really.
Had he been able to tell the truth
had he known what truth really was
he would not have dared to say
"I am sexually attracted to your baby girl."

Over the years he became more himself,
unable to hide from the family he held captive.
He watched us, criticized us, accused us
Yet in the evening
before bed
we all gathered in the living room
for Bible reading.
Here he continued to try to keep the mask up
saying to us in his commentaries
he was the godly one,
we needed his help and guidance
to keep us from hell.

In the car one day,
just the two of us on the way to the mall
he rained down curses on me,
curses he claimed came from God.
I was too afraid to cry.

His mind held two ways of living.
The lover of God
head of the family
friend to coworkers and church goers,
the dependable one
who could be trusted
called upon in times of trouble
Intelligent compassionate
but this was not him.

We knew the man who hated
twisted everyone's actions,
to show he was not the evil one
hated people of color or culture that varied from
what he knew was RIGHT.

We feared his anger
his braiding our words together
to get his own interpretation
he could see things we could not
of course.

We too then became among those who lived two lives
in an attempt to spare us punishment
for wrongs he imagined.
Mommy and happy children
while he was away at work
fooling others
until 4:00 came and our panic set in.
He would be home soon.
Clean up the toys and games
wash the dishes sweep the floor
to hide any love and happiness.
Fear begat anxiety
but the tension he came home to
comforted him.
We had the correct amount of respect
he felt he deserved.

The words of the therapist echoed in my head
and confirmed the hopelessness of our situation.
How to be rid of him?
There were only two ways.
He could find another woman with children
or he could die.

This was life with a sociopath.


I marvel at the color here.
Greens from pale to strong and dark
make this place peaceful for me.
Staghorn ferns with sturdy dark leaves
hang in baskets.
Pathos with creamy light green
almost white
swimming in a lake of cool greens.
A carpet of English ivy with its
dark green leaves
still has variations
newborn leaves with a yellow-green tinge
youngsters now shiny green
oldsters who dress in the darkest green-black robes.
I see what others don't.
This green place is a symphony of color and bearer of peace.

Christmas Gift (PAD Prompt)

I'd taken a nap in late afternoon
to escape
because you'd come in to cook your Christmas dinner.
I slept a few hours
deep dreamless sleep
When I woke I could smell chicken
cooked to long.
Not wanting to, I got out of bed
turned off the oven, looked at the clock.
You must have fallen asleep, so dinner was put away
for whenever you would wake.
There was evening,
and there was morning,
the last day.

Morning, I got up and looked in the kitchen
You'd not been in.
You must not be feeling well. I sighed.
I'd better go out and check if you need anything.
Put on shoes, go out the back door, walk through
the beautiful snow to your apartment.
Amazing snow, so heavy, peaceful, it felt good.
I saw him sitting on the couch
diet coke in hand, remote on his lap,
absent eyes staring at nothing.
Back through the fresh snow
walking in my own footprints
up the back steps
into the house.
Kids 20 and 21 looking at me.
Dad's dead.
Called 911.
Called one son staying over in the next city.
His reply,
"Well, it's over."
Yes, it's over for us
and beginning for us.
What do we do with this new life handed us
this new beginning
this life without terror?
Looking through the phone book,
I chose a funeral home.
There was evening
and there was morning,
the first day.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Treasures (PAD Prompt)

Under your bed I found
your treasure box.
I sat on the floor
opened the lid to this once cigar box
and for a while
just stared.
All jumbled remembrances like jewels
shone back at me.
Your Batman mask was
most obvious because it took so much room
and lay like a blanket
over other gems that could only peak out
at the light of day.
I remember when you were Batman,
running through the house with your over-sized flashlight,
the cape I made for you,
and of course
Batman Underoos.
I picked up the worn mask and saw the elastic strap
on one side had no silver-colored metal piece that once held
strap to mask.
The mask was more pliable than it should have been, but
you loved it so I was surprised it was not in shreds.
I put the mask down next to me, and reached in for
another treasure of childhood.
A popped green balloon, string still tied tightly.
It had a faded picture of Cookie Monster holding his
ever-present chocolate chip cookie, his food of choice
before they started making Cookie Monster eat broccoli.
This treasure box held jacks and a bouncy ball
of multi-colored stripes.
The jacks, there were only three.
There was a band aid, used, that said "Ouch!"
something he was given by the nurse in the ER
when he slashed open his knee
falling off his first two-wheeler.
There were pennies, twelve of them,
darkened and rough edged,
pennies he'd discovered while out on
pirate adventures looking for gold.
Last of all I picked up the button to
his Oshkosh overalls,
the metal buttons that were at the bib,
the buttons the overall straps attached to.
There is no mistaking those buttons,
the ones that say "Oshkosh B'gosh."
But now he is grown,
my only babe, and his room is empty
except for this treasure in a cigar box.
I put them all back inside and
slid it back under the bed,
where it belonged,
and got back to my dusting.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Doomsday (PAD Prompt)

It's coming.
I can feel it in the air.
Come quickly!
People fear, they live with terror
confusion reigns in their minds.
The L-rd gives strength to His people;
the L-rd blesses His people with peace.
Turmoil is everywhere,
everywhere, signs in
the skies
earth shaken
seas tremble
animals creep into places they should not be
many many die
Storms great and terrible storms
lightening flashes again and again
while thunder roars like a lion.
Waters dry up
they flood
are poisoned
fish float to the top
from some unknown assailant.
The L-rd is the great G-d,
the great King above all gods.
In His hands are the depths of the earth,
and the mountain tops belong to Him.
Planes crash into buildings
Cars and trucks run through walls
and stall in living rooms bedrooms
A night of drinking brings a car full of teens
to speeding crashing flying into the air
landing submerged in waters below.
Freak accident, they say,
but they know.
It's not right.
Something is wrong.
But You are a shield around me,
O L-rd;
You bestow glory upon me and lift up my head...
I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the L-rd sustains me.
The world is in ruins
and most don't look up to see
the signs
that doomsday is coming
They take no thought to great salaries for themselves,
yet get rid of people who have served them for years.
It can't be helped,
they rationalize.
We need to make cutbacks
for the sake of the company.
But the people,
the people who worked and spent
can now only worry
about bills
losing their home
what they will eat.
Everything is backwards.
Destruction is coming,
it has been earned.
But let all who take refuge in You be glad,
let them ever sing for joy.
Spread Your protection over them,
that those who love Your Name
may rejoice in You.
The sun explodes with flares and storms
causing disruption
Things in the atmosphere are destroyed
and the sun burns through
causing searing heat
skin too hot and red
cancers spreading from skin to inner organs
causing disfigurement
Mountains throw off their peaks to release
boiling lava that melts or spreads fire to all it touches.
The earth shakes and quivers more,
stronger, and does not stop.
Pictures fall from the walls
glass breaks
splinters get in your feet.
The thief does not care to find a home that is empty
any longer.
Convinced he will never be found,
taking advantage of the fear that pervades every waking moment
he comes in and does as he wishes,
but don't blink or shiver with I am afraid,
or he will shoot you, knife you, tie you up to be tortured to death.
These words are trustworthy and true.
The L-rd, the G-d of the spirits of the prophets
sent His angel to show His servants the things that must take place soon.

Behold, I am coming soon!
I am the Alpha and the Omega,
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End.
Yes, I am coming soon.

(Scripture used, in order:

Psalm 29:11
Psalm 95:3-4
Psalm 3:3-4
Psalm 5:11
Revelation 22:6
Revelation 22:12, 20


How I loved, love you both
Sand box in the dining room 
because we had no yard
Such good little ones
you never threw sand
or carelessly made a mess
sweeping up after play
took only a moment
ridding the floor of sand
that hitched a ride on your feet.

Walks to the park
where play included
a prelude
each of you walking
atop the stone wall
one teetering bravely
the other needing my hand
for courage

Then we played
pushing you in the swings
Higher, mommy!
Waiting at the bottom of the slide
sometimes catching you
hands around your waist
I grinned
you giggled and laughed
then ran around to the ladder
to go up down up down up down.

Next station, the climbing place
with platforms
becoming your lookout
a fort
a place where the wind blew at your hair
golden hair red curls
"I am on top of the world!"
each of you shouted
and the wind made your cheeks pink. 

Tanka Challenge 1

Spring flowers color
a brittle winter burned world
with colors ablaze.
Awake! The sun is calling
us: Arise with the flowers.

The Bonding

The first time I saw you
oh, you were so tiny
a petite little boy
wet hair plastered to your head
eyes closed tightly
startle response times ten.
You did not like this new
bright world where nothing held you securely.
They whisked you away
as they did then
I had not even touched you yet.

Later, in my room
clean and prettied up
she brought you to me
rolling you down the hall
around a corner
into my room
and parked you just out of my reach.
Once she left
I got out of bed
walked straight to you
my little one.
Reaching in to pick you up
I held you close
Your fussing stopped
as you felt my heartbeat
heard my voice
and felt secure in my arms.
It was then I loved you
relaxed finally
as you fell asleep.