Posts for June 14, 2019 (page 3)


The Hills

When I was young,

we carried coal

from the hillside


drank water from a well.

The winters were cold

and  the summers sweltering

but life was simple and serene.

Family was more than

an abstract concept


the summer was sweet

with the smell of honeysuckle.

So unlike

the convenient harshness

of today.


Life Lessons

Once, when I was four,
you put me in a rowboat
and pushed me out
into the open
and told me to pick up my oars.

My wails, slick with green harbour,
swallowed by seagulls, like my life,
lonely, empty, afraid.

It’s for your own safety you said,
but when you pulled me to the docks
I learned to trust you
a little bit less.


Goodbye Ollie, Hello Louie

I junked my first car yesterday

A decade of rides drove away from me
To it’s imminent death
It was beyond it’s time
But beautiful
My last remnant of a granny who made
Mashed potatoes like you wouldn’t believe
His name was Ollie
Now Louie sits in my driveway
He has windows that roll down
Louie was handed to me
In the most gracious way: free.
Louie can go on the interstate
And do what Ollie couldn’t
But tears of gratitude come for both rides
For what was, and for what is
And a sunroof? Please.
Louie is a gift
Not a new car


The other one with blackberries

poisons get on everything

deep cuts and

and just there, on the skin

Did you know that nothing that looks like a blackberry can be poisonous?

raspberry either. Something about the shape. That’s how you can tell these things.

Protection as embrace of familiar thorns

There are so many things in this world that look nothing like a blackberry

Like ivy
Like mistletoe
Like yew

Between yew, me, and the lamppost, I’ve known more poison than

We hoard tight our tragedies, plundered, poisonous gold. Breath fire on those who have dared suggest the antidote is to let it all go. pillars of gentle, insistent support. wrap ourselves tight in our paralyzed




You learn a lot from other people’s stories where the poison berries lie.

I heard that if you tell a dragonfly’s secret, it will sew your mouth shut
is it the gossip that starves you?

Or if you forget yourself, stain your lips purple with guarded fruit,
the lie?



Wasn’t ready for your new picture
to show up in my social media,
the favorite from a photo shoot.

Wasn’t ready for the way
you had your hair swept to the side,
such volume deafening me.

Wasn’t ready for the slim red dress,
little pearls around your neck,
make-up making you shine.

Wasn’t ready for such beauty,
not that I didn’t know your potential
when you were mine.

I just wasn’t ready for your Hollywood glam
commanding all my attention
and drawing tears to my eyes.

Wasn’t ready to miss you so much,
like I’m snowbound and
waiting for the sun.

Wasn’t ready to admit
a part of me will always love you,
though I’ve known it all this time.

I just wasn’t ready to face it.
I wasn’t ready.
I wasn’t…


On the Day There Was No Good News 

You were a paper doll,
a plastic horse in a boy’s hand.
You were the painting
of a sideways woman.
Nice to look at and not so tall.

You need a fried oyster
on the end of a fork.
You need to move home.
“Only in the south,” you say
“is one fully arranged.”


Moon seats itself

upon the snouts of seahorse.
Her beams pulse through waves
wrinkling and dappling
the smooth backs
of sharks.
She pulls night into day
rests on sinews as skin
catches sky.
Her cosmos-lit fingers create
a woman with turquoise for wrists
amber for shoulders
stars for scalp.  


“Stranded in Time” *

Three multi-paned, faceted windows release
sunlight; or is it moonglow?
Eclipsed figures on a gondola
shadow the water lavish blue.

The day we rent a small boat,
time stretches before us
like Norris Lake’s lush reach.
So many tributaries. Some end
in shady coves, others lap for miles,
branch into their own flows.

We didn’t keep track.
Were given no map.
We just kept going.
Midday we turned back,
but which was the way we came?

Night fell,
only a kerosene lamp
to pry impenetrable dark.

* Inspired by Bianca Artope’s print with the same title


Just Fine

You taught me that there’s a sincere difference between living in a city and belonging in it

You taught me patience in a hurry 

You taught me the art of letting go when I didn’t realize I was holding on

You taught me to say thank you 

when I thought I was grateful enough already

You taught me that sometimes goodbyes aren’t permanent but neither are hellos

You taught me that you shouldn’t have to tell someone they love something 

You taught me that life goes on and on 

even after you are gone 

and that I will get along 

 just fine .