My reinvention


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My coat is too small

It’s so uncomfortable

I want to take it off

but it’s resisting

It likes the way it fits

and doesn’t want to make

way for a new coat

But this coat does not suit my life anymore

I want one that’s lighter

and easier to move in

so I can dance in the moonlight

run to see the fireflies

and meditate in the sunshine

instead of being smothered to death

by an outdated version of myself.

Sometimes you just shouldn’t


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trying to salvage my spirit

looking at photos of people I once knew

stumbled upon a photo of my ex and his friend

who was my friend also

time had done its work with their faces

as it has with all of us

all i could see was the night i was beaten

and running toward this friend’s house

to find some sanctuary – to find some meaning

in this unpredictable trauma

upon me

huddling battered and bruised with my son on his doorstep

ringing the bell

he came to the door

shocked, he took a step back

“i can’t be involved in this.” and he shut the door

he wouldn’t let us in.  he refused us safety

to remain friends with a man who attacked me

then the door opened

his girlfriend came out and took us to her place

gave us comfort, medical attention and safety

i left the next day – never to return.

i made the right decision.  i found my spirit then.

i can find it now.  i am a survivor.

A Chance-sighting of Coyotes


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I saw the first one out of the corner of my eye
The second ran into view
they were loping across the field
next to my house
I ran outside to get a better look
and was rewarded by seeing a third coyote
following the first two
His tail was out straight from his body
as he ran
and looked for humans.
He hid in a ditch before he crossed the road
into the large field across the street.

Humans around here have guns
and like to shoot coyotes
I’ve seen them pop a coyote right off the ground
with a long-range shot across a field.
In fact, a local newspaper
has a columnist who hates coyotes
and writes about what demons they are
He posts pictures of them caught in his traps
Their legs all bloody from trying to get away
I asked him not to post such horrible photos
they were offensive
He wrote back to me to not look at them
if I was such a sissy.
He runs a coyote-pest business
he says he has a license to “put them down” in a humane manner
which is probably a shot in the head at close range
after he traps them and starves them
His hate appalls me.

I wished these coyotes safe passage through the night
looking for their dinner
and wished them protection from the other humans nearby.

Over again


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I packed the ornaments away today
I saw your bell you made in first grade
with a pipe cleaner for a hanger
and I wrapped up all the ornaments
I’ve bought for you over these years
you’ve been gone
I didn’t get one this year
I couldn’t face hanging another one
that meant you were not here
26 years
you’ve been dead longer than you were alive
But those 21 years you were here
were wondrous and amazing
that I could have a child like you
was the wonder of my life
You made me a better person
I could use some more of that now.



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People are absorbed in their phones
Whether talking, listening or sending photos
The sense of what is real is getting lost

On a fall day’s walk through the town,
At local sporting games, fans hold their phones
Up high in the air to see take photos
Of the places where they ARE

At a festival, I walked toward
A young woman who eating ice cream
Giggling loudly
She held a phone in her other hand
And dipped one shoulder in toward the phone
And she took her picture eating the cone
With the look of her having the time of her life
She took the photo
She stopped giggling and smiling
Took the phone
And checked out the picture
She threw the ice cream away
In a nearby trash bin
And walked away – no smile, no giggles

Yet, probably on her social page
She posted what a great time she had

Knock at the Door


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Dreams sometimes scare me
In their emotional force
The feelings I had in the dream
Are still with me when I wake up
And sometimes
Can set the pattern for all day

Last night I had such a dream
I was living in my house that I had in California
Except that it wasn’t rural anymore
There were shacks everywhere
With people cooking over open fires
And old rusty cars in piles on the hill
I actually had one room and the kitchen
And I kept inside
I had fear, but didn’t know why

And then my late son knocked at the door
He was back. He was alive.
The happiness swept me like a storm
We held each other. We talked.
We cried.
But then he went to the store
And died in an accident again
Then he came back to my door
And we cried and talked
Then he left for school
And died in an accident again

I ran out into the road
Lined with shacks
And people waved hello
Like nothing had happened

I woke up gasping
Not wanting to open any doors today.

But I did.
I drove to the gym
And walked on the treadmill
At a slow pace
Thinking of the good times with my son
Easing my silent screaming muscles into action
I lasted 20 minutes.

The fear and the dread in my heart were gone
Replaced by muscles who are telling me they
Don’t like me anymore.

Nature’s Way


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The trees are showing their colors
Slowly, bringing winter closer
The pain in my foot has been sharp
These past few weeks
Stopping me from walking around
To compound matters
I used a walking stick to help relieve the pressure
On my heel
And pulled a muscle in or around my shoulder
On the same side as the painful foot

Getting out of bed or a chair is a task
I am not a hero about pain
It colors my whole day
I try to push past it
Using the mild exercises
And applying the cream the doc ordered
But my mood is like a spoiled child

I want to feel better now. Not tomorrow
But now
I’ve got things to do, pictures to take
Pain and poetry
Come out sounding like whining
I know people deal with more pain
Than this on a daily basis
I applaud their stamina and their strength

And think, maybe if I took better
Care of myself
I wouldn’t be paying for it now.
Or maybe it is me telling myself
To slow down
Take a load off
Do some thinking
About a plan for being a healthy me.

What have we done?


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I went to a local festival yesterday
The children’s section was full of rides
Jumping houses, rock-climbing walls
And all sorts of dizzy-inducing contraptions

There were art booths where they could make sand art bottles
Decorate a pumpkin
Shoot marshmallows out of a pipe gun (popular purchase item)
Rubber band guns
Carved wooden swords and knives with sheaths

Many of the children had their faces painted
In delightful artistic designs of butterflies, cats, dogs
I paused to comment how beautiful one of the
Designs was on one little girl who was with her father
She jumped at my speaking to her
Looked ready to run and shrunk in fear
She looked at me and said nothing
Her father pushed her along away from me
In a hurry

Hoping this was an aberration, the next child I saw
Was decorating a pumpkin
All I said was, “That’s a great looking pumpkin you’re doing.”
He looked at me – stared and went back to work, but moved away
Down the table, his face puzzled and guarded.

My husband said, “Guess there’s no speaking to children anymore.”
I know what rules parents have for their children
I support having your children aware

I felt weird all day – just for having spoken to children
I didn’t know – what have we done?
Are we managing our children’s world to be so limited
As to have them be afraid all the time in a social setting?
To manage who they interact with, manage their play
Under the guise of protection?
Who do we end up with? Fearful adults?

I don’t have any answers. It was just unsettling.



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Words can be fun
To use to understand each other
To plan a vision for the future
Or make a statement for the now
To cherish the one you love
To provide wisdom to those who seek

Words can wound
In so many ways
Not just the word itself, but the tone in which it’s spoken
Words can take the spirit and drive it into dark pain

Words can bruise
And never leave quickly
The bruise gets hit again and again
So each time it’s harder to forget

Words leave me
At times
In their place
Are feelings
That can’t get out

They waiting for words
To release them

Essay – Connections


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I dusted off an old essay I wrote seven years ago.


Lila stretched out on the couch adjusting her hip to fit more closely to the back cushion. The light from the sunset was failing through the big windows in the living room and she was watching the far wall so intently she could see it fade in its brightness.
It was a yellow wall next to the front door. Over the door, the huge logs called vigas were turning a shade of red from the sunlight. The front door depressed her.
She told herself she was on “a break.” There was art to do, articles to write, a blog to keep up and a million other things she could be doing. She was here on the sofa not doing much but thinking about the sadness in her life.
It happened suddenly over 19 years ago, but it could be two minutes ago, the emotions were still so raw. Do you ever really forget the day your child died? It was a totally paralyzing agony she went through when he died. It moved her life so radically that she became several other people during her grieving time. She always started this remembrance by going over the little memories in her mind. They were her only memories and sometimes she feared they would fade and she’d have nothing.
She hugged herself a little more as she moved her legs into a more comfortable position. She sighed – she was getting older and her legs hurt.
She had parked at the Flying Star while meeting Susan for lunch – a day out of the house.
When she walked back to her car, a big delivery truck had squeezed its way into the parking space beside her driver’s side door. She could open the door, but could not move her bulk into the door to get to the seat.
There was no driver in the truck, so she had walked to other side and got into the passenger side door. She sat there for a moment and looked at the gear shift and the brake in her way. She wasn’t as flexible as she used to be. She wrestled a leg over the shifter and the brake and got stuck lifting her self up and over the console. She wiggled into the driver seat with one leg still over on the passenger side. It was her bad leg. She turned and looked out the back window – were people watching? No, didn’t look like it. She was unable to lift it to where it needed to go. She grabbed her jean pant leg and pulled her foot up to the shifter. There was not enough room to move it down on the floor. She wiggled farther back in the seat and it was enough the put her leg down. She pulled herself into her seat to get into her driving mode and breathed a sigh of relief. She was embarrassed by the wrestling maneuvers she needed to do to get into the seat. She couldn’t fit in the door. She was so out of shape that the mere instance of getting in from another side was a major physical problem. All this started her on the road to self-pity – or that’s what she called it.
She turned over and faced the back of the sofa and had to adjust her butt so it didn’t fall off the side. She bent her knees to ease the bruised thighs that mashed into the shifter. She could still see his face, her son who died. She began to panic that she forgot what he was wearing during that memory of his face, but she told herself it didn’t matter. Another part of her validated the fact that she was forgetting really important stuff.
Like taking care of herself.


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