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Lines

I call them tiger stripes,
battle scars,
a badge of honor.
Their tendrils reach around my waist,
across my back,
down my hips,
and over my belly. like vines.
Each line reminds me of
the life I once carried within me.
Each stria reminds me
of every meal I could not hold down,
and every kick and punch
my ribs and bladder endured.
The single dark stripe
that trails down the center of my belly
reminds of the times I wondered when labor would begin.
The ripples that remain, like accordion folds in my flesh,
remind me of the day you finally arrived.
I look at these stretch marks
and recall faithfully massaging cocoa butter into my belly,
attempting to erase any visible evidence of the experience.
But the flesh insists upon memorializing the event.
I’m no longer ashamed of these scars.
I’m reminded that not every woman has been blessed to receive them.
Maturity has taught me how to wear these welts
like a string of diamonds around my waist.

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Featured

Winter So Cold

Have you ever wondered why winter is so cold?
It’s Spring’s fault.
Let me tell you why.
Everyone celebrates Spring’s warmth and beauty.
Everyone celebrates her gift of renewal.
Everyone celebrates the way she ushers
Color and light and sound into the atmosphere and environment.
No one thanks Winter for preserving the ground
and giving the earth rest.
Not even humans can stay awake for 24 hours.
Spring is celebrated when she shows her face in the middle of earth’s slumber,
As if she is an unexpected gift,
When she is really an alarm clock that went off too soon.
But when Winter extends her stay,
She is admonished and told to go away.
And so after Spring, Summer, and Autumn have had their chance to play,
Winter enters silently with a cold and icy demeanor.
Without a backward glance,
She blankets the earth with frost to protect the seed and the bud.
She ignores the demands of a white holiday.
She only snows if she feels like it.
And when Spring comes in with all the fanfare and flourish,
Winter, most often, leaves with silence and grace,
Having set the stage for her sister’s arrival. 


When Forcing the Words Just Won’t Do

On this day of rest
my soul was overloaded
with thoughts
with words
with emotions
that congealed at the end of my pen.
Nothing would flow
in a steady
organized direction.
Nothing desired to
fall
into
place.
So, I didn’t force the mood
out of its place.
I let it be.
Sometimes, that’s best.
Let it be,
and let the soul rest.

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Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

The Understanding

It was time for us to come to an understanding.
The conflict between us had been brewing for far too long.
It was time for us to have a face-to-face
and break down the wall between us.
We live in the same space,
sleep in the same bed,
but couldn’t even look each in the eye.
That ends today.
I’m disconnecting from the outside voices
that only wish to shame and condemn my form.
I’m disconnecting from the inner voice
that spouts and reinforces negativity.
I’m calling out the best of myself,
I’m going to appreciate and celebrate
every wrinkle, line and blemish.
Me, myself and I are going to come to an understanding
that loving each other first
is necessary
and a matter of survival and self-care.

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Flashback Friday: Poetry Edition Week 2

Today’s Flashback Friday Poem is called, She. It’s one of the poems featured in my book, Persistence of Vision. The poem was inspired by artwork of Clint Brown. The image on the original post (and below) is a part of a series called The Plague Drawings. Be sure to take a moment to view the entire series. It’s amazing!

The Plague Drawings by Clint Brown 1
Image from The Plague Drawings, used with permission.

She

What began as exploratory curiosity
eventually led to a single rendezvous,
in a room hidden from
the light of day,
but quickly
turned into frequent assignations,
and innumerable stolen moments
of explosive passion and lust
only to abruptly end
with final breaths
of regret.

If She gave too much
he took more than his share
and demanded more still
to feed his ego’s insatiable
appetite for her tender flesh.
Shameless suppliant,
foolish guttersnipe!
She bathed him with amorous
words and lofty immemorial fantasies
of him being Her first and evermore immorato
and Her being The One his soul long for.
Yet, was not his soul,
but his loins alone
that longed for Her.

She believed his lies
of the time being too soon
and his desire to know
Her deepest thoughts
and emotions before
he could present Her as his
crowned jewel
until
She saw him in the arms of another
who did not love him as well as She.
But he courted her
and presented her to all he knew
and flaunted her
as though she were new to the world,
but she wasn’t worthy,
there was no way
she knew how to speak to his soul
as She had done
in their clandestine encounters.

Could She be so easily replaced?

Truth settled in Her heart
and shattered its walls.
He was never Hers
and never intended to be.
So, She went back to their hiding place
and cried over the cessation
of his attention
and welcomed Quietus
as if it were Her next
romantic pursuit
and clung to it
wishing it was he
taking her to rest.

Thing of Beauty

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They think I’m all looks and no brains.
Nothing but air there.
They believe pain cannot penetrate a pleasant aesthetic.
It hurts to the bone.
They think I’m promiscuous.
I have discriminating tastes.
While his looks will get him a promotion and a raise,
my looks are considered too distracting and dangerous.
I have to hide my body to control his roaming eye.
They’re drawn to my curves and lines.
They only want a trophy, until the next shiny thing walks by.
In all of this, I’m not suffering because of good looks.
But being admired for one’s looks sometimes feels like a burden.
Beauty fades with time.
Everyone wants to be appreciated for the fullness of their character.
Nobody wants to be forced into hiding.

The Day Got Away

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I woke at 5.
There was no light in the sky.
So, the snooze button I did slap.
I slept ’til 6:10.
The alarm buzzed again,
and I gave it the evil eye.
I dozed off once more,
then awoke mid-snore
to find it was 10:45.
For goodness sake!
I was way past late!
The boss would have my hide!
I can’t call out sick.
The boss was hip to that trick.
It’s already 11:25!
Hi-dee-hi! Hi-dee-ho!
To the salt mines I go!
I made it at 1:29!
I slipped into my seat,
on little cat’s feet,
but the boss spotted my advance.
He played things quite cool,
until 4:52,
then asked we could have a talk.
I said, “Sure, my good man!”
Thinking he was a fan,
until he pointed to the clock.
No hope left for me,
I knew there would be
no offer of partnership.
Instead, I received
relief from responsibilities,
a box, and a little pink slip.

Sticks and Stones (Words)

Yesterday was a busy day! I didn’t get to post my poem for NaPoWriMo for Day 9. Make your words sweet like honey, for you will be the first to taste them!

Sticks and stones, may break my bones…

Were words that we were taught

To tamp down the pain

Of toxic words that sliced

Spirit, heart and soul,

But never held the verbal assailant accountable.

Stick and stones, may break bones,

But words can be a millstone,

Holding one down

Causing him to drown

For years under depression and sorrow.

Whether spoken or scribed

Words have the power to give life,

Or slaughter in the simplest phrase.

A harsh word can be a prison.

A kind word, fertile ground for growing.

May your words cause growth

Cast no stones with your speech.

Lest your words return to you

To fulfill their purpose.

Speak life.

Always, speak life.

Who Needs A Poet?

Who needs a poet?
Who needs those brooding types
who question and examine
every aspect of life,
turning emotions over like flapjacks on the griddle
and searching for the perfect words
to describe feelings so eloquently
as to make one shed a tear?
Why do we need these people
who mourn and celebrate love obsessively,
who question how the moon and stars are hung,
or scream and holler passionately
about the confounded ways of the world?
Can’t we do without them?
Why do the fancy ones exist?
The ones who
want to set their words to drum beats and syncopated rhythms
that make your heart race and have you clinging to the edge of your seat,
or the ones who recite their verses
over smooth, silky jazz rhythms…
I don’t understand.
Who needs them?
Why are they here?

And when did I become one of them?

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Photo credit: Jörg Schubert

They Call Me

 

They call me Sister,
one to tease, and torment,
and on occasion, one to look up to.
They call me Daughter,
their one and only,
who needs protection from all harm.
They call me Friend,
and embrace me like family.
Those who are closest to me
are counted as sisters and brothers.
She calls me Mother,
and I beam with pride
as we both grow into our new selves
and become different women.
I’m known as Grandmother
and it makes me glow
to know another extension of me.
Watching new life blossom and flourish is thrilling.
I am The One who
stumbles often, trying to do it all.
Trying to get it all right .

 

Today’s poem was inspired by the Day 7 NaPoWriMo prompt found on http://www.napowrimo.net/2018/04/

Flashback Friday: Poetry Edition

Today’s Flashback Friday Post is called Now You Know, in which a mother-figure shares words of wisdom with one of her offspring. The artwork shared on the original post is by artist, Gary R. Williams. (*I do not own rights to the artwork.)

Enjoy!

 

Mom by Gary R Williams