Sunday, December 14, 2014

on being a writer: identify


jewels that burst

(or seepswimslide)

from the pentip first

sapphire scratchings


random hopes

a ransom note



musings reach 

resolution on

the map in 

the notebook 

before me

living along with Ann and Charity and their book,

On Being a Writer

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

a prayer of submission

Through Christ, my Lord, I have found favor with You
I abide in Your Kingdom as beloved child and humble servant
Resting not in blind trust but in the richness of a faith
Rooted in the testimony of my life
And of those who have journeyed before

When you set the impossible before me
I am assured You will see the work to its fruition
Wipe from  my sight the closed door of rejection and
Fix my vision on the path of possibility You manifest
That I may follow Your lead with confidence in Your design

Cause me to so desire Your righteousness
That I forsake my need to comprehend or control
All that passes through Your hands
Enlarge my experience of Your infinite power

And use my life to fulfill Your purposes here on earth.

offered in response to the story of Mary in Luke 1:26-38

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

a prayer for listening

In humble patience, Lord
I still my hands and close my mouth
I neither covet a meal nor offer a petition
neither build another castle nor lay another plan

In the silence here I rest and wait
until the din in my head  dissipates and
I hear Your voice, My Beloved Creator
until my breath, my heartbeat moves in synchrony to Yours

I discard my distractions, Lord,
for the discomfort of waiting on Your deliverance
You have heard my cries and I am assured that You know,
not with heady knowledge but with an intimate heart,
the way to my soul’s contentment

Like an infant I exist in utter dependence
and total expectancy of  Your provision
for You alone give care to my body, mind and spirit
from my miraculous creation to
my triumphant end here on earth.

offered in response to the story of Zacharias, Luke 1:5-25

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

entwined nor
entangled but
resting curve to

the empty to
be filled

Joining in with 
(photo credit)
and other poets for 
this photoplay today!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Mischief Cafe'

Poetry was with me as I arose the following day.  A spirit of levity, a sense of satisfaction, an expectancy and a fresh perspective fueled my moves as I dressed for an otherwise routine trip into work.  Not surprisingly, the magic of poetry prevailed over the week’s busy-ness, just as I knew it would.  That’s why I did not hesitate when the chance to host the first (official) Mischief Café arose, straight from the comment boxes of a Saturday morning Facebook conversation.

The rules were simple, more like scaffolding.  Laura would bring the toast and tea, and my people would gather.  Not much more than that was preset.  I invited several friends, some through conversation, and some by way of email, and asked each person to bring with them a token of mischief.  Most were initially hesitant to ask, but I received several politely panicked texts and emails the day of the café, wondering what was meant by a “token of mischief” and what, in fact, they should bring.  I wasn’t sure myself until the last minute, but I did trust the exercise would spark some imagination and open up the group to a night of wonder.  And there would definitely be no wrong answers.

This was a brave group, whether they realized it or not.  None besides me regularly writes poetry, and only one other regularly reads it.  As fate would have it, two people had close lyrical encounters just before we met (with Pablo Neruda and Samuel Taylor Coleridge) and were ready to go deeper. Some of the group were friendly acquaintances, but not every person was familiar with each other.

Laura led the conversation loosely, using The Mischief Café title to get us started.  We read aloud and responded to what we heard.  We asked questions and laughed at some of the answers.  We were distracted with food and kitchen gadgets, and became more courageous as we forged onward into the night (see full article here).  As we read some classic verse and discussed its structure, references to the movie “Dead Poet’s Society” were a frequent refrain.

It made perfect sense.  There we were, in our own candle-lit cave after curfew, for a few short hours.  We left the day’s worry at the front door and became young again, open, vulnerable, and full of faith in the possibilities ahead of us.  We became listeners, listening to the “greats”, and maybe, even for a minute, dreamed of being great ourselves.

I think sometimes we approach poetry hesitantly because we want to feel worthy of its magic.  And the wonderful truth of the matter is, we are just that.  The Mischief Café showed us so.

Thursday, October 23, 2014


without constraint

      (summergreen fades
       bladecovers disintegrate)

  delicate veins remain

  under the skin
  we are all the same


Friday, August 29, 2014

remember me summer

remember me summer (as
you fade into fall)
and how i let your hot
fingers curl my hair and
your heat dew my skin as
i moved slowly through you
with wine-soaked music and
percolating laughter

remember the nights when i
screamed my secrets and
whispered my dreams to your
bending ear and how you
answered my cries with a 
river of stars and made
me believe those secrets
are safe and those dreams
will come true

summer you are not steady (as
seasons always change)
and i am here not wanting
to see you go but in my
surrender i trust you will
remember and return 
to simmer my senses again

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


the one that got away was never
meant for me to hold

though i stand barefoot and
firm in silt at the cool water's
edge hands poised to trap the
silver beauty and bring her to
my atmosphere

though she glides into the space
between my palms and our vibrations

though i deftly close my hands
around her facile form the grasp only
serves as a warning and propels her into 
deeper waters

she is gone before i can exhale

though my hands are far from empty
as her opalescent scales bedazzle
my palms

Join us this week over at Tweetspeak for more poems on "the one who got away" by clicking on the link below

Thursday, July 24, 2014


slumber dragon shedding her
calloused scaly skincoat
the days toil worries
wondering writhing 
scratching twisting flipping 
     breaking free 
arising at dawn no 
memory of the struggle
only a damp tangle of 
bedding cast aside to 

Saturday, July 12, 2014

hands free

sea calm hot sun cool breeze  
empty late September beach morning

a rare day hands free no weight
no tending to any someones need

the space between us quiet and without
blame separate/together mom and i

comb the sandy trail of treasures
left by the mornings receding tide

she searching bounty in perfection
me searching beauty in the broken

we breathing in deep of the deep
hands free to seek what we need

Tuesday, July 8, 2014


i stop seeking
perfection in
the delicacy of
fragments on
the shoreline 

it is freedom to
surrender the 
(futile) mending of
the fractured 

and instead to
feel with 
my feet the
sharp edges  of
in the relentless 
steady coming 
forth of
the surf 
on the sand

and to seek 
not expected shapes 
(a constancy in
form) but the inner 
colors and curves 
unique to what
is made from
just one piece of

i stop seeking
perfection in 
the delicacy of
fragments on
the shoreline

This poem is in response to Tweetspeak Poetry's Monday prompt.  Click the link below for more original work and to listen to a great summer playlist!

Saturday, June 28, 2014





A drag off my regulator brings oxygen to my blood.  With each exhalation, bubbles percuss toward the surface of the sea, via the curve of my face and through the wet curls on my scalp.  I sense the excitation of tiny hairs on my skin raising in this rush, a contrast to the constant pressure of the ocean and its wombish support of my existence.  I remember laying my head in my mother's lap as she stroked my face and hair.  Although it is not dark in this underwater playground, the sun high and refracting above this soothing bluish hue, and although my body is not constricted into an egg of flexion, I remember an ancient, sacred space and long to be enveloped by my own mother's voice, to have my heart's cadence set by hers.

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it still make a sound?  The terror of ceasing to exist always interrupts the serenity of my solitude, so perhaps my answer to that unanswerable question is "yes".  I try to catch another diver's attention but forget to use hand signals.  Without thinking I speak into the mouthpiece I am clenching with my teeth, and lose my words and vision simultaneously as my thoughts explode before me.  I am still learning how to rest in the encapsulation of my own atmosphere.

The coral at this reef grows upward in popcorn-shaped structures because here, the current is weak and does not wear it into smoother shapes. Tang, butterflies and angels graze the surface, like birds and insects in a field of wildflowers.

Hovering just past the reef, a puffer gazes at me, as if to extend an invitation.  IS this a dream?  No matter, for now in my solitude, I am no longer alone.  My presence does not threaten, and she keeps her poisonous weapons concealed.

I follow the exotic beauty over peaks and through crevasses in the live rock, losing myself in this dance of surreality.  She swims upward and I follow.  She turns to confirm my presence every minute or so, then continues her tour.  We dance a few movements of tide, and then she is gone where I cannot follow.

I reluctantly return to the ease of my natural environment on the deck of the boat and head back to shore.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

conchoidal fracture

This term, conchoidal fracture, stuck in my head for days after it appeared in my stacked poem from the Tweetspeak Poetry Meet-Up workshop, then wove its way into the verse below. 

(click the link for more)

in the absence of a

natural plane of separation

     (no inherent weakness

      to the structure)

obsidian heart


at the point of impact

(either as the intended target

or a random landing 


shock waves splay

from the bulb of percussion

radiating ripples over

the once-glassy


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Refractions: A Second Wind

Over the next few months, I, along with some friends, will be discussing Makoto Fujimura’s “Refractions: a journey of faith, art and culture”. I’ll be posting my reflections here at simplyMagnified, and linking them to the BreatheArts Facebook page as well.  Join in the conversation, won’t you?

I have a full-time vocation that doesn’t involve writing, yet there are works within me that clamor to meet ink and paper in daylight.  Poetry is my passion, and that is a gift that visits without predictability.  Unrest organizes images that self-craft as I experience a moment or emotion. That inertia will awaken me until its resolution in verse; then I am freed and move on.  Sometimes there is no verse for months, then without warning several emerge in an hour.

Just the opposite, it’s so difficult to express my voice in composition or narrative; I usually pound overworked versions of the ideas I want to convey, then toss them. Consequently, I have ignited and abandoned a lengthier writing project several times over the last 18 months. 

“The process of creating renews my spirit, and I find myself attuned to the details of life rather than being stressed by being overwhelmed. I find myself listening instead of shouting into the void.” (page 15)

I definitely did not feel “renewed” in this creation (more like “expired”).

(Cue window into my world when I sat to write)

“Where are you stupid words?!?!?” I shout.  Daily. Hourly. Blinking at the empty screen.  Checking my email.  Checking my work email. Eating a bowl of cereal.  Blinking.
“There are none in here!  Stop looking!!” echoes back from deep within the void. 

I sighed.  I knew it.  Nothing in there…but, then, wait a minute…what had replied if the void was truly empty??

After reading this first chapter, I became fixated on the word “process”. Mako didn’t, after all, write “creating renews my spirit”, but “the process of creating renews my spirit”.

Previously, I had no process other than “write when I am inspired”, “write when I am bored”, or “don’t write but carry the bones of what you’d like to write around with you everywhere, just in case an idea drops from the tree you are walking under”.  So, I gave myself a process.

For the month of February, I committed to writing just 250 words a day for the entire month.  No editing, or even re-reading, what I wrote.  Although I didn’t write every single day, I wrote many of the days and many of the days I wrote well past 250 words. I became familiar with my tools, my words, my thoughts. I heard that reply from the void, and dug deeper behind the façade of avoidance. I reflected on and released barriers impeding my journey.  There were so many subtle voices: don’t go too deep/make yourself too vulnerable/transparent/guard your words/what do you have to say that someone hasn’t already said?  I needed to allow those thoughts to surface in my consciousness, sit with them, and let them go.  That was my process.

By writing as a more discipline, something shifted.  As Mako states: 

“Often, I am simply showing up to be in a regular rhythm of being available to create, and I may not feel creative at all. But my second wind kicks in to provide surprising moments of creative bursts.  I value these moments, allowing me clarity and focus even in the midst of a stressful day.” (pg 16)

And the creative bursts emerged.  Along with them, some joy in the words that pull together, and a confidence that there is more to come.

click image to enlarge

Thursday, February 27, 2014


(outside my window polar
tempest you beat
against the pane
while i in comfort
and coze need only to
shift layers of 
blankets to insulate
against the bitter
night chill)

i drift off loving the howl
     that shakes the holding-on dead leaves free
     that unearths roots not too-deeply rooted
     that karate-chop pummels whole limbs from trunks

oh my heart do not hide safe when
the wild wind beckons

meet its power
     be uprooted and
     blown naked
     welcoming newness as
     it is released


i slide my palm
(unaware but not
into the slit of
threadbare denim
over a smooth
angle of hipbone
toward the deep
corner of pocket
where you  (a foreign
coin gathering
my heat) nestle

my fingers seek
your contour and
edges (my heart 
needs refuge far
away from here)

i settle and 
retract my hand
but you (unsettled)
you flee and 
flip through the

(no matter how familiar
the edges i never can
guess which side will
land upright to the sky)

heads or tails is
anyones guess

Sunday, February 2, 2014

one word 2014: joy

the drama of bearing
such a gift as joy is first
when it sprung from my heart
and out of my lips i could
not believe it was true

then i realized that the
gift was not in the holding of
joy in my hands but in
the emptying of those hands of
things that drown out joy

     (things that prevent joy from
      penetrating this intensity of
      life i have been living)

joy comes from the remembrance of
past goodness surviving and made
true made right made whole even if
it still seems broken on the outside
to those who dont really know
what they are looking at

joy is learning to look
deep into the sense of peace and
belonging that only comes with 
healing that is according to the
truth and peace that surpasses

when joy is sparked the gift
is in the taking off of
the mask so that it will
flow through me and to you
and to whomever else is longing
for it too

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

poetry at work

I love words.  I love writing and singing and conversation.  I love my vocation as a speech-language pathologist, and I really love poetry.  Reading AND writing it. Books all over my house and blue roller pens and pads of words scattered all over the place.

I love working with the bodies of the children in my care, and coaxing, shaping, weaving and listening to sound and thought as it emerges from very very deep places.  Places of great suffering but also places of great joy.  Places of great challenge but also places of great wisdom.

On behalf of the work done here today by ALL of the children who came through the doors, and the moms, dads the therapists who stood with them, ENJOY!

ysa so pretty you are my
poetry at work

you sing a sonnet
a love song
through the stars 
in your eyes the same
as the sky at night
and its song of heaven

you shake up some free verse
a radical rant
with brain waves seizing

      we dont understand the colors or
      the way you 
             s  p a    ce   y  o u   r  b  rea  t  h
      (we wish it metered and
       regular but you always come back)

you giggle a couplet
a sweet and rhyming banter
in your hugs and 
great big kisses

our words daily thunder 
around and over and past you
too quickly for response but
the a surprise
an anthem in your YES
      (or maybe a funny GAH
                  a silly cat in the
       restaurant where you had lunch)

without the boundaries of words
every day ysa you are my
poetry at work

To learn more about Ysa and her family's journey with Rett Syndrome, click on the link below: