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Ch-ch-ch-changes. . . .

Self portrait | Ondu pinhole and Kodak TriX | photo by author

Welp, it’s been a challenging year for me so far, and the way I’ve responded to it is to push all creative endeavors to the background (except piano, that one is my outlet). I’m not writing much, and I’m not photographing much. By not much I mean barely at all. For a while, I’ve felt like I was spread too thin; I’ve been well aware of how unsustainable it is to have two websites (one for writing, and one for photography) plus a presence on Medium. When I polled the hive mind on Facebook about which platform to make the one-stop-shop, the results were split right down the middle between WordPress and Squarespace. Thus mentally waffling and unprepared to make a decision, I decided to keep them both. For now.

That non-decision was still a decision, of course, and still leaves me spread too thin. Yesterday, in a moment of clarity possibly boosted by endorphins — I was running at the time — I made a further decision to quit writing on Medium altogether BUT before my membership expires to start sharing the poems I have published there so far right here with y’all. Copy, paste, repeat sounds manageable. . . . hopefully! It’s been months since I really put back into the community on Medium, and I don’t feel right about that, so this seems like the best move all around.

Here ends my update, and I hope y’all will stick around to read what I’m going to share over the next while because I am proud of the pieces, and they all brought me a little burst of joy when I made them. May your own joy find you, and quickly, wherever you are today. ✌

Zinnia

iPhone hipstamatic app photo by author

the field is a constellation of color
a vast universe dotted with petal’d stars
where harvesters buzz like bees
armed with scissors
for take-home delights
that don’t last
the crystal autumn sky watches
without emotion
throwing down rays of dust
to nourish the future,
who buds in quiet industry
in spite of the invading hoards


This poem is about the field of zinnias at a pumpkin patch that operates as a cut-your-own-bouquet attraction. I couldn’t find a photograph of it (my hard drive just bit the dust – argh) so you’re having to settle for making your own mental image instead. Thank you for reading!

Marigold

Instax wide photo by author (not of marigolds, but they ARE yellow.. . )

buttoned up with meaning,
like clockwork in the sky
throughout the year,
a garland of desire like
a field of bristling suns
gravely marching to do
their business with the
great beyond, equal to both
sides of life’s coin:

weddings and funerals
joy and loss

take it or leave it,
stuff your pockets full of gold


I can’t think of marigolds without thinking about that old movie Monsoon Wedding, and the friend of mine who said that it reminded of her of her own wedding. Where I live now, they take on a new meaning, cropping up outside every store for Dia de Los Muertos. . . . Thanks for reading!

Hyacinth

Cyanotype print by author

bittersweet early bloomer
drunk on the blood of winter
swollen in the sleeping soil
to thrust a graceful, frilled neck
that soaks up the delight of the sun
intoxicating passers by to
swoon in half-sorrow longing

the perfume cuts through
the air like an errant
discus thrown and then struck
by the jealous wind
so sweetness springs from
the grave where youth fell,
to sorrow-seed the fallow ground


Flower poems continue! Thanks for reading!

Geranium

Santa Fe, New Mexico (not geraniums) | 35mm film photo by author

comfort kisses, here in this terracotta pot
window seat with a view
a sprawling forest of brick walls
in countless kitchens, the urban
jungle brightened with
a touch of the pretend:
no one cooks here,
but if they did there’s balm
for knife-slips in these leaves,
just don’t mix them up with the take-out


Thank you for reading!

Eclipse

Cyanotype print by author

(For the full Super Flower Moon, May 2022)

what more can I say about the moon?

my daughter read an article
on rabies that scared the wits
out of her, so I am thinking
about all the wild things
marauding out there
in the ghostly super light

the earth’s shadow
scrapes its way across her face
a raw red nail
turning the white lamp of the night
into blood and rust
breathing portents
across space and time
writing its own cautionary tale
across the sky

in the articles of motherhood
no one says how to soothe
irrational fears after they
have outgrown hugs and lullabies

what bedtime stories
can I tell besides the truth,
besides do not be afraid?
even the lilies and sparrows
face nature boldly every day
they sleep through
the moon’s fickle folklore
awakening refreshed again
with each new morning


Who else watched the total lunar eclipse last night? I was too excited about it and had to stay up to see totality – it was worth it. Who else has a kiddo that scares themselves reading random articles online, then refuses any kind of rational consolation??

Pansy

Cyanotype print by author (not of a pansy)

I think, therefore I am: beautiful
in a simple, smiling kind of a way
velvety, underfoot, a little something
to remember me by

Let me ease your heart
with bard songs that bring
sweet nothings to mind

Carry me close, sprinkle me
with sugar and I will
garnish your days,
a lion-hearted darling
gracing the garden with a flourish
of loamy, bright color-splash


Oh the humble pansy! So ubiquitous, so nice. Thanks for reading!

Lilac

Cyanotype print by author (not of a lilac)

delicate purple sweetness,
pipe your secrets in my ear
sing to me while I bury my face
in your perfume
the essence of something
so far away in my memory
I can barely see it on the horizon
but it approaches
at a run, swift as a river
washing over my senses as
I close my eyes
and breathe it in


Thank you for reading!

Daffodil

Portobello Road (I think! it was a long time ago), London | 35mm film photo by author

Pride of parks and roundabouts in Britain
where Wordsworth waxed ecstatic
in his regard of those yellow hosts

Bright faces perking up the lawns
of New York after a dreary
endless winter
waving in the breeze like so many
flags pointing toward warmer days
trumpeting a new season

I never noticed their absence
in the south, dazzled instead
by the yellow face in the sky
imposing a presence stronger
than any waving gilded field
beating the soil with warmth
for longer than a short-lived
chivalrous heart can bear


Daffodils don’t really bloom in Texas, not without some serious cultivation, and it doesn’t seem like anybody bothers to plant them – not that I have seen, anyway. We don’t really have the climate that suits them, with spring starting not only early but with a big warm bang. I think of them more as the type of flower that gives you a hint that maybe, just MAYBE, sometime in the next few weeks you might be able to take off your jacket. Anyway they were everywhere in the UK and so nice to look at. Also if you’ve never read Wordsworth’s excellent poem, you should. Thanks for reading!

Day by day. . . .

This morning’s creativity booster attempt center

After spending over a year hemming and hawing, an email from Medium reminding me my membership was fixing to auto-renew finally galvanized my decision to leave there. I’m sorry to do it, because I met some wonderful people and the community atmosphere amongst the poets is – for the most part – tremendous, but at the end of the day I am spread too thin being on multiple platforms, and if I have to choose I’d rather it be one that belongs only to me, rather than feeling like I am under the watchful brow of a parent organization. Granted, I don’t make money here on WordPress, but it would take me months of writing on Medium to earn enough for a trip to Starbucks. So, there ya go – lucky y’all (haha) are the only ones who get to read what drivel I push upon the world!

PS I didn’t delete my account, I just became a non-member. Because it’s entirely possible I’ll go back one day. Never say never.

I can feel myself opening back up to the creative journey. Maybe it’s the onset of summer, maybe the latest difficult period has run its course, maybe it’s the movement of the spheres, but I can feel the shell cracking and letting in a little light again. To that end, I hauled out a bunch of books (pictured above) to help jump-start the process. I have a little book on creativity that came either from Lomography with a Diana camera thing I purchased a couple of years ago, or it was in a Scribbler box, but anyway I started scribbling all over it and that got the ball rolling. You never know what will do it.

Also this book. . . . .

. . . . spoke the loudest to me and I’ve started working my way through it. When I’ve had a long dry & empty spell, I need a guided experience to unblock the channels and start me on the path again. The first exercise has to do with staring at yourself in the mirror – YIKES I do not find that fun, but I did it.

To end my rambling, here’s a little poem I got up from the piano to write the other day. Inspiration is starting to hit again at the most unlikely times. . . .

11th May

Today is a to-do, a now
and all that yesterday stuff
is like the memory of a sunset
that time at that place
with those people whose faces
have faded like your
old jeans that finally
ripped in an indecent spot
and it was a shame to
throw them out but
sometimes you just have to
let go and move on

the divide of hours
has a good reason and
plenty of purpose
the tense of a verb
can bring you back
to time and remind
you of the gift, like a
sunrise, that is
right now, today
that grand new TO-DO


Thank you for reading!

Iris

iPhone photo, Hipstamatic app (by author)

Neighborly, she always says hello
keeping a garden of tidy inspiration
from her motorized chair
Her smiles light the air that
surrounds her, a heartfelt message
of sisterhood arcing the distance
between us with the swiftness
of a blossom pushing out
to announce the arrival of spring

Hardy, she has weathered life
with the persistence of a kernel’d
bulb, resisting the devastation of frost,
blooming again because she can


I have a lovely neighbor named Iris who is mobility impaired, who has a garden that is almost as lovely as her smile, and who I love to talk to whenever I get the chance. This poem is for her. Thank you for reading!