Winning Gratitude—Sometimes You Just Got to Grab It!

Anger courses through
My veins, curdling,
Disfiguring smile fragments
All crooked and cracked
To force light in
While socializing with
Daughter’s friends
During college homecoming weekend
Alongside their parents
So polished and tall
Fresh from Nova Scotia vacation

Loss of right arm,
Now rotting at the stump,
An amputated heart
Dulls eye twinkle,
Discoloring future outlooks
Taking me away
From fall foliaged
Daughter focus.

I’ve spoken of
My recent evisceration
In great detail lately and
Will tamp a heavy lid
On those emotions
For the time being,
Switch gears for sanity’s sake,

To breathe sunshine
Through my exoskeleton
Spread my toes wide
To feel prickly grass creeping
Through phalanges
While spreading a flowered blanket
On the ground to
Unpack picnicked goodies
Present in my life.

Peering into
My gratitude basket
Stiff joints creak in dusty,
Rusty protested must.

This past month—
Embroiled in
Emotional beheading,
Corpse flaying
Skin left brittle and
Hung out to dry,
I’m a bit out of practice.

But here I go
Grabbing items by the neck
Wriggling with reptilian reluctance
From exposure to daylight…

My luck is with me
In the in-law department.
Not everyone has extended family
She can stay with
In different cities
Who will house, feed and
Drive substantial distances
To visit Daughter.

I’m lucky for being
One able to hop a flight
To travel to northeast hinterlands
For parents and homecoming weekend,
In the first place
To see Daughter’s new life now.

Coffee and wine
My primary daily liquids
Run plenty on this trip
As do puppies, fall leaves,
Kid activities—bygone
In my own life
And so missed—
So the trip has been
A successful, good one.

My birthday approaches—
I’m blessed with
Supreme physical health
Muscles rippling with
Striated use
Strong functioning
Internal organs,
Facile inner systems,
Well oxygenated blood
Surging through every capillary

So far so great
So much so that
I’ve begun looking into
“Racecation” destinations
To travel to
To run a half marathon
At sea level
Versus higher altitude
In the US and/or
In another country.
Not everyone can pull that off
In her mid 40s…

Friends will “willingly”
Gather to celebrate my
Increasing wisdom
Noshing on fried food and drinks
While we lose track of time
And forget the world’s troubles
To karaoke our hearts out.

I’m aware that not everyone
Including myself, at other times,
Can pull that one off either
And I’m thankful on many levels
That this year I can.

I smile inside
For the delicate souls
In my family still breathing
Into their lives and mine—
My children, my partner,
My parents, my sister
Who even called me yesterday—
All precious beings
Alive and well enough
Hospital/nursing home free,
Unhindered by chemo or surgery,
All ambulatory,
All speaking and making
At least decent sense, thus far…

I haven’t lost anyone
For anything yet.
I know someday I will.
Everybody does,
But that time is
Not quite here yet.
That kind of fmaily fortune
Still runs through my fingers.



Finding Loyalty to Yourself Regardless of the Actions of Others

Solid hard hours of sleep
Leaves an optimistic possibility

Dragged down with
A broken heart and
The tyranny of my own thoughts
Hydrogen sulfide stink
Infiltrates my bedroom
An unwholesome beady eyed troll
Digging deep with twisted claws
Always mining my soul.
So now what?

I reach
Finding only dry brittle leaves
Crumbling between my fingers
Sifting through the ash
Of what was
What could have been
And what will likely be.

I open my eyes
To days dimmed to
The sun’s warmth
Parched from feeling
The pliability of
Robust physical health
I was so lucky
To celebrate yesterday
Running the best race imaginable

A magnificent accomplishment
Achieved through months
Of consistent determined
Training and preparation
A loyalty to myself
Not everyone possesses.

Instead, overwhelmed,
I have allowed
Panic, rage and sadness
To curtail joy
To pillage my appetite
Dull my tastebuds
For tasting and savoring life
Leaving me weakened
Crawling towards the finish line.

This bleeding out
Needs to end
A tourniquet I construct
And wrap myself
Must cease this sapping.
I want to be a better,
More mentally healthy,
And maybe loving person, even.

I need to look forward
Consider what I want now
Develop goals I want to have
And shine where I excel–
Moving inch by inch
Working on making my plans
Come true the best I can.

An upturned tortoise
Wobbling on the shell’s curve
Legs flailing, mid air
Soft underbelly
Vulnerability exposed
I’m definitely off balance
Who knows exactly for how long

But I’ll get there.






Falling out of Love With the Wrong Person

Believe me
Sometimes you know
You’ve fallen out of love
And it’s “over.”
There’s no turning back.
Light switch permanently off.

Some door that once opened
Into lighted magic phenom
Aurora Borealis
Now has a cold knob.
Ashes behind tears
Gale force black ink squirted

Octopus arms suction
Formaldehyde cadavers

Be done with this eternity.
Be strong
Stay safe
Be sane.


Elastic Heartache

Being kind
A warm fire heart
Crackling with welcome
A steady hand
To guide gazes towards light
Palms turned up and open
To receive life’s gifts
Relationships, opportunities.

Knowing depths of positive
Sometimes fleeting–
Nothing lasts forever–
But also pausing to see beauty
In the scratchy,
People quirks
Barren polish
Dented sheen


Less can be more.

I wonder how to make “good”
On all the promises
I’ve made to everyone.

Stilt walking
Uneven sidewalk frayed and pocked
While holding high ball glasses
Molecular thin transparency
Filled to the brim

I wonder exactly how
To step correctly
To avoid tripping and falling

Or getting a long peg leg
Stuck down into
A ridiculous divot
Everyone else except me
Spotted and steered left
To safely avoid
While my blind self
Lost footing
Then toppled.

I wonder how, in this process,
To keep everyone happy
I don’t always know
If my heart and hands
Are big enough
Have sufficient taffy
Elasticity to stretch
Absorb and
Envelop everyone
With the time, energy
And love they so crave
And deserve.

I don’t know if
There’s enough of me
To fulfill you–
To meet your needs.

I am aware that
There just may not be.
I breathe to quell
Rising panic
In attempts to expunge
Creeping grief

For I am nothing without you.


Can a Person be TOO Popular?

At times I shelf
My feelings in a box
Locked, tied, hamstrung,

I don’t always know
The shape therein,
The textured manifestations
Of starred joy
Dotting life’s landscape
Emitting a soft brightness
Flexible in cheeky brilliance

But also sadness and pain–
A mismatch–being on
The wrong page,
A footfall lag behind
Other, more popular
Resourceful people.
Me, Always a squared peg.

Is it possible for another person
To be TOO well liked?

Missing the last step
On a winding stairway.
A stumble downwards
Into an infinite moment
Of nothing.

Despair–unreasonable spans.
Webs of acid clutter
Overreaching across
Oblong distances,
Tubular in its hollow fullness.

I rack my brains trying
To figure how to make
My life work out
In a way that makes sense,
Will nourish my heart,
Keeps me safe, healthy
And growing too, ideally.

I wonder if
I’ve been a fool
Lacking proper adult judgement,
A pauper urchin in my instincts,
To correctly understand people–

Demon shadows rise within
Fingering obscene hand gestures
Sporting ugly faces
Deepening my fear
As I wonder whether
I’ve been wrong to marvel in
Fine leaflings of trust
The beginnings of sprout
A daring to hope,
To actually arc my mind and body
To reach for futured “yeses”.

The crush of that possibility
Of having erred in this manner
Butchers me open
Leaving grizzled intestines
Dangling in forever length rust.

A wholesome unwellness
Just for me
Right here, right now.