Thursday, June 30, 2011

Night Sky -- Poetry 2011

Looking up to the starry dome,

I perceive the presence of all those

before me who stood and stared.

Viewed from different continents,

viewed by different ages,

viewed by different ethnicities.

Wanderers, sailors, military,

farmers, fishermen, widows…

standing in the night staring,

reckoning, dreaming, wishing…

perceiving the presence of all those

before them that stood and stared.


Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Corporate Ball and Chain -- Poetry 2011

The only bad part about having an office

with a lovely view: she was always on the

inside looking out on transparent seasons.

Typical admin job kept her hours crazy …

early in and late out, she might as well put

in a Murphy Bed, have breakfast on a tray,

conduct meetings in comfy cozy pajamas,

shuffle about in fuzzy bunny slippers.

Instilled business acumen was still sharp;

relative motivation was questionable…

personal perspective was shifting.

What was the point? Money and power…

this was not the life she signed up for;

happenstance of family corporation,

pleasing elders not wanting to disappoint,

stepping into death vacancy – no one

in the family quit or prematurely retired.

A vacation wouldn’t help; shackled to this job

was a nepotistic corporate sentence.

Marriage wouldn’t save her; they were already

irate at her lack of reception for a life partner.

No, she had to make a decisive break to leave

the ball and chain behind;  leaving this position

meant leaving her family – they’d disown her,

declare her dead, legally disinherit her interests.

Naiveté was broken down along with family chains.

Checking her to-do list:  

open separate bank account - done

save every penny of her rightful earnings - done  

purchase Belize cottage - done

acquire boutique gallery shop – done

sort, pack and ship belongings - done

procure art supplies, clothing inventory - done

standing at the end of the meal, she waited

for recognition; giving up, she spoke over

conversations … turning her back on furious

indignant faces, she strode out of familiarity

to the waiting cab plane ticket in hand…


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Vespers -- Poetry 2011

Grief and joy sat side by side…

pretty sure if you sat between them during vespers

you’d find they're each felt a bit more keenly.

Pulling at your harmony, drain and pump, grief and joy

pulling at your harmony during evensong.

Grief and joy sat on either side of her…

she knew everything always ends up in the crack

under the sofa cushion.  Checking recently, she was sad

to find that all the change that had been hiding there was

already stolen! Now what was she going to do about retirement.

Grief and joy sat entwined within her…

one a dark muse entangled with its opposite, a light heart.

Dark thorn stems and blooming white roses entwined

in the altar’s sterling silver vase at evening church service;

fingers of stained light imbued all with rainbow hue…


Monday, June 27, 2011

Touchstone -- Poetry 2011

Forced eventually to rivers end, it stuck out

nestled among the less attractive forms…

kneeling on a dry hummock of grass, she

peered into the clear water bathing it.

Scooping, she cradled it in her hands…

a perfectly polished black oval stone.

Imagine the voracious gravel enhanced

by water’s power scouring, tumbling, gyrating

until all the sharp edges were worn smooth.

Liquid immersion made the onyx color glow

in the intense noon sun; its aura radiated

a bright rippling glow across sand, neighboring

pebbles, waving water plants, darting minnows.

Cupped, she felt the touchstone’s discernable

force as it was lifted into the element of air and ether

from fire’s formation and water’s manipulation.

Raising it higher above eye level, sun dried it;

while a luminous gold and silver halo resembled

a solar eclipse floating in azure sky…


Touchstone hard black stone formerly used to test the purity of gold and silver

according to the color of the streak left when the metal was rubbed against it.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The World Cup -- Poetry 2011

Not being a soccer fan, I knew nothing

about The World Cup… not that I paid

much attention to sports – OK maybe,

I checked on the Boston Red Sox -

a long standing McNeill family tradition.

Laying on the surgical table, my body shook

chilled by operating room’s low temperature;

anesthesiologist peered over his mask,

my only direct eye contact – I wanted to scream –

I’m here… I’m frightened…

No one talked to me. Lost in conversation,

oblivious to me, the nurses chatted leaning

against a counter – I wanted to scream –

I’m here… look at me…

the doctor and his intern routinely cut

to pull my son free all the while talking

soccer scores, names of players, rocking

the placenta free, – I wanted to scream –

what about me…

Gray and white, stainless steel, harsh

light and antiseptic blandness greeted

my new born son – not that he would

notice being two months premature.

The nurses actually brought him near me;

shaking from chills, I thought I’d vomit.

I shook my head and they took him away…

the doctors cheerily expounded who might

win the cup as they closed me up –

so routine...


City Chaos -- Poetry 2011

Having been in motion with such great force

for so very long, she'd forgotten the simple

pleasure of the sofa and a table full 'o takeout.

Success mad with travel - hanging her work,

opening receptions, presenting demos…

whirlwind - spinning in different social circles

so foreign to her – wishing to log out, back

off presentation, her studio was calling to her.

Belly full, stoically she opened the studio door;

stale scent of oil, acrylics, glue greeted her.

Seemed odd… stepping back in time, everything

unfinished left in place as if by another artist.

Was she even the same person before this agent

brought her unique style to the art market’s eye?

Balance of creativity and self-preservation, such

a dance - somewhat unnerving to schmooze…

least her agent stood by her side bolstering

her low self-esteem and handling introductions.

Where to start - her thought process had changed;

input of her travel, city chaos of color and texture

imploded her subtle palette with brighter hues

intermingled with blurred words and symbols.

Incorporating the old starts with new vision,

she was home to her beautiful garden views

through expansive studio windows; a new born

deer sheltered under blueberry bush as the doe

ate her rose bush buds in the warm sun.

Paradise - how fortunate she was…


Unhappy Being -- Poetry 2011

Dislocated thinking slumped without verbalization

into fog drifting close to the ground.

Meteorologist satellites failed to predict this smoky

mist; they claimed morning clouds shifting to sun.

Standing still, unable to move, muscles willing

and able but no synapse sparking even a twitch.

Life was not in her control, come to think of it, no

one’s life was ever in control – kidding themselves…

she knew better – she wasn’t into “why me”.

Stunned but warming, her lips began to move;

arm swung a hand to forehead, movement commenced.

Whispers hissed between breathing; seeking natural

solace, she headed for her  water garden. Dragonflies

hovered glistening in their iridescent glory.

Sitting beneath Japanese Maple, she squinted at

Guanyin; she sought spiritual osmosis with a concrete image.

Flowing water, lavender scent on soft air currents moved

the chimes and tickled white hair framing her face.  

Goddess of Mercy hear my cry for I am among the worlds

many unhappy beings… I am in need…


In Chinese Buddhism, Guanyin/Kuan Yin/Kannon/Kwannon is synonymous with the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the pinnacle of mercy and compassion.  She is generally seen as a source of unconditional love and more importantly as a savior. In her bodhisattva vows, Guanyin promises to answer the cries and pleas of all beings and to liberate all beings from their own karmic woes.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Her Philosophy -- Poetry 2011

Her philosophy wrapped around a bottle.

Loosening her tongue upon ill formed

words poured over ice…

swirled and swallowed.

Burning past inhibitions details

that focused on her wretched brother’s touch.

Even a bottle of wisdom couldn’t drown

that familial night trauma from the past.

Reluctant, a quiet imbiber whose liquid

Habit equalized life into a soft haze…

Smoothing out her despair.

Neither sloppy or angry

nor full out drunk,,,

she swallowed just enough to take

his sharp edges off her memories.

Tipping her glass, ice clinked matching

wind chime tones, leaves rustled…

moonbeams faltered as she reached

for another round of liquid philosophy…


Friday, June 24, 2011

Modus Oprerandi -- Poetry 2011

Staring at the blank page didn’t make

words magically appear with or without

cast spells or curses; mind collapsed

in on itself crushing her thought process.

One of those stunning moments when

it occurs to someone they been played.

Liars no matter their social level trip

themselves up eventually… that’s why

she always took notes with dates and time.

Shyest being in the world but she had gained

some antisocial skills – the preventative kind.

Keeping perpetrators at a distance, she

analyzed their motives as best she could…

this time, he was so beyond sneaky that he

was believable but she caught on quickly.

Planning word choice carefully kept the

white surface waiting not in vain…

inspirations flash tingled to grasped pen;

Dear D, I’m no one’s fool… at least, not for long.

I value integrity, honestly, clarity … red flags,

major red flags are waving and so noted –

I see clearly your mooch habits; you’re taking

advantage of me when I least can afford it. Red

flag - I caught your self-admitted and flagrant

modus operandi. You told me you got away without

paying that bill. Red flag… you seem gentle too;

all a posture to appear mellow and calm.

I’m not against anger – it’s just how one uses it.

Find yourself another patsy; I’m done…

Your Ex friend,


Just to Prove -- Poetry 2011

Hedonistic in her own poor way,
a decision had to be made…
well more decisions were needed
but a major one was to continue
as invisible or go out with a bang!
Could she rise to the occasion?
Loud and obvious were not her style…
actually she had no style;
she practiced blend-in-shabby – jeans
and sweatshirts but not shabby chic…
shy, too quiet, her eyes evasive…
What would it be like to really look?
Stare into another person’s eyes…
the thought majorly petrified her.
What would it be like to be visible?
Step away from the wall into full light,
wear bright colors to stand out from
typical natural Pacific Northwest tones…
unfortunately the Senior Boutique or free
clothing bin at the food co-op had dull
donations, nothing lavish and grand.
Working on her to-do-list: make eye contact,
color up her clothes, drastically change
her frumpy full figured form, engage in
conversation – just to prove she could do it…

Just to Prove
ust to Prove

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Strong Voice -- Poetry 2011

Odd bits of jute wrapped around

very narrow eight foot fir trees.

One dry and brittle; other fresh and subtle…

carrying mine left a trail of dried orange

needles sharp to touch baring branches.

His smelled fresh cut - sweet sap.

Leaving them in the sanctuary hallway,

Dim incandescent lighting barely shed

light as they were examined… the two

women looked at my tree, I responded:

Your choice of which to use…

Riding in your car, the glow of instruments

highlighted your profile; eyes glued on

unfamiliar road past the old grocery store

where Grove Street ended – three way

intersection featuring an old horse trough.

Slipping through the stop sign, you headed

the nondescript car up Hartford Turnpike.

You slid through the stop – a shrug -

Keep straight – sitting forward, rolling home…

Light kept changing early evening or night -

back and forth as scene shifts to entering

a Victorian house, clustering in front parlor…

a poetry reading, sitting with my back to group,

I looked out the window into the night…

you sat on a settee leaning forward slightly.

Each poem sounded like the one before.

The facilitator’s stamp was clear to my ears…

I had a yellow legal pad and began writing, writing,

poem after poem, you watched keenly interested.

There I was dreaming fully engaged in capturing

verbosity to pages; one poem described the facilitator,

her hard exoskeleton added to her dominance…

poets under her watchful eye spewed worn pabulum

phrases and syntax according to her style and method.

Mimicking seemed to flatter her instead of incense.

I read in a strong voice keeping your eyes and woke

mumbling incoherent phrases that escaped paper…


Solstice Moon -- Poetry 2011

Pretty girl, go dance...

the moon is lovely tonight;

dancing keeps you calm

in this crazy world...

weaving rhythm and soft voice,

whirl and twirl beneath starlight skies.

Moonbeams sanctify night spaces.

Your silver sequined slippers cast

mini strobes into deep shadows.

Whirling, twirling, singing…

pretty girl goes moon dancing

to welcome the summer solstice.


Physic -- Poetry 2011

Hard pressed to come up with an answer…

at least one appropriate to the question;

an infernal internal worn out revolving

examination of why she was the way she was.

Change, she set goals, read self-help books,

wrote in journals, perused meditation…

all for a panacea to change prolonged pandemonium.

Cursing the chaos that enveloped her, it flew

into her abode with glistening wings reeking

of waste and decay; it cawed constantly wearing

her nerves to incensed degrees of foolhardiness.

Anything to get away, more rash decisions,

inviting more of the carrion eaters to pick

through her salacious unprincipled maelstrom.

Running, running, running by day, by night

frenzied movements even in deep sleep…

staring into skies expanse, she stepped out

of life;  a cathartic release of her tormented soul…


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Guilty -- Poetry 2011

Guilt, blitzing a day to watch

mind numbing daytime TV.

Sometimes it soothed her soul

to watch other people’s stupidity;

it helped her learn to watch body language;

it helped he to realize she wasn’t alone;

it helped her to learn to take a stand…

OK, she wasted time watching the judge shows.

There it’s done, admitted, she loved the judges.

They looked through the veneer, past facades…

their years of experience produced sharp

accurate ratings of deceptions and mistruth.

Wishing she had that acumen… that cognizant

ability to recognize deceit especially subtle variety

would be an excellent personal skill to obtain.

Being soft hearted and a genuine pleaser set an

invisible take-advantage-of-me announcement

to anyone she came in contact with; a neon

flashing beacon radiated through subconscious.

Unable to reach the pull chain, she felt at least

she was more aware but struggling with the word no.

Flipping the channel to the next installment, she

kept the sound muted trying to discern clues:

eye direction, body posture, overall silent response.

TV school of life with judges being great equalizers…


Monday, June 20, 2011

Merry Girls -- Poetry 2011

I washed my hands with toothpaste because there was no soap.

Now my nails will gleam and my pores will be minty fresh…

hoping that this unnamed brand will handle bacteria…

assuming since mouths contain so much that toothpaste

can deal with invisible life forms associated with an orifice.

Her friends rolled their eyes, her deductions were a source

of kind ridicule not meant to sting or sling nastiness about.

Enveloped firmly into the fold, the group had been friends

since elementary school: Brownie to Girl Scouts, soccer,

ice skating, gymnastics and dance plus classes and clubs

like choir, art, school newspaper, drama… not exclusive

in an obnoxious clique manner.  They invited tag-a-longs

on their mini adventures – open, curious, lives full of growth.

Shadow of demise never crossed their minds; living in the now

with unquestioned long lives gracing their distant future…

the first merry girl’s member loss was due to a bicycle accident;

clinging to one another, pale faces were creased and puffy eyed

from storms of tears as the realism of life’s fallibility set in.

Somehow they had not been exposed to incurable illness or

experienced numbing pain of family bereavement…

The first death temporarily toned them down but bound them

in an endearing manner; it sealed their commitment to one another.

Next time any of them had a really big problem to solve, they didn’t

have to pretend that they needed a to hire their own decision counsel.

No matter if everything went from edging to the top of individual

game to a total train wrecks; their woven support carried them along.

In three words they could sum up their life lesson: it goes on…


Half Living -- Poetry 2011

Going through the motions

always looking backwards

to her perceived golden time:

most loving,

happiest memories,

full of life’s vitality…

back there she felt all that.

She had once felt strong bonds too.

Now residing in bleak anonymity,

self-inflicted, she hid…

within her mind,

within a dream cocoon,

without physical contact.

Her skin dried and withered;

her emotions shriveled.

A waif wandering barefoot…

life’s gravel impinged on her faith;

morose internal weather kept

fog and gloom around her heart.

Pain pulled weft and warp strings askew;

tapestry blighted by mistrust,

snagged by prior abuse,

she clung to old reverie half living …


Sunday, June 19, 2011

could she make one? -- Poetry 2011

Maybe twenty years more or less…

that is if her health remained static.

Plenty of room for body improvement,

she needed to drop serious poundage;

encourage muscle strength, work those

brain cells to keep them vital and active…

quite a health care to-do-list but where was

the motivation to even begin a schedule?

Emulating ritualistic application of make up

or desiring a current fashionable wardrobe

had never been important; from middle school

to now, she consistently wore jeans with t-shirts.

Feeling foolish in typical skirt and blouse,

she certainly never wore heels or stockings.

Corgis would enjoy additional walks but

other than herself, who was she grooming for?

Did it matter when she greeted the grim reaper?

Her son would miss her the most; her daughter

had always been independent leaving home

early and living far away with an annual visit.

Maybe twenty years more or less…

what physical shape did she want to be in?

Baring major health problems, she needed to

loosen tight joints and keep flexible; that took

a commitment to health, that took a commitment

to herself – the one person she always ignored…


Weaving -- Poetry 2011

Some people drank or drugged themselves into oblivion…

daydreams were at least not toxic but haphazard

in their control of her waking moments; she learned to

reel them in when driving after a near miss or two.

Immersed in fiction as a child, she read constantly;

hiding books, and of course, reading by flashlight.

Managing to fill her head with real and imagined places, she

passed through paranormal, mystery, biography, science fiction

phases; gobbling books by the dozens until late in life, her eyes

fought to see clearly even with powerful magnification.

Spun through prisms, her paltry life was swallowed by infinitesimal

scenarios; predominant themes based on real or fantasy cultures

Native American, woodland elf, Druid child… magical abilities,

warrior courage and skills with strong family/tribe ties nurturing

her development  - memorized scenes replayed gave her

comfort in her challenged existence; sitting in sun or paled

under moon beams, she wove over threads of sour reality…


Art World -- Poetry 2011

Taking a break from waxing philosophical to strike a pose

not in front of a camera, no way was she a friend to photo

images; this was a surprised pose; a bathroom break –

catching her mirror image while washing hands totally

caught  her off guard… barely a passing glance was ever

conceived in any reflective surface.

Thoughts of what was and what wasn’t crowded for a voice;

mentally passing the talking stick, her inner ruminations

gave sway to varied perspective, possible conclusions,

provocative assessment on her life’s directions.

Realistically, she knew who she was and why she was interred

on the sidelines of creativity – failure to think big, discomfort

with cosmopolitan cities, unused to travel, social skills of an

eighth grader i.e. shy, lack of funds to create large pieces, she

perused opportunities, made lists, kept her circle tight to home.

Sighing, she did stay away from if only continuing her limited

progress – limited by social discomfort and lack of experience.

Her work spoke of her inner sanctum where she was strong,

brave, willing to experience life fully instead of shuttering

herself in the confines of a spare bedroom studio peering

out into the cosmos of the innovative art world…


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Blessed Dreams -- Poetry 2011

Wishing herself back into that dream,

she didn’t care about anything…

dream randomness – imperfections and all

were better than reality, better than this now

In dreams, she danced clustered among

friends - an integral part of their being.

In the now, wise wariness kept her on the move;

she was lost in day after day distrust.

Adamantly breaking connections, she kept

to herself by voiding life to shadows.

Avoiding bright light either day or incandescent

rays, she moved outside convention…

a shadow form within her sacred dreams.

Longing for eternal sleep, the forest elevation

with chilling air drew her upward… settling

beneath a sturdy fur, her plums of breathe

became extinguished in the freezing rain…


Fallen Sky -- Poetry 2011

Fragment of blue fell to earth

right before her eyes; climbing

over undergrowth, she retrieved

chipped and broken particles of sky.

Resting on her palm, who would

have thought the ether was so delicate.

If she formed a fist, she could easily

reduce it to dust and scatter it on the wind.

Sitting on emerald green moss, the scent

of rebirth lingered with winter’s decay.

Typical forest essence that she loved so much…

inhaling deeply, she studied blue segment

matching the quivering openings between

leafy branches blocking overhead expanse.

Opening her neck pouch, she placed the

sky blue bits amongst soft down, garnets,

a snail shell, dried forget-me-not petals,

the lock of her mother’s hair…


constantly left waiting -- Poetry 2011

Sprawled across her bed,

she was waiting for a sign…

staring out the window,

nothing emerged as a signal.

Come on Universe, please

show some empathy…

tarot cards spread;

dainty angel card selected;

runes cast;

pendulum swung…

still no definite guidance.

Waffling, mulling, waffling…

the choice was up to her.

Journaling questions, various

goals written depending on

her frozen choices…

staring, thinking, writing…

waiting for external indications.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Character Studies -- Poetry 2011

Snippets of life,

parts of days,

miniscule in all that it can be

but enough to catch the flavor…

character studies - then what?

How to assemble these pieces?

There must be greater depth;

more history to uncover…

decisions and results

liberally salted with unknown…

always the unknown…

labeled: fate, karma, chance…

even in imaginative characters.

Elements drawn from observation

or firsthand experience…

serendipity and spontaneity - good.

The bad is crushing consternation…

just as serendipitous;

just as spontaneous;

its everything that life ought to be.