Navigating (A Poem)

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NAVIGATING

Are you trying to find your way?

Me too.

Here’s what I’ve learned.

Listen for the secrets 

Whispered through the trees,

For they lead to paths of life;

But do not listen to the secrets of spiders

Because they are full of venom

And deception.

Crows squawk exaggerated tales,

But don’t dismiss them,

Because nuggets of truth are buried inside.

You might find a clue 

Under the moss-slick rocks.

Overturn a few, 

But there are no guarantees

So don’t waste too much time with them.

Finally, the frogs will sing for you

Just when you are about to give up.

Follow their tune home.

I’ll see you there.

Hanging Painting (A poem)

I write a wide variety of poetry. I have written love poetry and haikus, but those are rare. Often I work out my painful experiences through poetry, or confusing and frustrating thoughts. Nature is a big inspiration for me. But then there are my favorites: I love fantasy, and I love horror. This poem is a horror-inspired piece.

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HANGING PAINTING

Don’t look now,

But that painting is staring right at you.

I know what you’re thinking,

Isn’t that what paintings do,

Stare?

In one fixed direction, yes.

But that menacing glare has tracked 

Every footstep you’ve taken

Around this room.

That enraged face

With bared teeth 

And deeply etched brow

Has only intensified 

From the moment you’ve walked in.

No, don’t look!

That’s what he wants.

If you give him your attention

You’ll be giving him life,

And then who knows what he is capable of.

Wait, who locked the door?

I didn’t.

Did you?

Fresh Baked Bread (A poem)

Hello everyone! I have pre-order information on my first published poem, “Hush.” My poem is featured in the Charlotte Poetry Review and can be ordered here: https://www.localgemspoetrypress.com/north-carolina-bards-charlotte-preorders.html?fbclid=IwAR3W3C-dRI3unuY2F5ay2B6zcCXMwoJNIYIpTjfN5XKGNAKWO5Ug1PcVJMc

Please enjoy this poem for free!

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FRESH BAKED BREAD

Humming and kneading,

Rocking and sighing,

Rising and waiting.

I sift my discontent in the flour,

I pound my pain into the dough,

I sit silently, 

wrestle inwardly,

And let the baking heat flash over me.

Then everything cools.

I butter the bread

And I’m well fed.

With a full stomach,

And plenty leftover,

I am soothed.

Ours (A Poem)

Great news! I have proofed my poems for the NC Bards anthology and the Bards Against Hunger chapbook, and they will be available soon. I will be sure to post links here if you’re interested in purchasing them. There is a lot of great work from other poets in these collections, so you would be getting diverse poetry from numerous talents. Also, the proceeds from Bards Against Hunger go to local food banks in North Carolina.

I don’t usually do “love poems” because very few people can pull them off without being sappy. But it’s mine and my husband’s 7th wedding anniversary today, so I’m giving it a go.

Here is this week’s poem:

OURS

Your sacred soul

And my holy heart

Breathe defiant life

In this bitter, brittle tundra.

Our hands interweave to hold

A warmth that shames

The ice that creeps away

To hidden corners.

Nothing dare touch us

In our infinite divine.

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Weekly Poems

I have been writing poetry since I was a little girl. I won prizes for my poetry and did public readings of them. I didn’t write as much in college and in grad school. But last year I started writing poetry again, and this year I started submitting poems to be published.

I want to get my poems out there to be read, and I have two poems being published soon! Both by NC Bards, one in an anthology and one in a chapbook. When those are available I will post links to them.

As I gain experience in my poetry publishing, I want to share some on my blog too. So I have decided to write poems to share on here each week. I mean, who is going to read my poetry unless I go ahead and share my art with everyone?

Here’s the first one for you to enjoy:

Eve Out of Eden: A Haiku

Yes, I ate the fruit.

But who are you to judge me?

This was not your choice.

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Don’t Pass Up The Moment

I know, this year is pretty awful. I have found myself wanting to hit fast forward to maybe a better life in 2021. For me, personally, life has been kind of rough since late 2018. Maybe you’re like me and you’re wondering, “Is it always going to be this hard? Is life just a struggle to keep your head above the water?”

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I am hoping that help comes soon for those who are struggling financially or suffering with illness.

But for the other hard things that we are experiencing, we can learn and we can be better. It is our privilege that makes us want to avert our eyes until the storm passes. It is time, past time, that we use our privilege to lift others up and dismantle the evils of inequality embedded in our society.

Who do you want to be a year from now? What do we want our nation to look like? What do we want the world to look like? We have an opportunity to change it all, if we want to.

When it comes to quarantine, we can really grasp onto ideas of work-life balance, self-care, our work culture, our educational system, our economic system, climate change, and how all of the ways we have been functioning in the world have been hurting us. We can take this moment to fix our broken systems and mold how the future will look for us.

When it comes to the protests against racism, we have an opportunity to take a long look in the mirror and work on being better, loving, and justice seeking people. We have an opportunity to open our hearts to other people in a way that is truly about love, sacrifice, equality, and peacemaking. What we have been doing hasn’t been working. It has been killing. We have the tools to change it all.

Don’t wish away the year; this is a moment in time that requires our attention, and we cannot pass it up. All the time we have is precious. Instead, take this pivotal moment in a pandemic, in a time of protest for racial equality, in an election year, in an economic recession, to learn, grow, and act. If we latch onto the movement that’s happening right in front of us we may look back a year from now and be proud of how we used the opportunity that we were given.

For My Fellow White People

I don’t have any pretty words or profound thoughts today.

We need justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tamir Rice, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, and the ever growing list of names of people who have been killed for being black.

We need to look in the mirror and make it a task everyday to dismantle the racism inside of us. We need to look around us and dismantle the racism in our circles of influence.

Here are some places to start. There are so many articles here that we can no longer say, “I don’t know what to do” or “I feel helpless”:

https://www.dismantlecollective.org/resources/

Here are some great places to donate:

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/freeblackmamas2020

https://secure.actblue.com/donate/ms_blm_homepage_2019

https://minnesotafreedomfund.org/donate

https://www.blackvisionsmn.org/about

Make sure you vote.

This has to end.

We Are Capable

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We are capable of adapting to unforeseen change. We are capable of navigating uncertainty. We are capable of being flexible and learning.

We are capable of loving ourselves and showing our selves compassion. We are capable of telling ourselves the things we need to hear (even if we wish others would say those things to us.) We are capable of self-soothing.

We are capable of change. We are capable of taking responsibility for our actions, even when it feels awful. We are capable of taking responsibility for our reactions to others, even when others are harmful to us; it is not our job to claim responsibility for the oppression or bullying we have faced, but we are responsible for our own actions in response. We cannot change others, only ourselves.

We are capable of taking responsibility of the harm we have done.

We are capable of healing. Healing is not a straight line; there will be both progress and setbacks. But we are capable to move forward and not be stuck in that misery forever.

We are capable of trying again. We are capable of forging new paths. We are capable of starting over.

We are capable to apologize, to push ourselves more, to do hard and humbling things.

We are capable of self-reflection.

We are capable to listen to our bodies and our intuitions, and be in tune with them. Our bodies have more wisdom than we give them credit for, and we must learn to listen and heed them. We are capable of discerning between the discomfort that helps us to grow and the red flags that warn of danger.

We are capable of loving ourselves the way we deserve to be loved, and taking care of ourselves the way we deserve to be cared for. We are simultaneously capable of being honest about our growing edges and how we are always a beautiful, imperfect work in progress.

Receiving

stone artwork
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Covid-19 has taken so much away from us. People have lost loved ones, celebrations they planned for, jobs and income, and so much more. There is so much grief. We have given up so much of ourselves, especially our essential workers who are risking their health and isolating themselves so as not to expose someone they love to illness.

Please know that there are also things to receive in this time. Maybe some are learning by taking some free classes or conferences online, or we are reading more now. Maybe some are resting, sleeping in, taking naps, watching movies and tv shows. Maybe some are trying new things like gardening, crafting, and new recipes. Maybe some are reconnecting with friends and family members. Maybe some are healthcare workers participating in the free coffee, donuts, and food different services are offering right now. Maybe some are really benefiting from funds, grants, and other sources of money being offered. Maybe some work in local restaurants and are being kept afloat by the community ordering takeout. Maybe some are receiving from charities who offer food and home necessities. Maybe some are receiving accessible worship in their homes. Maybe some are receiving healthcare to defeat the virus.

I am not asking you to count your blessings and be grateful. I am saying that we are all giving of us ourselves, so it is perfectly acceptable to also receive. Let’s help each other. Don’t feel guilty about taking what you need. This isn’t a promotion to be selfish (because we have already seen far too much of that), but it is an affirmation of self-care. Give back in all the ways you can, and receive what you need to survive this scary era in our lives.

We Can’t Force Things to Happen

I know we want “normal” back. I know we just want to go back to work, we want to get our haircut and nails painted, we want to spend time with friends and family, we want to go out for dinner and drinks; I know we really want to reschedule the concerts, the vacations, the graduations, and the weddings. I want to move forward. We all do.

But the truth is, this virus is going to keep acting like a virus regardless of how much we try to force life to be normal again. And unfortunately, we may be paying with the lives of our loved ones by opening too soon. Only time will tell, but there are always consequences for our actions.

Personally, in times past, I have tried to latch onto half-baked ideas and clung to dreams that had the life sucked out of them. I really had to have some goals ripped away from me and then spend some time without any long-term dreams and goals for a while. I tried to force my life to align with a vision that no longer fit me. It just held me back.

Then slowly, organically, new hopes for the future began to form on their own. It took a long time of having nothing to finally have something.

Yes, I am intentionally being vague. I am just going to keep my head down, do the work, and hopefully, the fruits of my labor will come to light. I don’t want to spoil the magic. But some of my new dreams are already coming true. When the time is right, I will share what I have been working on. But I am letting things naturally fall into place while working hard instead of forcing goals, dreams, and plans to happen before they are ready.

While we wait out this virus, it is okay to grieve and to long for better days. But, if we have the capacity to try, let us cultivate patience. If we make peace with the fact that our normality has been taken away, then we can sit with the “nothingness” we’re left with. This leaves space for new hopes to form organically, without us trying to force them into existence.