Thursday, May 19, 2022

Feeding the Soul

not-quite Journaling, 35

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”
~ Oscar Wilde

 black tulips--
real or not, I still
love the dark

5/5/2022: My terrace garden isn’t blooming yet, but the community garden on the back of my building is bursting with tulips. My favorite of the blooms is a dark purple one that looks almost black. I also enjoyed the sight of a luscious (and sexy looking *cough*) pink, and a yellow one with petals outlined in red. Spring rains have bejeweled the whole thing.


things crack
heart and will,
or feed the soul

5/17/2022: Yesterday, while on the phone with one of my doctors discussing blood, exhaustion, pain tolerance, muscle and bone loss, stubborn patients who refuse to take pain killers *cough*, the importance of the occasional treat, the horrors of unrestful sleep, and NY Comic Con 2022, one of my shelves collapsed under the weight of way too many things, sending succulents and books and trinkets and dirt flying all over the place.

After the shock subsided a bit, I noticed that my pine tree succulent had been dismembered, a doll my friend (Gina) made me had been decapitated, and a glass frog my MIL gave me lost two limbs. I took a few breaths, appeased my doctor… and began tidying up the mess. Then, the sight of my pine tree succulent, crushed under a tiny Oscar Wilde book, made me burst into tears. Once the cleaning (and sobbing) was done, I noticed that my pine tree succulent might not be completely gone (the wee stalk still held half a leaf and the tiniest of shoots cradled in the axil).

It’s been a very hard week, physically and emotionally speaking—the broken shelf, a burn on my arm (which is causing my lymphedema to rebel), and an exasperating interaction with a relative seem to make everything much worse. But my health will improve, the relative in question is out of my life for good, the burn will heal, my Piano Man will repair the shelf, and my plant will survive. Life goes on…

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #27: Watching and Witnessing.

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Do as You Will, but…

You can put her in your own perfect box,
call her pretty, label her

You can crack her chest, shroud her eyes
with socially approved visions,
burn your own Revelations into her skull.

Do as you will with a worm, but if there’s a spine... “Run!”

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #25: Let’s Rewrite,
where an intelligent, sexy, and unbelievably modest host invites us to take a poem or story we wrote many years ago (preferably, one that wasn’t exactly awesome), and rewrite it. I rewrote a piece first crafted in 2013, and posted it below.

Put her in a manmade box.
Call her pretty,
special, protected,
free of the filth that cloaks the unthinking.
Once her faith follows your fib,
wound a porthole into her wooden chest.
Let stagnation ooze into her eyeball
burn revelations into her skull.
Help her brain boil in the molasses of rotten hopes
of forever heavenly white clouds.
Always whisper of salvation, of the truth
that lies eternal,
or until a sheep cares not to be mouthless.

photo by hannah grace, on Unsplash

Thursday, April 28, 2022

Blues and Brights

not-quite Journaling, 34

Wee magics

in and out of my hearth,

to celebrate spring, life
and all Nature

4/26/2022: On my way to the oncologist, I saw a tiny bouquet sprouting out of the trunk of a cherry blossom tree; on my way home, I noticed that someone had stuck a heart(ring) in the bark of a tree growing by the bus stop; when I got home, I found a ladybug exploring the window screen in my bedroom; all these seemingly small things, made my day a little better. Now, if I could only stop bleeding out of not so comfortable places, then “a little better” would morph into “just perfect”.


Unseasonable chills hold my garden hostage, but birdsong flies free.

 4/28/2022: A couple of days aren’t enough to achieve “just perfect”, but I’ve arrived at “so much better”. The cough still troubles me at night, but that’s manageable. The weather seems to finally be leaving the 30s behind (it’s supposed to be 30-something degrees Celsius tonight, then 40s and 50s!). Tomorrow, I get to spend quality time at the garden center (I need soil). And then… into the garden! I am sooo looking forward to that. 🥰

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writers #24: Your Landscape.

Thursday, April 21, 2022

Writing My Medicine

not-quite Journaling, 33

Still no sun,

skies and streets are puddles

of gloomy gray.

But deep in the hearth,
amaryllis rebels
in wild bursts of color.

4/7/2022: The weather is… wet, too chilly for outside gardening. But Ms. Amaryllis keeps things interesting—the mother plant and all of her offspring (I’ve been propagating) are blooming. And they’re doing it about 2 weeks apart, which means that I’ll have something bright and warm to look forward to (even if the weather is gloomy and the oral surgeon is planning tooth torture).


4/9/2022: Living with a collection of chronic illnesses makes everything harder, including relationships. I’ve heard heartbreaking stories--lovers who tire of caregiving and want out, lovers who stop seeing lovers as such and spend their time trying to “fix” them… I tell my Piano Man just how special he is, because he always sees me as I am: a strong, wild, sexy, witchy woman who happens to live with a chronic illness (or 3). My Piano Man shakes his head, and says, “That’s what people do when they love another.” I kiss him, and thank the universe for my good fortune.   


4/21/2022: I slept through the night for the first time since the 6th. My body isn’t as healthy as it can get (not yet), but I can breathe… I don’t cough the moment I try to talk or eat or lie down, my eyes aren’t inflamed, I can taste my food, my chest doesn’t hurt, colorful fluids are no longer coming out of places one doesn’t even want to imagine, I can do some cleaning (and gardening!), and I have the time (and strength) to share my words, read your words, spell some healing. 

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #23: Write Your Medicine.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Conjuring Warmth

When the sun sleeps in,

letting fog-drunk
clouds rule the day,

my heart conjures warmth
from memories of being kissed
by the lips of brighter dawns.

- I turned 45 two days ago. I usually go for a long walk in the woods on my birthday, but decided to stay in this year—my Piano Man was feeling poorly from a cold (not COVID, thank goodness), and I did not feel right leaving the house when my love had a fever. Besides, the sun hasn’t made an appearance in days, so I did my walking (okay, my running) on my mini trampoline. My shoulder hurts a bit, and there is a pinched nerve in my back that refuses to play nice, but… I was still able to run. And that’s good.

if you see the sun, do send him my way—hats and scarves aren’t meant for spring

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #21: What’s There.

Thursday, March 31, 2022

The Good, The Bad, and The Spring(y)

not-quite Journaling, 32

3/20/2022: I noticed the crocus while walking back from the hospital, a couple of days ago. My shoulder was aching, my oral surgeon had just implied that the probability of saving my tooth wasn’t all that great, and my stomach was not-so-quietly questioning the wisdom of exercising 3+ miles away from a clean toilet. But the weather was magnificent, crocuses and daffodils were opening their petals for all to see, and I could finally run 131 minutes on my trampoline without my lungs wanting to explode or my joints wanting to crack. Life isn’t perfect--heck, life is pretty crappy at the moment—but my amaryllis started to bloom on the first day of Spring, and we’re breathing… which means that we still have the chance to make things a bit less suckish. And that is rather great (for now).




 Home is writing,
peculiar poetry,
and you.

3/25/2022: It’s true, home is words (reading them, writing them, sharing them); home is plants (that look and feel loved); home is moments with the ones I love (and love me back) face-to-face and from afar


3/28/2022: The bad: the Crohn’s disease monster visited for some painful days and exhausting nights; the oral surgeon couldn’t save my tooth; around the world, so many people are physically and emotionally hurting for no justifiable reason. The good: the unwanted visitor left without leaving too much damage behind; my jawbone and immune system seem to be strong enough for dental implants; a friend, who had been MIA in a dangerous area for some time, made it home in one piece; all sorts of things are blooming outside; inside, my seedlings are popping out of the soil. 🌱🥰




- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings: #20: A Piece of Cake (where Rommy invites us to write poetry or prose that includes the word “Cake”, and yours truly finds herself thinking about birthdays and wishes and such…).

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Into Old Heartbeats

There is a special place in my heart
for the silver-haired
souls who have seen
and felt
and tasted
and learned so much
more than youth has ever imagined.

I love the knowing in old eyes,
the knowing that sings, “Fluidity,
my dear heart, is a superpower
that can be learned.
If you slow down

(just a bit)
I will share
all my old
story things with you.”

So, I slowdown my living…
dance into old heartbeats,
delight in their story things--
the ones written
on the wrinkled
sheets of their brains,
on the tales life carved
on their faces…
I feel their old words, taste their ink
and learn to grow more.

photo by Milada Vigerova on, Unsplash

- someone, who means a lot to me, has been saying that they feel and look old, and they don’t like it; more than that, they’re getting depressed because of it. Another person—who knows my views on age and growing vintage—asked if I could talk to them, maybe help lift their spirit… I wrote this poem with those thoughts in mind.

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #19: Of Age and Aging and Such…

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Moments of Joy

She’s a bud
in the winter months,
a promise
of spring that unchills
mood and flesh and us.

Our world (and body, in the case of some of us) is in chaos: war, COVID, humans being inhuman… But the universe keeps sprouting moments of joy. Look for them (and share).

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #18: Moments of Joy.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Winter’s Final Gasp (I hope)

not-quite Journaling, 31

 the book of our time:
pages and pages… of woe

(with love interludes)

2/25/2022: I don’t have nightmares often. But today I woke up screaming, with the sounds and images and stench of war so vivid in my head that it took me a while to figure out that it had been a nasty dream. My heart aches for those who can’t wake up from the nightmarish reality they are being forced to live. I hope they can take a peace-full breath… soon.


Love is what we build
after the lust storm.

3/4/2022: After an exhausting conversation about love at first sight, I was asked to describe romantic love in 9 words; so, I did.


icy chic—
winter’s final gasp
before spring

3/9/2022: Then again, knowing Old Man Winter (and his cold petty ways), it’s more than likely that there will be some more gasping. Still, a wild woman can dream, right? So, here I am… dreaming warmer dreams of spring.

- for Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #17: Heroes.

Monday, February 28, 2022

So Many Ripples…

“And think of him as living
in the hearts of those he touched…
for nothing loved is ever lost
and he was loved so much.”

~ Ellen Brenneman

My little brother was born a month before my 9th birthday; and since his arrival robbed me of all my “baby” privileges—the ripest mango, the first piece of coconut candy, my grandmamá’s lap—I was not the most gracious of big sisters. In fact, I was determined to make the little beast know who was boss. The second my mother got home from the hospital, everyone ran up to her to fuss over the usurper. There was a storm of “He’s so cute” and “Can I hold him?” and “You must be so proud”.

I just stood in a corner, in silence, glaring at the whole world.

After the room quieted some, my grandmamá said, “Come meet to your little brother.”

“No,” I told her, my glare growing darker.

She ignored my hostility, picked him up out of my mother’s arms, and walked towards me. “Look,” she said, holding his face very close to my face, “he is smiling at you.”

I had closed my eyes, refusing to look at him. Besides, newborns did not smile. And if they did, it was only gas—my mother always said that. My grandmamá didn’t move, so I shut my eyes tighter. Then I felt little fingers touch my chin. I opened my eyes, ready to tell the little monster to stop it, ready to shout that there was no space for him, ready to bare my teeth... But I found my little brother’s face, just inches from mine, the cutest of toothless grins aimed right at me. And without wanting it, I was grinning right back.

That was the first time my little brother smiled me into loving him. He just had a way about him, that brother of mine… a way to show his whole heart in a smile that made anyone seeing it want to join in the fun.

He was a bit reckless. He was more than a bit of a scoundrel. He loved (a lot) and smiled easily. And I thank the universe every day for that gift.

Gregory Guerrero

(Mar 10, 1986 – Feb 28, 2013)

one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away.” ~ Terry Pratchett

- linked to Poets and Storytellers United--Friday Writings #16: An Exploration of Peace.

friends and such...