20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


Where Green Meets Blue

2014-07-13 10.14.43

There is no such thing as too much time by the sea
for she’s my closest friend
sometimes enrapturing me with laughter
sometimes pounding discontent
sometimes kissing my feet with salty tears

Long spaces of time may transpire between visits
but we start again right where we left off
marvel at the changes in each other
laugh together at the shorebirds
gobbling tiny morsels of gossip

We sit together, my sea-friend and I
pick up pink-striped shells, broken slivers of sand dollars
and throw them back into the welcoming waves

She cannot resist one more caress on the shore
and I, one more glance across the horizon
where green meets blue in perfect union

It may be true that I could share this love
with any other shore
nourish the same quiet friendship
but there is a secret here in the crystal sands
there is a solitude that spreads like religion
no matter how many people circle ‘round
there is healing like a baptism
in every splash upon the shore

SpiritLed 2014

1 Comment

Birth Day

In a parlor plain and
solemn, a small crowd huddles
Tomorrow I celebrate
one more year, today
I attend my friend’s
final life celebration

Funerals produce in me
a subtle sense of asphyxiation
and I sit in the quiet chapel,
in this room full of acquaintances
and strangers, barely breathing
for fear I might explode
into unending tears

But the moon rising in my heart
speaks of fullness and cycles,
and creates in me a curious juxtaposition

and a shift happens, a veil lifts to reveal
awareness that death is life anew,
that as one celebrates birth
another now possesses a freedom
that earthly souls can only imagine

Rest in Peace, my friend,
and also my yesterday self,
for today we both start anew
and tomorrow as well,

fulfilled in the knowledge
that neither death nor birth
signify an end or a beginning

but rather each day is a new path
in our personal eternity,
one more step in the journey
of Divine life

© SpiritLed 2014

1 Comment



Get out the picture, blow off the dust

Take off the frame, it’s starting to rust

Remember the times that we had together

What happened to being best friends forever?


You don’t seem to notice, you don’t seem to care

You promise me something, and then you aren’t even there

You tell people my secrets; tell me your lies…

Who wants a friend… that makes you want to cry?


Life takes your dreams and turns them upside down

Friends talk about you when you’re not around

People make promises they just can’t keep

I’ve come to realize… talk is cheap


Some people don’t catch on, they rather just pretend.

While things are going smooth, they smile and call you ‘friend’.

Funny how you never know who cares until it hurts, and when it’s over,

Does it matter who blew off whom first?


I’ll never find another friend to take the place of you.

No one will ever touch my world exactly like you do.

No one who’s quite so thoughtful, no one I cherish so.

No one will mean so much to me I just wanted you to know.




I called you this morning….

I called, but there was no one home. Left a message after the tone.

I waited for what seemed like hours then called again to your empty house,

repeated the message and called again. No one answered. Where was my friend?

I tried to eat, I tried to sleep and from the phone there was no peep.

They sit with me, but don’t understand; it’s not enough to hold my hand.

It’s not enough without you here. It’s not enough to shed a tear.

Tears are cheap and I have none for without you my life is done.

I’ve become an insomniac just waiting for you to come back.

It’s not your fault – I know you can’t, no matter how many times I chant,

no matter how many times I lift the phone and leave the message after the tone.

I do it now just to hear your voice. I do it now because I have no choice.


NaNo Progress Report

Hey, writerly friends, I know I’ve been lax about writing here, but NaNoWriMo seems to have grabbed me by the throat and stolen all my time. I haven’t forgotten you.

At this moment I’m at 5820 words. In order to keep up with the daily average I need to be at 6667 by tonight, so I have to keep plugging away to get 800 more words. I’m enjoying the writing, but I know that if I fall behind it will be hard to get my word count back on track. So I’ve really been concentrating on my NaNo writing.

The fun I’m having comes, first of all, from my story. It’s about my college friends and how we gather every summer for a reunion. But, there’s a twist. And I’ve been talking with one of those friends — in fact, it’s Kathe (teadh) who’ here on 20 Lines — and she’s helping me with the accuracy of my memories of those wonderful college days. We talk and talk, getting hung up on this little thing that happened or that. It’s interesting how she’ll remember something one way and I’ll remember it another. But for the the most part our memories coincide.

Sheer numbers of the words accrue

like waves upon the shore. Brand-new,

the structure of this story, true

and fun to write, brings me to you.


The Artist

The Artist
To Margaret

At lunch this afternoon a writer-friend
showed me her art. Two talents wrapped up tight
in one — the writer and the artist blend.

Unfair, I rued, that she has coins to spend
in two banks while I pull the weeds and fight
that nagging writers’ block. My new-found friend

read poems I had written, said to tend
the garden where the sunshine casts its light.
This one, the artist-writer, knows to blend

her gifts, to offer compliments, to send
more possibilities my way. My sight,
at lunch this afternoon when a writer-friend

showed me that both of us have much to lend,
was limited. We’ll see our books take flight.
The artist-writer knows so well to blend

creative solitude with business trend.
At lunch this afternoon a writer-friend
said: Artists, with their words or paint, do blend.


a friend ..


with friends you never walk alone

always love to speak on the phone

your best is there through thick and thin

cheering you on if you lose or win

we always feel there’s none for me

if we knew who cared , surprised we’d be

no matter what we think in the end

we ll always be missed , by a friend






Can it be this long?

At 6:20 this morning, 17 years ago, my mother died.

My mother. My best friend. My hero. My go-to person. Undiagnosed diabetes causing heart and kidney problems threw her into health challenges at age 64, and at 70 she died. Too young.

Let me tell you about her. If you were around her you were her 100%. Kathe, who is on this blog (as teadh), knew her, and I’ll bet she would agree. In fact, I have a funny story about that. When Kathe became engaged and I showed my mom the newspaper picture announcing it, she got tears in her eyes — happy tears — and said, “Kathe’s getting married? Oh my, Kathe, my little Kathe. I can’t believe it. My little Kathe is getting married.”

I knew she was thrilled for Kathe. But I also remember my reaction: Mom, what do you mean, “my little Kathe”? I’m your little Maggie, remember?

Both Kathe and I look back on this fondly and smile. It’s a memory for me that shows how invested she was in other people’s lives. If they were happy, she was happy. If they were troubled, she went out of her way to figure out how she could best help them.

You would have wanted to sit at her table for her delicioso meals. Whether it was a simple hamburger, or scrambled eggs for breakfast, her homemade soups, or a full spread at Thanksgiving, she loved people through her cooking.

She did many things in her life, from radio broadcasting, to preschool teacher, to professional cook, to writing poetry that went to the heart of a matter and stabbed you with its point of clarity, to working in migrant centers. And she was a tireless worker. Anyone could depend on her. If the hours were 9-5, she worked 8-6 or beyond. If the job called for A, she did A, B, and C.

She loved children, animals, music, her 1967 green Mustang convertible, laughter, great food, her family, her friends, entertaining. She used to come to my brother’s and my school conferences and compliment the teachers on what good jobs they were doing. She was the Cub Scout leader and president of the PTA. She once wrote, produced, and acted in a play. When I was in high school and returned to the piano teacher who had begun giving me lessons when I was seven years old, she picked me up at school every Friday afternoon to drive me to my lesson. Never mind that it was 50 miles away, one way. And I remember that we used to stop afterward at Big Boy for strawberry pie.

She loved to love. She had challenges and sadness in her life, but somehow that chin of hers was always up, her mood happy, her helping hand out.

Seventeen years, six hours, and three minutes ago (as I write this), she moved out of this world into the next. I cannot tell you how much I miss her. The pain never leaves. Oh, you know what they say, that time heals. I prefer to say that I have integrated my mother’s death into my life.

More important, I have integrated her life into my life.

Mom, you know how much I love you. I am thinking of you especially today. You would love it. It’s 70 degrees outside and I would come over to pick you up so we could have lunch on the deck. I’d make tuna salad sandwiches and we’d have fresh fruit and iced tea. Then maybe we’d drive down to the beach to sit on the decking there to watch the waves and the gulls.

I love you.


Beauty grows amid shadows….

Beauty grows amid shadows….

growing darkness , impending furry .

looking back , everything blurry .

shadows building , nights arrangement .

grow up around us , total betrayment .

clouds moving by , moon light shown .
light shines beauty , through shadows blown .

Beauty grows amid shadows ….Poetry Challenge…

Please vote for your favorite at …..  http://mylifeuncutalmost.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/beauty-grows-amid-shadows-poetry-challenge/#comment-3032


Money, Money, Money…Money!

Wealth” and a Challenge for the Contributors (and Followers!)
Tell us about wealth. What does it look like? Where should it go? What would you do with a half billion dollars, or any unexpected windfall for that matter?

I love it when I’m challenged to write about something specific. My mind churns out idea

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins

International Money Pile in Cash and Coins (Photo credit: epSos.de)

after idea after idea until I’m exhausted before I even pick up my laptop. So, when this challenge was presented, I felt some relief!

And then I thought about it over and over and over, and I was exhausted all over again!

Money. All of us poor people have heard that it won’t make you happy. And all of us poor people would like the opportunity to learn that lesson through experience, if you don’t mind!

If you’ve read anything about me before, you know that my eldest daughter was born out-of-wedlock. I didn’t bother putting a father on her birth certificate, because I didn’t intend for that man to be in her life at all. He had campaigned enthusiastically for me to get an abortion, and if I didn’t, he would just take her from me and disappear into Mexico. I was 19, alone, and quite frankly, freaked out by his reaction. So, my answer was to make it almost legally impossible to fight me for her, as well as putting hundreds of miles between us. Rebekkah was mine….. And, as government tends to do, the State of Texas stuck it’s big, fat nose into my business, and put the man right back into my life, in the form of Child Support.

My second baby, DJ, was a harrowing pregnancy. Over and over, it would seem that my body was trying to miscarry, and yet my little baby would hang on. Finally, just short of two months early, my son had to be delivered…He was a month old before he could leave the hospital.

The medical bills were as so high, I stopped opening the bills. What can you do when your husband makes a total of $20,000 a year, and the hospital is demanding $82,000 for the birth of your son? Finally, the hospital told me about this magical thing called Medicaid, and they walked me through the process, and the bill simply went away. Breathtaking!

Enter The State of Texas. Because I had used public assistance, the state now had the right to try to recoup some of the money they had spent on me. Well, duh. That makes sense now, but back then, it was never mentioned. And because I had a daughter already from someone I wasn’t married to, they saw the opportunity to collect some money from the biological father.

Let’s say that I was not all that forthcoming with information about Rebekkah’s father. The information I gave them was his name. That is all. And I’ll be damned if that state didn’t find him anyways. They ordered a paternity test, and the dominoes fell from there. Long story short, The Father made a pretty decent living, and the courts ordered him to pay me a nice amount each month, as well as owing me for the six years of Bek’s life, to the tune of $54,000.

Fast forward years later. Bekkie is half way through high school, and all that legal mumbo jumbo has been a thing of the past for a decade. I sit unsuspectingly at my computer to check bank balances and pay a few bills.

Boom! There is a really large amount of money in a bank account that barely makes it through the month. I was stunned. Actually, it made me feel a little afraid.

Before I told anyone about it, I immediately called to make sure it wasn’t an accident. I was  informed that The Father had been hiding money away in an account under his wife’s name and they had found, and seized it. And the money was mine. Oh.My.God.

And then the roller coaster ride really began. First, all those tiny voices in my head that whisper their worry about paying bills and still having enough money to make it to the next payday, went silent.

Second, for the first time in my life, I wanted to Protect my Money. I almost immediately became somewhat suspicious. And to some degree, with good reason. It wasn’t the Mega Lottery, but it was more than the rest of my extended family had, and after years and years of silence, suddenly there were family members that wanted to “re-connect”. And because back then I was somewhat naive, I believed that I could buy them all back. Oh please…It was like feeding a stray animal. They always came back for more, and when it was finally gone, they disappeared again. My husband and I argued over how to spend it, always afraid that we might end up spending it all. The kids wanted more and more things that their friends had…It felt great and horrible all at the same time. It seemed like money was all I could think about anymore, and it just felt wrong.

No. I didn’t invest it. My family and I gave a bunch of it away, bought things that people would normally have to buy on credit, shopped for things we wanted, and paid bills. And then it was gone. Along with that suspicious, creepy entitled feeling that had arrived with it. When the last dime of it had been spent, I felt relief. The users in my life went away, and the real friends that had always been my friends before, stayed. No more arguments with my husband over money. My kids settled back into being careful when picking what they really wanted.

My life had returned to normal, where I had to truly appreciate the paychecks that I was earning. I had to be careful to decide what we really needed as opposed to what we only wanted. In essence, we got our character back.

I don’t play the lottery, nor do I find millions and millions of dollars enticing. Since that first time, I’ve come into really large chunks of money from time to time, and I am pleased to say that I’ve gotten better at dealing with this odd turn of fortune. But I always remember that first experience, and I rely on the lessons I learned from it.

Money not only can’t buy you happiness; It can steal the happiness you already have. It can make you into a person you don’t even like yourself. It can become a god; more important than love, family, friendship, and God…It is wonderful and horrible all at the same time.

And we always think we are the ones that can tame that storm… ;-)

lol..and I know not one person who reads this would pass up the chance to learn this lesson themselves!!

– Bird


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