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Nana with Rose Petal Tears

2014-04-09 07.42.25

Rose petals, like teardrops,
fall softly to my kitchen counter,
surround the vase where the wilted flowers
droop their heads in reverence to the
stooping, plucking, pruning

of Nana tending to her roses
crouching in her gardening shorts,
as I play in the field behind her house,
searching for rabbits’ nests and pulling out
my dollhouse to set up in the quiet patio shade,

of Nana sweet and fragrant as the roses
that she tended, bare legs exposed, a rebel
of a time when women wore only skirts and hosiery,
bustling about in her slippers and shorts,
cultivating an escape from everyday life

of Nana’s hair, soft between my fingertips,
like rose petals, as she lies in bed, life gradually
slipping through grasping hands, ice chips, greeting
cards, and tear-soaked tissues encircling roses
on the bedside table

of my Nana who never cried, at least not that I
can remember, but if she had, I know her tears would be
rose petals, cascading between dreams and
backyard memories, sweetly-scented and multi-hued,
formed together into one final bloom

©SpiritLed 2014


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Withered Hands

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She slowly got up from the ragged green chair,

hobbling to the kitchen, stirring something

as it boiled and rumbled.

The aroma reminded me of my grandma’s house,

long ago, me, a curly-haired child,

being chased away lest I get burnt.

A little girl sat playing on the floor,

a home-made rag doll, much-loved, it appeared.

The lady spoke to the child in a language

where I would not ever find proficiency-

yet I knew exactly what her words were.

In every place, every time, we are all one.


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The Last Walk

DSCN1835Walking on the island shore at night always held a fascination for me, especially with my young teen. We would walk along, watching as the lights on shore glimmered off the amazing expanse of water all around is. It was one of those moments that needed no words, the feelings, the magic, spoke for itself.

He reached down and picked up something, turned to me, held it up and smiled. It was a whole conch con, shimmering in the starlight. Wow! I said, as we walked on. I will never forget that night. It is burnt into my soul. A tear runs down my cheek even now. It was the last night we ever spent on the beach together.


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Christmas Memories

Originally posted on Living and Lovin:

Daily Prompt: Memories of Holidays Past
What is your very favorite holiday? Recount the specific memory or memories that have made that holiday special to you.

Christmas Memories

Christmas used to be so special when I was a little girl growing up with my two brothers.  We had the best tree Dad could find but one year we truly had a very cool tree.  I never knew my parents were cool, I mean really COOL. Yes it was the sixties and that Christmas we saw them set up a funky metal tree.  It came with a color wheel.  Do you know what I mean?  This was something that ran on electricity and had different colored film on it and it would turn our tree Blue then Red I can’t remember all the colors on the wheel but I can tell you our tree was very different compared to the other homes. …

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Nature as a Child

After the darkness,

Blue skies surround me

Clouds drift on the horizon

Drifting away at last

Every day is different

Fresh and exciting.

Gladly, I look for

Hovering bees and bugs

Ice melted at last.

Just one warm day

Keeps me hoping

Long after cold returns

Moonlight sparkles

Night times stars

Overhead-your head and mine.

Perhaps I treasure nature

Questioning it’s rhythms

Reining in its surprises

Turning from chill to warmth

Until I come upon the first

Violet, a sure sign of spring.

Wonder if other over it as much

X-citined as I am

You may know-tell me

Zestfully smiling.


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What You Could Be

What You Could Be

I look at him, same age as you,

when death snatched you out of the blue.

He’s just 15, but teachers say,

that he will make it big one day.

I touch your photo, hold it too,

each time I pass, your place, your room.

It looks just like it did that day

when Hell took you and life away.

I see him grow, a brilliant smile,

when he creates, he dreams, compiles.

The things I wish that you could see.

I wonder, Babe, what you could be?

It’s just so wrong that you aren’t here.

I see your face, your eyes, your fear.

Still, no one knows, but you and me,

The truth about what you could be.

I pray the day will not be long,

When something might take up the wrong.

And somehow just, please let me see.

The beauty of what you could be.


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The Past

The past is not fallen leafs;
it is dirt blanketing newly planted seeds.

It is a crack in the window
causing the afternoon sun
to rainbow across my wall,
allowing November’s cold to seep in.

The past is the eye lash fallen on cheek,
a turned up carpet and door with broken deadbolt,
a watch stopped five minutes till 3.

Sometimes the past comes back.
It scratches at door,
curls around fires,
lays in my bed.

In the clarity of reminiscence
I see what I have been looking away from.
It is stark and it is clear.

The past does not haunt me,
I haunt it.

A lingering scent,
a familiar hand brushed upon the small of my back,
I am always leaving pieces of myself behind
waiting for others to catch up.

I wonder what it is about me
that is so easy to let go.

I must let the past solidify,
mold it into perpetual bricks,
and mend broken windows
until my house can stand.


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You Found Me Beautiful Once

I never found
myself beautiful,
but there was a time
you would stare at me
without saying a word,
a lost expression on lips
fumbling a frown,
and when asked
what are you looking at,
you reply simply,
“The girl that’s going
to break my heart.”


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Life After Death

She never quite had what others got so easily, it seems. She worked twice as hard and got half as much. Still, every summer she would find a way for a seed or two to curl their heads into the sun, sprout fuzzy, perhaps a bit prickly leaves that soon became a bud.One day, the bud would begin to open, showing its crimson soul. For a few days it would magnify itself, command comments on it’s beauty, then it would begin its trip home.

 Fall would come, she would hake her brown fluted bowl of seeds in the wind and finally succumb to winders cold and wind, break open and spread her seeds. And then spring would come again, and season after season, she would struggle to produce those lovely, fleeting blossoms.

 One year, someone mowed down her beautiful blossom, but she fought on for many years. Sun, rain, wind, cold, her strength lie somewhere inside that tiny seed. One autumn, it seemed no pod had formed,

No one noticed the one hidden in the soil. The poppy no longer bloomed in the place it had always been, But in the spring, a child scratched out a tiny patch around a new plant by her sandbox. She lined it with stones from the creek and soon, a beautiful red flower appeared.

 “What is this, mommy?” she asked one day.

“Oh, my! A poppy!” mommy gasped. “My Aunt Carol used to grow them! Be sure and save the seed pod.”

And she did.

In loving memory of Carol Johnson, November 5, 1948-August 1, 2013


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A Blossom in the Wind

It wasn’t difficult to remember the first time I had been to that old house.

My curly hair was drooping in pigtails, golden brown from the summer sun.

 My Aunt Lilly had whispered to me as we dried the dishes, “I have something I want to show you!”

 “Okay.” I smiled as we continued to work.

 Soon, we climbed into her 1966 white Ford and bumped our way a few miles down the dirt road to a drive way that looked as if had not been used in years. It seemed like the bumping and grinding of the gravel went on forever. Now, I realize, it was only a half mile or so.

 My aunt grabbed my sweaty little hand as we skipped up the chipping rock steps of a wooden cabin, paint long faded to the natural gray of hardwood. She took the key, clipped to her shirt with a safety pin, and unlocked the door.

 It smelled musty inside, and I giggled, ”Yuk,” as I looked up at her.

 “Houses smell like that when no one lives there anymore, Sarah. This is the house I grew up in. I was born here.”

 “But you live on the hillside, Auntie!” I protested. “We were just there!”

 “No, honey, I mean when I was a child, like you. This is where your mother and our brother Willie grew up.”

 I glanced around he room in wonder. It was a mess. The curtains hung down limply, so dusty that the bright sunlight filtered through as if it were sunrise. There was a desk cluttered with writing materials,a yellowed tablet, the edges of the paper curled. a pencil that badly needed sharpened. I noticed that one of the drawers was partly opened and reached to see what was inside.

 My aunt stopped me. “That as mama’s drawer. We weren’t allowed to mess around in there.”“But it’s opened ,Auntie,” I said “Why can’t I look?”

 To be honest, I don’t have a reason, Sarah.” I guess it is just my remembering how we were not to mess in that drawer. Obviously, someone has!”

 “Yeah,” I whined, eyes cat to the floor. “I sure would like to see what’s in there.”

 “Sometimes, Sarah, it is more fun to imagine what a drawer may hold than to actually know.”

 I shrugged my ten year old shoulders and smiled. In my young mind, knowing what was in the drawer would be much more fun.

My aunt and I spent another hour or so wandering through the room. We looked at boxes of old doll, metal cases filled with uncle Willie’s cars. My aunt show me how the pedal operated sewing machine worked, the drawers where scissors and thread were kept. I remember my favorite was the button drawer. In it was an assortment of buttons removed from many different items of clothing before the cloth went into the rag-bag.

 “Why did you bring me here, Auntie?” I asked her as we started out the door.”

 I saw a tear slide down her cheek. “Oh, Sarah,’ she cried. “I was thinking of mamma. It’s been ten years today since she died. We started clean the house , your momma and I and one day, we just didn’t come back. It hurt too much. It was sort of like the drawer, we decided we would rather remember the house the way it had been when she was there, when we were children.”

 That was twenty-seven years ago. I had brought my children there a few times, my mother and I had even come here with Willie one day to get some things out of the barn. But today was different. Today, a tear slipped from my eye as we walked down the steps. We had just buried Aunt Lilly in the family cemetery on the hill. Somehow, I felt a deep, almost mysterious connection with my Aunt Lilly as I looked up at the apple tree, bursting in bloom as if nothing had happened.

 Life changes, time goes by, memories are made, but somethings never seem to change. I snapped a small branch of blossoms and twirled them in my hand. I already had a place picked out for them-the would dry and remain on the inside cover of my Aunt  Lilly’s oldest photograph album. Someday, a young girl with golden brown hair would remember the story that her mother had told her that day.


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Unnatural Fireworks

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The noisy booms from the sky, streaks of color lighting the clouds,

Yes, it’s the fourth of July, but Mother natures rules this year.

The tiny creek is a raging river, littered with trees, bird feeders, toys.

Our grave driveway is underneath the water that blocks the road.

My dad worked at the Tennessee Valley Authority when I was a kid.

Their job was to try to manage flood control. Where there were floods,

We went to photograph, special phone numbers told river levels.

We filled out charts in the days when a main frame took up a room-did one thing.

It’s in my blood. Two of my sons son and two friends sloshed up the road.

The water running down what used to be roads, way to deep to be safe.

Taking videos, pictures, laughing, giving up on umbrellas, soaked to the skin.

Though we laughed, it was muted, somber. We knew why the yards of mud came.

Our mountain city is obsessed with getting rich people from other places to come here.

Strip the vegetation so they can “see” from houses we couldn’t dream of.

We shout to no one, “GO HOME!” CLEAN UP THIS MESS!” But they keep coming.

The collapsed retaining wall and 8 feet of lost land are somehow “our” problem.

I know how the native Americans felt. For “white folks” we’ve been here a long time.

The 1780 US Census lists us in this county, by 1840, we were on this road.

We have lived in this house 5 generations and now my kids can’t afford to live her.

Something is really wrong with this. It used to be a quiet farming community.

I can’t help it, I am mad. I know good people have come here too.

For all the greedy developers, mostly bankrupt before to long, I have one message,”Go the heck home, glare down on your “lessers”, ruin their land, build mansions, ruin the land,

and don’t forget to take pictures of w=what life was like before you ruined it for them.


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our old truck

‘conversation with you
was like a drug
it wasn’t your face
so much as it was your words’
Lucinda Williams

the farm 019

with light in my shadows
and cuts soft through my circles
you keep me from falling once again
but your words always did that for me

like that very first time
sitting in my old pick up truck
listening to Lucinda’s twang tell us
why we didn’t want that night to end

only you could convince
this shy boy to sing harmony
when it was your perfect voice
all i ever really wanted to hear

and my muraled furniture met
your folk art painted window panes
we got poor when greed burned the economy
chasing dreams i got crushed in its crossfire

‘We are not selling that truck!’
oh darlin’ you didn’t have to shout
everything i could ever hope to know about you
i would have heard your devotion in a whisper

and now our old truck
is getting some love in return
we shared these past ten years
and when she comes back
all painted blue and purrin’
wait for me again to turn the corner
from the side window like you did

and darlin’,
snuggle up against me
on that old bench seat
let’s listen to our song windows down
summer and hope blowing through our hair

talk to me like poetry
its essence of our love in your glance
and every word knows when to be
we can talk again ’til dawn
yeah, we can just drive all night long


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her last page

many thanks to Sky Vani, for sharing this song and beautiful video.
feel free to play it low as a soundtrack, as i did while writing this poem.

.
as early as her day begins, it ends
a sad memoir echoes an empty room,
and she breezes through her motions
without a care in this world.
as if her love never really ended
wrote the diary, it’s last page.

wide cupped latte’
a quick croissant
and her habitual daily stroll
to every place they ever met.
she’s hoping without a prayer
he’ll be sitting there as always
in his favorite, corner chair.

she chooses spools of woven thread
from the French village mercerie,
that suggestive red dress
he always loved
and it’s noticeable tear.
as if life never did really end
wrote the diary, her last page.

written April 2013


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s.a.d.ness

crocus abd bees 2012 001

Sunless skies, endless
grey clouded over grey crusted
snow, creating havoc for crocus shoots
struggling to make their stand.

Winter, a slow
death by its thousand windy cuts
and imperceptable emotional fade, now
so few words shared between them.

All purple and
orange in full bloom swathed across
front yard lawns stirring expectations, and
memories of their languid summer days.

Teal sky
days that start warm ending warmer,
their uninterrupted steady sun and their
sleeveless shirts and moist sweaty skin.

Sun, her kiss
once assured his unsteady heart. So many
purple and orange reasons to be hopeful but
March, always the cruel reminder.

written March 2013
revised FOR April 2013 :- /


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hush

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He would trace the jagged map of cracks
smeared plaster wall aside his bed,
his ashen memory of their life imagined
‘How, how did it ever come to this?’

The signs were there trust and naive heart
believing every little late night lie,
the bills a bed and their sick calico Jane
‘Reasons? I don’t owe you anything!’

Now his grieving heart blindly traces cracks
blinds drawn closed on the summer day,
the life imagined all his dreams gone hush
‘How, how did it ever come to this?’

written April 2013

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