20 Lines A Day

A Community of Writers and Photographers


The Healing Parts

The healing parts are mighty and wild,
careening through the dark mind,
simultaneously passive and angry,
they take you over, consume your soul.

They hunger for affection, else they grow
a life of their own, they thrive on tenderness,
else they join together to conquer
their demons with your pain.

The healing parts want to survive,
as the soul writhing in the night.
They are displaced and dissociated,
and only love returns them home,
validation of their realness,
so they may quench their fires,
no longer reduce you to ashes from the
inside out.

The healing parts are us,
and we, them. We are the parts
we buried deep so long ago, the voice
silenced and the voice raging, the broken, fragile,
lonely, fearful, hurting, hating parts.  We are healing
and we are real.

©SpiritLed 2014

Leave a comment

Sound of No Sound

Lost in thought, her mind
wanders to a younger day, when she
expertly walked the tightrope over joy and
pain, a misstep here and there, but
never completely losing herself in that
cauldron of self-awareness bubbling

Pain – it was not feared then, but
admired, on the weathered faces of
the elders, noting their wisdom and
grace, the simple way they brushed
her hair from her face, and kissed
her forehead, assuring her with their own
worry that there was none for her

But now she wonders where that
elder-wisdom has gone, and will it ever
find her, or if it’s even hers to long for,
the kiss of peace long ago washed from
her furrowed brow.

When did she stop trusting herself?
Was it the first time she rolled over in her
lover’s bed only to find he wasn’t there?
When she felt the sharp sensation of betrayal
from one she considered a friend?
When the sting of loss pierced her heart so
deeply she thought she would drown in the tears
she never cried?

In the stillness that is left she listens,
listens for anything that will convince her
she’s alive, and in that empty place, darkness
reverberates like a thousand universes swirling
around their suns, like the hum of angel wings,
like the breath of creation in her ears

Like all those who came before her
Like all who will ever come

The sound of no sound
bringing life, bringing light
resting in the goodness that rests
inside the stillness of her mind,
where she is whole

©SpiritLed 2014

1 Comment


Today I turn 39.  My last year in my 30’s.  If I had my nearly 4 decades to do over, I’d stay home with my kids, which is a total contradiction because I hated staying at home when they were very young.  Now I’d do it all over again and for longer, just for more time with them.  I’d go to graduate school the first time I had the chance.  I’d go back to that first relationship in high school, and I’d say no to that boy.  Yes, it would change the course of my life, but I’d avoid the pain of losing a friend.  I’d make and keep better connections with friends of my parents and my extended family.  I had no idea how much I would wish I knew them better as I got older.   I’d demand more of myself.  The status quo and self pity would never be in my coping toolbox.  I’d learn about self care early on and make it a priority.  I’d stop myself from picking up terrible interpersonal habits that negatively affect my relationships.  My poor husband really has to deal with a lot of baggage.  I’d let people get close to me, I’d be more vulnerable.  And I’d expect it of other people too.  I’d take back every mean word I ever said to my sister.  Maybe we were just kids, but I’m sure it affected her, and she’s the only sibling I have.  I’d set better boundaries for myself, and I wouldn’t be afraid to say no.  I wouldn’t find a sick comfort in relationships that make me feel bad.  I’d talk to my mom about her illness, I’d share my fears about living a life without her.  I’d snuggle up next to her that night when she asked me to.   I’d understand that in order to feel great joy and compassion, you also, at times, have to allow yourself to feel great pain.  I’d never stop writing.  Or dancing.  Or letting the world know how smart I am.  Or crying.  I’d cry a LOT more.  And I’d pray more.  I’d figure out early what makes me passionate and pursue that.  Or not stop pursuing that.  I’d have a job that I love, that fulfills me, that I can’t wait to get up and do every morning.  I’d force my foot into that Cinderella slipper and never let it fall off my foot.

“Make the most of your regrets; never smother your sorrow, but tend and cherish it till it comes to have a separate and integral interest. To regret deeply is to live afresh.”

~Henry David Thoreau

Happy 39.  It’s going to be a great year.

©SpiritLed 2014

1 Comment

Collection of Words

One collection of words breaks
the camel’s back, upsets the order
of things, rocks the proverbial
boat and sets it sailing in a new
direction, not to foreign lands, but
waters well traveled and often
overlooked for what seems
to be finer things, a path that
appears to offer more, but actually
conceals darkness, a façade
parading as a savior, and because
you are so vulnerable, you hardly
feel the sting of the thousand tiny
cuts, until that one collection of
words causes you to bleed out

©SpritLed 2014

1 Comment


The well was cool and nourishing
and deep, but years ago
in an act of courage and
defiance, you moved the heavy
stone across the opening, allowed
the thorny branches to grow over
and around it, so that no one
could disturb your tomb, or drink
its healing waters, and you turned
your back, confident that the thorns
would do their job to keep the trespassers
out, but what you could not see in your
rage and self-hatred, was that the thorns
and brambles  shadowed you in your
exile,  shrouded you in your attempt to be
invisible, shrunk at your valiant effort
to fight them back, grew thicker and
stronger, shielding you from the world
of your creation, until that day when
the thorns pressed deep into your
flesh and you finally tasted the sting
in the back of your throat, and it was then
that you knew the only respite left was to
return to source, and there in that ancient
place, you tore back the branches and
brambles, bleeding and broken, but it was
too late to care, and you uncovered the patient
stone,  waiting for your return, and there
as you wildly plunged yourself into the waters,
as if returning to your mother’s womb,
there you realized that the thorns you fled had grown
out from the belly of your pain, and that you,
you are the trespasser, bathing in your own
well of salvation

©SpiritLed 2014


When Silence Ends

When, as a child, did you play happily
by the stream, and come singing home,
passionately sharing your adventures,
only for the beloveds to tell you, “Quiet!”

And when, in your classes, did you
confidently speak your truth, answer
their questions, paint your construction
paper masterpiece,  and the trusteds told you,
“It’s not good enough.”

And when did you feel the whisper of spirit
in your soul, gently guiding you on your way,
and you shared, and they laughed?

And when did you stop listening, painting, writing, speaking, trusting? 

And when will you decide that the darkness has
lasted too long, that the  passion of a new day
can no longer wait, lest  you tear free from your
own skin where you’ve been confined all these years?

That stumbling across stones and briars,
feet cut and bleeding, is preferable to the safe
and righteous path, where no pain, in fact
nothing at all, makes cuts into your soul?

When will you decide that fear of words
without real meaning will no longer be the
prison walls that demand freedom of the captor?

And when will you stoke the flames, when will you once
again tend to the spark, blow the breath of life into
the still-smoldering ashes, collect the branches and
twigs that have fallen in your path, burn them on
your altar, and fuel the dawning of reclaimed light?

© SpiritLed 2014

Leave a comment

Haunted Needles

My dreams are haunted,

Images of needles

Scattered on the floor

Dark and hazy

Drugs and cigarettes

Lay momentarily forgotten

Next to empty bottles.

I’m followed by the

Pictures of a life

I’ve never known

Of fear I’ve steered far away from.

A powerlessness that scares me

More than anything

Follows in my nightly escapades.

Reminding of what exists

For others

Of what could exist for me

If I made different choices.

That is where the fear comes from

Seeing, fearing one day it could be me.

That’s why we avert our eyes

From the homeless, drug addicted on the street

Why we ignore the suffering

In front of us.

We don’t like to be reminded

Of our vulnerability.

But we are haunted for a reason

Haunted to make the choice

To work to keep ourselves

Out of dependence

Off the streets

To provide

Love, assistance

And bear witness to the suffering of others.

To acknowledge

They exist,

To acknowledge

Their pain

To acknowledge

Their beauty.

To acknowledge

The possibility for them to rise

The possibility for me to fall.




I dream of the day we first hugged, my arms
around you holding tight; never letting go
for a million years

Oh how I loved you THIS much

I remember the flower that you picked
a yellow daisy from the ground
I loved you as wide as my arms could spread
those days seem so long ago, through childhood
and adult years;  you kept me safe
I hung on every word you said
back when we were innocent


innocence does not stay around
captured moments as a photograph
replaced with pain, lies and distrust
and as I sit amongst the daisies
remembering what we had

I whisper in one breath
don’t ever come near me


©jmtacken Sep 2103


Leave a comment

The Gate was open

fingertips trace the suede
that swaddles the comfy place
we’d sit and watch old movies
leaving imprints of my identity
across where you’d lay your arm

the kitchen table where we shared
our meals and laughter from the day or
serious conversations on world
events with stifled yawns from me ~
sits barren

looking sideways to the crooked frame
hanging on the wall; giggles remembered
and stamped feet, how you never hung it
straight ~ the memories of ‘us’ ~ just
simple things

the gate not mended; the grout worn and
fallen; rubbish stacked behind the shed
it would be cleared ‘one day’ ~ things undone
things left; importance now ~ very little
within our walls of home, love held
between four fences ~ that had value

we broke down, distracted by so many things
sweet madness; sweet love of ours
disappeared between the palings
as you drifted out of reach and
that’s what mattered

now with suitcases
at my feet ~ my sweaty hand grips
the handle of the unpainted
door ~ the unfinished
I must say adieu





Leave a comment

Daily Prompt: Keep Out/ Hoping My Child Will Not Dig Deep Into My Blog

Originally posted on Living and Lovin:

You asked if there were someone we would not want to read our blog and immediately I thought of my son.

Yes I do not mind if he looks at all the pretty photographs and all of your posts I have re-blogged.

Why I want him to KEEP OUT is I do not want him to know how much pain I used to be in.  See it is key that he gets to see

how very happy I am today.

Happiness spreads Joy and  Sadness spreads Pain.

We are both to BE HAPPY for the rest of our days.

So Keep Out



View original


disaster, hazard

the time will run out

the silence will end

the clouds would burst open

the rain would lash down

blood would flow

scars would show

the heart would be torn open

the mind would go haywire

the time will run out

disaster, hazard

the sky would fall apart

and the land would burst in flames

disaster, hazard

only pain, suffering

would linger in the end.

Leave a comment

Not only mirrors



You think you know me,

you think you do

double sided mirror

you see me I can’t see you


You think you know my feelings

what frightens me to my core

no you don’t know me

not now or anymore


I can’t see your face, do you see my stare

was what I thought we had ever really there

complete I was, I was once was whole

you took advantage, you broke my soul


With force I strike this glass you see

and shattered crystals hit the ground

slivers which once were me

lie broken all around


Shall you pick up the shreds

or simply sweep them up

will you re-assemble me

or will you just give up


Pick up a shard that’s if you dare

be careful not to bleed

let me grow with you once more

as water does for seed

1 Comment

Sandy Hook

I am rarely at a loss for words. But now? Connecticut, Sandy Hook Elementary School, the perfectly-innocent little children, the teachers who teach and care, a town overturned by senselessness — this leaves me at a loss.

It is not a merry Christmas in Sandy Hook. I think of those parents who sit in their living rooms in front of decorated Christmas trees, possibly with gifts already-wrapped underneath. I feel hurt thinking about dolls that will not be hugged or slept with, bikes that will not be ridden, Legos that will not be put together with daddies, puzzles that will not be assembled, books that will not be read, movies that won’t be watched, new winter jackets that won’t be worn. Cookies and milk set out for Santa will be nearly-impossible to do if there are other children in the families.

Last night at our family Christmas gathering I watched my grandchildren with different eyes — my 14 year-old grandson, his voice now deep, his hair a little longer, looking, smiling, involved with his iPhone, being his polite and loving self, my 13 year-old step-granddaughter (my son’s stepdaughter), who is having great difficulty since the shootings, unable to sleep, this sweet young girl afraid to go back to school, my 11 year-old granddaughter, surprised and thrilled at receiving an American Girl doll for Christmas, her sweet countenance filling the room, my 2 1/2 year-old granddaughter, dancing through the excitement of the evening, the lights, the Christmas tree, the beautifully-wrapped presents, her joy infectious.

I watched my children, too. My daughter is 39, and she works in an elementary school where visitors have to be buzzed in. She works helping to increase children’s reading skills, and they love her. She is creative and task-oriented. My son is a police officer, and I shudder to think that it might have been him to have come upon such a scene as Sandy Hook if, God forbid, this had happened in our small town. I am proud of their contributions, but more importantly, I am grateful that they are safe.

But it did happen in Sandy Hook, and it has happened in other places. We need to step up and do whatever we can to make absolute certain that it will never happen again, anywhere.

I cannot even come close to imagining how the parents of Charlotte and Daniel and Olivia and Josephine and Ana and Dylan and Madeleine and Catherine and Chase and Jesse and James and Grace and Emilie and Jack and Noah and Caroline and Jessica and Avielle and Benjamin and Allison are agonizing.

As a former teacher, I understand the natural desire to protect our students. And that is precisely what Victoria and Mary and Lauren and Anne Marie and Dawn and Rachel were doing.

There are no words.

There are no answers.

There is only pain of the deepest kind. I join my prayers with all the others around the world for the souls of those who have been so cruelly and senselessly taken, and I will join my efforts, whatever they might be, in doing something to stop this. I live near Chicago, where children are killed every day simply because they are in the wrong place at the wrong time or because they get caught in the cross hairs of gang violence or because of a drive-by shooting. This horrific constellation of crimes and evils has grown to epidemic proportions.

Something must be done. Let us not simply give this lip service. Let us remember what six and seven year-old children look like, how they talk, what they like to play with, how they learn to read. Let us make it personal. Let us boldly walk into our school systems and demand meetings with police and other organizations that can help us in our communities.

Let us remember.

Leave a comment

Breaking – Up

Don’t walk out the door

How will I cope when you are not here?

Please don’t leave me

Will you even care if I shed a tear?

We laughed but only yesterday

Now you want to go?

I don’t understand… please talk to me?

You are my love, my world, my beau

Couples fights and then make up

Can’t we talk this through?

Stay with me…talk to me

Please can’t we do that too?

The sound of the door closing

I stand numb with tears on cheek,

I see the clothes strewn on the floor

Can’t breathe, my heart feels weak

You have gone, I stumble from the room

I fall to floor upon my knees

My breath in gasps… it’s hard to breathe

My body shakes…eyes closed…can’t see

I rock like that of a child

Thinking this isn’t true

You have left..gone from my life

Come back, return…I love you

My tears… my body aching

I’ve lost all control

The pain it cuts into me

That of a knife into my soul

I cannot think, I only feel

I want the pain to go away

I’m alone, I’m scared my world now black

I love you…can you hear me?…come back….come back…come back



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 3,161 other followers

%d bloggers like this: