Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Magnificent Body

I am usually a very confident woman.
I've never had the habit, as some woman do, of self deprecation.
Maybe it's because I've always been fit.
Even when my tall and lean body filled out into full hips,
I still never minded flaunting what my mamma gave me.
Even after my stomach was decorated with stretch marks.
I still embraced my "motherly" look.

But there is something decidedly unsexy about pregnancy.
My body develops from woman to "baby factory".
All my energy, mental capacity, control over body functions- is sacrificed.
My usually swaying hips awkwardly waddle,
My skin rebels against the increased hormones.
And sex becomes an accomplishment- like pole vaulting.
My husband claims I'm still as sexy as ever,
But it is hard to believe him.

Part of me feels guilty for not embracing the moment.
Many women would love to be in my position and can't.
And I AM amazed that my body can grow organs,
Sustain the life of two people,
Grow and stretch to magnificent proportions.
I am amazed and grateful to my body,
But I still can't say it's sexy.
So I will wait for months like a beached whale,
Until I can be free to jump and spin again.

Friday, December 16, 2011

New Person

I had a fear last time I was pregnant.
I was so worried I wouldn't like my son.
I knew I would love him unconditionally.
But I didn't know if I would LIKE him.
What kind of person would he be?
Would we get along?
I ended up being happily surprised by his spirit.
He is such a laid-back, funny, sweet kid.
He's the kind of guy you could share a pint (of milk) with.

Now we have a new person entering our family.
I am feeling the same sort of worry.
I look down at my growing belly and think,
"Hey who are you in there?"
I have so many dreams and ideas about my children.
I wish so many things for them.
My biggest wish is that they are good people:
Full of Good Character, Charity, and Gratitude.
If I could guarantee these qualities in my children,
The rest can be a sweet surprise.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Clever Girl

I had this dream I was coy and clever.
A gentleman and I shared a conversation about first love:
The expressions, the embraces, and loveliness of it all.
Our conversation danced.
We played clever games with each others words.
I would turn my head and catch his eye with subtle flirtation.
He said he missed the flutterings in his heart.
I said, "If only I could capture those flutterings in my butterfly net."
This one expression made the man fall desperately in love with me.

I wish I were like the part I played in my dream.
I am the antithesis of coy,
My cleverness is intermittent.
I wish I could be quick-witted.
However my tongue and my brain work at varying speeds,
Stumbling my wit in an ungraceful dance.
Then there are times when I create the perfect words- two minutes too late.
Thankfully I am not playing a part in a play.
Real life has far less interesting people,
and they are far more forgiving of faults.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sunday Promenade

It is dusk.
The setting autumn sky is casting strange shadows.
Arm in arm, my family heads outside for an evening walk.
Our dog, Zoe, wags her tail and prances beside my husband.
My son grabs my hand and walks beside me.
We play little games as we walk.
We practice going "slow" and "fast".
"What's that sound, mama?" he asks.
We hear a chirping noise from our neighbors fenced garden.
"Hummm.... is it a cow?" I ask our two yer old.
"Nooo." he giggles.
"Is it a bear?"
"Is it a chicken?"
"Oh your right. It's a cricket!"
"A cricket?" He delights in this new word for a few moments
Then we continue our promenade through the quite Sunday streets.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Conflicting with Conflict

I hate conflicts.
Its something my body naturally avoids.
I can't function around angry people.
Irrational anger is an emotion I cannot relate to.
Very little makes me uncontrollably angry.
Sometimes when people yell, it makes me want to laugh.
I brush a lot of things off my shoulder.
I'm selective with my battles.

But there are times I am forced to speak up.
There are times when conflict slaps me in the face.
There are times when I can feel my heart pounding in anger,
Even when my head is saying "calm down."
What do you do in times of conflict?

Some people love it,
They roll around in it.
They blow it out of proportion, just to make it last longer.
You can see the raised heart rate is exciting to them.

Some people blow up fast,
They get everything out of their mind,
A volcanic eruption of emotion and profanity,
And then they restore themselves to rational and calm.

Some people swallow it,
It becomes a part of their bitter being,
The object of their anger may never even know it.
The anger remains long after their memory fails them.

I maul over conflicts,
I will think about the issue for days,
I lose sleep, I lose my appetite.
I meditate on my anger, trying to find the root of it all.
And I won't act until I know what the perfect solution is.

I'm not sure what the best approach to conflict is.
My way results in many fewer conflicts, but it isn't really great on my health.
It can take me days to get over something, I think I may have gotten an ulcer.
Sometimes I wish I could just blow up and move on.
Sometimes I wish I'd come up with the perfect words that would be the slap in the face the offender needed at the moment.
Mostly I just wish conflicts were more avoidable.
Can't we all just be kind, and curtious, and get along?

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Surprised by Guilt

Parenting is surprising.

When I was pregnant,
I wondered how I could love someone I never met.
I was surprised at the instant love I felt for my son,
the moment he took his first breathe.

I was surprised at all the things I've done,
that I swore "I'd never do."

I am surprised that I daily say sentences like,
"Yay! Pee Pee on the potty!"
"Sharing is a lot more fun. See it's nice when we share."
"Stop that is enough. I said stop! No!"
"We can watch choo choo trains after we eat dinner."

I am surprised by my strength.
I am sometimes surprised by my shortcomings.

But mostly, I am surprised by guilt.
Parenting a child has a unique way of highlighting all your faults.
I never thought I was very selfish or short tempered before,
But somehow my sweet two year old,
points these faults out in me in a way only he can.
I feel guilty that all my parenting trials and errors are tested on my first born.
I feel guilty for washing dishes when my son wants me to play.
I feel guilty for taking shortcuts when I'm exhausted.
I feel guilty for losing my temper sometimes, on stuff that is no big deal.

All this weighted guilt compounds itself with an overall uncertainty.
Am I doing this right?
Is this okay?
Can I trust my instincts?
Will my son talk about me to his psychiatrist one day?

Raising a child in love is one of the most self-less things you can do,
I knew it would be hard,
It's the guilt, the uncertainity that is hard to swallow.
I can't get a parenting report card... maybe that is a good thing.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I've been waiting months for a red tomato from my garden.
I have enjoyed a few cherry tomatoes,
(though the cat birds have enjoyed more.)
I've served up romas, and these pretty round yellow tomatoes- the size of tennis balls.
But there are still three plants holding out on me.
I planted them because it was a heirloom called "mortgage lifters."
They are big tomatoes, the kind you hold with two hands,
The kind you slice thick and drip down your chin when you bite into them.
They have been large and green for a long time.
Teasing me with their delicious possibilities.
Last week, I noticed a few had begun to flush.
They have soft pink flesh that is still too young to pick.
I watch their progress everyday,
Praying for their safety from the many creatures that lurk in my garden.
It has been a long time waiting for that first big red tomato.

I have a little belly now.
Not big enough for everyone to notice.
It peaks out of tighter shirts,
It blossoms slowly under my sundress.
Inside there are so many possibilities.
A life starting small and growing into something incredible.
But like my baby plants,
I need to wait in patience.
All I can do is carefully track its progress,
Pray for safety from so many unknowns,
And hope for sweet things to come.
But mostly all I have to do is wait.
Though I desperately want to see my child's face,
The sweetest things in life are worth waiting for.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Care Less?

Sometimes I care too much about what people think of me.
Not in the childish sense;
I don't care if people think I am pretty, or smart or fun to be around.
But I care very deeply that people think I am good.
I want people to see my good intentions,
To trust my word,
To believe my heart is full of love for all,
To see that I truly care.
It all comes down to character.
No matter how much I try to do right,
There are people who think ill of me.
It bothers me more than it should.
I have my share of dirty laundry,
But I wish people could see my soul.
See that I am loving, trustworthy, honorable.
Even the good have their enemies...
So why does it bother me so?
Why do I feel I need to defend my character?

"Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you'll be criticized either way. You are damned if you do and damned if you don't."
- Eleanor Roosevelt

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

My silly heart

It's hard to explain it.
There is no logical explanation.
When you are around me,
I get...... flustered.
The witty flirtatious words in my head,
Get tangled up in my throat.
You make me look like a fool.
Silly and tongue-tied,
Flushed and dizzy.
Just looking in your eyes,
I can't help but smile like a chump.
Your scent,
The shape of your body,
Makes my mind hum with excitement.
And my heart,
My silly heart,
Beats faster when you are around.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lonely, but never alone

I heard that once you become a mother,
"You will often feel lonely, but never again be truly alone."
Now with over two years experience with parenting,
I can relate to that sentiment in some ways.
Back in my single days,
I would spend hours in my bedroom just by myself.
I built a little quiet sanctuary there.
My bedroom had bright orange walls,
Wooden book shelves and painted mirrors.
Funny little decoupage stars hung from the ceiling.
It was "me."
I knew myself and how I was feeling very clearly.
I had plenty of time to explore it in that room.
My husband was commenting on how much he loved my old bedroom,
"Because it was so You." he said.
There is no room in our new house like that.
I don't really need a place for me in my house,
But I long for a place for me in my life.
It is difficult because I don't want less time with my husband,
I definitely don't want less time with my son.
If I spent any less time with friends, they would forget me.
Somehow I need to make an inner place for me...
A place in my heart to hang my silly stars.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

That Dream I Had

That dream I had... I can't get it out of my head.
It's memory makesme toss my hair,
grin like a fool.

A friend once advised me, "You can't help the things you dream. They're just meaningless thoughts that pop into our head while we're sleeping. You shouldn't feel sorry, or embarrased or anything really..." He made me feel silly for being affected so strongly.

I don't agree with him,
I believe that dreams can have meaning.
It's my window into repressed feelings,
My desperate attempt to resolve the irresolvable.
I've had dreams come true.
Dreams have opened my eyes to true intentions or hidden agendas.

They aren't always realistic;
My dreams are more like wonderland than real world.
Even so, the feeling I have in my heart upon waking....
That is what sticks with me.
The mortifying fear of failure,

Then there are those great dreams that leave me flushed and smiling.
Like a first kiss, you don't want to end,
and it lingers in your mind for days to come.

I can't get that dream out of my head,
or maybe I don't want to.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Places- The Park

A piece of grass,
So steep and oddly situated,
That you feel one missed step,
Will send you toppling into the city skyline.
I used to sit on the bench swing,
My skinny legs feverishly kicking at the dome of the capital building.
With one gutsy breath, I'd topple off of the swing and roll down the hill.
Grass stains, bruises, brush burns were all totally worth the thrill.
We carelessly ran back and forth across its ledge,
The hill swallowed a glut of our frisbees.

The park was almost always quiet,
My peaceful escape from the noisiness of my household.
A place where I was elevated above the city,
I felt like it elevated my writing as well.
Its view was far more beautiful than the park itself.
I'll admit I brought a few boys to that spot,
How could I resist?
But I don't really remember those rendezvous,
What I remember is jumping off those swings... and finding peace.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

On Walt Whitman

I am re-reading Leaves of Grass.
I read it once a long time ago,
When his passionate words made my virgin cheeks blush.
Now I picture that Walt Whitman is sitting on my front porch with me.
His long gray beard is softly moving with the words on the page.
I try to pry deeper to understand him more.

I always thought Walt Whitman was such a brave poet.
And he was in many ways...
He was controversial, opinionated, and passionate.
(not to mention being a nurse in the Civil War)
But he still hid some portions of his life in the innuendos of Song of Myself.
We still don't really know the details behind the poems.

Sometimes, I write about very personal things.
It scares me.
It feels as if I am lying naked on the computer screen for the world to see.
Some of my thoughts, feelings and fantasies are so private,
I would rather post a naked picture of myself than have those thoughts shared with the world.
The security of poetry is that you can relay deep emotions without the details.
It is a lack of details that makes me feel secure in my writing.
But I am still a timorous poet,
Wishing to draw from Walt Whitman's strength.

Friday, May 6, 2011


I feel like I've hurt you.
That is the last thing I wanted to do.
If the pen is mightier than the sword,
My fingers are a six-caliber pistol.
My miss-aim can have lethal effects.
I know what words can do.
I know the truth has a bitter aftertaste.
As a poet I could make things prettier for you,
But that isn't My Truth.
That isn't real.
And in a world of insincerity,
I can't mirror your truth.
Though your opinion matters more than it should.
If my poetry doesn't reveal My Truth,
Then I am completely lost.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Places- The Bridge

A man walked across this iconic bridge to meet me. He had driven an unthinkable amount of hours just to see my face. The last mile of his journey was on foot, across the bridge to the island where we would meet. We walked the bridge beside each other, almost touching, but not quite. Like the letter we shared, so close but not joined. Below our feet was the river. In nervousness, I watched through the iron deck at the water rushing below. I wanted my body to dissolve, slip through the cracks, and float away. I didn't want to deal with that day, deal with this man who wanted me, deal with the feelings I couldn't understand. I still don't understand them. His heart was rushing toward me and I was pulling within myself for safety. I hated myself for my fear, but it was there strangling me, holding me back. Something wasn't right. My heart viciously contracted, crippling me.

Months later, on a cold autumn night, I again met a man who had traveled miles to my city. We slowly walked side by side across the same great bridge. The lights from the steel beams twinkled and caught the light in his green eyes. My breath made puffy clouds in front of my red cheeks. We smiled and stared up at the city sky line. I barely noticed the steel frame that held above the river. The holes at our feet made me feel as if we were floating, the icy water seemed miles below my feet. That night, he looked deep into me and said, "It will be okay." My heart softened, my breath grew quite. No longer cynical, my hand reached to him and tucked safely under his arm for warmth.

Places- The Fountain

"The Fountain" was what we used to call it,
A waterwork of excitement tightly nested between rolling marble stairs.
It makes a beautiful indentation between two wings of government.
Lighted in the darkness,
It always shimmered.
It encouraged me to clear my thoughts.
We used to sit their for hours having long conversations.
Somehow it's watery presence encouraged our hearts to open.

We treasured you, more for memory.
It was the conversations we really cherished.
But now I act like all the other city dwellers;
I hurriedly pass by,
Hardly noticing the dance you perform,
Hardly remembering those once cherished exchanges.


I live in the city I grew up in,
There are hardly any paths in this city, that I haven't crossed.
So many memories are tied to the structures and rivers and even trees.
And yes, I'm an architectural nerd.
My heart beats faster at the site of a beautiful building.
This city is busy, but these places still captivate me,
They hold meaning to me.
It is in places, more than anything that I hold my emotions.
This city holds my memories and I love it.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Be Still

I've been saturated in purtanical work ethic,
"Idle hands are the devils work shop"
Some of it is my own personality.
I took up knitting so that even when I watch football, I'm productive.
I can't sit still.
I'm terrible at cuddling.
It seems like a waste of time, when we could be doing better things...

Recently, my heart has been crying...
"Be Still"
It's not as easy as it sounds.
I've had to teach myself.
There is an undefined "gray area" between overexertion and laziness.
This gray area is new territory for me.
I try to not feel too guilty about it.

I've stopped myself from working through lunches,
Forced myself to take a nap,
Made time for walks.
I find that somehow everything still gets done.
I still struggle with the guilt of it all.
But I am listening to my heart.
Learning a new pace.
And trying to be better at cuddling.

"He says, "Be still and know that I am God,
I will be exalted among the nations,
I will be exalted in the earth."
Psalms 46:10

Thursday, March 24, 2011

I don't understand your faces

Your expressions are strange to me today.
I can't read your faces.
Normally one glance in your face and I know what you are feeling.
Usually I look to you and your green eyes shine back to me in clear sentences.
We can share profound thoughts in silence.
But today your eyes don't connect with mine.
Your smile is like fresh water I draw readily from the well.
Today I search deeply for that smile and you leave me thirsty.
Suddenly your countenance is foreign to me.
Your mind must be somewhere distant.
Where are you, my love?

Monday, February 21, 2011

Chocolate Souffles

I was inexplicably mad at my husband yesterday. I know the level of anger I displayed was illogical- given the crime. He was just being helpful (and a little clumsy). Given my own klutzy indiscretions, I shouldn't have been so mad. You see, my husband committed a grocery crime.
As he was carrying bags in from the car, he murdered 6 eggs. I usually don't get mad about silly things like that. However after blowing $148 at the grocery store, seeing half of the dozen beautiful organic eggs I had purchased carelessly smashed just really set me off. Of course as usual, my frustration about egg smashing was short lived. As I came to my senses, I sighed and said, "Leave it please, I'll take carry of it."
As I carefully extracted the intact eggs, I tried to figure out what to do with the egg disaster and suddenly thought of chocolate souffle. So I carefully separated the massacred eggs. I melted butter and dark chocolate, whipped the egg whites to perfection and baked them until they turned into delicious puffy chocolate clouds of decadence. It seemed almost magical.
Looking over my childhood, my parents had always found ways to turn bad situations into magic. I never worried about our financial situation as a girl, although looking back, I know things were probably tight. Somehow they shielded me from those cares, through their little magic acts. We used to eat meals like corn pone with milk which my Dad said was what people used to eat in the Great Depression. It never occurred to me that we were saving money. I just thought it was fun to pretend. One time, the power went out because of a storm. So our family had a "camping trip" in the living room. We lit candles pretending it was a camp fire and Dad read usEdger Allen Poe stories.
I hope I can make "magic" like that for my children. Life cracked my beautiful eggs and I made chocolate souffle, so maybe I am heading on the right path.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Under Construction

A while ago, I wrote about things falling apart.
Time brings decay.
Your personal foundations can crumble.
Life changes course rapidly,
But is is not always for the worse.

I work in construction.
Everyday I am surrounded by positive changes.
Hospitals become safer.
Schools become inviting.
Homes become more energy efficient.

I once walked through an old fabric factory.
It was dark and abandoned.
Its floors were made of wooden bricks.
Its small pane windows were dusty and shattered.

In less than a year,
That same abandoned factory became an engineering school.
It's beautiful wood ceiling was cleaned and varnished.
The small pained windows were replaced.
It is a beautiful and useful building again.

My hands were part of that transformation.

Sometimes I feel like that fabric factory.
Worn, dirty, in much need of improvement.
Can I hang an apologetic "Under Construction" sign over my soul?
That is what I love about my job.
Everyday I am reminded how quickly things can be changed for the better.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I love sleeping with you

Have I told you how much I love sleeping with you?

At night in the darkness,
We share our deepest secrets.
You keep me up later than you should.
It reminds me of when we were dating,
We'd talk on the phone for hours.
But now you are in my arms.
Your hair is mine to tousle.
Your body is close enough to tease.
We talk until my eyelids give up and shut.

When I wake,
Your morning eyes are lovely.
We laugh about the dream I had.
You capture me in your arms as I try to escape,
And keep me locked against you.
Your warm breathe against my neck,
Convinces me to stay in bed a little longer.
"No, I don't need to blow dry my hair today."
"Yes, I need to shower"
... or maybe not.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


My heart is tired.
My body is cold.
My head spins in it's own dizzy mess.
Unexplained tears appear suddenly,
Like an unwanted guest, no one wants to acknowledge.

In my office,
An unfinished painting waits for me.
Colors and lines that are supposed to build the background for my masterpiece.
My hands will never execute,
The beauty my mind created.
I am like that unfinished painting,
It will never be completed,
Because I, the artist, lack the skill to perfect it.