Category Archives: Poetry

Trading Places


If you try to be me, I’ll try to be you.
Then for each other, we’ll know what to do.

If you look at me through my eyes,
there will be no need to wear my protective disguise.

Because you’ll be able to see that my inner child is in fear.
You’ll be able to see my insecurities quite clear.

You’ll see that I’m not nearly as strong as I appear.
And you’ll see that I feel more and more pain with each passing year.

Then it will be your turn to take off your mask.
And you’ll have no choice but to tell me your true feelings when I ask.

I’ll see that when you want to cry, you scream.
I’ll see that you, like me, are not as tough as you seem.

I’ll see that you’re going over the brink.
You’ll see that I need you to love me much more than you think.

When you look at me reflected in your view.
The picture is distorted by my ego—and yours too.

Look at me without the deep complexes of our past.
Open your heart and relate to me at last.

So let’s open our minds—I’ll become you, and you’ll become me.
And I’m sure we’ll be shocked and saddened by what we both see.

I’ll see that you need significance, and belonging.
You’ll see my dreams for you and my longing.

I’ll see that you are weary of the games we play.
You’ll see that I pray for you to love me and stay.

If I see your pain,
I won’t hurt you again.

If you see why I cry and complain,
you won’t abuse me the same.

And if I am you and you are me,
we can finally end this torture and agree.

To work on improving the relationship
and make it the best it can be.

So we can finally live together
in peace and harmony.

So let’s trade places.

Let’s open our eyes and see
What happens to the two of us

When I become you
and you become me.

International Women’s Day


“This

is

an

alpha male

job,”

he

spewed

with

confidence.

“This

business

is

dominated

by

us,”

he boasted.

“What can you

bring

to

the

table?”

He

smirked.

Answer

him

wisely.

Naïve

is

this

man.

A man’s

table?

A man’s

world?

The

Alpha

men.

Brought

here

by

women.

Amidst

hurdles

and

obstacles.

The egg

lies

in wait.

Until

out of

millions

one

finds

its way

in.

The

weakling

girl

transforms.

She

is

now

the

protector.

The fierce

one.

She

discovers

the

beginning

is the

hardest.

The

most

challenging.

The

riskiest.

She’s

petrified

but

confident.

She

observes

and

manages.

The

first

sign.

An

awakening.

A

flutter

then

a

thriving

kick.

Internal

strength.

And

power

from

deep

within.

Patiently

waiting

for

months

and

months.

While

nourishing

and

supporting.

Knowing

life

is

resilient

and

sacrifice

is

quiet.

Taking

courage.

Laboring.

Pushing.

Delivering.

Belief

that

survival

is

crucial.

Reassurance

that

all

is

possible.

Cracking.

Shattering.

First

the

table.

Then

the

world.

 

Brick by Brick

One brick

two bricks

three bricks.

Coming

at me.

One

right

after

the other.

Brick

after brick

after brick.

All in ABC’s.

Abandoned * abused * accused * afflicted * afraid * aggressive * alarmed * alienated * an-accident * anguished * angry * anxious * apprehensive * argumentative * awful * awkward * bad * banished * banned * belligerent * below-average * berated * betrayed * bitch * bitter * black-sheep * blamed * blocked * boney * bossy * bothersome *brainwashed * break-up * breakdown * bridgeport * broke * broken * broken-hearted * browbeat * bruised * bugs * bullied * burden * burns * burned * can’t  * careless * catastrophe * chaos * cheated-on * cheater * chicken * clingy * clueless * clumsy * cockroaches * cold * combative *competitive * compulsive* conceited * condemned * condescending * conflicted * confused * conned * consumed * contentious * court * coward * crazy * critical * criticized * cruelty * crushed * crybaby * cutoff * cut-out * cynical * damaged * damned * dark * dark-skinned * defective * defensive * defiant * deficient * delicate * delusional * demons * depressed * deprived * deserted * detached * destroyed * destructive * detested * devalued * devastated * devil * different * difficult * disappointed * disappointment * disapproved-of * disbelieved * discarded * disconnected * disgruntled * disgust * disliked * disloyalty * dismal * disobedient * displaced * disposable * disrespected * dissed * distant * distraught * distressed * disturbed * disrespectful * dizzy * dominated * don’t * doomed * doubtful * drained * dreamer *  dreary * drop-out * dropped-off * drunk * dumb * duped * eliminated * elusive * embarrassed * emotional * enabler * engulfed * enraged * entrapped * estranged * evil * exaggerator * exasperated * excluded * excommunicated * failure * fake * fatherless * fat * fear * fearful * feeble * fire * fired * flawed * flee * forgotten * forsaken * fragile * frightened * frigid * foolish * forgettable * from-a-broken-home * frustrated * furious * gawky * ghetto * get lost * goodbye * graceless * greaser * guarded * guilt * guilty * gutter * half-sister * harassed * hard-hearted * harmed * hassled * hated * havoc * heartbreak * heartache *hell * hidden * hindered * hindrance * homely * hopeless * horrible *hungry * huron-street * hurt * hurtful * hyper * hysterical * illegal * illegitimate * immune * imperfect * impossible * imperfect * incapable * incompetent * inconvenient * indifferent * ineffective * inept * inexperienced * inferior *infested * infected *  injured * insecure * insensitive * insignificant * insolent * instigator * insubordinate * intense * in-the-way * intimidating * invader * invisible *isolated * jaded * jealous * jeered * jew-lover * jittery * jumpy * judged * joyless * kept-apart * kept-away * Kept-in * kept-out * kept-quiet * lanky * left-out * let-down * liar *lied-about * lied-to * lonely * loner * lonesome * loser * lost * loud * mad * made-fun-of * malicious * mangled * man-handled * manipulated * marginalized * messed-with * messed-up * misbehaved * miserable * mistake * misunderstood * mixed-up * mocked * mod-martian * molested * money-hungry * mouse-traps * muzzled * naïve * needy * negative * neglected * nervous * never * no * nobody * numb * nuts * objectified * obsessed * only-child * opportunistic * out-of-place * out-of-touch * over-controlled * ambitious * overlooked * overwhelmed * overly-sensitive * overwhelmed * pain * panicky * paranoid * pathetic * persecuted * persistent * pessimistic * pests * petrified * picked-on * plain * played-with * pock-marked * poor * powerless * pressured * problematic * pulled-apart * pulled-back * punished * puppet * pushed * pushed-away * put-down * quiet * questioned * quirky * rage * rambunctious * rats * rattled * reckless * reject * rejected * rejection * restless * reticent * reluctant * repulsed * repulsive * resented * resentful * retaliatory * retard * revengeful * ridiculed * ridiculous * rodents * rogue * rollercoaster * rude * ruined * sacrificed * sad * scape-goat * scared * scaredy-cat * * scarred * scary * scolded * screwed * screwed-over * screwed-up * second-class * self-destructive * sensitive * set-up * shame * shamed * shameful * shipwreck * shouldn’t * shouted-at * shunned * shy * sickly * silly * singled-out * sinner * skeptical * skinny * smothered * snapped-at * step-daughter * stereotyped * stop * stressed * stressed-out * stuck * stuck-up * stupid * sub-par * substandard * suffocated * suicidal * suppressed * suspicious * swarthy * tattle-tale * tense * terrified * terry * theresa-the-greaser * threatened * timid * tormented * troublemaker * ugly * unable * unapologetic * unappreciative * unattractive * uncaring * underestimated * underdog * undermined * underpaid * uneducated * unequal * unforgiving * unfriendly * unhappy * unhealthy * unjust * unlovable * unlucky * unneeded * unlovable *unqualified * unwanted * unwanted-advances * unrealistic * unrelentless *unruly * untalented * untrusting unwelcome * unworthy * upset * used * useless * vermin * victimized * violated * violence * volatile * vulnerable * wary * weak * weary * wedge * weeds * weepy * weird * wicked * wild * won’t * worthless * written-off * written-out * wrong *  zero

Some bricks

broke my

bones.

Others

broke my

spirit.

Then I heard

him

speak

on TV.

About building

with bricks.

Don’t

be afraid.

Pick them up.

Each and

every

one.

Pick them up.

And then

build.

You can

do it.

Construct

a firm foundation.

Brick by brick.

But how?

That was my

question.

So many bricks.

Too many

bricks

to handle.

And even

If I could.

Pick them all up.

Brick by brick.

What to use.

To build and

protect.

Maybe mortar.

Lots and

lots

of

binding

mortar.

Let me try.

Able * abide * ability *accept * accomplished * accountable * achieve * adapt * adjust * admired * adore * adored * advocate * affectionate * agile * agreeable * alert * alive * always * amazed * ambition * amen * analytical * angel * appreciated * appreciative * approachable * ariel * aspire * assemble * assent * assert * atone * attract * audacious * aunt * authentic * available * awakened * awed * babies * backbone * balance * barb * beginnings * believing * belonging * beloved * benchmark * blessed * bliss * blossom * bold * boy * brain * bravery * breakthrough * brilliance * builder * buoyant * busy * caleb * calm * can * candor * capability * carefree * careful * caring * celebrate * centered * certainty * chances * change * charity * charm * charmed * cheer * cheered * chief-operating-officer *  child * child-like * choice * chosen * clarity * climb * coequal * cogent * cohesion * comfort * comforting * comfortable * commitment * communicate * community * companion * compassion *  competence * complete * complimentary * composed * conciliatory * concise *   concrete * confidence * connect * consensual * considerate * consideration * consistent * consoling * constructive * content * continuity * contributive * conviction * cooperation * cornerstone * courage * courtesy * creativity * credible * cuddling *  curiosity * cutting-edge * daring * darling *  dauntless * dawn * decency * decisiveness * dedicated * deep * defend * defiant * definitive * deft * deliberate * demonstrative *   dependable * deserving * desired * destined * determined * devoted * dignity * diligence * diverse * doting * dreamer * dreams * durable * dutiful * dynamic * eagerness * earnestness * eloquent * empathy * empowerment * emulate * encouraged * enduring * engaging * enthusiasm * epic * equal * everlasting * example * exceed * excel * excellence *  factual * fair * faithful * family * fearless * feisty * flexibility * focus * forever * forgiveness * freedom * friends * fritzi * funny * future * garden * generosity * gentlemanly * genuine * gianna * giddy * give * glad * god * goodness * grace * graceful * gracious * grandma* grateful * grounded * guided * happy * harmless * harmonious * hazel * healing * healthful * healthy * heartfelt * heaven * hello * hero * honesty * honor * hope * hopeful * hospitality * humanitarian * humility * humor * husband * imagination * impartial * important * impression * impressive * improvement * improvise *  inclusive * indefatigable * independent * indestructible * indispensable * infant * insight * inspiration * interconnected * ipod * jovial * joy * jubilance * just * kindness * kindred * lasting * laugh * lead * leader * lean * learn * legal * legitimate * lenient * life * light * lila * * little man * live * lou * love * loved * loyalty *   lucky * mammy * magic * mate * maternal * melodious * mercy * merit * mindful * miracle * modesty * moral * motivated * moved * mulberry * music * mutuality * newborn * noble * normal * nurturing * objective * open *  open-handed * open-hearted * open-minded * optimist *  organized * original * pam * paradigm * paradise * parent * partner * passion * patience * peace * peacekeeper * permanent * perseverance * persistence * peter * playful * poetic * poise * positivity * possibility * potential * presence * pride * principled * productive * proficient * promising * protected * protector * proud * provider * purpose * quick * quiet * rainbow * real * realistic * reasoned * reasonable * reassured * reborn * reconciled * reliability * relief * resolute * resolve * respect * responsible * responsive * restorative * safe * safety * satisfied * selfless * sensible * sentimental * serene * serenity * settled * simplicity * sincerity * sister * smile * snuggle * soothing * sorry * soulmate * special * stable * strength * substantive * subtle * successful * sunshine * support * survivor * sympathy, symphony *  talent * teamwork * tenderness * teri * thankful * thoughtfulness * tireless * together * tolerance * tome * touching * tough * tranquility * triumph, trusting, trustworthy * truth * truthful * unafraid * unbeaten * unbroken * uncle * unconditional * undefeated * understanding * understood * unflappable * unicorns * unified * unique * unfazed * unlimited * unshakable * unstoppable *  validated * valued * victorious * vivacious * vivid * vocal * vulnerable * warm * welcome * wes * whimsical * whole * wife * wishful * witty * writer * worthy * yes * youthful * zany * zealous * zestful

Lots of mortar.

In ABC’s.

A

beautiful

castle.

A mighty

fortress.

To protect

and defend.

Now I’m

safe

and sound.

Fortified against

attacks.

All

bricked up

within

and

without.

My

safehold.

Bless Me Father

Bless-me-Father-AB

Your mother
is a sinner.

And so are you.

Go now
and confess.

The girl
was terrified.

Not sure what
to say.

She just had
her
First Communion.

But never confessed
any sins.

The confessional
was dark.

And she hated
it.

The dark
was always
merciless.

The priest
was barely
visible.

Bless me father
for I have sinned.

How long since your
last confession
he asked.

Never.

What have you
to confess
my child?

Adultery.

Lord please have
mercy
on my soul.

The priest
moved
swiftly.

And opened
the curtain
to reveal
himself.

She knew him and
he knew her.

He sat the girl
in a pew
and held her hand.

It was still wet
from blessing herself
with the holy water.

Why would you
confess such a thing
my little one?

Because Mother Superior
ordered me
to
beg for
mercy
and repent.

He took her hand
and they walked
to the school.

In silence.

She was in trouble.

Maybe she was supposed
to genuflect when
she came into
the church.

Who would ask a child
to confess such a thing
asked the priest of
the nun.

Her mother is
excommunicated.

She pointed at the girl.

And she doesn’t belong here.

Perhaps it is you
who doesn’t belong
here, he fumed.

The mother arrived
quickly.

Dressed in a yellow
mini dress
and fake pearls.

Her hair in a bee hive
her cheeks a rosy pink.

Her heels high
and her scent lovely.

The nun was dismissive
and merciless.

But the mother
was fierce.

Protective.

And ready to
rumble.

Adulteress?

This is what you call
my daughter?

You are a sinner,
and so is she
the nun spat out.

The priest gasped.

The mother moved in
for the kill.

And cut the nun to size
with her biting
humiliating
words.

No mercy.

The nun was quiet
humbled and ashamed.

The mother was triumphant.

Vindicated.

The priest was pleased.

He did his best to
hide his smile.

The child trudged back to class
knowing the
consequences
would be merciless.

Bless me father

Am I a Poet, but Don’t Know It?

Word Girl
At a dinner party a few months ago, I was asked by a friend if I was a poet. “No,” I quickly and definitively answered.

And then she queried “How do you know?”

I didn’t speak it, but I thought it: Duh, I think I’d know if I was a poet.

I tried to be pithy in my actual response to her: “Maybe I’m a poet and I don’t even know it.” She rolled her eyes and changed the subject.

But her question stuck with me all these months.

I have over the years tried my hand at poetry. Haven’t we all?

But I was never good at rhyming. The perfect timing of rhyme scheming seemed cheesy to me. Now I recognize that not all poems have to rhyme, but they often flow better when they do.

I wrote a Haiku once, but the whole three lines, totaling 17 syllables throughout seemed forced.  And three lines was near impossible for someone like me.

As the self-proclaimed queen of verbiage, the poems I have written over the years have been rather longish. Getting a four-page poem to rhyme and flow would take a fair amount of poetic talent. Or maybe they aren’t poems at all. Maybe they’re super short, short stories.

So here’s my question: Am I a poet?

For those of you who are familiar with my writing style, you know that I can occasionally be sardonically witty.  But for the most part, I am supremely morose. I apologize for that. Sort of.

Anyway, I combed through some of my journals and found this entry I felt compelled to share. It was one long rant of a paragraph, so I chopped it up a bit. Perhaps you too have an ex-friend. Perhaps I am a poet after all.

It’s my birthday today
and I’m not thinking about
how I’m going to spend it.
I’m thinking about
my ex-best friend
and how I wish we were
fourteen again
caring only about
boys and clothes,
and  listening to
Simon and Garfunkel
while we weep over
life altering happenings.
First kisses and sweet sixteen’s,
pimples, breakups, and proms,
becoming women,
high school graduation
and leaving for college.
I want my teenage years back,
and my grandmother,
and my dog Raleigh.
I want to sleep out in a tent
in my still best friend’s backyard
and sneak boys into her house
while everyone is asleep.
And I long to hear her mother’s shrill voice,
ordering us to shape up.
I want to giggle with her
and hang out for hours
in her magazine perfect bedroom.
But her room is gone
and so is our youth,
and her parents.
And our friendship.
And I wonder what we will share next.
What event might break
the silence.
The thought is unnerving
and scary
so I put it out of my mind.
Instead, I remember
the good times
the old times
when we were young and naïve
with flowers in our pigtails.
Kodak color prints
of the two of us
in teeny weeny bikinis,
with our hair in jumbo curlers.
And then engagements,
marriage, pregnancy,
the miracle of birth,
child rearing.
I want to remember
even the bad times
they were okay too
because we shared them.
Heartbreak, deceit,
misunderstandings,
tough love,
health scares,
divorce, remarriage,
rejection, repudiation,
the golden years,
ex-best friends forever.
Girl on a park bench