Epiphany 2

May 18, 2010 (at dusk)


The puzzle piece missing

is still not speaking toward

finding itself anytime soon.

The roses were a beautiful

symbol of the nothing they

meant to be before becoming

just simply what they were.

The apology was its own

magnificent accomplishment

diminished by being less

than it probably meant to be

in the beginning when it felt

more sincere and right, unforced.

The ending was quick before

its long decline into other places

of memory and time twisted to

make it prolong itself indefinitely.

The puzzle piece missing

is still not speaking toward

finding itself anytime soon.

Epiphany 1

May 2010 (in retrospect)


There was a moment when

your eyes changed – shifted

from bright sparkling blue to

darker, deeper blue – liquid

crystals of light dancing. Shift,

movement, reflection. Time

stopped flowing, the moment

lasted forever — before you

shielded your gaze, downcast

lashes fluttering portals closed.

There was a moment when

sound stopped – shifted

to quiet inside my heart

and I knew pain burned

the future — blazing fire

consuming, rolling, turning

into the end coming quickly

before I — shielded my gaze

lashes fluttering portals closed.

There was a moment when

truth interrupted — before our

lashes fluttering portals closed.

hey, Skate, maybe

We did better with
the telephone, pressed
tightly, ear to ear, voices
moving through invisible
lines in space without
the chaos of real, live
dialogue . . . because
illusions are easier
to believe in darkness
with voices whispering
in your ear all you want
to believe and need to
believe because it can’t
be seen to be anything
other than the illusion
of truth and hope and
maybe . . .
We did better with
the telephone, pressed
tightly, ear to ear, voices
are much safer when heard
through the telephone
lines in space without . . . you
near me.

to an unknown poet

In the late 70’s, when I was about nine, a poet came to my class at O. P. Earle Elementary School in Landrum, South Carolina as part of an arts program. He spent several days reading poems, teaching us what poems were, and encouraging us to write them. He took several of the best poems from the class with him when he left, promising that some would be published as part of the program.

I received a package in the mail with a newspaper-style tabloid inside a few months later. One of my poems was chosen for publication. I can remember the “big deal” this was to me then and the excitement and pride of my grandparents when they saw the published poem with my name attached. This is the first memory I have of me as an individual, the first moment in which I understood personal identity.

The unknown poet that opened the door of individuality and possibility for me has remained with me in essence through the years. I wish I knew his name so I could write a letter thanking him for the great gift he brought into my life. I have been able to personally survive and grow in ways that would have been impossible without poetry. And, after years of writing in all genres, poetry is always the place of deepest emotion for me, the true home to which I return.

The power of poetry is such that in a small schoolroom, in a miniscule rural town, a frightened little girl found her voice. That voice found the courage to speak from the depths of isolation to the heights of possibility. That small, tiny voice has spoken from numerous magazine pages all over the United States. That voice is still speaking . . .

I remain indebted and eternally grateful to my unknown poet from childhood, to the arts program, the teachers and school system that believed in poetry as an important part of education. Thank you.

Fatigue-Induced-Anti-Social-Tendencies Syndrome & Not-Write-Now Disorder

Are you mad at me?  I seem to be hearing this question a lot lately and each time I’m surprised – I haven’t talked to most of these people in several months…why would I be angry with them? What made them think I was mad? Obviously, the not talking to them part is being misconstrued as anger…hmm. 

So, again for the record, I’m not mad. A simple case of FATIGUE-INDUCED-ANTI-SOCIAL-TENDENCIES SYNDROME (FIASTS) is the real reason behind my silence. 

It’s also apparent that I haven’t written in this blog for a while. More questions: 

What’s wrong? Are you tired of writing…have you decided to stop blogging…are you okay? Nothing. No.  No. Yes. 

I’m fine. There’s nothing terribly wrong. I’m simply suffering from a mild case of NOT-WRITE-NOW DISORDER (NWND) along with my FATIGUE-INDUCED ANTI-SOCIAL-TENDENCIES SYNDROME. It’s perfectly normal given my situation. Or, is it? Maybe I should be worried about these new developments…of course, I should be really, shouldn’t I? 

Maybe I need to call the local medical board and mention these new diseases to them. After all, I am noticing that more and more people around me are showing symptoms of FIASTS and NWND. 

The symptoms seem to start in your early 40’s and are related to high-stress jobs in the automotive industry. They include lack-of-sleep due to 70-hour work weeks, irritability following hours and hours of repetitive training tasks, and the inability to cope with hundreds of incomprehensible, irrational responses from salespeople, convenience store clerks, and telemarketing companies in the same week. 

(I mean, c’mon, sales professionals, I really must have the customer’s last name and social security number to run a credit check…and to the telemarketers, can you quit calling my work number to offer me dish network specials …and local convenience store owners, why exactly can’t you keep my brand of cigarettes in stock – why are we always waiting on the truck??? Does the truck actually even stop at this store?) 

Woe Is Me

 Maybe I’ve discovered the newest major epidemic and should call the CDC. They might be able to quarantine me and those I’ve been in contact with since developing FIASTS and NWND. 

Quarantine would have to help ease the symptoms. After all, I couldn’t begin to tap my foot impatiently as I ring-up my self-serve groceries in a line that should be faster, but isn’t, because for some reason I always seem to need an attendant to push a button before I can continue! And quarantine would certainly reduce my tendency to blurt out, have you lost your  mind, every time my salespeople show up in my office and explain to me that the customer has offered  $5000 less for the car they’re looking at than we paid for it! 

I might even be able to recover from that nasty little habit I have of actually expecting the drive-thru people to put all my food in the bag the first time if the CDC would just quarantine me until my FIASTS and NWND improves or goes into remission. 

I think I’ll stop writing now and make that call…I’m sure the CDC can help me or maybe the medical board…I’ll talk to you all soon and write more on the blog…just as soon as my FIASTS and NWND goes into remission.