Unfinished Sunrise

~from the Collection, Odes to Plath

Hidden in dark-petal
groves where trees of
doubt and rivers of
fear flow –

You stand neck-deep
in the mud of
disillusionment, all
the false promises,
desiccated dreams,
chirping in your ear;
their malevolent
haunting the darkness
as you struggle
to rise,
sinking deeper
until the mud crawls
inside your mouth
forces itself
down your throat,
into your center, attacks
the dreams hiding
in hope of light.
Out of this dire swamp
of human condition
you reach for a
twig, limb of a tree,
for something to hoist,
push-pull yourself
to freedom.

Hidden in dark-petal
groves where trees of
doubt and rivers of
fear flow –

You are growing,
that one ray of light,
struggling to pull
yourself out
of this thing called
Depression –
because there’s an
unfinished sunrise
you’re trying to

~South Carolina, 2011

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ARTWORK: Anhelo by Ryan Swallow. To see more of Ryan’s artwork, including this piece, please go here. You may read more about the artist here. Or, you can visit his website at: http://ryanswallow.com

** ** **  **  **  **  **

A very special Thank You to Jingle and Thursday Poet’s Rally for the award below! You are all deeply appreciated.

 I nominate mindlovemisery  at: http://mindlovemisery.wordpress.com/

Gleaned from Ink

Gleaned from Ink

~from the Collection, Odes to Plath

It is never a shock that you died.
(You announced deaths’ presence often
enough, explained your acquaintance
with his cold, familiar person.)

Not your dying, but the final distorted picture —
Isolated, alone, invisible gas, babies in the next room.
That stunning portrait shock-ripples our consciousness.
The proximity of life and death
so closely knitted together —
touching threads aligned
evenly in your created tapestry.

Your destiny was to become a great poet,
immortality gleaned from ink
flowing across a contrast-white background,
the dark-lined letters of your life
a glistening hue.

~composed September 2010.

ARTWORK CREDIT: The Scribe and the Scroll…, by Jon Gemma. Original and other artwork here.
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Freedom: 18 Years After a Suicide Attempt

We should not judge people by their peak of excellence; but by the distance they have traveled from the point where they started. ~Henry Ward Beecher

HOPE by Claudia Johns

The fourth of July holds a special significance other than it being the Birthday of  American Independence. It is a day that marks my freedom from inner oppression and celebrates my life. It’s the day I almost died.

I woke up on July 4th, eighteen years ago, excited about the day ahead. My mom was throwing an afternoon BBQ celebration and all my siblings and close friends were coming. After the cookout, we would all go to the town park and watch the fireworks. It was a perfect plan for a fun family day. But I never made it to the cookout. Instead, by mid-afternoon, I was in ICU fighting for my life.

I was only 25 years old at the time and suffering from severe depression and PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). My romantic relationship was a violent one that had already put me in the hospital earlier that year – the beating to my face so severe that it caused hearing loss and minor brain damage. I left him for a while and sought medical help — antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and weekly therapy sessions became the norm. Seven weeks into the therapy and medication, working toward recovery and planning to leave the relationship when I could afford to move, I was feeling happy and hopeful. The therapy and medications were equally helpful. The fear, anxiety and depression  were easing. The harsh inner commentary and criticism became quieter, and the dark self-hatred and suicidal thoughts started dissipating. I wasn’t afraid of hurting myself anymore.

Ironically, just six hours after waking in that happy mood, I would hate myself enough to actively attempt suicide. The argument started over the cookout at Mom’s. He didn’t want to go and I did. I decided to go without him, expecting him to feel relieved, but he became livid instead.  He ranted about my idiocy, how I didn’t love him, and how selfish I was.  I listened to several hours of this as he continued to drink and scream at me. He became angrier and louder as the minutes ticked toward time for me to leave.

The time came  to take my medications. By then I was in deep depression, crying, and distraught. I made a flippant comment that I should just take the whole bottle – he agreed, grabbing me and slamming me to the couch. He forced half the bottle of pills down my throat, pouring wine behind it until I swallowed. I would take the remaining two bottles on my own an hour later – I had given up, believing life would never get better than this. I wanted peace and I wanted the pain of my life to stop. The only way I believed I could find peace was through death. It was my final phantasy of control, the only thing I could personally still do to stop the pain I was unable to bear. I remember making that choice consciously and taking the pills.

The memories after that are splotchy – distorted pieces and moments filled with erratic voices. Half-lucid minutes in the ambulance – asking if I would live, telling them I had children, begging them to help me. The paramedic, telling me she was trying, would do all she could to keep me alive.  A silent blackness, deeper and heavier than any I’ve ever known, closed in about me.

In the Dark Silence

I’m not a big believer in “near death experiences,” and I don’t categorize my experience in the dark silence as  one. It’s more like a window of internal – spiritual sight appeared and then opened into an epiphany.

My life was separate and apart from my emotions or perceptions. There was no confusion and no pain. In that dark silence appeared two metaphysical windows opening on two different lives – the life I was living and a life more true to my soul. The greatest part of the epiphany was a sudden flash of understanding that it was my choice. I felt empowered. I suddenly understood with perfect clarity that either path was open to me. All that seemed not to exist showed itself to me in such a way that I would never doubt it’s existence again.

The suicide arrives at the conclusion that what he is seeking does not exist;  the seeker concludes that he has not yet looked in the right place.
~Paul Watzlawick

I spent several weeks in ICU and then moved in with my sister for several months following my release. I started building a new life, with a focus, almost immediately. I turned to writing, something I had always been good at in school – even to the point of being published and winning competitions. I envisioned a path, the small steps as well as the big steps, and I started walking that path with pen and paper in hand.

Anyone desperate enough for suicide…should be desperate enough to go to creative extremes to solve problems: elope at midnight, stow away on the boat to New Zealand and start over, do what they always wanted to do but were afraid to try. ~Richard Bach

In the Bright Light

I took responsibility for my life in a way that was totally new to me. I focused on my children and my art, traveled across the country, and explored things that I’d always feared. The years rolled past and I become the woman in my vision, the woman on a happier and truer path. The ups and downs, the successes and failures, remain as a part of life. There are always the good days and the bad, but I’ve learned how to put victimization of myself (whether by me or others) behind me.

I have a healthy and happy life, a productive career in the automotive industry, a wonderful husband, two lovely children, and four adorable grandchildren. I’m blessed and lucky to be here this July 4th celebrating another year of Life and Freedom. From me to you – a joyous wish for a beautiful and Happy 4th of July!  

The most glorious moments in your life are not the so-called days of success, but rather those days when out of dejection and despair you feel rise in you a challenge to life, and the promise of future accomplishments. ~Gustave Flaubert



terra di sienna

Two tiny droplets
a morsel of medicine

Crayola-colored sienna.
A color from the box
with the sharpener
in the back — implying
grand accomplishment.
A budding artist, would, of course,
use them down to the nub —
. . . peel – sharpen – draw

Two miniscule pellets
of prescription medicine

Where else did you ever
hear the word sienna?
(We live exclusively in
shades of black and gray.)
Thirty-days, taken at bed time.
A few well-worn hours before
you pick another color, draw
inside the lines again a
new-born day of maybe —
. . . peel – sharpen – draw

A Post About Nothing



It’s been rainy and cool here in South Carolina today. Strange weather after two weeks of sunshine and 70 degree temperatures. It will be a little cooler this week, but still in the 60’s so I’m happy.

Yes, I broke the rule and started a story with the weather, but it’s okay. This isn’t meant to be a serious post about anything – surely you figured that out by the title! No, you probably didn’t expect the title of the post to be true. Nothing is ever about nothing, right?

Okay, so maybe the post isn’t about nothing, but it is a mundane post without any intentions. Sometimes it’s just nice to write a rambling post that isn’t dressed up in the finery of purpose or deep intent.

I’ve spent the day reading numerous research papers and articles about neuroscience, memory retention factors, and the psychological and philosophical elements and theories about Bipolar disorder. These are all background study and/or sources for two research essays I’m working on. Both pieces seem timely considering the Charlie Sheen meltdown and the new medical findings in several areas of cognitive science. So, I’m putting my “serious writer” hat on and actually working on some serious writing, except for here at the blog.


Charlie Sheen, Religious Arguments, and Self-Delusion

Is it just me, or does it seem like America has slipped down the rabbit hole with Alice? It reminds me of the Brandon Jenkins song, The Whole Worlds Gone Crazy.

Video of the Week

What is up with Charlie Sheen? He’s been notorious for years now – stripper problems, drug issues, and now seriously sad and crazy behavior. I’ve always liked his acting (and ditto for Mel Gibson and his bizarre behavior). They’re very talented actors, but what is going on? I have no answers, I’m just asking…

Earlier today I was reading my Facebook page  and noticed where my sister and friends from our school years  ended up in a heated argument over God and religion. Okay, can we all accept that everyone has a right to their belief system without having the right to inflict it on others?

It seems like a simple agreement, a basic social courtesy to extend to others, but, considering the past two thousand years of religion-based warfare, I’m probably just expecting too much. Still, peaceful disagreement is always better than a heated argument that leaves people feeling hurt and unloved.

It was a rough week at work (sales were great, but personnel issues took center stage). I’m learning that the title Sales Manager puts a dart-board target on my back and that every disgruntled worker we terminate grabs a handful of darts on the way out. It’s no biggie in the larger scheme of things, but it’s amazing to me the level of self-delusion many people live in.

Twice now I’ve hired people as a favor to my kids, their friends, and that just doesn’t seem to work out. So, no more of that! The sad part is that these people were given an opportunity that they would never had been given otherwise.

I actually care about this situation and these people. It hurts me that it doesn’t work, that they prefer delusions to true growth. I want very much to help the less fortunate, the people who can most benefit from an opportunity, but they don’t want the opportunity as much as I want to give it to them. It is sad to watch the jealousy and venomous behavior of people that you’re trying to help end up destroying them.


Pondering an Important Question

Lately, I’ve been pondering the following question: Am I a writer selling cars or a car salesman that writes?

I have a tendency to “fall into” situations, careers, relationships. It’s a unique and quirky part of who I am. Plans are fine. I make them, of course; but life always twists and turns in some unexpected way…and…oops, there I go, falling into the next new thing!

The car business has been an accidental success. I loved it almost immediately and my tenacious determination to win kicked in. It’s been a good business for me, one in which my verbal talents serve me well. One that pays me very well.

I was a writer for many years before I was in the car business. writing is and has always been my first love. I seldom write as I once did, my output and body of work has diminished due to time constraints. I have finally taken a few vacation days this month (my first time-off in two years) and am looking forward to some extra writing time. I have several major projects I hope to complete by the end of the month.

It’s ironic to think that two years ago while in Pryor, Oklahoma I thought I would never write again. Rather, I am at a place where major, deeper works seem more likely just a short while later.

Writer’s are writer’s because of two major things:

  1. because they write, and
  2. because they see the world with a different level of perception, depth, and detail than most people around them.

A writer is always a keen observer of the people and the world he or she lives in. Even more ironic is the fact that the same observation skills are what makes a great sales person. I suppose the answer to my question could be both. After all, we all carry various names, tags, and titles through our lives. Our identity doesn’t come from a title. Our true identity comes from the various mixture of titles and intricate details of our personality combined into the whole of us. We are the sum of all that has touched us, taught us, claimed us, and identified us, We are individually wonderful in many ways. ~




Clinical Despair: Science, Psychotherapy and Spirituality in the Treatment of Depression | Psychology Today

This is an interesting and insightful article about depression at Psychology Today: Clinical Despair: Science, Psychotherapy and Spirituality in the Treatment of Depression | Psychology Today.