Monday, September 27, 2010


Silenced, I struggle.
No words escape.
My tangled thoughts.
Can't make that leap.
Onto the page.

I've lost my voice
and choke,
as too many
unspoken words
joining forces
to push their way
past my silence

Wanna shout
wanna cry, in
hysterical frustration
at all the demands
that subdue my efforts
as I steal moments,
just short moments,
hoping to string
those tiny pearls together,
to take the bits
and make a whole
since there is no knot
no firm beginning
they just scatter away
like drops of water
on a hot griddle
and I'm left,
holding just the idea
and no substance
still silent

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

At Odds

Time. How we spend our time? Are we concentrating on the essential, the critical? How do we choose? Lately I'm finding it so hard to find time to write. I'm really enjoying participating in the new memes I've found, but in the last week, I haven't had time to visit all of the other participant. So here I sit, feeling guilty for not finishing my mom stuff, and feeling guilty that wonderful writers have taken the time to visit me and leave encouraging comments, and I haven't had the time to visit them back. I hadn't thought that I'd be spending this much on-deck time with the whole homeschooling thing. It's seriously interfering with my blogging. (Yes, I said that out loud.) And it makes me feel guilty to say that out loud. That I'd rather write than parent. How does anyone do this? This is a serious question. How do you balance what you need to do for keeping yourself sane, working towards life-long goals, with the demands of the others in your life all mixed in? As someone who suffers from depression, I do know that taking care of myself is critical in making me able to care for my family. But where's the line? I'd really love to hear your thoughts on this.

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Mum Song

Just wanted to let you know why I haven't had time to post anything today. Seriously. This is what I've been doing. (Um, not making this video. Doing what she's talking about. All day.) And when you're done watching, make your kids watch it. If you're the mom, take a bow, if you're the dad, may I suggest you take your wife out?
Sigh. Tomorrow is another day. I hope that it includes some writing.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sat. Centus: Family Drama, Part II

Katherine gave herself a pep-talk before getting out of the car. “Do the best you can. Get out as quickly as you can. Don't let her talk you into anything illegal. Again.”
Oh Katherine, you'll never believe what accidentally happened!”
Yes, I probably will. She was used to cleaning up after her sister's messes. And sure enough, there he lay. Elaine's latest lover, in a pool of blood. Shot through the head, she guessed, from what she could see. Well now, this was worse than usual. "This is never going to come out," she thought as she scrubbed at the spot on the worn carpet.” But, it would make another good scene in her latest murder mystery.

It's Saturday Centus, week 20.  Same drill: 100 words past the (must be left intact) prompt, PG only (yes, pushing that envelope today).  Link up at Jenny's.  
P.S Yes, this is a continuation of Sat. Centus #18.  Here is is, to refresh your memory.
Good grief. On a night like this, even I might say, “It was a dark and stormy night,” thought Katherine as she negotiated the hair-pin turns on the rain-soaked country lane. This wasn't her plan for the evening. But what can you do when your baby sister calls you, desperate for help in the crisis du jour, and you're just sitting at home, planning revenge. Not just any revenge, but a revenge so clever and intricate that no one would be able to guess who or why. A revenge that would make this novel another best-seller. Tonight, though, she'd have to settle for real drama. 

P.P.S I got to supply the prompt this week.  I'm almost famous ;-)

Friday, September 17, 2010

Straight Up

I've been praised
with applause
good job
way to go

I've been blessed
with honesty, in

But I far prefer
time spent
to say
what if
do this
change that
and even
what were you thinking?

Writers grow,
not watered with sugar
but watered with

This is Flash Fiction Friday 55.  Go see g-man if you'd like to try your hand at telling a story in exactly 55 words.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Magpie 32 - Sand

You're growing up
Way too fast
You used to
drive cars on your carpet,
parking them carefully
Now you park
my car

You used to eat,
squishing the egg pieces,
before stuffing them
into your mouth
too many at a time
You can flip an egg,
no spatula needed

You used to listen
while I read to you
lots of stories
lots of cuddling
you write them
and you're good
and want to be
an author

You used to
make me play
Iris, by the Goo-Goo Dolls,
over and over again
now you can play
on your electric guitar

The hours, just slip away
running out faster and faster,
as if someone
took the hour glass
and widened
that narrow passage
for the sand

You are growing up
growing away
and even though,
it's a very good thing
There are days
when I'd like to
take the hourglass,
and lay it down.
Just for a little bit.
Stop the clock
and keep you close.

This is a magpie tale.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I Don't Miss You, At All

I don't miss you at all
(Norah said so)
I don't think of your smile
(twinkling at me across the room, breathing
life, and promise, and
Your dark eyes don't haunt me
(because I pretend,
that I don't remember
the promise, the plans, the thrill)
And I (don't) wonder who I am (anymore)
without the warm touch of your hand
(because you eventually made your choice)

But still,
as I sit and watch the snow falling down
I do miss you
The broken promise
And the “what if” still
play a distant melody
in my heart.

I encourage you to watch the video.  It explains a lot about this piece.

This is One-Shot Wednesday.  Head on over there to meet more poets.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Sunday Drive

They looked so in love
driving with the top down,
in an old Thurderbird,
lovingly restored
her snowy hair, under
a carefully tied scarf,
ends flapping
in the Sunday breeze
He was proud,
of his lady
and of his ride
and drove carefully

I also saw them,
fifty years ago
he had his hair greased back
trying to look so hard
and in charge
she, in her Sunday curls,
as they drove
with freedom's
reckless abandon
way too fast,
they held hands,
clasped tightly
in new love,
that connection,
feeling electric
just palms,
not steps further
and he grinned at her
and she smiled at him
and life was ahead of them

And years later,
they're still together,
and still in love,
and he reaches for her hand,
just like he used to.
She takes it.
And smiles.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Sat. Centus: Into the Fire

I stood frozen in front of the flickering images on my TV. My baby boy, just four, pointed, “Mom! The airplane hit the house!” We'd been watching some kiddie show when the network cut in. I quickly got The Engineer. In horror, we watched the second plane hit. Now we knew this was no freak accident, but the work of those so evil we had no words to describe them. Then in numb disbelief we saw the towers crumble. One, and then the other. We wept as the world we knew was swept away in the wake of the rubble rumbling down the street. Terror hit home that day.

This is Saturday-Centus. You know the drill, prompt, 100 words or less. Don't split the prompt. Today Jenny is honoring the victims of 9/11 by having us recall what we were doing when we heard the news. Write your own, and link up.

Totally not part of Saturday-Centus, but part of my blog, here are the words to Bruce Springsteen's, “Into the Fire”. It's a wonderful tribute to the sacrifices of those fire-fighters first on the scene.  May we never forget what they gave.

The sky was falling, streaked with blood
I heard you calling me,
then you disappeared into the dust
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty
called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

You gave your love to see,
in fields of red and autumn brown
You gave your love to me
and laid your young body down
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need you near, but love and duty
called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

It was dark, too dark to see,
you held me in the light you gave
You lay your hand on me
Then walked into the darkness
of your smoky grave
Up the stairs, into the fire
Up the stairs, into the fire
I need your kiss, but love and duty
called you someplace higher
Somewhere up the stairs, into the fire

May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love

May your love bring us love

Friday, September 10, 2010

Flash Friday 55: Anger's Face

I wonder what she'd think,
if she bothered to look
her face contorted,
in anger
I'm behind her at the light
and can see her
while still smoking
I can't see her victim
crouched next to her
I'm sure
it's her child
who else would you
treat that way
just because you can.

It's Flash Friday 55.  Write a poem or story in exactly 55 words, then place your link in g-man's comments.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Violet Affection

I'd heard about them long before they came to my classroom for math. “You think “Jeremy” was tough? Wait until you get the twins.” They were known as trouble makers, slackers, learning disabled, behaviorally horrid, and for their brute of a father who made any sort of consequences imposed by the school impossible to be applied. And they lived across the street from the middle school.

Middle school is challenging for everyone, student, teacher and parent alike. I made it my mission to be a teacher that troubled kids could come to, trust, learn from, and gain some self-confidence in the process. To this end, I started each school year with this speech.

I promise to ignore everything I've heard about you from your previous teachers, if you promise to in turn ignore all that you've heard about me from previous students. Let's give each other a fresh start right now. We've just met each other, and we'll take it from here.”

Sometimes this speech was met with giggles.
Sometimes it was met with, “I know you've heard about me. I don't believe it.”
Well, you're just going to have to trust me. I'm willing to try if you are.”

I've said it before, but I wasn't a normal teacher. I tried to be casual and approachable, and just a little off the wall to keep them on their toes. Bored teenagers can be scary. When “Jackson” and “Josiah” arrived, they were at the top of my list for needing extra effort. Their dad was a prominent business man, African-American, and a former football hero. He was scary huge. I never met their mother, she was long gone, but the rumors were of a petite blond who took off right after the twins were born. The boys carried their mixed race as a big “keep away” sign. I welcomed them warmly, and made sure I spoke to them individually each day.

What are you drawing, Josiah? That looks amazing.”

It's what the inside of my brain feels like trying to do math!” he grinned. Math was not his strong point, we'll leave it at that. But that labyrinth of never intersecting, carefully shaded corridors wandering off the edge of his notebook was brilliant. He was a gifted artist. He didn't get to take art, though. That time was spent with the special education teachers.

Jackson was a tougher nut to crack. Let's say that the chip on his shoulder was weighing him much further down. Unlike Josiah who had talent in art, Jackson was a talented athlete. He just never got to compete because he was always too low in his grades and too high on the amount of detention needing to be served. (Um, can you tell how I feel about them taking away the one thing at which they could excel? Yeah, not happy.)

We made it through the school year one day at a time, and by the end of the year, those boys had been to my house to do yard-work to earn money for the much-anticipated trip the the zoo, and helped The Engineer and me move our 180 gallon fish tank from our first apartment to our very own house. That took all day. It wasn't long after that Saturday that I ran into their dad at my favorite restaurant. I knew he frequented the place, because rumors had it that he was dating the manager. I smiled and waved. He GOT UP and came to MY TABLE, and I'll admit I got nervous. But his handsome face broke into a huge grin.
Now don't go thinking I haven't noticed what you've done for my boys. Your dinner's on me.” I couldn't have been more shocked.

On the last day of school, Josiah presented me with a gift. It was clumsily wrapped, and he was very nervous. I opened it with a grin and found this

It's my favorite violet ever.

This is the last week of Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School.  This week is violet.  Head on over to Jenny's for more great violet posts.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Careless Words

It started innocently enough. No harm meant, just friendly words of encouragement. Sara was the oldest on the gymnastics team, and therefore the biggest, naturally. Her coach, Elaine, certainly hadn't meant for her to take it as far as she did. All Elaine said was, “I think you'd have an easier time with these new tumbling tricks if you were a bit lighter.” That's all it took. Even Sara didn't know how bad the final impact of those words would be.

You probably knew Sara in high school. An over-achiever, in all the honors classes, didn't go to the parties, didn't drink. Didn't swear. (Though sometimes, when deep in thought, would twirl her hair.) She had friends. A few close ones. Nerds like her, all of them. But between studying to keep her straight A's and gymnastics every weeknight, she didn't have time for much social life. On the outside, you saw a fairly confident, if not a down-right snooty and aloof girl. On the inside, though, she was a mess.

She wasn't a natural gymnast, far from it. What she was instead, was determined. And yes, stubborn. She'd set her sights on the sport, and no lack of talent was going to limit her. She'd just work harder. And boy, did she work. Elaine was the most dangerous of coaches, a former gymnast, a really talented one, whose career was cut short by a devastating injury. To make up for that, she drove them hard. Upon arriving at practice, they were to complete the bar exercises. Ten reps each of many torturous strength training exercises, these varied from under and overhand pull-ups to the dreaded stalder lifts. Most cheated. Sara didn't. She'd ask for a spot for the ones she couldn't complete alone, and she always finished them all. At the end of practice, the same set of exercises were repeated right before dismissal. Then they were sent home with stretching exercises to do each day. Sara, of course, always did them all. She found great satisfaction in checking off each item as she completed it.

This determination made Sara one of the strongest on the team, if you count brute strength, and also the most flexible. You can get far in gymnastics without talent if you have these two attributes going for you. Of course, losing a few pounds would help, too. Elaine had said so, and Sara always did what Elaine said.

She'd never dieted before. All the gymnastics had left her lean and muscled and she'd been perfectly satisfied with her size 5 jeans. Until now. Maybe she was too big. Maybe she'd learn the round-off back-handspring faster weighing less. With the same determination that she approached everything else, she attacked this goal. She cut her portions in half on everything, and soon lost ten pounds. That felt kinda nice. The baggy jeans made her feel skinny, and there was a certain euphoria that came when really hungry. And she felt in control. This was one more element of her gymnastics training she could control. So she kept at it.

The praise from Elaine was wonderful. “Wow, Sara, you're looking more and more like a real gymnast!” But her mother worried. Elaine reassured her that since Sara was working out so hard, no lean muscle would be lost, only fat. That satisfied her health nut mother just fine. Fat was bad. Vegetables were good. Soon it became easy for Sara to not eat very much. At all. Since she was always at gymnastics at dinner time, before this she'd just eaten her dinner when she got home. Her mom didn't notice that now she didn't eat dinner at all.

Sara did well in gymnastics that year. Finished 6th in the state for her age-group, despite breaking three bones. (It wasn't until later that she thought about how her eating habits might have contributed to fragile bones.) It was time to quit, however. Three broken bones in one year had been a lot to overcome, and by now she was in marching band, school had gotten more complicated, and she was working every evening. Good-bye gymnastics for her. She was still teaching it to others, though.

I hope you don't start gaining weight now that you're not working out.” Those words came at her from Elaine, who was her boss by then, and of course, her mother. They didn't need to worry. There was no way she was going to gain weight.

For her senior year in high school, Sara moved across the country with her family. It was horrid. She'd been attending a fairly average public high school, with about 250 in her class. At this small, private, Christian school, her class had 62. She didn't make friends, they were too clique-ish. You know those teenage movies where there are the mean girls who torment the new girl? You probably think Hollywood is exaggerating. They're not.

It wasn't easy to keep hiding how little she was eating, and more and more she was feeling dizzy when hungry, so Sara started eating just a bit more. Nothing drastic, just three meals a day. It wasn't long before her jeans didn't fit. (Of course contributing to the weight gain was the fact that once she quit gymnastics and that rigorous training, puberty kicked in full force and she got boobs all of a sudden, and a fairly regular period. This was not at all a welcome development.) It was obviously time to do something about this.

In her new city, she stumbled upon a great baby-sitting job. Sara and her family had been staying in one of those hotels for long term guests, mostly displaced business men on long-term assignments, or families like hers who had to be “moved” before the closing on the new house. The family in the unit next to them had an eight month old son, and both parents worked. They were thrilled to have Sara as their part-time nanny. Sara was thrilled to be alone all day where no one could nag her about what she ate.  Or didn't.

And the sad thing was, no one did notice. On the outside, she was a slender girl. No one looking at her would have suspected her secret. But on the inside, an illness was raging, and this was just the beginning. She'd graduated, and was heading for college. And an all-girls' dorm is a perfect breeding ground for this illness. Sara's story has a lot more chapters. You'll probably get to read them, though, now that the silence lies broken. You see, I am Sara.


I've been encouraged by several friends to write about this part of my life.  So I got brave and did.  And it fit with the theme of 10th Daughter of Memory, a group of writers I've recently been introduced to.  Head on over there for more stories on the theme of "the silence lies broken".

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Magpie 30 - Tempted

I couldn't
make myself
resist you,
nor did I really
want to miss
laughing eyes,
smiling promise
into my heart,
your strength
oozing charisma
on my resolve,
practiced caresses
lighting fires,
Too much
for this young heart
so I took
that first bite
and fell.

This is a magpie tale.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Saturday Centus #18 - Family Drama

Good grief. On a night like this, even I might say, “It was a dark and stormy night,” thought Katherine as she negotiated the hair-pin turns on the rain-soaked country lane. This wasn't her plan for the evening. But what can you do when your baby sister calls you, desperate for help in the crisis du jour, and you're just sitting at home, planning revenge. Not just any revenge, but a revenge so clever and intricate that no one would be able to guess who or why. A revenge that would make this novel another best-seller. Tonight, though, she'd have to settle for real drama.  

It's week 18 for Jenny's Saturday Centus.  Our clever, unpredictable hostess threw yet another curve ball.  Yes, it was a prompt we could use anywhere in our 100 words or less addition to that prompt, but it's a groaner of a prompt.  As you might have recognized in italics above.  Head on over there if you want to link up, or just to read what the rest did.  I, for one, can't wait to see.  It's a diverse group of fellow bloggers, sure to have something for everyone.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Flash Friday 55: Hushed History

Arthritic-bent hands
carefully place my money
in the tattered envelope
Her age-tracked face,

Hushed, we step
into the sanctuary

Hear it's reverent-quiet

while ornately gold,
regal red
in the candlelight
of history
this place of worship
still comforting souls
centuries later
the flames
of prayerful
dance shadows
on the walls,
my heart.

This is Flash Friday 55. If you'd like to join us, tell a story in exactly 55 words, and place your link in g-man's (Mr. Knowitall) comments. He's our host. 

 My 55 was inspired by our visit to Sitka, Alaska, home of St. Michael's Cathedral, a Russian orthodox church that was built in 1848. Awesome experience.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Glorious Surprise

I didn't buy you
didn't invite you
(didn't even know
who you were)

and then

You announced yourself
in finest indigo,
so deep and true
your blooms
from within

but you disappeared
the very same day
and I mourned
(because I still didn't
know your secret)

In the morning
you greeted me joyously
(and I think you were
aware of my ignorance,
and eager to surprise me
with your gifts)
and then I knew you

You made your home
in my strawberries,
politely sharing
garden space,
while spectacularly
draping yourself
over the wall
onto the lawn
to wink at

Shh...don't tell
but you're my favorite
of my volunteers
It's not just
your glorious color
or fancy tricks,
like curling yourself
to sleep
in the hot afternoon sun
then stretching awake
while the dew still
sparkles diamond dust
on your leaves
But because you show me
That each day
is another day.
Given to us,
to cherish,
by the Creator
who put you
in my garden.

This is a true story.  One year, many years ago, a vine started growing in my strawberry bed.  Not being the most efficient, or timely, gardener on the planet, I hadn't had time to yank it out yet, when I saw the blooms.  Spectacular.  And gone.  So now that I know I have morning glories, I let them grow wherever they want.  In the shot with the lawn, I was trying to capture them starting to close up for the day.  

This has been Alphabe-Thursday Rainbow Summer School.  Head on over to Ms. Matlock's classroom and read other entries featuring indigo.

P.S And now you know why my profile picture is what it is :-)