Tag Archives: Poetry

To My Ex-Husband

I was 16 going on 17. You were 19.
We were in my parent’s living room. I was playing the piano.
Maybe I was singing too, I don’t remember.
I thought I heard a sound from back the hall.
I started to jump up. Then I remembered: Eric was gone.
I got emotional. (I don’t remember the details.)
You said, “I don’t understand why you still get upset. He’s been gone a year.”
So I stopped.
I stopped crying.
I stopped playing piano and singing.
I stopped expressing myself.

Now I’m 46 going on 47. You’re 49, wherever you are.
Last year, I started to play and sing again, albeit awkwardly.
Reading music takes more effort now.
My fingers and brain don’t simply connect the way they used to.
My throat often tightens and closes, painfully choking out my voice.
One day I prayed, “I’ll do whatever it takes. Just please let me sing.”  
Wouldn’t you be surprised and confused at the many tears that fall now?
Because I started.
I started allowing my emotions to flow.
I started learning to accept and love myself.
I started using my voice.

So thank you for the 30-year lesson. You’ve been out of the picture for most of those years, but I’ve been repeating the same lesson in other situations. It’s now time to turn the page and move on.

And one day soon, I’ll be able to sing in full glorious voice for more than a few seconds without breaking into tears. I will no longer feel unworthy of the amazing feeling that accompanies the true expression of my soul. Because I am worthy of that feeling. We are all meant to have that feeling, from whatever lights us up.

Use your voice, whatever that means to you. It is your gift to enjoy and your gift to the world.


Early morning musings

This first poem I jotted down in the wee hours of a morning in late August but never shared. The second came out early this morning and reminded me of the first. It’s always interesting to see what the soul needs to release at that time before the mind kicks in.


It is the most difficult feeling:
knowing I am helpless to save the ones I love.
What could be worse?
The fear that they may believe
I don’t care enough to help.
The pain doubles and yet
helpless I still am.
I would give anything to make them happy,
help them be at peace,
but there is nothing I can do.
Nothing is what I must do.
It is the only way to free them
to experience their own journeys.
Uncaring I may seem,
but my heart aches
full of love and prayers for miracles.


Shhh…. don’t let it show.
Don’t let anyone know
that inside you chaos reigns,
that fear courses through your veins,
that you’re continually terrified
of what’s on the other side.
Shhh…. don’t reveal
how scared you feel,
on even higher alert at night
when no one else has danger in sight,
afraid of what you will find
whenever you open your eyes.
Shhh…. just pretend.
The madness must soon end
and peace will come again.
But trust is nowhere to be found
in this world where fear abounds,
panic striking at every unusual sound.
Shhh…. shut up and deal
but not with you how feel.
Push it down, lock it away.
You get to live another day.
Why are you still sad?
Nothing in your life is bad.

If any of this strikes a chord with you, know you’re not alone.

And know for sure that if you have faced trauma and never opened up about it, that same kind of experience will keep repeating itself in various forms until you recognize it and deal with it.

I couldn’t help my brother survive epilepsy.
I couldn’t help my parents when my brother died.
I couldn’t help boyfriends face their old unhealed wounds.
And I couldn’t help myself until I accepted that I wasn’t responsible for any of these other people but that I was responsible for myself.

Only then could I start to forgive myself for all the unrealistic pressure I had felt and controlling behaviors I had exhibited, for the unhealthy situations I had allowed to continue, always in the name of loving someone. 

It’s taken me a long time to get here, but I now believe this is true:

No matter how much I loved these people, it was not my job to fix them. Their lives were not my responsibility. In fact, the best thing I could do was to love them unconditionally and let them be on their journeys, while at the same time take care of my own well-being.

Funny thing is I have sucked up every kind of responsibility I could find throughout my life. I was proud of how I handled things so well, so independently. What I didn’t realize until recently was that I had not fully accepted responsibility for myself — not just for my actions but also for my thoughts and my beliefs, which affect the energy I put out into the world.

We often do not create our initial wounds, but we are responsible for healing them and for being accountable for how we live our lives. With that realization, my journey started to take a much different direction. I needed to heal if I was ever going to find peace. And that has required opening up and allowing myself and others to see my messy truth. 

Vulnerability is not pretty or easy work, but it is necessary.  Thankfully, it reveals we are not alone in our pain or shame. We all have wounds. And the process is beautiful, for it allows the natural courage and strength of our spirits to come forth, and we discover that, at our cores, underneath the scars, we are unconditional love. I believe discovering that alone is worth the work.

Be well,

Finally inspired to write … by a shoe?

I am a writer and an editor. It’s what I do for a living, and I’m good at what I do, according to my clients. But I have never been a creative writer. Quite honestly, I’ve never desired to be a creative writer.  Writing the next great American novel? It never entered my mind. Long days at the computer? Yeah, I do that now. No guarantee of getting paid for them? Um, no. Not my kind of gig.

So I didn’t take poetry or short-story writing in college; instead, I focused on what I thought were practical pursuits (as far as writing was concerned, anyway). I enjoyed analyzing other people’s creative writing and writing about that, but I was never inspired to create something original of my own. I can count on one hand, one finger actually, the number of times I’ve been truly inspired to write: as in completely overtaken by the creative impulse, without my mind trying to take over, as it almost always does.

It finally happened this fall. The inspiration? A high-heeled shoe. Well, more accurately, a painting of one. Hollie Chantiles’ Carnivore: Foot Fetish No. 3 was on display at YorkArts as part of the Biological Aesthetics: Investigating the Art in Science exhibit that ran September through November 2011. I stood there and studied the floral shoe on its wine-colored wood backdrop, intrigued for several minutes, and then I went on about my gallivanting around town.

I had no intention of writing anything that night, certainly not a poem, and yet, around midnight, it began. The concept happened on the paper in front of me, and I ran with it. When my brain took a look the next day, only a couple of words needed to be changed. I didn’t write this poem: this poem happened. I was merely the transcriber. I’m just glad I was open to the moment with a pen handy.

Jimmy Choo vs. Downward Dog

Piercing stilettos wobble on unsteady ground.
Calf muscles threaten to shorten permanently,
arches aching, lumbar crunching.
Toes are squeezed into submission.

Life shifts on us, throwing us off balance.
Fear contracts us into inertia,
self-confidence faltering, willpower failing.
We are enslaved by invisible walls of the past.

Bare feet solidly connect to the floor, heels (almost) down.
Calves and hamstrings stretch with every breath,
hips rising, spine elongating.
Toes luxuriate in unlimited space.

Circumstances change, but the soul is constant.
Love expands us into courage,
heart opening, spirit soaring.
We are freed by each moment’s infinite possibility.