Unconventional Grief

I do not want to see you in that box,
the left-behind shell, the husk you are now.
I want to see the whole of you.
The way you would complain every time my nails were not perfect,
when my hair showed a hint of grey.
How you would do strange things like put lipstick on the dog,
obsess over cleaning and cleaning products.
You liked to view yourself as Bohemian,
running with wolves, worshiping the sun,
but you ran for school council,
leadership in social work circles,
though you hadn’t worked since I was 10,
and you cared how others viewed you.
That inner dichotomy was strange to the outer eye,
but you had made your peace with it.
And you cared. You had a heart big enough to save the world.
I am glad I did not see you inside that coffin.
I cannot see any closure in a cancer-ridden corpse
when the person you were is so vibrant, irritating, beautiful.
Your generosity to give my brother and me birth
on the day that belonged to you, your special day,
your birthday is a symbol of all you were.
Even gone, you will never be forgotten.

Posted in 2018, grief, love, poetry | Tagged , , | Leave a comment



In the morning, golden sunlight
cascades into view.
A kiss upon my skin
that causes me to stretch and shift
to catch the soft, heated embrace.
I can feel my warm lover
caressing my figure, everywhere
that my flesh bares from the
tangled sheet of my sleep.
I lift my chin, my lips presented,
awaiting the morning’s devotion
from my heated, vibrant one.
Yet when I open my eyes,
I find I am alone.

Posted in 1999, love, mythological/religious, poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Mask

Once worn, I feel emboldened.
There is safety in anonymity.
I am but a character in a story,
not the person who suffers the
ups and downs of the every day.
With the facade in place, I can
change as desire strikes, to become
the thief, the lover, the visionary or the sage.
But obfuscation does not divest
one of investment.
I erred. I injured. I harmed.
Hiding my face does not make me invincible.
The distance is like a car-mirror;
I thought I was far away from anyone, but
reality is closer than it appears.
There is only one truth I have learned
once the collateral damage blows over
and the detritus of my doings is cleared:
a hero is more than a mask.

Posted in 1999, poetry | Tagged | Leave a comment

Just breathe

One breath in.
One breath out.
It requires no thought
but enhances the efficacy
of contemplation.
Without it,
survival is impossible.
The act of inhalation
and exhalation
remains among the simplest
and most necessary
of bodily functions.
Take a breath.
Try to take it even deeper.
Feel your lungs inflate
like balloons filled near to popping.
And hold it.
There is a heat, a warmth
contained in the biological
act of pausing
when the friction of absorption
takes advantage of the moment.
But soon enough it becomes tight
and panicked.
The desire to spit it out and
swallow in more grows, but
release must go slowly.
And the euphoria of such
relaxation is overwhelming.
No matter what happens,
how bad things get,
through the pain and frustration
just breathe.

Posted in 2016, Current Events, poetry, unthemed | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow

it begins again.
I wake up.
I rush to get ready,
often skipping all
but the barest essentials.
My drive is forgotten
after I reach the next block.
Did I run a red light?
Was it green?
But I am here now.
By 6:30.
And the work.
Frantic, frenetic, nerves
all ajangle like liquid coffee
running through my unfortunate
veins to twitch and spasm, yet
I have had
Too much to eat, so swallow
a less than liquid lunch
of yogurt while continuing.
Five o’clock.
I see some people leave, but
there is no time. Too much
yet to be done.
Six o’clock.
The dedicated people remain,
like me, trying to get that
last bit in.
Seven o’clock.
I look up and am faced
with the reality that I
am the only one left.
Just two more tasks.
One more email.
And I go home to cook,
to clean, to try
to relax through the
heartburn and stress.
I should exercise, but
I am so tired.
And tomorrow
it begins again.

Posted in depression, poetry, unthemed, writing | Tagged , | Leave a comment


I watched you in the sunlight
standing over me.
In that one instant
you didn’t seem to belong;
out of place;
out of synch;
as if the sun had dropped you
upon this earth.
Pale hair, golden skin,
tawny golden eyes,
and then you opened your mouth
to taunt me
and I realized,
how mistaken I was.
I wished you were an angel,
but anyone can wear a halo
when walking between
the earth and the sun.

Posted in 1992, poetry, random thoughts | Tagged | 3 Comments

The Puddle of Suck

I admit, I have suffered from depression. Clinical, real depression. I don’t talk about it overly much and I don’t let my co-workers know, though some of my friends are aware. I am a depressive person in remission. I’ve learned how to accommodate sufficiently that it is no longer the every day, nonstop difficult that plagued my life at one time. Yes, I still have the addictive personality. Yes, I still have manic delight and an intensity that some find uncomfortable. Yes, I still have funks and general blah days. It is sufficiently in remission that I can usually regard my ups and downs as utterly “normal.”

Where does this come from? Oh, there are all sorts of reasonable explanations: genetics, hormones creating a bio-chemical imbalance, prescriptions pushing my already delicate equilibrium out of whack. But in an unforgiving, bad moment, I can admit – this can also be triggered and resurface with a very rare sort of person. Someone incredibly critical. A well-intentioned perfectionist who has expectations of you. Someone who you seek approval from, no matter how much you’re aware that any approval you gain will be laced with undermining limitations.

Now, I’m not saying that’s the original source of depression, but I’ve recently witnessed first-hand how toxic and damaging such a person can be. I can say that this person is one of the reasons for some of the darker poetry of my youth, because I didn’t know how to handle such criticisms. Don’t get me wrong, I have led a privileged, amazing life with so many opportunities and so many benefits. That doesn’t halt your self-perception. Some of the greatest people suffer from all sort of personal difficulties that are simply kept under cover and private.

I recently was given some potentially bad news at my job. The dreaded words “it’s a business decision” came up. What this means is everyone in my location has the choice of moving to NY or finding another position locally, whether within or outside the company. Which is actually a little worse than that sounds, too. Basically, the department is leaving my area entirely. We can request a position if we’re willing to move, but no guarantee that the position will be available. Rough, right?

Now for the good. First, it’s not just me. It has nothing to do with my performance and is no reflection on me – it’s a location thing. Which sucks, but at least it’s not personal. Second, our current positions don’t go away for another nine months or so. Time – time is a good thing. That’s huge. That’s time to look for another position. Time to work out what’s going on. And third, I have options. I’m good at what I do. I’m known. I should be able to find another position without a problem if they won’t work with me to retain me. So, not horrible, but a little irritating since I only just started this position at the beginning of this year! I was just starting to feel secure in it!

I made a very general comment on a form of social media. I should have known better, but I kept it very general. It was more an expression of the up and down nature of life, rather than a woe is me or angry statement. I’m angry, but only at the situation. I’m frustrated. I’m uncertain. I’m not devastated or inconsolable. I’m not a basket case and I’m not depressed about it. (Just depressed. See what I did there? Ha!)

This particular person saw my posting and reached out to me. I explained the situation. The response I received was so well-intentioned and so flagrantly wrong that I was floored. “This is a perfect opportunity for your OCD to flare up.” And a whole flurry of advice on how to turn my “OCD” into something positive.

Okay, I have never ever EVER been diagnosed with obsessive compulsive disorder. I am clinically depressed. I have manic periods. I have obsessive tendencies and yes, I have an uncanny focus when my mood complies. That is not OCD. My first thought was – if I was OCD, I wouldn’t have those piles of laundry I keep avoiding having to do. Heck, my house would be neat and clean! I’ve known people with OCD. I am not like that.

I expected someone of this nature, someone who’s known me so long, someone related, to have sympathy and compassion. I expected support or I wouldn’t have explained the situation at all. This response was enough to actually depress me. The job situation didn’t, but this misdiagnosis – this “there’s something wrong with you, so you need to look for help in resolving this situation” response was not what I needed. Sure I’m less than happy, but I have options. Options are good. This failure to provide support made me melt into a big puddle of suck.

I wallowed for a day, questioning my worth – something I haven’t done in a long time. And it finally dawned on me why I was doing that. There was a reason I had reverted to old habits and negative thinking, and it was this helpful well-meaning advice. People only have the power we give them. When we have an expectation or define ourselves off of someone else’s impression of us, we’re giving them power. No matter how close the relation, no matter how you care about them, it is a power given. And if you give it without caution, your assumptions can drag you down into the murky, mucky depths of the puddle of suck. It’s hard to get back out. Making it out of the mire of power granted is far from easy, but step by step, it can happen.

I had to stop and ask myself – what is my definition of success. I consider myself successful if I am happy, comfortable, and not in imminent risk of having either of those destroyed. Am I happy? Sure. Not thrilled with the work situation, but I’m not unemployed or at risk of it and I still like what I do. Am I comfortable? Definitely. Maybe a little too comfortable if my pudginess is anything to judge by. Is there imminent risk? Nope. So, I’m a success. No puddle of suck can slurp that from me.

Posted in 2016, Non-literary thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged , | 3 Comments


In a breath,
everything changes.
I turn my head to see
the distant sound
of someone else’s conversation
or the flicker of movement
in the corner of my eye
only to discover
something has grown in front of me.
Organic, wholesome, this budding organism
is an affirmation of life.
Good things come unexpectedly.
They wouldn’t be so touching and meaningful
if they were expected.
In the same way,
everything falls apart;
in a breath.
Hard-won security reveals
the true crystalline sugar-spun structure
underlying the expected support.
An entitled moment’s respite
and a shuttered blink
are enough to send it crumbling to dust.
Assumption of the finish line
defines my faulty judgment.
As long as we live,
it’s never done.
The cycle continues
in joy and sorrow.
Sometimes they are huge,
sometimes tiny;
they appear and end
in a breath.

Posted in 2016, poetry, random thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment


What is an experiment
but a test that you have control over?
You set the parameters,
the assumptions you have to operate
within, but you set the conditions
from which the world blooms.
The blossom unveils true colors
that may startle
or disturb you.
Welcome it. We imagine the world
to be ours. We dream it to be
owned personally,
locally, regionally;
but the truth is
this world is its own.
Disbelief is such a fine line
away from wonder.
Dare to dream
and never ever
avoid the opportunity
to experiment.

Posted in 1997, poetry, random thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment


Of use one moment,
then abandoned upon the ground,
the glint of a piece of plastic
half-hidden by the snow
is found.
A piece of non-biodegradable waste
once used for something useful:
to keep something clean;
to keep it edible;
to preserve the new smell.
Or was it just a bit of over-indulgent
excessive packaging, useful for
the preservation of the American job
and the American dream,
and helping to ensure we live in
a land of gratuitous disposal?
Either way, it lies by my foot,
Without gloves, fingers numbed,
I nonetheless pick it up
and place it in the trash,
so that I, too,
may forget.

Posted in 2015, environmental, poetry | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Emotional Day

Have you ever had one of those emotional days?
Without reason, the tears seem to rise
like a river growing after the snow.
Bit by bit, the edges collapse in on themselves,
those little chips of ice, until the water
overtakes it all. A consuming, inescapable force
that is not held at bay, no matter how the bank
tries. No deep breathing, no biting of the
earthen lip, no force of will can hold it back
and eventually, the rushing flow wins out:
a trickle to pour across the porous ground.
Once it begins, it takes a season to stop.

Posted in 2013, depression, poetry | Tagged | 3 Comments


Lazy day thunderstorm,
with a new, thick, unread book
and freshly baked chocolate chip cookies
still warm and oozing gooey in my mouth.
Sun warms my mostly bared back
with no bugs, protected from the itchy slice
of grass blades and no demands for now.
Silence like a warm blanket,
envelops me in its comforting grip
after the cacophony of friends and family
finally abates.
I can be social,
I can be charming,
but the truth is
nobody can hand you joy.
Happiness comes from within
in the moments you enjoy
being alone.

Posted in 2013, poetry | Tagged | 1 Comment

Why I am a shallow blogger

1. I’m not lazy. My father used to call it that, but I’ve learned that my focus is a perfect symptom of a functioning depressive. I approach everything with intensity and verve but while I can maintain this far longer than people expect, I will hit an unexpected wall. What I did so avidly has no draw to me and I will either be half-hearted, low performing, or wholly ineffective. BUT, if I set it aside, whatever the task might be, I can return with the same original thrill and focus. In a few weeks, a month, two… but readers don’t like that. It’s inconsistent.
2. I try to avoid describing my life more than I need to. I once had a blog I posted to regularly, so my friends (aware of my strange focuses which make me anti-social for long stretches of time) could enjoy my thoughts and musings, my frustrations and fears. It was cathartic, helpful, and I made internet friends who were funny and non-judgmental. It was amazing. Then my brother found it. Though I never used names other than mine, it was enough. He didn’t like my (valid, it turns out) accusations and felt I was airing family business when I sought understanding with the inescapable dramas my family cast upon me. Drug-addiction, discovery of secrets, lies and betrayal. He threatened me and I was bullied into taking it down. So now, I try not to share much beyond the fiction. It keeps me at a distance and is less easy to find a way to relate.
3. Overseriousness. I have humor, but it’s intermittent. I have dark, brooding thoughts, but those come and go, too. I’m hard to quantify, qualify, or contain as a person or a writer. So nobody can know what to find when I am posting. For people who like surprises, that’s great, but if you read with a desire or intent, I suck. If you want to read the next part of my novel in progress, but I post a sarcastic short story, a sappy or dark poem, or speak first-hand nonfiction, you’ve lost out!

I would say that I’d try to be better, but I’m not sure I will. I’m thinking that instead my blog should come with a disclaimer and a warning label that it is an assumed risk to read my writing. I’d put it in big, friendly blue letters and maybe have the warning flaming and in an annoying popup.

Anyhow, the above covers my non-posting for a time. It’s not you, it’s me.

Posted in 2016, Non-literary thoughts, random thoughts | Tagged | 2 Comments

Choose Your Life

When I was a kid, I used to LOVE choose your adventure books. I was never willing to commit, though. I would find the solution I chose, but before I read it, I would stick a finger in and then find the OTHER solution. I would read the other path first and then go back to the one I had picked, but if I died, that wasn’t my real option, the other one was so I could keep going with the story.

Why do I bring this up? I heard a radio show on my way into work this morning that made me consider my “path,” so to speak. The author of some book I can’t remember since it seemed like a whole bunch of self-help hogwash was talking about how people end up in their major, their job, their life. I can only paraphrase but the example she used was you applied to a bunch of jobs and this was the one that was closest so you figured you’d take it until something else came along and five years later, ten years later, you realize this is the life you’ve chosen.

But it made me think – I am where I want to be. I’m doing what I want to be doing. Maybe not for the rest of my life, but for now. I’m happy. I feel challenged and I enjoy it. But how did I get here? What choices did I take since you can’t actually travel through life reading ahead to figure out which the good path would be, can you?

But maybe I did. My changes in majors in school were extreme, to put it mildly, not to mention my post-graduate studies and degrees. My changes in jobs and employment has been even more strange, varied and seemingly non-sequential. I worked for a Fortune 500 company as a database programmer. Somehow that lead me to teaching Social Studies and Mathematics in a few different middle schools. I worked for a law firm handling real estate settlements. I did marketing for a small and fairly new pharmaceutical-focused computer consulting company, then hopped back over to handle taxation and title insurance underwriting for a large company. Then I worked for a massive Home Improvement store as a cashier. Switched from that to working as an accountant for a collection agency and have ended up now, performing computer analytics for legal documentation at a bank.

What does any of that have in common besides me? It seems absurd, but I see a common thread running through all of that: pattern-recognition and communication. If I realized I was not going to get where I wanted, I didn’t wait for the next job, I leaped and trusted that even if I fell, I could figure out SOMETHING. I had to rely on temp agencies and some time working as a temp at different places to meet the bills and eat, but at the end of the day, I usually did find work. And I ended up exactly where I want to be and where I belong. Sometimes I even went back to something that I knew was heading towards the right path, even if the first result wasn’t successful and even if it wasn’t doing what I wanted: computers, real estate, math.

Someone asked me recently if I ever spoke to audiences, told them my stories or the things I’ve done, and I had to confess that aside from the person at work I decide to mention my time spent in Breton, France or Lancashire, England; about the time my mother took me to march in the first Mayday Parade that wasn’t a Communist show of power in Moscow; or maybe the time I was performing on the piano as a teenager and got to see how it looked from the Berlin Radio Tower at night when the wall was still up: a big city of twinkling lights on the West and nothing but darkness on the East. I’ve had a great wealth of opportunities, I’ve suffered tragedies, but I can safely say, I’ve chosen my life.

Posted in 2015, Non-literary thoughts, Uncategorized | Tagged | 4 Comments


I’ve never understood the golden rings,
when the number five has always been
more like a hand lifted in
the expression of unarmed proof
or perhaps halt.
Two plus two or two times two,
the number of the perfect square
and easiest square root.
My mother used to use this as
the number of warning,
the signal that enough is enough
and it is too much.
The sign of the love triangle
or perhaps the perfect bridge,
since haven’t we all dealt with it
as part of growing up?
How many we have of eyes and ears, arms and legs.
The number of perfect symmetry.
The number of beauty to that extent,
but any engineer would tell you about
the inherent instability to this number.
It is unreliable. A myth of a digit.
Perhaps this is why it is how fingers
rise to indicate peace?
Singular sensation.
Everything is divisible by it.
Everything is composed of it.
And everyone knows how it feels:
end of the line
or perhaps,
the beginning.

Posted in 2016, poetry, random thoughts | Tagged , | Leave a comment


They (unsung neurologists
or stranger on the street who can
get no stranger than the neurologists)
say avoid addiction,
especially if you have
an addictive personality.
But how can you identify
your own obsessive, unquenchable thirst
for fulfillment and anonymous approvals that you don’t believe
when they come from known sources
until after you have begged, plead,
and sunk your focus into it?
An inability to believe compliments
is an illness that heralds
a following depression and absence
of motivation.
It is not laziness.
It is not an inability to relate.
It is not lack of feeling
or feeling too much
or mistrust
or coldness.
It is that chemical faltering
and a body’s flaw
that leaves me
and never quite accepting
how I appear.

Posted in dark, depression, poetry | Tagged , | 2 Comments


Why is it a color of sorrow?
It is the color of a clear day
free from fog or rain.
The hue of succulent fruit,
of reflective ocean waves
greetings in such familiar fashion,
and clean toilet bowls.
Antiseptic, scoured and restful,
blue makes great shoes
but not great depression.
Color it mauve. Color it puce.
My depression is a patchy mottled khaki.
My pleasure is blue.

Posted in 2015, poetry, random thoughts | Tagged | Leave a comment

Nomination or curse?


Thanks to Todd Duffey who writes on stuff (Todd Duffey’s Blog of Stuff) I have been nominated. Although I start to question if this is so much a nomination or a curse! As a result of this nomination – I must answer the following:

1. If you could rename yourself, what name would you choose and why?
Xanthippe, but it would be pronounced Bob. Because.

2. At what point in your life did you recognize your writing affected others and how did it motivate you?
Strangely enough, writing has always been a personal effort. I write because I enjoy it and according to my mother, I began as early as four years old when I wrote a poem about how evil cats were. I don’t remember it, but I have it on good reference that it was that poem that set me onto my current path. The idea that others might enjoy it as much as I enjoy doing it, well, that is the greatest encouragement of all!

3. What are the last 3 books/blogs you’ve read that have stuck with you, and why?
Apologetically to the blogging community, it is actually books, but I read VORACIOUSLY. My parents were positive I would read them out of house and home. If it weren’t for the advent of the Kindle and other e-readers, I probably would have read myself out of house and home, too! The most compelling ones recently: The Martian (I haven’t seen the movie yet, but I had to read it first and I really enjoyed it,) Daniel Abraham’s Long Price Quartet(yes, it’s a quartet, not a single book. But it was really really compelling!) and a re-read because it’s just that good – Scott Lynch’s The Lies of Locke Lamora.

4. What was the last lie you told?
I told an executive who wanted me to do something I wasn’t sure how to do right that instant that someone was using the office she wanted me to go into. I rescheduled with her, figured out how to set up the telecommunications the way she wanted, and had it all in place when we were supposed to meet at the reschedule, only to have her interrupted by a fire marshal, requiring she leave the building with a fire drill, and forcing us to re-reschedule after work!

5. What would you put on your ideal pizza?
Pepperoni. I love pepperoni.

6. What question do you hate to answer?
WHAT are you DOING?

7. What is the answer to that question?
It depends. It can be as simple as stretching, or as bizarre as “trying the socks I just finished crocheting on the dog.” Usually, whatever odd thing has entered my mind at the moment.

And I have to nominate some people who have to answer the following:

1. What is your favorite word?
2. What activities do you take to fight writer’s block?
3. What is the strangest REAL thing you have ever done?
4. If you were an animal, which animal would you be?
5. What superpower would you want to have?
6. Name one single secret shameful joy you wouldn’t want to do without? Everyone has them – ‘fess up!
7. What is your favorite dessert?

The Rules:

Once you are nominated, make a post thanking and linking the person who nominated you.
Include the Liebster Award sticker in the post, too.
Nominate 5 -10 other bloggers who you feel are worthy of this award. Let them know they have been nominated by commenting on one of their posts. You can also nominate the person who nominated you.
Lastly, COPY these rules into the post

Posted in Non-literary, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Embrace paradoxical anachronisms

I sing Good King Wenseslaus in the middle of June.
I crave Italian ice in December.
Because it storms, I eat pie for breakfast,
but sausages and pancakes for dinner.
I have picnicked beneath a table
during a blizzard
and gone mud-sledding in the spring.
The unexamined life might not be worth living,
but by my estimation,
the unspontaneous life half-lived
is not a life at all.

Posted in 2015, random thoughts | Tagged , | 4 Comments

The Fly

I don’t know how it made it in
and I cannot get it to leave,
but there is the incessant,
endless grating buzzing
when it flings itself against
the lightbulb in my lamp.
Is it the warmth that draws it in,
enticing like a summer sun
coursing over its wings to
bring it some comfort?
Or is it the light, that shining
beacon of illumination
that encourages it to hie
closer and closer
like the slow seduction of
the first kiss, coming closer
and closer until lips meet?
The sound halts and I look over.
Has the creature found fulfillment?
Satisfaction in a 60 watt form?
And then the dance begins again.
Even for a housefly,
life cannot be so simple.

Posted in 2015, environmental | Tagged | 1 Comment