An ode to life as it is

cheeriosticking items off my list
picking popcorn from aging teeth
polishing up health policies
affecting thousands
popping cheerios into hungry mouths
cleaning up spilt milk
plopping exhausted on my couch

 

cameliasfinding joy in life as it is
winter camellias in rosy bloom
carried to school in pudgy hands
a warm sun drying sidewalks slippery from drenching rain
friends doing more than expected
kind words here
good thoughts when needed
even when not

crocusthankful for hints of prayers answered
before they are even lifted up
a new relationship springing up
like a purple crocus breaking through
freezing snow
bringing forth the hope of
spring as my life slides into
its own winter

wisdomallowing each moment to elapse
with no regret and
few expectations
asking only for
willingness
a sense of wonder and
wisdom

Conversations with people who are not there

imaginary friend on benchmy life has been spent having
endless conversations with people
who are not there

redoing real conversations that
went wrong
rehearsing future conversations that
won’t happen
at least not with those particular words
futilely expecting others to say words
I have put on their lips

making up both sides
as I do when writing fiction
where outcomes are almost always
in favor of the protagonist
that fascinating character who is
some better version of me

Imaginary friendfearful of real conversations
the shy five-year-old inside
still trembling in fear
in a corner of my PhD mind

trying to make life
turn out my way
believing I can control others by
my thoughts
just as nuts as those meth addicts I saw
who thought the FBI was talking to them on
their television
and I’m the helper
the sane one?

what if I refuse to have these
conversations with people
who are not there

I feel as though a big sink hole will
open at my feet
making life even more
treacherous
tentative
troubled

some of these conversations are filled with
dread or desperation
some are flights of fantasy
those even worse because
my “reel” life
will never measure up to
my “real” life

Illlustration of two children talking

stop bingeing on junk thoughts
build courage to have
real conversations with
real people
keep the “reel” conversations
in the can

just for today
no conversations with people
who are not there

Riding the my-will train

riding the my-will train to a
destination of my own creation
located nowhere on reality’s map
rocketing down the wrong track
hoping to pull a magical switch and
end up where I want to be

train stopwhat I need to do is pull the emergency cord
bring this insanity to a lurching stop
would I ride a real train to the
wrong destination
again and again
year after year
bewildered when I arrive
finding no welcoming arms
no expected outcomes

yank on that red cord
tell the conductor I want off
run to the station master
ask for direction from the one in charge
who knows all the best routes
including the one created just for me
take a few short trips at
his suggestion
regard it as an adventure not a
chore

smokey trainget off the train to self-destruction
head safely in a new direction
even if I have to wait in the station
be patient and let that
smoky false desire chug on by

read the wisdom of ancient passengers
scratched upon the walls
plato’s advice that
time will change and even
reverse many of your present opinions
refrain, therefore, awhile from
setting yourself up as a judge of the
highest matters

or elizabeth barrett browning
whom you greatly admire
a woman of letters and love who scribbled
God’s gifts put a man’s best dreams to shame

Cry for Paris

Parisshock flashes through a clear Berkeley sky
bolts of heart-splitting lightning
claps of solemn thunder
clouds shedding
red, blue, and white tears

my grandkids chatter away in French
on way to their French school
unaware of French brothers and sisters
who will not see their parents tonight
or any night
my Kia Soul reverberates in sync with
ambulances speeding down the
Champs-élysées
a planned six weeks in France next summer
becomes a question mark

should we let terror steal
joy from our lives or should we
stand in solidarity and
let our fallen towers give courage to the
cafes, stadiums, and music halls of Paris

The garden path

garden pathshe tippy toes down garden path
mid fragrant hedge of self-deceit
his idle words writ on the net
form stepping stones beneath her feet

she stops to browse a wall not hers
photos of his other life
a stunning bit of azure silk
the glint of diamonds on a ring
shout wedding day
in deafened ears

a look content upon his face
at family table fed with smiles
slows her merry made-up pace
turns hopeful moments into miles
of unfulfilled and foolish chase

she grabs the dagger by the hilt
and draws it from her broken heart
her wound will heal if given time
and a willingness to part
with journeys down that garden path
that leads to nowhere from the start

Mimi’s morning

IMG_0896pitch black
door squeaks open
four little feet at the
bottom of sturdy legs
wrapped in Frozen flannel
pad over to my bedside
turn off my c-pap
can’t breathe
can’t sleep
peal covers off my
reluctant body

clock says 6:36
“get up, Mimi”
down two flights
bananas in hand
turn on Sophia the First

up two flights
gather outfits
pink stripe
polka dot princess
down two flights
distribute same
stern warning to get dressed or
TV off
clamber into shower
try not to slip on
treacherous tile

everyone dressed
up one flight
breakfast
cheerios for one
toast for the other
orange juice
sipped through snout of
dog…bear…whatever

assemble lunches
daddy fixed the night before
line up
backpacks
water
jackets
shoes
water down hair
slick back into
ponytails

clock ticking
mommy says 7:45
ready or not
everything on
down four flights of
red brick steps
van seat still blocked by
boxes of whatever
beyond my brain to
figure it out
mommy helps
off they go
chattering in French

up four flights of
same dangerous brick
gather garbage
theirs…mine
down four flights
stuff in cans
up four flights
count as exercise
dishes in dishwasher
down one flight to my
Provençal pink lime
hideaway
strangely quiet
writing time
8:01

gratitudes
children here and afar
productive
loving
grandchildren
smart
healthy

prayers for women
who have not my
blessings
whose exhaustion comes
not from hectic mornings
but from mourning
lives without
little ones to
pry open their eyelids at
6:36

Mystic

Mystic by Thierry Tramoni de Bazzacone (Copyright Protected)

Mystic by Thierry Tramoni de Bazzacone (Used with permission and fully copyright protected)

Poem inspired by photo “Mystic” by fine arts photographer Facebook friend Thierry Tramoni de Bazzacone who lives in Ajaccio, Corsica

necromancer’s brew of
mussel encrusted rocks
bathed in frazzled foam

cavity-riddled molars
hungering to
devour some hapless vessel
raw

gargoyled reefs
drowned in
agitated waves that
somersault into a
winslow homer sea

poisonous mists
deadly enough to
infect stone
sending shelled and
scaly creatures
fleeing for their
lives

hiding place for
tales of woe and
bad endings
yet one that draws our
eyes and hearts into its
murky mystic soul

Love words

love words
love words slide from my lips
evaporating into barrier of
thick unforgiving air before
intended ears can hear

others ooze from
ink-soaked nibs or are
tapped into existence
laying useless
unread by
hardhearted eyes

I am neither heard nor seen
except by those who
hang on my thoughts out of
desperation or
devotion

Cinderella revisited

cinderella1

POEMS FOR RECOVERY by DR. KAREN STEPHEN AKA DOC FLAMINGO

sitting by the hearth
wearing soot dusted clothes that
beg to be washed clean

stirring gloomy embers with an
iron poker of obsession
hoping to relight passion in
dark dead coals

memories of bright flames
sear my brain
forgetting how fast they
consumed reason
turned ardor to
conflagration
leaving blisters on my
soul

fire that burned
more than warmed
then died
leaving me even more
alone in the
chilled solitary night

can I take my
cinderella self and
search the garden for my
fairy godmother
armed with wand and
pumpkins

not to find a prince
but to take
just one ride in the
golden carriage of
my life

Courtesy of the heart

To the reader: This poem was created from an incredible page published in a 12-step daily meditation book, which in turn was based on a quote by Goethe:

Goethe It gives me a goal to aspire to when my thoughts and actions are quite determined to go in a destructive direction.

courteous

POEMS FOR RECOVERY by Dr. Karen Stephen AKA DocFlamingo

courtesy of the heart
akin to love
out of which arises
pure courtesy in outward behavior

courtesy of the heart
seems detached
lacks the fervor of the vengeful heart
the disappointment of the longing heart
the envy of the seeking heart
the pain of the broken heart

courtesy of the heart
interferes not with the
life decisions of others
neither plays games
nor passes judgment
declines to give advice
has no need to seek approval
does not accept guilt
nor lays blame on others
appreciates
rather than criticizes

courtesy of the heart is
never snobbish
nor superior
finds no difference between
a president or a busboy
learns from everyone
welcomes new ideas
embraces strangers

courtesy of the heart
feels joy
instead of fear
sees with fresh eyes
even through tears