There is a wire tap inside his mind
which pulls the waves in and over
the shore, fast. It floods
the earth and leaves his skin
pale and waterlogged, blue from the cold
and bloated with decay.
When the wall of water hits and the screams
of many tired, sad people can be heard,
the sinking city of Venice will crumble
away into the sea, leaving jagged,
splintered rock jutting from the ocean
like strange stone blades. In the silence
of receding water, I hear the cries
of a newly orphaned child and see
a small silhouette standing over the body
of his father, satellites still speaking
to the microphones in his dead brain.
The tide laps at his splayed limbs
and the water pulls him back
towards the ocean while the boy screams,
wailing as he clutches the cold, limp hands
and begs his father with tears and fury
to come back to him.

~~ Tsunami, 4/4 ~~

she said her head was like the ocean.
still waters, then crashing waves.
never knew where she would end up next.

she woke up with the first glimpses of morning light,
stepped slowly into the water,
and lost herself in the rising waves.

all who came, shook their heads,
uttered soothing sentences to the family,
and left, puzzled as they were, through the front door.

What am i to you?
An unwanted blessing, a curse?
If given a chance
I know u would want it to reverse

I know u love me
You love me from your core
But we both know that
You would have loved him more

The world reminds u of his absence
You want to show it u don't care
So u raise me like him for all to see
Do u think it is still fair?

Its our fate i took his place
Not my fault and definitely not my mistake
Yet i try my best to fill in his void
Not for mine or for the world but only for your sake

I am more than him
Is it that hard to see?
Then why do u miss him?
Can't you just think about me?

I am sorry if the world thinks
I cant protect you
I am sorry i am a plant and not a tree
I am sorry for coming into this world through you

I am sorry for being an oyster
And for not being a pearl
I am sorry for not being him
I am sorry for being a girl

Jeanie Aug 31

Our grandfather was a grandfather you would draw
He would make pennies appear from our ears and remove his thumb for our delight
He whistled to say hello, and had a voice that made green grow the rushes
He embodied the joy of a child and so the fairies came to live in his garden to whisper messages to us

Our grandfather greeted us with an apple or pear or cucumber or something of Bob’s best
He would dress for our arrival making a belt of string and show us the latest marvel in his treasure trove garden
Our grandfather hugged like a bear and gave kisses so freely that you would never forget how deeply you were loved

A man of principle, a man of courage, a man who fought the titans for the Lilliputian’s of this world
A man who did not live on his knees, but stood and looked you in the eye, respected you and with compassion put forward his truth
Our grandfather taught us right from wrong in front of his fire, as the clock chimed and the chandelier shivered and the scarlet chaise longue told you how far this man had come

Our grandfather withstood pain in his life, sang songs with prisoners of war, made great machines and dreams for his grandchildren
His soul shone out and people loved him, not just for who he was but for how he made us feel

I collect memories
Distill them to the letter
And barrel them for aging
Only to later get drunk
Off last life's nostalgia...

My family;
The sweet taste of white wine
I swirl their image around my head
And sip on it every now and then

My friends;
Shots of fireball
Shockingly spicy, yet sickeningly sweet
The liquid trickles down my throat.
Cuddly warmth

My love;
White girl wasted off your rosé
The color reminiscent of the flush of my cheeks,
As bubbly as my disposition
A mix of two "goods" that make a "great".
I can't wait to taste you again

Think of  you
Instead of trying to fix
Other's
Or life just becomes  to much of a burden

I remember...how you would sing this song to us.
Que Sera, Sera. "When I was just a little girl, I asked my mother what will I be"

I loved that song. It was the song of our childhood with you. Your dreams and plans for us were always so grand. You never said "what will be, will be" You always had a plan. A grand, glorious plan. And we loved your versions of our futures the best.


Do you know what you really meant to us? How proud of you we were? How proud I was to be your daughter? How wonderful and special you made me feel? I wanted you to see, through my eyes, the woman I saw. The way I loved and admired you.
The way I strived to be so much like you.


Some of the things I remember about you and my childhood are too precious to share...even with you. They are so much a part of me. The me I am today.
These are just a few of the things I knew....


My Mother....
There are so many facets to my Mother. Some as clear as a cut and polished diamond....some as deep and mysterious as her birthstone, the Garnet. Like the red of the pomegranate seeds...the color is layered and looks darker as you peer past the lighter outer beauty and deep into the depth. I studied my Mother openly.
I studied her quietly. I wanted to know her. Understand her. Be like her. Look past the lighter beauty, and the masks she wore, and see the woman that was hidden.


I would watch her when she daydreamed. The first time I realized what a "dreamy" look was when I realized she was lost in herself, somewhere I wasn't.The first time I think I realized she was more than my mother. I remember the little bit of worried, hallow fear I felt. I was fascinated by the soft light in her eyes. And I wondered where she was, in her mind, and what she was dreaming of. I would try and perfect that dreamy softness. I used to practice her "look". When I was 5 or 6, she caught me in front of the mirror and laughed at me. I didn't tell her I was trying to mimic her expressions. From my Mother I learned the magic of masking. To hold on to parts of me that no one can hurt because they are safely stowed and only I have access. Or can grant access.


She loved singing and would sing alto to my childish soprano. I memorized her favorite songs and asked her to sing them to me over and over again. Before I was 6, I sang "You Aint Woman Enough" and "Harper Valley PTA" My Mother instilled in me a love of music. I shocked the playground in first grade by belting out "Knoxville Girl"
"He took her by her long dark hair and druuuug her round and round. Then threw her in the river that flows thru Knoxville tooooown" One girl cried and the teacher asked me to not sing it with such gusto. My mother was a neverending song in my heart of comfort and being. I may sometimes forget the words but I always remember the tune.


She taught me to play the piano by drawing symbols on the keys and then laboriously going through the songbooks and labeling each note with a symbol. I can't play today because I need the symbols to read music. She was a beautiful pianist and could play a song after hearing it a few times. I was so proud to be her daughter when she played the piano every Sunday at church. From watching my Mother play, with her eyes closed and head down, I learned that dedication to something you love is not a chore.


She could draw, paint and beautify anything. When people came to our home to talk to her about their portraits. I was so full of pride that they wanted to talk to MY Mother. To this day, portraits she painted or drew are in many homes in North Carolina. Sometimes the money she made fed us for a month.
Once, my second grade teacher took me home so she could talk to my Mother  about doing her portrait. We got there before the other kids came home on the bus. When we came in the back door there was my Mother all covered in flour making a scratch cake. Even though she didn't know my teacher was coming, I felt as if Mom had set the stage just for me. I wanted to hug her and tell her thank you, although I couldn't have explained to her why, way back then. She colored my world. She made the colors blend like the colorwheels she made for me.


I would draw for her, and ask her to show me what I could do to improve it. She spent countless hours drawing with me and for me. From her I got my love of all things artistic. It frustrates me to not be able to put on paper what's in my head. She drew with such ease and grace. My Mother drew her children sometimes. And she made me look beautiful. Once, I was lying down and noticed her busily sketching while looking my way, I thought she was drawing me again. So I held still, went to sleep after an hour of stiffness. The first thought I had when I awoke was the picture I knew she had been drawing of me. I still remember the disappointment I felt when I looked at her drawing pad and saw she had been sketching the cat that was behind me! And then how happy I was when I turned the page to see she had drawn me earlier in the evening when I was reading under the lamplight. I felt so loved. I do remember that the cat looked like it was smugly smiling in her drawing.


I would listen to her talk to others and try and remember how she said certain words so I could use them later. She gave me my greatest gift. A love of words. The feel of the words on my tongue and the resounding prose of them in my head. I started reading the novels she read when I was about 8. I struggled through them at first. Wow, did I struggle! I wanted to understand her better. Then I fell in love with the adventure of it and began to read for me. She would read passages to me from her books and explain what it meant. I loved her most for that. It was like a secret world that only she and I had keys to. I remember looking at one of my sisters with disdain or a 10 year old's version of contempt when she asked our Mother "what does that even mean?" Because I felt THAT sister would never be as privileged as me! The arrogance of me.


When I was hurt, when others hurt me...I protected her so she wouldn't be hurt too. That was a child's choice I made. I think all children that are hurt in that way will respond in a similiar manner. I never thought I was "bad" or "deserved it" or thought outright I was punishing her for hiding things. I just loved her and didn't want her to hurt too. What happened to me was not her fault. I know now I blamed her for not knowing. For just not knowing instinctively. That was my child's perspective and as an adult I can see the fallacy of that mindset. How ridiculous it is to expect that she would have known what I hid so well. So, I have let it go. My Mother would have given her life for me. To protect me. I know that. I would have done the same for my children. From my mother I learned survival and that the loving tide of protection flows both ways.


When we were hungry and had no money, we were somehow fed. I still think my Mother was one of the finest cooks I know. Not because she prepared the best dishes all the time. But because at our worst times, she made the finest feasts when cooking in a fireplace or over an open fire. She would cook magic. Using the little she had, she would make us a meal. I could see that she gave us her share too. I noticed that Mom. We all noticed. From my Mother I learned how to provide.


My Mother was not a toucher. She loved her babies but would not hug much unless she was hugged first. I understood this about her. Once in a while, she would brush back my hair in an absent-minded way. And I would hold still as long as she was doing it.


Everything was such a grand adventure. So many times she would start the journey by saying "Why don't you pretend....." or "Why don't you play like...." My friends loved her. They wanted a mother that would spend time with them and take them on day long swimming trips. And teach them how to build the best forts. How proud I was when they would say that. I would even ask them to compare mothers so they would see mine was better. Once, Mom built us a playhouse. It was wonderful. She spent all day hammering it together, making a door and windows. She covered it in stiff tar paper. The tar paper was painful to run your hand over or especially scrap against.
I think now that it must have been very painful to build that little black house for us. To this day I think of that playhouse when I smell a light rain on a warmed blacktop road. It was the same year she drew a huge fireplace, including a bright fire, on the wall with chalk, so we would have a mantle to hang stockings on at Christmas. I think it was also the same year she let some of us foster with wealthy families. So a few of us would have a Christmas. I didn't know then why she was so quiet when we came home after the holidays. I do remember her talking about what sharing meant. When she asked me to share my toys with a sister that was too "old" to foster. I think I was 7 then, and I cried that I couldnt keep the whole carload of toys for myself. One brother only got a wallet for Christmas. I think that was my first lesson in shame. I know that my mother's quietness was pride and pain.


She would draw cards because we couldn't afford board games. A whole deck of playing cards! And then spend hours playing cards with us. From her I got the love of competition. And changing the rules when they don't make sense. Or changing the rules to make the game better. Or just throwing out the rules altogether.


When she played...she made it magical and fun. During a time that was supposed to be magical and fun. Every child should be so lucky to have that when they need it the most.


When I talk about her to anyone that listens, I always say the same thing. My Mother is one of the smartest people I will ever know. I say it with the utmost confidence and sincerity. She amazed people with her talents. She amazed me then and amazes me still. She didn't know a little bit about a lot of things, like I do. She really did know a LOT about a lot of things. Any one of her talents was amazing and praise worthy. And she had so many to choose from.


From my Mother I learned the fine art of presentation. I don't think she had many moments of boredom the way some women of her generation did. I don't remember my Mother ever being bored. Fom a child's perspective.
When I was 10 or 11, Mom burnt her leg with a pan of hot water. The entire calve of her leg from knee down to ankle eventually scabbed with an ugly black thickness before healing. I stayed awake all night pouring cold water over her leg so she could sleep. I cried for her when she couldn't cry for herself and she would wake and tell me to "stop crying, it wasn't so bad. It didn't hurt much". But I heard her moaning in her fitful sleep. From my Mother, I learned courage.


I have only seen my Mother cry a few times. At my brother's funeral, when I was too heartsick to help her cope with the loss of her son. I bet she cried on the way home. After she dropped us off at the airport. I bet she cried all the way home. I know those were just a few of her darkest hours. And when her husband, her greatest love and best friend, for more than 10 years, died unexpectedly...and so tragically in his 30s. God, she was so strong. Even that night when I lay beside her in the bed she had shared with him I cried while she told me how much she loved him and carried him in her heart. I wish I could have been stronger for her then. I think she needed someone a lot stronger than me. So she could have been comforted too. While I slept with my arm around her. I still felt she was comforting me. From my mother, I learned that you are as strong as you need to be. She was my strength even at her weakest.


My Mother was the most important person in the world to me. And I was special to her. I was her confidante, co-conspirator, dream catcher. When I was 12, I promised I would take her to Spain someday. I promised I would be her companion in the adventures she wanted to have. I left her at 14. I never told her that being special to her was so special to me. That when she sent the others to bed, while allowing me to sneak back in to sit with her, was where I was the most content. Where I felt the most loved and wanted. Where my value was in what I thought and said and how I felt. Where I remember feeling that I was the me I was supposed to be. That feeling was more precious than I realized at the time.


I am still content to sit quietly at her side. I am my mother's daughter.


She made me and molded me. The person I am now is based on the child I was then. She gave me so many gifts.
Mom, If I could, I would take away all the pain and fear you have and bear it for you. You will do this once again with dignity and grace. I will cry for you all the tears you refuse to shed. I always have.


Que Sera, Sera. I loved that song. You have made me into a fine woman. I am strong and proud. Tempered by the trials that you prepared me for.


You never said "what will be will be" Your plans for me were glorious and grand. And possible.
Thank you Momma for not just letting me be.....


Que Sera, Sera
When I was just a little girl
I asked my mother, what will I be
Will I be pretty, will I be rich
Here's what she said to me.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
When I was young, I fell in love
I asked my sweetheart what lies ahead
Will we have rainbows, day after day
Here's what my sweetheart said.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be.
Now I have children of my own
They ask their mother, what will I be
Will I be handsome, will I be rich
I tell them tenderly.
Que Sera, Sera,
Whatever will be, will be
The future's not ours, to see
Que Sera, Sera
What will be, will be

I wrote this for my Mom when she was dying of a rare disease that wasn't treatable. It took me a few weeks of staying with her at the hospital to write this. I wanted her to know she was loved and that I really saw her. She died in April.

I know this isn't a traditional poem format. But I feel like it was a poem of love from me to her.  She died with dignity and grace. Just like she lived.

I have known you since the day you were born.
No one else has known you that long.

I loved and rocked you before you even knew what a sister was.
I fought fights so you wouldn't have to.
Always protecting you.
I cried so you wouldn't have to.
Do you remember?

I taught you how to read.
Was there on your first day of school.
Let you sleep with me when you were scared.
You trusted me. When trust didn't come easy.
Do you remember?

The summer we spent months being nuns. The pillowcases on our heads as we blessed everyone.
All the games I made up just to walk around the house, in the dark, with the boy we all liked?
Do you remember?

Our plans to run when we knew danger was coming?
Run into the woods and hide until danger went home.
Do you remember?

Sometimes we fought.
But it was never a lingering thing.
It's impossible to stay mad when you can't vent to anyone.
I still shared your space. I was still in your face.
We still slept together in the same room.
Do you remember?

There are people in the world, flung out like a handful of stars now, that have known me forever.
That will listen when I need to talk, that will talk when all I  want to do is listen to their voice.
Finding comfort. So many marathon calls.
Do you remember?

You came back to me through the years.
Living with me at times.
Coming and going like the tides.
We were all kids raising kids.
Trying to be little mothers.
I still tried to be everything you wanted me to be.
For you.
I tried to be a mother for all of you. Making it up as I went along.
Do you remember?

I know what motivates you.
I know what hurts your heart.
I know what you are thinking. It's really not that hard.
I have already walked the paths you are taking.
I have already made the same mistakes.
It's what an older sister does.
Do you remember?

I have forgiven things that I wouldn't tolerate in anyone else.
Out waited apologies.
Came back together in tragedies.
That's what families do.
The forgiveness was easier than expected. Wasn't it? Just like you have forgiven me.
Do you remember?

You grew up knowing me.
Unlike anyone else will ever know me.
And I know you. I know your heart.
Because sometimes we beat as one.
My sisters.
I remember. And I will never forget.

I have 6 younger sisters.

Another day, another dollar, but I've got bad muscle aches.
My hands can't be counted on to do anything but get the shakes,
And my nerves are so bad it's almost like I've been shot.
I don't wanna lose my son, that boy is all that I've got.
He's the drive behind my writing,
And when I feel dark, he's my lighting.
Keeping up with him is killing me,
But his smiles keep filling me,
And to think I once saw him as my ball and chain,
The shackles that kept me connected to the pain.
I feel eternal guilt for what I thought,
And an apology to him isn't something I've got.
But what I own is drive to keep him ticking,
To make him happy, and make sure he grows up kicking.
He screams and cries when he's upset,
And when I get home from the job,
Work isn't over yet.
There are things to do and things to witness,
But would any of that matter if they took my mental fitness?
If I lost him to the wicked witch of PA,
Would my life truly be okay?
What would I feel, and how would I think?
Why do people say that without him, I'd sink?
The truth is, the captain of this ship is sailing in the shallows,
And I refuse to give up until the reapers at my gallows.
When night calls,
My voice falls,
And the fist I have pumping in my chest,
Reaches my throat to express itself best.
I speak reckless.
And insult with every word being it's bestest.
The intentions are to slice deep with every syllable.
To weaken the heart, and make the mind killable.
But I'm tired of being a recluse.
I've become bitter, using loneliness as my excuse.
My thoughts shudder when they realize the baby could be took,
And I drift into space like a leaf down a brook.
The family knows to leave me when I get into this dead-zone of tangled nerves,
But the anxiety doesn't and harasses me in herds.
I wish things would get so much easier,
But this becomes life when you're known as a People-Eater.

I have four siblings
All younger, all boys
Caleb, Jason, Aaron, Landen

And they are so annoying.

Caleb loves his saxophone and video games and won't stop playing either for long enough to pay attention
Up, Down, Left, Right, A sharp, B flat, D
He never stops talking about chess moves
And if I have to listen to him play Careless Whisper
One More Time

Jason loves penguins and has so much energy
Always running screaming playing and suddenly I'm catching a penguin stuffed animal with my face as he plays his trombone as loudly as possible and I just want him,
To Calm Down

Aaron and Landen are twins
And some people have trouble telling them apart, so one wears blue and one green.
They love Minecraft and YouTube
So much so that I can't tear them from their screens
And it's Lizzie, Lizzie, look at our world, look at our world, look at our world.

And it makes me want to scream
Because I am so proud of my brothers

Caleb loves his saxophone and video games
And he learned how to play my favorite songs by ear
Just because he could. 
He's globally ranked at his favorite game and he's been kicking my ass at chess since he's was 10!
And I remember,
Hey Lizzie, does this sound right?
As he played Careless Whisper,
One More Time

Jason loves Penguins and has so much energy
He's always loud and excited and he knows how to make people smile
He picked up an instrument just like Lizzie and Caleb and I was so happy I almost cried.
And when I was running ragged, anxious, nearly manic,
I remember
Hey Lizzie, want my penguin tonight?
He might help you
Calm Down

Aaron's color is green and he's our tough guy
Green because that's what Aaron means in Gaelic
Landen's color is blue and he's our cuddler
Blue because so are his favorite berries
But I don't need colors to tell them apart
Because their freckles form different constellations
And they love YouTube and Minecraft
They always show me videos they hope will make me laugh and have built masterpieces out of cubes
Suddenly, I don't want to take them from their screens
And I remember
Hey Lizzie! Do you like what we built?
Look at our world!

I have four siblings
All younger, all boys
Caleb, Jason, Aaron, Landen

And they are so amazing.

Changed their names fit safety sake lol
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