Thursday, January 31, 2013

Villanelle: Chiaroscuro

For BYUI's Last Poet Standing
Week three: Villanelle format.

Adapted from my earlier work, "In her hands she holds the sun"


She is the wretched, hopeful one
full of darkness and of light.
In her hands she holds the sun.

She is manic, her dress sunspun
golden silk is gleaming bright.
She is the wretched, hopeful one.

In summer’s Eden she will run
but shadows creep into her sight.
In her hands she holds the sun.

The sorrow comes, her heart undone
it does no good to stand and fight
She is the wretched, hopeful one

She looks for allies and finds none
alone and lost in darkened night.
In her hands she holds the sun.

It seems now the dark has won
but she shines forth flame alight. 
She is the wretched, hopeful one,
in her hands she holds the sun.

*An italian term used in painting meaning "light and shadow"

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

The Violinist: A Poem of my Mother

The Violinist:
A Poem of my Mother

Loose skinned fingers
boned and spotted
hold the slender neck of the violin
amber and singing.
Her jaw is set,
chin tucked down
into the hollow 
of her shoulder.
It pains her-
her twisted neck aches
and not with the beauty of the melody.
But she plays on,
bird bright eyes
warm as chocolate
fixed on the window
ignoring the yellowed book of notes.
She is dressed in concert best
black velvet unmarred
by dust or cat fur,
and brightly colored crystal
hand strung by her loose skinned fingers
gleams at her neck.
The woodwork of the baby grand beside her
shines like the sunlight
that falls on our green and blue faded floor rug
in the center of whitewashed walls.
She is as lined
as the music staff.
Laugh and frown lines crease her,
crease her face, as soft as mohair yarn
and blushed as rose pink
as the baby blanket she held me in.
Oh, my mother,
she draws the bow
draws a breath
and watching,
I breathe too.
This is an early evening
 private practice
more ritual than necessity
a rough draft.
I love the soaring,
singing sound
the crescendo strings
that wail and waver
but don’t seem to stop
just spill into each other
just like her loose skinned fingers
that dance on ebony
and amber.
With a flourish,
she finishes
and sighs
sets down her music,
touches her tender neck,
the sunset setting the room
and glossed brown hair
and wire rimmed glasses
on fire,
as amber-orange gleaming
as the violin,
as bright
as her smile
when she sees me,
hands folded together over my breast.
I never tire of listening,
of the music
that pours from her whole self.
But she does.
She is weary and drained
loose skinned 
as lined as the music she plays
but just as beautiful.
And so she sets away the violin
and enfolds me in her arms.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Life story in three word sentances

Born- May twins. We were early. Weeks too soon. Doctors shake heads. “She will die.”
My mother prays. I’m three pounds. But I fight. And I live. I’m not whole. Mental problems surface. But that’s later.
Twins are hard. Tom and Anna. We must share. We always fight. Friendship comes later. Every Saturday- adventure. Lost in woods. I am happy. I love stories.
School starts. I don’t learn. I cannot read. I cannot write. Math is evil. Nobody knows why. I’m just different. Second grade - click. Words make sense. I am words. Full of them. I read - always. Then come bullies. I am friendless. I’m outcast, alone. So I read. Fantasy sustains me. Characters are friends.
Mom thinks, homeschooling. For two years. I keep reading. 
Catholic school - Hell. Not a joke. It is Hell. I am betrayed. My trust’s broken. Bullies are back. More of them. I am lost. Books, my world. And cats, too. Love my cats.  But not enough. Depression closes in. Blade kisses skin. Books are salvation. I dive in. And I fight. They keep taunting. Rip books away. So I write. Writing equals escape. Middle school ends. 
Attempted novel’s trash.  So’s the second. But I continue. Poetry, fantasy, everything.
School’s a blur. I do Theater. Narrator in “Dog-ear.”  I make friends. Friend-family of nerds. I’m not alone. I don’t forget. My past haunts. I grow stronger.  Not taller, though. I learn trust. And I live. Darkness returns, sometimes. But I live.
College is...Adventure. People are kinder. Miss my bookshelves. It goes wrong. I can’t think. Drowning in sorrow.
Doctor shakes head. “You have Hypomania.” That’s bipolar disorder. It’s no surprise. I have guessed. 30 breakdowns/ month. That’s not normal. I’m not normal.
I keep reading. I keep writing. I keep fighting.
I Live.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Holding hands

Even though it’s
January in Idaho
-24 degrees,
I don’t need gloves
as long as you are holding 
my hand in yours.

The world is wrapped in snow
white below and grey above
and so cold,
I don’t need gloves
as long as you are holding 
my hand in yours.

So we stand in silence
laughter swept away by the wind
pink cheeked by cold,
I don’t need gloves
as long as you are holding 
my hand in yours.

Hold my hand
and hold me close
my love
because despite this chill
and the wind
and the snow

I don’t need gloves
as long as you are holding 
my hand in yours.

Monday, January 7, 2013


For Magpie 150

She sits in the window-seat,
watching for the moon.
Goddess of Night,
 look down on this your handmaiden,
who waits for you night after night,
chain of your silver token round her neck,
Lune, your chosen,
watching you spread your starlit splendor
on the forrest,
and there, the tree, planted over the grave of her heart,
grown from sapling to strength in an instant.
Lune sees what you see,
Moon Queen, Night sister
the wonder of the world from lofty tower window,
and she yearns for your voice in her heart
to tell her what to do now.
Your war is won, my Lady,
your prophecy fulfilled,
but Lune still lives,
your handmaiden, 
bound to you and to tell your tales
and her tale,
the tale of love and sacrifice
for freedom
and for you, oh, Silver Moon,
Now shine your silver down
bring light to the darkness,
bring smiles to sorrowed faces,
bring us the hope that Lune brought
in battle,
Oh, my Lady, 
Queen of Night,
she sits in the window-seat
your handmaiden, your warrior
Smile down on her
and come to her who calls you
from tower tall above the wood
dappled silver
by your Grace.