Betwist and Between

She is not of the world she walks in

Drug talk, “bad girls”

Street fight aggression

Contentious swagger meets

Wheeling and dealing

Work for many a 4-letter word

“Bitch” this, “fuck“ that

Poisons shouts, jokes and general comments

Dawn to dusk and beyond


Nor is she in the world she is of

Obligations hectically juggled

Asperations lofty and mundane

Seasoned bread of daily routine

Family precariously snuggled

Focal point of striving and strife

Duty and accompishment driven

Friendships nurtured, held dear


Day after day she awakens

Still trapped surreal

In this bizarre alternate world

Focused, intent on survival

Return to the place she belongs

Ruby red slippers defunct


Fail, heel-clicked

To transport her home


She carries invisible burden

Grand Canyon-esque

Disconnect from both worlds

Undesirous of assimilating to current

Fitting square peg into round felon hole

Fearful her previous world

Shifted and morphed in her absence

Will no longer claim her or fit


Every moment and each painful step

Taken toward that ultimate goal

Reintegration into her real world

Crunch upon prickly pebbles of worry

Wormed inside shoes, gouging feet

Never again will her world

Fully embrace her

Gift the belonging

Her heart longs, aching, for

Perhaps, in truth

It never did


Gift of Silence

Holiday season descended

Weighty and painful upon her

Devoid of signature trappings

Joyful family feasting

Satisfaction enveloped in giving

Heartfelt gifts in their wrappings

Desirous of spreading good cheer

Wishes for holiday joy

She draws cards for a multitude

Channels elusive much-needed peace

With limited options, she fashions

Personal gifts for dearest family

Crocheting sore fingers crokked

In minds eye she gifts her beloved

The one she most crucially hurt

Peace, repentance, recompense

Hardest of all is withholding

Words chosen for healing and thanks

Instead she gives with heart shattered

The gift of her utter silence

Plagiarizing Dr. Suess

Old and young and in-between

Short and tall, wide and lean

Kind and quiet or loud and mean

From skittish mice to drama queens

Women in prison are waiting

Waiting for their time to go

Or mail to come

Or news to show

Waiting in line for meals to eat

Pills to take, a toilet seat

Waiting, erect, for daily count

Ensuring they aren’t waited out

Waiting, prone, for night to fall

For day to break on cindered wall

Waiting to launder uniforms

Worn daily, to repent, reform

Waiting to learn when they will leave

Next stop on their journey, with fear or relief

Waiting to start real life again

Uncertain how or where or when

Waiting for the world to see

Inmates—human—as you or me

Waiting for a second chance

Denied without a backward glance

Waiting to go home sweet home

No idea where that may be

Symphonic Sunset

Cloud shrouded

Sun sets with

Thunderous color symphony

Trumpeting red-orange orb

Musically pierces

Slits sky open

Reverberates throughout

Celestial surround.

Pianissimo pinks float

Soaring among timpani reds

Crescendoing, vibrato

Deep magenta finale

What’s In a Hot Flash?

Without warning

Skins prickles, electric

Fingers clumsily thicken

Hands unexpectedly sticky

Chest fires, discomfitting

As if unwanted passion inspired

Climbing, perspiration beads

Upon forehead, upper lip

Hair weightens

Scratchy shag-wool cap

Extraneous layers shred

Later, in cooling, re-donned

Tribulation of middle-aged women

Flashes, hot waved, through her

Recalling exasperated lamentations

From women power-surging afore

She notes perspective’s ironic gifts

Daily licked by hell’s hungry fires

Hot flashes a flash in the pan

Menopause a trivial inconvenience

Amongst daily soul-searing encounters

A Poet Flowers

Notions float on the wind

Drift unscented to fallow ground

Land among thoughts’ detritus

Barred with thorns

Litter-strewn and over grown

Some seeds carelessly trampled

Under routines’ mindless plodding

Others fall darkly dormant

Between hidden crevices


Prickly-hulled kernels find purchase

In rocky inhospitable terrain

Worm deeply determined

To rich loam far below

Deposited grains in fertile soil

Well mulched in years before


Nutrients of chance conversation

Germinate hidden cold seeds

Coax tentative sprouting tentrils

Morph to strengthening shoots

Push word by excavated word

Through cognition-clogging dirt


Trickles of literary influence

Sprinkle upon fledgling ideas

Bathe themes in leafing nourishment

Bespatter details and nuance

As central supporting stalk

Breaks writing-blocked ground


Rays of creative inspiration

Pierce mental clouds of disuse

Warm incubating phrases

Under brightly heated focus

Add color, height and dimension

Cajole into burgeoning growth


Neck-breaking repetitive toil

Tills word-garden repeatedly

Weeds daily with paper and ink

Nurtures thoughts lyric, coherent

Waters phrases picturesque

Until poet’s labor flowers

Heaven Down

Approaching snow

Fog foreshadow coats the morning

Hangs shimmering in early half-light

Develops as slowly wafting oversize flakes

Powdering landscape in cottony tufts.

Cover slowly accumulates,

Renewing innocence in the world.

Snowfall shifts, flakes shrink,

Sifting earthward in finer sheaths

Shedding solemn purity, hushed

Bringing Heaven down.


Intelligent, thoughtful conversation:

Engaging over events, worldly to personal;

Conveying concerns mundane to aspirational;

Voicing values; lived, challenged, debated;

Hopes and tears, aired, shared;

Spattered with gentle humor.

Laughter launches connection, non-divisive.

Good-natured ribbing,

Revives shared history

Void of derogation.

Absent thinly veiled insults,

Barbs hidden under feathers.

She remembers such discussions.

Memory of them dims,

She hopes, fervently prays

Must, for survival, believe

Their existence remains real.


5:00 PM passes, total darkness encroaching,

Not yet descended

Sky retains bluish, now navy, tint

Beyond copse of stripped trees

Red Christmas lights peek

Twinkle a staccato beat

Tortuous enticing hint

Of other-worldly merriment,

Promise of traditions continued

Beyond barren confinement

Longest night of darkness past,

Hope whispers in her ear

“Perhaps your longest night has too?”