Awake at 3:45am

Katrina Kaye

Here is Sleep,
stretched on my right side,
exuding warmth and calm
so close to my chilled skin.

He is distant despite the proximity
promised by the hands of clock and
length of lingering darkness.

The lights from the street and
solitary passing car slip between
slightly parted blinds into long stripes
across far white wall,
chasing shadows to restful corners;
their claws receded.
No longer do they unfold
toward me in the lonely dim.

In spite of the vow of peaceful nightfall,
I am awake with stale breath held in chest,
deconstructing a nightmare into
a coiled grey sweater left on floor.
The simplest of terrors paralyze,
leaving me vulnerable prey to the night.

It is impossible to be lucid
in the muck of these early hours,
when the tiny tragedies of  
the ever turning world imprint dreams,
causing Sleep to lack the relief
he once promised.

Indifferent to my mistrust,
Sleep breathes, soft and rhythmic,
a silentious invitation to join him,
the only sound breaking the night.

Wild Like Horses

-Gina Marselle

…then my breath became spirit
Escaping so free

Gravity melting breath like butter
Along silken skin into a river
Breathing in water breath

Sacred heart center

Breath is the color of fire
Purple, red, yellow

Ribcage expanding
Exploding
Exhaling breath spirit

Gravity slows racing heart
Holding breath
Lungs are full

Thankful

I can hold my spirit

Still

Or set her free

Wild like horses
Galloping into the river’s edge

 

“Rafiq”

This is an image of my horse out on a trail ride. Rafiq is a rescue Arabian. Photograph was taken by the trainer, Elisa Bohannon who is the owner and trainer at Blue Barn Stable. More info on Blue Barn: https://www.facebook.com/BlueBarnEquine/

And now I

Katrina Kaye

steal a moment
under the clutter of
ceiling fan loose
at its screws
and the breeze
from open window
advertising a night
more temperate
than the day
more quiet and
peaceful than the
rumble of mind

I have chosen to settle

I loved nights
like this when I was younger
when I spent little
time indoors and allowed
myself the freedom
and recklessness
I thought was the
promise of life
I am glad I lived it then

nights like this

making out in a car
with the first boy I
fell in love with

walking with blissful
intoxication
through a city street

driving under the stars
just outside the city
limits where the light finally rests

dancing in the dark
as I walked downtown
with someone I barely
knew but trusted completely

I wish I remembered more

I wish I hadn’t spent
so much time looking
toward the next moment
and enjoyed the one in which I swam

I didn’t take it all for granted

how many times
have I had the privilege of
lying with eyes puddled closed
feeling content with what
I have lived
believing there was nothing more
life could gift me

it continues its kindness

and although I am sometimes
clouded with doubt, I too
recognize the love
the ability
the beauty
the full gift of life

I am not one to use the word ‘blessed’
and the word ‘luck’ trivializes the sensation
I am gifted in this life and despite pain,
disappointment, failure, and setback
I have so much

I fill with gratitude
with feelings of having more
than I deserve
what more can I ask
what more is there to attain
these words are a two headed serpent
and cannot translate the race of language or
the fullness of thought clouding my mind

I will not use this moment
to make any grand resolutions
but I will allow the freedom
of heart and mind to find my peace

I am grateful for this moment
with sleeping dog at my side and
mewing cat on the shoulder of couch
the loud crank of the ceiling fan
the breeze of the night through open window  
it does not tempt me to places I have once been

It merely reminds me
of a life I too often lived unexamined

 

The trees spread out

At sundown, we said goodbye

to several species, knowing 

at dawn they would be murdered 

for their bodies. I wonder 

sometimes what my mother thinks 

about the trees being taken, 

about the planet having a fever, 

ground hardening, water coming 

with storms of rage. Here, 

there is frozen grass, crunching

under foot, a wildness sprung 

from weeds. The cool tint 

of winter light in branches, a quiet 

before a slaughter of aging trunks 

and the wisdom they grew with.

I wonder if my mother knows 

what projection is, if she would say 

I project my own humanity and fear 

onto the trees or if she knows 

I hug at least one of these mammoths 

every day, no matter the color of sky, 

no matter the temperature of earth.

.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Winter came again this year

brought snow that covered 

the dirt gravel yard 

of the house across the street,

dressed it up in a wedding gown

until neighbor kids walked circles all over it,

left trails of footprints, laid down 

and made snow angels. One of their coats, 

the bright red, painted mud when he stood, 

the ground, a stained hem,

breathed through the white.

.

Winter came again this year

with the promise of cold air, 

but hitched to wind, like a one-night stand

that went on over and over again every week 

until we called it a four-month affair,

then wind finally ran off with spring,

howling at winter to leave.

.

Winter brought cold and snow 

one last time, as if trying to show off, 

to show force, to tell us how much 

we need the quiet hibernation.

We tried to tell winter we were grateful 

for the dark, for cold fingers and toes, 

for the alone time, the inhale-like gasp

of cold air, but spring had already 

colored the parks, the trees, the forest.

And winter left again just as expected 

without holding on too hard.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Yellow

by G. Marselle

Yellow Desert Wildflowers |Edgewood, NM | G. Marselle, 2020
I will rise to the challenge
like an unbroken wave
outrunning a winter storm,
even when the thermometer reads 0ºF.
Between H2O and air,
I will sail with calm purpose. 
When energy is dull, I will rest/reset
like a fat, lazy cloud
on a quiet, spring morning.
Inspiration awakens,
dives into a yellow desert wildflower
blooming brilliant and alive. Even the sun reaches
for her inspiration inside tiny petals.
I, too, bloom bright.
Divine love surrounds summer with happiness 
and birds sing their arrival. 
Tomorrow is a new day, and I will rise
to the challenge, as basil and thyme grow unbroken
alongside autumn orange pumpkins. 

Note: This poem was inspired by a writing prompt shared by Eva Crespin with my high school students at a poetry writer’s workshop held on January 21, 2021. Thank you Eva for inspiring us all to write from our heart.

Also, the words “I rise” makes me think both of “Rise Up” sung by Andra Day and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and how powerful the words are. No matter how down you may feel, just know, you can still rise.

“…And I’ll rise up
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again…”

by Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo

“…Just like moons and like suns,

With the certainty of tides,

Just like hopes springing high,

Still I’ll rise…”

by Maya Angelou

While she sleeps,

Katrina Kaye

I watch the clouds gather
outside the bedroom window

the snow is coming

please let the snow come

the hush of the early morning
wraps itself around me
turning my breath to ghost

While she sleeps,
I make coffee
enough for both of us
but I know hers will go cold
before she wakes

when she wakes

if she wakes

I watch the sky
and pray for snow
let coffee bitter the tongue
release the air
stockpiled in my lungs

when I woke
I was colder than I have
ever been
I was talking to ghosts
that are still clinging to flesh and blood

When I woke,
I was alone so I stayed
beside her while she slept

across the room

in a blanket and chair

by the window

sipping the coffee and
watching the sky
praying for snow
hoping she wakes soon

so neither of us
will be alone

Twilight Apache Plume

My tendrils reach to sun
even in twilight, the voice 
of each one comes to life, 
like a collective hum, 
a soprano praise to sky 
and to light even on the shortest day,
when everywhere the darkness 
opens wide, like the mouth of a cave.
In my stillness, I wade in, 
slowly, hide the sound
darkness struggles to let out. 
Even as I find myself between 
the teeth, in the swallow-throat 
of cavern into belly, the fluidity 
of darkness hung around my neck 
like jewelry, but more necessary, 
more imminent, like this cycle 
we are a part of without ever 
having signed up for it.
As soon as I have come to terms 
with the bitter taste of this song 
of darkness in my mouth,
light begins to emerge. 
I see it in the colors I become, 
hear my song at a higher pitch 
as I see the lips of the cave, 
exit through them again.
Tomorrow, I will remember and forget 
this and the next day too, 
when the sun comes. 
I will stand tall before it, 
and I will reach for it, reach.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

This poem was for a prompt our group wrote to in honor of the late Julie Brokken and as an ekphrastic piece to one of her photos “Twilight Apache Blume.”

Julie Brokken’s website is beautiful with her art. You can see this photo: “Twilight Apache Plume” at this link at the bottom of the page. It is the next to last photo. Here is the link:

http://www.juliebrokken.com/botanical-beings.html

 

Apache Plume

           ~ In memory of Julie Brokken (1959-2020)

Gina Marselle © January 2, 2021

The desert is a brutal abode
Drought-wise
Too hot during summer solstice
Too cold during winter solstice
Empty most moments
Sometimes only bees hear the echo of wing flap
So how does an apache plume awaken each morning
Stretching for the peaceful, cerulean expanse
Water-wise
Inspiring purple butterflies
Cooling quails
Well past twilight
Content to settle in the sandy, low desert
Flowering yellow-white petals
Whispering hope  

This poem is inspired by Julie Brokken’s photograph: Twilight Apache Plume. It is copyright material, and you may view the image on her website: http://www.juliebrokken.com/botanical-beings.html. Please scroll down about halfway to view the image. As well as the poem, I included a watercolor I did of the photograph. This poem and watercolor are in memory of New Mexico artist and poet Julie Brokken (1959-2020).

Apache Plume, watercolor by Gina Marselle

today

Katrina Kaye

allow eyes to rest
press palms against
closed lids and exhale

hold breath

allow silence
release time

feel the bruises on
knees and the scab
on earlobe
trace the memory of memories
that have quicksanded
through cold hands

try to let the mind rest 
try to forgive

embrace only
the breath of now

a  bird sings and the sun
insists on the drag
the toward tomorrow

take time
to clean hands and
cross fingers
promise better in the
in the last moments
of today