Finishing Well

Gina Marselle

Gina Marselle | January 21, 2022

“My face carries all of my memories. Why would I erase them?”
by fashion designer, Diane Von Furstenberg

Mother Earth rotates endlessly
like Time has hours to spare.
The sun’s rays effortlessly shine
as seasons beautify for change.

One year turns to many
as our children grow. Echoes of laughter
race down the hall. Dust settles and ivory paint
fades amber, yet our home is still warm.

Autumn gathers brilliant leaves, as tail-wagging dogs crash through
scattering mountain-high piles into disarray.
Once, we made leaf angels alongside a path lined with ancient cottonwoods.
Bright yellow leaves rained down on us in slow motion–one leaf at a time.

Aging isn’t about growing old, it’s about finishing well–
with joy and little regret.
Embrace all that has
shaped who we are.

Listen. Time beats like heartache and love.
It’s sweet smelling like apple pie.
Then one day, lines etch your face, and you’re finally an enlightened woman
sitting atop the Sandia Mountains sharing aphorisms about growing wise.

Reading of Finishing Well by Gina Marselle

Avocado

“Every object and being in the universe is a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty, a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth more shining, as though covered in satin… Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it. It will turn to gold. Resurrection will be now. Every moment, a new beauty.”

~ Rumi

The Hass Avocados at the grocer
are sad looking fellows.
But, in January,
during a pandemic,
lucky there’s even a selection.

The avocados are little soldiers,
leaning against each other in the quiet bin
that someone haphazardly dumped them into.
Overflowing with this versatile fruit.

Throughout the day
people have eyed, touched, tossed the wonderful loot—
searching for that one, impossibly dark green, ripe ‘cado
that’s ready to devour. Biting into its soft, succulent meat
is a tongue’s treasure.

Finding that one
that’s creamiest
for salads, wraps, dips.

It’s a goldmine. $1.79 each. Joy.
Not too high a price to taste divine.
The nutrients are much: potassium, vitamins E, B6, C,
magnesium, folate, and it’s what I love the most—
healthy fats.

My turn to search. Looking through the pile—
This one has sagging skin, that one full of dents and bruises. It’s a no.
O, there is one, a little beauty. It has a little give when I touch it,
It’s soft near the stem, the stem pops off with a slight touch.
I imagine the vibrant, green flesh beneath. The sound seed
hidden inside, protected.

I love to root the seed
and watch it grow.
I make my purchase and head home.
Ready for the creamy, nutty taste of this buttery avocado.

Gina Marselle © January 15, 2022

listen to my poem on my SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/avocado

follow me on instagram @gigirebel

Until the Sun and Stars Meet in Glory

Note: please listen to the poem here: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/glory/s-RBmKOssZVEB

I.

There was a time before I loved horses.
I was so little then,
I probably had a made up name for horse.
By the time I was 7 or 8, that is all I talked about.
Soon, my soul transformed into a horse.
I had a best friend horse, a soulmate before I turned 10.
Santa brought her, and we were inseparable for 16 years. 
Her hoofbeats summoned my dreams,
we galloped into a love not of this earth.
Ancient like the desert sands.
Horses became a mantra for breath.
Then, I only dreamed for 20 some years.

Now, a daughter raised, a son who is 9,
I have this rescue horse that
isn’t a dream, he breathes fire
into my heart.
He’s desert bound with the clear, blue sky as his kingdom. 

II.

This afternoon, I felt most lost to myself.
When I get like this, when my anxiety is about to break me,
I drive to Edgewood. As soon as I pull into the stable, 
I see the horses.
When I close my car door, I can already hear my horse
nickering his greeting. Shaking his head. Trotting in his paddock.
His tail raised high telling everyone that he is an Arabian horse.

The color of midnight. 
His nicker makes his body quiver. His hello is for me—or for carrots.
Today, he gets a giant Honeycrisp apple
and leftover, bruised pears my son didn’t eat during the week.

III.

I try to remember life is lovely. Days are blessings. 
On days that I forget, 
I take a drive to Edgewood.
to find that little girl I use to be.
She was brave, courageous. She had a loud laugh. 
She rode bareback and galloped over the hillsides. 
I don’t ride my rescue horse. 
I don’t have that courage anymore.  
Instead, I dream we are running wild across the desert landscape. 
We are one as we chase the wind, leaving plumes of dust 
in our wake. The sun sits warm on our backs. 
My mother died last September. I have been a little lost. 
My husband moved out last October. 
I became a little more lost. 
COVID-19 never left. I became a little more lost. 
My horse doesn’t understand his job, 
but his therapy keeps my heart beating. 
In my dreams, we gallop until the suns and stars meet in glory. 

IV. 

This says to the world more than any poem, 
that I am before all else a lover of horses.
In my soul, my bloodstream. My very heart beat. 
Fascinating is that a human heart and a horse’s heart 
can begin to synchronize within 35 feet of each other. 
The only thing closer, I think, 
is when the mother is pregnant with her child. 
God knew before I was born, 
that my spirit belonged to the horse. 
My mother loved horses. 
My mother’s mother loved horses. 
I love horses. 
I'm a protector of them. 

V. 

I believe this love will be the last memory of mine,
as my final breath leaves my body. 
I hope that as I enter into the next light, I am granted 
a steed to ride the stars wildly and happily. 
If a shooting star you see, call me Joy as my hands
merge into one with the fire mane of my horse’s light. 
My laugh will be loud. My smile wide. 
I will send light. 
And my loved ones will know joy. 

© Gina Marselle, January 8, 2022

Note: This poem was inspired by a writing prompt shared by Liza Wolf Frances (https://saturdays-sirens.com/liza-wolff-francis/). We read a poem by Lisa Fay Coutley called: Letter to the Aftermath. We created a word bank to use in a poem we wrote. My word bank from Coutley’s poem was as follows: heart shape, fall, leaves, 73 °, sunny, plumes of white clouds, desert, mountain, chickens, dirt, son, leaves, tomatoes, horse snort, sun and stars, warm air, peaches, bruised pears, apples and dust. To learn more about the poet, visit here: https://lisafaycoutley.com/poems/.  
Self Portrait (Inside Horse’s Eye) with My Rescue Horse, Rafiq | Gina Marselle | Taken 12/30/2020

Welcome 2022

at precisely 11:54 p.m. last night my dog woke me up–

his cold nose in my face.

then I heard the knowing boom.

fireworks.

he hates fireworks.

he just wanted on the bed.

i moved over, he curled is 110 pound body in the curve of my legs,

he breathed a sigh of relief.

usually he soothes my anxious moments, now it’s my turn to soothe his.

as midnight grew closer, so did the fireworks, gunshots,

hoopla.

everyone in my house is asleep, except me.

listening, watching, waiting.

i almost missed the new year.

10, 9…

i am desperate for a new year like a whelped pup is for milk.

the wind is cold outside,

but the fireworks pop. pop. pop.

8, 7…

the soft rain isn’t keeping the merriness at bay.

i counted down earlier in the night with husband and son,

we did sparklers, sprayed silly string and threw pop-its.

we were merry–

ate moist donuts and juicy pomegranates.

6, 5…

watched Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, played chess, sipped Shirley Temples.

discussed resolutions: stay positive. move forward.

cherish the day.

count your blessings. one. day. at. a. time.

seek joy, love, and hope. always hope.

say your goodbyes (to my mom, Betty White)

4, 3…

may we finally see this pandemic turn into an endemic.

the world is worn out.

our Christmas tree lights seem to sparkle with more heart.

the rain falls with emphasis now, as the world eagerly celebrates.

2, 1…

Happy New Year.

—gina marselle, (C) 01.01.2022

Happy New Year | Midnight 2022 | Gina Marselle

Listen to the poem here: https://m.soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/welcome-2022

Not just one blessing…

Gina Marselle

Each morning a new bloom
truly more vibrant than purple or pink,
and I appreciation this God-given joy.

Ungodly-100-degree-July-days defy any garden,
even this petunia in a blue pot struggles
reaches for water, sips dew drops with desperation
just to survive.

I sip morning coffee
and water the garden
before any heat edges over the land--

wild birds sing, eat the sunflower seed,
my dog barks as neighbors walk down the alley.

I watch in the quiet as the sun steps over the Sandias. 
Marveling at this wonder a billion years old--
and count my blessings with each flower.
There is not just one bloom-- 
but 20-30 blessings opening in ernest. 

Tears spring to my eyes because without theses blooms
my morning is empty, my heart is broken
from every yesterday's pain. 
Images by Gina Marselle

When an Alcoholic Goes to Recovery, Their Loved One Must Recover, Too

© Gina Marselle | 5 June 2021

Sometimes it means the world to still the mind

To meditate tranquility until your heart slows

Enough that the pump of your spirit is felt

Like river waves on toes

The earth moves so rapidly

But feels so still

Minus the early June breeze lifting hair tendrils wildly

As seen on the cover of an high fashion magazine

Sometimes it means the world to still the mind

To take a moment to view the garden as it grows

Memories come and go

Lingering echoes that disappear

Like rain in the desert

Then the quiet is granted

Even if it hurts

You wait for a sign,

Some hope

As it sits in your heart

Courage to accept the answer

Everyone has to let go

Mortals aren’t God

And cannot change or control the wind

Or a person

Only self can be directed into movement or stillness

Right now, just appreciate

The lull of meditation

This moment of serenity

——————————————————————————————————-

Do you know someone suffering from an alcohol addiction and you worry? Have you considered Al-anon? For more information please go here: https://al-anon.org/

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/

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

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

Release What Doesn’t Belong

by Gina Marselle, November 2020

“Alive and well–

release what doesn’t belong,”

a mantra imagines.

I release this worry, heavy like a crow

sitting empty on a branch

near a river’s edge–

without flight.

This pandemic is like a broken wing

filling my head with fear,

allowing anxiety to bear her weight.

Weighing my heart down until breath is shallow

weak, panicky:

breathe in to the count of 4

hold for the count of 4

exhale for the count of 8

4-4-8

again.

My breath feels weak, without belief.

Prayers are empty. The sky has little light.

Inhale.

A corner of the blue sky smells like lilacs in autumn–

jealous my lungs gulp deep.

I try to center.

Palpating the naked earth between my toes,

as the wind arouses my hair.

I seed my toes into the earth’s belly

experiencing the enormity of time.

Earth has survived all the pandemics.

What can I learn from her?

I am silent. Listening.

I hear her enormous gulps of air,

she sighs a tremendous breath.

She utters in a voice as endless as time,

“You are alive and well–

release what doesn’t belong to you.”

I gulp her breath as my own,

kiss it deep into my center–

whisper out this mantra

until the crow heals and takes flight.

The branch snaps back with strength, the weight lifted

and without fear, worry

dances carefree in the quiet breeze

as the early morning light lifts higher into a dim sky.