Like Me

Be content with what you have;
rejoice in the way things are.
When you realize there is nothing lacking,
the whole world belongs to you. (44)

~from The Tao Te Ching by Lao-Tzu translation by S. Mitchell

Sometimes, sleep sits empty
on a brick wall.
It doesn’t waver or fall,
it’s thin smoke,
anxiety on a string
swaying in a spring breeze,
more gently than a tire swing—

like me.

I count how many likes on my poem,
posted on social media:
only one today;
six the other day;
zero the day before that–
and the poems sit empty
unread,
unliked,

like me.

Anxiety takes hold of my breath,
holds it hostage,
sucking life,
zipping it up in too tight of jeans
until stomach aches,
and vomit sneaks up the windpipe
never to escape.
But sits there, uncomfortable—

like me.

Even if my life is uneventful,
I still try
to make the day worth something.
I love the sunrise as much as breath,
I love the warmth radiating on my skin,
hands in dirt planting carrot seeds, beets
radishes for their vibrant colors
for their sweet or bitter taste,
hoping they take root—

like me.

My roots are not tied down to place,
but to memory,
to my children,
to poems,
even if unread—
my name ties them to earth
and root.
Showing the universe
I’m here.
Life has meaning
and, maybe, in that moment
that I posted that poem,
bravery stood up—

like me.

Sometimes, anxiety punches me in the gut,
knocks the wind right out of me
and maybe I’ll fall,
and then again, maybe I won’t.

Each morning that I wake up,
grateful for another chance…

© Gina Marselle, April 26, 2020

Take Root | April 2020| Image by Gina Marselle

Rabbit

Katrina K Guarascio

I am rabbit
quick
fickle

I do not retain
the elegance of bear

or the quizzical owl

I am one
with the road

and all the world

all the world
is an enemy

I am less comfort
more nervous angel

a flight path miss marked
a collision

circling the same path
bleeding the same blood

little chance for escape
less chance for
a future witness

all these tricks
will differ only slightly
leading to the end of time

I am in the dark
my walls are high

and I resist your grasp

I have become wise
at resisting your grasp

Imprint

Katrina K Guarascio

My body is tight in
the stillness of the a.m.
I long to touch toes,
to have purpose in my reach.

I can feel your imprint
in the bed beside me
and I know it is probably
the craze of mourning but
I swear I heard you in the
next room.

I do not open my eyes.
I refuse to look for you
and allow the knowledge of
your absence.

I prefer this gentle
hallucination. The shift
of muscles in
early morning to bind me
inside the comfort of yesterday.

A self portrait

Liza Wolff-Francis

We all have so many pictures
of ourselves these days, our own

photography of us, on our phones,
on our tablets, our own portraits

taken for granted and in them,
I am a woman changed from who I was.

My hair, a graying color of bark, of limb
of Cottonwood tree, each of my eyes,

a well closing slowly as if the years bring
a squint to the world that determines

the end of water. My neck still smooth
like satin, but with the slight stretch of elastic.

What of it tells a story? It is not as obvious
as that of a giraffe however, but holds

years of breath and swallow, talk and scream.
All this body does, my arms, my back,

my toes. These shoulders pinned forward
in a lazy Friday slump, waiting

to stretch into more formal moments.
There is no easy way to eloquently say

something so trite as: it is hard to grow old
and still we must travel onward.

Morning Bell

Emily Bjustrom

Exposed in cruel white light
The hours crash into each other
A bully’s restless hands
Tighten into apologies

The hours crash into me,
My best wishes, thoughts and prayers
Tighten into apologies
I threw myself onto this stage.

Best wishes thoughts and prayers
For the magnet in the door frame- it’ll save our lives someday
I threw myself into this
130 papercuts-for-eyes

It’ll save my life someday.
Gentle hands in soft white light
130 papercuts-for-eyes
Begging me to still the careening clock.

Fortress

20 days in isolation,

each tally marks
my life inside:
mom,
teacher,
wife,
daughter,
sister,
friend,
photographer,
poet—the same as before,
but different now.

Inside my fortress
capturing images
documenting #life
#istayhomefor—

1. Signs on a business’ door:
We are closed due to COVID-19
2. Empty sunsets—
3. Kano’s endless artwork—
4. Self-portraits, only in black & white,
5. Writing and writing and writing….

Tallies on the wall mark 20 days—
20 days disconnected from the world,
but oddly, connected,
being inside,
just staying home.

© Gina Marselle, April 2, 2020

Photos below are the photographs listed in the poem, Fortress, various times throughout being in isolation, all taken on an iPhone 7 Plus. 

1. Signs on a business’ door: We are closed due to COVID-19
2. Empty sunsets—
3. Kano’s endless artwork—
4. Self portraits, only in black & white,
5. Writing and writing and writing….

In our quarantine

Liza Wolff-Francis

there is only my shadow
on an open empty road.
Central Avenue is deserted,
as if we built the world
for ourselves, then weren’t
able to live in it.
Our world, a dead tree cut
into circles, chopped like
pieces of hotdog or carrot rounds.
A roadrunner crosses
the rough cracked asphalt,
a silent yellow fire hydrant
in a green yard.
All that is left is a ghostbike
to memorialize us, all the beads,
all the trinkets that hang from it.
Even inside our house,
the meditation pillow
tries to be the rug. My child
disappears into a box,
his coat hanger book report
hangs alone, waits
to go back to school someday
in some uncertain future.

Red Is the Color of Breath

 

Red is the color of breath.

Splendid since colors named,

endless as time.

It symbolizes everything

about the past, present and future.

It follows extremes.

It sways in the moonlit breeze.

Flits like a feather toward the Rio—

graceful on the current.

Swaying with the evening stars and winter clouds.

Red covers cold air with warmth.

Passion.

Fire.

Love,

always love.

Red holds sacredness,

places it on heart

strings.

Guitar

plays

one,

quiet note at a time—

like Maria sings

to the children

in Sound of Music

high up where snow blankets mountain tops

like ocean whitecaps.

This is no rescue.

No mediation.

Sand is old.

It knows more stories than

our Sandia and Rio combined.

It mixes with blood of life

with Passion of Christ

from dust to dust.

Red is the color of breath.

It flits south hungrily now on the moonlight

like a rabbit baits coyote, as a red tail hawk hunts.

Winter is ending, an unremarkable taciturn,

an endless blackness—

waiting for spring to release winter

to release depressed thoughts—

anything the mind packed.

Now, Red, flits over the mesa

to the peak of the Sandia’s.

Calls out to black bear—

soft and gentle,

an unhurried request

to release spring.

In its journey finding ways to heal,

Red plunges into sun,

as red tail hawk dives for mouse.

Brilliance born

admiration, worship.

Gratitude as Sun

gives breath to morning sky.

There are no answers—

only forgiveness.

Faith.

Hope.

Love,

always love.

Red mediates in this blessed silence honoring

life as Earth wakes. Soon, Red blends

into all colors so others may revere.

©Gina Marselle, 2020

Self portrait of the poet.

 

Reach

Katrina K Guarascio

I balanced
my kindness
on the tips of
outstretched fingers,
so ready to give
all that I have
in exchange
for one smile.

We cannot always
reach who we hope;

those we most long for
may slip as easy
as dried leaves
crushed under foot.

Some friendships
should always be
kept at arm’s
length.

I pulled you in.
Let you crawl beside me,
inside me; I showed you
a different version of my face.

One so few have taken
the time to embrace.

My dearest friend,
you left blisters on my
fingertips, fresh and soft.
It will be days before
the flesh bursts and peels,
the callous forms.

They may never return to
the pink they were before
I first touched you.

Tonight, my hands ache,
and all I want,
all I ever wanted was to
offer up the kindness you
never claimed
but always deserved.

The task of the creative

Liza Wolff-Francis

To those of us who write poems, create art,
our task is to lead the thirsty to the lagoon

where the water is just cool enough to test out.
First, with a dip of the toe, then cupping

our hands around it to make a small
puddle in our palms, bring puddle to lips,

between cheeks. We cannot help them
swallow, drink, or digest, but we can point out

the deepest parts and the shallow areas
where algae grows. We can show them

how to soak their bodies in an ecosystem
they didn’t know existed. We can wear a path

in the grasslands between their home and this oasis,
where a quench is mastered before it even registers

in the mind. Our task is to show them
when the hawks dive down, to alert them

to the preying wait of the crocodile. Our task
is to make them want more, so they depend on it

and are conscious of that at their very core,
beyond even understanding thirst.