Destiny in the Parking Lot

A young girl watches you
get out of the car at Wal-Mart
and thinks – one day
I want to be like that! The pretty car,
the nice clothes, expensive purse,
the perfect hair.

You are the vision
she holds onto, cherishes
in her broken-ness.

She will strive
to become . . . You.

You are her symbol-metaphor
for success – a chance sighting,
a living image of what it means
to have made it. . .

Out of the fear of less,
out of the poverty of nothing,
away from the cold truth of being
inconsequential.

Photo courtesy of Bigfoto.com

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December 24, 2000

These desolate days
of wasted space when
time becomes
the movement of water —

droplets raining
from unfrozen snow
lounging on the roof.

Tree branches leap
from frigid cover —
undulating from confines
to seek the sharp winter

sun. Beacon of time
that shines crystal clear
on this day as meaningless
as the thousand days before.


Originally appeared in CCEQ, Winter 2001 issue.

Pages of Memory

 

(On my last visit with my grandmother before her death)

Her age-dimmed cloudy eyes linger,
watch me being my mother on the pages of memory.
She tells me how much she loves me and
asks about the baby, turns to see.

Trembling-aged hand that held me and
spanked me and cuddled me as a child
shakes as it reaches out, then
tenderly touches a baby’s silken head.

She grows impatient, wants me to listen
to the important things she’s telling me
about how to raise this child — ooh, so sweet,
precious little Colleen. I, adult Colleen, stand

watching and listening as she talks
remembering me into reliving our lives
over again from her memory of 17 years ago.
I promise to do everything she says.

I tell her how much I love her and become
my mother for her today – again and
become my infant self again – one last time –
watching her through both sets of eyes.

Until, my daughter takes my finger
with her tiny hand and I look down to see
her child-dimmed cloudy eyes watching me
being her mother on the pages of memory.

Winter Breeze

Ida Larson Artwork

Queen of Winter, by Ida Larson

Lovers, forget your love
And list to the love of these
She a window flower
And he a winter breeze …

~Robert Frost


It is beautiful outside my window. The Queen of Winter is present –  huge flakes of snow tumble across the sky, tree limbs are holding a treasure of white on their branches, and the ground is a carpet of crystal. It has been snowing since deep in the night – a five-inch layer that’s still growing.

This day and this snow are acceptable – reminding me of snow days as a child when it was a treat to miss school, snuggle under blankets, and drink hot cocoa.

~~~

I didn’t sleep well last night. Too many thoughts, voices, memories coiling through my mind. The replay of my yesterdays filled with happiness, sadness, confusion. It was a long night of restless searching in an unfortunate land.

It is a land I know, one that has been waiting for my arrival – a conversation with an old friend earlier in the week; yesterday spent in quiet review, pouring over old journal entries and falling, tangled in a mixture of heated emotions and dissonance of spirit.

I am always searching for answers in their various forms. A journalistic flaw, I suppose, always trying to answer the Who, What, When, Where, and Why questions of life. The Why always being the most dominant!

Lately, some long-held Why questions have grown into their answers.  It is a deeply bewildering experience even though I’ve known the answers forever.

The power of words is stunning. and though the answer may be known, it holds a different power when it’s spoken aloud. That’s when it becomes real! It now lives ghost-like and shimmering in the light of day. It is a haunting presence that can never be unspoken out of being.

These are the dream-images of realization and epiphany where poems are born. They grow from that place of answers and play through my mind for hours, speaking loudest in the dark moments before sleep comes. Oh, such clear lines and perfect stanzas showing up when I am too tired to get out of bed and write them down!

~~~

I want to believe in the pictures I paint for myself:  of people, life, feelings, and reality.  As if, somehow, in the magic of believing it to be I can create it being. The falsity of this approach becomes clearer to me as I grow older. Most things cannot be dreamed and wished into a better truth – they exist in the reality that is them without magical influence playing a role in the game.

“What matter that the magic doesn’t work?” I have no perfect image of completion in my mind, only small perfect moments I would like to possess.

The truth of what things are and the lessons that stem from that probably have more value overall than the perfections I dream of engineering. Still, it may be that the poet must have an element of believing, a magical perspective that defies logic, in order to see the details that become poems.

Artistry is never about the normal, run-of-the-mill experience. It is always about experiencing that and then transcending it. It is the vision stemming from transformation that speaks to the poet and in the poem.

~~~






To see more artwork by Ida Larson, please visit her gallery at Epilogue.net

If I Cried Out

Melancholy, by Natalia Tejera

“If I cried out, who
in the hierarchies of angels
would hear me?”

~ R. Rilke, If I Cried Out, from the First Duino Elegy.
I’m trying to keep up with my Post-a-Day 2011 committment, but am also tired and a bit melancholy today. So, here are a few random thoughts and observations —

Granddaughters

My youngest granddaughter, Haley, spent last night and most of today with me. She turns 3-years-old in February and is a tiny, blonde burst of constant energy. I adore this child deeply! And so much enjoy my Am-Ma time (she can’t quite get her G’s out yet, so I am Am-ma until her language skills grow a little more!).

I’ve been able to spend more time with Haley during her young years than I was with Lauren, her older sister, when she was little. I lived in Myrtle Beach during  Lauren’s first five years (she’s almost 7 now) and only saw her a few times a year. This time with Haley and Lauren as they both learn and grow is a wonderful gift to me. They bring tremendous bliss to my soul.

I’m a young grandmother, at 43, and I’m pleased about that. It’s good to know that all my impatience as a younger person – married and having my own children before I was a true adult – turned out so well. I enjoy acting like a child with the babies, crawling around on the floor, playing and active in ways I couldn’t be if I were older. It’s just too cool!!!

Management

I told our new finance manager last week that he had to “grow-up and set a good example” because he’s a Manager now. It’s true, but it’s also true that management usually isn’t all the goodness and glamour you expect it to be.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mother and Manager both start with an M! My salespeople are more like children than professionals most of the time, and I swear I catch myself having the same conversations with them that I did with my children during their teenage years. I spend a lot of time training and fixing things…welcome to management 101!

I’ve been in a management position for years now, so the real work of the job is not a surprise most days. Last week was one of those tough weeks filled with constant personnel issues and necessary disciplinary actions. That takes its toll and makes for a long, exhausting week.

I’m due a week’s vacation time and would dearly love to take a 7-day break from my job! However, I had the MRI of my lower back done this week and return to my doctor next week to see if I’m facing surgery or not. I suppose it’s best to save the vacation time in case I need it for that…BUT, a few days-in-a-row off work would be heavenly!

I’m trying not to stress over the health issues, but am probably stressing more than I’ll openly admit. My answer to that has been to work harder and take on more tasks and projects than usual – a tendency that is wholly me. I guess it makes me feel as if I’m at least accomplishing something with all that nervous energy and stress!

Writing

I’ve been making good progress in my writing. This is partly due to a renewed emotional committment on my part to be honest in my art (wherever that takes me and regardless of the fears which haunt me in that truth), and partly due to the unbridled stress noted above. This combination of factors means I’m writing more often and more deeply than I have in years.

Poetry has been the most fitting form for my creativity lately, though I do have several essays and a few fiction pieces started. My schedule (usually a minimum 75-hour work week) allows me to write poetry easier than the other genres.

Several of the poems I’ve posted on Open Salon have been selected as Poetry Picks of the Week, and I appreciate that as a very nice complement.  I’ve also started participating in Poetry Circle: Contemporary Poetry Forum and was pleased to have the poem At Dusk May 18, 2010 selected as an Editor’s Pick. (The original version of At Dusk on this blog is here.)

Publishing online in this way is a very new experience to me. I spent 13 years as a freelance writer, publishing in traditional formats. There is still a difference to me between the writing in literary/Mainstream publications and writing on blogs on the web. I’m sure I’ll revisit traditional formats when I have more time for submitting. For now, I’m enjoying the online forums and having fun exploring all the options available for writers in this arena.

Whippoorwill, the new online literary journal I’m editing ( to go fully live in February) is another project and another exploration of this new online media for me. I’ll serve as managing editor for Whippoorwill. This will be my third stint as an editor for a small press, and I hope the “third times the charm” brings success and joy to this venture.

I was the publisher and editor for IF Magazine – a social justice, shake the world up publication – from 1993 until 1995. And then, served as editor for CCEQ (Carolina Christian Education Quarterly) from 1999-2001. Both magazines taught me a great deal about writing, editing, marketing and publishing.

I’m still one of those people who prefers small-media to mass-media due to the wider range of content and truth, and I believe our Freedom of Speech rights to be one of the most valuable elements of a democratic America. However, as a general rule, I stay out of major political discussions. Historical study teaches us everything we could wish to know about governments and politics. I usually don’t feel the need to add my opinions to the mix. I still believe deeply in the need for social change, but seldom write of that anymore either.

My current work, in whatever form, tends to focus much more on the personal and spiritual. I believe anyone can become anything, change any habit, meet any goal, or reach any dream. My work seeks to explore that internal process, as well as the process of living and being in our world and what that means to us. I believe true change is internal and individual, so that’s become the natural focus of my work. In the end, all we truly have is us and our experiences and beliefs – and that is what creates ripples across the larger pond.

Art Prints