poetry · psychology · writing

I Am Shadow

I am shadow
darkness clouding light
sun’s alter ego –

I speak of hidden
truths, altered lies
guard broken places

Crack my surface
I am ice, will thaw
reveal patches

I am shadow
fear me not –
a path to wholeness.

(Tuesday, I borrow from my Twitter poems @Vjknutson. Image my own)

aging · change · creativity · life · poetry · writing

Is This Still Me?

Was that really me
fought for feminine rights,
persistent to the win?

And was that me
lied about her age
strapped on work clothes
bore responsibility?

And did you know her
that obstinate teen
who defied tradition
and chased an education?

Where did she go,
a faint memory now,
how life tamed her,
taught her subservience

to bury her light
in the shadow of men’s
dreams, that toil should be
selfless, and love for other.

Listen, and you will hear
her echo, faint but growing,
the sound of a mind burning,
the laughter of a soul on fire.

(For Reena’s Exploration challenge: Was that really me?, and Eugi’s Weekly prompt: laughter.  Image from personal collection.)



adversity · culture · LGBQT · poetry · writing

In Remembrance (for Father)

I hold a photo of my father –
on that last Remembrance Day –
am awed by the person we never knew.

Just fifteen, he signed on,
joined ranks with an elite squad,

trained for unarmed combat.

He wears his Commando’s beret,
medals proudly adorning his breast –
symbols whose meanings are now lost.

They were the best and the brightest –
sleuthing out enemy stores, carrying

operative data to oncoming troops.

He cried that day, as candles glowed –
tears for the fallen – “Good men,”
he muttered, squeezing my hand.

A suicide mission, he’d called it,
armed with a knife and hands
of steel – a black pill if caught.

By day, he never spoke of war,
at night, he screamed in terror.
Why such a mission? I asked.

He’d had his own secret cause –
a war waging within him – 

bent on eradicating a tragic flaw.

War made my father – a disciplined,
regimented man of iron, intimidating,
fearless – machismo at its best.

He returned a hero, celebrated
with his hometown, and left again –

the lie still burning within him.

Father was a valiant soldier –
counted himself privileged
to serve beside the honourable.

At fifteen, a girl whose body
belied her existence, enlisted

in a fight to become a man.

(The original version of In Remembrance appeared November 11, 2015.  I resubmit it here, edited, for my weekly challenge: sacrifice.  My father sacrificed his life during the war, and then went on to sacrifice his true identity for the rest of his years. November 11th is Remembrance Day in Canada, a time to honour those who fought for our freedom. )


Humour · mental-health · poetry

Needs Not Applicable

Needs, you insolent, little
bastards – interfering
with my independence,
gnawing at these walls

Nasty, you are, and heartless –
pathetic, infantile, cowardly
what part of unwanted
do you not understand?

I am making a stand –
choosing to erect barricades –
a stronghold of invincibility –
quit circling the fortress

your endless chatter
annoying me to distraction –
I will have none of it –
will not tolerate vulnerability

I am strong, singular
do not need sympathy,
empathy, understanding,
nor acknowledgment

I am an island –
self-sufficient and proud –
and your insignificance is a blot
on my otherwise perfect landscape.

(Image: www.dreamstime.com)

abuse · Family · life · poetry · recovery


Quiet!  the oft heard command
of childhood echoes inwardly

as if our home was a library
our privileges reduced to silent

study – passes given for good
behaviour – suppressed spirits

voiceless observers of a soap
played out before an audience

of five, bystanders really, forced
to watch, unable to comprehend

the brutal acts, the cruelty borne,
praying for a final curtain, even

our own – I shattered then, self
defined by so many fragments:

the curly-haired poppet, whose
smile delighted, entertained,

the responsible, no-nonsense
intellect, cold-hearted, defensive

the healer, psychologist, family
counselor, with an ear for all

the stable, well-adjusted son
dependable, always on hand

the closet worrier, introspective
self-harming, clothed in shame

wanted to be best, outperform
the others, find my own spotlight

needed to latch on to education
carve a place for myself, could not

concentrate, the guidance received
disconcerting, unreliable, no parent

to secure the necessities, to fuel
my ambition, only a poorly casted

performance robbing me of purpose,
of identity, the courage to proceed

lost myself in the hiding places
intimidated by a disgruntled father

misled by an emotionally absent
mother – a survivor, perhaps, and

yet I search, crave a knowing –
an understanding of essential self

not a glittery, star-crusted version,
but a well-worn edition, creative

inspiring, practical: a vessel
in which to hold life’s abundance.

(Image: radiantselfcare.com)





life · mental-health · poetry · relationships · Uncategorized


I’m living with a sometimes generous,
usually big-hearted, overly needy woman,
whose wants supercede consideration for others –
a princess who has it all, and still can’t get over
her father’s abandonment.

We’re living in an opulent home
with every possible luxury and it’s
always a mess – always disorganized –
because she expects everyone else to do
everything for her, and my compulsion to
fix kicks in and I want to straighten out this
space, but she’s flirting with new opportunities
as if they were younger men, desiring her money.

I try to work around her, pick up the pieces
of those angered by her self-indulgence, not
wanting to burden her with any of the responsibility –
it was a pre-stated condition of our co-habitation –
sifting through her clutter trying to discern value
from trash – everything loses its glitter in excess –

compulsion drives me deeper into the situation;
instead of admitting it’s not working out, I push
harder – like a stubborn teenager, unaware of the
consequences of my actions, entitled, going nowhere.

Unable to admit that I have no power, just have to
put up with it – it’s almost tearing us apart – why
have I taken on so much responsibility, assigned
myself to clean up all the messes, and at what point
do I cut my losses, walk away…and, can I even walk
away when I’m only living with myself?

(Image: isharequotes.blogspot.com)