Saturday, December 31, 2011

everything you've touched

it's okay
when your eyes are breaking
it's okay to let go of a tear
because we have all 
had moments 
of confusion and fear

there's something warm
about sitting 'round the fire with you,
sharing all the hard things
and how we muddled through
boy it sure feels better
to know you've been there, too
So don't be ashamed
by where you are, 
because I know exactly Who you are
and I see something beautiful,
(though the ashes try to bury you)
               I see something 
No Matter What You Do.

lift your head
and hold a hand
believe that you are beautiful
that everything 
you've touched
remembers you

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Please Don't

Please Don't Spend all Week or Six Weeks writing ONE poem. If it isn't stirring enough to demand
you drop all else and finish it within 24 hours, then it isn't worthy enough to ever be written down. @ StrongOpinion.ofme

what Bruises build

when I said to you that you are too sticky,
too blu-tack
pancake stack

I meant that I've been there
and I have empathy
but that
I am not your remedy

though I recognize you need One.

So i tear apart hot
waffle pieces
with burning fingers

to show you that you're
something better
than a des per ate

and that

there may just be
in a phone call,
or another place,
white walls
or a fireplace,

that hope
can arise
from these
pry-bar words,
though they
and scar
and scald
and burn
you Must

or began to flap your wings

Saturday, December 17, 2011

up In lights

the blood left my face
all color
by a humorous hand,

Mortar she and pestle he;

concocting a
tutu raping,

vitality suddenly
smashed by


swollen daughter swan
when you twirl together
In center stage

arterial thumping when
rhythm explodes,
mangled slippers
dangle helpless
Beauty transforms into
applause escapes


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

that they may come

in warm moments
and soft slippers,
you still evade me.
          stars in the corner
of my eyes
          in the corner
of my soul
know that
once captured)
      I cannot find you.



wrestle me
rocking steady

firmly in your

Scent-sational Discoveries

Okay, maybe another play-on-words-title is a little carried away, but all the over-stimulation from a thousand new fragrances has me feeling a little giddy. Before now, I really had no idea that the olfactory center was so directly connected to a person's moods not to mention all the other capabilities I suddenly have.

Among them, the ability to clean out the refrigerator without the aid of my employees or husband. I've learned what yogurt smells like when good and then again when bad so I have a reference point and know when to toss it out. I also learned the difference between good and bad  milk, meat, cheese, and eeeeww...fettucine alfredo.Perhaps some of these discoveries are slightly less than pleasant, but I still feel strongly appreciative.

I also appreciate the fact that (sharing violation ahead) I can 'scents-or' my dirty laundry. You know, I can decide whether or not to re-use yesterday's towel or re-wear yesterday's sweatshirt based on their odor or lack there of. That might not be a big deal to some, but for me it means saving valuable time washing clothes that need not be washed...particularly for my husband who does not discriminate between clean and dirty when littering the bedroom floor.

In other nasal news, a few tasks have transformed from chores into great opportunities. Grinding coffee is euphoric, washing the bathroom sink with lemony Lysol wipes...pure exhilaration. Routine hand washing has become quite a treat and I'm grateful for my two kitchen and three bathroom sinks that give me five excuses to sample new fragrances. Turns out that when doing laundry ends up being necessary, I don't mind that so much either. I've even considered switching detergents each month or so just to find that favorite one. Is that normal?

As for one of the two questions I've been asked most often over the last few weeks...'do things taste different now?' The answer is undoubtedly YES! The same enchiladas I've made three dozen times are suddenly too spicy for me, I've resumed black-coffee drinking because plain soy milk tastes strangely sweet, and the flavor journey of dark chocolate now undeniably has more stages than blah and bitter. So a gustatory adventure has certainly begun but I'm imagining realizations will continue to be made, maybe even forever. At least I hope so.

And the most prominent question that owns an ever changing answer is 'what is your favorite smell so far?'. Let's just say it's not small children or animals. Champagne pear Party-Lite Candles, whoa! Vanilla hazelnut coffee, whoa! But nothing yet has beat the fireworks that the clementine orange sets off inside my head. New and unusual dance moves are being created by every punctured rind.

More to come...

We Must Suffer

a hundred brittle winters have passed
Since love broke that
yearning spine

and frigid fingers
Found fleshy places
to press               


by metal teeth

And yet somehow
         sweet Surprise

Daring and bold
     gathered herself

Amidst the

Grace making space
for her to
be another's

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort,  who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God." II Corinthians 1:3,4

Monday, December 12, 2011

inspection set

they are nice
in a smooth jam kinda way
chicklet teeth
a less than cookie cutter

I'm not used to going out anymore.
New smells and sounds
and happy faces
make me wonder
who they really are,
what they really want,

altogether jaded(?)

still offering
     a tiny
     glass house
     of laughter
at the slightest chance
of cheer

Saturday, December 3, 2011


the room is sterile
aqua blue
like a House movie
with an actor too familiar

cold mask barges into sight and unto skin
syrup filled needles burrow in,
laughter bounces off of white aprons
and gloves
as if nothing were happening

and Then. . .

the blinds clench their teeth
sharp and strong,
and nothing is seen;
Another orbit
for the sleepy mind
with a rest so deep
it feels divine.
Who knew that blades and burs and drills
were chiseling away
beneath closed eyes?

awake! suddenly awake!
with frightened screams,
forgetting to breathe,
spurts of blood that you never forget
with every explosive cough
lungs remember
their legs

and life becomes real again

Friday, December 2, 2011

The 'Scents-less' Girl: An Endoscopic Glimpse into Life without a Nose

If you had to pick one of your five senses to do without, wouldn't a sense of smell be the most obvious choice? I think, even knowing what life without the sense of smell is like, that I would still choose that over any of the other four choices. After all, very little if any adaptation needs to be made for a person who cannot smell. However, as unnecessary as it may be in comparison to the other senses, I am now learning that a functional nose is quite extraordinary.

Why couldn't I smell, you may wonder? Well, unless you're in the medical field, phrases like "severely deviated septum", "enlarged turbinates"," multiple nasal polyposis", and "chronic maxillary, ethnoid, and frontal sinusitis" probably mean as little to you as they did to me for the last 29 years of life. But this month, they mean a lot...of answers, that is.

In layman's terms- I had an incredibly crooked nose bone, enlarged tissues inside my nasal passages, benign tumor like clumps of hanging 'fingers' inside my sinus cavities and chronic infections inside all of my sinuses. (Gross, I know). I'm not sure when the infections started as I do remember smelling a few things in early childhood. In particular, I remember smelling the inside of my grandma's old Mark Twain books and comparing the smell to that of a graham cracker. Weird, I know, but that is my only 'smell-memory' although I must have been able to smell other things at some point. Still, the majority of my life I would say I couldn't smell much.

When my husband and I were dating, he would joke that if we walked by rotting garbage, drove near a paper mill, or plowed past a skunk that I would always comment "I smell cigarettes." Cigarettes are something that I have been able to smell occasionally so perhaps I assumed that any fragrance I was able to detect must be in fact, a cigarette. I guess not.

I had several visits to family doctor's over the years. But general practitioners always drew the same conclusion. "You have allergies. Take this... (spray, pill, decongestant, inhaler etc)." Nothing helped. When I was something like 22, I remember telling my Dr. emphatically "I feel like my nose is pretty much swollen shut". Again, no answers. I told another doctor "it's hard to breathe" and he suggested I was having anxiety problems and asked if I needed anti-depressants. Thanks. But no thanks.So I just pretty much gave up asking questions. Until last month, when I was forced to deal with a different issue.

I had always had problems smelling and breathing. That was just regular life for me.But now I was having problems talking. I'm sure you can imagine how well that works when you're trying to teach groups of rowdy young children. I finally decided I should see a specialist who could help me train my voice or something? I had no idea that my vocal issues even had anything to do with my messed up nose.

Then I met Dr. Choquette, an ear, nose and throat specialist at Northland Medical Center. He thoroughly examined me and then agreed that I had issues in my throat, although that was as simple as swollen vocal chords. But he said lots of these types of problems actually start 'upstairs'. It was all in my head, he went on to tell me, although not with a prescription for crazy pills in hand. It literally was in my head; behind my eyes, inside my cheek bones, inside my nose and even forehead. All of these areas are supposedly meant to drain in healthy ways. But mine were non-functional and that was the deeper cause of the pain and irritation to my larynx.

Who knew? After gawking at my CT scans he didn't hesitate to suggest surgery for me. After his explanation, it seemed a logical approach to fixing my problems, but first I needed to know if that was "really necessary". After all, I had lived all or most of my life with these 'issues'. He replied "you, my dear, are what I call a nose cripple. And you've never had a good nose so you don't know what a wonderful thing one is." Funny thing, it's like he meant to say "God made noses for a reason" or something nutty like that. He also explained how the problems with my nose were not due to any type of injury or trauma, as the CT scan had revealed there was no scar tissue. This was, as he stated, "my genetic blueprint." Fascinating. So he had won me over. Especially being that he had just answered a thirty year old problem that I didn't know even had an answer. I scheduled a day for surgery right away and waited anxiously for it arrive.

Before this, my only experience with surgery was a tonsillectomy I had undergone at age seven, so it stands to reason that I would be a little nervous. Thankfully, when the day of my surgery came, I was overwhelmingly blessed with doctors and nurses who made the whole ordeal comfortable, might I even say, pleasant for me. I was impressed by the way they carefully explained every tiny procedure before performing it. I was equally enthusiastic about the Novocaine given to numb my hand before putting in  my IV. (I remembered the feeling of the IV insertion I had at age seven and I was not the least bit excited for the replay of that life event). Once brought to the operating table I was covered with warm blankets and cheerful chatter about Thanksgiving plans. It wasn't exactly the spa, but so far, it was "pretty darn nice", I was thinking as I drifted dreamily off to sleep.

It could've been hours, or even days for all I knew before I finally woke up. But I know for sure now, that waking up from anesthesia probably isn't one of my favorite things. I jolted awake with frantic screams such as "they are trying to kill me!", "don't let them hurt me!", "hold my hand!", and "I want my bible". All of this ridiculous screaming and hyperventilating made things a lot worse than they had to be, too. I worked up an awesome asthma attack that caused what seemed like gallons of blood to spurt from my nose and soak my hospital gown. But after I calmed down enough to take two puffs of my inhaler, and the bleeding slowed down a bit I figured out that I was okay. And from there, my recovery was definitely better than okay, too.

Compared to the horror stories of my friend who had a similar, although less intense, surgery ten years prior to mine, the rest of my recovery was actually pretty much a cakewalk. With an amazing, supportive, nurturing husband to care for me until I could walk by myself, with many delicious warm cooked meals from my mother-in-law, as well as strong support and efforts from my employees and clients, it turned out the couch wasn't a completely miserable place to spend 7-10 days. I can't say it was overly fun, no. But mostly painless, and pretty easy. Not to mention, that after only eight days of recovery I discovered one of the greatest gifts the surgery could possibly bring. I COULD SMELL!

At 9:15 I was scheduled to get my splints removed, something I was not looking forward to at all. I expected it to be incredibly painful and assumed that I would still be very swollen afterward. I wasn't expecting to be able to smell anything right away. The reading material the doctor had given me stated that I only might see a change in my sense of smell, and even then it be within a couple of weeks. So you can imagine my surprise when, after my splint removal and on my way out of the hospital building, I washed my hands, unsuspectingly brushed some hair from my face, and captured something I'd never experienced before. Hand soap. Hand soap had a wonderful smell! I kept sniffing and sniffing my hands and laughing until I had tears in my eyes. I never knew I could get so much joy from cheap, hospital hand soap.

Having been laid up for a whole week I had a few errands I really needed to run. So my friend Kelly celebrated the smell of hand soap with me all the way to the store. Once at the store, while standing between two mountains, one of tomatoes and one of apples I asked "what am I smelling now?" Surely tomatoes and apples didn't have their own scent, did they? I knew candles should have a scent, and perfumes, as well. I knew that food that was being baked should have a smell. I knew there were bad smells like body odor and dirty animals, and sweaty feet. Working in the coffee industry for years also indicated that coffee had a distinct smell. But I had no idea that tomatoes had a smell. I mean, how many people sit around and talk about the smell of tomatoes? Nobody I knew ever had. And yet, suddenly, I could smell them. This inspired me to spread my nasal-wings (?) and fly around the store smelling everything I could smell. This probably wouldn't be entirely pleasant for most people. But to me, every single scent was... in a word...heavenly.. "You're like a little kid!" my friend Kelly announced. And I totally was. And still am.

It isn't just that I can smell things better than I previously could. It's also what that means to me. As a writer of poetry and other nonsensical things, I heavily rely on imagery to paint the pictures that I think words are responsible for painting.. I have oft created generic smells and inserted them into stories just to give them a little life. One story I recall writing was one where I described my mother smelling like lilacs. Now I don't have a clue if she ever smelled like lilacs or even what lilacs smell like, but I felt the need to give her some personality that way. With my new gift of smell, I don't have to create generic imagery anymore. I now have the potential to create magic.

The other fabulous and unexpected thing I discovered is that I can breathe through my nose. That means good things for my husband, like no more sawing logs through the night and better sleep for both of us. (Yes, I admit, many logs have been sawed in the Anderson's king sized bed.) But it also means that I can chew a whole meal with my mouth closed if I want. I don't have to stop for air after a few bites. It means that my mouth isn't desert-dry and parched all day, and that incessant and exasperatingly loud gum chewing is no longer a part of my everyday existence.These things probably don't seem magical to the average Joe. They probably seem, well, normal?  But I promise you, if you lost these simple pleasures, you would miss them sorely!

So what to learn from this strange and unusual experience?  First of all, I would be highly suspicious about the easily written prescription of a general practitioner. If you've had an unexplained health issue that persists for years despite the quick-fix meds you've been given,consider seeing a specialist. Secondly, don't ever, ever take that thing that sticks out of your face for granted. Because although the sense of smell may be the least important of all the five senses, that does not make it any less... wonderful. 

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dear Worthless One

if you could see yourself 
the way I see you
you wouldn't 
let that man boy
come so close

if you could see yourself
the way I see you
you would
not put your heart in 
reckless hands

if you could see yourself
the way I see you
you would know
that I cried
and even 
when your heart broke
the first time

if you could see yourself
how I see you
you would know
that I am 
a safe place for you
and dark alleys
would no longer be 
 You would not spend your days
 as a beggar 
after a crumb of someone's love

and all the scales would fall and break and 
s h a k e)
all you thought
and stir 
a place in you
for Me

 and you would see Me
for what I truly am
and you would know that I long to hold you
and you would know that
I long to be with you 
you would believe that
                                                                                                                                                  all My plans
                                                                                                                                                       are good
though so often I'm
Just Like You

"I give thanks to you for I am fearfully and wonderfully made" Psalm 139:14
"O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!" (Psalms 34:8).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


it's cold in the blue truck
on the dark streets
with the hot tears
falling on a sleeve that
isn't yours

and your breath
like smoke
blasting frozen air with silence
while lungs
are screaming
of how they
hate to need my
love. . .

so when our hands
make their
heavy night,
to rest together
on the leather

and mouths have hushed
the dagger thrusts
at tender trust

it's then we must
remember what
a gift

forgiveness is
crisp, yellow day
high hills
and shoes caked with mud, like peanut-butter on gums

surfing through old leaves
side stepping
so as not to fall

and moss
and trickling water
bubbling nearby

the first days of spring
and promises of life
grateful feet

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Cream of Wheat

grandma kneaded dough
with kites flapping 'neath her arms
and invited curious curls
sprinkle spices
and flour
         dabble at a dribble of

on Winter visits
lights set fire
to carols
weaved by the warmth of her rocking chair
evergreen arms
were friendly
and tickly
like her saggy skin

spicy hot cocoa,
spilled into
just-right-for children
polka-dot mugs
with pinchable handles,
just like grown ups
and squishy mini-marshmallows
to console
that tiny place that
doesn't want to be big yet,

always served later than necessary
with a crumb of
Ramona Quimby
then off to Care Bear-
or Rainbow Brite
sleeping bags

warm days
meant rocks skittering across lakes,
painting a ladybug pebble
or crafting manila tag-board
furniture for a
needy family of dolls.
It was
learning to crochet,
pretend play,
Shirley Temple
and animal shapes,
dandelion glasses
               always only halfway full
"you can have more if you drink it all"
and that's just the way it was

she wrote a book on how to be thankful
wrote a novel on how to help those in need
but mostly taught
three girls that Cream of Wheat
(as in all of life)
is better with lumps and love

a Wretch like me

You were so kind it was scary,
always coming to mind
rewind-remind-hands out
and dreams that meant something

running was more fun
than admitting all the wrong I'd done
Rewind-remind-myself of
how awful I'd been
looking around at all the 'perfect'
people. Hating them for looking at me
hating them for scrutinizing
the needles and the ashes and the red letter
That were home to me.

that day I flew through barbed wire
And fire to land on my face
at Your feet
I didn't ask for mercy,
I didn't ask for a thing,
I just collapsed and waited
for lightning to strike my face
for all the waysthat
I had hurt You.

how is it that You scooped me
Up so tightly, burned my red letter
And all the needs that drove me
to make a wreckage of my heart
And hands?

my record of rights
never met your demands
But you still
rescued me

"But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done but because of HIS mercy" Titus 3:4

Monday, November 28, 2011

airplanes 5 7 5

metal wings, made to
rip the sky open, sound like
Godzilla, dragging
boulders down paved streets.
Dreamers have only foes to
make on nights like these

Sunday, November 27, 2011

mouth disease

just because you can write
doesn't mean I should listen
just because you can speak
doesn't mean you should be heard

your brothy mouth is where
a fleshy corpse would boil
if it stayed a moment
to hear your toxic words

i don't think the good Lord
intended those lips
to love the sewer so much
and I don't think anyone healthy
would want to hear that nasty black story
that you invented;
       to gain your audience,
       make yourself feel 
       like a broadway singer
but your 'poor me' feather scarf
is made up of
children's broken hearts
and your red dress
is blood
slurped and
from the rattling tears of innocence

Go and Hide in shame!
your pretty face won't bring praise.
your tongue has made
even the Doctor
with a cure
and found your future dimmer
than ever before

when i think of someone hurting you
of someone
lashing out at the little boy in you
running bases and shouting
insults at you

i am Furious.

i am like a mother bear
I'd like to tear them
to shreds

because no matter what makes them think so
it is not okay
what they are doing

and all you really need
are hugs
and ice cream
and a shoulder to cry on

I don't agree with it
there's always another side.
one might seem grassy
and the other a lie,
but things aren't always what they seem

you are brave for not defending the flesh
when truly it's the spirit at stake
but the spirit will still shine
after all harsh words resign
and you will be left sparkling there
without a doubt
upon your shimmering wings

If I had my child to raise all over again...

mY eYES.



About My mother

I must have believed
at least for a time
that those yellowed teeth
sponges pregnant
                      with (some
                      type) of truth
         although I remember no joy in anticipation,
the lack of delivery
         birthed in me,
a hard and
bitter wisdom.

my sisters,
they were
          knobby-kneed and clumsy,
flocking like seagulls
to the stain
of her
waterless words(

           fuzzy headed baby chicks in the
           swirling cycle of her hand)

Whose sores
sting more?
the  newborn aware for the need of weapons,
who learned to spew poison,
and pushed even milk away?

Or the sparkly eyes
that skipped and
                 until the day
their hearts and heads
would come to bleed
in the guillotine

Ignorance is only bliss
If it never  gets unveiled

Saturday, November 26, 2011

This Dress by Maria

this dress holds
no meaning
for me anymore
its hem
has touched
the most filthy
of streets
it's color looks flashy
and desperate
love me it screams
wear me out
and i, turn away
reaching for that pale one
in the back of the closest
the one I've been thinking
of for a while
but never quite caught my eye
this dress only looks good
on me
when your holding my hand
I wanna wear it out
my hands
their all trembly
as I fasten the little buttons one by one
                     Im shining like the sun as I
                     twirl and spin
                     and dance with
                     my daddy again
                     your hands are big
                     big enough to hold my life,
                     my world
                     looks small wrapped inside them
                     spin me around
                     faster and faster
                     till the world dissapears
                     and all that's left
                     is you and me,
                    this dress,          and                         

Friday, November 25, 2011

i hate 'Christians'

okay, it's true. i do. and i always have.
hated the people who say "I'm a Christian"
"are you?"

i hate how they act
like it's all nice and neat and fits into a petite
little box
Like being 'a Christian' is a type of cologne you wear
or the way you do your hair
or maybe Spanish club

and when i was a kid i hated them more
i even swore
i'd NEVER be like them
walking around
talking about how
everyone else sins
telling their children
"you can't hang out with them"
because they are bad

good thing I later figured out
that most "Christians"
don't have a clue about Christ

because if I know anything at all,
i know that He didn't walk around
hanging out with a perfect crowd,
i know He didn't look to be powerful
or have money
or wear the right shoes
or tell women to wear skirts
or wash away the dirt
that covered them
before He came to them

no, I'm pretty sure most "Christians"
should just be called "clueless" about Christ

because He didn't tell people
to "pray for others" as much as
He told them "come to Me"
He had no interest in those that
considered themselves good
and considered themselves clean

He didn't look for people of prestige
with fancy cars
and diamond rings
at all

May I be bold enough to say for a minute
that maybe even Jesus hates "Christians"?
at least He has to hate
when they get
all puffed
like blowfish floating around like
they know
when they don't know this:
the only thing worth knowing is
that we don't know anything at all

if being a "christian" means following Christ than
they better get on the ball

or change their name to something
that better describes
the taste of vomit in a person's mouth

Cancerous Memories

Cancerous memories
and the therapy makes you sick
but you still slip between its sheets
if forgetfulness has promised to befriend you

when you have given every

        of you
and your blood flows
when they speak
and your oxygen
         is the heat
of their fingers’ breath
on the
          of your skin
and when the
sleep that you dream
comes awake
in their eyes

sabotage is the only escape

when he takes the fragile fetus
of you
and tears it from its home inside his ribs
when he burns
the cord that ties
sharp scissor snap
and charcoal burns
and casts
it into worlds unknown

the pain can only come with a drowning of the
thing that holds the memory

I had to carve through
nerve and sinews
force frail hands to
pry apart the
cartilage and bone
that had attached
me to you

and then somehow

leftover scraps
had been made
of my heart

your Kindness

i won't forget this, you know?
someday, when our smiles have etched creases around our eyes,
I will remember,
how you've always been
by my side.

We laughed when you had to spoon feed me,
and brush my teeth.
when you wiped the blood off my face
you said
"it was like this at the group home"
and you were happy.

i think you're beautiful.
the way you sleep on the floor to be near me.
the way you smooth my hair
and wake up on the hour to care
for me

Strong enough words could not be written
to tell you
just how grateful I am for you,
just how much faith I have in you.

Tall man, broad shoulders, and so much power,
and yet you are pudding inside,
soft and sweet
enough to stoop beside
and make yourself a
servant to the tiny thought of me.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Word to Abusers

I’m sorry that you were treated so bad
that you feel you have to act like that
                             in order to feel good?

I’m so incredibly sorry
on behalf
of whoever slammed your face in the dirt
and made you hurt;
       the bloody shirt of Jacob
ripped right off of you

there’s just no way
that you can play
like the hatred inside of you
is something you love
that the venom
you spill
you are
             (in control of

Not me.
i'm Not Your Property)

I am so sorry for
the things that scared you so much
you grew afraid of touch
retracted and got bitter

It was wrong
what was done to you,
sinking in the bathtub
holding you down til you can’t get up
making sure to break your heart
so much
that it can never love again

I am deeply sorry for you.

I am not about to take the blame
for the shame that you feel,
for the things that you smash 
when you can’t face what’s real.
No, I didn’t cause that.

and just because 
someone spit 
in your face back then
is no excuse for you to pretend
that’s it’s okay to get revenge 
on Me