Saturday, September 28, 2013

Poeming: Hovering

In case you thought me dead, not posting for a month, I am indeed quite alive and visiting the GrandBrits (and their parents) in England. The poetry prompt over at Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides this Wednesday was to write an "on the road" poem. This was the result.

I would be the coolest ever if I took this photo--but I didn't.


I lean to the left
but not too far–
enough to keep my
neighbor from
on my shoulder
but not so far
my elbow succumbs
to the metal cart
passing by.
twisting yoga-like
to skip to the loo
(my darling)
out and back in
to my space,
it’s ten hours
on the sky-road
to see my
worth it.

jle 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Poeming: BOOM.

The Wednesday poetry prompt over at Poetic Asides with Robert Lee Brewer was this:

"For today’s prompt, write a charged poem. Maybe the poem has an electrical charge or a charge to a credit card. Or maybe there’s a charge from a bull or a battle charge. I’m sure there are any number of ways to charge the old poetic battery with this prompt. Have at it."


Fully charged emotions

looking for safe place to explode.

must find a spot of empty land

or else I may implode.
jle 2013
Skimmer's Recap: If the poem's dark, blame the muse. (Kaboom!)

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Poeming after a long absence: "What she might as well have said to us."

I ponder. I call myself an over-thinker. If my body was half as active as my brain I'd be thin.

With most of the credit going to one of my favorite paid friends, my therapist, I've been able to disentangle some of the twisted and intertwined beliefs of childhood from what is true. It's good to know an old dog can still learn a new trick or two!

One of the biggest pieces of chain to be disentangled has been my core belief of myself as a disappointing, useless person. As a child I lacked the ability (and the paid friend) to not take on my mother's view of me as my own. I've struggled for years with feelings of self-hate and the fear of stepping out into the unknown. I mean, what if I screw up---AGAIN?

Part of taking things personally was that, well, they were happening to me personally. The words were said, the actions were taken, my heart was skewered by the one person I believed should love me without condition. But I was wrong, she was broken, she had made choices and so had my father, and the outcome of that was three pretty dysfunctional children. Two of them at least, my sister and me, carried deep-seated feelings of self-loathing. Oddly that feeling makes it hard to trust yourself or move forward in life. And occasionally that raw part of my brain is touched, reminding me of some of the things I've struggled to learn to leave behind as I move into the New! Improved! With Less Damage! part of my life.

Here's one, inspired by the prompt at Robert Lee Brewer's Poetic Asides from July 17.


my bones are old and getting older

my heart is ice and getting colder

my coming death, it makes me bolder

to say what I want to you.

I once had hope when you were born

but from the womb when you were torn

became your own to not adorn

me as an accessory

 the dream I had you did not fit

you would not mold yourself to it

and so I call you “disappointment”

and block your face from view

I once had thought to touch the sky

and backs were burdened so that i

could climb them all to the highest high

but success eluded me

my bones are old and getting older

my heart is ice and getting colder

and in the weakness of your shoulder

again you have failed me.

jle 2013

Skimmer's Recap: Moms, Dads, you hold some mighty power to shape the way your child views himself as a success or a failure. Use your powers for good!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Poeming: Lessons.

photo by me, jle 2012
This was from another poetry prompt during Poem A Day April at Poetic Asides blog, and the prompt was to write a dark poem or write a light poem, or both.


Bright sun through leaves 

tree shadows on snow

bird on the nest in the

middle of a storm.

Life keeps telling me

that contrast makes things beautiful

Life keeps showing me

I can weather any storm

Life keeps pointing out

the import of a counterpart

for darkness has taught me

to love the light.

jle 2013

(Though i'm still not all that crazy about the dark....)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Barely Poeming: Laundry laundry.

Laundry laundry 
on the line
you'll smell fresh,
you'll dry fine
(Please keep the bird 
poop off of mine)

jle 2013

Part of the unpublished (and you can thank me for that later) "I hear my life in rhyme" non-series. 

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Poeming: Sister

the Miller girls, Patti on the left, me on the right.

The prompt over at Poetic Asides was to write a "beyond" poem. In search of inspiration i decided to try another new-to-me poetic style, a Cinquain. It's unrhymed and made up of 5 lines and a number of other cool little things to keep track of. Here's mine:


funny sweet

laughing caring accepting

gone beyond my voice


jle 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Poeming: Trying: The Burn.


The prompt for the day over at Poetic Asides Poem A Day Challenge was to write a "burn" poem. Since i keep seeing people who actually know stuff about poetry writing something called a "shadorma" i decided to look up how to do that and combine that with the prompt. And i ended up here--

TRYING: THE BURN. (a shadorma)

She’s on fire.

Watch as she burns bright

see her pink

and black shoes

walking fast on the treadmill.

Something burns for sure.

jle 2013

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Poeming: Communication.

On the 16th over at Poetic Asides we were challenged to write a Possible poem or an IMpossible poem.

This picture actually scares me.


In the late 70s he said to his coworkers,

“You’ll see, one day we’ll all have tele-

phones we can carry around with us!” Then

they all threw their heads back and laughed.

(and yes i CAN call this a poem, and you're not the boss of me. This was a true story, of my hubby at work.)

Poeming: "F" Words.

This doesn't really go, but it made me laugh. Good enough!

Over at Poetic Asides the poetry prompt for the 15th was "infestation." So i wrote this bitching poem--and i don't mean like "Bitchin' jogging suit, dude!" i mean "bitching." (Hmm. Should i make that a new tag for the label cloud?)


and when fatigue infests
like locusts on a vine
like ants marching in line
steadily, thoroughly

this ache that won’t give up
like fire in my veins
and I don’t hold the reins
plaguing me, utterly

they say it’s in my head
yes there and in my legs
and the rest of me, it begs
believing me, “pains”takingly

some days I barely bear
the weight of it
I’m in the pit
totally, submersedly

Some say “Well you can’t DIE from it”
that’s the good thing—
also the bad thing—
occasionally, Fibromyalgia-cally.

jle 2013

Poeming: Totally.


 The poetry prompt? To write an "express" poem. My take?


how do I state this



that when I see

only me,


I see selfishly--

not the least


then seriously?

I just need

to get over me!

jle 2013

i know, i know, "deep thoughts".... i can get pretty self-focused when the pain and fatigue of fibromyalgia seems to be winning, as it has been lately!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Poeming: A Possible Sonnet About Sharing.

Poetic Asides prompt for today: write a sonnet, a 14 line rhyming poem. And, well, it sure ain't Shakespeare but.....


The dogs they cuddle every night
while I am trying to sleep
and even though my rest is deep
they wake me up in fright.
I startle when they lick my face
(oft times from head to chin)
destroying dreams I’m nestled in
and cause my heart to race.
You ask me why I let them stay
upon our cozy bed?
(and here you see my face is red)
I lost that skirmish the first day:
my hubby who seems tougher
couldn’t see the poor things “suffer.”

jle 2013

Poeming (of sorts): (Not So) Amuse(ing)-Bouche.

At Poetic Asides, the prompt for Saturday the 13th (also my son's 25th birthday!) was to write a comparison poem. Here's my offering of the day. In case you don't watch Masterchef or some other cooking show where you learn hoity-toity words like "amuse-bouche", it means "something to please the mouth" and is a one bite appetizer kinda thing. And i like the way it sounds--it amuses me.

one of my "delightful" green concoctions.


When I make green juices

with vitamins and such

I feel so very thin (within)

like I’m not aging (much.)

When I give in to sugar

a (BIG!) weakness of mine

I feel my hips and thighs are

becoming elephantine.

I wish I were less prone to

these games inside my head,

but if they get too crushing

I (have a snack and) go to bed.
(wink!) jle 2013

Poeming: Broken.

Another "broken" poem from the prompt over at Poetic Asides.


Their family broke the other year

now I, the house, am waiting

the dust lies lank, a beggar’s coat,

over scattered left-behinds

their family broke the other year

and each one moved away

and left what was--or might have been--

a home, now dull and silent

their family broke the other year

and I, the house, am waiting

for voices, footsteps once again

to let me give them shelter.

jle 2013


Poeming: Personal Ad.

The Poem A Day prompt over at Poetic Asides was to write a "broke" poem.

{place missing muse here}


Words in search of symbolic phrase

would like to meet nice poet

with living muse.

jle 2013

Monday, April 08, 2013

Poeming: Build a Fam.

 The Poem A Day challenge over at Poetic Asides asks us to write an instructional poem for today. Here's mine.



Have children.

Stumble along trying not to make all the same mistakes as your parents.

Add a scoop of your own unique mistakes to the mix.

Save for their future therapy.

Shake well.

Yields 1 family,

keeping the “fun”

in dysfunctional.

jle 2013

All true--except for the "saving" part!

Poeming: SEVENLING (the smooth surface)

Over at Poetic Asides, the poem of the day was to be a "Sevenling." Now, while i think a "sevenling" sounds more like a Tolkein creature, it is in actuality a poem form made up of 2 tercets (yeh, i didn't know what they were either) and the third stanza is a stand-alone line that can be a punch-line or a twist of some kind. Here is my bit of Sevenling Wisdom for the day.

SEVENLING (the smooth surface)

the smooth surface sluggishly breaks
apart, a jagged line appearing.

a crevice is born.

slowly, leisurely, the crack widens
accepting the now flowing
external ooze.

two rounded cake sides should not be put together.
jle 2013
And that's all i have to say about that.

Sunday, April 07, 2013

Poeming: Dear Sis

The prompt for Saturday over at Poetic Asides was to write a post poem. Here's mine.


You know that recipe Mom

used to make, the one with

the carrots in it that she got

off the ketchup bottle? I made

it for dinner the other night,

remember how much I liked

that one when we were kids?

The note she wrote at the

bottom made me giggle

again and I wanted to call

her, but she’s gone.

And then I remember,

so are you

and there’s nobody to

call in this post-family

world of mine.

jle 2013

Thursday, April 04, 2013

Poeming: Hold That Moment (remembering Patti)

My sister Patti in the Vail mountains.
 See why i thought she was the pretty one?

(remembering Patti)

Hold that moment

two girls laughter



mountain trail

Hold that mem’ry

toes in ice cold

stream now

close my eyes

I’m there.

jle 2013

Poeming: Gopher Me.

 In pursuit of a suitable companion image, I found that gophers may surface only to be grabbed by huge heron birds or stalked by cats ten times their size (no wonder I rarely stick my neck out!) However, these were all photos on people's personal websites and I was too timid to post them here.

Here's my additon to the Poetic Asides Poem A Day challenge for a "tentative" poem.




with one eye

squinting about

I poke

my head

above ground,


for my missing




There are also more pictures on the interweb than I thought possible of people sticking their head in the ground. Go figure.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Poeming: Foolishness.

It's April! And with April comes the Poetic Asides Poem A Day poetry prompt. Such good fun. I get to stretch my poetic-legs and throw some words down on a digital page, so given all that stretching and throwing it's fairly athletic and therefore healthy, right?

Today's prompt is to write a poem about a new arrival. Here's mine for today.

me, right after college, sportin' the bellbottoms


On April 1st

they accepted me,

shiny new student,

into their hallowed halls

of higher learning,

me wondering if one day

in the midst of biology class

they might yell

“April Fool’s!” and

send me packing,

Ramen safely nestled

between layers

of ‘70s clothing.

On April 1st

some years later,

he asked if I would

marry him,

me, newly in love,

wondering if one day

in the middle of Sunday dinner

he might yell

“April Fool’s!” and

send me packing.

but from here,

several decades of

children, pets

and worn sofas later

our lives are

intertwined as roots, and

not easily separated.

jle 2013

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Once upon a time, on the first day of Spring...

a boy and a girl were married.

From the day the Boy had first seen her, he knew she was The One. So exactly 2 years after they first formed their household union, they were to make it a permanent one with signatures and flowers and a solemn ceremony.

This ceremony was to take place high in the majestic mountains of the magical faraway land where they lived called "Vail Colorado." There was snow in its mountains, even on the first day of Spring, and the Holy Man who would perform their ceremony was out in that snow performing a different sort of ceremony with 2 poles and 2 flat pieces of wood. His Holy Watch was apparently broken, causing him to rush in late wearing muddy boots.

The Boy, the Girl, a friend named Mildred and the Girl's young and beautiful sister all passed secret smiles amongst themselves on observing the man's muddy footwear, it being irregular indeed to wear such attire to perform this solemn ceremony, and didst bring them a chuckle.

The Girl's younger sister with the naturally occurring dark hair played a stringed instrument and sang a moving ballad to the young couple. The Holy Man attempted to lead the ceremonial participants in a recitation of the Lord's Prayer. Again they passed secret smiles amongst themselves while mouthing words that may or may not have been correct, as the raven-haired sister of immense beauty was the only person besides the Holy Man familiar with the words. And didst I mention she sang like an angel?

In time the Boy grew into a Man, knowing all the more surely that, indeed, she was The One.Their union was strong, unusual in the fickle and self-serving times in which they lived. Their time lasted into 4 decades,  cut short only by her untimely death. The Man and the now unnaturally raven-haired sister still grieve, but as they share the story of The Old Days and the Holy Man of the muddy boots, and of the first day of Spring all those decades before,

they smile.

Skimmer's Recap: Canst thou tell who the young sister may have been? The Girl Bride was actually the pretty one, but she would have found the shameless younger sister's telling of this story amusing.
(Hi Keith! i love you!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Poeming: One Year. (for Patti)

(for Patti)

One year gone,
the year of “firsts”--
First Thanksgiving
First Christmas
First birthday.
First anniversary.
One year gone,
one year since
you didn’t wake up
in the morning,
leaving me dangling
from this earth
by a fraying strand
of thread.
“One year gone”
births in me
a baby-sized hope
for the next year:
for less sorrow,
fewer tears,
and a stronger tie
to this earth
where you no longer

jle 2013

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Poeming: Winds.

My God, I pray
for help today
I’m struggling hard
it seems.
I know You hear
my unformed prayer--
I’m losing ground
I fear.
Please whisper clear-
-ly in my ear
Your words
solid and true,
that I might know
this wind that blows
is not as strong
as You.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Good Grief: Finishing the Firsts.

The adorable Miller cowpersons, Michael Charles Miller
and Patti Susanne Miller (before I came
along for them to pick on.) ;-D

As I'm writing this after Sunday's midnight has carried me into Monday the 11th of March, I feel relief.

The relief comes from knowing all the Firsts I lived through in this past year since my sister Patti died are now over.

The First birthday without her voice on the phone. The First Thanksgiving, the First Christmas. Her First birthday without her presence, daughter Cori's birthday where I tried (semi-successfully) to make the amazing chocolate birthday cake Patti's husband Keith would make for her. And the First weekend one year after she left us Saturday the 10th last year, her peacefully in her sleep, and leaving the rest of us sleepless in the missing her.

No, I don't think for a second that the pain of missing her is over, or that I'll stop thinking, "Oh! I need to tell Patti--" I know better. But I do know the pain that knocked me head over heels like a harsh wind on all those Firsts has spent some of its power in this past year. That same wind will still blow, but I look forward to the gentler breezes of the future as the grief-storm slowly calms.

But I'll likely always still cry a little and smile when in my head I tell her, "I love you!" and I hear her warm voice answer, "I love you more!"

Skimmer's Recap: I think that since the last year has been a crash course in "Suck" that God should give me a pass for the next few years at least. (Pretty please, God?)

Friday, March 08, 2013

Just another Friday mourning.

my sister Patti and her husband Keith in Vail, Colorado.

I seem to be made up mostly of feelings and senses and nerve endings, and for days my body has been warning me "it's coming, it's coming," the "it" being the one year anniversary of my sister leaving those of us who love her behind in this world.

I've almost looked forward to this date thinking "finally I will have finished all 'firsts' and maybe my spirit will calm some." But Death and I have always had issues, and I suppose always will. As a couple of my friends in bookclub said, we weren't made for death originally, we were made to walk in the Garden with God, so we'll always be unsettled with Death.

But as the world now stands, everything with a beginning eventually has an end. Books end. The last piece of cake gets eaten. Spring leaves turn brown in the Fall. Beloved pets and grandmas and sisters eventually have an end. It may be true, but I don't have to like it.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When Friday wasn't so good.

Generally Friday is considered a happy day, the beginning of the weekend, the icing on the cake that was the week. But this last Friday, January 18, was not so good, it was the first birthday my sister was not at the end of a phone, not waiting for the lovely cake or pie her hubby would make her.

Grief seems to be the gift that keeps on giving, keeps on surprising, keeps on jumping out in front of a person and going "ooga booga!" so you pee a little. Friday's date, my sister's birthday, was tucked away there in a corner of my brain. Every so often i'd peek at it out of the side of my eye and watch it getting close and wonder what it had planned for me.

Friday after i woke up i thought "maybe magically the 18th has slipped by me and was yesterday and i can just sigh and go 'oh! My sister's birthday was yesterday, look at that,'" but no. Friday's Grief was just waiting to jump out from that corner in my brain and yell "ooga booga!" And it did.

All day long i fought my emotions. Mostly my eyes leaked and my heart hurt. The hubby was kind enough to let me snot on his shoulder a bit. i just couldn't grab hold of Grief and tell it to stop, it wanted to visit and sit a while.

But like i've learned, sometimes you just have to give in and have that chat with Grief. It can be mighty insistent.

Then her husband called and WE chatted--about Grief, about Patti. About missing her, about funny things she said. About what it's like for him to get up every day alone when he'd spent the last 40 years getting up with her.

"When I was having a hard time getting up for my 8 a.m. class in college, my grandpa told me, 'When the alarm rings I know it's easy to think how nice it'd be to just lay there longer, but when it rings, don't think. Just get up."' Then Keith continued, "So that's what I do. When the alarm rings I don't think. I just get out of bed and get going, take care of the cats, get to work."

And i guess that's what life is and how we keep going forward in the face of days that are not so good: we don't overthink it, we just do it. But some days Grief just grabs ahold of us and gets in our faces, and makes us think, makes us remember.

While i felt like Friday wasn't so good, it ended up good--remembering Patti, remembering things she'd say, things she'd do, laughing together and honoring the loss and the memories. As much as it hurts to do, looking Grief in the eye can be healing.

Skimmer's Recap: Grief is not unlike visiting the gynocologist: not anyone's favorite, but necessary and sometimes even helpful.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Good Grief: Lessons.

My big sister Patti on the left, me on the right.

i keep thinking of what i have learned this past year from grief and my Favorite Mental Health Professional. What with losing my sister in March it was a pretty intense year that way, leading to many posts with the word "grief" in the title. i think it boils down to a few simple (yet profound) things.

1- Give yourself permission to feel all the attending feelings when they come. This means you may have the blubbering-est face in the universe, you will find depths of snot you never knew you were capable of (where does all that come from??) but you gotta do it. If you don't let it out it just stays in there and festers like that stupid sliver you got when you slid down the railing your mother told you not to.

2- Write about it. There are lots of things i didn't even know i felt until i started writing. Talk about pulling my finger out of the hole in the dam! Damn.

3- There's no right way to grieve. Yes there are "steps" like denial and anger and all that, but they are really more just "pieces" of grief, and they come randomly and often all together in a big flurry. And how it feels at that moment is just what you gotta feel to get through it.

This may sound too basic somehow, but trust me on this one, it's the truth of it. i've long struggled with thinking i had to make sure i wasn't bothering anyone else with how i felt, but who wants a festering splinter in their bum?

i talked about "clean grief" in this past year of loss--i know it was partly because there was no major weirdness between my sister and i, so i was able to just feel the loss. There wasn't all the "i shoulda" and "why didn't they?" stuff that can follow along in other more complicated relationships we grieve. And since for the first time i felt free to just follow the tide of emotions, be sadder than sad, be so pissed off at life at God at my parents at my brother, was really cleansing.

Mostly i'm tired from it, and i'm still sad about Patti not being in my world. And i guess i wanted to share these few things because if i didn't know about them, maybe somebody else out there needs to read them too.

Skimmer's Recap: Grieving: it's good. Do it.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Poeming: Another year.

My friend Adina. If i tried
 this i would kill myself.


Usually I resolve not to resolve,
hating the gravel pit of failure,
the scattered, broken bits
of promises made to myself
then left to the elements to
crumble in the company of
other broken bits of promises
made to myself.
So this year, again,
I resolve not to resolve,
but simply to gaze
more outwardly than inward,
to breathe deeply
in the cold or the heat,
to celebrate this body
with its (mostly) working parts,
to treat myself as kindly
as I treat others.
In other words,
this year I choose
to live.

jle 2013

Thanks to Poetic Asides Wednesday poetry prompts for this prompt to write a resolved poem.

Skimmer's Recap: Here's to a kinder, gentler year for all of us.