Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Moments in the Mundane...

Here I sit
So much to do
So much
yet undone...
Slathered in sticky sweat
Air thick and humid
the slightest breeze...
a moment
to sit
the day...
the mind...
a Temporal reprieve
from frenzied
sipping iced latte
thru moments
caught in between
liminally cast
to begin again
midst the chaos
of traffic flows
and programed lives
so much
more to do...
for now
treasuring odd moments
in the mundane...

Friday, August 19, 2011

I Think I Will Write Today...

I think I will write today. I don't know what about, but I feel the need for words. There is something cathartic in putting pen to paper and just letting it flow, the sweet release in digital rain of what has been held in, held on to for far too long. It is time to let go. It is time to clean house of thoughts and ideas collected and hoarded in useless abundance and no longer needed. It is time to cleanse, flush the mind, flush the soul of unnecessary debris and toxic thought that clouds and hinders judgement and the ability to live and be truly authentic. Mental clutter fueled by fear and expectations of self and others. Pieces of the past, hurts bygone, insecurities, obligations, should and 'ought to be's' snagged one upon the other like the hands of hell, tug and pull at the edges of consciousness, weighing me down...

So much there, but where to begin...

And yet, it is so hard to let go. There is odd comfort in their presence, something familiar, safe and comfortable. They are anchors to those things that shape identity, make us who we are. Connections, roads taken (or not), mementos and markers, hopes and dreams deferred, souvenirs collected over a lifetime to become dust imbued emotional clutter, a hoarder's hell physically manifested in the things I cannot bear to throw away. Symbols of great significance in the lives of those around me. My grandmother's dishes, important to her, but not to me; reminants of my mother's life, a set of glasses I never use, clothing I never wear and generations of accumulated physical connections to a past that no longer exists and I never knew. Haunted by their ghosts, if I let go, do I betray them? Bound to the baggage of other's, now made my own. The weight is crushing. I need to be free.

So much there, but where to begin...

In the free flow of words I start to sort through years worth of accumulation, layer by layer. In the end, memories and lessons learned are all I need... The rest is just 'stuff' left to burden and decay. So time has come to let go of the past and all its burdens and let flow a river of consciouseness and a life dammed far too long... Yes, I think I will write today...

So much there, where to begin...

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Earthy                                            Spirit
Down and Dirty In the mud          Intuitive Visions
Rough around the Edges              Soothing variations of light
Momma in combat boots              Everywhere and Nowhere…
Warm dark richness                    Time-lapsed skies
Nurtured hope                              Dimensional Rivers
Healing Rain                                   Everywhere and Nowhere…
Warrior                                          Just Feel
Peacemaker                                    Just Flow
Goddess                                         Just Be
                  One Heartbeat

                                    One Breath…                          
                                      Together in me….

Sunday, July 3, 2011


Anger and fear
Fear and hate
Imprisoned Within
Cowered in the corner
No hope of escape
No trust
So much anger
So much fear
A family drowning
In its pain
Slave mentality
In generational sorrow
Chained to the past

Hope lies in another vision
The window
In Plato's cave
In light

Hands reaching
lifting up
The way out
In new beginnings
True faith lies
In the goodness
Of others...


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Sunday Mornings….

I love Sunday mornings. I can't quite put my finger on why, but to me, they are more special than any other. As a child, Sunday mornings were just different. Maybe it's because I was born on a Sunday morning. Maybe it's because my dad was home and the family was whole. Things just seemed calmer, less chaotic. The world just seemed to stop.

Sunday mornings were about sleeping in with fresh coffee percolating, its aroma wafting thru the house to rouse my sleeping parents from their beds. Sunday mornings were sizzling bacon, the sweet smell of pancakes and the sound of football announcers droning in the background. When I was really little, I would snuggle up with my dad in his recliner as he perused the Sunday paper. When I was older, I would make proudly make him a cup of coffee and lay on the floor at his feet perusing the funnies. I always got the funnies. The Peanuts were my favorite.  It was our time together. I had always been a 'Daddy's' girl. Of course, I was also born on Father's Day. Maybe that was part of it. Whatever the reason, I always felt blissfully content on Sunday mornings.

As I grew up, things changed, as they are apt to do. Nothing lasts forever. My parents divorced. No more Sunday brunches, time with my dad. I was no longer a child. I started working. My Sunday mornings were now spent serving other people coffee. The only Sunday papers I saw were those I threw away when I cleared the tables.

I married, had a child, started teaching and Sunday mornings were mine again. Coffee now hissed through an expresso machine, turkey bacon sizzled and the sweet smell of pancakes wafted through the air as the TV droned on in the background. When my son was little we cuddled on the couch and watched Crocadile Hunter and anime. As he grew older, he lay on the floor drawing. We went to breakfast at Ihop and played tic-tac-toe as we waited for our order. It was time spent with my son. It was our time together.  I was again content.

Things again changed as they are apt to do. Nothing lasts forever. I got divorced. My son grew up and moved out on his own.  Sunday mornings now belong to me alone. They are still about sleeping in, the aroma of coffee, sizzling bacon, the sweet smell of pancakes, but now, it's time to myself. I am content. I have always loved Sunday mornings. I still can't quite put my finger on why, but they are more special than any other. Sundays were always different. Maybe it's because I was born on a Sunday morning. Maybe it's because I am home, I am whole.

Friday, June 24, 2011

for Berenice...


Floating on Forever

She lies
In the liminal
Between Life
and Death ...
Final breaths
Flowing to places
Beyond all existence
Beyond our knowing
And so she passes
Into time
Kisses floating
On breezes
Caress those
Left behind
A gentle passing
Of a gentle soul
The child reborn
Dances once more
On sunbeams...

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Rising Storm

Storm clouds
slowly raging

turbulence of wind
to rip apart
a fragile calm
into chaos
of emotional

and uncertainty
until explodes
in sweet release
of gentle rain
and tears....

To Live in the Moment...

To simply exist
Apart from the noise that fills my brain
Watching dust particles
dance on sunbeams
like fireflies
on a beautiful afternoon.
Totally at peace
Wrapped in the warmth of the sun,
fall breezes caressing...
pulling fingers through my hair,
a gentle lover...

Friday, April 22, 2011

More than ABC’s

Why I Teach….

As of late, Education had become a major political football and the yelling so loud that all sense and reason is lost in the noise of angry finger pointing and blame. It really is quite disheartening. As the debate turns on test scores, standards, accountability and failure, budget cuts, unions, and attacks on already low pay, I am often asked why I teach. My reasons are expressed in oft handed notes left in my mailbox or on my desk. Sometimes they come randomly in emails, sometimes a Facebook post years later.

"Thank you for all the help and advice you have given me. Even though I was hard headed and never really did anything in your class (sorry!) You still tried to help and didn't give up on me. You are the only teacher who tried to help me no matter how dumb I would act."
"Most teachers would have just kicked me out of class or wrote me up if I did something wrong, but you were different. That's why I am so much different now. You taught me how to show respect…."
"You have made me realize so much stuff!! First, I would like to thank you for having so much faith in me. I knew I could do it. I just had to try. Second, I thank you for telling me I am a leader. You made me think and now I know I am a leader. I love to lead, not follow and I know you are the same way too. You lead me in the right path and I thank you so much for that. "
"I just wanted to thank you for encouraging me and my poetry. Because of the non-stop essays, I passed proficiency. Your advice and pushing me forward has gotten me far and gave me strength to believe in myself."

They are the lessons that will be remembered long after all others are forgotten. Amidst all the noise, it is these 'voices' that keep me grounded. While the focus is on content and test scores, these notes focus on what really matters. I don't catch them all, but I catch the ones I am supposed to. Whenever I start to lose my way, get caught up in all the negativity and begin to question myself, it is the kids who bring me back, years even decades later. The following student explained it so much more eloquently than I ever could.

"I pray this letter finds you and your family doing well. I want you to know there is not one day that I do not remember your compassion and beauty. I have written several papers that encompass your depth, warmth, and intelligence. All of which existed as my saving grace in 1993. That (your) effect, has permeated into not only every part of my soul but also my ambitions. I can say, with sincere intention, that everyone who knows me, Jackie, also knows a wonderful portion of you because you helped me discover myself and my worth.
Well where do I begin? I graduated w/honors with my Bachelors in English Language Arts. Currently, I am student teaching at a rural area 3A high school. I have worked in several school districts over the last four years- some very low socio-economic areal – others very affluent. I have learned- with no real surprise- that teenagers are the same all over. They all exist in a state of mind that is so sensitive and perceptive- they watch, they listen, they learn, they love, and the morals and characteristics I exemplify become their foundation. I have the blessing of exerting influence on these fresh, wonderfully made minds, hearts and souls – and I know in a nonverbal or verbal "second" I can make or break their prescious spirits. I will and do choose to keep it real (like you used to say) so these young adults can see that life is more than what a TV commercial says you should have or what 'they' consider 'right'.
My experiences in life, good and bad were all valuable – and teachers helped me know and believe this. Teachers like you and my dad and my maker took/take time for me and my development – as a 'human being, not a human doing" (quote from my self-esteem folder –your class-) I pray I can touch lives like you touched mine!"
Sincerely, Jackie

I knew this young woman in 1993 as a sixth grader, my first year teaching. We just sat and talked about life and poetry. She gave me a book of her poetry, which I still have. Out of nowhere, I received this letter in 2008 when I was having a hard time and questioning. You never know, who or how you touch someone, it's just nice to know that you do. Sometimes, they touch you back. 

Author’s Note:  Last year (2016) I was again questioning why anyone would do this job.   That night, out of the blue, this same young woman forwarded me a letter her student had sent her.  It was almost identical to the one she had sent me years before...

“Hello!  This is Jackie.  I wanted to share a letter with you.   When I read it, I was immediately taken back to the 6th grade with you.  I did for her what you did for me and the beat goes on and the circle is not broken…”

She’d paid it forward…

Despite the all district directives, legislative mandates and political discourse,
what we do really does matter.  It is our ‘Legacy’…

Have a great summer!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Wrestling Demons

There lies in each of us
a place no one sees,
a dark place
kept hidden away from the world,
a place
where demons dwell. 
that lurk in the recesses
in shadows
of our minds and our souls,
watching and waiting,
waiting and watching
for a chance,
a moment of weakness
to emerge
and wreak havoc
upon a fragile psyche. 
forged out of trauma, despair,
pain and betrayal. 
Hurts accumulated over a life time
and buried deep
left unattended,
to fester upon unacknowledged anger 
feeding upon deep seeded fear.
Deep into the night
the battle wages on
as oblivion consumes
Held at bay in dreamless sleep. 
Only to fade
Into the shadowed recesses
behind the masks we wear
In the light of day,


Sunday, March 27, 2011

I Am Not a Barbie Doll...

I am not a Barbie Doll
Not perfect by any means
I don't have to be....
I am a lousy housekeeper
It is not my priority
So many other things to do...
My nails are often dirty
From digging in the dirt
It makes me feel alive…
I don't wear high heals
They hurt my feet,
I can't run in them….

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Pizza My Way….

It's funny how the little things can mean so much and the simplest of things take on such significance. In my case, it was the simple act of ordering a pizza.

I learned early to consider the needs of others. The way I was raised, failure to do so was considered selfish. As a child, I was aware of my parent's work schedules and responsibilities. With a younger sibling, I learned the world did not totally revolve around me. As a teenager, I became aware of other's pain and did not wish to add to it. As a young adult, to make a living, I had to meet the needs of managers and co-workers. As a wife I learned to compromise. As a mother, I learned to put another first.

I became very adept at predicting the likes and dislikes of those closest to me and shape my choices accordingly; Miracle Whip instead of mayo, beef instead of pork, rap over rock. I shaped my schedule to accommodate my family's needs. As a teacher, I catered to the needs of my students. My working out, hobbies, going out with friends etc. took a back seat to what everyone else was doing or needed. It never seemed that big a deal. I wasn't that attached to my likes and dislikes. I simply told myself if it was something I absolutely didn't like, I would take a stand.

Suddenly one day, I woke up and I was on my own. No need to compromise. I could do what I wanted! Woo Hoo!! What I like!! My way!! As I pondered my new reality I was suddenly struck by the fact that I had no idea what I liked anymore. I knew what everyone else liked, favorite colors, collectables, flavors, hobbies. I knew my sons favorite teams, my brother's favorite cartoon characters, my mother's favorite coffee, my grandmother's TV shows and snack food. I knew my co-workers likes and dislikes, even my student's. Whenever I went shopping, things I saw went into categories and mental columns of the perfect gift for so and so and this is something so and so would really like. It was the way I looked at the world- all in terms of other's likes.

The realization took me aback. Somewhere along the way, I lost something. I had no idea where to begin to fix it. I remembered what I used to like. I went back to my old likes and dislikes, but that was 20 years ago. It wasn't the same. I was not the same person. I simply sighed, now what?

Frustrated and overwhelmed, I decided I would take the 'Scarlett O'hara' approach and think about it tomorrow. Besides I was hungry. I decided to order a pizza. Out of habit, I started to order it the way I always had, the way someone else liked it. I caught myself and made a purposeful decision to order something I had never tried before. How could something so simple be so liberating? It was the best pizza I have ever had, sinfully decadent!! From that moment I decided I would try new things, all kinds of things, wonderful things and spend time discovering what I liked and enjoy doing. It's pizza my way.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Thoughts of a Rainy Day….

It's really raining now and I am very content sitting here in the dark... just listening. For me, desert rains are magical. Of course, I don't really have much experience with any other, but for me desert rains will always be special, regardless. There is something soothing about being surrounded in the warmth of blankets and listening to the steady rhythm of gentle rain. It takes me back to quieter times when the world, my world, slowed down, and of being wrapped in my mother's warmth. Rainy days provided respite, for both of us, from daily stresses, and provided a time to disengage, to live in the moment.
As a child, my mother would sit me in front of the sliding glass door in full view as she cleaned the kitchen. It was one of the few times it wasn't an effort for me to be still, one of the few times my mother didn't have to worry about me getting into anything or getting under foot. I was content to sit there for hours, content in her presence, just watching, totally mesmerized by the rain. To this day, the sound, cool dampness and smell of rain trigger physical memories synonymous with her…
At times, when life can be so much like the desert in terms of struggle and survival, routine and responsibilities, one day much the same as any other, a rainy day is cause to pause and ponder life's mysteries, to reflect and appreciate. Of course, I might feel differently if I was actually out in it. Maybe that's why I love it so, cocooned in warmth, I am protected from the cold realities of actually getting soaked. For me, rainy days are very much about being and feeling loved.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Red Robins…

I was still in college trying to graduate and seemed to be frustrated at every turn. I lived alone and spent most of my time working and going to school, in short, just trying to make ends meet and somehow lay a foundation for my future. In reality, I had no idea where I was going or what I was going to do in the long run. I had big dreams, big hopes, but for the moment I really couldn't see beyond the immediate needs of rent and finishing my degree. There was no time for networking, let alone socializing. I had no social life. At the time, I was working an average of 12 hours a day and in school full time. There was no one to take care of me or share the burden. I was on my own. All I knew was if I could finish, life would be easier. I just needed to keep moving.

It was the middle of winter. My network of friends had disbanded and moved on with their lives as so often happens. Feeling left behind, I became more and more isolated, spending more and more time alone. I became increasingly frustrated. I had always been taught hard work brings results and if you played by the rules everything would fall into place. Work now, play later. But all I knew was work. I wanted to play, to enjoy life. I couldn't understand why things had to be so hard. As days became weeks and weeks melded into months, I began to see myself in the barren little tree that stood just outside my window. Like me, it just stood there, day after day, lifeless against a grayed sky.

One dreary afternoon, I was feeling particularly sorry for myself. I came home once again to a cold and empty apartment (I couldn't afford the heat). I hadn't been sleeping well, terrified of the peeping tom that had been lurking around my windows and now my car needed repairs. How was I going to pay for my classes? I collapsed in a massive heap on the floor raging against the unseen. I was the responsible one. I always did what was expected, played by the rules. Why was I trapped?? I simply didn't understand. What did I do wrong??

In the midst of my sobs, the sound of birds drew my attention to the window. I looked up. The little barren tree was full of robins. There must have been a least a dozen of them. I had never seen even one robin before let alone so many. But there they were, red breasts full and vibrant and singing. For me, the message was clear. I pulled myself up off the floor, stood up and dried my tears. I needed to keep moving. Everything would be alright. Spring was coming.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Do You See Me?

Do you see me?

Behind the veils

Layer upon layer

Of multiple masks

Built upon expectations

And caricatured roles…

Do you see me?

Really see me?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Still the Mind, Still the Day...

Sometimes writing like living, is a struggle and for now, I am really struggling. It has been so difficult to find something coherent to say. My mind has become a desert, a vast unforgiving wilderness. Thoughts often scurry like lizards toward the nearest shelter, hoping to escape detection. So brief and fleeting are my thoughts that my words often fail to capture them and so they disappear back into hiding unexamined and unresolved leaving me to wander aimlessly, lost. I sometimes catch glimpses of them like oasis's on the horizon, inviting and hopeful, only to disappear into the reality of the sands leaving me alone with my thirst. Thus I struggle on, not knowing what direction to take, which way to go, what to say. In the blinding glare and heat of the noon day sun, my thoughts un-nurtured, struggle to thrive. As darkness descends, I must keep moving. It is all I know how to do, all the while hoping somewhere in the process, I will find my words.

And yet….

If I am still, very still and empty my mind of all the chaos and noise of the day, I begin to breath. With breath, there is life. In the moonlit coolness of night, I am reborn. Bathed in the soothing milky glow of the full moon, my thoughts, like the desert, come alive. Carried on night time breezes they swirl and dance with what was hidden from the heat and the light of day. As the desert comes to life, I begin to find my words. They are everywhere. They call to me, immersing me in their wonder well into the approaching dawn. At peace, I no longer struggle with my writing. For now, I know its truth. It, like the desert, speaks to me in stillness.

Then again, maybe I should just turn off the TV J