When I was a child I only ever wanted to be strong.
I wanted to be able to compete with the boys
and when I foot raced them at recess I won every time.
They called me ‘She Hulk’ because of my muscular frame
and from the way I only ever wore soccer t-shirts and sweat pants.
After that nickname was implanted into my brain like a growing weed,
I’ve only ever wanted to be feminine.
I started wearing skirts and dresses
and in middle school they shrieked at the site of my makeup and done up hair.
But that weed inside of my mind only grew, and grew, and grew
until I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part anorexic and two parts lonely,
because I thought that the definition of feminine began with the word frail.
No one ever realizes how greatly words affect us,
how a simple nickname can turn a pretty girl into a skeleton.
I stood at five foot two weighing seventy nine pounds,
so cold and frozen,
yet I still considered myself a ‘She Hulk.’
You could see my ribcage through my t-shirt
and my spinal cord protruded loudly through my weathered skin,
as if somehow my bones were dirty knives
just trying to cut through the flesh of judgment.
As I grew older I became the girl that was never enough.
Not good enough to speak poetry.
Not good enough to lay paint on a canvas.
Not good enough.
Not tall enough.
Not big enough boobs for them.
Not primped to perfection.
Not undeniably straight.
Not smart enough.
Not dumb enough.
Not ditsy enough.
Not cool enough or fun enough.
And I began to believe, too, that I wasn’t enough.
I never told my mother that I had been in madly in love with a girl.
I never told anyone about the night we first kissed
because I was too vulnerable for the judgment.
And parents always justify saying that ‘kids will be kids’
But when we are kids our brains are still growing
and the smallest of seeds that get planted will one day bloom
into one giant regret,
will one day affect the choices that we make,
will one day influence us about the clothes that we wear,
will one day shape us into the person who we thought we would never be.
I only ever wanted to be strong,
and as a child I thought strength was only about being able
to lift a bar stool above your head.
I thought that strength was only about being able
to beat the boys in bare foot running races.
I was told that strength was something only
a man could have.
But as I’ve grown older I’ve realized that strength
isn’t about muscle at all,
but it’s about weakness,
and the ability to overcome the social anxiousness.
It’s about carrying around a lifetime of baggage
on your broken back
because the ones that kicked you when you were down
are going to be the ones that were ultimately wrong.
I thought that the definition of woman
began with the word disappointment.
And I became a mixed drink cocktail
with one part freedom
and two parts Sailor Jerry
because every girl needs a stiff drink once and awhile.
We are not disappointments.
We will never be the ones who gave up on hope.
We will never be the ones who gave up on each other,
or our mothers.
We will always be enough;
enough for the ones who shunned us
enough for the ones that cursed us
enough for the ones the hurt us
and destroyed us
and beat us when we were covered in bruises.
But you see, bruises fade
and the scars of our flesh are only stories
things we have overcame
and there are things out there that we will overcome.
When I was a child, I only ever wanted to be strong.
I hid my vulnerability.
I hid the parts of me that were true.
I never told my mother about my girlfriend
because I was afraid she wouldn’t understand,
kind of like all those people who never understood
just how much words effect us.
I can’t say that I can beat the boys at foot races anymore,
because, well, I smoke cigarettes now.
And I can’t say that the nickname of my childhood didn’t affect me.
But I take that name now and embrace it.
Because I am strong.
I am the ‘she hulk’.
I am a mixed drink cocktail
with three parts greatful.
I was blessed to know a woman in my life
Who faced hard times, struggle, and strife.
A Chinese immigrant, she came from a poor town
Lost her husband, was kept from her daughter, but not kept down.
She had three other children who were born here
Getting them a better life was her biggest fear.
She had to fend for herself and them alone you see,
Speaking little of the language in this foreign country.
But, she had always lived a determined life
So she fought back...with a fork and a knife.
She opened a restaurant in a small community
Where her gracious manner made her friends instantly.
Her children would grow up in town with new friends
The restaurant she opened was the mean to her ends.
She worked very hard...sometimes eighteen hours a day
She never complained because that was her way.
Her life's expectations knew more successes sublime
The restaurant grew...one egg roll at a time.
She once told me of the anxiety she felt at the money she'd spent...
Laughing said, "My uncle said sell 2 qts of Chop Suey/Day...you've got the rent."
She was a woman who chose kindness as she felt had to her been shown
To people far and near her generosity was known.
She was thankful that she had the opportunity
To give back with love rather than animosity.
I first met her over some 30 years back
She struck me from the that moment as a person who had the knack
To make others feel at home though strangers they be
She certainly did, because she did it to me.
I still remember her caring for me...it was shown
Once caught in a blizzard, she opened her home.
So often was there a path to this woman's door
Though she stood, less than 5 foot 4.
Her heart was as big and wonderful as one would want
An earthly angel, she was heaven sent.
Though her health began to wane later in life
She never gave in to that world of strife.
Her eyesight began to fail and it was difficult for her to see
But that didn't stop her or her generosity.
She loved people and filled everyone with cheer
Ever thankful that she had had a life here.
Though she is gone I'll never forget her face
Or her love of life, devotion to family, and unstoppable pace.
To me I'll ever be thankful to have had the joy
Of calling her "Ma" ... ONE IN A MILLION~was Connie Moy!
1st Place Winner - "One in a Million" Poetry Contest
' '''''''' ' ''
Somewhere a hand is reading out loud
a Dickinson, a leather-worn journal
recording daily life’s soirees,
memorizing rain and shielding little girl’s eyes
from the blasting words of the sun.
Somehow someone reaches
from darkness to drive the shadows
that meet the body of her child: trembling
with excitement or fear,
sliding tender fingers on the back;
parts the arms like wind that rushes in
all seasons to reveal the lush, delicious
landscape of summer ; then rubs the elbow
down the forearm to greet the cheeks
with a kiss and watches while
the hands move back without help or
guidance from the daughter sleeping. ~
Somewhere a mother, grandmother,
godmother, stepmother, or mother nature
weeps over love’s broken child;
uses her hair to bandage
the wound on the youth’s head …unfolds
her hands from prayer to widen
the window of angel psalms
pressing her lips into alleys
of the sapling’s mouth: a tear transforms her
from receiving to giving. ..and she feels without
seeing the last light of the night; lit for
the heart of those who witness its extinguishing
Somewhere death’s chariot prepares for
a long journey, away from the living:
pack the roses from tomb to womb,
remove the thorns for gracious sake,
like knives that pierce the heart of loved ones
who cannot move on, pulling
the orchards over her head;
a name whispered in every fireplace she flamed
And somehow tonight, I hear her stir, still
clinging to the waning voice of the hours;
she bequeaths stars I will inherit
until she, at last succumbs to wispy bliss.
And I, a sighing child must tell her:
“ Wake up, you've been in bed so long,
Mother, you should not be sleeping…”
........ .... ........
*with love to my Mom who had passed on*
Gautami Phookan's Poet lll Contest
by nette onclaud
The warrior lays her weary head,
With heavy heart she cannot bear,
Burning tears stream down her face,
As whispered memories touch the ear.
Her armour tarnished by remorse,
Her battle-cry a wimpered row,
Her wounds, of which bleed solitude,
Will never know forgiveness now.
The song began two score ago,
When two came knocking at her door,
In need of refuge from the world,
Of that, and love, and little more.
Forced to fight for every smile,
Her only solace found in song,
She longed for love to rescue her,
And plant her where she could belong.
Jealous tongues are seldom kind,
Self-seeking hearts know nought of love,
The caged canary only sings,
When coaxed to praise from up above.
For the steely spine that now I own,
Forever shall I grateful be,
A gift from her, and from her own.
Courage mounted inwardly.
I'll not forget how I have loved thee,
And youthful memories I will prize,
Til on the shore of His forgiveness,
Whereto now, we both shall rise.
I do not know?
While walking through a hospital one day, a veteran I did see
He was in a wheelchair with both legs missing, and he did it for you and me.
I turned around a corner and down another hall
Only for my eyes to behold a family who has lost it all
A five year old cried out,"Why did daddy have to die?"
The mother held her son closer while she greived and began to cry
The mother of that young Marine, who had fought over in Iraqu
Wandered why her son so brave, didn't survive the enemie's attack
The father of that soldier, hung his head to cry
He was a retired soldier himself, why couldn't he have been the one to die?
His heart broken sister, sits in shock and tries to deny
The death of her older brother, he was killed and don't know why
A few days later, a family, everybody all dressed in black
Went to the funeral of a twenty-five year old who too our bullet in Iraq
The Bible says "thou shalt not kill." and "Love your neighbor" too
Maybe our soldiers aren't doing what's right, but they still take your bullet for you
They sleep in foxholes, and eat in trenches, and do all that they know to do
They rest in the sand with no comforts of home and they take your bullet for you
The restless nights turn into days, you wouldn't believe all they go through
THe rest of us sit at home and gripe, and still they take your bullet for you
The next time you hear a 21 gun salute, don't condemn as others do
The next time the taps are being played, remember, they took that bullet for you.
Thanks, Veterans for your sacrifice.
Confetti flutters the sky
A bride dressed in pearly white
Footprints pave bright virgin snow
Steps to her future
Little Bee, Deaamoo, grandmother of the Crane Clan, lies staring. The light of
winter’s first full moon falls into the room. Through a ghostly haze of tobacco and
sage smoke, she sees her loved ones. One withered hand clasps a cowrie shell,
mee-ghis, tightly to her heart and in the other she holds a small dreamcatcher for
her youngest granddaughter Little Aamoo. Strands of gray white hair escape from
her braids which trail down beside her bird-frail form touching the fringe of her
parting dress. Her clan has been in the sweat lodge praying for her safe journey
home, some appear red-cheeked; others are a pale as the shades of her
ancestors. It is the end of her days, a time for passing on.
Outside of the house near the fringe of balsam pine a circle of stones are laid, each
one blessed and bringing an anchoring comfort to man, lodged between earth, and
sky. The four directions are marked and her way west is clear for her. Soon, she will
ask loved ones to lay here amongst the gifts laid for Pacugu, The Great horned Owl,
near the spirit house.
The veil is thin now between this world and the next. The smoke branches upward,
showing the way to sky world where Gichi Manidoo waits. The songs are being sung
for her now. The Shaman’s rattle is crisp and clear. All about her is beauty. Drums
keep the beat of her heart. They wait. Remembering one last story, she calls her
family to her, she must leave them with all the knowledge she has. "Ah, what was
that story? Well, that is not for you."
My Son Moon and Star ~
Approaching the celebration of his Birth
cherishing the gift I received
within weeks of conception I knew
something amazing was in Creation ~
the Stars held a party
sending me with one of their own
Gazing at 3 shooting stars twinkling crossing the sky
It was magic It was destiny taking its flight.
In love with an October full moon
drawing and painting I liked
thinking of Vincent Van Gogh ~
caught in a loss of time
Hours going by as choosing my color
a wittness to three falling stars
A clear night sky sparkle's
A once Famous Star was sent
inspiring the tiny child inside ~
Never a doubt in my mind at all
child bearing was worth any pain received
yours will be in a pursuit of a dream ~
one to cherish and hold
My Son was born the following August ~
working on the set of Grimm 3rd season this year
as the set of Leverage for 3 years .
Has done a Indie movie here
In Paris it was seen and honored
coming soon filmed in Portland ~
"The House of Last Things "
awaiting the credits , you will see
1st Assistant Director ~ production assistant
My Young Lion Mans dream ~
A proud mom I watch every show and the credits
as foretold in a whisper to me 25 years ago
My Son & Moon and Star
A name you will all know ~
Happy Birthday to my creative Son
you will exist in my heart forever~
The pool grows green through the leaf cover.
Large pears hang upon ancient tree.
Mocking Bird sings chanting to his lover;
As the dew sparkles, like water in the sea.
Crepe Myrtle has turned red how time has passed.
Moma admired some trees said they were pretty.
Daddy dug up a few runners, oh! memories from past.
In most things, think of daddy how witty__
Daddy brought (them) here to brighten moma's life
To give her something pretty to enjoy.
Today I enjoy them, this is reallife.
Now as I look at them they are my buoy
Clouds are coming in hiding the sun rays
But their light and life brightens my days_
For Nancy's contest;
Contest name: Gratitude
One night I was trying to put a wide-awake and unruly child to bed.
She slipped, and slid, and giggled as she ran everywhere else instead.
But then I finally caught her as she climbed upon her Daddy’s lap.
He ask her why she wouldn’t go to sleep and monsters is what he got.
So Daddy told her a bedtime story that calmed her down at last.
His chair sat by the windows, where he could see the sky.
She’d noticed that he sat there nightly starring at those stars.
He told her to look for one that winked for it was Grandma saying good night.
Another one would be Grandpa who would take her cares to heart.
And one would be her Guardian Angel to keep her safe at night.
But the best of all would be God who would be there to plot her daily course.
Then look at all the twinkling ones…. They are the Angels as they rejoice.
And the Aurora Borealis is the music to those stars.
Now listen very carefully, and watch with all your heart…
And you will see you’re not alone in your bedroom late at night.
For how can you be alone with so much going on just for you?
Then Daddy gently picked her up and took her off to bed.
Now she wouldn’t go to sleep unless the curtains were open this night instead.
Then years later I was listening as she put her own precious wee one to bed…
And you will never guess… She said exactly what her father had said…
I went back to that old chair and thanked her Daddy for his wisdom thru the years…
And as I looked upon the stars… he winked good night to me, I’m sure…