Dimensions

My heart and soul
tire me out,
always frolicking
away and about,

relentless in their
prodding and searching,
no toe-dips,
just all-in swan-diving

into every unknown,
exploring, testing, challenging
the boundaries
of this world,

restless to breach
every deterrence
placed by societal rules
and norms…

So much fear
in potential soulmates
with whom to travel
these magical non-roads.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Flickers

Fear resides on both sides,
in the direct sun and in
the borderless shadows;
the light, however,
competes with mine,
so my soul still remains
largely unexposed.

I unzip my skin
behind the bushes
and dip into the sea
of all that I am
and all that I have
yet to be,

a flame underwater, inextinguishable,
no longer chained to the illusion
of drowning;
I dive deeper in belief
of my self
and arise, wet and glowing.

In my new skin,
a more comfortable fit,
I swirl together
the sun and shadows
as I dance,
and the flickering
upon my upturned face
reveals another transformation
taking place
within.

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Pitfalls and Wings

I remember you describing it like trap doors.

That unexpected drop we don’t see coming. It’s one thing when you are watching your footing, placing your soles carefully around the eggshells, having been conditioned, trained, skilled, at moving around in this on-guard, defensive way. It’s another when you’ve just started to have confidence in the spring in your step upon trusted ground. I was outdoors, in my favorite place, when it happened this last time.

A trap pre-set by a predator disguised as a friend. Another very unexpected fall. No problem. I’m used to it. I know what to do. It’s all very logical. Except when I go to grab onto the root to begin the climb, it opens another hole. I unexpectedly drop again. I reach, I lift myself, I lift myself, I reach for the wrong root again and another hole opens… I don’t understand these. They come from deep within my own self. These were not set by him. There is no logic; I’ve tried every pattern. Eventually, I make it out.

And then another pit sends me plummeting.

I’m thinking about these pitfalls today, sitting upon a rock in a favorite dress on a beautiful day, revisiting the scene, the trap pre-set especially for me. I find myself thinking the all-too-familiar question for each of us, so universal, so personal: why me?

I honestly do feel I should have been spared by my higher power. I’ve paid my dues. I’ve done my time. With Trauma. But what sense of entitlement and special treatment is that? Not to mention the whole free-will clause which others can use to interfere with my own hard work and desires.

So I do now reflect on the possible reasons. Does God have yet another lesson for me to learn, yet another trial to overcome? How strong does He want me to be?! And why?… When I think of this, I do not feel like a victim; there is very little woe is me. I actually get a bit excited that He is preparing me for big things. Like I am a chosen one. And if ever I were to be in training or to serve, I would definitely want it to be for Him! I feel empowered. I feel an ego I never thought I had. I always thought I was selfless to a fault.

I did it. I think. Again. I’ve lost, yet won.

Are you proud of me, God?


I think, too, about how much I have control of and how much I don’t. I know how we react is everything, our miseries often self-induced, self-perpetuated, the way we keep ourselves trapped and prisoners; we look down sometimes and see the cuffs and chains are unlocked, and we scramble to re-secure them. Why?

Is it all fear?

If so, are we really trusting God is with us, sees what is ahead? We cannot get there if we keep re-locking ourselves when He keeps setting us free.

My past is my past. I have freed myself from it. I must shake the dungeon dust fully off. Perhaps that is the purpose of these new wings.

I feel the breeze of your and His love…

Thank you for always believing in me.

I suppose with wings,
these pitfalls can

no longer sink me;
I’ll keep my eyes

forward in these skies
and focused
on the portals
to my dreams.

Words and images ©LauraDenise

Solarium

It’s not an attic window,
there are no shutters bolted tight,
no tower, no moat,
no strandedness by height,

no yellowing wallpaper,
no final-resting dust,
no musty-air poisoning,
no bed coils caked in rust.

You are in a single-story solarium
with windows open wide;
the enticing garden path
tries to lure you outside.

I’ve laid it myself;
it leads away from here.
The butterflies know the way;
the fireflies by night, steer.

There is no warden present.
There is no warden at all.
You are not kept prisoner;
screens and panes make up the walls.

I do see your ghosts;
they cordially serve you tea,
sit faithfully by your side,
read you books of false history,

but they are apparitions
as thin and weightless as the breeze
I blow into your windows
in hopes of distracting.

You feel me again,
look past them out the window;
your heart flutters to wake you,
but it’s noticed by one ghost

who floats to the window
to look out again at me.
I try to stare through him;
he grins maliciously.

I come by again in each tomorrow.
You are starting now to grey.
I’ve since given up my immortality
to free you from these
non-chains.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Retreat

White flag of surrender
falls to the floor,
no blood shed
for this heart
has been drained 
too many times 
before… 

Ashamed I let you
defeat me when 
I let the sea
empower me
so fully 
again… 

But I will remain a friend
to myself; 
we’ve come so far.
Maybe it’s okay 
to be tired.

To push back
is to go against
the way I was formed, 
the fighter in me feeds
from daily faith restored.

I’ll need a moment,
to return to my corner,
where Love and God
will help me re-armor

not to face you 
but all that you represent,
an after-final-knock-out-
extra-round test

in a life in which 
I feel
I’ve paid my dues
with challenges to overcome
unwarranted, mis- and ab- used. 

I’ll rest awhile, re-group. 
One day at a time. 
Yesterday, too cruel. 

Four Seasons (Four Haiku)

choking vine pierces
peering into window pains
drains the last color

ember of strength flares
colors of chested dreams surge
from the inside paints

momentum floods up
the courage to turn away
and spread self-love’s wings

the greatest fear yet
overcome when exposing
the heart once again

Did you know I post my photo haiku daily to Instagram? This is today’s. https://www.instagram.com/bylauradenise 

Rider

Illusion of control, 
I never really drove, 
not on a road trip
of my own;
I rode
round and round, 
hair in the breeze,
holding on to the mane
of carousel dreams, 
never free. 
Now I am.
But the invisible reins
of pleasing so long
keeps me stalled
in the corral;
my voice on auto-pilot
agreeing with everyone else. 
A passenger yet.
I sit quietly 
still looking out
the windows.
But in the rearview mirrors,
I frame my favorite parts, 
and up ahead in the near distance,
I see the peaks 
of my heart’s desires. 
I think I am ready
to take the wheel
while listening to nature
on God’s behalf appeal
to my soul, that home, 
I’ve carried all along.
I only needed to use my voice
to steer to where
I belong. 
I will need to put it in park
for the final leg,
so I can ride bareback
on my stallion 
away from all of them… 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Hope Is A Red Balloon (With Audio)

Hope is a red balloon. 
To dream is to release,
To let the heart again believe:
Benediction granted wings.

Hope is a red balloon. 
To fear is to release. 
Self-shackling to the ribbon needed
For freedom to be achieved.

Hope is a red balloon.
But with passenger and knapsack attached,
It becomes the passageway
Between spirit-death and life hatched. 

Hope is a red balloon
That may burst at any moment
Over deep, dark uncharted waters 
With drowning a likely occurrence. 

Hope is a red balloon.
Faith is to ride it into the winds
Knowing the trajectory
Is calculated and adjusted
by Him,

Delivering to safety,
Granting the dream.
Because you held fast
To Hope’s string. 

Poem and image and recitation ©LauraDenise

Event Horizon

Part three of an unnamed work in progress. Here are parts one and two: My Star and A Coat of Sunshine

Time to talk about the song.

When my son last visited, he played this song a lot on our Bluetooth speaker while he and his girlfriend and my daughter stayed up all hours playing board games (while I tried to sleep in the master suite of the ranch on the other side of the door). It’s a song he really feels, like the movie. At the first notes, when it comes on the radio now when he is not present, I immediately change it. To “control” my sadness. I try to avoid thinking about him and his sadness and his addiction, him as Bradley Cooper in the movie. It just hurts too much.

It was the mention of the movie and allusion to the song in passing on social media that stemmed this writing spree in me though. I connected with a fellow English teacher-poet on Instagram where I usually just post and go without actually socializing. I am one to put a song on repeat for hours, for days, to feel, to lose myself in the zone, to somewhere it seems I am being led, but only hitting repeat on max volume on my earbuds and a lot of patience simply lingering at the portal is necessary. To let myself feel without thinking for once. For a long while…

I listened to the soundtrack while sweating through yard work. Then I watched the video… and cried. What a sad movie. One of his favorites, of course. I could never remove the movie from myself now. I didn’t know that that Instagram post I “ran across” by someone I did not yet “follow” would lead me here, to pouring out prose, whether or not I post it or lock it up. I knew it was going to mean something though. I believe strongly in paths crossing for reasons.

I need this. To let my fingers fly free across the keyboard in prose again. To feel the release that comes from that and also through music.

I connect the most in songs to the non-words, the soul eruptions that exceed alpha-translation. That is what pain and love is, after all. And the fall. For me, it is the rise of the wailing “uhs” and “ohs,” and in voices like Lady Gaga’s and Calum Scott’s (“Dancing On My Own”).

In “Shallow,” that point is the moment of free fall. And free fall… could end or not end in a limited number of ways, albeit in limitless places, could be initiated or not initiated for so many reasons, could be the beginning or the end. For me, regarding all of this, it is that push to the edge at the end of my marriage, when I could no longer breathe, and my panic-attacked heart raced as if it were going to give out once and for all. The 2:42 point of no return is when I leapt, screaming on the way down that I have had all I could take, not being able to see the bottom, leaping entirely with the final no-turning-back point of faith, faith I would crash through the mirage of the surface into the “anything more than this.”

I am happy to report, it was the best jump I ever made. The one that saved me. I didn’t want to have wings. I just wanted to crash through it to the other side. Full speed. Once and for all. 

I am also keenly aware that others feel that same desperateness and take the leap to leave this life altogether. The song’s narrator makes it clear she will never meet the ground though. I feel a need and calling to string nets for every jumper off course. So they are forced back up and can only pass through the same portal as me and her, only with faith and courage. In the more that is here in this life.

May angels escort each at the edge. To safety. To life.