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

Finally

I am changing again,
another metamorphosis,
finally with wings

delicate yet indestructible,
soft but dipped in
a protective celestial coating.

I think it may be your love
combined with His blessing.

I think this is my last rebirth,
no more rising from the ashes
of my previous selves.

I am ready to fly,
though already home,
so comfortably snug
in your heart.

Coastal breezes
keep me blissfully hovering
above the benevolent sea

as the rising sun
warms my soul
without singeing
my dreams.

The Petals I’ve Known

It’s been sunny and seventies, and the seasons
have not so much been confused
as they have been seemingly
just leisurely mingling, amused,
some stalling, some joyfully letting go;
nothing in the South rushes though.

Like melting cubes of ice in tea,
we take it sweet and slow down here.
It tickles me pink to have the mix
sprinkling personal messages so clear.

Today started differently,
gray with a bit of nip in the air.
Certain trees partaking in autumn
are almost now bare,
covering the patio in a bland
blanket over stone,
which made the flowers
I did not grow
even more the focal point
of my windowed soul.

I smiled for how they have become
so deeply rooted in my journey.
Marking my heart’s pages,
so many petals and leaves held so dearly,
imprinting with their colors and scents
my most powerful untold stories.

Fissures

Fissures shift,
the inner lifts,
though I wish
to keep it
enclosed.
Exposed
to the elements
becomes my soul.
The tears rise
and flow.

When the painquake subsides,
there are less toxins inside.
I suppose it is nature’s way
of eliminating the accumulating waste,
that which we bury in false deaths,
that which we hide beneath the surface,
a sort of protection and procrastination
of that which we cannot bear in the moment
to face.

Two-faced
are we all.
How are you?
Good, thanks.
Why do we ask
that question
in passing?
Too often fake.
How am I?
Probably actually
similar to how you are
especially in the way
that we guard
the answer.
Brief eye contact.
Continue walking.
If only we acknowledged
anything.
Hands on phones,
hands of clocks.
Bombs inside.
Tick. Tock.

Fissures by nature
are meant to be breaks.
Down is mine. Again.
No brakes.

Not a fall
but an opening.
An involuntary wound-seeping.
Weeping.

My inner, risen now.
What will you do
with what’s come out?

Red is the heart
and magma
at the core.

I’ve left a puddle
of lava
upon your floor.

Lost in the Yard Again

Sunny and 70s this weekend in northwest Florida but with enough seasonal variety to get to experience some autumn colors alongside the re-flowering trees. I meant to go to the ocean but ended up staying in my yard. It’s just so quiet and peaceful here, and that’s really what I needed most this weekend, especially since our house guests are out of town. It’s late Sunday afternoon now; I’m still in my pajamas and still procrastinating starting my schoolwork…. maybe after this blog post on the patio…

I thought I’d let you into my head a bit, since there is never a dull moment there. 🙂 This morning as the sun rose and dried the raindrops from the leaves, I enjoyed some nature photography. In my backyard. 🙂

A friend recently asked what kind of camera I use. Ummmm, an outdated and malfunctioning iPhone (8) and whatever photo editing app it came with. My old Canon is no longer working, though I really do need to try harder to revive it. I’m not one to spend money, and I hate updates and changing what I’m familiar and comfortable with. My daughter has the pro gear (and newer phone), but I’ve yet to borrow or learn it. I have an inherited camera too I’ve been meaning to play with. So me and my on-its-last-leg iPhone out back this morning….

If you know anything about me, you know it would be the wildflowers and white flowers that would call to me the most. From inside, on my way to make morning coffee (after going back to sleep earlier since I woke with a headache), the familiar white wildflowers drew me out. I loved that they were still blooming and wanted to capture them against the autumn-leaves background. There is such pure and soulful beauty I find in white blossoms, so this was my main therapy after my emotionally-turbulent week. Ahhhh…

I find nature the most therapeutic for me when I focus on the details, the tinier the better. I suppose that makes sense. When I’m spiraling out of control from an emotional trigger that trips a mine from my traumatic, buried past, the one who knows me best (I’ve recently caught on to this..) tells me something very specific in our conversation, a unique detail. I tend to focus on it. I tend to forget the rest for a moment or two. It’s a grasp for me, something to hold onto. Sometimes, that’s all that’s needed to stop the free fall. I focus on the folds in petals, the almost-evaporated drops from last night’s (all-too-coincidentally-metaphoric) rain, the tiniest bright stars in the unfurled center. It centers me. Again.

This one entranced me the most, like a beautiful ballet, its story performed without words but deeply felt… 

img_8173

Then there’s simply the beauty of autumn’s bright leaves, which I do not take for granted living in the South.

In just about every subject I frame in my lens, I also find a story or lesson. I begin my autumn adventure with the nest in the nook of my eucalyptus tree. This tree is not the mother of these leaves, but then again, home is sometimes found, and families can be made outside of genes, and both of these can save a soul. 

(Here is the eucalyptus’ biological offspring:)img_8132

Next, as tends to happen, I notice and go out of my way to admire and showcase the beauty in the imperfect. I chose this leaf to be the star today.

img_8155

I’m sure the ones who were more “whole” and less “marred” were confused. Like with flowers and seashells, I find the most powerfully-moving stories in the subjects that many would overlook or toss back, reject. We are all imperfect, though; we all have our scars, and with each, a very personal story, usually untold. Yet how similar, I’m sure, our hidden fears and pains are. The light seems to find all of us equally though, as a saving, nonjudgmental love.

This leads me also to respect the shadows. This bright red evoked a somber mood. I paused a while to pay homage.

This next green leaf intrigued me so! Among the astonishing inner workings, a very distinct marking gave my imagination the lead in metaphorical hypotheses formation: an internal imaging picture revealing the disease or alien or parasite inside; a tattoo (and what does it symbolize?); a birthmark; a branding; an astrological sign? Victim, chosen savior, scarred warrior? Its emblem is seared into my mind’s eye. 

Nearby, another attention capturer, the decay in such stark contrast to the green stem. A charred lung having always been fed plenty of oxygen. Self-asphyxiation? Leaving or returning to life? Maybe the later stages of the disease above? Open back up the valve to your heart! Choose to receive the love! (I told you there’s never a dull moment in my mind…) 

In this next one, I find the bittersweet. The sun’s rays have found this one and are comfortingly drying the pool of tears. Such a tender and touching healing story, especially since the leaf has detached from its life source. Perhaps the rays are the forgiveness before death, all amends made before the soul leaves the body to be lifted. Is there anything left unspoken in your own heart today?… 

Don’t worry, I’ve saved the most lighthearted for last! 🙂 Here we have the strawberry or the rose (shhhh…don’t let it hear you say its a leaf!). We can really be whatever we choose to be, can we not? This one made me smile. Now I could manipulate the leaves to create such a capture, but when I find it naturally so, it makes it so much better. 

And there you have it: a glimpse of what it’s like to be in Laura’s head when far away in the nearness of nature. I’d like to stay lost forever. I don’t think I’d miss the world. Wherever I go though, I promise to always send you rays of light, reflected with my lenses. ❤ 

Dress Pockets

Over the years, I’ve collected
the best fragments
from the jagged breaks
of the past,
revisiting the scenes
after the immediate threats
have into ashes passed.

When the sun faithfully returns,
each ray seems to gently lead,
reflecting in intermittent beams,
to rebuild resilient dreams,

refracted off each of these
gorgeous shards of glass.
I add to these, the heartifacts
unearthed from avalanche

and dug up from old spots,
buried for protection,
washed and polished rocks
diversifying my unified vision.

In dress pockets,
I tuck into shadows
the reflections resurrected,
reunite them with the rays
as I sentimentally
deconstruct them,

assembling a mosaic
stained-glass arboretum
to grow from pains and grief
a new garden of suncatchers
and walk among the rainbows
into a new and beautiful future.

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Upward and Hilltop

upward

a work in progress
perhaps no one should be
for to simply be oneself
should happen effortlessly
it would seem

it’s work for me though 
to attempt to undo
the disease seeds
enemy-planted deep
that choke the bloom 

contaminating the roots
robbing nutrients 
always pulling at
upward movement 

i grow my colors
lift my face to the sun 
drink the falling waters
offer pollen to everyone 

yet i keep coming
undone
keep feeling invisible
tugs

so i work
to break free
from that which
i cannot see
that has this grip
on me

and little by little
with each sinless absolution 
i sense each time 
another parasitical 
root is loosened 

directly by my
higher power
and the words
sinking in from 
finally believing
my true-lover 

feeling lighter 
is the way 
to the self 
i have begun
to realize 

to remove
the shackles
of the world
and psyche
to return
the soul
to the
sky


Hilltop

It’s true, I’m blooming.
I hope you can see:
I am blossoming 
because your love
has been seeded in me,
and upward is the only
direction I can go
when these internal
whispers of yours
hush the world
so ours are the only
voices I hear

when the storms
return raging from those
traumatic years.
Time need not
be turned back:
unraveling these knots
of old patterns, 
we’re perfecting
with practice.
I will do more
than hold on
for with your patience,
I am remembering 
more quickly 

that this is 
the present,
and I am nestled 
safely in the nearness
of you 
upon the hillside 
with the endless view
of anywhere 

I wish to go 
whilst bringing with me
my found, forever
home.

Poems and images ©LauraDenise

Somewhere Along the Way

I suppose somewhere
along the way, 
this became 
about me, 
this once person
conditioned
to inwardly
mistreat,
neglect, 
bury
prematurely
at sea,

too busy
keeping them
afloat
in puddles,
sacrificing my soul
for others, 

in the lows 
between lowers
in that life
unstable,
vows before God
to remain 
(abusive) spouse faithful,

the escape-clause
contingencies blurred,
repercussions lingering 
in the years after,

children ten years apart,
and always children,
I keep on 
giving,
Silverstein tree 
down to the trunk,
instead of remaining
to be sat upon,
I leave my roots
to carry on,

re-sprouting from
acorns and seeds
to reach the end
of land
as a sunflower, 
brazen yet desperate,
in the sand
to be plucked
by a youthful hand

and sprinkled
into the surf
for the mermaids 
to collect 
and bring to the site
of where I left
myself
and resurrect 

from Davy Jones’ Locker
the Heart of the Sea
still alive
in its keeper:
me. 

The ducks and swans
gather to greet
at the pond
where I used to
weep. 

Donned now
in floral dresses
and locks
long enough 
to dance freely 
with the breeze, 
(he always said
neither looked good
on me…)
the reflection I see
is another plot twist
in my ongoing story

with an ending
yet to be written 
but full of God’s 
golden glory,
His daughter’s strength 
ever-growing. 

Somewhere along the way, 
somehow this did become
about me. 
Another struggle lifted,
another soulful healing. 

In the setting sun,
I reflect upon the journey
and look so forward
to the fulfilling
of my legacy.

I will never drown,
for you can only
hold me down
so long, 
years but moments
in the eternity 
of dawn. 

Hope unconditionally
floats
from the buoyancy 
of love. 

This is my story, 
long overdue 
to be 
self-sung.

I actually do like to sing those soulful songs.
(He always changed the station if I even began to hum…)

To Where You Are

A poetic letter to me sent upon a wave and star
to reach through time, back to where you are… 

This “he” of your fantasies
receives your Little Red Balloon
and your whispers
to be delivered by Moon.

He will continuously clean
your mirrors until you see
as he does, all of your beauty
clearly.

You will weave wedding
wildflowers in your hair
and feel the wind whip
freeingly through the despair.

You will radiate in dresses
and feel feminine,
barefoot and free
upon grass and sand.

Your wavy locks
will be teased by the breeze.
Your hand outstretched
for a companion will receive.

Your heart reopened
will be filled to overflowing,
exceeding your dreams
with God-blessed reality.

Your voice in song
will again reach the heavens,
your loquaciousness endlessly
received with eager anticipation.

That voice in your head
and grip around your growth
will fall away as he convinces you
to love yourself.

Your faith will grow
as anticipated;
God will see you through
as He always has.
He knows always
what is ahead.
He will deliver love
if you cut the thread…

You will not give
your whole life
to this verbally-abusive “man.”
Soon you will be filled
with enough courage to act.
You will come to realize
those decades
of hurtful words
were lies all along;
you will come to know
your worth.

Who you once long ago
hoped instead you were
will appear as unwavering
truths in every mirror.