Now and Then

City bound, 
experienced, birthed
in the bustle,
though now it binds
as my heart pines
for the last stretch 
of passed pastoral… 

before the SunPass,
in a time before tolls, 
passing the tractor
and grazing cattle. 

I count down the days
until I can back-peddle
to the split-rail fences, 
and enter through the rickety gate
to my soul’s haven.

Take me away and back
and leave me there; 
come ’round to call 
every now and then. 

Sunsets in Mirrors

Sunsets in rearview mirrors
we notice then drive off into the future;
the golden moment morphs orange
and is extinguished as we turn.

The past is over our shoulders
the instant we cross it;
no two sunsets the same, though
the next we take for granted.

While I still can, I u-turn and loop again,
exerting control over this moment
so my daughter can get a better shot;
soon, she’ll too leave my nest. 

Lots of what I hoped to instill
seems to have slipped through 
the sieve-holes of time,
but this hobby I’ve shared
I think will remain
as a tie that mother-daughter binds. 

I take my own shot
of the second shot at
making subtle pleasant memories, 
freezing the golden and the orange
to develop and hold
when we are both older;
I hope we grow closer
in this future I turn to again
and hesitantly proceed. 

Sunsets in rearview mirrors. 
Years later, I sigh nostalgically, 
holding my grandbaby’s hand
and tearing up over her mother
with the requited affection
that the years since her teens did bring.  

Sunsets in rearview mirrors:
never let go of the more
that they may someday be. 

Everything Passes

everything passes
the good and the bad
time keeps nudging
us forward
with or without
what we once had

we can only carry
so much
in a heart, in a mind
some things we cling to
time tries to help us
leave behind

sometimes what we
strive for
simply cannot be
reached
glass divides
sound and touch
mirrors reflect
incongruities

for reasons we may
not be privy to
for certain people
may only be
meant to be
crosspathing through

to serve
but one purpose
which is not to stay
but to nudge us again
in internal direction
pitfalls propelling us
alternate ways

everything passes
including the pain waves
time keeps nudging
us forward
with or without
permission
every moment
of every day

Poem and image ©LauraDenise

Inside Clouds

Dense fog advisory. Dark, early Saturday morning. Mild temperatures. A perfect time to… head to the beach! I make my coffee to go.

I love fog and mist, as I do rain and thunderstorms…something about the mood of this kind of weather invigorates my soul. It is another clue in the discovery of my own inner roots, another clue in the direction to go, to finally arrive at home, that place my soul has always tugged me toward. I have come to co-exist with this spiritual restlessness.

As I make the short drive to the bridge, I am fascinated by the “disappearance” of the familiar land and ocean across the bay, parallel to the road. If I didn’t know it existed, it would seem that this was where the flat earth simply ended, the beyond, inaccessible yet really only veiled by the fog, like El Dorado or Atlantis. But I do know it exists, and I take the bridge into the clouds…

I am obsessed with clouds, so I suppose it is no wonder that the ones reaching down to embrace me call to me. It is a strange sort of adrenaline to me to be on a bridge in a cloud; even though I know by heart what surrounds, it is simply “not there” now, and it is “just me” (why I love early mornings) in this bizarre reality. 

I was hoping to experience the phenomenon I’ve only driven by before: when the fog hovers above the bay. That is not the case today, so I am a bit disappointed and walk to the ocean side. My soul is thrilled, though, to immediately see the lone fisherman: it is another clue about my timeless soul, the comforting spiritual connection I feel observing (or reading poems about) fishermen and remote fishing villages. I ponder again if I may be part mermaid after all. 

A few steps in, I lose vision, my eyesight becoming foggy itself from the sea mist upon my glasses. I will have to look for treasures and take photos partially blind, but always finding the adventure and the positives, I embrace the challenge. It seems more fitting anyway, to have even blurrier vision in the fog; it doesn’t make much of a difference really. For a bit, though, coffee thermos in hand, I sit in the silky white sand and just exist, me and the lone fisherman, phantoms in the mist… I love the coast on days like this, too early or in unfavorable conditions when I can have the world to myself. The fisherman was here first though, an indigenous ghost representing generations of past fishermen lining the coast and not-lost at sea. When the local residents begin their descent on the paved horizon, I will take my leave and return to my bird sanctuary, the lot that contains my abode, never quite a home, though it’s still my favorite place to retreat to.

I find it senseless to come to the sea if you do not at least dip your feet into the magical waters; I am surprised that the water temperature delivers no jolt of briskness. I let the waves wash over my polish-chipped, never-manicured toes, my capris get soaked…oops, but oh well. I walk for a while in the surf, feeling the gentle ebb and flow, benevolent nudges to and fro, the pull teasing, seemingly luring back into the benevolent parts of the deep; I look at my feet, but no tail is morphing.

Back upon the smooth sand-slate, I stoop low to inspect sea-strewn debris and treasures, and I think the difference is truly in the clichéd eye-of-the-beholder; I always favor the forgotten and discarded. I listen with genuine interest to the stories dripping with lessons of the “broken” shells, let them also feel a touch, too often only stepped around and upon, at best inspected and tossed back, seashell hunters looking for “the perfect” ones, visibly whole, sometimes even shunning all and purchasing faux.

I do hold one of those “perfect” formations, though its plainness probably makes it unseen. What I notice most is our prints, and I compare and ponder the non-insignificance, silent lifelines that brand us, as non-related species of different trees, yet neither with roots. We are both free. Both molded with love from the same Creator. Our prints, non-replicable, keep us entirely unique yet give us away, register as “identity,” though no print-reader can ever know me, as none can know the secrets of the story-keepers of the sea.

I get lost for a while in a different time and place, lost in the intriguing details and textures in the muted colors in the calcified, granulated, and liquified elements about me. The wall of a ripple, individual drops, each frothy bubble that comprise the vast ocean collide and linger on a partial sand dollar, and I think to myself how priceless are the macromoments…

Next, I happen upon the jackpot. Or graveyard. Or castaway club. Or secret congregation. Or paradigm peaceful, diversity-infused community. No fog when viewed up close, no excuse of unjust obstruction of revelation, even preconceived notions rinsed with salt-water solution. It all comes down to perception. Yet what we see…how much of our past experiences still renders us blind, keeps our perspective shrouded?

The large beach tangleballs tossed about I can easily “see” without my glasses on, but it is not until I inspect them up close that I realize what is entangled. I see my past. Debris, skeletons, corpses, clutter that the waves of time have purposely weaved and wrapped up and expelled from the waters in its natural self-cleaning process. In my palm, I can hold it all, after the fact. It seemed so large and heavy at the time I experienced each symbol artifact. Droplets of seawater evidence this present expulsion, not even dry yet. Have I added just now to it with this cleansing morning coastal visit?

I take my time on this walk through nirvana, sand grains sparkling like crushed diamonds, priceless like the partial sand dollar, the dusted-jeweled surface soft as sugar with the clouds kissing the surface of earth. I think I see forever, though nothing is clear. I am thankful that what’s behind me has also disappeared. In this muted moment, I feel the celestial peace.

Perhaps limbo is not what we think, for I wish to be suspended for some time in this world of in-between. In between my past and future, in between reality and dreams, in between the highs and lows, snuggled in between these muted sheets where time itself lullaby-sings through the sound waves of the sea. I half expect to see holy spirits from the past and future; I would not be scared for such an encounter. There is no fear here, no extreme emotions, just the sweet, soothing serenity, the peace I knew existed. I wonder if we can take it back with us, have it emanate from our pores, after walking in the clouds so close to heaven’s door, no bright light in sight upon these non-printed, angel-visited shores.

All words and images ©LauraDenise

Previous Chapters

I could tell you my story.

Especially since
I am now able to look back.
But I’m selfishly enjoying too much
this present.

And I’ve already devoted
so much of my life
trapped in the chapters
riddled with sadness and strife;

the stale stench still makes me
choke,
the dust better left
at rest, that half-book closed.

I feel a bit guilty though.

If I let you read it,
if I let the light of day
shed gold on the yellow,
perhaps it may
help you find the way
to the upcoming blank pages
in which I freshly ink,
like you will too,
upon the pure-white slate
the realities of the dreams
I almost buried, gave away.

Perhaps I will indeed share my story,
verse by verse as poetic allegory,
and you may see what you wish,
and I can remain comfortably hidden

behind the metaphors,
between the lines,
but always reflecting back
for you
beams of light…

For A While

Times are changing,
the earth keeps rotating,
seasons arrive and depart…
Change is always hard on my heart.

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No shadow now joined to my hip.
Gradual independence.
Children grow up and detach.
How can we know which kiss may be the last?

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Years unravelled from finite twine; 
at the end, the kites will fly.
If Father Time were to grant my wish,
which moments would I revisit?

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The sands keep slipping;
no way to flip it.
How should I spend this day?
What memories can I make
to leave my family as legacy
to have, to hold, to keep
as the distance continues to grow
and life leads us down different roads?

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Tomorrow is never promised,
another sunset never guaranteed.
Priorities must be organized
so nothing overshadows the people.

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This moment may be all we have,
so when I reach for your hand,
let me draw you nearer.
Come sit for a while and talk with me, dear. 

Poem and images ©LauraDenise

Mutually

beneath the stars
entwined with you
endlessly talking
beneath the moon

the moon
who for so long
kept secret
my pleas

the stars
now winking
in their
not-so-subtle
conspiracy

bringing us
together
under God’s
directive

long after
hope
should have been
extinguished

angels in the guise
of the Milky Way
open the heavens
and the blessings rain

the sound of my laughter
takes wing on the breeze
and the stars in your eyes
reflect the light of love
in mine, mutually

you came along
just in the nick of time
not to save me
just to want

to be mine