Alarm ringing true

There was time —
I know there was —
saw it spread out
all ahead of me,
a beautiful infinity —
immortal fresh-faced
clock of opportunity —
numberless, handless
no ticks & no tocks
save for the sound
of distant decades
too quiet to really hear —
but at forty-eight years
a sudden gear-grinding
cacophony, the outspread
blanket of eternity
has begun to suffocate,
wrapped around me
limiting my agility
darkening my path —
I’m having trouble
breathing, I no longer
see that clock open
or free, its movements
now deafen me, its hands
tear into my flesh and
grip tight my throat —
I am choking on
second thoughts
at this midlife hour
this day of reckoning

—Terri Guillemets

Flight path

I look out my office window
working too late, again

The half-moon is round
with a glowing halo —
I know it’s pollution but
my heart sees fairy dust
or the happily ever after
romance of a bedtime story

And next to the bright moon
with its fringe of murky light
soars a large airplane
with its lights flashing
and I can hear its engine
even with my windows closed
(it’s hot outside, otherwise —
you know darn well —
I would open them!)

The plane’s lights —
red, green, white orbs
of unsightly technological safety —
are ruining the beautiful night sky
and distracting me from
my dusty fairy-tale moon

Yet maybe
at last
I realize
what’s been
obscuring
my poetic vision

I always seem to focus
on that beautiful moon
and the romantic dark sky
but ignore the 737 monstrous
hunk of metallic civilization
hurling itself through the night,
followed by a second aircraft
and then a third and fourth,
as if the airport is shooing
all her noisy little children
out of the house to play —

And even though that airplane
is hideous and loud
and aerial anti-serenity —
      it’s life.

And what is poetry —
      if not life?

Perhaps it carries
newlywed lovers
who were finally married
after COVID cancellations,
leaving on the honeymoon
they saved up years for —
and in that plane
is just as much fairy tale
as that beautiful-ugly
dust veiling the moon.

—Terri Guillemets

Desiccated

I write of only 3%
of the landscape
around me —
the green trees
colorful flowers
amazingly adaptive
dryland wildlife
and blind myself
to the rest of it —
but it’s time
to take a good look
and acknowledge
my selective seeing —
the 97% is dull
barren, stark, harsh, hot
out my bedroom window
there is a plain brown
block walled fence, my
neighbor’s white-metal
shed roof, off of which
glares the sun so brightly
it’s blinding, not a speck
of green in sight, except
one small weed emerging
from dusty gray rocks —
yes, there is a lizard
on the wall, doing push-ups
in the morning sun
and I watch him
with fascination
awed with nature
I forget the surrounding
urban desert ugliness —
until suddenly I wonder
where will he get
his next water?
surely from someone’s
yard watering system
but where do we  get
that precious water
for our thirsty homes?
and how much longer
will we be fortunate
enough to have it?
our city and county
allow so much over-
development, it feels
as if they are slowly
killing us, overcrowding
us, not caring about
our quality of life
nor the lizard’s —
but maybe, just maybe
we Phoenicians are
simply outright foolish
for trying to live here
in our air-conditioned
fortresses while the
city dries up around us

—Terri Guillemets

Ægrimonia

i’ve got blood in my anger
and sorrow in my veins
worry runs through me
it’s nonstop insane
my heart is clogged up
with obsessions and pains
dear lord unconfuse me
i’m crippled in vain
my body’s too toxic
unsteady i walk
with fear as my cane
ill-thoughts will kill me
they’ve poisoned my brain

—Terri Guillemets

Six v. three

January 13th 2022
We will allow Americans to die
by letting disease spread unchecked.

June 21st 2022
We will allow the Constitution to die
by intertwining church and state.

June 23rd 2022
We will allow people to die
by not controlling the guns.

June 24th 2022
We will allow women to die
by controlling their bodies.

June 30th 2022
We will allow Earth to die
by not protecting any of it.

Quod erat demonstrandum
To common sense, common good,
and general well-being we dissent.

Venus falling

I saw something very strange last night when I got out of bed to use the bathroom. Out the east window I saw a bright white light in the sky. Not knowing what time it was, at first I assumed it was Venus. But it wasn’t dawn yet. And then suddenly I noticed that it was slowly moving straight downward. It disappeared out of view behind my neighbor’s house. I looked at the clock, and it was 12:26 AM. I still have no idea what it was — it seemed too slow and straight and steady to be a meteor, but I don’t know what else it could’ve been that would’ve been moving in a linear downward motion. We are still in the tau Herculids date range, so I suppose that’s a possibility. I’ve never seen anything like it. Checked the local news for the day but didn’t see anything. Guess I’ll just never know.

Tau Herculids shooting stars

I saw 6 meteors last night during the tau Herculids meteor shower, from my backyard. I wasn’t expecting to see any, given how light our night sky is here in Phoenix! The first one I saw at 8:45 pm MST, just while going out briefly to check the location of the constellations. Then an hour later I laid on the ground and saw 5 more from 9:45 to 10:15 pm. Nothing after that, so I came back in at 10:30 and went to bed. It was a wonderful night!

In a COVID fever

If this is to be my end, what would I want to tell the world?

Sometimes, starting over is the best medicine.

Everything you care about can teach you something about yourself. Everything you hate can teach you even more.

Most things don’t really matter. And the things that do really matter, keep them as simple as possible.

Learning to let go is the most valuable life lesson.

What you see is gossamer compared to what actually exists.

The human brain may be the deepest, most amazing, underutilized miracle in the universe. And the most abused.

Fear is a poison to every part of our systems. So are worry and tension. And hatred.

If little things make you happy, you are very wise.

Walking is good for the whole body, but it works the gears of the brain the most.

All of life is poetry. Listen.

Night is a dark, magical place we can curl up and relax into.

Those whom we love are the meaning — the meaning of life itself.

Mingle your mind with other minds, your heart with other hearts.

It can all be over in the blink of an eye, so treasure every blink.

The music of your soul lives on.

My life thus far has been forty-eight years of nonstop trying.

Since the day I was born, I’ve been nothing but emotion. With frequent intervals of coldhearted reason.

Get drunk once in a while. It makes the world make more sense.

No matter how much human wisdom there is, the best teacher is always nature.

I love you.

—Terri Guillemets

Insides out

a writer tries valiantly
to transform his insides
into an intricate beautiful painting
and publish himself inside-out
for all the world to see

—Terri Guillemets