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

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.

Hopeless?

creature after creature
loses its home
or goes extinct

earth herself
thanks to us
is on the brink

man-made
in the end doesn’t
mean what we think

man-made
means the same as
man destroyed —

WE  are the weak link.

—Terri Guillemets

Poems that stick with me

Watering the hibiscus
this afternoon —
its weary
parched-green leaves
wilting
in this too-early April heat —
I saw a gecko
who
climbed up the side
of the splintering planter box.

My first split-second
thought —
Alice Walker’s garden gecko.
Crouching,
perfectly still —
the both of us —
I stared at it
and took in
the wonder
of it all.

It didn’t move —
was it asking
for some water?

This bliss,
it was my Paradise.
Gray, rough-coated
nature —
staring right back at me
a foot from my face.

Slowly I moved the hose
just an inch in its direction.
Walker — I’d already
named it Walker —
disappeared so fast
I didn’t even see
it go.

I wish it would’ve stayed.
I had water to give
and troubles
to wash clean.

—Terri Guillemets

referencing Alice Walker’s 2011 poem “Going Out to the Garden,” in The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers, 2013 — alicewalkersgarden.com/2013/05/poem-going-out-to-the-garden

Watching the April bottlebrush without spectacles

green & light shimmering
dancing in the sunlight
little red fuzzy flames
burn quietly in the breeze
mottled blue patches
of serene springtime sky
blaze beautifully behind
a lively bejeweled scene
medallions of shade and color
twinkle in the afternoon
a mama hummingbird hovers
with wings so fast, silence
is no longer golden — she is
the sounds of the winds
overtake my soul and
carry it far off into the skies

—Terri Guillemets

Bottled

trapped in a bottle
thrown out to sea

trapped in a bottle
my wishes are three

trapped in a bottle
that’s drunken me

trapped in a bottle
emotions stormy

trapped in a bottle
flashing brightly

—Terri Guillemets

Long ago now

I am searching for my feelings
through shelves of dusty books
can’t help but feel I’ve left them
in some forgotten ancient nooks
as if an author long before me
captured my emotions in his day
and saved them in fine poetry
for future me to find someway

—Terri Guillemets

Aaahhhhh!

The only thing I want
a subscription to
is the winter chill and
an evening view of Venus
and those are totally free!

The only thing I want
to pop up in my face
is a beautiful flower
in springtime bloom
and that, by the way
never gets in my way.

I just want to read a recipe
not look at a baker’s dozen
hyperenormous photographs
and read a culinary novel
so now please can I cook?

I don’t need to know
the fifteen best this
or 36 surprising thats
it’s free (with purchase)
but hurry, only 2 left!
Bah, no thanks. Is there
an app to make it all stop?

I’m not made of attention
time nor clicks nor money
so I am logging myself off
from the world to walk to
the grassy park with a book
and enjoy a nice simple day.

—Terri Guillemets