Umber

there are only so many poems one can write
about umber tree roots and the glowing moon
before the psyche starts crying out to be heard
the suffering of the world isn’t poetic
but it is essential to poetry

—Terri Guillemets

Weighed down

the scale now shows me
one hundred sixty-eight
but in those simple digits
I see rejection and pain
sugar, laziness, exhaustion
hormones splayed out of whack
menopause ready to rumble
plaque buildup and repressions
anxiety, regret, some depression
the past, the future, sheer panic
tension, disoriented expectations
ice cream, sweet junk addictions
griefs, hurts, disappointments
bad habits, cliffs, fear, falling
the eating of all my emotions
gluttony and gorging ghosts
turbulent raging blood glucose
sleepless nights, too-busy days
nerves, toxins, worry, age
unwelcome rapid-fire change
lack of trying, trying too hard
loss of control, culinary excesses
no longer fitting into my dresses

—Terri Guillemets

Fantastic shores

in bed at night his mind had a ferocious imagination
reality and unreality haunted his turbulent brain
the years ticked, an infinite clock of destiny

searching moonlight for the promise of a future
his reveries of heart were coasting on a fairy’s wing
as the world and universe drifted by fantastic shores

but the sea, work, and women — physical outlets —
were his anchor — something old, hard, and soft

—Terri Guillemets

scrambled blackout poetry created from F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, 1925, Scribner 2004 trade paperback, pages 98–99

Transforming

I translate stars into daydreams
I make rain and rainbows into
      freshly squeezed joy
I breathe the air of possibility
I swim deep in rivers of passion
I use my loneliness as
      stepping stones to love
I am on the march to freedom
I tend to my blossoming soul

—Terri Guillemets

Raindrop days, lightning moments

We all have those moments in our lives that transform us — something small or big happens and we’re never the same.

Sometimes we remember these moments in our personal histories as leaps, or falls — or just serendipitous wanderings — from one life segment to the next.

Or we mark them like stars on a map of self — constellations of life-changing moments. Some seem crazy small and wouldn’t even register as stars in others’ systems. But in our own they blaze bright.

Or maybe our days are raindrops and our lives rolling clouds and these moments are lightning strikes. Raindrop days, lightning-strike moments.

These maps and moments imprint our souls, our minds, our memorious hearts. Our stories of self are made from them.

—Terri Guillemets