Charged

suddenly my life feels
like the air before a storm
silent, searching, charged
an imminent disaster
with destructive beauty
bright sun here and now
dark clouds at my horizon

electrified waiting
a whirlwind of stillness
it’s building, billowing
but to i know not where
and possibly to nothing
no body to forecast
whether or whether not
my future lies ahead

feeling ghosts in the wind
restlessness & anticipation
i dread this storm
but somehow
more than that
i welcome it, ache for it

oh i sorely need to become
sodden, grounded
struggle bedraggled
so i can revive
regrow vibrant —

dead branches torn away
old beliefs ripped from roots
worry whipped to shreds
powerful bolts striking
stronger than anything
i can create myself

blind me — enflame my entire sky
i want to look at the world anew
and that starts
with my own vision
i’m ready
for a new version

my being has become torrential
yet minimal — nearly imperceptible
not yet in a crisis, still
i’m bordering one, circling it
crying out for that flash point
beckoning it, to break —
to shatter my former self
and my current nothingness
into a mended calm
risen from the storm

rain, gales, hail —
i don’t care
just let it come
i need to be reborn
from the wild remains
of my inner tempests —
no, i do not want to die
but only to live again

—Terri Guillemets

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

Existing

I wanted to write
      a book of poetry
but it’s already written;
      those poems —
red, throbbing, beating —
      are just trying to
            make their way
                  to the paper

—Terri Guillemets

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

Free spirit

i don’t want to be
just a strand of dna
passing through time
or an echo of a face
repeated down the line

just another leaf falling
from the family tree
a bloodline that someday
ends with the end of me —

i want to be the sky
or an eternal poem
wildflowers growing
wherever seeds roam

i want to be the wind
or wandering clouds
or the rain that drifts
or a free soaring bird
or starshine at night —
eternity’s glowing
ethereal light

—Terri Guillemets

Barely knowing

Spring and summer come with a lush layer of foliage over reality, but when things start falling away in the autumn and get bare and stark in the winter we’re forced to look at things more as they really are, including ourselves.

—Terri Guillemets

Rejoice, lament, meander

black eyes and broken bones
rainbows and sugared donuts
overthinking and over-loving
have gotten me to this point
and still I’ve never yet made
a five-year freaking plan —
and even if I did — nothing
ever actually goes
                           according
      to
                      plan
anyway

—Terri Guillemets

Enclosed

Our bodies are meant
for the sun, the rain
the gusty winds
starlight and moon baths
fresh air and seasons —
so why do we trap ourselves
      in indoor cages?

If we can’t hear birds sing
or feel invigorating breezes —
how are we to be refreshed
to heal, to know the world
beyond the borders
      of our bodies?

—Terri Guillemets