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

I’ve fallen down a self-dug hole
but I’ll damn well claw back out!

—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 plan — and even if
I did, nothing ever goes to plan
Anyway.

—Terri Guillemets

Enclosed

Our bodies were 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 the
birds chirp, feel the breezes:
how are we to be refreshed,
to heal, to know the world
beyond the borders
      of our bodies?

—Terri Guillemets

Real eyes

Now that I’m over the hill
I can see it’s just made of
skeletons of dead monsters
that were never really there.
But that past is no less high
and no less there, and I am
no less on the other side of it.

—Terri Guillemets

Battles

If your armor against the world is laziness and excuses, you’re not protecting yourself from battle and injury — you’ve trapped yourself inside with them.

—Terri Guillemets