Stay the night

The moon is always
running away from me
as if she thinks that time
is just a cyclical game
of hide & seek —

She runs and runs
then keeps on running
leaving me to the mystery
of why the nights run short
and the days even shorter

Please, Moon —
just for one night
can’t you sit still
and stay a while

We can have
a midnight tea —
just you and me
we’ll talk all night
and bask in the glow
of your regal beauty

—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

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

Springtime sky & no reason why

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful
      than a heavy dark-silver cloud
      taking up half the sky
      ready to lavish the gift of rain
      unto the waiting earth —
      than huge wandering clouds
      marbled in every subtle shade of gray
      bordered with light and hope
      shifting and swirling every moment
      in a slow dance with the winds?

Have you ever felt anything as beautiful
      as the breeze on your face
      or that first, fat raindrop
      that falls on your head —
      as the sun caressing every inch of your flesh
      warming and calming you to the core?

Have you ever heard anything more beautiful
      than the wind in the palms, the pines,
      the cottonwood leaves and tall green trees —
      than the sound of merry birds singing
      or water trickling through a forest creek —
      than soul-shaking booming thunder
      filling the width and depth and height
      saturating with stunning sound
      the infinite and electrified sky?

Have you ever tasted anything as beautiful
      as pure, clear, cool water
      the essence of earth and life
      the most refreshing, primal elixir
      a quenching, flowing vitality
      the distinct taste in each satisfying sip
      of both nothing and everything —
      or the raw power of the earth
      in the layers of an onion
      the fresh energy of vibrant greens —
      or the sweetness of the earth
      in a dense crunchy colorful carrot
      or a perfectly ripe juicy berry
      staining your taste buds
      and delighting your soul?

Have you ever smelled anything so beautiful
      as orange blossoms in the nighttime air
      with a perfume more intoxicating
      than any other seduction —
      as a rejuvenating and serene pine forest
      with a thick carpet of aromatic green needles
      or the dust-earth smell before the rain comes —
      as salty, nourishing scents of the nearby ocean
      or invigorating crisp clean air of the mountains
      breathing so close to the fresh, free, blue sky —
      as the warm, exciting aroma of springtime
      giddy and green, flowery and pristine?

—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

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

Slam–bang

there is a big hospital nearby
there are several, fairly nearby
fortunately, I don’t need one
right now —
but I’m grateful to be close to them,
that they’re close to me, just in case

so are the firefighters
and the grocery stores
and post offices
and best of all, libraries!

and
a whole lot of people —
for better or worse

all because I live in a big city

it’s convenient —
and it’s annoying

It’s 4:47 a.m.

three hours ago, the windows vibrated
under a circling police helicopter

a few minutes ago
the clattering A/C
that needs to be fixed
jolted me awake

I dozed back off —

this time it was a stray cat
there are so many of them;
I know them all by name —
Old Lived-In Orange Tom
Marked-Ear Kitten Gone Fat
Dirty-White Tuxedo Guy —
some of them like to jump up
on the sill, be loud, cause trouble

this morning, interrupting my dream,
it was Scraggly White Gray-Heart-Nose
yowling, prowling, howling, meowing

That’s it! just can’t get back to sleep
may as well get up, even though I’ve only
had maybe 5 hours — five disturbed hours.

it’s still dark out, and for the first time
in several months it’s noticeably cooler
outside than inside, even with the air on
and the just-past-full moon is up
she’s bright and snuggling with Mars —
Venus, Sirius, Orion, all shining for everyone
and for no one in particular

I step out of my front door, lock it,
and am not even out of my own driveway
before a car speeds by, knocking me over
with its noxious old-car gas fumes
and buck-the-system black exhaust

I look up at the sky, what I can see of it —
nearly every house has bright lights on
shining directly into my eyes, and the
street lights — piercing, glaring, persistent

I’ve made it almost next door
someone is out smoking, I can’t see them
but I smell the strong nasty smoke
and cover my nose with the COVID mask
from my pocket — odd, in my youth
I used to love breathing in the scent
of cigarette smoke — thought it was sexy
now it chokes, it offends, it irks

onto the next block, another smoker,
invisible too — do tobacco lovers hide
in the shadows on purpose?
my grandmother used to do that;
after she told everyone that she quit
we accidentally caught her smoking
on the dark side of the house, but
we didn’t let on — it’s hard to let go of
our addictions — shadows let us hold on

second house in on the second block
a big way-louder-than-legal motorcycle
leaving its driveway, its rider doesn’t see me;
I stand aside and wait as it roars out & away

it’s not even freakin’ 5 a.m., folks. on Saturday!
I came out here for quiet, fresh air, skygazing,
a pleasant walk in cool early-morning “solitude”
but the air stinks, there are so many lights —
oh, and did I not mention all the irritating
sensor lights that pop on unexpectedly
into my face, just when I think I’ve found
a nice dark-house reprieve — bam! — they’re like
the damn ads and email newsletter pleadings
on nearly every modern web site —
catching you unawares, blocking the
entire screen, at the cursor’s slightest
sign of movement — blinding us
like all the sensor lights, blocking
our enjoyment of whatever else it is
that we were trying to do

third house in, second block
the rooster. someone’s backyard city-rooster:
I look at my watch, a 5:00 crow on the dot.

I try to stop being annoyed
try hard to focus on the positive
try to figure out which dim little star
is above Venus, it must be one in Leo —
that’s my husband’s sign

my husband, still sleeping. heavy sleeper.
sleeping 8–9 hours straight through
nearly every night, it’s his superpower
I kinda hate him for it —
if I get more than 5 to 6 hours, and
waking several times at that, it’s a
miracle. light, light sleeper, I am.
I want to sleep, I try to sleep. I can’t.

my husband, who even though he’s sleeping
I already know exactly what he would say
about my quandary, my HSP city annoyances:
— Sleep in later.
— Just stay indoors.
— Join a gym and walk on the treadmill.

he just doesn’t get it. never has.
Flash! another sensor light in my face —
Screw it. for the first time ever,
I’ve given up on my morning walk.
it’s only been a few minutes
and the weather is gorgeous!
but I am going back inside.
How can people live like this?
with so much constant noise
and so many bright obscuring lights
and so damned much artificial stink

heading back around the corner to my house, I hear
the mini-siren warning bloop of a mile-away ambulance —
did I mention that I live close to a hospital?

—Terri Guillemets

Galactic gathering

Standing in a silent still-dark February morning
Cool dewy grass grazes half-bare sandaled feet
Lo! Saturn arrives as Jupiter saddles Sagittarius
Mars burns red near the glowing crescent moon
Serpens slithers against a vaporous galaxy border
Antares winks green and gold, crimson and rust
As Scorpius swings its tail at the southern horizon
Libra starboard and upward of the crowded scene
Balancing askew over the poor impaled lone wolf
Ophiuchus a bystander in the busy celestial show

—Terri Guillemets