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

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

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

Autumn’s clock

In the wheel of Earth’s years
we watch as Autumn’s clock

Tick-tocks in tiny goldenrod
September petal’d seconds

Frosty trees bleed scarlet hours
through veins of October leaves

Amber minutes wither and fall
drifting in November’s breeze

And the silent strike of midwinter
turns December’s snowflake gears

—Terri Guillemets

Lost in thought

We’ve lost, we’re losing,
it’s so much loss, too much.

But the clouds are rolling
and the breeze is blowing
and nature is so beautiful
and the dried delicate leaves
are doing their dance of balance
between hanging on and falling away
amidst their wintry shiverings —

they love the wind
for helping them let go —

they fall to the ground
and the gentle rain comes
and helps them nourish the earth.

A gray bird lands on a bare gray branch
both unadorned, yet so, so beautiful.
And the leaves are drifting
and our lives are drifting
and loss is just another form of beauty.

—Terri Guillemets

Death lights heavy

Hummingbird mama —
abandons her nonviable eggs
but keeps checking back
a few more times, just to be sure.

Nested arms fall off a saguaro,
break open on the ground
like fragile eggshells —
after decades of desert still-life
a few seconds of death-motion.

But the night breeze is so beautiful
those breezes are — so beautiful,
it’s hard not to get swept away.

—Terri Guillemets

Oh amazing desert, let’s rejoice together!

entire continents of grey-white clouds
hovering serenely in an enormous spring-blue sky
a soaring raven calls, out of its element
why are you this far south, beautiful bird?
then all is quiet but for a distant plane
heading to who-knows-where —
what a gorgeous afternoon!
way too beautiful for negative thoughts —
listening to subtle sounds of nature’s energies
oooh, sudden chilly-breeze goosebumps
coolness swirling through sunlit seventy degrees
a day of sensation and eerily silent excitement —
winter and spring overlapping at the seams

—Terri Guillemets