Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Tea Cup Christmas

This Christmas

we all gave tea cups

full of warm wishes

for fragrant mornings

and peaceful sweetness.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My feet feel like stone.
I can feel every bone
'cuz the weight of the world's
on my head.

My pen's filled with dust.
My brain's turned to rust.
My prospects and pride
have both fled.

I am trying to pray.
Let the Lord have His say.
I am trying to learn
the right lessons.

To show I am ready
faithful, calm, sure and steady
serenity and
The pen is dry,
bleeding dust
across the page.

The thoughts
have retreated
in fear
of unearthing
the haunted grave
of a
long-dead soul.

Monday, December 22, 2008

In an unseen place...

ages intersect.

At an unknown point,
time folds over on itself,
making a new design

that I cannot comprehend.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Night Prayer

Image and video hosting by TinyPicI know you're trying to help me, he said.

I cringed, knowing that meant I'd

miserably failed.

Nevertheless, I continue praying

into the night.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Suffering of the Season

Image and video hosting by TinyPicThe lights of the season,

effervescent and twinkling,

belie the suffering--

the anguish

that takes no holiday,

that continues to wash over us

as regularly as the sea

being pulled by the moon

with no respect for the season

or the day.

And yet, we long for this

that we can not touch.

We long for the joy this season brings,

even though we can not feel it.

We reach out for warmth and cheer

however fleeting and short-lived.

We need it to sustain us

in the suffering of the season.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Complex Onion

Image and video hosting by TinyPicLife is a

Peel back
the layers
and cry.

Open up
life's issues
one by one.

Use up the tissues
as you face
the onslaught
of the many-skinned
problems wrapped
around themselves
in endless sheets
of bitterness.

Life is a
complex onion.

Go after it
with a sharp knife
from the drawer
of your experience
and taste
its complexity.


The dazzling smiles
explode on youthful, line-less faces.
The manic energy
reaches out from the screen
begging you to catch
the endless optimism,
forever preserved.

Funeral for a Job

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

on December ninth.
In lieu of flowers,
please send

The old work shirts
lie in a lifeless pile by the trashcan,
a testament to
the Christmas Economy.

Years and years of
navy blue
purged from the closet--
washed downstream.

The new work shirts
joined them today.
They will bleed together
in the rain,
and commingling with my tears,
they will turn purple
with my blood.

Image from Tinypic.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A thick fog
touches the earth.
Hanging low,
it obscures my vision
leaving me
adrift and confused.

I keep on the
ancient path,
traveled by generations
and navigate by
a celestial compass,
trusting I'll
see the
other side.

Saturday, December 6, 2008


The smoldering fire
catches a stray leaf
and spreads
like a virus,
persistent and deadly.

The grass,
dry from decades
of inattention
ignites in an instant,
consuming everything.

The terrain
returns once again
to smoldering.

The ash
my face.

Friday, December 5, 2008

The dying tree
has fallen,
bringing up roots
and deeply buried dirt
long forgotten
to the surface.

A painful wound
in the earth,
the animals gather 'round
to see
what can be gleaned
from the upheaval.

And life
begins again.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Trip

The heady
scent of pine
brings me
racing back

(on metal
roller skates),

to the days
of black and white;

shiny tinsel,
hung on a tree,

and Charlie Brown,

to leave room
for heirloom ornaments

that still sit
in my mother's attic
wrapped in
with prices
that are
out of date.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Woman in Black

The woman in black
walks the streets at night
unseen by the towns people
sleeping unaware.

From the mists of the past,
she is out of her element
and out of her time, yet
she is unable to find rest.
She cries out to a humanity
unable to comprehend.

She walks the streets
in the dark--alone
and searches for something
that she can not find
because it is not in the night.

She wanders, restless, then
evaporates with the first light,
hidden, yet existent,
like the tiny specs of dust
that are only seen
in the bright sunshine.
crouching tiger
hidden in the early morning fog
the fog lifts

Friday, November 21, 2008

Walking in space
you are tethered


to the ship
following its trajectory
you seem one mistake away
from orbiting in indefinite
i sit
in the early morning darkness
and contemplate the
that binds us

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The partially buried dead
is hardly noticed by passersby.
Haphazardly covered
by unsteady sand,
it is part of the
changing landscape
of this world.

Dream World

in this world
the dead are buried
in the sand
shifting, uncovered
by the breeze and time
and left alone
to be noticed
by passersby

Monday, November 10, 2008


The polluted waves
of raw sewage
wash up on shore
unaffected by the passage of time.
They flood the corridors of my brain.
All I see is dark.
All I feel is uncomfortable dampness.
I keep the walls within reach
of my fingers,
blindly groping
for a way out.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

For my husband

Strength on strength,
you draw your power
from adversity blessed,
from forgotten love
turned to earnest steadiness
tirelessly pursued

I cherish the gift of
your unfolding self,
given to me
twice in our lives,
brought together
and held together
by the glue that is
the Love
of God.

Friday, October 31, 2008

i cry in my dreams
over painting
and themes
of brand-newness
and gifts unexpected
in times unconnected
and changes suspected
it seems I've neglected
my dreams

Monday, October 20, 2008


The smell of strong, percolated coffee filled the air, mingled with the odor of stale cigarette smoke. The constant whining of the electric clock combined with the startling gong from the clock upstairs, seemingly random and meant to frighten.

As if born from the unsettling atmosphere, she sat in the wicker chair in her house dress, the smoke from her cigarette curling menacingly up above our heads. There was a constant battle inside me, when I was with her, to keep any sense of self-esteem going. I was annoyance embodied, in her house with the French Toile wallpaper I was not allowed to touch.

The only conversation I remember having with her, that didn’t invoke a sinking feeling of guilt in the pit of my stomach, was when we talked, once, about people we knew with body parts for last names. I still remember my example: the family named “Head”, whose father had abandoned them after his tour in Vietnam. I don’t remember her example anymore. “Toe”, or perhaps, “Finger”? I don’t know.

She died too soon, not in youth, but in hatred; too soon for the brain cells of nastiness to be burned away by dementia, too soon to be frail and surrounded by a concerned family.

She died in the prime of sarcastic jibes at the inadequacy of her children’s children.
I am tired.
How did I get here?
You didn't tell me
how it would be.
You didn't ask me.
There was no preparing.
There was no permission.
You just put me
in this situation
with vague promises
of someone being there.
They were no help.
They would not explain.
I could see them
shaking their heads.
I told them
I was usually
more in control.
I apologized.
But still, I was ignored.
They were watching
the affect of what
they fed me.
How would I react?
What would I do?
At any rate, I would
have to pay.
If I chose.
One hundred dollars
for a dirty pillow.
Even though it was
my pillow
I would leave it.
Unpaid for.
It isn't worth it.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Poem for Holiday Depression

this is the season
that is the somber sameness
of numberless generations
following one after the other
into the vast dark emptiness
of countless dreams unfulfilled

the darkness envelops
the cold settles deep
and my bones crack with the change
wanting to bury themselves
like food fallen
from the trees
and picked up by squirrels
until they have
taken root

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Meeting Old Ghosts

I slowly descend the old stairs,
dirty and in need of a fresh coat of paint
to the basement of the building.

The same stairs
that I descended
forty years ago with my mother,
we inch down now,
for self protection.

I see the same frown
of disapproval on the
face of a different
doctor of dentistry,
the distrust hanging in the air between us
as it did on the face of the other,
now ghostly doctor
who seems to still inhabit the same room.

Finally finished,
we worm our way out of the cramped office,
relieved to have
to return another day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

teary and tired
energy expired
banks are on fire
news is all dire
people aren't hired
feelings are mired
but I trudge on

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

old friends are the best friends
the ones who knew you before--
before your life
became a spent balloon
and they stopped
and picked it up

Sunday, October 5, 2008

As I navigate the treacherous snow-covered roads
the stuff of everyday life is thrown at my feet.
I trudge on, avoiding
the people on the periphery of my past
in whose world I travel,
the one attempt at communication
pulling me awake
when reality invades.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I enter the place of prayer
each strengthening bead
infusing within me
calm resolve
to face
another day

if darkness is your light

stumbling in the inky blackness
there is nothing to touch
nothing to orient
in the endless, blind-black space

a dream like state
where nothing

is familiar


is there




Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Season's End

There is a sense of mourning in Autumn.
The last fiery color before the cold and gray
when Autumn reaches out to those around her,
desperate to connect
before the veil comes down--
before everything changes
and she is

(Thanks to Pandora of "Poetry & Creative Expressions" for the inspiration.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

we reach the summit
as we crest the hill
the ground
becomes slippery
under our feet

I reach out
and with the awful clarity
of a moment
frozen in time
I realize that
I am grasping
at dandelions--
tenuous and insubstantial

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

We walk, wondering
at the blossoming creation surrounding us.
Each tree going to seed,
each flower in its created vigor.

As we crest the hill
it becomes ice
under our feet

I reach out instinctively
and realize with the panicked clarity of frozen time
that flower has gone to seed.

early morning
giving way to stifling day
the fog lifts

early morning


Saturday, September 13, 2008

The angel of God
sails through the trees
ripping off the branches
in his wake
changing the landscape
of my life

Monday, August 11, 2008

Give a man a cup of tea
and ask for conversation
and you will get, I think, like me,
wide eyed consternation.

He's horrified
He'd rather'v died
back while the tea was steeping.
You'll hear the sighs;
You'll see his eyes
close while he pretends he's sleeping.

This same sweet guy,
I cannot lie,
will wake before the sun
and work nonstop
around the clock--
he will not be outdone.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

A Rap for the Rapper

when i'm gone
where will i be?
will you recognize me?
will you look for me
in the breeze, in the trees
in the outdoor cathedral that should bring you to your knees?

or will your gaze be inward
indulging desire
nothing but self serve
serving the interior
thirst that is forever

until life is impossible
a circle
gazin' at your navel
like a snake
biting its tail
you get nowhere
you grasp the air
on the way down
to the ground
you travel round and round

when you




Thursday, July 24, 2008

the forgetting

the forgetting
started early
things said

the panic
and the fear
of not pleasing
of being left

gave way to
perhaps deliberate
it could not be
the way it obviously was

brains jumbled
into a grey-matter mess
until there is no longer
black and white
right and wrong
happened and not happened
it is all grey
it is all mush
it is all hidden
in plain sight

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Swimming lessons

Shivering in early summer,
in bathing suit
and bare feet
in the cool of the early morning
i walk the rough stones
crying out against the learning,
loudly protesting the change,
I hold my breath until
I breathe underwater
in my dreams.
the smell of crisp, dry leaves burning
the numbness of limbs out too long in the cold, cheeks flushed red--
unnoticed until hours later
and everyone else has gone inside
in search of hot chocolate and warm soup

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Like a fragile bird,
tiny and young,
you are pushed
out of your nest.

Fragile and cold,
you are
loosing your feathers.

You shiver
and we must try

to keep you warm.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Like a rabid dog
you bite the hand
that feeds you

until we all
lie dead or bleeding
at your feet.

Like a black widow spider
you consume those who
want to connect

until there is
no one left
to help.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

As I sleep
I am taken
over and over again
to the dental chair
like someone abducted
by aliens
I go through
the ordeal
in your place

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Reticent Voice

Perhaps sensing the pregnant power
of fertile thoughts,
to birth and create,

I resist
each interior contraction,
willing myself immunity
to the impending birth
that presses so insistently
onto my white-knuckled
one by one
or in bunches
the words slip away

like perfume
in the large, drafty room
of a lifetime on this earth

until it is no longer noticed
and cannot be remembered

Sunday, May 25, 2008

The tiny beaks
just above audibility,
sound like tiny crickets
who've lost their voices.

Thriving above
man and machine,
above the animals
and away from the weather,
the birds are fed,
nurtured by attentive parents--
models of endurance and stability,
they put me to shame.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

the thread dances between
the generations

guided by the needle
it spirals upward

we each bear the scars
as time
becomes one

Saturday, March 29, 2008

transient and fragile
like ribbons of thin ice
we are suspended across this earth,
by the
hand of God.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Trying to avoid the
overwhelming pull
sucking everything in its path,
the giant unseen magnet
that devastates the landscape,
we navigate the murky waters together,
and, still undiscerning,
we reach the far shore.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


At almost 81,
frail but strong,
she is a pit bull
defending her turf.

Trying to keep the
nursing home monster at bay,
my sister and I
take them both
to their doctor
because one cannot be left alone,
and neither she nor I can handle
this job by ourselves.

Like puppies without leashes
they wander around
the office
and must be corralled.

We all try to reason
with the woman
who now sees
once-familiar furniture
as placed there as part of a surreptitious conspiracy by
dangerous and unauthorized strangers.

The three of us play
tug of war
with the doctor
and the voices.

We all go
out to lunch.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

tumbled against humanity
like so many rocks
we are rubbed raw
until we must either
or be polished
until we shine

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Walking through the crystal water
reflecting the light on the granite stones below,
I come upon a wall of glass.

In the wall, there is a window--
too high for me to reach,
and too small for me
to squeeze through.

So I look for a door.
Poems © Gemma W. Wilson