All That Water

It has been awhile since I have written a blog post.  I signed up to blog once a week at the beginning of the year, and have failed miserably to meet my goal.

So, what have I been doing these past three months?  Well, I attended a ten-week poetry workshop, wrote poems, researched writing programs, read twelve books, travelled to Nashville, and sold my house.  And, as if that were not enough, two weeks ago, as I was packing up my kitchen I was notified that Cirque Press out of Anchorage, Alaska is ready to move forward with publication of my first book of poems, which caused me to dance around my empty home in absolute delight.

Endings and beginnings seem to be a constant theme in my life.  Since I was a child, I have moved every few years.  Even as a young girl I remember the allure a new place had on me.  In equal measure, I also had feelings of homesickness connected with leaving, which left me feeling conflicted.

I still love new adventures, and by nature I am a flexible and curious person who is not afraid to try something new.  But I also know, with each new adventure and opportunity my heart gets broken a bit each time, because I am always open to attach myself to the people I meet or the landscape I walk on, and by caring for both, I allow myself to experience what can be the beautiful paradox of heartbreak.

At the end of this week, I head to California for a few weeks of reflection, then back to the Pacific Northwest to begin the search for another home.  I have already begun scouting out a new writing community in the Portland area, but I have no intent to leave the community I have made here. The roads that take us to each other will just be different and not even necessarily longer, especially when you factor in bridges and ferry rides!

As I have been reflecting about what I will gain in this move, and what I will miss, I wrote the following poem.  As Dorothy told the Scarecrow in The Wizard of Oz, “I think I’ll miss you most of all.”



At Her Last Poetry Class


when they ask her

what she will miss most


she answers


all        that                 water



boom of surf at Bastendorff Beach

field of whitecaps on the Coos Bay Bar

seasick swells of the Pacific


brisk current of Rosario Strait

narrow roil of Deception Pass

Light-year twinkle on Admiralty Inlet


mirror of Mats Mats bay

foamy wake behind the Bainbridge Ferry

swirl of kelp beds off Burrows Island


When they ask her

what she will miss most


she answers


all        that                 water




Yours in poetry,



















The Cirque Trail…

Here are a few pictures from photographer, Michael Kleven taken at the Cirque Reading on August 12th.  This is the second reading I have attended at the Wikstrom Brothers Gallery in Seattle and I am so thankful to be connected through poetry to this wonderful tribe of people.

Yours in poetry,


This first picture from left to right are poets;  John Morgan Michael Daley, and Christianne Balk.


The tribe in our silliness!
The tribe in our silliness!
My turn...
My turn…
The incredible Sandra Kleven, Editor of Cirque.
The incredible Sandra Kleven, Editor of Cirque.
The beautiful poet Joan Swift.
The beautiful poet Joan Swift.

Mental Illness in America

Today I turned on the news to yet another senseless shooting in Missouri.  Each time I hear about a school shooting, or mall shooting or __________(fill in the blank) shooting I worry about what this repeated exposure to violence is doing to me.  For it is doing something.

It makes me afraid, it saddens me, and worst of all it makes these events become “normal”, “expected” and thus less shocking.  That is what terrifies me the most.  That I am becoming desensitized.   That I am becoming part of the problem.

In May of 2014, I was sitting in a small apartment in Mountain View, California, listening to the morning news, when they began covering a school shooting event in Oregon at Reynolds High School.  This was a school district I knew well, as I had worked as a school counselor in the neighboring district for seven years.  I still had friends who worked there. I knew the campus—the neighborhood.  I Knew what it was like to be in a school with distraught students and you yourself distraught, but putting aside your own emotions and feelings to take care of them.  I knew it wouldn’t be over once the shooting had ended.

And then I went on with my day.  By 3:00 in the afternoon I was back to writing.  This is a poem I wrote about that day and my own horror at how quickly I had moved on.

Mental Illness in America

                   Reynolds High School Shooting, May 2014

After my eyes welled wet,
after my Facebook post about
violence, teachers, fear,

after watching a reporter
interview a kid in shock
wondering where his
sister was,

after hearing the gym teacher
was fine, the bullet only grazed his hip,

after the horror of it,

I caught myself looking at my toes
noticed I needed a pedicure
thought Popsicle Pink
would match my new blouse.

Published in Cirque, A Literary Journal for the Pacific Northwest Rim, 2014 – Vol. 6. No. 1