Monthly Archives: June 2015



I was napping. It was raining… and the power was out. The power had been out for some time already. Joe Courter knocked at the door and I thought he’d said he was going to sit in my patio–which isn’t a proper patio at all, it’s some lawn furniture under the exposed hallway that stretches from my room out at the edge of the woods to the rest of the house. It’s quite lovely, as something as simple as going to the kitchen for more water is an adventure like camping because, though there is an overhang, the hallway isn’t so much exposed as outdoors. Some nights I am greeted by choruses of frogs from the lake, other nights owls from the trees.

I got up and was surprised to find Joe sitting on my patio, I guess that part of me that was awake enough to hear him calling in from out my door hadn’t worked out that his announcement that he was going to be sitting on my patio meant he would be sitting on my patio in one of my green chairs. I sat with him and tried not to complain about how long the power had been out. It was dinner time and I was hoping to use the toaster oven. “Well,” I announced, getting up, “I’m making a turkey sandwich.” When I got to the kitchen I leaned out and asked if he wanted one. He did, I told him to sit tight, relax, I’d take care of it. I’m a tad old fashioned, and as unpopular as it may be, I enjoy cooking for the men in my life. To round out the orgy of self-realized sexist cliches… I was of course… barefoot.

But the power was out, which meant I had to get in and out of the fridge in one quick swoop… wheat bread, smoked turkey, pepper cheese, mayo, green pepper, spinach, onion, tomato, and no doubt a few things I had forgotten. I grilled the meat, peppers and onions under cheese, then put mayo, tomato, and spinach on the sandwich, cutting it attractively in that angular manner that always seemed a little uppity in the house where I grew up. A few sea salt and vinegar chips, and a small bowl of pineapple for desert. I have to say the sandwiches turned out fab, and as it turned out, thanks to the power outage, we were now sitting together and enjoying dinner on my patio. Something about the combination of melted pepper cheese over smoked turkey breast always excites me once I start eating it. It tasted even better out there overlooking the lake and listening to all the wildlife.

Finished, Joe suggested we go out on the lake in the kayaks, after all, there was no power, so there was no TV, no Facebook, no needless checks in on email. It sounded like a great idea.

It was perfect out on the lake, cooler by far than it has been, the moisture in the air was cooling rather than suffocating. As we paddled along we marveled at the mist hovering over the water along the shore like you might see in a photography print at an art fair. The lake was hot, hotter than the air, perhaps even hotter than my body temperature, and shallow too, it hasn’t rained much this year. I laid down in the boat to take a nap, or at least to rest.

A few moments into it and I realized that I hadn’t felt that relaxed in weeks! All that tension I had been carrying around was dissipating into the mist, hovering away, or vanishing into the air. Soon the distant traffic noises caught my ear. Seemingly they were a lot louder closer to the surface of the water, as I hadn’t noticed them when I was sitting up. Just as the sound was about to spoil it for me I smiled and felt thankful that I wasn’t out there on the road in some car going to pick up something as essential and unromantic as undergarments. Yes, things were good. We’d had a lovely meal, and now I was floating around on a lake realizing that there was nowhere I’d rather have been… especially in my room on my computer looking at nonsense on the internet. Maybe power outages aren’t all that bad after all. Well, this one wasn’t.

Barefoot To Remember


In grass and sand I find
The heart of me, no more,
No less than my mad moon,
Spinning silver off its core.

Tears assemble a reckless line,
In a watch without a hand,
Numbers shift upon the face,
No center, no time and no command.

When storm-waves swell I walk,
To grasp me and sea and sand,
When downpours flood my hollows,
I follow what I cannot see on land.

Barefoot for dread of all I was,
And all that I am not,
Skin to ground before, behind,
Broken bottles full of rot.

I forge my way most gracefully,
Perfumes coward my regret.
I am barefoot to remember,
Am barefoot to forget.

The Doe, Turkeys, One Red Cardinal and the Worms


The Doe, Turkeys, One Red Cardinal and the Worms
(Based on a true story)
by Justine

Each night a carnival, our secret maya,
A shooting gallery, a funhouse mirror,
Bumper cars and haunted madness,
Ice cream cheer and dark ride terrors.

Through the prism of his words I found myself,
His kaleidoscope skies became my starlight,
In his eyes I saw our worlds reflected,
Where in my eyes were only ghosts of who I’d been.

Together we romanced unfashionable old songs
My heart beat bravely in time to all we sang,
What kind of fool was I to keep on singing,
Well beyond the borders of our dreams?

Mornings I woke to know he would return,
To usher me to sleep from our carnival grounds,
Wrapped and tucked in fairy tales I slept in peace,
And by day all we shared sustained me.

Night after night I fell in love with us,
With him, with our world and ways,
And in time I even loved myself… a little more,
But never on my own and through his eyes alone.

Away he went, taking flight, now my nights,
I fight alone, with his promises of other rites,
Come midnight my world is a wasteland,
And I perch at my bedside atremble and alone.

Me, “a mere child,” he scoffed when leaving,
Unworthy to sit in the shadow of his queen,
“Dear to me,” he said, a pat upon my head,
But flawed, unfit to sit with him upon his throne.

A version of our time that was only mine,
Maya love, so warm, so intoxicating,
Sad to know it was in my mind alone,
More’s the pity and less myself I see.

I see him in everything I ever loved,
Hear him in every song I ever sung,
His hands cradle my head when I lie to sleep,
Even the worst of him I long to endure.

I see him in the doe across the dappled lawn,
Tentatively in her nature and her grace,
She seeks the sweetest bits of grass,
Perhaps she will find bits of me there.

Quiet, like the doe, come the wild turkeys,
Gingerly, with an even dozen chicks in tow,
Are they too picking for bits of me,
Or are they simply feeding on the worms?

Red, the cardinal descends without rhyme,
And I wonder what his eyes will find,
Another me in the tiny seeds,
Or in the husked shells upon the ground.

Without him I am a cardinal that cannot fly,
A mere husk of seed or worm wriggling in the earth,
Less sweet than the grass that feeds the doe,
And less myself than I can bear to be.

Was it naught to him but a bit of play,
Performance, art, and nothing more,
Had I taken to heart what was never mine,
Or could he not see what I had found?

Did my delusions devastate all we had,
Or was it shared by him in mad disguise,
Am I the fool I was before his stories,
Filled my heart with delicate sweet meringue?

Lies I told myself so I could sleep,
Lies I nurtured to my soft warm breast,
Am I truly so childish and so blind,
Or so misled by hollow heartfelt longings?

The nights alone I lose myself and way,
By day our illusions drift out to sea,
And through my lonely eyes I sense a weary self,
That is too lost and leery to look back.

“Who is she without him?” the cardinal asks,
But the doe she turns and runs away,
And the turkeys cluck and gobble,
As they pluck me up from off the ground.

I Need


I Need
by Justine

I didn’t need my mother’s way,
Nor the shell from her moth-wing sea,
Ill-fitting, petty-pure and pretty,
And designed to her decree.

I didn’t need my father,
Nor his shoulder of salt-stuffed ice,
His sword the stone between us.
Where God’s gifts would not suffice.

I didn’t need my father,
Nor my mother in between,
I found my path through hawthorn,
Over glass where grass was green.

I didn’t need my brother, nor
His maiden oh so holy, ever pure,
Water-thin the blood between us,
None born of Adam could endure.

I didn’t need to be beloved,
Nor to sit upon the throne,
Swallowed whole to turtle silence,
As a teen I dreamt alone,

I need not another man to crave me,
Nor to hide me in the dark,
A secret from his wife and kids,
Prey to one more honeyed shark.

I don’t need one night of company,
Nor to watch a man take flight,
His broken-wing flutter-wind my face,
Flights of passion I’ll not ignite.

I don’t need to be a secret,
Nor to be one more measured lie,
I’ll live on myths I tell myself,
Under another rum blue sky.

I don’t need her brittle scraps,
I’ll not scavenge off their floor,
No worms of comfort crave my ears,
I need my wizard friend forevermore.

I need someone to hold my nights,
To wipe the clutching from my tears,
To gather me when I fall to ash,
To polish hell from all my fears.

If I meet someone in whom my needs
Are met, I’ll bless the day,
Then move along, as I’ve before,
Over no one’s song shall I hold sway.

I need to be at peace alone,
Below the eagles I’ll sleep and sail,
I’ll ache away the chains of night,
And noontime rise to lose the trail.