Category Archives: blog – 7: POETRY

Finally, I am no longer ashamed of my poetry… so here’s the page with no apologies…

Stealing Home


Stealing Home
by Barefoot Justine

I came to be, under suburban skies more blue than Penny Lane,
A carnival-sweet breeze, the air crisp and green as a Granny Smith,
Sundrenched, adrift, a leaf in the Kool-Aid streets of my childhood,
But I was no child, it was now, I was me, No homework on my back.

Grown up or not, I was still the barefoot girl, same as I knew,
Though conspicuous, brazen, topless, tan and deliciously lost,
The air whispering silk and feather nothings across my breasts,
The streets kissing tar and shard threats under my feet and toes.

Children ran by with streamers and smiles flown high as kites,
Their day-off moms and dads, blissful as candy-apple Buddhas,
A market, a fair, Rockwell painting with all the trimmings,
And I stealing home, and I me, one with, but not one of, them.

A feral flush of tingling joy and naughty nervousness teased me,
In rhythm with each delicious step of barefoot summertime freedom,
Drinking a soda pop cocktail of wild abandon and giggly paranoia,
For what if I was spied, discovered, disapproved of or busted?

Oh my!

My nipples plump as strawberries and ruddy as Bollywood skin,
Pointing the way to ecstasies timed to roller coaster heartbeats,
My toes flexible, the chill air licking tickles between them,
As I, a Red Riding Hood, scurried, climbed, snuck and hurried.

Triangulating between three errands and three states of feeling,
Confusion, how to cover the miles and find my way in my errands,
Terror, I might be busted, copped and jailed topless with pot,
Delight, in getting away with my own hot-buttered drive-in movie.

In shorts alone, tattered denim, bells, toe-rings and bangles,
Long curls, brown here, red there, and hippie in the highlights,
Me a flurry of pink and purple, denim and cheap belled jewelry,
My dark chocolate eyes lit like sparklers under disco eyeshadow,

The silk to silk softness of arms rubbing against ribs a reminder,
I was bare breasted, my porcelain belly creamy as vanilla pudding,
Climbing up and jumping down my teacup breasts bobbled and fizzed,
Each jiggle a jarring reminder that I was more than half-naked.

I was Bardot, I was Mara, I was Hazel, I was barefoot Justine,
I was topless in public, my body, a playground, my day a funhouse,
Unimpressed and scarcely oppressed by pragmatism and patriarchy,
Too slinky and sly to let them shame me, tame me or tie me down,


Oh I dreamt every cinnamon and sugar tremble of panic as I went,
Down towards a busy road, buzzing before the miles yet to go,
How could I do it, bare as I was, how would I bear the crowds,
How could I ride this wild tiger, could I make her Shakti mine?

Every block a new adventure, a carnival of sensual delights,
And around each corner surprises, changes in the world I knew,
But all for the better, the streets of nostalgia an exotic bazaar,
I was Valerie, and this was my week of wonders, but all in a day.

I talked with a lady, Though she looked at me, she kept her cool,
“Wow! This is so different, not what I recall,” I said to her.
She glanced at my tits, saying dreamy stuff with marshmallows.
“But I love this place… it’s like Orlando Ohio,” I laughed.

And it was, a curious alley of sculpted delights, a trip, a fancy,
A shopping festival, a parade built right into the walls around,
Colorful as cartoons, and shiny round shapes like daisies and dances,
Like my smile, but spilled out, sculpted and polished top to bottom.

How delicious, the day, trickling like sweet chai in my throat,
How delightful, the ginger warmth of it like curry on my tongue,
An open mouth awaiting each savory bite, each drip and swallow,
One girl, I, running wild through a suburb of earhtly delights.

Each person I passed, shocked, surprised, envious, but indifferent,
Helping me along here, sneering me a warning there, and all as one,
And me as one in them… but for the cops, those bad Blue Meanies,
Trailing me like dogs to take me down like the fair Draupadi…

Though I was already stripped, and all the same, running and hiding,
Ducking around corners when I saw their dark blue battle suits,
And me, child of the forest, running like a stalked and hunted doe,
Tickled as a flushing virgin bride and chuckling like a whore.

I woke up.

But at least in dreams I’d returned, and stole this home as mine,
Free at last, to live the colors of Saturday Morning cartoons,
Free at last to shed the past and dance alive my own fairy tale,
If only for an afternoon, if only for a dream, if not forever…

And ever.

Less To Me Than Falling Leaves


Less To Me Than Falling Leaves
by Justine Mara Andersen

Why the vine of thorns, if it is the nature of the bloom to fade,
Why the vine of thorns, if it is the nature of the bloom to fade,
And why the prick in knowing my fragrant youth is like a rose?

If poetry speaks truth, then words need be plucked like flowers,
If poetry speaks truth, then words need be plucked like flowers,
How thin then the fragrence of a thousand thoughtless words.

When the wisest of men say Shiva resides only in the silence,
When the wisest of men say Shiva resides only in the silence,
Why at Temple do I forever find him in chaos din and clamor?

If Brahman is light hereafter, how can I know this self to be,
If Brahman is light hereafter, how can I know this self to be,
When in a shell of darkness I have heard the song of Atman?

If in resigning to defeat, why is there a sadness warm as honey,
If in resigning to defeat, why is there a sadness warm as honey,
When all my grandest victories are not but gilded suffering?

May victory and vainglory bend me like wind through wildflowers,
May victory and vainglory bend me like wind through wildflowers,
And may both victory and defeat be less to me than falling leaves.

Goddess Of The Azaleas


Goddess Of The Azaleas
by Barefoot Justine

In a sea with no sound but my own warmth and vibration,
In such resonance Shiva, Atman, Aum and all resolve,
To Destroy, create, maintain, I, one sinuous forever,
In whose gravity particles alive as fireflies revolve.

And I, a Goddess, aglow, the color of the azaleas,
Ten arms undulating in waves of roiling magnificence,
Three eyes closed in the silent harmony of eternity,
No din of thought to dim the melody of pure existence.

Floating in the cosmic sea, a mountain of sacred peace,
Soaring weightless over rock and tree, river and sod,
And I am light, and I am joy, and I am life hereafter,
And light and joy and life in self are all as one in God.

When Shiva Whispers


When Shiva Whispers
by Barefoot Justine

When solitude comes to me as its lonely worst,
A cloud of suffering mists my mornings.

When solitude comes to me as the breath of Shiva,
my vision is awash with shimmering saffron.

When I am she alone battling in my darkest hollows,
With a soured stomach I long for silence.

When all and one purr like twin tigers in my heart,
Silence flows clear as crystal springs.

When I alone am bloodied by demoniac struggles,
I see no path to virtue or release.

When I alone am one with all and one with truth,
I have no desire for the songs of men.

When Shiva seems to me but paint and fragile plaster,
No wisp of peace wafts from stillness.

When Shiva’s whispers warm my ears full of grace,
I melt into him with tearful trembles.

When maya barks its verses to me the virgin Mara,
I cannot hear the wisdom of the shlokas.

But when I wander quietly the lush green forest,
Every tree drops leaves of grace and wisdom.

Jai, jai! Every tree drops leaves of grace and wisdom.
Har Har Mahadev! Har Har Mahadev!

I Dreamt Of Flight


I Dreamt Of Flight
by Barefoot Justine

A dozen times two, have I dreamt,
Of flying under my own power,
Of joyous release high above all,
Of boundless breathless deliverance.

All that was needed was to run, to jump,
Until all my dragging anchors fell away,
Until each ticklish jump took me higher,
And I let go of all that held me down.

Such ecstasies I had never known,
Until I broke my body from the chains,
But with time each chain replaced itself,
Like the Hydra’s head, one for two.

After long years my dream was fulfilled,
Ringing clearer than any earthly bells,
This clarity had blossomed in another world,
More solid by far than this one we know.

More true by far than my own beginning,
This flight was my destiny fulfilled,
A second life lived in a parallel place,
Rebirth into a world of other dreams.

Never had I been more alive or certain,
That I was, that all was, or of what was,
Never had I been so singular, or satisfied,
That what I am, and of all that is, is real.

“This time,” I said, “it is no dream,”
And I began to levitate above all,
Above all worry and above all pain,
Above all bounds and limitations.

But for the limits of my rutted mind,
Which worked to root me to the ground,
A mind that had ruled me like a tyrant.
A mind now banished beyond a wall of will.

And all, yes all, I did was one,
Was one sacred task, to simply be,
To simply find clear focus on liberation,
To refuse any doubt that weighed me down.

To say no to any thought that ground me,
To let go, to be, to simply fly,
And I held this singular center in me,
In the third eye, a focus like a fire.

I flew eye to eye with the call of eagles,
Wind danced my hair like ripples on the water,
And all of eternity spread out before me,
No memories, no wants, no fears, just joy.

Yet when I woke, no disappointment came,
No sad regret in waking to this gravity,
Because I knew I had been boundless,
I flew, and I am that girl that flies.

I had lived without limits, I had enjoyed,
A second manifestation, another life,
In a world more real than all my mother knows,
It was no dream, that is stone to me.

And I brought back The Destroyer’s clarity,
That of knowing that I am boundless,
And all I have to do is say no to suffering,
And say yes to the eternal sea of milk.

The mark of a brush free from self doubt,
The beat of a heart free of regret,
The song of a muse free from censure,
The focus of a mind free from distraction.

Without You


Without You
Justine Mara Andersen

Drip drop on leaves, reflecting,
Shimmering pearls of silver glass,
I sing for fallen drops of rain,
Which never wet the grass.

When no wind blows the mangroves,
When even eagles dare not call,
A silence glassy as the lake,
Becomes in me as one in all.

Between the cries of forest owls,
Above the grass I wait to fall,
And hide my breath from wind,
From God, from you and all.

My voice alone does now endure,
I need you not to praise my song,
Though every verse I sing as one,
Know every fall I take is long.

For any word I write is so,
And any song I know is mine,
For any love I hold is here,
And any words I sing divine.

Therese, the Lonely Otter


Therese, the Lonely Otter
by Barefoot Justine

Therese swallowed the last sugary sip of tea,
Turning towards the light outside, squinting,
She set her teacup into the saucer with a clink,
And looked across her table at the empty chair.

“Well, old girl, might as well go on out,”
Reaching across the table, she took her hat,
off the back of the chair where it always hung,
And shook yesterday’s leaves from its brim.

She never wasted any sunshine, our Therese,
And soon charged playfully from her well-kept holt,
Into the easy waters of the lake with a splash,
And rustled ashore through the reeds and grass.

“Quite a commotion up there,” she noted,
Dodging cypress knees as she followed the buzz,
Trotting across the old fallen log to the hive,
From a safe distance, she stood for a moment.

“Pardon me, how big and deep can loneliness be?”
Asked Therese of the cloud of busy buzzing bees,
In her experience, bees had precious little to say,
“Fine weather we’re having,” at best.

So it went, indeed, the bees had precious little to say,
Nothing of interest to anyone apart from other bees,
She never fit in with the bees, then, who does?
Why, not even the most cordial of crickets.

It’s no use talking to bees, as everyone knows,
Besides, how could they know loneliness, the bees,
Swarming all together in their hives as one,
With God, queen, and all that dripping honey?

Across the meadow a cardinal pecked the grass,
Picking for ticks and singing all the while,
“Dear cardinal, how big and deep can loneliness be?”
The cardinal glanced suspiciously at her smile.

He hopped two paces away, then glanced back,
Where Therese sat perched on her hind legs,
the cardinal sang a wall of song between them,
Before he flew to his love in the bowers above.

“Not much use talking to cardinals either, I suppose,”
Therese trotted towards the water’s edge,
“They all tweet the same tired little songs,
And what could cardinals know of loneliness?”

Across the meadow came the proud turkeys,
Three adults and nine nervous young in tow,
“Not much use talking loneliness to turkeys,”
So, “Good day,” she said to them with a nod.

“Good day, old girl,” clucked the father,
“Splendid!” agreed Therese, “What a sky today!”
“Splendid sky, indeed… carry on…” the turkey bowed,
And on they went, plucking and clucking along.

Leaving Therese there under her silent open sky,
She sniffed a waft of honeysuckle on the wind,
Smiled, and started towards the winding dirt road,
Where often sat the old tired alligator.

He would know about loneliness, she thought,
After all, alligators eat all their friends,
Or so say the turtles, but Therese wasn’t certain,
So much that isn’t so has been said and said again.

“Hmmmm…” grumbled the ‘gator, belly to the ground,
As much of an invitation as alligators ever mutter,
Therese stood back a safe distance and cocked her head,
“How big and deep can loneliness be?” she asked humbly.

“Why do you ask me such things?” The ‘gator growled,
“I’m sorry, my Lord,” she said, slinking back,
“Get away from me, what’s an otter, after all?”
“Far less than an alligator,” Therese humbly bowed.

“Indeed,” the ‘gator hrumphed as he settled on his belly,
All in the swamp know, alligators need forever appeased,
Lest they snap and make quarrels, as is their way,
And everyone fears the alligators, don’t you know.

Busy on her way, she trotted alongside the iron fence,
And thought ‘I suppose when one is so toothy and angry,
One doesn’t have much time to feel loneliness.’
“Sun is sharp today,” she said from the muggy shade.

Nestling between the broad roots of an old live oak,
She closed her eyes and thought on nothing but silence,
And there she soon found her forgetting place,
A quiet place with no loneliness at all.

A place with no buzzing bees, nor a drop of honey,
A place with no cardinals to snub her honest smile,
A place with no politely gobbling rafter of turkeys,
And where no alligator anger shamed her questions.

“How big and deep can loneliness be?” It lingered,
But dissolved into her silence, then clear as a bell,
“Not as deep as the silence,” whispered the sky,
“Not as deep as the silence,” smiled Therese.

She opened her eyes to find the perfect stone,
‘Just right for cracking snails,’ she thought,
But she wasn’t terribly hungry, so she set it aside,
And looked above, and heard the cardinals singing.

They sang, “How big and deep can loneliness be?
How long can the darkest storm rain?
How hollow the hole in the holy ground,
Where no love, nor rain, can ever be found?”

Funny thing about cardinals when they’re singing,
To you and I it would sound like tweets and nonsense,
But Therese more deeply understood each word they sang,
Than would even the most golden throated of birds.

“How big and deep can loneliness be,” sang Therese,
And on her way she went, back to her wide open lake,
Towards her cozy burrowed holt, to wait for the answer,
Or perhaps, to wait for a friend, who knew.

“How big and deep can loneliness be?”
‘Surely out there some other otter must know,’
Thought Therese as she floated in the water.
“Surely some friend must come,” she cried.

Yet for all her questions, she knew: ‘Loneliness,
Is deeper than the waters of this or any lake,
Ah, but most certainly not deeper than the silence,’
“And never so big as the wise sky above,” she smiled.