Sunday, November 30, 2008

she was just

"the cat lady" to most.

They didn't know her husband
left her when she was pregnant
with their first
and only child, which she
lost a month later.

They didn't know she read a book
a week, kept black swans in a pond
behind her house, cooked for
homebound AIDS patients.

They didn't know she had the longest
legs of any girl in her high school
stockings only reaching to mid-thigh.

They didn't know she had traveled to
twenty-two other countries, and
had lovers in all of them.

They didn't know she was christened
"Liliana Cornsilk Whitfield"

She was just "the cat lady,"
but she didn't mind.
She painted the pictures from her
memories, and kept making more.


First of all, I believe alone is much more a state of mind than a situation. Being by oneself is really quite nice. A person can read, write, pray, go hiking, go to a movie, go out to eat, do yoga, explore their own thoughts and ideas, learn to LOVE THEMSELVES! I believe that God has taken away many things (people) from me that I didn't need, that made me less ME. If I didn't believe this I could go on feeling sorry for myself and living life the way I see so many people live. Sometimes I'm lonely, but it's really not because I'm ALONE. I have some amazing people in my life. I live alone (well, I do have an awesome dog and cat that are great company). Plus, my family ROCKS. Anyway, I know I can still feel sorry for myself, but I'm learning that it is a waste of time to feel alone. Being by myself can be good. I have always known that and felt it. It's part of being a writer (people watching, etc). I have traveled alone to other countries. It was WONDERFUL. I became more me because of it. I am not perfectly happy all the time, but I know I no longer "need" a romantic relationship, or "need" to be around other people all the time.

Secondly, I am tired of watching people move from one relationship to another (You know, the whole flavor of the month thing). It makes me sick. Why? Well, maybe because I'm slightly jealous on some level that people can "get" that many guys or girls, maybe because I was one of those flavors at one point (albeit a radical, outstandingly delicious flavor), but mainly because I think it is SO sad that some people don't know how to be single and happy. I have spent a long time wishing I had a partner and could have a baby and a family. I turn 36 soon, and I kept thinking it would happen. I even did the whole "If I don't have a partner by the time I'm 30, 35, 40, I'll just have a child on my own." I don't NEED someone else (child husband anyone) to make me happy. As much as I would have denied in the past that I thought that way, in some sense I did. I am not giving up, but I'm GIVING IT UP. I believe that God will give me peace. I give it all away, send it up par avion baby!!! I believe I will be a happy person, not because of what or WHO happens to me, but who I am, who God helps me to be. This is about being true to oneself, and to God (since I believe the divine is in all of us).

I have watched my ex-fiance, who decided he wanted to be a "swinger" turn into a lonely, unhappy person. I watched other exes and friends who decided to "move on" from one partner to another, looking for just the right match, fall flat over and over again. I have myself been guilty of "looking," but it is over. I may be an "old maid" a "spinster" a "cat lady," what the fuck ever...but I will be happy because I see the divine in me. I see the divine in life.

Amen brothers and sisters...carry on. I know I will. :)

Thursday, November 27, 2008


This is a post I wrote a couple of years ago when I first started this blog. The news is old, but the message is relevant every year, so here goes.

Sudan is making some headway with a meeting in Addis Ababa (love the name of this city), Ethiopia trying to get help from the UN for the Darfur region. I had some students in Denver who were from Sudan. I know for sure one was in the Dinka tribe, spoke Dinka...the Lost Boys...If you haven't heard of them, look them up online. One student told me his story in a Narrative Essay. I was given a strong dose of "you don't know jack" from these students, from this story in particular. I will never forget it. When this boy, only 8 or so, was living with his tribe in a small village, extremist Muslims came into the town. They proceeded to bomb, pillage, chop with machetes, rape, etc. Almost his entire family was killed, except for his brother and grandmother. He ended up hiding in a swamp, riddled with mosquitos, being bitten over and over for 2 days with some people in his tribe. When they emerged, the village was virtually destroyed, but he, his grandmother, and his brother, along with other survivors, had a lavish (for them) dinner to celebrate just being alive...
We should all be aware of what we have.
THANKSGIVING is coming up, and whether you celebrate it or not, it is good to be thankful every day. This country lives in unbelievable luxury. A friend of mine made a t-shirt that cracked me up. It said: Freedom is CONvenience. The con was in red, the other letters in blue. Convenience is no longer a luxury, but people in this country think it is a NEED. So ridiculous, really. We lose so much nutrition, literally and figuratively by purchasing such "conveniences" as food and clothes that come ready-made, when we could take the time to cook, sew, create. I am not immune to this either, of course. I bought some earrings yesterday, and I praise myself for recycling, and reusing, and forget about reducing. It's really quite sad. We can all do something.
I have no real answers because we all have our own way of helping, but being aware is important. I want to hear, feel, see, taste, and smell the blessings that are everywhere around me. They are everywhere around us. Be aware of them.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

it seems

Like in the poem below, my poetry often reflects the "me" I want to be, or the "me" I think I am somewhere. I sometimes think I'm stronger and have more clarity in my poems than I do in "real life." There is that place. I get to be that person every time I read the poem. Though not all my poems are "about" me, they certainly all reflect me.
I like the way Joan Didion says it: "I write entirely to find out what I'm thinking, what I'm looking at, what I see, and what it means."

Saturday, November 22, 2008

child pose

fold of limbs
skin doesn't cover much
of your corners

elbows knees chin
little left of your bones

deteriorating songs
your throat closed

you forget I am stronger
than that
(I almost forget)

and you cry on the floor
knowing I listen

head tucked, you

and I want to weep too
but that time is over

the sun warms my upturned

you hide face down

Sunday, November 16, 2008

response to a poem by Christine

Christine's poem is called "How I Made Friends With Fear"
Her site is: balanced on the edge

A Larger Size

The buttons on my sweater
strain at the thread.

This is partly because I am
growing, but also

because I am scared of moving on
to a larger size.

That big-girl world
runs rampant with responsibility.

To hang from the side of a
skyscraper, cleaning mirror glass,

to stare at myself
rub splotches made by birds

breathe the cold clouds
from my lips.

This is a balancing act
I'd rather skip out on-

shimmy down the tower and
crawl underground,

allow the buttons to burst
from their holes.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

american sentence for the day

Slowly rocking, something cradle-like about a day with Mom's support.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


Here are the other poems I made from the work of many many wonderful poets.

the gossamer curtain
divides my soul.
Truth stumbles blindly
bruises and bites.

I go slow because I am
practicing non-attachment, but
pieces of me stick to whoevergetstooclose
& must be surgically removed.

Trees are my main weakness.
They grow into me.
You may have seen me high in the elbow
of an elm,
silhouetted against the night sky.

I find a mate once a year
on the coldest night in January,
& our duet makes even the coyotes
cower in their dens.

We block the fist, ease egos,
broker detente. Bandage
wounds. Tend the bruise,
the insult, the scab. Glue
and mop. Grab our time like
dropped money.

likes chocolate ice cream
her favorite possession a
yellow bike
with a banana seat, plastic basket, streamers gleaming
she reads old men’s minds and chapter books
by judy blume

ribbons of her thoughts
tie her down, sometimes
with meticulous care

strainer of her mind
filters out what ails her
survivor that she is now
but with austerity takes out
the inherent spirit of hers

she stops eating meat
notices the shoes, the belts,
bags made of leather,
feels a shiver when she eyes
the skin stretched
over the couch, the ottoman

skullfingers banjo her ribrattle lids
her barebones grin–

if she carries enough chips
eventually they will become
too heavy to hold or swallow or
chew or lug in a massive bag
she will have to start letting them
fall away

He sits in a corner
like a wombat and watches the flow
of people, the shuffle of feet
with their different sounds
according to the shoe
and to the shape of the person’s face,
to how the line of their lip
curves into the morning

beneath the warm smile
and pleasant gesture the radar eyes
scan the forgotten creases
ruffled hair and smirks
at clandestine getaways

The patrolman’s beam blinds the stars,
in her eyes, his own reflection.
He stands above the mirror
looks down into her pupils.
One of them can learn
a thing or two tonight
but someone must release the light.

One Sunday morning
kids sneak onto the construction site
nothing but a cage of studs & trusses
they play for hours
running from room to imaginary room.

They have layers
and they peel away
all of the layers
thin by thin
skin by skin
and at the core is a hallway with
only open doors.

From my prompt,

over at Read Write Poem, people came up with some great stanzas.
Here's a poem I made from some of them. Others are in the works.

Office Romance

I move through the world
rough as a rope, taut as all
the promises I’ve ever made.

I lean into you, whisper.
You step out from behind
your executive desk, tell me
I smell like oatmeal
And your mother.

We meet for early lunch amidst
the line of white cheese sandwiches.
I interrupt with a warm bowl
perfuming of foreign lands.
I am what I ham what I eat.

Back in my office I leave the door
open for you to peek
over my shoulder, onto
my multicolored screen.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


I'm thankful for the people's choice. I love this historic moment. Beautiful.

Monday, November 3, 2008

To All the Stealers of Hearts

Here you go, take it.
This heart is for you.
It's cool. I don't use it anymore.
I grow new ones all the time.
It's too bad you don't.
You could probably use this one anyway.
Try not to lose it.

(in response to a ReadWritePoem prompt)

Sunday, November 2, 2008


This was going to be a rant, but it turned out to be sort of a healing write, as it should be. (I need to let go of my "record of wrongs.")

Now I know I am a sensitive type, and more than way too often, I find myself becoming upset because of others. I am a Christian, and I believe that Jesus' true example, the true meaning of love is what is important..."Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."
-- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Well, I try to have hope...often put my hope and trust in people I shouldn't...I guess. I mean, what I have really learned in my spiritual life is that I can only truly have faith in God, but I will always love people and have hope for them. I try to not get angry or be envious or proud.
But what gets in my way? What do I LET get in my way? The damn chip on my shoulder. The one that keeps a record of wrongs:

1. You look at me funny because I don't dress like you, I have tattoos, and I'm obviously more liberal than you are. I smile at you and you don't smile back.
2. You think I should dress differently..."wear more tailored clothes and makeup, so you won't look like a kid, like your students-then they will respect you more."
3. You tell me my new blog name is better, so I say, well isn't that a backhanded compliment? kind of an in-your-face kind of laugh, and honky is a word which can certainly have a derogatory meaning to whites...but lordy, I am one, and I think I should be able to laugh at my "whitebread self"...go to
4. You don't talk to me anymore, you 3 or 4 people over the past few months that I thought were my stopped communicating with me...for no apparent reason...I cared about you, but you didn't/don't care about me. wow. I just don't get it.
5. You told me God brought us back together after all of these years. Then you started seeing someone else. I was your whim...not just once, but at least 3 times over the past 14 years.
6. You decided that I must be stupid and racist because I'm from the south.
7. You decided I must be stupid, and a "follower" and a zombie of society that can't think for herself because I'm a Christian.
8. You used/use me because I am someone who is a true blue REAL friend with real belief in your good, and I want to be there for you, and I don't run away...and it takes a lot to make me leave you. I am loyal. You don't get that. Maybe you think I'm "dependent" when I know good and fucking well how independent I am.

But I still get hurt by people, probably way more easily than I should. I guess it's just a part of being sensitive. Friends and family tell me that I can't let people get to me so much, but if I was a more cynical person, less "emotional," less trusting, I wouldn't be me in many ways.

I found a Bible verse years ago after my ex-fiance broke up with me two weeks before our wedding that we had been planning for a year. It is one of the only things that really keeps me going sometimes:
"Enlarge the site of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out...For the children of the desolate woman will be more than the children of her that is married...For your Maker is your husband...For the Lord has called you like a wife forsaken and grieved in spirit, like the wife of a man's youth when she is cast off...with great compassion I will gather you." Isaiah 54:1-7

I look at that passage as a symbol of hope for my future...that I too will "get what I need"...though not necessarily what I want. I am learning the difference. I am seeing it. God is emptying me out. I need it. I can't hold on to all of this hurt, the hurt of this world.