Writing Beyond the Books

This page is dedicated to my flights of fancy. It’s a mix of poetic prose and sometimes conversational poetry. Much like a wandering path through the woods, part of the fun is in the journey. Feel free to wander to your heart’s content. (If reading on a cell phone, poetry is best viewed in a horizontal position. Pun intended.)

Everyone is Welcome at the Witch’s House

(Jul 25 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

“If you’re a witch, then why don’t you have fairies in your garden?” the possum asked right before he ambled under the house. He’s far too full of dry cat food and what bugs he’s eaten to wait for my reply. He is seeking his bed where it is cool and I know he doesn’t mind the family of armadillos.

“The chickens chased them away,” I mumble, knowing he was out of earshot. It’s true, the red hen harried the poor creatures until one morning I realized they’d fled my garden in search of safer lands. To make matters worse, the rest of the flock ransacked the peas, flattened the parsley, and raked up the second round of basil I’d planted. I’d been looking forward to fresh pesto this fall, but apparently, the feathered hooligans had other ideas.

“They’re a nuisance and their wings tend to catch in my throat. You don’t need fairies fluttering about anyway,” declares the stray cat laying on the porch with her one calico kitten. She’s one of a number of strays who expect their meals to appear twice a day. Her suspicious stare is quick to remind me that none of the colony trust me, though I’m a witch and due a little respect.

“Don’t listen to her.”

I shade my eyes against a rising sun and smile at the buzzard on the roof. He’s one of my favorite residences here at the witch house. He’s comical, though he longs to be dignified. His night perch is the chimney and he keeps his guests to a minimum. “What news from the rooftop?” I ask.

With a bob of his head, he replies, “The armadillo tells me they will start excavating the north side of the yard tomorrow night. And a raccoon has gained access to the attic.” With his report given, he awkwardly hops, and then hops again before abandoning the roof for the open sky.

“Fine,” I say to no one, for the stray cat has wandered off with her one kitten and the chickens are too busy gorging themselves on overripe figs that have fallen from the tree in back.

Though the fairies may are gone, for now the garden is safe — and all is as it should be here at the witch’s house.

Witchery; The Turning of the Wheel

(July 22 · 2 min read – First Published on Medium)

It’s July and Georgia is baked dry. And yet, in the early morning hour I can feel the approach of autumn; taste it in the air like brush of a kiss against my lips. The summer equinox has passed and the light is changing as Lughnasadh approaches — the first of three harvest holidays the witches keep.

I will dye my hair red today, one streak of white at the temple to mark my years. There is a familiar restlessness in my soul, a promise of transition. The dark is gathering, hardly noticed and yet I smile because I know what others do not see.

A crow calls from above and is answered by another. The Morrigan draws closer to her daughter and I greet her happily. She and I understand there is comfort in the darkness.

It is coming yet again. The wheel is turning. The voices of nature will be clearer to my ears after Lugh’s day has been marked. Then Mabon’s kiss will linger, tasting of cinnamon and nutmeg, and I will delay a while at his table.

On the last harvest day, I will dress with great care and Samhain will embrace me as a lover would — wild and reckless inside a leaf-strewn wood. He will not stay though he is my favorite.

I smile again and leave the crows to chatter among themselves for alas, this morning is only a blush of what is to come.

Moon Spell Magick

(Jul 27 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

I go to meet a lover tonight under the slivered light of a waxing moon. Will that lover be you? Will you lay with me on the wet grass of spring when all things are new, and beginnings sprout and bloom with an abandonment that echoes our own. Will you proclaim me to be your forever midnight queen and gift me the stars above for my crown?

And when the moon grows full, will you walk with me under its bright light? Will you savor the taste of your midnight queen then — when we are our own gods and our power spills from us with all the fury of a thunderstorm? In the fullness of summer when my body is stretched and glows with creation, will you stay to protect and hold us close as the day’s heat gives way to cricket song and moonflowers?

When the air chills and the leaves begin to fall, will I turn and find you standing there under the light of a waning moon? When the shadows have grown long and the days short, will you still meet your midnight queen in the changing wood to brush my lips with your kisses? Will you remain beside me long after our bodies have become like scarred and rooted trees under the dying ember of a gentler moon?

And when the moon is hidden, will you follow your midnight queen to the cold lands that lay beyond? Will you walk with me there, your fingers laced with mine so that I do not lose my way in that new unknown? Will you come with me to replace the stars you borrowed for my crown — so that we might take up our place as entwined souls shining against a dark sky?

I go to meet a lover tonight — say that lover will be you.

*** ****

Love in Shorthand

(Aug 7 · 1 min read – first published on Medium)

Speak to me in fragments —
of joys revisited with a repeated phrase,
and memories distilled into a single word.

“Which story is this?” you ask.
“Number 213,” is my ready reply—
and you smile instantly, a mirror of my own.

How long ago did I begin to mark
the tales of our shared life,
and count their retelling?

Talk to me in phrases
of familiar moments tenderly summoned —
a private language all our own.

French fry is for your teasing I never let go,
as we text kiss to each other yet again so that
caressing hands and hearts may touch from a distance.

“Tain!” holds all the wonder of parenthood,
while giggles piggyback on Mr. Squirrel’s indecision
and painting in my ball gown — is but a sigh from you.

Whisper to me in code and
nonsensical references of mutual secrets kept,
And I will respond in kind, my love.

For they are endearing touchstones
that illuminate the journey of us,
two lovers fated— and yet 98 is why we stay.

*** ***

The End – Flash Fiction

(Aug 4 · 1 min read – First published on Medium)

Drake was beautiful, especially now when he was uncooperative and brooding. Ignoring the passion and heartache he so easily stirred in her, Sandra concentrated on the dreaded task.

“You don’t have to do this,” his voice caressed.

Blinking back tears, she didn’t argue. They had already had this discussion.

“Find another way,” he growled.

Pausing to catch her breath, Sandra glanced up to find him looming over her. “There is no other way,” she insisted, her heart breaking. Before he could plead further, she killed him in the second to last paragraph of her novel.

The grief was excruciating.

*** ***

My Wandering Spirit

(Aug 3 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

The ugly bruise on my arm is evidence enough that my spirit has wandered again. It was happily skipping pictures in the shape of stones across an undiscovered lake when the empty shell of me collided with the door frame. And when I stumbled on the sidewalk, it had already strayed to watch dragonflies dart across a meadow and the dandelions release their wishes while the farmer’s cat looked on.

In the missing bits of conversation and the question’s repeat, I realized it has set sail once more, off to shores yet untraveled to meet lovers at sunset on silver beaches. Don’t be fooled by the blush on my cheeks. It isn’t the wine or the lingering burn from a dying sun — only my spirit sneaking back through the door with a too-wide smile, as if its absence were unnoticed by you.

It is an unruly and whimsical creature, my spirit. Tethered to its host by an ever-thinning thread, it drifts away on the slightest of winds, a lavender balloon rising until it is called back to take up residence inside this awkward flesh. It means no harm. Please do not take offense. I have tried to nail it down, but its gypsy heart is in love with the idea of roaming. And if one day I succeed in taming it, I fear it would only wither and die, like a fairy surrounded by nonbelievers whose hands refuse to clap.

*** ***

The Art of Arguing

(Aug 3 · 1 min read – First published on Medium)

I tossed you the shovel so smoothly,
you didn’t notice the exchange amid the whirl of angry words.
Knowing me so well, I marveled that you had missed it.
So when you began to dig, I said nothing.

Deaf to my hidden delight,
and bent on winning our trivial battle,
you never slowed to see the ever-widening trap
or question my sudden stillness.

I bit the inside of my cheek and offered a pickaxe,
when you halted in your mansplaining.
Would you snatch it from me — or climb
from the knee-deep grave of your argument?

Handle gripped in both our hands;
I arched an elegant eyebrow before letting go,
then I said, “Fine,” for encouragement,
as you prepared to swing at the bedrock of us —

My secret amusement abruptly collapsed
when you raised your arms to take aim.
Poised thus, you grinned — and recognition struck.
Bested, I smirked back then laughed at your daring.

“Touché, my love.

*** ***

Soul Speak – When words Fail

(Jul 29 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

The fear is back that words will desert me when the world has hurt you, and it is my turn to offer comfort. On the day that you come to me and my I love yous ring hollow in your ears because you’ve heard them too often, will I have nothing else but silence to give?

When your soul seeks reassurance that the one who walks beside you still holds you dear, will I be able to squeeze eloquence from my heart? Or will I drown while searching for the perfect reply, grasping and gasping, as I spiral downward — now that I love you will no longer suffice.

Is it not enough that you are the pulse of my heart — must there be more? Do you not remember when I quietly gave you all of me? Can you not hear my soul speaking in the gentle touch of my hand as it slides into yours, the exhale of my sigh as we kiss, or the echo of a thousand I love yous when our eyes meet?

I fear it is in the absence of words that the language of my heart sings; where fluency is found, and comfort offered. So if that day comes, my love, and I stand silent before your pain—don’t turn away. Listen to the pulse of my heart. Take my outstretched hand. Kiss my lips and taste my sigh. And then if that is not enough, look deep into the center of me and hear what mere words cannot express.

*** ***

The Witches are Gathering

(Jul 30 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

Do you hear the earth’s heartbeat beneath the soil?
She beckons to us tonight.
Come learn from those who have walked before —
the path is hidden,
yet worn by our callused feet.
There is nothing in these wood to fear.
No devils — only wolves, and they are our kin.

Dare to howl with us.

Can you taste the seasons upon your lips?
Spring strawberries give way to summer honey,
Autumn’s pumpkin to winter’s mulled wine — 
Does it linger on your tongue as it does on ours?
And do your eyes mark the ever-changing light?
Round and round the wheel turns
and nature is colored under its relentless spinning.

Silence is what we keep.

By full moon’s light we cast the circle;
Sage, rosemary, and petals ground to dust.
Come and we will whisper secrets in perfect love
as lavender is laid beneath your dreaming pillow.
Drink a healing brew of ginger, honey, and nutmeg
while we burn a shield of frankincense and dragon’s blood.
The Craft is but a pool’s reflection of our will.

Speak truth or not at all.

Can you hear the drum of our dancing feet?
The bonfires are lit and in the grove we unite.
Glimpse the magick inside these woods —
the path is hidden,
yet worn by our callused feet.
We are her guardians — her sons and daughters.
Abandon your fear and take my hand.

Come, the witches are gathering.

*** ***

I’ve Known Us Before

(Jul 31 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

I have quicksilver memories that do not fit. Moments from lifetimes that roll away from me like marbles across my kitchen floor. A perfect flash of the impossible when you frown at me — braced for a fight that does not come. Surely, the sword blade falling was just a trick of the light, and the strange fear that they’ve found us again is naught but fanciful imaginings.

Yet my soul whispers, I’ve known us before.

What cannot be possible often intrudes when you laugh and your spirit is light. A fanciful notion of servants and dark corridors invades my vision. Your hand lifts my skirts and a sphere of stolen rendezvous and sweet secrets rolls past to disappear under the sofa. But the day is sunny. The cat has claimed the coffee table — and we know nothing of castles.

It has always been me you’ve sought, my soul insists.

Tonight, I lie beside you and listen while you speak of the future. Such a trivial thing to set the marbles rolling across the floor, but I sense that we have done this before — in the heather, my head resting on your chest while you plan. You’ve always been the one to stand between us and the dangers of the world. That comforting idea lingers beneath my pillow even after you rise to put the house to bed.

It has been eternally thus, my soul replies as it weaves dreams of lives long-ago lived.

At breakfast, you bring coffee. Before you can turn away, I tell you all that I know of what had gone before — of Romans and of runaways, of castles and heathered hills. You listen patiently; say nothing in reply. And at that moment, I realize you’ve never felt them as I do or caught the flash of their ghostly glow. The quicksilver memories are hidden from you. So many lifetimes forgot — such richness lost.

I alone keep the memory of us. In your silence, my soul weeps.

*** ***

When Love Ripens

(Jul 24 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

Last night, long after the weight of your body left mine and the heat of that practiced exchange cooled, we giggled like children about nothing and everything. Your arm pulled me close and my cheek nestled against your chest in that same dip I’d claimed so many years ago. I breathed in your scent, of skin so familiar, and sighed.

When our union was new, we burned like twin wildfires trying to consume the other. Your love left me breathless, gasping — and desperate.

This morning you brought me coffee. And in that moment, your gaze was soft, a caress against my heart and breast — though the lines on my face were visible and my lips had surrendered their blush to the pillowcase. Our blaze has turned to acceptance of the sweetest kind and I smiled.

In our beginning, we touched and stroked, forever sharing physical space for fear that the friction between us might die should our flesh wander too far from the other.

This afternoon, you were gone, save the note you sent my phone. The message was a mundane one — and yet your spirit touched mine as surely as if you’d stood just beyond my sight, your arms enfolding me. We do that now, touch without touching; memories of a shared life delivered in a single glance, a single missive. It’s a language of spirits long since entangled, and I glow because of it.

In the dawn of our story, we only showed our best selves — to afraid to give all for fear of rejection.

Tonight, we will come together again in kindness, the hard edges of our bodies worn smooth. Ours is a different kind of love. It is better — ripened by understanding. There is room to breathe deeply now and be wholly ourselves in the sharing. The pads of my fingertips stroke your whiskered jaw and I kiss and revel in the taste that is the miracle of us.

*** ***

Moontide

(Jul 23 · 2 min read – First published on Medium)

The moon has awakened me and I listen to you in the silence of our bed. By your familiar breathing, I know you are lost inside the realm of dreams.

Do you dream of me? After all this time, do I still walk with you in that realm or have the struggles of our life together replaced me with strangers who trade balloons for patched tires.

And if I am there, my love, do you still hold my hand? Or is it someone else’s hand you embrace like a lover as sailing ships and toy planes float across a twilight sky.

The moon has awakened me to tell me secrets that can only be revealed in the dark — of a future uncertain and of change to come.

What secrets do you keep, my love? Will you still share them with me after all these years? And if I am to be your confessor, will those truths alter us so that we no longer recognize each other as we once were?

You turn in your dream and pull my body toward yours — fitting us together though we reside in separate realms. With the moon watching, is it me you seek, my love? Or is your body pressed to mine a comfortable habit and no longer meaningful?

The moon has awakened me and I listen to you in the silence of our bed. And I have questions. Questions I dare not ask come dawn, for even after all this time, you are still my love — a beloved piece of my soul I never wish to be without.

And if I am not just a comfortable habit, then do you still cherish the portion of my soul I gave you so long ago? Does it whisper to you as the moon beckons to me each night? If so, then hold fast to me, my love. Hold fast, so I don’t float away on next silver moontide.

*** ***

Check out the latest Chalkboard blog post for Book Reviews, a little glimpse at my Unfinished Pile, or other bits of whimsy.