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This Phoenix Speaks

Seven years in the making, my first published book, This Phoenix Speaks , is now a reality. The tireless and tiring work invested to ma...


we said it a thousand times
but never really meant it until now
the anguish of hearts shoved it
even more between the lines
folded gently in as to make no noise
softly rolling down faces
onto their pillows so silently
paralyzingly exquisite
dreams now take on new shape
one piece taken from here and there
another became part of the landscape
when no one was looking
a hope personified and actualized
though it all remains a mystery yet
it must be said in action
without a word
for words have been worn out
worn out their welcome
and bourne more than their share
even blighted our memories
to never be undone or unsaid
to think of the impossible
being possible, being reality
its unbearable truth strikes
clear through the very soul of me
each tear bids you a somber
and sincere adieu 

the dark


It might sound silly, but I still have a fear of the dark. It's not horribly debilitating, but every once in awhile I get weirded out and need almost all of the lights on in the house. Due to this fact, I cannot watch anything even remotely scary, and by scary I mean anything that puts you half way on the edge of your seat--even suspense in movies. I am such a little chicken when it comes to the dark, but at least I'll admit it. Right?

I'm not really sure why exactly, but I blame older family members scaring the daylights out of me when I was little. But, I will save that story for another day…

I Don't Care


three little words
said with so little thought
that it's not even worth it
to spell out the fourth

three unfeeling words
uttered by the unfeeling
so the hearer doesn't feel worth it
not worth their breath

three damaging words
repeatedly damaging
to the souls of all around
splinters felt by only those who still care

natural born sprinter

making it to the finish line
some how some way
it never stays in the same place
always moving, shifting
letting out another 20 yards
of hard sprint
out of breath
but going hard just as the end is in sight
it disappears
the race is not over
it's never over
at least not until it is really over
and I'm not ready for that

time slips by

not enough time for anything
everything takes so much
bankrupt at birth
yet as we grow older
we can't seem to have enough still
someday I will have an eternity of time
and I might spend it all visiting
with friends

Laura and Oscar: Week 13

A Crossroads continued...
I was going on a trip to Las Vegas for the millionth time, but this time was different--I didn’t set up anything with friends like I usually do. I just posted a Facebook status Heading to Vegas.... I thank my sense of adventure and spontaneity for what happens next.

I received a message from someone who has been a Facebook friend of mine for a couple of years but with no real life reconnection, so it was a very pleasant surprise. I message back with my phone number, telling him to call me if he wants to catch up. Once in Las Vegas, I start my adventures of seeing family, going to dinner, and baking stuff with a sweetie sister-in-law. Then, I get a text. I never could have imagined what might happen until I read the message and it was him. I’d say my heart stopped for a moment, but that would infer that I had a cardiac event, so we will settle on that I held my breath subconsciously for more than a second, that I somehow felt the world turn at a quickened pace right under my fingertips. Somehow it really did happen that way.  We ended up talking for hours, catching up and filling in holes for each other, deciding to catch up in person in a couple of days.

Now, I’m at my friend Debbie’s house chatting it up with her when the doorbell rings. It was a warm, sunny morning when I entered her house, so when she answered the door with Oscar standing there and rain was pouring down, it was magical. I knew he was coming; however, I had not expected him to make such a grand entrance back into my life. Another breath-holding experience that I dove right out of by bouncing over to give him a hello-I-haven’t-hugged-you-in-two-decades hug. I introduced my two friends and then Oscar and I departed on our first adult adventure. Driving down the street, our worlds began to collide--our words and the music playing in the car were simple proofs of the fact.

There is familiarity coupled with the electricity of a new acquaintance that cannot be described with words.  I hardly know how to attach anything to those few hours other than a wish that I could allow you into my heart and soul to feel it again with me.

The rest of the story could turn into a book  where I could share a hundred details, but I don’t want to throw it all out there. I don’t want to share it completely because it is all I have to hold onto, but I will admit that I stayed another day just so I could see him again...

...to be continued next week.


Always a fighter
now I know why
a time would come
when I would need
to fight for you
and win

Heaven sent

Questions pepper my thoughts
Running wild with no answers in sight
I look to my center to find peace
Reflecting on God's spirit
That holy blessing keeps me together
On the worst days, I am comforted
Angels surround me both from heaven
And on earth, lifting me
Helping and guiding
To find so much love
In the eyes of friends
Where we find the stuff of heaven

words escape me

no words, just fascination

maybe something more like trembling
so many friends
are they just pretending?
always wishing
come so far
through so much
but it never seems to end
I must secretly love trouble
traveling--that's what I want to do
see new places
visit family
New York
British Isles
yes, family
sweet reunion
I long for that
someone to call my own
children are that
my wonderful, mess-making children
they are so much
life's breath
will someone who is not my own
choose to stay
outside my window
the world is waiting
for me to start my day
always writing
living the dream
from so long ago
still wishing
for more

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a confessional


I could go on and on about laughing so hard that I peed my pants incidents, or even still, I could tell you about times when my girl friends were over and my little brothers behaved atrociously, but maybe a more honest response would be to share one of the worst things I did when I was a young adult and making the worst mistakes of my lifetime. Just sharing this story is mortally embarrassing actually. I don't live this way even remotely now, so please don't judge.

I had never really gotten plastered drunk before, so when my boyfriend and I arrived at Lake Havasu I didn't think this little weekend getaway with the car club would be anything to worry about. (Please take note that I was such a stupid follower at this time of my life. That's an embarrassing enough fact in itself.) Anyways. My boyfriend and I had gotten into an argument, and so I was busy ignoring him which meant he wasn't busy watching out for my naive self. I am certain he knew what to expect, but I certainly did not. Long story short, everyone was passing out shots and other bottles of I don't even know what and I just kept on drinking as if it were water because I had no clue what it was going to do to me. You'd think I would have put two and two together since I'd seen people getting smashed before, but I didn't. And that is how I ended up crying and vomiting my eyes out with intermittent periods of unconsciousness on the floor of a campground restroom with the car club president who I can't even remember his name patting me on the back and asking me if I was okay.

I am so ashamed of this incident to this day that embarrassed hardly covers it. Not only did I wreck my body with alcohol, but what I never contemplated until I became much more mature is how I put myself in great danger of getting raped.

I never got drunk like that again, but it took me until I was 21 years old to realize that I didn't want to even experiment with alcohol. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, my bad girl days all happened while under age.

I am certain I was living my mother's worst nightmares. And that's even more embarrassing.

for my daughter, my niece

written on the wind
a wisp of pure trusting love
bonded for ever

all at once

grasping at courage one strand at a time
stopping to smell the unpicked roses
wanting to cry from inner anguish
laughing out loud with friends
worrying over the unknown future
planning goals with hope and a prayer
dreaming dreams that sparkle and rush
waking from nightmares all too real
striving to know all that I should
speeding along through life
gripping the seat for the wild ride

There is...

There is so much to say
to feel
to learn
to know

There is not time enough
for all we want to do
to touch
to create
to finish

There is always something more
that lays hidden in the things
we need to see
to comprehend
to embrace
to love

Laura and Oscar: Week 12

Grown Up and Moved On

A Crossroads

I’m sitting in a Milwaukee hotel room about 45 minutes until I have to give one of the most important presentations of my life…to date. As I’m nervously-inefficiently-desperately trying to finish editing a few final touches to my presentation that will make it “complete”, which it never is, a Facebook wall post pops up on my phone. I look at it…I ponder it…and decide what the hell. I quickly respond with an invitation to an old friend that reports she will be in the Las Vegas Valley over the next few days. I’m scheduled to fly home that night and I think it would be a perfect opportunity to see her. 

However, the word friend really does not describe my relationship to her. This was a girl, who is now a woman, with whom I shared my first kiss, my first going steady experience, and my first, well, lots of other interesting details of a boy’s life on the way of learning to become a man. Needless to say, she has a special place in my heart, the way you’ll never forget the first recollection of the ocean, or the sunrise, or your first roller-coaster ride for that matter. It is the experience that opens up something inside deep and profound, giving you a grand sense of awe and wonder. The happy few that have this kind of experience understand their own distinct power in The Universe, which makes us weighty and deep, philosophical, and powerful. In so very many ways I compare my experiences with her to every woman since.

Laura (that’s her name…my first kiss) was so sweet and tender and loving at that stage of my very young life it imprinted upon me the idea that I had value and self-worth and this gave me a deep sense of self-respect and respect and appreciation for women. This validated my own self-respect that my mother cultivated in me through her own honor, dignity, and love. This secret gift is a magic relic that until this very moment as I articulate its existence is magical shield made of the purest metal gold which allows me to ride through my life on a war chariot with the valiance of a warrior prince, incontestable and inexorable.

I quickly saved my presentation files to my flash-drive and burst into the conference hall tired from the long night of bar hopping. As I make my way to the podium I feel a renewed sense of confidence and power welling inside, at first making me feel a little shaky but as it fills my body I steady it and now I’m ready. 

As I deliver my presentation inside a well-lit conference room on the second floor of the Hyatt in Downtown Milwaukee, I let my mind and heart flutter through the three-hour presentation which more accurately resembled one of my class lectures. I folded photographs into my ideas, speaking points, and experiences of working with people who suffer profoundly from addiction and how I think best to provide treatment for them which can be summed in two words that took me three hours to deliver--love and compassion. At the end when I thanked them for the honor and pleasure, their applause are heartfelt and sincere, which pleases me in a deep and humbling way. For me it was a great day of success and appreciation for my life and all the blessings and joy that have come with a lifetime of struggle and growth.

I got back on a plane from the friendly City of Milwaukee and head back to the unforgiving desert heat which I’ve missed. I love to travel but get terribly homesick when I have spent too much time apart from my beloved hometown. That night, I called “first-kiss” and we excitedly chatted the night away, and I rediscovered all those old memories and feelings too. Feelings I thought had maybe died when I fell in love again.

In many ways, Laura was just the same as the day I left her, 16 years old, full of life with smiling hair and childish laughter. As we talked and talked, I saw while she was at her core still there, she had grown and pained as we all do through life, but what I found so remarkable is that her scars did not define her as much as provide an appropriate badge of honor for her war wounds, which I deeply admire.

...to be continued next week.

a day in the life of a son

He went out into the world
To learn a thing or two
Got dirty with tinkering
Time well spent

He came home
Filled with knowledge
New found skills

Not just knowing things
But he arrived back
With something more
He came home with confidence

right now

heart beating
more than ever
too much

Becoming Lovely

purple, flowers, poetry

Frost bitten loveliness
Forcing its beauty on the world
Sun's rays are its accomplice
Pushing aside snow and ice

Blooming amidst trying times
Vibrancy beyond description
Rich and glorious in overcoming
Persistently perfect in becoming

pass it along

too much sadness to go around
so we must share it with our neighbor
take a helping and pass it along
and we can make it through together

too much work for one set of hands
so we must be the hands that help
share your strength of mind and heart
and help will come when you need a friend

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my baptism day


All I remember about my baptism day is that my mom couldn't come because my baby brother was very sick. I felt so saddened that she couldn't be there that I didn't allow myself to feel the happiness that should have come to me. I am grateful for the decision to be baptized, but if I could go back, I would ask my parents to postpone it until all of my family could be there together.

My life is blessed because of my membership in the church, and I invite all who would like to know more to visit lds.org that you might see for yourself. 

that little something

The glint in the eye of a mischievous child
The lingering of a hug between friends about to part
The upturn of a smile in someone you have long missed
The knowing glance across the desk from a respected teacher
The comforting warmth in the holding of hands
The spring in the step of a truly happy person
The scent found on the crook of a lover's neck


a wish is born

a wish keeps wanting to escape me
off the tip of my tongue
it tries to leap
toward a future unforeseeable
into the wild, blue yonder

awake and face the truth!
really look at what you can do!
and then there is a pause
but imagination takes its place
pushing the wish over the cliff

in flight

watch me breaking free

sprouting wings on which to fly

no shell can hold this

Laura and Oscar: Week 11

Sweet 16

Not mine-- Oscar’s. I am not sure why I was invited or how I got there, but my friend Katherine and I were at Scandia with Oscar and one of his friends. We played mini-golf, laughed, talked. I remember secretly watching him smile when we were by the windmill hole (not sure of the number) and feeling the warmth of it. Honestly, I do not remember talking to Katherine or Oscar's friend even one time.

Oh yes, and that reminds me that I almost forgot to add how flirting was one of the main activities at hand. We were especially good at it since we knew each other from love’s beginning--flirting at the level of an art form. We truly had an unfair advantage over other people. It probably made all witnesses to it sick to their stomachs.

Needless to say, I recall wanting to make an impression on him. I wanted more than anything for Oscar to like me enough to once again be more than my friend. 

...to be continued next week. 


The struggle seems light from this vantage point
It was all worth it looking back in hindsight
Feeling celebratory and smiling in the end
Yet, despite the happiness, I am feeling something more--
An abiding sense of regret

No regret for my actions
No regret for how things are now
Only a small hint of regret,
Better still--a haunting whisper of regret
A tangly, messed up, sharp and painful twinge of regret

Regret for the crossroads that we happened upon
Regret and disappointment in the directions we went
On our merry ways--never to cross happy paths again
Regret for the bitterness and anguish of heart
Of which I never dreamt I'd taste


I could sing a song
And dance a dance
And sing a while more
For life as I've know it
Has finally ended
And started up anew
Come sing with me
And kick up your feet
And we'll dance
And sing
And be


poetry, photography

Gifts resplendent were laid across my path this day
Gentle words, lovingkindness, appreciation
An overflowing well of pure, sparkling inspiration

A glimmering smile lit my shadowed face
Wondrous and  unforeseen, sheer delight
Such generosity of spirit sharing its depth and height

No longer feeling the drought within this heart
Drawing upon lines of uncomplicated sincerity
Drinking from the cup of an everlasting amity

Pushing me to see with deepened vision
My priceless gift—full to the brim with felicity
Leaving no room for bleak opacity


how to love


I learned how to love from them
They loved with fierce loyalty
Loving everyone, but never caring too much
Life was their business
Knowing when to make it theirs and when not
With all their faults
They knew how to love
And love is essential for life

Learning to love from such masters
Has not been an easy task
They taught by example
With very few words
Forced to read between their lines
And have loss teach the last measure
That they loved everyone
And it was enough


the rhythm hits the air
like a fireworks explosion
the feet get to the floor
faster than a bullet train to its destination

calling beckoning begging
pushing her to dance
moving sweating following
the lead that she pushes against
sliding spinning swinging
like the song will never end

their rhythm cuts through the crowd
like a knife through butter
their feet glide across the floor
faster than rocks skipping across a lake

a daydream

Laura and Oscar: Week 10

High School continued...

I was a freshman--finally. 

Oscar and I had become history--or so I thought. 

I would never fit in--the biggest lie ever.

High school was amazing.  High school marching band was even more amazing. It was as if we had an insta-family on campus. There were favorites, outcasts, everyone in the middle, and it was so fun. The band was pretty big too, so that made life all the more interesting for everyone.

Even with all the tons of people, I couldn’t help notice Oscar. He used to hang out with an older guy named Jimy who had noticed me. I didn’t know they were good friends until later, but the fact remains that they were. So as I was getting noticed by and noticing Jimy, I also saw my ex-boyfriend who had dumped me for a high school girl. Talk about weird, right? My first boyfriend ever was buddies with my first high school boyfriend.  It boggles the mind...

So anyways. There was this one day when I was walking past the band seating to get to the practice rooms or maybe out to the hall to get something and I had to walk past Oscar. He was sitting down getting ready to warm up or he was already doing so when I stole a glance. He had changed a lot since I last saw him the year before. He looked more grown up. I wanted to say hi--or maybe I did and don’t remember--but I remember the feeling of disconnectedness. I had no right to give him a hug or anything for that matter. 

What a confusing thing for a young girl to feel. Seeing someone you cared about so much and not be able to talk to them. It should be illegal or something. 

...to be continued next week. 


The paths of our lives
twist and turn
As if on a continuous
through the mountains
Climbing and waiting
for the trail to end
Waiting for
something new
Always wishing
for better
Pining for
an easier view
But it's everlastingly
up hill
Never down
If you want to really get
Anywhere but down
Sends you through
the clouds
Of happy days
and sad ones
That make you
For what is
around the


Dancing, swinging, and swaying
Talking and laughing
Earrings flying, makeup sweating
Glitter and swirling skirts
A permissible peep show of sorts
The shoes, the hands, the hips
Everything spinning
The girl, the lights, the room

And then it's over

Driving home with music blaring
Wishing for one more dance
Before the clock strikes twelve
When the frock comes off
And shoes are tucked away
But not until the layers of makeup
Come peeling off does she realize
Cinderella must have felt this too

a friend

soothing thoughtfulness

piercing warmth as the sun's rays

stream through this dense fog

uncaged heart

You wrote your heart upon my sleeve
With ink which never washes out
You promised you would never leave
Forever us—without a doubt

When did always end?
Where was that road's fork?

The writing on the wall has said
More to me than you ever had
Deciphered actions broken down
Wings become her home—she has flown

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my most valuable gems

Since this was meant for inside a private journal, I will take license and interpret this prompt as a poem.

Suzie Kabloozie, an Autumn-born treasure
Provided my first lessons on being a mother
Learned slower than most--seemed at her leisure
Cheerful and sweet, the darlingest ever
Accepting Autism revealed my angel full measure

My Little Buddy, born in the desert
Ready for life sooner than most
Kicked his way out
Hasn't stopped yet
A blessed run for my money

If ever there was a mini-me child
It is Her Royal Highness, my Little "D"
Temperament is caring and mild
Except when she's wild
Then, watch out--nothing can save thee

Mommy's Sweet Guy, so tender and quiet
Came down to Earth after a blizzard
A bookend who teaches me more
Every day as we strive to move forward
He leans on me to show him how far