Openings: A Poem

Openings

First a door

Then a bottle

And blinking eyes

Shyly probing

With wonder.

Later ears ensnared  

Opened

To aerial refrains.

And awkward hands

Fearful of smoke smoldering

In pans

Gliding deftly into

Epicurean entrees.

And uncertain skin

Long draped in fabric

Uncloaked.

Opening a

Woman’s essence.

Opening her

To love.

Photo by David Stroup

About Laurie: The author of the recently released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, and Forests Secrets.  Laurie Woodward  is also a screenwriter who co-authored Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Finding Gratitude

Thank you. A simple phrase. So easy to utter.  It falls from our lips multiple times each day. Yet, have you ever thought about what it means to be thankful? To embrace the gifts all around?

I know I don’t always show gratitude. Sometimes I live in resentment,  blaming others for my successes and failures. If my step-father hadn’t beaten the women in my family, I’d have been assertive in my romantic relationships.  I would have stood up and demanded that my needs be met. If my husband hadn’t had an affair, I wouldn’t be doubting my lovability today.  Even if we’d still divorced I would have begun dating with confidence in my attractiveness.  It was my boyfriend’s job that kept me from committing fully. If he had just gotten a better paying one, we would have had the perfect relationship.

And it goes on and on.

So often, I’ve argued with what is the truth of my experience.  But I have no control over past events. I cannot change the fact that my ex-husband had a secret seven-year affair. I cannot rewrite an old boyfriend’s resume. I cannot magically erase the black eyes and broken bones my step-father inflicted.

But I can choose where to focus to my thoughts. I can say thank you for every experience. I can choose gratitude. I can thank my ex-husband for believing in me when I was just an insecure kid unsure of my life’s path. I can admire how my step-father sought counseling and tried to overcome his anger showing me that anyone can change.  I  can be grateful for how my boyfriend told me time and again to be kind to myself . How he modeled self-acceptance and making peace with what is.

Instead of fixating on what never manifested, I will remember what has.

I may be single, again, but wondrous relationships abound. My children fill my heart and mind with joy. My silly dad and worry-wort mom say ridiculous things that make me chuckle. I have rocking times with friends dancing, chatting, sharing stories. Kisses and caresses from lovers of the past linger on my skin.  I have an abundance of love for myself and others.

I am blessed.

Thank you all.

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(Photo by David Stroup)

About Laurie: The author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. Laurie Woodward  co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet, and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

Reviews: Thank You Readers!

 

Thank you to all of you for your kind words about the Artania Chronicles. I am humbled.

Laurie Woodward is the author of The Pharaoh’s Cry,  Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky from the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles,  as well as the middle-grade Forest Secrets. She co-wrote Dean and JoJoThe Dolphin Legacy and was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet,  and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net

(Cover photo by David Stroup)

A Mother’s Day Poem to Grandma

 

As I look back

And view

The 1963-RCA-wide-screen-color-t.v.

It flickers on.

Before me lie

Cousins, brothers, sisters

Splayed on low ply carpet

Fidgety chins drilling holes into their fists,

Eyes wide

Elbow to elbow

 

“Hey! Scoot over! I can’t see!”

“Grandma!?”

 

Grandma’s voice:

A scratched phonograph record

I continue to dance to.

“Now, now you kids get along”

She soothed,

And we did.

 

I change the channel

 

Grandma’s toast

Waiting in the warming oven

Golden edged butter rays

Radiating like mini-suns.

I watched them melt and disappear.

“It’s ready!”

I heard my child-voice cheer.

 

 

 

Commercial time

 

Cousin Davey giving a testimonial

“Round steak and Grandma-Gravy on top of white bread taste better than Sizzler’s t-bone anyday.”

 

Back to our program

 

Bernice kneeling in a stunted strawberry patch

Sturdy hands grasping an unfortunate dandelion.

“This hard pan” she mutters

As her harrow-hand cuts rows

Into the brick

That was her stretch of land.

 

I wonder what’s on Channel Three?

 

Children lie on either sofa

A-bed for the night,

Watching her,

Watching

That RCA-wide-screen-color-t.v.

Johnny ‘Carson’s handsome face

Flirting through the glass,

Her head tossed back in laughter

Course-grey hair bouncing

And catching the dim light.

 

We interrupt this program to bring you a special news bulletin.

 

“Yahtzee!” thrice she shrieks.

Aunts, uncles, mothers and fathers chuckle

As  kids mumble “I wanted Yahtzee.”

And Bernice Stuart wins it again, folks.

 

We now return you to your regularly scheduled program.

 

Grandma’s arms

Kneading pie dough or pulling fabric

As she bent over the antique Singer sewing machine

Making secret gifts we all knew about.

Were draped velvet

For small hands to brush.

Each one of us

(the grandchildren)

Would pet

The softness of she

As tender whispers called in our minds:

“Those arms are just for me.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m a Dork

I’m a dork. I’ll admit it. Always have been.

While others lounge in bed snoozing away as long as they can, what do I do? I roll out of those warm, cozy covers just to set my fingers on the keyboard. Just to pretend I’m 14, skateboarding the streets of Santa Barbara, hoping my latest crush notices me. Or that I’m a slime-covered creature bent on invading dreams. Or, sometimes, a lonely alien anthropologist seeking to understand the human’s world.

I’m a nerd.

I don’t know Gucci from garage sales or microblading from microwaves. I hate to shop and never paint my fingernails. While other women accessorize with French knotted scarves, spring purses, and bright rings, bracelets, and necklaces I leave the jewelry in the box, having no idea where to start.

I’m a poindexter.

My t.v. has 1 channel, Netflix, that I only watch when I’m too exhausted to read which culturally leaves me out of the loop. While my coworkers chat about the latest show to binge watch or which star is dating who, I smile, and nod, and think, Who the heck are they talking about? All the while wishing we could talk Latin roots and word derivations in 19th century literature.

I’m even a dork at the gym.

While other gym rats reach for the weights, their brows drawn together in consternation as they lift another twenty pounds, I tap my feet to I tunes. Some might read while spinning on the stationary bike. Not me. When I’m on the elliptical, I put on “Dancin’ With Myself” and try to sneer like Billy Idol or slide my hands over air pretending to be a rapper on stage. Fun!

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I’m a freak for music.

While others drive the California freeways as if trying to win a race to nowhere, I crank the tunes and steering wheel dance while singing off-key to a rocking beat. Not just one type of tune either. Any genre of the last sixty years is fair game for my happy gyrations. From David Cassidy to Dion. Red Hot Chili Peppers to Rage Against the Machine. Elvis to Eminem. Bee gees to Boys to Men. I love them all.

Yep, I’m a dork.

And you know what?

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

A Mentor’s Message

On November 26, 2017 Gary and Becky Kennedy hosted a living memorial/celebration of all things David Burnight/Tuesday night dinner reunion/open circle/party/or anything else you would like to call it gathering for this man. Although very ill with cancer, he spoke about his legacy: Intersection House.

Intersection House was a communal home on San Diego State’s campus for people, like me, who believe in a better world. For dreamers and activists. For searchers and spiritualists. For Christians and Buddhists and Jews; and others just trying to figure it all out. It was my home during my senior year. And continues to be my home.

Because of this amazing man.