Sunday, July 7, 2013

Peace & Love @ Noon! II

Had my alarm set on my phone ... I was visiting my mom and the phone was in my pocket.  For the life of me, I could not understand why it was going off incessantly ... and then it dawned on me!  So I stood in the middle of Queen Elsie's living room, held up both hands flashing peace signs, and shouted, "Peace and love! Peace and love! Peace and love!"   My daughter asked, "What are you doing, crazy woman?"  I replied, "It's Ringo Starr's birthday and he wanted everyone to do that at noon ..."

Peace & love, everyone!

Peace & Love @ Noon

So, today is Ringo Starr's 73rd birthday.  Today, wherever you are at noon, stop, drop, and roll out out a most sincere, "Peace & Love! Peace & Love! Peace & Love!"

My alarm is set . . .

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

but not lonely

but not lonely
the memory of you
pulls at me
demanding attention
for too long
you got it all
and now
all that is left
is a phantom
the whisper of a dream
that once was
hiding in the shadows
seeking the light
that shines for you
no more
dimmed by words
that cannot be unsaid
deliberate with intent
and delivered with a twist
setting the barbs deep
and leaving a wound
big enough for me
to walk through

but not lonely


Monday, May 27, 2013

no party

it is too easy
to give in
to the demands
of everyday life

every day life
demands to be
catered to

but life is no party
and i am not
a good hostess


Sunday, May 12, 2013

a mother is a woman . . .

what is it that makes someone a mother?  is it issuing forth new life from one's own loins?  is it the breath of an angel?   the smile of a god?  synchronicity? serendipity?  biology?  chemistry?  anatomy & physiology?

years ago, my son attended kindergarten at the local catholic school, and it was run by nuns.  a group of us was standing around at the end of a friday, catching up, chatting, sharing our plans for the weekend.  the principal, who was a nun, announced that she had to be off to attend to some business.  as she turned to walk away i said, "happy mother's day!"  she stopped, turned, and just looked at me.  with tears in her eyes she said, "no one has ever wished me a happy mother's day before ..."  and i said to her, "well, that's sad, because mother's day belongs to every woman who has ever loved a child."  

in the church i grew up in (that's how we say things around here), at some point someone, or a committee of someones, decided that mother's day should be celebrated, which is weird because people aren't supposed to be celebrated in church.  that's another topic.  anyway, there were these little contests, and the winners were given a corsage to wear.  the oldest mother.  the newest mother - one year someone voiced dissent about this award because the newest mother had adopted her child.  the mother with the most children present in church - didn't matter who actually had the most children, just who had the most with her that day.  my mom could not stand this particular practice.  we were methodists and this wasn't proper.  that and the fact she wouldn't be getting one of those corsages for one reason or another -- another topic for another day.  her main argument and concern was for those women who didn't have children, who couldn't have children, who had tried & tried and it just didn't happen, and especially the old women in our church who had devoted their lives to public education back when being a teacher meant you could not marry.  i decided then that too many women loved children and their love wasn't being recognized on mother's day.  

a mother is any woman who has ever loved a child.  she could indeed be your mother -- by birth, by choice, by the longing of her heart.  she could be your aunt, your cousin, your neighbor (that was my mom, another story), your sister.  a mother can be married -- to anyone, or she could be single, or divorced.  a mother can be young, old, middle-aged.  a mother is a woman who has taken it upon herself to love and nurture someone, to want the best for someone other than herself.  a mother is someone who will sacrifice her own wants and needs, maybe not always, but most of the time, to see that her loved one is safe and comfortable, clothed and fed, cared for and nurtured.  a mother does not always say what is on her mind, but ponders things in her heart, and always wants better for the one, or the ones, she loves.

a mother is a woman . . . any woman . . . who has ever loved a child.

My mama, Queen Elsie, and her baby girl . . .

Saturday, May 11, 2013

no mama

ain’t no mama perfect
we try and we fail
we try
we fail
we make mistakes
big ones
we question everything we do
“is this the right way?”
                 “what if i’m wrong?’
   “what if i’m right?”
                            “what if . . . ?”
         “what  . . . ?”
and we are always here
not “there”
there . . .
where we’ve always been
offering up ourselves
offering up
even that which you refuse
to give in return . . .

ain’t no mama perfect
but we love you like you are

Sunday, April 28, 2013


i am not in a church
though standing on holy ground
love in my heart
compassion in my soul
goodness something to strive for
though i may fail
and fall
not detracting
from my spirit
but shoring up
my foundation
keeping my edges from
getting too sharp
too rough
protecting what softness remains
pensive and hesitant within
i stand and fall
stand and fail
stand and remain
standing on holy ground

Sunday, April 21, 2013

in the garden

the ground is ready
tilled and dark
soft and warm
falling through my hands
plants and seeds waiting by
watching the weather
looking for that sunny day
with my hair loose and free
bare armed
when nature and i
make magic

mine not yours

there is nothing i can give you
that you don't already have
these things you have
entirely within yourself
there all this time for you to claim
what i have within me
is my own
my freedom
my independence
my acceptance
my strength
my resolve
you cannot have them
they are my own
i will not give them up
why would you want mine
when you have your own?
perhaps you see that i possess these things
though i sometimes lack the clarity and confidence
to see them for myself

there is nothing i can give you
so what is it that you want from me?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013


fatigue and loneliness
battling for acceptance
in a space meant
for joy and peace
but joy is elusive
and peace so exclusive
that i'd much rather
just go to sleep

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Sittin' on the Tumblr bus . . .
waiting for it to take me somewhere.  Scrolling along the posts, stopping to look at some, leaving others for another time.  It seems the pervasive, persistent theme is pain — emotional, spiritual pain.  We have been told, or perhaps some of us have just heard, that we are to treat others the way we wish to be treated.  The Golden Rule.  We have been told, or perhaps some of us have just heard, that we should be kind, that everyone is fighting a battle — Ian Maclaren or Plato, it’s your choice.  People, be good to yourself, first and foremost, and the rest of the world will fall into place.  Stop with the comparisons to others.  Stop with the hate.  Stop with the insecurities.  Do not allow the pain, anger, judgement, hatred, and insecurities of others to color your world.  Just stop it!  It is not easy — I know this for a fact.  This is not some Pollyanna, simplistic, impossible world view for suffering and pain are real and true.  I have existed on this planet for 54 years already and currently hurtling toward Year Marker 55.  We all make mistakes.  We all have our bad moments.  We all have things in our lives of which we are not proud — of saying, of doing.  Life may be suffering (Buddha), but “life is not a suffering Olympics” (Rabbi Harold Kushner).  Stand tall.  Love yourself.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


why must love be so fragile?
broken by words
torn by loneliness
destroyed by fear
love is much easier
to keep strong
when warmed by tenderness
and slaked by passion
all in the touch
of a gentle hand
and kindness spoken
in a whisper

echo of night


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

what are you waiting for?

we all face the conundrum of whether to share with someone, anyone, how we feel.  for some, negative emotions, thoughts, or opinions are easy to share . . . too easy.  thrown out without any rational, legitimate process of engagement.  just the whole, "i think . . . therefore, i must verbally bear forth my thoughts, feelings, opinions, emotions . . ." elocuted regardless of the possibility to truly wound another.  but, there is the flip side -- to share with someone that to you, this person is dear, esteemed, treasured, cherished, loved.

read the words by george eliot.  don't wait -- time beyond the grave is vast . . . silent and inescapable.

tell someone . . .

what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

start off the day

start off the day with coffee
maybe read a little
or a lot . . . depends
i reread things
especially at night
depressing things
like the road
or winter's bone
their dark imagery helps me to conjure
vivid, lucid dreams

start off the day with coffee
feed my cats
turn on the news
listen to music
fun and frivolous
songs from back when
getting up & starting the day
didn't mean going to work

start off the day with coffee
wish that this could last

Sunday, February 3, 2013


young girl
wanting to a be a grown girl
writing like you know girl
what it means to be free

young girl
wanting to be a liked girl
fighting to be approved girl
that's no way to be

young girl
just be yourself girl
forget everyone else girl
then you will see

young girl
like yourself first girl
approve of all you are girl
 i'm a woman who likes me

Sunday, January 20, 2013


silent treatment
not ready
meting out punishment
hopeless response
doling out
socratic attention
for question
lack of engagement
assigning blame
in your
own time
is no one
of your

Thursday, January 17, 2013


lightning strikes
as silence
the perspective
vertical discharges
with dark
charge the air
delivery of
lightning ribbon
to the eye

Sunday, January 13, 2013


opening up
old wounds never quite healed
just not bleeding
of faded and forgotten
there they are
holding hands
going nowhere
recalcitrant squatters
finding comfort here
in this place
you call your heart
evict them
you have places to go

Saturday, January 12, 2013


knee-jerk response
worship at the altar
of all you’ve heard before
no single thought is your own
must be true
you heard it
isn’t that what makes you
always doubting
never questioning
bumper sticker theology
cereal box philosophy
tshirt phrases of verbal conundrums
stay confused

Friday, January 11, 2013

No more waiting . . .

the shoreline is washing away .  .  . and still we sit
inertia holds us back
the comfort of not thinking of what could be
 what should be
get up and shake it off
the sand
the lethargy
wash away the flotsam & jetsam
it won't work for you anymore
dive down
grab hold of the derelict
that which you thought was gone
bring it up and out into the light and air
don't hold your breath too long
it is still there
just not forever

janet aldridge sullivan