Thank You, Thank you, Mystery of Life

Woman’s hands turn pages of sheet music over piano. Her hands appear to be of a person of color, and her fingers are topped with orange nail polish.
Photo by from

While driving I turn on the classical radio station KUSC hoping to hear comforting music that will wrap me like a fleece blanket today. The station, which I haven’t listened to in decades except for the occasional catastrophe (not the daily little ones) plays a march.

Not a cheerful march. Not now, while I’m driving an hour and a half on multiple freeways to Little Saigon in Westminster to get an evaluation for a root canal.

I glance at my GPS to get in the right lane. The on-again-off-again GPS isn’t talking to me today. Next, a violin durge plays…


Nothing stays that way

Rows of fluttering multi-colored papers, with signs in Spanish and I think Korean saying this is a sacred place where people can hang prayer notes.
“Throughline” photo by author

Have you had a morning — one
where everything comes undone?
The phone doesn’t work, the email too
and dooming fingers are pointing at you?
I have. To top it off I lock myself out of my room.

At the phone store the wait is long
I sing the notes of a bitch song.
My old carrier asks the month I signed
up in 2015, to transfer my line,
I am losing my flipping mind.

The young salesbeing with red hair
sober while I fume finally gets the phone clear.
I buy myself Chai Latte at Starbucks to relax
then get $5 guilt…

Stream of Consciousness

Surprise dental visit today

Photo by on

Find socks in case it’s cold, socks that match — check. Find clothes that are cotton or natural and cozy — oops, most in dirty laundry. Mmmm….might have to find the cleanest ones that work. Floss for the dentist and brush — check. A bit of face grooming in case she magnifies my face — done earlier, check. Find a cozy sweater in case it’s cold in the office — check.

Why am I so worried about how I look for this dentist?

I want the endodontist to see me as respectable, and not judgeable (so maybe she’ll do a…


A poem about re-framing shame

Photo by on

“…you might say every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck. It isn’t easy.“ Tevya, Fiddler on the Roof

A month after being fired,
I went to a conference for women
thinner, younger, more confident,
to weave together a soul business.

At home, I thought:
What can I give…
one doubt
after another —

like an arrow toward a seemly target
shame obliterated
my functioning body,
a body that holds itself,

I landed on a table
on an alien gaseous planet
for a way, any direction…


A dizain

Photo by on

I celebrate EBDT’s birthday!
Helpful critiques of my writing she brings,
Chatting on couch, soul blue eyes are her way.
“Tell me anything you want to,” she sings,
“tragic, nostalgic…” my feelings find wings.
She washes my glasses, measures my bed,
takes me to thrift store, World Market instead
to help me make a home from empty space,
“An orange sun mat, your colors! Let’s spread
in the looks great in your place!”

“Sweetie”, she says, “I’m so glad you’re here!”
“Thanks, EBDT, your kind deeds repair.”

By our actions we reveal what is growing in the heart. Actions…


My older and wiser friend

Photo by Penofgold with permission of EBDT

How do you describe
pale blue eyes
that have worn away veils of self,
rubber of self-doubt? (Silk?)

In their reflection I see my veils of ambition,
hopes for applause,
and a trace of aggrandizement.
My green eyes assume a construction worker’s stance.

On her birthday she says,
“It took 80 years to feel I’m OK.”
Her long fingers tap the seat beside her.
“So glad you’re here,” she adds.

My eyes sense more veils: 1: Am I OK? 2: Safe?
3: Same mistake again…4: I care about people. Don’t forget youself.
5: You’re learning. I love you. 6: There’s a…

A personal essay

Eleven year old boy with brown hair, weating white t-shirt, standing while holding an accordion.
Image from Free-Pik

Oh, no! The new dating site wants me to fill out whether I’m “Fit” (hardly, but once I was about 51 years ago). “Slim”. (Nah.) “Medium build”. (Mmmmm….I try to look medium — I really do!!) “Curvy”. (I do have curves down my thighs.) “A few pounds extra”. (Oy!)

Lastly, “Large build”. (I have a small build but voluminous breasts, like revealed on , “…they are in an incredible race to see which one will touch my waist first!”.) There’s no “Other” box!

I shut the laptop. No one is going to like me once they see me……

A Thank-you Note to Women Co-editors of “Paper Poetry”

Multiple flowers, some magenta and white striped, some purple or bright pink, growing together.
Photo by Penofgold

Carolyn, Indubala,
elevate what Paper Poetry’s about,
patiently coach, guide
from the inside

With these two,
like a river’s water bestowing -
sometimes gently,
sometimes still,
they will go with your flowing.

It’s a collaboration,
a supportive examination,
of what wants to be birthed,
then bathing away what isn’t worth

Thank you to Indubala, the moon’s reflection,
the dancing light’s upward direction,
and Carolyn, of joy, happiness, strength connection,
editors, writers, lovers of the Unknowable
they bring out the beauty of your literary complexion.

Note: I’ve had the privilege of working with Indubala on six poems in the…

Sculpture of woma with hands reaching across chest together, eyes closed, sprinkler sprinkling water ovr her. She sits by cactus and lants.
Scu;pure by Sarah Switek, photo by penofgold

Nature Photography

Photos with haikus

I tried not to cry but finally let myself as I was leaving Adobe Hills three days ago. Savannah, the owner, showed me that her cat Meow had found her way into my car and was sitting on the sheet covering my bags. Later Savannah told me the dog Barney was crying as I left so I went back and gave him strong pets and encouraging words.

I’m wanting to share some things that caught my eye/wonder while I was n the Sierra Nevada foothills. Perhaps you will see why leaving was so sad. …

A haiku

Photo by on

A writer, mama,
has painful lipedema.
Helping shares promise.

“If I could give you one thought, it would be to lift someone up. Lift a stranger up — lift her up. I would ask you, mother and father, brother and sister, lovers, mother and daughter, father and son, lift someone. The very idea of lifting someone up will lift you, as well.” Maya Angelou (quote found on

Our fellow writer Shannon Ashley needs a surgery for lipedema. …


Goal: Ignite your heart, soul, and laughter with humorous, spiritual, psychologically healing stories informed by service as a clinical social worker 30 years.

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