BURNT OUT

Saturday's Sirens

by Gina Marselle

“We are learning that before the body can become a temple, it first must become our home.” ― Lucy H. Pearce, Medicine Woman: Reclaiming the Soul of Healing

The field is black
The clouds are white
Burnt out
I’m alone
Dreams fade
The tunnel narrows
Like a river
And I move
One way
I’m walking
And there are no sounds
Other than footsteps
Breath
It is as if the world is empty
And death is scary
Maybe life didn’t frighten Maya Angelou—
But here I am at a crossroad again
What do I know?
What advice do I have?
Other than–

Wisdom fades with memory
Or brain fog
My autoimmune disease
Attacks relentlessly
Hashimoto is its name
It has turned my world upside down
It starts with my thyroid–the mother of my house
This disease kills my hormones
Boosters my anxiety until it is a Jedi
Until…

View original post 38 more words

National Poetry Month, blog entry; heart/garden, poem

In an effort to return to the root of my passion in poetry, I’ll be revisiting an old poem to enter into National Poetry Month; I’ve never been one to discipline myself into an agreement to do 30 poems for 30 days and so it seemed more appropriate instead to flip back in my notebook, of all the poems written from Saturday’s Sirens poetry salons, and find something that resonated with me still. I think the power in poetry is not only in the power or relief you find in writing the first draft, but also in how it sits with you, weeks or months or years later. Sometimes this is like visiting with an old friend for coffee and not skipping a beat, other times this is like meeting a stranger and somehow feeling as though you’ve known them for decades. This poem, particularly, was written on my birthday, July 17th, last year, and brought me back not only to the joyous summertime salon, but of warmer days and sunshine, while Northern Ontario spring still sits trapped beneath snow. So here’s to finding a safe place carved into the ice caverns of my heart, as I await warmer days again.

heart/garden

there is a room carved out of my heart,
a dark cave with scarlet-and-purpled walls;
there is an echo of a beat-beat
that vibrates with safe words:
passwords to my innermost soul
that whisper gateways to a place where there is

no anxiety
no lingering sadness
that drips from cavern walls
and forms stalagmites of regression.

in one of these rooms, there is a low swinging light:
a teetering stalactite,
which wards away the dark thoughts.
they can’t invade, they have no place here
in this room of scarlet
and burgundy and gold.

flowers grow in the arteries of this heart-room,
tree trunks make the ventricles;
and hollowed out inside, there is a safe place;
a secret garden of my heart-mind,
where moss grows over the places
where enemies once stayed.

here, even bitter memories
that carry the tang of copper,
that are as biting as a paper-cut,
become sweet,
eventually.
here, everything is in bloom again:

like spring,
where I lay on the soft moss
of my fallen worries
and put myself to sleep amongst the rubble
and wake to renew, repair,
resurrection.

there is a room carved out of my heart,
where everything is a garden.

© Maxine L. Peseke, July 2021/April 2022



Abecedarian for Abrazos

Abrazo is the word for hug in Spanish. Brazos is the word for arms. Carrying arms, calm arms, crazy arms wrapping around you. Daring to love you. Even just for a moment’s greeting. Fleeting and quick, or perhaps, at times, enduring. Grab you out of your own space and world, no, that’s not the type of hug I’m talking about. Hopeful, held, healing, those are the embraces I speak of. In this pandemic, I miss casual abrazos from acquaintances. Jolly. Kindhearted. Lovely, put you at ease, hugs. Make you feel like you know each other, trust each other, at least a little. Not awkward, a simple greeting. Or hugs of friends that might linger, like you’re holding onto something precious. Perhaps love, a caring, an importance. Quiet, unspoken, the work of brazos. Reaching arms, reaching for you, for me, reaching love, reaching. Sacrament, sacred. Trust. Under the sky we have all been hurt beneath, same sun, same moon. Volumes of possibility. Where we all feel closer, safer, stronger. Xerox copies of hugs seem like all I have. Yearn, I yearn for that closeness I never knew I would miss. Zero hugs from friends now, zero from acquaintances, zero is too few and yes, I miss them without having known I would have.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Scent Memory

by Emily Bjustrom

Diving past the general mills factory
A sweet scent wafts into the car
It reaches deep past my guts and through my spine
into the backseat of my dad’s car.

In the driver’s seat he takes an exaggerated sniff says what do you think? I think coco puffs, No! Froot Loops.

There are places in my childhood I can touch without flinching

But here is something swollen and heavy

It’s the sense of safety
Sleepy but happy in the back of the car
Head against the window

I can’t reach it without the scent of baking cereal drifting in through the open window.

It floors me again and again.

I am weeping on the highway
For the child was
And the woman I am.

New Moon

I have been
in flux — a wild, wild mess
of uncertainty

inside storm-battered,
shuttered mind,
a house fire sparks; alight.

There has been nowhere
for the smoke to escape
but somehow this house
still stands.

Eyes tired, worn like
storm-battered shutters,
covering windows of a
tired soul.

I have been in this smoking house
too long.

There is a cold snap in the air outside,
but I still throw the windows open
to the new moon/no moon in the sky.

I count the stars,
name new constellations,
call them “HOPE”

And I leave the windows open at night;

I will repaint my shutters in the daylight.

© Maxine L. Peseke, September 2020

third eye // heart

“I am alive and well, I release what doesn’t belong to me…”

i wear my heart
like a third eye —
it rests on my forehead, sees the world
too close, too much, too all-at-once

and it belongs to breaking;
repeats a mantra to come back together again,
but still whispers a combatant confession:
i have seen/felt too much to release.

“I am alive and well, I am loved, supported, and in control…”

…and still– not.
head too controlled
by third eye heart;
heart too overwhelmed
by moving world

and belly: quakes in response
aches in response
to third eye and heart combined;

asks head: why are you wearing your heart like that?

heart whispers back: so i can see.
and head feels.
and belly quakes/aches/breaks.

a body in thirds, centred;
heart as third eye:
imbalance.

© Maxine L. Peseke, November 21, 2020

ask your heart–

ask your heart

I.

May I be happy?

May I be loved?

May I be worthy of that love?

May I be at peace?

May I be strong enough?

May I be okay alone?

II.

There is so much happening in the world and with all my roles–mom, wife, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, neighbor, voter…I sometimes forget the role of SELF. The role self and all I need in order to have harmony. On empty, I can’t accomplish much.

III.

On empty,

I won’t get very far

if I am driving –my body– this vehicle, on empty

will putter, stall, stop. Getting nowhere. I’ll just be stuck here, stuck with these emotions, stuck with these fears, stuck on EMPTY.

IV.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

ask your heart

May I have energy?

She will say, yes. She looks out for you. Pumps life into you without any other reason than she loves you. Once-in-a-while, she’d like you to take a moment in gratitude. Place your hand on her, feel her strength and say, “Thank you.”

So Heart,

“Thank you. Thank you for beating all these years, for giving me life for all these years. Such a gift to see my daughter grow, to see my son grow, to see the sun rise and set 16,790 times–truly, that’s a miracle.

I am

grateful.”

Gina Marselle, 10/17/2020

Hermosa Beach, Cali | July 2019 | Gina Marselle

This August

Liza Wolff-Frances

the everyday things that once
excited me, Tres Leches cake,


salt on the edge of a margarita,
free pens from the credit union,


coconut paletas, no longer
hold interest.

I feel free of it all.
The sky is not falling,

there is nothing
I need right now,

but the demand
for me to pick a direction, settle


is like telling a story from
the shadow of a full plant,

working backward
beginning from a seed.

This August, there is a fragility

in the aftermath

of the seed’s planting,

that I do not care to see.