Note: please listen to the poem here: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/glory/s-RBmKOssZVEB I. There was a time before I loved horses. I was so little then, I probably had a made up name for horse. By the time I was 7 or 8, that is all I talked about. Soon, my soul transformed into a horse. I had a best friend horse, a soulmate before I turned 10. Santa brought her, and we were inseparable for 16 years. Her hoofbeats summoned my dreams, we galloped into a love not of this earth. Ancient like the desert sands. Horses became a mantra for breath. Then, I only dreamed for 20 some years. Now, a daughter raised, a son who is 9, I have this rescue horse that isn’t a dream, he breathes fire into my heart. He’s desert bound with the clear, blue sky as his kingdom. II. This afternoon, I felt most lost to myself. When I get like this, when my anxiety is about to break me, I drive to Edgewood. As soon as I pull into the stable, I see the horses. When I close my car door, I can already hear my horse nickering his greeting. Shaking his head. Trotting in his paddock. His tail raised high telling everyone that he is an Arabian horse. The color of midnight. His nicker makes his body quiver. His hello is for me—or for carrots. Today, he gets a giant Honeycrisp apple and leftover, bruised pears my son didn’t eat during the week. III. I try to remember life is lovely. Days are blessings. On days that I forget, I take a drive to Edgewood. to find that little girl I use to be. She was brave, courageous. She had a loud laugh. She rode bareback and galloped over the hillsides. I don’t ride my rescue horse. I don’t have that courage anymore. Instead, I dream we are running wild across the desert landscape. We are one as we chase the wind, leaving plumes of dust in our wake. The sun sits warm on our backs. My mother died last September. I have been a little lost. My husband moved out last October. I became a little more lost. COVID-19 never left. I became a little more lost. My horse doesn’t understand his job, but his therapy keeps my heart beating. In my dreams, we gallop until the suns and stars meet in glory. IV. This says to the world more than any poem, that I am before all else a lover of horses. In my soul, my bloodstream. My very heart beat. Fascinating is that a human heart and a horse’s heart can begin to synchronize within 35 feet of each other. The only thing closer, I think, is when the mother is pregnant with her child. God knew before I was born, that my spirit belonged to the horse. My mother loved horses. My mother’s mother loved horses. I love horses. I'm a protector of them. V. I believe this love will be the last memory of mine, as my final breath leaves my body. I hope that as I enter into the next light, I am granted a steed to ride the stars wildly and happily. If a shooting star you see, call me Joy as my hands merge into one with the fire mane of my horse’s light. My laugh will be loud. My smile wide. I will send light. And my loved ones will know joy. © Gina Marselle, January 8, 2022 Note: This poem was inspired by a writing prompt shared by Liza Wolf Frances (https://saturdays-sirens.com/liza-wolff-francis/). We read a poem by Lisa Fay Coutley called: Letter to the Aftermath. We created a word bank to use in a poem we wrote. My word bank from Coutley’s poem was as follows: heart shape, fall, leaves, 73 °, sunny, plumes of white clouds, desert, mountain, chickens, dirt, son, leaves, tomatoes, horse snort, sun and stars, warm air, peaches, bruised pears, apples and dust. To learn more about the poet, visit here: https://lisafaycoutley.com/poems/.
at precisely 11:54 p.m. last night my dog woke me up–
his cold nose in my face.
then I heard the knowing boom.
he hates fireworks.
he just wanted on the bed.
i moved over, he curled is 110 pound body in the curve of my legs,
he breathed a sigh of relief.
usually he soothes my anxious moments, now it’s my turn to soothe his.
as midnight grew closer, so did the fireworks, gunshots,
everyone in my house is asleep, except me.
listening, watching, waiting.
i almost missed the new year.
i am desperate for a new year like a whelped pup is for milk.
the wind is cold outside,
but the fireworks pop. pop. pop.
the soft rain isn’t keeping the merriness at bay.
i counted down earlier in the night with husband and son,
we did sparklers, sprayed silly string and threw pop-its.
we were merry–
ate moist donuts and juicy pomegranates.
watched Tom Holland’s Spider-Man, played chess, sipped Shirley Temples.
discussed resolutions: stay positive. move forward.
cherish the day.
count your blessings. one. day. at. a. time.
seek joy, love, and hope. always hope.
say your goodbyes (to my mom, Betty White)
may we finally see this pandemic turn into an endemic.
the world is worn out.
our Christmas tree lights seem to sparkle with more heart.
the rain falls with emphasis now, as the world eagerly celebrates.
Happy New Year.
—gina marselle, (C) 01.01.2022
Listen to the poem here: https://m.soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/welcome-2022
Each morning a new bloom truly more vibrant than purple or pink, and I appreciation this God-given joy. Ungodly-100-degree-July-days defy any garden, even this petunia in a blue pot struggles reaches for water, sips dew drops with desperation just to survive. I sip morning coffee and water the garden before any heat edges over the land-- wild birds sing, eat the sunflower seed, my dog barks as neighbors walk down the alley. I watch in the quiet as the sun steps over the Sandias. Marveling at this wonder a billion years old-- and count my blessings with each flower. There is not just one bloom-- but 20-30 blessings opening in ernest. Tears spring to my eyes because without theses blooms my morning is empty, my heart is broken from every yesterday's pain.
Images by Gina Marselle
© Gina Marselle | 5 June 2021
Sometimes it means the world to still the mind
To meditate tranquility until your heart slows
Enough that the pump of your spirit is felt
Like river waves on toes
The earth moves so rapidly
But feels so still
Minus the early June breeze lifting hair tendrils wildly
As seen on the cover of an high fashion magazine
Sometimes it means the world to still the mind
To take a moment to view the garden as it grows
Memories come and go
Lingering echoes that disappear
Like rain in the desert
Then the quiet is granted
Even if it hurts
You wait for a sign,
As it sits in your heart
Courage to accept the answer
Everyone has to let go
Mortals aren’t God
And cannot change or control the wind
Or a person
Only self can be directed into movement or stillness
Right now, just appreciate
The lull of meditation
This moment of serenity
Do you know someone suffering from an alcohol addiction and you worry? Have you considered Al-anon? For more information please go here: https://al-anon.org/
…then my breath became spirit
Escaping so free
Gravity melting breath like butter
Along silken skin into a river
Breathing in water breath
Sacred heart center
Breath is the color of fire
Purple, red, yellow
Exhaling breath spirit
Gravity slows racing heart
Lungs are full
I can hold my spirit
Or set her free
Wild like horses
Galloping into the river’s edge
This is an image of my horse out on a trail ride. Rafiq is a rescue Arabian. Photograph was taken by the trainer, Elisa Bohannon who is the owner and trainer at Blue Barn Stable. More info on Blue Barn: https://www.facebook.com/BlueBarnEquine/
by G. Marselle
I will rise to the challenge like an unbroken wave outrunning a winter storm, even when the thermometer reads 0ºF. Between H2O and air, I will sail with calm purpose. When energy is dull, I will rest/reset like a fat, lazy cloud on a quiet, spring morning. Inspiration awakens, dives into a yellow desert wildflower blooming brilliant and alive. Even the sun reaches for her inspiration inside tiny petals. I, too, bloom bright. Divine love surrounds summer with happiness and birds sing their arrival. Tomorrow is a new day, and I will rise to the challenge, as basil and thyme grow unbroken alongside autumn orange pumpkins.
Note: This poem was inspired by a writing prompt shared by Eva Crespin with my high school students at a poetry writer’s workshop held on January 21, 2021. Thank you Eva for inspiring us all to write from our heart.
Also, the words “I rise” makes me think both of “Rise Up” sung by Andra Day and “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and how powerful the words are. No matter how down you may feel, just know, you can still rise.
“…And I’ll rise upby Cassandra Monique Batie / Jennifer Decilveo
I’ll rise like the day
I’ll rise up
I’ll rise unafraid
I’ll rise up
And I’ll do it a thousand times again…”
“…Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise…”by Maya Angelou
~ In memory of Julie Brokken (1959-2020)
Gina Marselle © January 2, 2021
The desert is a brutal abode
Too hot during summer solstice
Too cold during winter solstice
Empty most moments
Sometimes only bees hear the echo of wing flap
So how does an apache plume awaken each morning
Stretching for the peaceful, cerulean expanse
Inspiring purple butterflies
Well past twilight
Content to settle in the sandy, low desert
Flowering yellow-white petals
This poem is inspired by Julie Brokken’s photograph: Twilight Apache Plume. It is copyright material, and you may view the image on her website: http://www.juliebrokken.com/botanical-beings.html. Please scroll down about halfway to view the image. As well as the poem, I included a watercolor I did of the photograph. This poem and watercolor are in memory of New Mexico artist and poet Julie Brokken (1959-2020).
by Gina Marselle, November 2020
“Alive and well–
release what doesn’t belong,”
a mantra imagines.
I release this worry, heavy like a crow
sitting empty on a branch
near a river’s edge–
This pandemic is like a broken wing
filling my head with fear,
allowing anxiety to bear her weight.
Weighing my heart down until breath is shallow
breathe in to the count of 4
hold for the count of 4
exhale for the count of 8
My breath feels weak, without belief.
Prayers are empty. The sky has little light.
A corner of the blue sky smells like lilacs in autumn–
jealous my lungs gulp deep.
I try to center.
Palpating the naked earth between my toes,
as the wind arouses my hair.
I seed my toes into the earth’s belly
experiencing the enormity of time.
Earth has survived all the pandemics.
What can I learn from her?
I am silent. Listening.
I hear her enormous gulps of air,
she sighs a tremendous breath.
She utters in a voice as endless as time,
“You are alive and well–
release what doesn’t belong to you.”
I gulp her breath as my own,
kiss it deep into my center–
whisper out this mantra
until the crow heals and takes flight.
The branch snaps back with strength, the weight lifted
and without fear, worry
dances carefree in the quiet breeze
as the early morning light lifts higher into a dim sky.
ask your heart—
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?
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.
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.
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.”
“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.
Gina Marselle, 10/17/2020
Dedicated to those fighting fires.
Thirst sits heavy in my throat
Opaque smoke hangs
Confident in the New Mexican sky
Our ancient sky is now a holder of smoke
For all the fires burning to the west, Northwest
As the winds shift
Wraps the smoke into its four corners
I pray for rain to clear the atmosphere
I miss our blue sky
Miss seeing the Sandias
Then I feel guilt
I have no right to miss the sky
A family misses their child more
Their small son and his dog—the dog stayed with his boy
As the smoke stifled both
Found together, the pup curled in his lap
Reading the news article, I just can’t—
Tears for this lost. Tears for the raging fire
The angry fires that burn
Mother nature can be vicious in her descent
She may also be loving
We pray, I pray, on my knees for holy water,
For rain to fill the fiery sky
For a tsunami of water
To drench the burning lands, tress, homes
Loss of life is too much, we are already fighting a pandemic
And protests.And police brutality.Andunity.And.And.And—
It’s too much
I want to drown my thirst into moments of peace
Gulp tranquility, HOPE
Until my belly is full and I’m bloated
I want to breathe water
I pray for a universe of water to drench
Destructive fires—gift each life a chance
Water is humble—
It is difficult to ask for help
With faith, prayer, I look up and within a blink
There is a portion of the New Mexico sky
Giving me hope that eventually
The smoke will settle, the fires will succumb
This thirst quenched with life-healing water
© Gina Marselle September 16, 2020
Note: This work was inspired by a call for poets to write on the theme of water. I recorded this poem and it was shared during the “Volume 27 of Wednesday Night Poetry Virtual Open Mic, Poetry Through the Pandemic.” Poet, Author, Teaching Artist, Photographer and Host of Wednesday Night Poetry, Kai Coggin, invited poets to share poems about water to bring on the rains to drench the fires raging the west and Northwest parts of the United States. “Wednesday Night Poetry is physically held each week at Kollective Coffee+Tea in Hot Springs National Park, Arkansas, but is now held virtually to poets all over the world!”
© Gina Marselle | Offering | 9.18.202