Finishing Well

Gina Marselle

Gina Marselle | January 21, 2022

“My face carries all of my memories. Why would I erase them?”
by fashion designer, Diane Von Furstenberg

Mother Earth rotates endlessly
like Time has hours to spare.
The sun’s rays effortlessly shine
as seasons beautify for change.

One year turns to many
as our children grow. Echoes of laughter
race down the hall. Dust settles and ivory paint
fades amber, yet our home is still warm.

Autumn gathers brilliant leaves, as tail-wagging dogs crash through
scattering mountain-high piles into disarray.
Once, we made leaf angels alongside a path lined with ancient cottonwoods.
Bright yellow leaves rained down on us in slow motion–one leaf at a time.

Aging isn’t about growing old, it’s about finishing well–
with joy and little regret.
Embrace all that has
shaped who we are.

Listen. Time beats like heartache and love.
It’s sweet smelling like apple pie.
Then one day, lines etch your face, and you’re finally an enlightened woman
sitting atop the Sandia Mountains sharing aphorisms about growing wise.

Reading of Finishing Well by Gina Marselle

Avocado

“Every object and being in the universe is a jar overflowing with wisdom and beauty, a drop of the Tigris that cannot be contained by any skin. Every jarful spills and makes the earth more shining, as though covered in satin… Make peace with the universe. Take joy in it. It will turn to gold. Resurrection will be now. Every moment, a new beauty.”

~ Rumi

The Hass Avocados at the grocer
are sad looking fellows.
But, in January,
during a pandemic,
lucky there’s even a selection.

The avocados are little soldiers,
leaning against each other in the quiet bin
that someone haphazardly dumped them into.
Overflowing with this versatile fruit.

Throughout the day
people have eyed, touched, tossed the wonderful loot—
searching for that one, impossibly dark green, ripe ‘cado
that’s ready to devour. Biting into its soft, succulent meat
is a tongue’s treasure.

Finding that one
that’s creamiest
for salads, wraps, dips.

It’s a goldmine. $1.79 each. Joy.
Not too high a price to taste divine.
The nutrients are much: potassium, vitamins E, B6, C,
magnesium, folate, and it’s what I love the most—
healthy fats.

My turn to search. Looking through the pile—
This one has sagging skin, that one full of dents and bruises. It’s a no.
O, there is one, a little beauty. It has a little give when I touch it,
It’s soft near the stem, the stem pops off with a slight touch.
I imagine the vibrant, green flesh beneath. The sound seed
hidden inside, protected.

I love to root the seed
and watch it grow.
I make my purchase and head home.
Ready for the creamy, nutty taste of this buttery avocado.

Gina Marselle © January 15, 2022

listen to my poem on my SoundCloud: https://soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/avocado

follow me on instagram @gigirebel

Welcome 2022

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.

fireworks.

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,

hoopla.

everyone in my house is asleep, except me.

listening, watching, waiting.

i almost missed the new year.

10, 9…

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.

8, 7…

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.

6, 5…

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)

4, 3…

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.

2, 1…

Happy New Year.

—gina marselle, (C) 01.01.2022

Happy New Year | Midnight 2022 | Gina Marselle

Listen to the poem here: https://m.soundcloud.com/gina-marselle/welcome-2022

Release What Doesn’t Belong

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–

without flight.

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

weak, panicky:

breathe in to the count of 4

hold for the count of 4

exhale for the count of 8

4-4-8

again.

My breath feels weak, without belief.

Prayers are empty. The sky has little light.

Inhale.

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–

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