BURNT OUT

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 I am bedridden with a fatigue
Unexplainable to anyone not fighting for their very life
It is death with eyes open and shallow breaths
It has been too long since the green fields of joy
Touched my toes

Spring Garden

g.marselle

3.26.2022
I root and dig for bone, shell,
and radishes.
I find potatoes and worms.
The peppermint is sprouting.
Its green, creeping stolons
are stark against desert dirt.
My dogs dig.
They find little treasures.
A bird’s beak,
a steak bone.
It’s like a witches brew
instead of a spring garden.
Still, I dig
allowing the cool earth
to slip like blood
between my fingers.
The spring air is unseasonably warm
and hope travels
as songbirds whistle,
as ants wonder in and around the mint.

Light

Selfie 1.28.2022
That Brilliant Blue Sky, image copyright to Gina Marselle
New Mexico Sunset, image copyright to Gina Marselle
The Last Ride, image copyright to Gina Marselle
My mom and I on our horses during a visit home from college.
My son and our dog, Strider, from 2016, image copyright to Gina Marselle
A slide in Las Vegas, New Mexico, image copyright to Gina Marselle

When I was in college in the mid 90’s, digital cameras were a novelty, maybe a bigwig newspaper had one. I had a SLR Canon A-1 35 mm Film Camera.
My dad bought it for me at a used camera shop in St. Louis, MO.

I felt like a
professional photographer.

I took a photography class
and became  obsessed.

The dark room
became my haven.
Light became my love.
Shadows and tones my drama.

Without light,
there is no photo.

35 mm film only has 24 or 36 shots per roll, and there is no room for manipulation
nor apps to fix mistakes.

In college, I worked to improve each shot, followed Ansel Adams The Zone System to determine the grey scale in all that I saw.

Fast forward to 2022, and iPhones make everyone a professional—-Instagram allows us to broadcast life with #hashtags and viral reels…

Now about that light—

I love that moment in the day where the light is so perfect. I don’t have to do anything more than aim, click. There’s my shot, a moment in time to share life for all to see.

A marvel.

Timeless.

A necessary light
to overcome despair.

A sunset to offer hope.

A selfie to offer self love,

a photo of a child to offer joy. A portrait of our favorite pet. The image of our love, a parent to remember lessons learned—-

O, to live in a time when photographs offer a distraction from anything.

And light is everything.

Gina Marselle
1.28.2022

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

Atlantic

Katrina Kaye

I always knew
you would be leaving.
The Atlantic has called you
ever since she first saw your hands,
ever since she first
watched you take a picture of her
with the photography of your mind
and place her colors to canvas.

She adores you 
and she is calling.

I am no match to her pull.

She is not alone.
Your mailbox overflows
with eager offers.
Everyone wants a piece of your madness.

Yet, I had you first,
and selfishly want to tether you near.
I want every painting to be a sunrise we watched.
I want every part to be you and me.
I want to wrap myself in
this home we have created.

But there are oceans in your eyes,
and when you look at me
I see crashing waves and city streets.
What can the desert offer such a boy
with a mind for the minute
and hands like yours
always drawing themselves.

I knew it was just a matter of time
before you work your way east,
leave me to the west.

A Fairytale

There is a toxicity that seeps into my spirit–
something already broken by you–
a thief in the night that robs me of sleep
until my nightguard reminds me:

you should not invade my dreams
as you do my daily thoughts.

And yet, during the day, I analyze old messages,
carve a path through past conversations
to see if I can find where those toxic toadstools
released their spores and told me:

“you deserved all this cruelty”
“you will never be enough”

These words are wolf-snarl in the back of my mind.

This is how I always envisioned you when we were children–
but you were never a child, always more beast–
a rabid wolf with teeth bared, saliva dripping
as you spat in my face.

There is no soothe for this kind of burn
and still I seek repair;

I dump buckets of water on a burning house
that strangely resembles our childhood home:
where the wolf lured Red Riding Hood
and told her she was always alone

but fairy tales were never real there

if they were, maybe I would stop trying
to find your most redeeming qualities.

And here is the irony:
if you were anybody else,
I wouldn’t keep following those toadstools
to the wolf’s house;

but we were borne of the same womb,
so even with your teeth bared,
don’t I owe you my survival
and my life?

Didn’t Little Red always owe the wolf
everything for leading her home?

© Maxine L. Peseke, July 2021

Untitled; a poem dedicated to the 215 and still counting children lost to residential schools across Canada

Orange shirts stand guard at the gates:
sentries on either side protecting
the children lost to residential school travesty;
the sun-bright orange shines
like a miracle, rooted amidst tragedy.

A sacred fire burns with tobacco offerings —
peace mixes with the perfume of petrichor;
Summer Solstice is here,
but following a sticky-sweet heat wave,
the clouds grieve and the wind rages

for the unmarked graves of children.

(but is this mine to grieve?)

Elsewhere, I imagine drums beckon thunder with the rain,
and ribbon skirts and jingle dresses flash like lightning;
nature grieves in sync
with First Nations peoples —
and of course: this is their land first.

Their cries bring a miraculous movement
across a country; a so-called sovereign land
built on the bones of babies
whose culture and language
was beaten and raped from their bodies.

(but is this mine to grieve?)

This is the tragedy: that it took too-many years
for children’s souls to escape their dirt-prisons;
the miracle is in the sun-bright orange shirts,
the powerful grief of nature: that raging wind
which calls the children home again.

And the sky opens: the lightning flashes, the thunder crashes;
every sound above is a child crying —
a parent, sister, brother, friend… sighing
a breath of hopeful miraculous relief
that their children will finally be free.

(we should all be grieving.)

Children watch fireworks over the Kebesquasheshing River in Chapleau;
Canada Day 2021

© Maxine L. Peseke, June 2021
with special thanks to Megan Moses for supplying her insight, kind corrections, and experience while raising her children to be strong in their culture, and for being such a dear friend.

Lighthouse

Katrina Kaye

Every blink
of your eyes

is a sunrise at sixteen,
when you told me

you loved me
and we watched the

sun eat the black.
Fifteen years later

you cling to me,
and I let you.

With each kiss
I promise

safe harbor,
with each touch

I seek to steer
your path.

I am
no beacon.

I am easily lost
to the night,

unable to guide
ships led astray.

My hands cannot
retain heat,

cannot heal or
offer cure from pain.

Yet, there is
a light in me

that still hopes I can
lead you home.

 

Watercolor painting of North Carolina lighthouse Original painting and fine art proofs available at: http://www.etsy.com/shop/RFoxWatercolors

Not just one blessing…

Gina Marselle

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

In the Ballpark

By Emily G. Bjustrom

The air smells of popcorn and spilled beer
The concrete floor sticky
The air balmy and cool
Were we in love then?

There’s something dishonest in the way I’ve dressed myself
Flattened out my curls
No jacket
Who was I pretending to be?

You look like yourself, eyes lighted
Exactly where you want to be.

Green collapsible seats, open like cheering mouths
Hopeful as their occupants,
Drunk and slurry behind, they jeer against us for the home team.

A summer ball game, a blue sky
joy palpable as water in the air

The bitter taste of a pregame beer lingers in the back of my throat.
Did you love me then?