Becoming

-Gina

I marvel at these old cottonwoods
Some with gold and brown leaves
Few still with green
Branches misshapen
Broken
Scorched
Age has only made this Bosque
More engrossed, tangled, wise
Small shoots regrow, becoming
Reaching for bird and sun

I cannot filter the trees into perfection
I can only wonder at their time in history
The chipmunks and squirrels who have
Made their home in the hollows
Of these old tree bones
Worn with time

My feet walk the path unseen
Comforted by this space in nature
This Bosque along the timeless Rio Grande
I stop to feel the grooves of a downed tree
I too am as worn
Wrinkled
An age spot on my right cheek
Gray hairs have rooted
I am fortunate to have reached this age
Still standing
Still becoming
Reaching for bird and sun

(C) 2022


Photo by my daughter, M.J.M. | “Becoming” | Taken in the Bosque

When you lose a city

it’s not just buildings and bars,

coffee shops and theaters,

it’s a realm of memories, 

of interactions and greetings,

a changing out of rivers 

and how they relate to the land 

and to the sky. The loss 

is of voice and gesture, who you are 

in a place, a hum of who you once 

were, of what you still cling to. 

It’s a walk down a street 

you once knew, but that doesn’t 

seem to remember you now, 

a new pizza parlor, a boarded-up 

building, that catch-up period 

between friends who haven’t 

seen each other in a long time 

that begins with a question 

about who you are now when 

you’re not exactly sure of the answer 

in this place anymore. It’s your heart 

in your feet, holding steady 

to two worlds, one you knew once 

before the losing, and one now.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Everyone has a Summer

Katrina Kaye

Mine involved boys and alcohol,
late nights, loud music and bonfires,
a little red dress I bought on sale.

I balanced on platform shoes,
etched black eyeliner around lashes,
eager to be a little more than what I was.

I used to smoke cigarettes.
It was an excuse to make
eye contact, slip away with someone,

discuss poetry — or was it
philosophy? — share a strawberry flavored
kiss, and whisper a secret or two.

There was a summer I danced
on a block at the Pulse nightclub
to Siouxsie and the Banshees

almost every Thursday night
in that little red dress with the open back
and side slit, neon light and billowing smoke.

Everyone has a summer,
but there is no reason to be dismayed
when the fall comes.

Even in autumn months,
a night or two may recapture me
to a place of little consequence.

There are still late nights
when I have a drink too many,
kiss the boys on the patio,

kiss the girls on the neck.
Smoke a cigarette from
the brand I quit years ago.

But then I watch myself in mirrors
shadowed with soot, see my city lie in dust,
wondering who else feels the chill in the air.

I’ve grown past the green of my prime,
and, although I wilt, there is a young woman
with a too loud laugh wearing a red dress

who still exists somewhere in the pit of me,
because giving in to the animal
until the sun rises can be so breathtaking.

 

More Trees Than Stars…

poem & photographs by Gina Marselle

What I love about birds

is that sometimes they travel alone on a Path

and sometimes

there’s a whole flock.

What I admire most about the bird–

it’s singular.

To survive:

  • food
  • water
  • shelter
  • hope.

Each morning he begins with his Song.

Sometimes only heard

inside the whisper of God’s tender breath.

By each evening,

the golden hour

comes flooding with light upon the earth.

More quiet than a bird of prey hunting.

Or a mother bird nestling before the night comes;

she hides her chicks and song from all to hear.

Perhaps, it is is I who is lonely,

perhaps, it is I who is depressed,

perhaps, it is me who fights–

it’s me without song,

without flight,

alone.

I envy the bird when he’s high above

floating between clouds and rays and stars.

Stillness on this earth as it moves around the sun.

Wind in my hair.

Stealing breath and time.

There are more fish than birds,

more trees than stars,

more tears than laughter,

more hope than despair.      

The Sunset in Black and White at USS Bullhead Park in Albuquerque, NM |(C) 10.13.2022
The Sunset in Color at USS Bullhead Park in Albuquerque, NM | (C) 10.13.2022

Did you know: “It may surprise you, but there are more trees on Earth than there are stars in the Milky Way. According to a study published in Nature there are about 3 trillion trees on our planet. This far outpaces the “measly” 100-400 billion stars estimated to exist in the Milky Way.”

https://spaceandbeyondbox.com/four-things-you-probably-didnt-know-about-space/#:~:text=Trees%20outnumber%20the%20stars&text=It%20may%20surprise%20you%2C%20but,exist%20in%20the%20Milky%20Way.

If I were, I am

If I were a forest, I would breathe 

right now, while there’s still time.

I would spread my leaves 

like a lusting after sky. I’d reach 

my shapes, my shades of green 

and gray to blue and cloud, 

to light, to illumination, 

to all we dream this life to be.

If I was a river, I would call 

to snow down the shaded land, 

welcome it to my body, 

to my frontier of wet and quench. 

I would sing a hopeful melody 

into tunnel of tongue and throat.

If I was the earth of Earth, the soil, 

dirt, sand, or loam, I would sift 

through the air, fly whirlwinded

to river, to lake, to ocean. 

I’d be unafraid to take space, 

to move with the breeze. 

I would remember I too am nature 

and nature is of me, my body 

of water, the dusty dirt shedding 

of my skin bark is part of the song.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Goodnight, Sun

Miraculous
colors crashed
into the horizon.
Fire ablazed
and the sun burned.
The air was silent.
It’s stillness
perfectly
held my heartbeat
between God’s hands.

Goodnight, Sun.

Until next time.


I have been inspired by the sunsets lately and inspired to write
tiny odes to each.


Remembering 9.11, then on Monday, 9.12.2022, I learned of a colleague’s sudden death. On 9.13.2022, it was my mom’s one year anniversary of her death from a battle with breast cancer. I also learned my cousin is battling cancer this week.

Today, I wonder why I am so tired. Grief is exhausting.

Goodnight, Sun.

Be kind to yourself, and today is precious.

Poem and photograph by Gina Marselle

Published, September 17, 2022

Prayer

Trees and soil pray with wind

and if there’s no wind, they pray 

with stillness. If they are unmoved, 

they are closer to themselves. 

Wind prays in stillness to find its shape 

and prays in tree branches to hear 

the harp strings of winter, prays 

in ground leaves to shake the land, 

prays in green buds to awaken

the cardinal, for color to bloom 

a spirit of life out of Earth 

in places where my face is not known, 

where I tiptoe upon the rock 

of mountains who are in constant prayer 

to sky and sun. The sun prays to darkness, 

realizing it cannot see everything 

in the light. In the heaven of goodwill, 

of humility, and of compassion, 

our own begging becomes a rhythm 

of prayer, divine like a being who prays 

through their very existence, a prayer 

embodying form, movements, 

and one’s entire being, in the lungs 

and on the lips. No knuckles, 

no fingers, manicured or callused, 

can pry through this faith, these prayers, 

how they are lived, how they are voiced 

like the trees, soil, and wind.

-Liza Wolff-Francis

Sunset

by Gina Marselle

The beauty of a sunset
is that it doesn’t wait for you.
If you wait a minute too long—
poof, gone.
Then you have to hope
for another chance, another day.
So don’t delay.
Take the time now.
Tomorrow isn’t promised.

Photo of the sunset taken by the poet on 8.6.2022 around 8:10 PM

Follow me on Instagram @musings_by_gina

T H I R T Y – T W O

I’m surprised to see you;
after the lifetimes this stretched-out skin
—this hive-of-busysadangry-bees mind
—these over-firing neurons
—these pulled-too-tight and SNAP! strands DNA
have seen.

Thirty-two.
In eight more years, I will be exactly twice the age as my eldest daughter
—or, “her daughter is half her age;”
she’s
“too young to look that old;”
“a baby with a baby;”
…infantilized constantly.

Told I’m too young to feel this tired.
But newborn children must sleep for seventeen hours
and maybe it’s because the world is too little and too much,
all at once such a wondrous blur but I saw a colour in nature I’d never seen before and it made me hyperventilate
and there’s a train building up speed five miles away and sometimes I think about laying on the tracks, just to see just to see
and a jet-engine is roaring and I think how often does an airplane crash into bedrooms at night
and is it always a moment of sad, desperately sobbed prayers answered or
does everybody feel the world moving in their veins?

Thirty-two,
who even are you?

A ghost
A child
A mother
A sister
A sister
A sister-
in-arms.

Thirty-two;
I’m surprised to see you.

But I wouldn’t run towards you, hopeful,
if I didn’t believe every year of you has been worth it,
and the next eight, or thirty-two, or (if I’m lucky) sixty,
will be as beautiful
as Just This:

Thirty-two,
I see you.

Taken at Carden’s Cove in Marathon, Ontario on the coast of Lake Superior on the poet’s birthday, July 17, 2022.

Hot

Katrina Kaye

It’s a hot night.

A walk around in bra
and cut off jeans night.

A what I wouldn’t give
for refrigerated air night.

The kind that leaves
sweat on abdomen.

Beads of moisture
around hairline.

The kind of night
that makes me crave

a cold beer to press
on heated flesh,

a swirl of cigarette smoke
over my head.

It would be a good night
for honest conversation,

for philosophy and poetry
and genuine laughter,

for being close to the
heat of another body,

but far enough to not
burn from the touch.

I lick my teeth
and raise my chin.

I transform
animal, untamed, restless.

I am eager
to turn off the lights,

certain I will
glow in the dark.