"Prosetry "


By jusylee72

The poets say my poem is prose.
Prose writers say it's not.
The stories flowing from my brain
can't seem to find a spot.

Free verse is what I want to write.
The plots are not rehearsed.
Yet when I label it as prose
they tell me it is verse.

Most people like the thoughts I have
They praise the natural flow.
But then they say the labels wrong
Don't know which way to go.

But overall I've felt the love.
The honest nature here.
Fan Story offers so much truth
The people are so dear.

I need another category,
one that fits my needs.
So please add on the menu
a place for Prosetry.

Thanks for listening to my plight.
I really can't do worse.
And I will write the story line
for better or for verse.

Chapter 1
Old Jimmy

By jusylee72

He was drowning
Not in water
but in words
words he couldn't understand

He had been told he would love this book.
This Moby Dick.
That it would change his life forever
reading about an elusive whale.

But the paragraphs were too long.
The words above his understanding.
Yet he wanted to read it.
So he went to see "Old Jimmy".

Old Jimmy was a negro
and despite the law back then
He had learned how to read.
He was 87 years old,
A former slave who was educated.

He fought all the prejudices.
He was intelligent,
Way smarter than most.

He was too old to care if people knew.

The boy's father called Old Jimmy "Uppity".
"Who did he think he was?"
"Claiming to be a lawyer?"
"Pretending he was better than us simple folk."

But the boy wanted to know more.
so once a week he would sneak down the road
to "Old Jimmy's Shack".

Jimmy would read a chapter to him on those days.
He would explain the strange words.
He would read loud and strong and act out all the parts.

And slowly the young boy's vocabulary grew.
Words developed meanings he had never considered.
The plot would take new turns.

Together they would discuss,
Act out,
Believe the book.

One day "Old Jimmy" gave him a gift.

A dictionary,

full of unknown words.

He showed him how to use it.
Look up words
in alphabetical order.
He made the boy promise to learn three words a day.

When Moby Dick was almost read,

three chapters left,

"Old Jimmy" died.


The boy was sad
but couldn't tell his father why
and wondered how he would finish.

That night he opened the dictionary.
There, on the opening page was a note for him.

"Here unlocks the world,
word by word,
dream by dream.
Sail into the worlds you never knew.
I will be with you."

The boy never told his father why he knew so much.
Why he went to school to study law.

He just became a sailor in search of knowledge.

And when he had his own little boy.
He sat him on his knee.
Picked up the book.

Moby Dick,

and began.

"Call me Ishmael."

Chapter 2

By jusylee72

Hidden in the beauty
was the devil's face

Most could not see it
But Marissa could

She had always been sensitive
To paintings with motion
To elusive words not spoken
To Lucifer in disguise

And he was laughing at the others

the ones who could not see his pale blue eyes
that sometimes changed to green
or red

So bold Beelzebub revealed himself more

He would use fear instead of stealth

He chose the wind for his voice

"I know you see me pretty one."

I speak your name Marissssssssssssssa
He hissed it and shimmered it in the wind

and she knew his voice

He had called her before
"This time you will come"

But the angel fled unharmed
She had more earthly work to do

and God called her name louder

Chapter 3

By jusylee72

The time was far away
when the past was new

I was but a thought in my parents dreams
a flitter, a small movement of air
that their love created

the day I was born it rained
and the clouds burst with lightning
and my mother screamed in pain

I was not her first child
the labor wasn't as long
and when I came into this world
my name was spoken

I was small
but my cry was loud
and my mothers eyes filled with love
and sadness

she had too much wisdom
she knew that life would challenge me
but she nursed me with love

I grew
into a young huntress
ready to fight the world
and cherish the world

I was a force that could not be tamed
not a silent wind
not a dangerous wind
a fierce determined wind
that would blow across life
with the desire to change it

I picked up the earth and threw it in the air
I gently cooled the older women
and comforted them 
my desire to spread the seed of the flowers
caused the corn to grow
and my people to prosper
and not suffer
when other tribes had no food
or shelter

but just as all who are both good and evil
I too was struck down
by a selfish, jealous woman
who wanted to lead
not follow

that day
I was tricked into believing
her goodness
so I followed her into the darkness
and she struck me down
with her evil stories

I fell into her trap
She buried me underground
where the air did not move
and the wind did not nurture me

I escape slowly from the earthen grave
one slight breeze at a time

it is rumored throughout the tribe
that when they feel a soft warm wind
it is me
calling from the sadness of my grave
letting them know
that I will find a way to escape the earth
and return to them

Chapter 4

By jusylee72

December 11, 2015

I hurt, I'm angry and I can't find my shoe.

November 5th I lost my son.

The first person I called was Krissie
because she knows me best.

She has two daughters
With descriptive words
Daughter in law
Foster daughter

And my son's descriptor
Was Step

And not even from my current marriage,
but from the one before

that means I am supposed to grieve this one faster.
My husband tries to understand but frankly he doesn't.

Michael lived with me for a short time.
I remember his 10 year old face when I met him.
I knew him well until he was fourteen.
Most of all,
I remember the day he told me he loved me.

At fourteen he went back to live with his Mom
and I divorced his Dad.

We stayed in touch
For many years.

One summer he picked me up at the airport in Minneapolis.
I met his wife and children.
We spent the day together.
He was so proud of his family.
He wanted me to know
that despite the pain all of the adults in his life have caused
that he found a way
to be successful, though not rich.
And that his children were going to grow up
knowing that they were loved and taken care of.

He wanted me to know that I was one of the positive adults in his life.
His Dad drank too much.
His Mom was in and out of institutions.

He thanked me for teaching him about having a budget
He proudly told me he was not in debt and paid all of his bills on time.

I don't understand why fate took him away.
At the young age of 37, a heart attack?
Now his wife and children have to make it on their own.

I really don't understand how 17 days later
My best friend
My confidant
Also left this world.

Complication from knee surgery?
How in heck is that even plausible?

So what does this have to do with my shoe?

I have discovered something about grief.

When your whole body hurts from crying,
When you want to go back to sleep,
When you don't want to go to work but need to,
When you question God's choices.

All of your true weaknesses come out.

And you're too sad to hide them,
like you usually do.

and you have always had trouble with organization.
And something so simple,
like knowing where your shoes are is complicated

So you grab the one shoe you do find
And throw it as hard as you can into the wall
And the wall doesn't break

But you do.

Author Notes It is now March and I am doing better. I still miss them both everyday but I have learned to cherish their memories. They were both a gift to my life. Writing has helped me grieve. Until I found this site I used to write my stories to Krissie, She was an English teacher at the school I teach at. She would help me edit. Thank you for being my new mentors.

Chapter 5
She Stays

By jusylee72

Mothers, children loving homes
Sparkling walls and floors
Fathers playing ball with sons
Decorated doors
Holidays with relatives
Tables dressed in silk
Flowers that do not grow old
No child spills their milk

Tattered curtains, dirty laundry
Strewn across the room
Carpet stains that still remain
Embedded toaster strudel
Blossoms dead before they bloom
In shattered vases bled
Sour milk, neglected children
Waiting to be fed

Reality and Fantasy
So easily entwined
Twisted turns revolving
In a want to love him mind.

"Why does she stay?'
The others say

"Surely she could walk away."

"I know that I would know to leave."
"The Lies my mind would not believe."

"The children are the ones who hurt when mommy gets her just desserts."

"Stupidity, not dignity must be that woman's destiny."

She has problems
so they say
Then turn their cheeks
the other way

And all the wise men nod their heads
and close their eyes and pray

that she will know how much she's sinned
and learn how to obey

They can't see
The binds that tie
The vows believed
The truthful lies

The sorrow deep within his eyes
That she believes will change

In deep despair her sadness dwells
she follows him straight into hell.

As comfort is a woman's way
and giving is her notion.
The girl child taught to love a man
her heart an empty ocean.

For forgiveness comes too easy to the one who can't admit

Life is not a pretty picture on the mantle where it sits.

Author Notes Years ago this was my life. I changed it, but it happened slowly. Heartbreak taught me life. I am strong now. Life is wonderful.

Chapter 6

By jusylee72

Through water, I was given life
   Floating in a ruby pond  
       below my mother's heart

Until the dam broke
   and released me in the air

              the first breath
                     followed by a cry

      Mother's milk kept me alive
A drink of water by her side
  no longer floating
    but still imbibing liquid life

                       As a baby, I was baptized 
                  Holy water dropped on my head
                         A choice of my parents
                          Some religious belief
                        Supposedly to save me

                                                                      Not my wish 

                            Water cleansed me

                       The shower cleared the playground off me
                               The messy clots underneath my fingernails
                                       The mud between my toes

               Our family was happy then
                      But life is not static 

 it changes with the tides

The ocean took my father
     gone to sea for long periods of time
returned home

     became a stranger
               longing for his sea legs

Mother hated being alone 
     Sadness overwhelmed her
                 Whenever he would leave
                             She went the wrong way

                             She left us alone at night
                 My two brothers and I
     She thought we didn't know 
Where she went or what she was up to

                       children aren't that naive

Dad came back in April 
     Mom could no longer hide
My baby sister was born the following month

                                            Now anger and hatred 
                                                my               parents

                                                  Severed my life 

I ran down the stream 
 I learned the liquid lessons
   of alcohol and life. 

        Stained water 
            changed my thinking

Fire water let loose my desires
   Made me forget my morals
             I almost drowned in my choices

           I replaced lust for love 

                   only to find true loneliness 
    lost in lucid luxuries 

Alcohol became my friend
 Allowing me my freedom
  Assuaging my pain

I dived into deep despair
    destroying my dreams 

                                           Rivers of tears 
                                        left visible salt paths
                                  staining my face with sadness

I stood by the ocean
                              wondering how far out I would have to be
                   before I was unable to swim back
so that no one could find me

                     forever on the sea

sun began to set
Brilliant oranges
             Reds fading into pinks 
    Cloud reflecting blue 
                    Overpowering beauty
                                 Illuminated the sky

                                       I walked back to earth away from the sand
                                 I  chose change                                
                            I awoke early the next day

                       It smelled like rain
               I walked outside 

          waited for the storm

a gentle

refreshing drops

      riveting off my forehead
            running down my face

                                         I didn't seek shelter
                                               I sought life

I searched my soul
                              for solutions 

                         For self-forgiveness

                                                        I was truly baptized
                                                               on that day 
                                                                 by nature
                                                           and heaven's water

  My choice this time

                       I                               the 

My life bega


Chapter 7
Storm Warning

By jusylee72

It was just a whisper
A small disturbance in the air
Cool became crisper
slowly leading to despair

The wind began to shudder
the leaves began to blow
the secrets of the universe
wanting to unfold

Tiny, tingly tear drops
fell from cloudless sky
Hidden in an atmosphere
Where evil often hides

The sun refused to shine
The clouds began to speak
becoming angry soldiers
Threatening the weak

Hide in your houses little ones.
Cover up your heads.
We'll take away the ones you love.
The flowers all are dead.

You began this years ago.
You washed away the sky.
The seas will now be rising.
There is no place to hide.

The icebergs all are melted
The forests now are bare
It will be a slow death
Were you not aware?

You will live through this storm
But sadly you will see
Your children are the ones who die
with no air left to breathe

And as I open up my eyes 
and finally see the truth 
of wasted years and careless waste
selfish in my youth

I hear the thunder raging 
I see the lightning flash 
The TV is proclaiming 
"This storm will surely pass."

And in time the sun appears
The clouds slowly disperse 
Newsmen show the damage
this storm brought upon the earth

"Largest storm in History."
The newspaper declares
Is it too late to help the world?
Am I now aware?

A new day dawns with all its joys 
My fears are much too weary 
After all no one has proved 
This global warming theory  


Chapter 8

By jusylee72

five cents
send a letter

cost of a loaf of bread back then

gas was 35 cents
a coke a nickel

Memorable letters

we used to communicate

Pay for the privilege 

Minuscule amount 
To us now

back then a letter was history

A moment of wonder

finding out how Mom and Dad are
two months after Uncle Joe died

Feeling delayed grief
when others already knew
and cried
five cent stamp
brought news of new life

Your sister had a baby, a boy this time

Your father is ill
come if you can

Slow process

Scented letters
Lemon or Roses

Used to write about love

Price went up

Overseas letters from war

Letters from sons

after the chaplain
and Major came to your door to tell you

"killed in action"

"Love you Mom"
Written in a dead son's hand

Easter Seals stamp

you donated to a good cause

you licked

bills you payed

Or couldn't

the stamp

peace sign
daily life
artists renditions of the world


put in a drawer
with my father's name


about the love he felt for my mother

Ode to the stamp


Chapter 9

By jusylee72

A child at a table sat lonely and sad,
Wondering why she was so clearly bad.

Her parents were fighting that same old good fight.
She knew it would last deep into the night.

She ate just a little, then ran off to bed.
Not wanting to hear as the bad words said.

She grabbed her teddy, so soft and so white.

"Let's make up a story to make the world right
The one where the princess is really so pretty.
The one where the King is funny and witty.
The one where the Queen is all dressed in silk.
The one where the children never spill milk."

The screaming gets louder, she covers her ears.
She pulls up the blankie to hide all her fears.

"I'm sorry Daddy, I know I'm no good.
I'll try to be better, like little girls should."

Outside her bedroom the ranting goes on.
She knew she had always been ugly and wrong.

"You've pampered that child. You need to do better.
She's ten years old. She's still a bed wetter."

"You get mad over nothing, you scare her to death.
You think your so special. Just take a deep breath"

"My Dad knew the way to make me be strong.
The belt worked for me, I know I'm not Wrong."

"You won't touch my child, You will not raise your hand.
That is no way to prove you are a man .

"Your child is my child. So I have a right."

"NOT to berate her and scare her each Night."

She moves to the closet to hide deep inside
She covers her head with her blankie and hides

Sleep finally comes and she closes her eyes
Morning comes swiftly, a new day arrives

"Time to get up, little angel of mine.
You must go to school. You must be on time."

She runs from the closet. Her blankie is wet.
She jumps in the shower and tries to forget.

"I'll clean the closet. and wash all the clothes.
I will make sure that no one else knows."

"I still wet the bed when I'm deep in my dreams.
Escaping the world in my fantasy schemes."

Where Kings love their daughters and Queens dressed in silk
Never get angry when I spill my milk. "

Chapter 10
Loving me

By jusylee72


the innocent called to extreme religion
the world narrowed into beliefs
that tell you how to act
how to believe
how to think

I pretend

It would never happen to me

I surely would know
If false beliefs were being thrown at me
controlling my thoughts
my actions
my dreams
my desires

I know
there was a time in my life
when I never made decisions

I believed others knew more

if I followed I would be loved
cared for

a life with no decisions

a belief
I wasn't strong
or intelligent
or special.

I constantly sought reassurance

from those that wanted to change me
Re arrange me into what they wanted
What they thought I should be
Their ideal of a wife
or daughter

A private cult
some would call marriage

and I followed those directives
on a daily basis

and no matter what I did
it was never enough

I fell short of the glory of God
or man

or anyone else I gave my strength to


the hurt inside overwhelmed me

I began to question
the one person who really knows

the mentor of my own life

I asked the hard questions

Why do you seek others to tell you who you are?

What do you want to be?

What do you believe?

What do you want to become?

Who the hell are you?

I wish I could say
there was a revelation day

When I began to become me

This funny, life loving soul I am today.

but it didn't happen
that way

It was slow.

One momentous moment at a time
when I knew that somewhere
inside of me

A great, loving, kind, intelligent person

It was even later that I found someone

My husband of almost twenty years

A man who wanted to love me

Not some pretense of me

a person who enjoyed my humor, my spirit

And slowly we have learned to love each other

For the imperfect people we are

Not something we want each other to be

And I can honestly say

I know true love.


Chapter 11
Halloween Revenge

By jusylee72

My Father and my brother both like to make me scream
They love to scare both Mom and me on every Halloween
They jump out of the closet. They hide behind the door.
They put fake rats in cupboards and blood stains on the floor.

Mom and I decided we had to make a plan.
We found a mask so ugly it would surely scare a man
We put it on a volleyball to make the head look real
We wanted them to understand how awful it could feel

We took old clothes to make a body covered in fake blood.
We hung it on the shower head, it dangled from above.
We shut the curtain carefully to hide the danger there.
We started planning more to make sure that they were scared.

Every year we decorate our home for Halloween.
With fake gravestones and pumpkins we can make a spooky scene.
Mom sent Dad and brother John outside to dig small graves.
To place the tombstones on the graves to scare children away.

Luckily the sky turned black with thunder and with rain.
They quickly ran inside and started to complain.
Both of them were soaking wet and covered up in mud 
Mom told them to leave their clothes and get into the tub.

John stripped down to underwear then hurried up the stairs
He truly had no idea what would be waiting there.
I hid the camera from his view as he stepped inside 
It was just a minute before I heard his cries.

Dad ran quickly up the stairs not knowing what he'd find.
I caught a picture of my brother naked from behind.
He tried to tell my father not to go inside 
But Daddy was protective, he would not be denied.

He grabbed the plunger by the wall and struck our halloween man 

He kept it up and didn't stop until he could not stand
then slowly Dad began to laugh when he realized 
There really was no stranger. It was just "Surprise!"   

We laugh about it to this day and always tell the story 
It was such a special one, a tale in all it's glory.
So now I've told the story of this Halloween Revenge
 I'm Happy it is over now so time to say "THE END".

Author Notes I have missed Fanstory so much. I am a little rusty it has been over 2 months since I have puy thoughts to paper It feels so good and I have missed you all. This was a Potlatch challenge. Great fun.

Chapter 12
The Life of a Man

By jusylee72

Men are easy to understand.
Yet, complicated.

Both animal and human.

They actually love us.

The ones who care about them.
The ones who bare their children.
The ones who pick up after them.
Nurture them.

The ones who fall in the toilet when men forget to put the lid down.
The ones who try to explain it's okay to not be perfect.

Women learned through the ages that weaknesses become strengths when acknowledged.

Men are taught to admit nothing.
Hide sadness.

My man is physically stronger than me.
If any other would try to hurt me or our children,
he would defend me to the death.

He would leave no prisoners.
He would show no weakness.
His death would be first before he would surrender.

Yet, the world is changing, rearranging what a man should be.
It is taking away that part of a man who is the provider.

He is no longer the lord of his household.

As women we need to be equal in our goals, our ambitions.
We can be a doctors, lawyers, firefighters.
Our careers are equally important.

And as men learn to share the role of protector and money earner in the family

They still need to know.

I need you to protect me against any enemy.


Chapter 13
In Love with Life

By jusylee72

I fell in love with life one day
I'm not sure how it happened

I think it was the day, I realized

I'm really far from perfect.
In so many different ways

But OH, the thoughts I have inside my mind

If I could change my thoughts for gold
No child would ever hunger

I'd reach out to the world and let them know                                                                                                                 
A single fish can feed a crowd
A kindness kills the thunder

when hate tries to destroy our inner glow 

I know I am an optimist
My glasses dressed in pink 

For years I let others try to change me

They tried to take my spirit 
and criticize and tweek  

To take my life and somehow re-arrange me

Now I know the difference 
between happiness and pain 

It really is a choice that we must make

I wake up every morning 
whether sunshine or in rain 

and know that life's a gift that I must take

(Turns into a duet between the Optimist and the Pessimist)

Don't stop when the road is too narrow
Don't quit when the path is too long

(The Pessimist)
I can't too much has happened
My life has always been wrong

Come on get your head off my shoulder
Reach out take the world in your hand

Oh no, This world is too scary
My feet are stuck in the sand 

It really isn't very hard to do
Pick up your foot, now step, One, Two

P (Sarcastically)
Now, so what, I took two steps

(O(Sighs) speaks very fast and she gets louder and louder.  She says it all in one breath)

Each journey begins with a thought in your head that flows to your heart telling you what you want to be in life and how you want to get there which then translates to the direction you need to move if you are going to have any success and every one of those journeys begins with TWO STEPS.  NOW, GET UP AND MOVE!!!!!!

(Pessimist joins optimist - they sing together)

Don't stop when the road is too narrow 
Don't quit when the path is too long

Reach out give a hand to a stranger
Teach them to sing a new song 

Look up,  you just might see a rainbow 
dark clouds may just disappear

Come on, I can see the horizon
Really there's nothing to fear. 

And we will sing in harmony 
No matter where life finds us 
Then we will look back fondly on 
the road we left behind us 


Author Notes I have a Broadway Melody that goes with this song. I was truly a child who sang as she walked home from school I would pretend all the doors were going to open and all the people would know the dance steps. I still have that girl inside of me.

Chapter 14
The UFC and My Son

By jusylee72

I have often been asked

"What is it like to be a UFC Mom?"

How do you watch your son in the ring fighting?

Many people say things:

"I could never do that."
"How did he get into that?"
"Did you try to stop him?"

The truth is -

it is exciting
gut wrenching
helpless at the moment to help
wanting to be in there with him
in knowing how hard he works.
he is a man
who knows what he wants
and goes after it.

It truly isn't any different
from when you first allow your child -

to drive
make decisions on their own
walk away from you
make their own path.
move away to college
start their own business


have their heart broken by a friend
someone they thought was going to be the one
they would love for life.

We don't choose our children's destiny.

They find it

It is their Quest
not ours

When we step back
and let them become who they want to be.

We are amazed


Chapter 15
Rain Dance

By jusylee72

I smelled the lilac in the air.
The door was opened wide.
without a thought of where to go,
I softly stepped outside.
The moon was full on that sweet night.
It lit the tallest fir trees. 
Big Dipper beamed across the sky,
So beautiful and free.

How could the world seem peaceful now?
How could the sky not know?
The tear stains on my cheeks were fresh.
The pain inside me grows. 

Six hours since I left her there.
Her soul made its ascent. 
Machines turned off that helped her breathe
with all her loved ones present. 

The lifeless tubes, so flexible,
now laid beside her bed.
No more forcing useless air into
a heart that's dead. 

We said goodbyes with tender words. 
We spoke of God and peace.
Our voices soft in faith we claimed. 
Her spirit now released. 

Now I stood outside my door.
I cursed the spacious sky. 
Anger filled my hardened heart.
She was too young to die.

I spoke out loud to God and asked,
What plan he had in mind. 
Why he took away someone 
So wonderful and kind.

In answer to my angry words,
a breeze began to whisper.
Lightning in the distance sky,
the air became much crisper.

My nightgown rippled in the wind.
Hair blew across my face
I stood in silence as I watched 
the storm clouds start to race. 

Heaven's tears began to fall, 
comforting and calming.
Slow, large drops to cleanse my soul
falling all around me.

My sadness turned to laughter
as I danced out in the rain.
Her soul reached out to find me.
She tried to ease my pain.

Our last words together, 
three weeks before were spoken. 
Her sense of humor came to me.  
My soul no longer broken.

"It sure is hot in Texas.
I don't mean to complain.
But surely God must know 
I love singing in the rain."

Chapter 16
Our Souls

By jusylee72

My soul was born with me
but not of me
It changed the form of my body
into a temple
One that can breath
behold beauty

There were times when I darkened the soul
with selfish choices

evil thoughts
earthly needs 

I watched a soul
leave the body of my friend 
It became an empty shell
Her body tied to machines 
artificially breathing
Her eyes left first 
Blue turned to grey 

When I leave this world,
the body I call mine, 
will stay behind 

My soul will journey 
seeking new knowledge

My friend and I will reunite
Our souls will entertwine 
either in oblivion
or in new bodies

We will wonder
Why we are comfortable 
with a stranger. 
Why they know our thoughts 
Our dreams 
Our desires                                                                        
When our souls have learned enough                 
and have no more need of Earth         

 God will take us home


Chapter 17
The Day I Left

By jusylee72

The day I left it rained
It started with a mist
The air smelled sweet
I feared the thunder that would come

The children helped me pack
Their clothes in garbage bags
Their toys in clothes baskets
I left the rest

The furniture meant nothing
The house wasn't a home
It was never clean
Why clean a house with out a soul

He didn't know I was leaving
He went to jail the night before
He would be out by afternoon

He made the usual call
Explaining he was sorry
I listened pretending I cared

I looked at the flowers planted by the driveway
They would die without me
I would die if I stayed to nurture them

I watered them one last time
even though the rain was coming
I wanted them to know I cared

I wanted them to know I planted them with hope
That love would grow here
Bloom here

"We are going on an adventure"
I strapped the baby in the car seat.
The oldest in the front seat with me
My daughter in the back with her baby brother

I Got in the car
Turned the key
Put a Disney CD in the car player

This time
I never came back

Chapter 18
Still Miss you (500 words)

By jusylee72

I messed up today.

I was going swimming at the gym

Where Krissie and I usually met

It was our hour together

Our fun

We would talk about everything
and nothing
as we half swam, half bounced down the lanes

Two overweight women enjoying the buoyancy of the water

But mostly each other

No subject was off limits in our friendship
We talked about the times we messed up.

We laughed

We understood ourselves

We could talk about our husbands
how we loved them
how they drove us crazy

No judgement, only truth

And we shared deep secrets of our youth

These overweight women bouncing in the water
had once been sought after, pursued by desirable, good looking men

Men especially liked Krissie,

She was a blond rodeo queen
She barrel raced
Cowboys adored her

One man scared her
Left her at the alter

She cried for years
until the tears no longer meant anything

then she met the man who loved her

Blue collar worker
thought she was cute
Loved the way she played pool.
Ask her if she wanted to go meet his talking horse.

it began and never ended.

Not even on the night she fell

They kept her alive for seven days

or what they call alive.

And when they withdrew the tubes

He held her hand and once again said.

"I love you, I will always love you."

And she left.

I stood in the corner of the hospital room.
She knew I loved her.
Trusted her.
Needed her.

And then
I started a different life

It's been eight months

so I start swimming again
In our aerobics swimming class
full of wonderful new people
who are strangers


I turn in the parking lot
ready to swim
I wanted a closer place
I turn through the lanes

Bam, I run into a young woman's car

I am at fault.

She is very angry.
She calls the police.
They won't come because it is in a parking lot.

We call our insurance companies

We exchange information.
The cars are damaged but not severely.

She walks back to me several times to make sure I know how stupid I am.

I leave
I don't go swimming

I get home

call my husband

He understands, in his Male way.

He did ask if I was okay first.


Is the car okay? How much damage? What's our deductible?

I've been home for several hours now.

I start crying.


Because I want to tell Krissie I messed up

She would understand.


Chapter 19
Nonnet---Going Home

By jusylee72

I was outside the house of Mother
The door did not seem as friendly
I had the key to silence
No greeting awaited
I opened the door
I looked inside
Our pictures
Mom's smell
Two days
Since Mom died
Yet the house breathes
Memories revived
Crossword puzzle half done
Favorite mints in a jar
Reading glasses on side table
Empty chair wondering where she is


Author Notes For Potlatch. My first nonnet.

Chapter 20

By jusylee72

Change.  Electric smells.   Nitrogen.  Bugs fly low.  Birds follow.   Wind whistles  wandering wishes then cruelly changes direction.   Rumbles tumble in the distance.   Elusive light illuminates the horizon.  Dust dances in anticipation.   Temperature cools, clamy.  Humidity dampens the air.  The earth begs. Tiny tears drop.  Evil laughs at the prayers it hears. 


Texas drought crying
Blackened Cotton releases 
Flood foretells new fears 

Chapter 21
My Mother in Law

By jusylee72

I have a person in my life that I admire

I can talk to her about anything.
I can disagree
It doesn't matter

She likes me
Like is different than love.

She likes the fact I won't change my opinion
to suit my husband.

She likes when she can share her life without any judgement from me.

She laughs with me.

She helps me constantly.

Volunteers at my work.

Recognizes my weaknesses.

Accepts me as I am.

If I could write her life story, millions would read it.

She would never believe the world would want to know.

She thinks she is a normal, everyday person.

Yet, her stories are fascinating, loving, terrible, immersed with truth.

If I could give her a lasting gift, I would tell her this.

You more than mattered in this world.

You changed this world.
WRITTEN for my Mother in Law Peggy.

Peggy grew up on the outskirts of San Antonio. One room school house. She was the Valedictorian of her class. Northside High school. She became a nurse. She raised two sons, William and my Husband, Doug. She has stories to tell.


Chapter 22
One Beautiful Day

By jusylee72

Never been one to let the world beat me down
Never been one to give up on myself
But lately life's been sorta shoving me around
It ain't no pretty picture on a shelf

The mortgages due , the husband's gone
The children cry
saying mama you're working way too much
and sometimes I admit
I just go and sit
and let the teardrops fall where they fall


But I'm pushing on through the wind
Running fast through the rain
and I'm holding on to my heart
living through all the pain
I'm reaching out for the sun
and I'm still here to say.
As I look all around me
It's sure one beautiful day.


Took the time to hold the hand of my youngest son
and listen to the stories that he tells
of conquering the monsters underneath the bed
In that sweet little voice I know so well

Put a pretty ribbon in my daughter's hair
Tried to brush the sorrow from her eyes
I said; Listen to me sweet
We'll get what we need
Things will get better all in time

Repeat Chorus;

But I'm pushing on through the wind
Running fast through the rain
and I'm holding on to my heart
living through all the pain
I'm reaching out for the sun
and I'm still here to say.
As I look all around me
It's sure one beautiful day.

Bridge: new melody

Sat out on the porch, a cup of coffee in my hands
Told my oldest son that someday soon he'd be a man
Sometimes life gets rough and money's hard to find
With honesty and hard work we'll have peace of mind


Woke up Sunday early to the silent sounds
of sleeping children snuggled in their beds
Looked out the kitchen window at the morning sky
Watched as the sun raised its head
The quiet of the moment filled my heart with peace
the beauty of the day had just arrived
Got down on my knees, Thanked God that I believe
in working through this journey we call life


But I'm pushing on through the wind
Running fast through the rain
and I'm holding on to my heart
living through all the pain
I'm reaching out for the sun
and I'm still here to say
As I look all around me
It's sure one beautiful day

As I look all around me
With God's love all around me
As I look all around me
It's sure one beautiful day. 


Chapter 23
Why it hurts

By jusylee72

I wish I could take away your sadness. 
I can't. 
I can only remember how I felt when death visited me.
I was not noble.
I fell apart. 
It lasted longer than I thought it would.
If you are like me 

You scream at God when you're alone
You don't understand
You appear strong to the world.
Your clothes are stained with tears. 

You are dehydrated but still cry leaving salt paths under your eyes. 

You have moments of sanity, followed by despair tinged with madness. 
You want to tear apart the world. 
You want different rules.

Death is not real.
They will be here tomorrow.
This is a bad dream. 
"I will wake up and it won't be real"
The dialogue in your head wakes you in your sleep.

We will have no baggage only happy memories.
I will have nothing to be forgiven for.
You will have done nothing to hurt me. 

Slowly, you realize the gift.  You speak in first person with her voice leading you. 

I treasure that we weren't perfect.
I am inspired by our conversations, our disagreements.
I will remember the day you made me look in the mirror and see myself as I am.
I will devour the lessons you taught me.
I will laugh at our silliness, our gentleness, our stubbornness.
I will be enriched by your soul that became part of mine. 


I will miss you everyday.


Chapter 24
Waiting for Rain

By jusylee72

I've been waiting for rain
The forecast the last few days 
has been overwhelming
with 50 60 100 percent chance for rain
It came all around us
But not at my house
There was sunshine everywhere
but i stayed inside 
sure that the rain would come
and I was safe inside these walls

Last night, I stopped waiting 
I have been waiting for the answer to a question 
One I have been waiting for all month
In someways, the waiting has crippled me
unable to make plans 
or move forward
expecting some outward 
other world to make decisions for me

so I made plans for today 
To run outside
play in the creek 
shop for no reason
buy a new color for my wardrobe
or try one more time to make an omelette
without burning it

I decided to quit waiting 
for something 
that might not happen


I woke up to thunder
and pouring rain

Author Notes Strangely I wrote these words one year ago today. It came up on my facebook memory. Ironically, the very thing I wanted to happen, this adventure I wanted so much did not happen last year, But today I get on a plane because that wish came true. I had to laugh at how funny it was that it came up today. Quit Waiting, just live and you might get your wish anyway.

Chapter 25
The Life of a Teacher in 2016

By jusylee72

If you read this, you will probably think that I hate my job.
The opposite is true.

I am lucky, I teach High School Choir. I have great discipline and the students respect me. I teach advanced music reading skills and complicated and wonderful repertoire. My class is a challenge that the students love to take. They respect that I have high expectations and goals so they accomplish them

(The frustration of being a teacher today,  Trut me there are also a million rewards)

All teachers once were greeted with respect.
That is what our parents would expect.

We were silent when the bell rang
We waited for instruction
They called us by our last names
We caused no class destruction

We never questioned what we learned
Nor did we speak words out of turn.
We learned to read with phonics
Not some histrionics

We learned to write in cursive
We never were subversive

Addition and Subtraction we would master
We played speed games to help us learn it faster

We memorized our multiplying tables
Cartoons were Saturdays. They weren't on cable

Eventually we learned our long division
Sometimes we even spoke about religion.

We never questioned if you didn't like us
We didn't know bad words or how to cuss

When we got home we'd play outside
We'd laugh and tumble down the slide

We had homes with Mom and Dad
We knew the golden rule
We would get in trouble
If we misbehaved at school


(A different rhythm)

Curriculum now is the standardized test.
Teachers must teach to the questions.
There is no time to learn about life.
No time for thoughtful reflections.

Music class is not allowed.
Recess is forbidden.
From five years old a child must learn
to be college driven.

Common core is the new math.
It's thoroughly confusing.
Mom and Dad can't help at all.
It's really not amusing.

"Three hours for homework?"
The nine year old said,
"What are they thinking?'
"Can I go to bed?'

Now, it's the student demanding respect.
You can't discipline them. What do you expect?

They are cussing you out?
Please follow this plan.
Step one - walk away as fast as you can.

Life is so hard in their poor little lives.
Mom took their cell phone.
They might just die.

Too tired to do the assignment today?
You must understand, say it's okay.

Shorten the lesson.
Hear their confession.
Let them decide when it's due.

Asleep in your class?
Don't do what you ask?
Refer to rule two.

When student acts out refer him to counselor.
Forgive him when he throws a chair. 
Student must use appropriate language
when his finger goes up in the air.

A vicious circle it becomes. 
Here's the expectation. 
Your school has to pass them all.
There can not be exceptions.

All students must take calculus. 
They must master science.
English, writing, every child 
must be in compliance. 

The school's failure rate is high? 
Administration must comply.

It then becomes the teachers fault 
if all her students fail or fall.

The student is the last to blame.
"That teacher doesn't like me."
"They want me to know way to much."
"They do it just to spite me."

I've seen students walk the stage 
who didn't come to school.  
I've seen students laugh outloud 
and think their really cool.

"See, I didn't do the work."
"I missed so many days."
"I still get to graduate."
"I knew they'd find a way."

If we want our schools strong. 
Then let our teachers teach. 
We'll help the students all we can
if it is in our reach.

It really is quite simple. 
Our students need to know.
Earn your graduation.
It isn't just for show.

Now I will stop this ranting.
The ending I'll foretale. 
Schools won't get better
until we let them fail.  


Author Notes My students are stressed out. "Standardized Testing" is everything. Young teachers are leaving after only one or two years on the job. Math teachers have to move on to the next skill before the first one is learned. We have what are called bench mark tests and all students must take it at the same time and move on to the next lesson whether they are ready to or not. One of my friends is a master math teacher. He likes to stay on one skill until it is mastered. He is no longer allowed to do that. He says that by the end of the year only the advanced students are still trying. He is thinking of changing professions. Law suits have made us afraid of parents and students. Teachers are blamed when a child fails even if they have missed 35 days of school. Teachers have to earn a child's respect, it is no longer automatic. Pep Rallies are at eight o'clock in the morning, when no one goes to them. Students aren't allowed to go to assemblies because they will miss academic time. Students who may be talented in singing but struggle in math are taken out of their favorite class and put in two math classes. I enjoyed high school when I was young. Now, the students can't wait to get out. This poem stresses the frustrations of teaching. I promise you there are also many rewards.

Chapter 26

By jusylee72

On some days

The sky will terrify me with outrageous thunder

Lightning turns the dark into day

Hailstorms crush my spirit

I will watch the snow melt on Christmas Eve

before the children build snowmen 

I will cry at knowledge I never wanted to know

I will no longer believe in purity

Or innocence

It will be replaced with soot from hell's fires

and the broken bones of fools

Other days

I will laugh at jokes and dance to music

No one else hears

I will view the new born baby

Children playing in clover

Trees blowing in the wind

Rustling with emotion

I will believe in God and all he offers

All forgiveness, all life

Dreams will tumble out of me

Scriptures will pour out of my mouth with ease

I will choose the path of righteousness

Most days

I will live in comfort, love, understanding

I will not seek adventure

Either real or imagined

I will accept the world as it is

A mixture of emotions, good and evil

Experiences when intertwined become my soul

They create my spirit

On my last day

When death surrounds me

I will remember every road I traveled

All the wonder

All the sadness

All the heartbreak

All the joy

I will no longer rely on any other spirit to guide me

I will lift up my wings and fly

Either into heaven or hell

A gift of my own choosing

Wrapped in the foil of my experiences

The good and evil in men will no longer concern me

for I will understand why I was created

On that day 

I will know I lived

Chapter 27
Check Mark!

By jusylee72

Box was filled when he got the

Author Notes Oh , heavens this is silly and not very good, but it does use a pun.

Chapter 28
Presidente MaMa

By jusylee72

If I was presidente I would have so many thoughts.
My mind so full of questions, the secrets that I've sought.
I wouldn't change the china, or paint the white house red.
I'd need a guide to show me the way to my new bed.

You see I have no answers on how to run the world.
I really live a simple life, a truly country girl.
Yet I have raised a family. I know what true love is.
Deep inside this heart of mine I have so much to give.
I'd tell the world the stories of heroes that I know.
The heritage that built this land, the tales of long ago.

My grandma crossed the prairie in a cover wagon.
My father flew in world war two and didn't come home bragg'n
My Mother was a chemist despite the men whose bitch'n
told her to go home to cook in her 1940's kitchen.
Maybe that's the answer. To tell the world our stories.
Each family has a message, a history with glory.

We have laughter, pain and joy coloring  our lives.
We understand the anguish when a loved one dies.
Black and white, rich or poor, we all breathe the same air.
Freedom sets our goals up high, Compassion we can share.
How sadly some don't think the same, they use religion's cover.
They use their hate to kill a man not thinking of his mother.

So we must keep our soldiers strong, protecting what we built here.
We can't show weakness to the world. We can not bow to fear.
Mother's of the world all know we want our children living.
The flag in every nation should bear the word "Forgiving."
I may not be elected or run for president
but I can tell you I would make a truly great consultant.



Chapter 29

By jusylee72

Going forward into life
Invest in all you meet
View the world with pink eyeglasses
Enthusiastic dreams 

Make your choices carefully
Often, stop to pray
Reach inside yourself for knowledge
Every day you age

Treat the lonely ones with kindness
Help the ones in need
Always call your Mom and Dad
Not just on Christmas eve

Think before you want revenge
Answer every question
Kindness is its own reward
Enjoy your own reflection

Chapter 30
Lone Star

By jusylee72

Lone Star is my favorite beer
I simply can't deny it
and when I come home everyday
I simply have to try it

Sadly, since I started this
my stamina is down
My belly leads directions now
all the way to town.

My feet no longer visible
hide beneath my girth
People started asking me
Will I be giving birth

In Minnesota, I once lived
There's something you should know
When you want a cool one
Just put it in the snow

When an angel comes for me
I hope that you will see
I really was a happy soul
Drink one just for me

Author Notes Texas beer, and I really did live in Minnesota once, we would put our beer outside when we had a party. We just had to worry about whether or not it would freeze. This was written on the light side today. Lone Star Light.

Chapter 31

By jusylee72

Evolution of my life?
I have but sixty years
A minuscule time on earth
both laughter and with tears

I was a child who sang so free
My voice was my first gift
Even at the age of five
I sang in church with bliss

Sensitive, I learned my ears
picked up other's sorrows
I heard the thoughts that others feared
their fortes and staccatos

At Seventeen with scholarships
I entered into college
Singing opera was my goal
One I would acknowledge

I was given many roles
ones that others wanted
I sang with passion , love and dreams
but yet I still was haunted

I had this deep, forgotten side
The one I knew was true
The one I simply could not hide
the one I only knew

I did not need the stage for fame
I wanted so to reach
Inside the student with no name
That other's do not seek

The true gift I was given
involved no search for fame
It quickly let me notice
The child without a name

The one whose hidden talent
became my only goal
the one who seemed defiant
Yet needs someone to hold

So now I sing a different song
and loudly I proclaim
My students are the gifted ones
I long to shout their name

And tell their stories some in rhyme
and spread the glory of all time
and know that for a moment's time
I sweetly fed their life with mine

They sing the stories yet untold
and now as their lives unfold
I reach inside my heart and know
that evolution now beholds

My life's libretto will sing on
My happiness the feature
Of all the operas ever sung

I'm proud I am a teacher.

*"They will be the true story of my evolution"

A few examples:
* Celeste now is the "Artist in Residence in the San Antonio Opera."
* Jeff,now a stage manager at Sea World
* Andre, child of a drug addict, now graduating with honors
* the story goes on.


Author Notes I am blessed with the most challenging and wonderful students in the world. They are part of my life that enriched me.

Chapter 32
My Son's Letter _ a short memoir

By jusylee72

Warning: The author has noted that this contains the highest level of language.

Last Wednesday many of you touched me with your response to my poem, "The Forgiveness Rainbow." It's inspiration was a poem letter that my oldest son wrote to me. There is more I would like you to know.

I rarely let life get me down. Not anymore, that is. After I got this letter I simple couldn't function. The tears fell down for hours. I tried to go to work the next day. I made it all the way to the school parking lot before I called the office and told them I simply couldn't come in.

I thought I was over all those years of abuse. But his poem was so intense, so graphic and so full of love for me that I couldn't stop my emotions. He didn't blame me. He questioned it, yes, but he didn't blame me.

He was only about eight years old back then. I wasn't ready to escape the vicious cycle of abuse we were in. It still took me another few years to leave.

The damage I did to my children is unforgivable. All three of my children are survivors. I will tell you more about them later.

My son has been watching me grow over the years. He encourages me to write. He believes it will help others. He asked me to share his poem with you. He told me he wrote it in the style that I sometimes write. I do ask this. Don't edit his writing. The Pauses, the spaces are his not mine and they are such a part of the eight year old world he remembers. The bad language is how he feels about it now. He is 31. He is a professional UFC fighter. He is famous and you can watch his fights on television.

This is the hardest truth I have ever told.

With the written permission of Nik Lentz.
"What a Wonderful day"
Nik Lentz

I once stood outside a gas
Station with my mother....
Tears in her eyes....
. she scratched through
lottery ticket after lottery ticket

A loser
A loser
A loser
A loser

And yet again...

another fuckin' loss.

Her finger tips bright silver,
Her soul crushed,
We stood in silence.

For being 5 foot nothin' and a
little heavy for her size,
my mother had one of the
best chins in the "game"

....and tonight, it would be

Puzzled, but in no hurry to get
back to our broken and
violent home.

We stood

Why not just buy beer like
she was supposed to?
Why waste money on an
insignificant chance at riches?
Why do we live in a
Dangerous place, with no
Money, no food, no time, no
Fun ...

....a horrid waste of existing
in a fear based duplex'ial
nightmare of limited space
and a fear so deep it literally
shook our bones and rotted
our teeth.

Silence was definitely what
the doctor ordered

So we waited,
backs against the hot concrete,
Both thinking of what our
"duty" meant to us.

Could we abandon our post tonight!?

Let the hammer of Budweiser
swing past our heads and

...just ONE time...on
someone else.

Could we for one day be a
family that didn't run on
alcohol and broken dreams...

Could we go home and have
a real American dinner...

Instead of
"Long noodle"
"Short noodle"
"Brick noodle"
"Crunchy noodle"


Whatever the fuck name you
can make up,
to pretend that you're not
eating the same pack
of Roman Noodle soup
you ate the day before,
and the day before that,
and the months before that

Could we realize in this
That overtime, the Tennessee
Butcher would get us all!!
...and nothing we did, no
bomb we fell on or beating
we took
Would lessen the teachings
of sadistic pleasure that we all learned in the secret
society that was our family?

We could!

but we didn't...

and in that moment,
next to a gas station,
in the hot sun of a Texas

We looked into each other's
eyes, reached out our hands,
interlocked our fingers, put a
smile on our faces ...

and started our slow death march
towards the American

And I shit you not.....

we sang "Hakuna Matata."
Nik, Mandy and Matthew are amazing success stories.

Nik, a professional Athlete ( and maybe someday a writer)
Mandy, a Lawyer
Matthew, a mechanic for BMW

We never went back after we left. We only went forward.

Author Notes In this picture, Nik is in the middle. This is an example of the volunteer work he does. He talks to children about how to become a success in life no matter what. This was an after school care group for underprivileged students.

Chapter 33
No time

By jusylee72

I have no time for Jealousy
What you have is yours

I have no time for bigotry
Your thoughts are just absurd

No time for stupidity
Just let your actions show

No time for passivity
That just makes you slow

But if all I say is true.
Then I wonder as I do

Why I still cry when you pass by
That other woman by your side

She's so much prettier than I
I see the love that's in your eye.

When you stop to talk to me
Then I pretend that I believe

All the words that I just said
Then run and take my tears to bed.

Author Notes Pretending we don't hurt. Yeah right.

Chapter 34
Hope Lives

By jusylee72

To hope, to dream,To live, to scheme
To do, what you think's right
To laugh, to cry and say goodbye
To sadness in the night

To find a place where laughter lives
Where others only cry
To make a choice to care, to give
when some men choose to die

To give your last potato
To someone who has naught
To never let them take from you
The morals you've been taught

Why some men lived and some men died
Despite the tortured days
why some men turn to God inside
while others walked away

The strength that comes from deep inside
when no love can be found
The one whose thoughts he will not hide
when fear is all around

If evil comes and takes the sun
with all the death it brings
I hope that I will be the one
who stands up tall and sings

Author Notes Thanks for this public domain photo of a young girl singing in a concentration camp. I found it in the archives of the Holocaust museum. That picture says it all.

Chapter 35
Morning Marathon

By jusylee72

With the dawn of each day 
Racing thoughts
Invite me
To tell the stories
In vivid detail
No holds barred
Growing, infesting and honest

As the song begins
Dancing rhythms
Drive the thoughts
Into the words
Cautiously, callously, comfortably, confusingly, calmly, continually 
Told until I pass the finish line


Chapter 36
The Perfect Prayer

By jusylee72

 Child kneels at her bed
Good night God.” perfect prayer  
See you tomorrow.”


Author Notes My Mother told me that one night when my sister was three she said this.
" Good night God. See you in the morning." I had to change it slightly to fit the format but I just love how sweet and sincere it is.
I looked up "Prayer" because I didn't know if it was one syllable or two. The dictionary says it is two.

Chapter 37
The Forgiveness Rainbow

By jusylee72

There is gold
at the end of the rainbow

It isn't the kind you think
nothing you can deposit in the bank

The earth's atmosphere becomes the prism
Separating light
into streaks of colors

It has to storm first
It has to be destructive

Winds that tear apart the silence
hidden beneath the floor
where secrets lie
and fester
and become evil demons

with pain
anger over nothing

All the colors dressed in black

until we wash them away

with forgiveness

My son wrote me a letter

He forgave me
for the childhood storm
I placed him in

The violence that I didn't cause
but didn't leave

The poverty
the times he went hungry

The scared little boy
who stood up to the bully
but was knocked down
by simply asking for food

The daily thunderstorm we lived in

The hopelessness of dark clouds that hid the sun

The silence, not allowed to laugh

The children devoid of color
not able to be seen

until we left

and one by one
the colors appeared

Green was first
Nature revisited

Blue followed
The skies were clear

Yellow blossomed
Growth resumed

Red emerged
Vibrant and alive

and at the very end of the arch
Gold shimmered

A new story
illustrated in shades of life


Author Notes I received a beautiful poem letter from my son. It expressed so much pain and love in his free verse writing. I wish I could share it but it is not mine to share. They are his words to own. I usually don't let life get to me but I cried for all the pain of the past and for the beautiful people, My stepson and My best friend that I lost this year.

Chapter 38
Creature Rocks

By jusylee72

The moon was full, the water shimmered
blue with Streaks of white
Silver Rocks and Green moss glimmered
stories of the night

My father wanted me to run
and play throughout the years
He often told the story
of the lake of silent tears

"Go walk amidst the creature rocks
And listen to them well
Secrets they will soon unlock
The stories they will tell."

The first stone had a lions face
It's eyes were cherry red
The second was a silent bird
His song was lost and dead

The third one was a giant frog
His humor was absurd
And in the quiet of the night
His earthly croak was heard.

I played and swam beneath the moon
my father sat in silence
Watching as youth played in tune
With nature's perfect balance.

Chapter 39
Independence Day

By jusylee72

My mother died on Independence day

July 4th
Several years ago

Her eulogy
was written
so beautifully by her grandson

He talked about her gaining her independence
from her ailing body
moving on
to the place
don't understand.

The rest of that summer was hard
I missed her constantly.

When I got back to work
in August
We had instructions to clear our voicemail.

So I casually
started listening to messages
and deleting.

Then I heard this

"Hi Judy, It's Mom
Give me a call when you can."

and I heard her voice once more
and the tears fell
I wanted to call her

So I talked to her
alone in my office.

And I know
she heard me.

Call your Mom today

Author Notes The picture is my daughter and my grand daughter Addi.

Chapter 40

By jusylee72

My son was born in the spring
the day was April ninth
But snow was falling softly
on that Minnesota night

There were no Robins yet in sight
The air was calm and crisper
And silence rang through out the world
Snow falls in but a whisper

I saw his eyes and deep within
my spirit joined with his
This son that we named Matthew
was my special springtime gift

The next week as I brought him home
The snow had melted down
and on my porch a Robin stood
and spring had come to town


Author Notes Today is Matthew's birthday. He is 25.

Chapter 41
Nikolas , The Carny

By jusylee72

My oldest son Nickel was born

During a huge thunderstorm

Of course as his mother

I Thought there's no other

This boy was so far from the norm

It soon was apparent to all

This boy was athletic, not tall

He needed a sport

Not one with a court

Certainly, not Basketball

Today when I watch UFC

Amazingly who do I see

Of course there's no other

I'm proud as a mother

Nikolas fights on TV

Author Notes My Son Nik Lentz is a highly ranked fighter in the UFC. He is an amazing Athlete. He just went back to being a lightweight. Before that he was ranked as high as seventh in the world. This was a fun challenge. Thanks to my friends for giving it to us. Nik often does charity work. This picture was taken at a children's care facility where he went to talk to kids about being the best you can be.

Chapter 42
Old Owl

By jusylee72

No one knows when I was created
This wide eyed wonder of the world
But many say it was the first time
A man asked why

Why do we exist?
Who made us?
Why do we suffer?  
Who we are? 

I sit on a tree branch and listen to the elders of the tribe speak 

One Indian likes to tell the tale

Over and over to his grand children

They listen by the fire
as he weaves the tale of Old Owl

The bird who is silent during the day
The bird who questions everything at night
The bird who is both intelligent and evil

I am a quick warrior

Few are faster than me when I seek my nourishment

Few were given the gift of sight in the dark

I can fly over fields in the dead of night
And still see the smallest rodent
Believing he is safe and happy

But I have to eat

So I swoop and extend my claws
And at that moment I have no fear

Or regret

I have to be both beautiful and powerful

I have to protect and feed my young

The story goes that I was once only a small bird
Who no other birds feared
And my children starved in the forest
And my nest was not warm

But the wind of the gods saw my wisdom
And changed me
They gave me huge eyes that could see in the darkness
They gave me claws to pick up my prey
They gave me the strength of ten birds
To carry it away

I killed mercifully
And swiftly
I thanked the earth and the gods for feeding me and my children

The Indian told them of my voice
How I would say “Who”
And question the night

And all the older Indians
Both loved and feared me

I was an omen of death

I was given one sadness

If I was to gain my powers I was no longer allowed to see the sun

My eyes so sensitive at night 
Would be blinded by the day

I had to give up the flowers that bloom in sunshine
I couldn’t view the colors of the earth
The sparkles on the lake when the sun dances

The dark holds no colors

The Indian said, “All wise men have to accept what they are given.”

Modern men don’t venture outside
They tuck themselves in their dwellings
They listen to false day on their picture machines

But if they were to walk in the wilderness
On a full moon night
They would hear me calling

asking who they are. 

Chapter 43
Which Side of Wonderful

By jusylee72

If I only write as if I know the answers
If I only write the happy side
If I only write as if I have never made mistakes
then you will never know me.

But if I open up my life
To criticism

then I will understand
the wisdom that time gives us

We don't understand ourselves
when we are young
We simply try things out
look for answers
sometimes in the wrong world
sometimes in the real world

But we emerge from these outings
These speculations of life
with new knowledge
and new beliefs

and become who we really are

I believe life is wonderful
We choose which side of wonderful we live in

and every day
we make a decision

Which side of Wonderful
today lives

Chapter 44
You are

By jusylee72

Which day of your life did you live

Which day 
were you yourself

unafraid of what others said
or did
or knew about you

or assumed about you

Which day were you actually you

not hidden
not edited 

You are wonderful
certainly not the norm

something unique

with beautiful eyes
a spirit 
a desire
a dream

It might have been 
the day you were born
and you saw your mother's eyes 

She knew

there was no more amazing child in the world

and now

when life has shaped you 
changed you 
rearranged you

who are you

to judge yourself 

on this day

Chapter 45
I can't cook

By jusylee72

They say that I can't cook
Not even from a book 
With Recipes to show the way

They say I never learned 
and that I only burn
Potatoes and Steaks. 

My children are the ones with luck
My biscuits used for hockey pucks

A cake from scratch I tried to bake 
It simply cracked in half
So I named it Earthquake Cake 
So others too could laugh. 

But my one true claim to fame  
No other cook has ever claimed.
My children love to tello 
The time that I burnt Jello



Author Notes Yes, I did burn Jello. I was making it for my daughter when she got her tonsils out. I got distracted and poured the mixture right into the boiling water. It makes a terrible ring around the pan and smells horrible and sets of the fire alarm. Sigh, I was almost picked for the show Worst Cooks in America. I was in the top 20 but the picked 14.

Chapter 46
If I Fell into a Mirror

By jusylee72

If I fell into a mirror
and saw what others see
would I understand the mysteries
deep inside of me

Would it take away the sadness
Would it open up my eyes
If I fell into a mirror
would I ask why

If I fell into a mirror
and saw my mother's face
would I understand her love for me
That time just can't erase

Would I step away from anger
Would I find humility
If I fell into a mirror
Who would I be

If I fell into a mirror
and saw my children's eyes
would I hope they really understood
how much I truly tried

To protect them from the hurricanes
Yet run where rainbows grow
If I fell into a mirror
what would I know

Author Notes When my Mother died I thought I was ready for it. I know she was. But the sadness that filled me afterwards was so hard to explain. I look just like her. I also want my children to play in the rain with out getting hurt. Thank you for listening.

Chapter 47
My Unofficial Grand Daughter

By jusylee72

Tuesdays, I pick up Bailee.
My unofficial Grand Daughter.
I have known her since she was two
and she is both a delight and a handful.

Today as we walk outside I tell her,
"We are going to color eggs today."
Her face lights up.
"Really" 'Yes, let's go buy eggs."

We buy thirty eggs.
It takes about twenty minutes to boil.
While we wait, we fill the cups with vinegar,
water and the color tablets.

We have the special boxes of Easter colors
and egg tattoos, glitter and together we start to plan our designs.
and soon it is time to actually color
We drop the eggs in and watch them change.

Her Mom is one month away from graduating from college
Tuesdays are her late classes
So either my husband or I pick up Bailee on those days.

I am grateful for that.
It has helped us get to know this wonderful 6 year old.

Her Mom gets there before we are done.
So we compromise and she stays another hour to finish.

We made tie die eggs
Ugly eggs
We even used nail polish to add names
and when her Mom comes back
she shows her all the eggs
naming each one
showing the one she made for Matt
My son,
The one that says,"Mom"
the one that says, " Dad"
for her father who does not live with her.

And I treasure tradition
That says it's time to make, Easter Eggs.

But I also remember the time I was a Choir Director at a conservative church.

There was a woman there who didn't want me there because I was divorced.

I actually confronted her one day and here was her justification.

" I would have never made the decisions your made. You have three children from other supposed marriages."

I was like an uncolored egg back then. Her words hurt me.

and I actually took her criticism and cried.

But now, that I have been dyed by life and know my true colors.

I am brighter and happier than most Easter Eggs.

and my "unofficial" Grand Daughter

is one of the brightest eggs in my basket.

Author Notes Judging others is never right

Chapter 48
Young Love

By jusylee72

They say that I'm too young
To understand true love
and know exactly how it feels

They say it isn't true
I'm only passing through
a stage of life that isn't really

but if it isn't real and isn't true
Then all these silly things I do
are causing me to go astray.

Then you must listen to me know
as I say

You were young once
You remember
How it felt to hold his hand

You were young once
Don't forget how
You thought he was a man

And you changed the way you walked to math
Hoping he would cross your path
and notice how you changed your hair

And in that moment
That one moment.......

You were young once
You remember
when he finally asked your name

You were young once
Don't forget how
Your heart never felt the same

And he called you up
and you talked for hours
and he even bought you flowers

And in that moment
That sweet moment.......

Your were young once
you remember
when you saw him with THAT Girl

You were young once
Don't forget how
He really changed your world

And the tears came down
and you stayed inside
listening to the radio

but in that moment
That one moment...

And even though it didn't last
and all of this is in your past
a silly stage that you were going through

But in that moment
Yes, that moment
Love was true.

Author Notes I am a choir teacher at a high school. One day one of my freshmen girls was looking sad. When I asked her what was wrong she sighed and said, "Love" I went home and wrote this song for here that night. Adults like it we laugh at ourselves when we hear it , then shed a tear at the end because we know how it felt.

Chapter 49

By jusylee72

The epitome of selfishness believing one way is right
The apex of selflessness choosing not to fight

Author Notes When will we listen to all and judge only ourselves. When we realize we are not perfect and accept others as they are while living our own beliefs.

Chapter 50
Breaking the Mold

By jusylee72

I'll tell you the story of Mary Louise
Who bought into all that others believe

She listened, and pondered, and so rarely spoke
and followed the bible of most other folks.

She made no decisions without consultation.
Her mind was not hers it was other's reflections.

She married the first man who made her feel pretty.
He said she was lovely and once called her witty.

and then in the household he showed her the way
to please him, obey him, become his own clay.

The mold was too large, she did not fit
The statue he made was devoid of her wit.

The day that she cracked and came out of the mold
he tried to restrain her and shame her, he told.

"She's Crazy", restrain her,"Don't let her believe
she's special or worthy. Don't let her deceive."

"She needs to stay home. She knows how to give.
She's defying the edicts we all know to live."

But somehow, within her a new soul evolved.
She started to question, and cipher and solve.

and as she left, she would ponder it all,
discovering how she had never been small.

And lonely with sadness, and burdened with grief,
she breathed the new air with a strong, new belief.

That Mary Louise was witty and strong.
No new man could tell her where she belonged.

Her face glowed with laughter at what she had been.
She slowly emerged from the sad child within.

And in this story the woman I see
is known to this writer, simply as me.

Author Notes Such a fun contest prompt. I had so much fun.

Chapter 51
Little Boy

By jusylee72

Little Boy
with your Daddy's eyes
and your Mama's Smile
Play with toys
just stay small for a little while

Fly a kite
or climb a tree
Play a game of make believe
Stay warm in your Father's big strong arms

Little Girl
With ribbons tied in your long blond hair
run outside
chasing butterflies through the air

Teddy bears make lifetime friends
No matter how the story ends
Stay safe in your mother's loving arms

Little Boy
As you climb the stairs to that other gate
Don't look back
Mom and Dad can't go there yet

Run and play where angels trod
Say hi, from me to God
Stay Blessed in your other Father's arms

Author Notes My stepson, Michael, came into my life when he was 10. He actually lived with us until he was 14. I still remember the day when he was 12 and he told me he loved me. He died of a heart attack at the young age of 37 leaving a wife and three adorable children. It is hard to accept, but faith has a way of comforting. He will always be my little boy.

Chapter 52

By jusylee72

I get on a plane
to see my daughter in Minneapolis
the distance is immense
yet in as little as three hours
I will travel over a thousand miles
my grandmother
crossed the prairie
in a Conestoga Covered wagon
she lived in a sod house when she was young
she survived a burst appendix
and said
she could still smell the burning of her dressings
as her flesh died
she had gangrene
and yet she lived
and because of that
I exist
and Dad
lived through the depression
with a single Mom
and it was hard
and he never thought he had money
even when he lived on a golf course
with a new car in his driveway
he felt poor.
I asked him on my twenty first birthday
What were you doing when you were twenty one?
and he said
flying over France on D day
I knew how different our lives were
tried to understand
why he wouldn't tell me who he was
and what he knew
and experienced
he tried to protect me
from the fact
that he knew war
did what he had to do.
I wanted him to tell me
and let me know
who he was
I wouldn't have judged him
he flew B52's
he dropped bombs
and some of them destroyed
other things than just buildings
one night
a long time ago
he came to my room
when I was very small
he had a beautiful voice
In another time
he could have been a singer
that night
he sang to me
the Lord's Prayer
I fell asleep

Author Notes My father was in World War two , the Korean Conflict and Vietnam. He was also one of the pilots on alert flying over the ocean during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He was a quiet man and would never tell me the stories of his life.

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