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Samantha’s Daily Poem

October 11, 2011

Quicksand



Her exhales are heavy
with disappointment.

I forget my vow
not to ask
how are things
so I endure
a vapid itemization
of woes.

Her melancholy
is quicksand
I want to thrash about
get out
the air suddenly smells thick
of dust.

But my feet are made of the cement
of politeness
I can taste it now
the chalky gloom
I grow concerned I may
scream a regretful
thing
so I begin to
laugh
laugh
laugh.

She asks
what’s so funny
and I can’t think up a good lie
so I keep laughing
until the wind of it
blows the musty coating
from my skin
and dredges her mouth
into the opening
for a smile.

October 10, 2011

Nothing in front of me but my hands



It’s early and raining
they are bundled
my husband and son
on an adventure
they promise to bring home treasures
sticks
bright leaves
unidentifiable pieces
of plastic.

The house is oddly still
as though it isn’t us that runs around it
but it that spins
around us.

I am loosely aware
of a phone ringing
like a bird call
or a shout from someone in the park
it doesn’t occur to me
to answer it.

Half an hour passes
maybe more
tireless fade of time
I remain at the dining room table
sitting
nothing in front of me
but my hands.

I had fervent plans
a window of efficiency
finish the spreadsheet
burn that disk of photos
make soup.

But I didn’t anticipate
the sweetness of feeling my belly
soften and grow with each breath
the quiet tingle
of my tongue.

I’d forgotten
how seductive
it is
to be idle.

October 9, 2011

The excavator



I ordered it myself
a crew
an excavator
a war on the writhing den
of blackberries
those mangled hands that crept
closer to our house
wanting in.

I wasn’t there when the machine
rolled in, ripping
and chewing
but when I saw the land
bare and torn
stray roots poking up awkwardly
like the hairs on an old
man’s head
I almost wept
in the disorientation
of all that loose earth
not knowing where
to place my hands
and apologize.

October 8, 2011

The last meal



They offer to feed him
whatever he wants
a special meal.

Tomorrow they will stop
his heart
put an end
to him.

But he doesn’t think
of all that now
he eats chicken-fried steak
and lobster
gives away pieces of
chocolate cake.

What he did
years ago
he doesn’t deny it
it makes my face go numb
like that time I saw a rhinoceros
gore a woman’s leg
the softness of hanging flesh
the dry white
of bone.

The nest of blame
is too complex for my brain
to unpin
his decency was beaten out of him
from the beginning
he never learned the words
for please
no.

The ice cream arrives
caramel sauce and nuts
he doesn’t know he is agreeing
to leave them alone
a contract
forgiving them
just in case.

All he knows is sleep comes
fast and warm that night
despite the wretched promise of tomorrow
he has never been
so loved.

October 7, 2011

Not winter yet



The earth clenches
frozen lumps of soil
even the big trees look brittle
like stick drawings.

Late in the morning
the grass sweats
it is not warm
but it is no longer so cold
as to hollow us out
a stream of hunchbacks weaving
the fastest path
to a door.

It is not winter yet
we are only being tested
reminded
the ice will come
and we will wish
for the charity
of rain.

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