The only requirement to be a writer is the ability to remember every scar.
NOTES FROM ART CLASS
Paint to the edges.
Leave none of the canvas blank.
Let broad strokes reveal themselves.
Never go cheap. Never use filler.
Layer the color.
How you apply it matters.
Always explore darkness first.
For example, start with deep hooker green.
Add a glint of pale-yellow sunlight.
Make sure to let only pinpricks of light shine through.
Don’t get attached too quickly.
Paint over them.
Let incongruence emerge.
Stop and look at possibility.
Be open to surprise.
The unexpected allows you to change direction..
Blur the detail—you can ruin a painting with clarity.
Stop. Revise. Analyze.
Gain courage from what you see—
Note the list of the palm.
Beaten but not snapped.
Add the croak of the tree frogs
who stir beneath the muddied gold water.
Find turbulence before you discover calm.
Toward the finish, see the sharpness of eased edges.
A new way to see.
MANGROVE REVIEW 2019 FLORIDA GULF COAST UNIVERSITY
My pregnant daughter sits
at her desk, absent-mindedly
stroking her belly
curly dark hair frames the
canvas for all her expressions.
I watch her
when I was a curly-haired
girl with dreams, allowing
the wind to toss me
until she and I were one.
She inside of me,
now he inside of her
memory imprints from
mother to mother.
Mine on hers as hers with him.
one inside the other
inside the other, the long line of us:
mothers nesting within each other.
The strength of one
passing to the next
GULF COAST WRITERS ASSOCIATION CONTEST WINNER 2014
gently at first
with push and pull
when he’d be ready—
he kept his mother walking
walking morning and night
to the café
the drug store
down to the river
he nestled low
her legs bowed
but she walked
until it was time
He became a hailstorm
blew in hard without Doppler warning
a rain filled cloud burst
shattering his cocoon
And suddenly, there he was
UP THE RIVER 2014
It takes faith to coax a plant
from root to bloom.
Yet the gardener is a believer.
Working the soil, he replenishes
missing nutrients, creates a fertile bed
before a single shoot appears.
In his mind’s eye, he sees the white
trumpet-shaped petals long before
the woody stalk begins its ascent.
All summer long, he tends cascading
wisteria, showy dinner plate dahlias
blasting out flugelhorns of color
patiently waiting for that time near
summer’s end when the virginal blossom
with fuchsia center opens—
shimmers in the morning sunlight
only to close and drop at sunset.
All he invests in that single blossom
carries with it the weight and
significance of a solitary moment.
Next door, a long-awaited baby
was born. The years and months
leading to her birth was spent
envisioning a family of two
becoming three. But the dream
fulfilled lasted two short months
by an anonymous truck driver
who took this new mother in full bloom
plucked her from her own abundant garden
and dropped her hard to the ground.
Like the gardener who anticipates the
future we, too, need to believe in plans
despite uncertainty in the cycle of seasons.
UP THE RIVER 2013