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Terri Guillemets
Archives — 2021




This is the archive of my publicly published writing from 2021 — the good, the bad, the active and the retired. —tg







black eyes and broken bones
rainbows and sugared donuts
overthinking and over-loving
have gotten me to this point
and still I've never yet made
a five-year freaking plan —
and even if I did — nothing
ever actually goes
                           according
      to
                      plan
 anyway


      TITLE:  Rejoice, lament, meander
      DATE:  2021 Jan 2
      AGE:  forty-seven
      NOTES:  revised







some see treasure in everything,
while others die believing
everyone else struck gold but
never finding any for themselves —
how sad for those lost, bitter beings
who were ever blind of heart


      TITLE:  Value-able
      DATE:  2021 Jan 9
      NOTES:  revised







Spring and summer come with a lush layer of foliage over reality, but when things start falling away in the autumn and get bare and stark in the winter we're forced to look at things more as they really are, including ourselves.


      TITLE:  Barely knowing
      DATE:  2021 Jan 11







a viral magic act
making all disappear
except essentials —
our souls are ailing
emotions tested
communities spread thin
but never so together —

fear and negative mindsets
purpose and positive actions
our generosity unmasked
inspiration is contagious

we live, we die —
we survive, but barely

it’s been so long
we are getting sick of this, but
it’s gotten us closer to ourselves
even as we distance from others

some have perspective —
others have only anger

a year of austere warning from
mother nature, which many won’t heed —
suffering, separation, and need
a year of gratitude and pain
disorder, loss and gain —
yes, many gifts too — science, love
veiled blessings, principle, priorities —
months were lost but not the lessons

we have homework — wrest the energy
to begin our rock-bottom rebuilding


      TITLE:  Afloat on hope
      DATE: 2021 Jan 14







We’ve lost, we’re losing,
it’s so much loss, too much.

But the clouds are rolling
and the breeze is blowing
and nature is so beautiful
and the dried delicate leaves
are doing their dance of balance
between hanging on and falling away
amidst their wintry shiverings —

they love the wind
for helping them let go —

they fall to the ground
and the gentle rain comes
and helps them nourish the earth.

A gray bird lands on a bare gray branch
both unadorned, yet so, so beautiful.
And the leaves are drifting
and our lives are drifting
and loss is just another form of beauty.


      TITLE:  Lost in thought
      DATE:  2021 Jan 19
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







the leaves all dance
to the same breeze —
but some flutter and some fall
some shiver and some sway —

and when a gust comes
they lose themselves —
but are no less beautiful
on the ground, where resting
they still yet dance, but free


      TITLE:  In loss still they dance!
      DATE:  2021 Jan 19
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







cold gray rainy day
watching winter's last leaves fall
from my cozy bed


      TITLE:  Compensations for the chill
      DATE:  2021 Jan 19
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  revised







leaves dancing
in a brisk breeze
on an almost-bare tree
joyous at autumn’s wake

they tremble, ready
to be free, to sleep
with past seasons —
dying, they celebrate
the awakening of winter


      TITLE:  Autumn’s wake
      DATE:  2021 Jan 19
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  revised







I long to be close to
where your beating heart
was among its last beats.

I sit on the couch where
we spent your last night —
but cannot bring myself
to be on the cushion where
life was fading from you
and you laid against me.

I didn’t sleep, for vigilance
you didn’t sleep, for pain —
so tired, so dazed, so lucid
so knowing, so loved —
so gone.


      TITLE:  Sofa
      DATE:  2021 Jan 20
      NOTES:  revised







Death teaches us meaning
      of the word sudden —
one minute there, one minute
            not —

the blackness, the blankness,
the emptiness, the silence, the void —
the most palpable, oppressing nothing
      there ever was.


      TITLE:  A lesson
      DATE:  2021 Jan 20







I write all these death poems, these grief poems —
and does it really make me feel better? Or am I just
twisting my heart so that I can feel, to remember?
Because I’m afraid that if I don’t feel, I will forget.


      TITLE:  Do I write grief or is it writing me?
      DATE:  2021 Jan 20
      NOTES:  revised







no matter which end-of-life decisions were made,
there are always regrets, there is always that guilt —
live parts of me holding onto memories of a dying you
dead parts of me holding onto living memories of you


      TITLE:  End of life
      DATE:  2021 Feb 8







a new day doesn’t mean
forgetting yesterday
but simply letting it go
not to dwell in memories
but to cherish each one
as it pops up and surprises us
and then release it with a smile

the birds are singing of now
our hearts beat of the present
the past is a muted background
enhancing our carpe-diem lives
dawn paints the scene of today
and invites us to live beautifully
to be the artists of our own souls


      TITLE:  Arise thankful
      DATE:  2021 Feb 9
      NOTES:  revised







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      TITLE:  A politically correct poem
      DATE:  2021 Feb 20







We can't really say anything about anything anymore without first washing it down to meaninglessness.


      TITLE:  Intentionally blank
      DATE:  2021 Feb 20







Sometimes, praying is releasing our pent-up, used-up life and making room in ourselves for new life.


      TITLE:  Knees down, heart open, head up
      DATE:  2021 Feb 25







When you allow the tears to flow out, you're allowing relief and hope and faith and all sorts of good things to come in.


      DATE:  2021 Feb 26







Somehow, I got old
before really learning to be young
the old in my bones is calcified
the young in my soul is still growing


      TITLE:  Ossifight
      DATE:  2021 Mar 3
      AGE:  forty-seven







stop cancel culture
it's politically correct
censorship brainwash


      DATE:  2021 Mar 14







stop cancel culture
it is censorship brainwash
let us lead not quash


      DATE:  2021 Mar 14







cancel culture is
political correctness
overcorrecting


      DATE:  2021 Mar 14







hair like roaming waves of the sea
eyes reflecting the light of heaven—
studious, compassionate, soulful—
pythagorean shiny nose
laugh lines loved into place
a beard that let the cat in
face aglow with manly health,
honesty and freedom


      TITLE:  Side Portrait of Edwin Markham
      DATE:  2021 Mar 22
      NOTES:  Dead Poets Society "barbaric yawp" scene writing experiment




 Edwin Markham portrait
 from The Man with the Hoe
 with Notes by Author, 1900







a thinking eye
but jolly cheek
a furrowed brow
but kindly stance;
the hair of a hippie
and student & master—
the burden of life
and love of wife—but
something perpetually
unsettled within him;
button-up coat over
raw, naked soul—
a book in his hand
and ten in his pen


      TITLE:  Markham Portrait with Book
      DATE:  2021 Mar 22
      NOTES:  Dead Poets Society "barbaric yawp" scene writing experiment




 Edwin Markham portrait
 from Gates of Paradise, 1920







I don't believe in overdone political correctness or blown-out-of-proportion social censorship. I believe in respect and responsibility, common sense and compassion. We have to be allowed to use our hearts and our heads and our words. Talking is the solution, not the problem.


      DATE:  2021 Mar 25







I am a poet, — though
I’ve yet to write a poem —

when my soul blossoms
and my mind goes free
when I finally let go of
the suffocating shroud
o’er the wildness of me

my beauty will spill out
the ink will overflow and

finally I’ll be able to see
through a sapphire lens
into the heart of infinity


      TITLE:  Strive & struggle
      DATE:  2021 Mar 27







I know I am a poet —
someday — I will be

but the earth hasn’t yet
shattered inside me


      TITLE:  Strive & struggle
      DATE:  2021 Mar 27







I have still only yet got
the seeds of the words
within me; I am learning
and yearning and earning
and living my way toward
being born into harvest


      TITLE:  Strive & struggle
      DATE:  2021 Mar 27







There’s a meteor shower
inside my brain —

stars shooting down
every bright idea
words burning out
before inking the page —

broken-hearted dementia
sleepless engulfing fog —
search and rescue crews
report every line gone


      TITLE:  Strive & struggle
      DATE:  2021 Mar 27
      AGE:  forty-seven
      NOTES:  perimenopause sucks







leaves — lovers
      of the gentle breeze
trees — brothers
      of roots that weave
soil — giver
      of life through earth
sun — mother
      of golden light’s birth


      TITLE:  Ecos
      DATE:  2021 Apr 13







i don’t want to be
just a strand of dna
passing through time
or an echo of a face
repeated down the line

just another leaf falling
from the family tree
a bloodline that someday
ends with the end of me —

i want to be the sky
or an eternal poem
wildflowers growing
wherever seeds roam

i want to be the wind
or wandering clouds
or the rain that drifts
or a free soaring bird
or starshine at night —
eternity’s glowing
ethereal light


      TITLE:  Free spirit
      DATE:  2021 Apr 18
      AGE:  forty-seven







for love’s rewards we stick our necks out
vulnerability a’pulse, blissful anticipation —
and love kisses our risk and nuzzles our napes
but after a time — short or long or in between —
we lose our heads to his swift sharp guillotine
our foolish blind hearts beat on nonetheless
and carry a torch right up to the inquest


      TITLE:  Burning
      DATE:  2021 Jun 18







Okay — I give in — I accept you — Middle Age
I am tired — I want to sit down — unrushed —
to read — and drink hot tea — and — Breathe
the number of years behind me — and ahead of me —
no longer concern me — mathematically or emotionally
I have come to rest in the sturdy arms of the Present —
where Time has been waiting for me — my whole Life


      TITLE:  I accept you
      DATE:  2021 Jun 19
      AGE:  forty-seven







The moon shines
into the dirty desert air
with a rusty opal halo —

Scorpius has lost his way
behind the thin clouds,
city glare, smoke, dust —

His heart shines in some far
better place — but not here
in this smoggy summer.


      TITLE:  Night haze
      DATE:  2021 Jul 20
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  revised







the scale now shows me
one hundred sixty-eight
but in those simple digits
I see rejection and pain
sugar, laziness, exhaustion
hormones splayed out of  WHACK
menopause ready to rumble
plaque buildup and repressions
anxiety, regret, some depression
the past, the future, sheer panic
tension, disoriented expectations
ice cream, sweet junk addictions
griefs, hurts, disappointments
bad habits, cliffs, fear, falling
the eating of all my emotions
gluttony and gorging ghosts
turbulent raging blood glucose
sleepless nights, too-busy days
nerves, toxins, worry, age
unwelcome rapid-fire change
lack of trying, trying too hard
loss of control, culinary excesses
no longer fitting into my dresses


      TITLE:  Weighed down
      DATE:  2021 Aug 6
      AGE:  forty-seven
      NOTES:  perimenopause stage ii







shorter days seem a little ominous
shadows are becoming autumn'ish


      TITLE:  Creeping
      DATE:  2021 Aug 6
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







sorry, no autumn this year —
earth didn't pay the subscription fee
after the free trial of summer ended


      TITLE:  Renewal
      DATE:  2021 Aug 7







Behind the wheel is one of the least likely places to have our faith in humanity restored.


      TITLE:  Epidemic of rudeness
      DATE:  2021 Oct 22
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  revised







Orion —
knocked over by winter
lays on his side in the east
rise & shine for the night
twinkle, twinkle hunter stars
you are nearly as tall
as my eyesight is wide
will you and your pups
protect us while we sleep?


      TITLE:  Looming large
      DATE:  2021 Nov 27
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







cold winter night wind
warms my soul but chills my bones
spring sleeps in the earth


      TITLE:  December windows open
      DATE:  2021 Dec 1
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







In the wheel of Earth’s years
we watch as Autumn’s clock

Tick-tocks in tiny goldenrod
September petal’d seconds

Frosty trees bleed scarlet hours
through veins of October leaves

Amber minutes wither and fall
drifting in November’s breeze

And the silent strike of midwinter
turns December’s snowflake gears


      TITLE:  Autumn’s clock
      DATE:  2021 Dec 7







hiding in my winter cocoon
not coming out again until June


      TITLE:  Cozy
      DATE:  2021 Dec 8







peeling this sweet potato
i can smell the earth
i close my eyes and smile
then cry —

when did i get so removed
from the soil, the land
from simplicity —
the family garden
in grade school
my bare feet on warm dirt
i was so happy
there were carrots
and worms
and life
was carefree —

i finish making soup
do the chores
the day was busy
i am tired —
the nights
when there is time
enough leftover
to snuggle into bed
a little early & read
and i can keep
my eyes open
long enough for it —
this is heaven
simple, free, happy
heaven


      TITLE:  Veggie soup
      DATE:  2021 Dec 10
      AGE:  forty-eight
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







there are only so many poems one can write
about umber tree roots and the glowing moon
before the psyche starts crying out to be heard
the suffering of the world isn’t poetic
but it is essential to poetry


      TITLE:  Umber
      DATE:  2021 Dec 13







snuggled into a warm cozy bed
weather wakes this sleepyhead
with a blustery December night
white clouds reflecting city light
cold drops fall fast and furious
a clattering house, mysterious
midwinter storms in and wails
frigid rain and whipping gales


      TITLE:  Windy winter night
      DATE:  2021 Dec 14
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα







The only thing I want
a subscription to
is the winter chill and
an evening view of Venus
and those are totally free!

The only thing I want
to pop up in my face
is a beautiful flower
in springtime bloom
and that, by the way
never gets in my way.

I just want to read a recipe
not look at a baker’s dozen
hyperenormous photographs
and read a culinary novel
so now please can I cook?

I don’t need to know
the fifteen best this
or 36 surprising thats
it’s free (with purchase)
but hurry, only 2 left!
Bah, no thanks. Is there
an app to make it all stop?

I’m not made of attention
time nor clicks nor money
so I am logging myself off
from the world to walk to
the grassy park with a book
and enjoy a nice simple day.


      TITLE:  Aaahhhhh!
      DATE:  2021 Dec 15







I wanted to write
      a book of poetry
but it's already written;
      those poems —
red, throbbing, beating —
      are just trying to
            make their way
                  to the paper


      TITLE:  Existing
      DATE:  2021 Dec 17







the blur of yellow, orange, red leaves
the blur of gray hair
the blur of occupied hours
the blur of dying dreams


      TITLE:  Hurtling
      DATE:  2021 Dec 17
      AGE:  forty-eight







once you’ve forgiven yourself
do not un-forgive yourself on
each anniversary of the guilt


      TITLE:  Undoing
      DATE:  2021 Dec 22










Terri Guillemets
Archives — 2021






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