The Quote Garden

 I dig old books.

 Est. 1998

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Terri Guillemets
Archives — 2022

This is the archive of my publicly published writing from 2022 — the good, the bad, the active and the retired.  —tg

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moonlit winter trees
bare branches paint gray shadows
ghostly risen roots

      TITLE:  Doppelgänger
      DATE:  2022 Feb 12
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  haiku

my life is a mess
but this moment is perfect
my life is perfect

      TITLE:  Days end
      DATE:  2022 Jun 18
      NOTES:  senryu

The moon is always
running away from me
as if she thinks that time
is just a cyclical game
of hide & seek

She runs and runs
then keeps on running
leaving me to the mystery
of why the nights run short
and the days even shorter

Please, Moon —
just for one night
can't you sit still
and stay a while

We can have
a midnight tea —
just you and me
we'll talk all night
and bask in the glow
of your regal beauty

      TITLE:  Stay the night
      DATE:  2022 Sep 3
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

October has finally broken its scorching summer fever
turning the hesitant desert autumn into a true believer!

      TITLE:  A turn for the better
      DATE:  2022 Oct 23
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

I am searching for my feelings
through shelves of dusty books
can't help but feel I've left them
in some forgotten ancient nooks
as if an author long before me
captured my emotions in his day
and saved them in fine poetry
for future me to find someway

      TITLE:  Long ago now
      DATE:  2022 Feb 12

Have you ever seen anything more beautiful
      than a heavy dark-silver cloud
      taking up half the sky
      ready to lavish the gift of rain
      unto the waiting earth —
      than huge wandering clouds
      marbled in every subtle shade of gray
      bordered with light and hope
      shifting and swirling every moment
      in a slow dance with the winds?

Have you ever felt anything as beautiful
      as the breeze on your face
      or that first, fat raindrop
      that falls on your head —
      as the sun caressing every inch of your flesh
      warming and calming you to the core?

Have you ever heard anything more beautiful
      than the wind in the palms, the pines,
      the cottonwood leaves and tall green trees —
      than the sound of merry birds singing
      or water trickling through a forest creek —
      than soul-shaking booming thunder
      filling the width and depth and height
      saturating with stunning sound
      the infinite and electrified sky?

Have you ever tasted anything as beautiful
      as pure, clear, cool water
      the essence of earth and life
      the most refreshing, primal elixir
      a quenching, flowing vitality
      the distinct taste in each satisfying sip
      of both nothing and everything —
      or the raw power of the earth
      in the layers of an onion
      the fresh energy of vibrant greens —
      or the sweetness of the soil
      in a dense crunchy colorful carrot
      or a perfectly ripe juicy berry
      staining your taste buds
      and delighting your soul?

Have you ever smelled anything so beautiful
      as orange blossoms in the nighttime air
      with a perfume more intoxicating
      than any other seduction —
      as a rejuvenating and serene pine forest
      with a thick carpet of aromatic green needles
      or the dust-earth smell before the rain comes —
      as salty, nourishing scents of the nearby ocean
      or invigorating crisp clean air of the mountains
      breathing so close to the fresh, free, blue sky —
      as the warm, exciting aroma of springtime
      giddy and green, flowery and pristine?

      TITLE:  Springtime sky & no reason why
      DATE:  2022 Mar 5
      NOTES:  revised

sprightly little yellow butterflies
flitter their aërial dance in pairs
through tireless mud dauber paths
and webs sway vacant in the breeze
of poor spiders caught unawares

      TITLE:  September backyard
      DATE:  2022 Sep 4
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  revised

a writer tries valiantly
to transform his insides
into an intricate beautiful painting
and publish himself inside-out
for all the world to see

      TITLE:  Inkside out
      DATE:  2022 May 21
      NOTES:  revised

Watering the hibiscus
this afternoon —
its weary
parched-green leaves
in this too-early April heat —
I saw a gecko
climbed up the side
of the splintering planter box.

My first split-second
thought —
Alice Walker's garden gecko.
perfectly still —
the both of us —
I stared at it
and took in
the wonder
of it all.

It didn't move —
was it asking
for some water?

This bliss,
it was my Paradise.
Gray, rough-coated
nature —
staring right back at me
a foot from my face.

Slowly I moved the hose
just an inch in its direction.
Walker — I'd already
named it Walker —
disappeared so fast
I didn't even see
it go.

I wish it would've stayed.
I had water to give
and troubles
to wash clean.

      TITLE:  Poems that stick with me
      DATE:  2022 Apr 16
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα
      NOTES:  referencing my favorite poem of all time, Alice Walker's 2011 “Going Out to the Garden,” in The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers, 2013 —

in dreams
time is broken
we ride the shards
or they pierce
our sight —
we see with
different eyes
and know with
deeper mind

      TITLE:  Strangely normal
      DATE:  2022 May 15
      NOTES:  revised

I look out my office window
working too late, again

The half-moon is round
with a glowing halo —
I know it's pollution but
my heart sees fairy dust
or the happily ever after
romance of a bedtime story

And next to the bright moon
with its fringe of murky light
soars a large airplane
with its lights flashing
and I can hear its engine
even with my windows closed
(it's hot outside, otherwise —
you know darn well —
I would open them!)

The plane's lights —
red, green, white orbs
of unsightly technological safety —
are ruining the beautiful night sky
and distracting me from
my dusty fairy-tale moon

Yet maybe
at last
I realize
what's been
my poetic vision

I always seem to focus
on that beautiful moon
and the romantic dark sky
but ignore the 737 monstrous
hunk of metallic civilization
hurling itself through the night,
followed by a second aircraft
and then a third and fourth,
as if the airport is shooing
all her noisy little children
out of the house to play —

And even though that airplane
is hideous and loud
and aerial anti-serenity —
      it's life.

And what is poetry —
      if not life?

Perhaps it carries
newlywed lovers
who were finally married
after COVID cancellations,
leaving on the honeymoon
they saved up years for —
and in that plane
is just as much fairy tale
as that beautiful-ugly
dust veiling the moon.

      TITLE:  Flight path
      DATE:  2022 Aug 5
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

If this is to be my end, what would I want to tell the world?

Sometimes, starting over is the best medicine.

Everything you care about can teach you something about yourself. Everything you hate can teach you even more.

Most things don't really matter. And the things that do really matter, keep them as simple as possible.

Learning to let go is the most valuable life lesson.

What you see is gossamer compared to what actually exists.

The human brain may be the deepest, most amazing, underutilized miracle in the universe. And the most abused.

Fear is a poison to every part of our systems. So are worry and tension. And hatred.

If little things make you happy, you are very wise.

Probably the most important thing that human beings need to learn is:  just because we can doesn't mean we should.

Walking is good for the whole body, but it works the gears of the brain the most.

All of life is poetry. Listen.

Night is a dark, magical place we can curl up and relax into.

Those whom we love are the meaning — the meaning of life itself.

Mingle your mind with other minds, your heart with other hearts.

It can all be over in the blink of an eye, so treasure every blink.

The music of your soul lives on.

My life thus far has been forty-eight years of nonstop trying.

Since the day I was born, I've been nothing but emotion. With frequent intervals of coldhearted reason.

Get drunk once in a while. It makes the world make more sense.

No matter how much human wisdom there is, the best teacher is always nature.

I love you.

      TITLE:  In a COVID fever
      DATE:  2022 May 21

when you must get up early
to put the trash to the curb
because you forgot to do it
the evening before—and—yawn—
it's still dark, but the sun is hinting
at its existence, low on the horizon
and there's a fresh chill in the air
with Sirius & Orion hunting Mars
by the light of a hunter's moon—
suddenly it's no longer a chore
but glorious beautiful happiness

      TITLE:  October twilight
      DATE:  2022 Oct 12
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

bliss runs wild with the breeze today—
this moment a delicious autumn cake
frosted with october's dulcet bouquet—
worries let serenity breathe and play
while sweet nature gladness partakes

      TITLE:  Sixty-nine degrees
      DATE:  2022 Oct 23
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

midlife changes curled-up
forties are fiddlehead ferns
it doesn't look like much
until it becomes unfurled
and once we get it open
things may break apart —

eventually nests unwind
but will we bear fortitude
to turn that new life into
something just as beautiful
and yet even more free
spiraling towards fifty?

      TITLE:  Spiraling
      DATE:  2022 Nov 18
      AGE:  forty-nine

There was time —
I know there was —
saw it spread out
all ahead of me,
a beautiful infinity —
immortal fresh-faced
clock of opportunity —
numberless, handless
no ticks & no tocks
save for the sound
of distant decades
too quiet to really hear —

but at forty-eight years
a sudden gear-grinding
cacophony, the outspread
blanket of eternity
has begun to suffocate,
wrapped around me
limiting my agility
darkening my path —

I'm having trouble
breathing, I no longer
see that clock open
or free, its movements
now deafen me, its hands
tear into my flesh and
grip tight my throat —

I am choking on
second thoughts
at this midlife hour
this day of reckoning

      TITLE:  Alarm ringing true
      DATE:  2022 Aug 7

paths of long-term security
dead-end without notice
in the mercurial maze of life

      TITLE:  Delusions & cliffs
      DATE:  2022 Jul 26

All these years
I thought 'barren'
meant of the womb —
but now my body
has threatened me
with menopause
and I realize it
means of the heart.

      TITLE:  Truly lost
      DATE:  2022 Jun 8
      AGE:  forty-eight

suddenly my life feels
like the air before a storm
silent, searching, charged
an imminent disaster
with destructive beauty
bright sun here and now
dark clouds at my horizon

electrified waiting
a whirlwind of stillness
it's building, billowing
but to i know not where
and possibly to nothing
no body to forecast
whether or whether not
my future lies ahead

feeling ghosts in the wind
restlessness & anticipation
i dread this storm
but somehow
more than that
i welcome it, ache for it

oh i sorely need to become
sodden, grounded
struggle bedraggled
so i can revive
regrow vibrant —

dead branches torn away
old beliefs ripped from roots
worry whipped to shreds
powerful bolts striking
stronger than anything
i can create myself

blind me — enflame my entire sky
i want to look at the world anew
and that starts
with my own vision
i'm ready
for a new version

my being has become torrential
yet minimal — nearly imperceptible
not yet in a crisis, still
i'm bordering one, circling it
crying out for that flash point
beckoning it, to break —
to shatter my former self
and my current nothingness
into a mended calm
risen from the storm

rain, gales, hail —
i don't care
just let it come
i need to be reborn
from the wild remains
of my inner tempests —
no, i do not want to die
but only to live again

      TITLE:  Charged
      DATE:  2022 Aug 19
      AGE:  forty-eight
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

menopause is dry
as wood chips but it's kindling
for warm winter fires

      DATE:  2022 Nov 28
      AGE:  forty-nine
      NOTES:  senryu

creature after creature
loses its home
or goes extinct

earth herself
thanks to us
is on the brink

in the end doesn't
mean what we think

means the same as
man destroyed —

WE  are the weak link.

      TITLE:  Hopeless?
      DATE:  2022 Apr 20

The sooner that humans are out of the picture, the sooner Earth can get some well-deserved R & R.

      TITLE:  Patient waiting
      DATE:  2022 Jan 29

I write of only 3%
of the landscape
around me —
the green trees
colorful flowers
amazingly adaptive
dryland wildlife
and blind myself
to the rest of it —

but it's time
to take a good look
and acknowledge
my selective seeing —
the 97% is dull
barren, stark, harsh, hot

out my bedroom window
there is a plain brown
block walled fence, my
neighbor's white-metal
shed roof, off of which
glares the sun so brightly
it's blinding, not a speck
of green in sight, except
one small weed emerging
from dusty gray rocks —

yes, there is a lizard
on the wall, doing push-ups
in the morning sun
and I watch him
with fascination
awed with nature
I forget the surrounding
urban desert ugliness —

until suddenly I wonder
where will he get
his next water?
surely from someone's
yard watering system
but where do we  get
that precious water
for our thirsty homes?
and how much longer
will we be fortunate
enough to have it?

our city and county
allow so much over-
development, it feels
as if they are slowly
killing us, overcrowding
us, not caring about
our quality of life
nor the lizard's —

but maybe, just maybe
we Phoenicians are
simply outright foolish
for trying to live here
in our air-conditioned
fortresses while the
city dries up around us

      TITLE:  Desiccated
      DATE:  2022 Jul 29
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

DEAR  Maricopa County —
WE  the people
are livid and
soon-to-be thirsty
please stop allowing
unsustainable development!

      TITLE:  A plea
      DATE:  2022 May 13
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

January 13th 2022
We will allow Americans to die
by letting disease spread unchecked.

June 21st 2022
We will allow the Constitution to die
by intertwining church and state.

June 23rd 2022
We will allow people to die
by not controlling the guns.

June 24th 2022
We will allow women to die
by controlling their bodies.

June 30th 2022
We will allow Earth to die
by not protecting any of it.

Quod erat demonstrandum
To common sense, common good,
and general well-being we dissent.

      TITLE:  Six v. three
      DATE:  2022 Jul 1

trapped in a bottle
thrown out to sea

trapped in a bottle
my wishes are three

trapped in a bottle
that's drunken me

trapped in a bottle
emotions stormy

trapped in a bottle
flashing brightly

      TITLE:  Bottled
      DATE:  2022 Mar 28

driving over hills
      no air in the car

cornfields and traintracks
      no air in the car

whenever i breathe
      it's outside myself

i'm dizzy and empty
      no air in the car

the music is wind-borne
      the windows are closed

the hills are too high
      my destination's behind

but still i keep going
      my air is outside

      TITLE:  Drive
      DATE:  2022 Mar 25
      LOCATION:  ℳ esα, ArᎥɀønα

joyful forty, forty-one
it was just getting good
i was just getting started
and then cruel life
dealt blow after blow
for year after year
with death and strife
thieving my calm
and ova and sight —
healers and patches
blessed the rocky way
but nothing's the same —
what of me remains?
stitches and fray

      TITLE:  Riven
      DATE:  2022 Jul 3
      AGE:  forty-eight
      NOTES:  revised

i've got blood in my anger
and sorrow in my veins
worry runs through me
it's nonstop insane
my heart is clogged up
with obsessions and pains
dear lord unconfuse me
i'm crippled in vain
my body's too toxic
unsteady i walk
with fear as my cane
ill thoughts are killing me
they've poisoned my brain

      TITLE:  Ægrimonia
      DATE:  2022 Jul 3
      AGE:  forty-eight
      MORAL:  perimenopause sucks
      NOTES:  revised

she sees west
glances north
east goes past in a blur
south appears
and she wobbles —

this is not exploration
it's spinning —
the gentle rotation
of youth
has accelerated
out of control —

middle age, presbyopia
gray hairs speed by
dizzied by menopause —
motion, sickness
rapid changes kicking
out the support
from under her

she has a stand to take
but cannot make it
she's fallen & can't get up
it’s too far down too fast
she needs to rest —

here she sits — still
nauseous, unsteady
invisible, irrelevant
dried-up and empty

no map, and broken
compass — vulnerable
existing inside out
with seams showing —
tired, thready, torn

      TITLE:  Alteration
      DATE:  2022 Jul 25
      AGE:  forty-eight

Mother dear —

You worry about me
because I write sad poems —

But I promise you:
I am okay —

Writing purges my frustrations
and vents my steam
the pen is my psychiatrist
and ink my medicine —

When life feels off-balance
back to the writing board I go
I do not hide but seek
my emotions in words
and blot them on the paper
which blots it all out of my soul —

You see sad words, but to me
all my poems are happy
because creating them heals me —

Guaranteed, and believe me
because I love you so:
your daughter is just fine —

If ever I stop writing poems
that is when you should worry.

      TITLE:  Ease your sweet heart
      DATE:  2022 Jul 28

BEER has eluded me for a few years
well, that is to say, I have eluded it
or in the sobering medical jargon —
“perimenopausal alcohol intolerance”
which means my hormones know better
than to get tipsy and more off-balance.
But today I'm not feeling so bad —
dare I reach for those cold Peronis
forgotten in the back of the fridge?

      two bottles later

BEER  to  EMOTIONS  inside:

Numb it.
      Make it fly.

Look into the mirror —
      see the skull
            within thy flesh

Find out where lives the why —
      somewhere between the bones
      and the part of life
      that touches reality,
      that dances with the day

Why do we hate
      all our little struggles?
      be numb to annoyances —
      be alive to the life,
      to the blood, the fiber
            of the day

Suffering blends with joy
      to such a degree that
      they are one and the same
      as the silver lining
            of a cloud is
      one with our souls

The sky rains down on the earth
      and we soak ourselves up
            in an ancient cycle
            of lost and found

It’s all in the air —
      can't you feel it?
      smell it? taste it?
            It is there —

You can't run and hide
because it will always be there —
      in the very air we breathe
      in the layers of earth —
            the clay, the
            lava and fire
      and smoke of existence

The beer, the thought,
      the audible, palpable heartbeats
      uncover the layers
            of dirt, the dust of time,
            the everything that
      we've kicked up over our wounds
            throughout the years

Some things are like a shovel
      and help us
            dig it out;
      some things
      help us sweep it away
      to return to the winds
      without guarantee
            that it won't
      return again some future day
            even tomorrow
            or in our dreams

And should we really be so selfish
      or stubborn or unrealistic
      that we wouldn't expect it
      to resurface yet again — someday
      can't we just feel happy
            and blessed
                  and free
      that it's taken its leave
            for today?

Don't be jealous
      of the birds
      with their wings
and the bodily structure
      to fly away —
an aerial view doesn't
      necessarily mean
      that they have
            the capacity
to leave it all behind

The wings carry much
but the body carries more
and within our bodies
like an intricate puzzle
the mind fills up
with ever-heavy thoughts
and overflowing rivers —
thoughts & emotions
that spill quickly
      and restlessly
      into the heart:
and try to fly —
      just try it —
            I dare you —
with all that cargo

Perhaps it's not
      the wings
      after all
that allow us to fly
but the breath —
the taking it in
the letting it go
the filling up
      with essentials
            of life
so there isn't room
      for anything else
but the air, the breath —
and isn't that everything?

We're all running —
every single one of us
      is running —
            running from
            running towards
even those of us who
      think we're content
      sitting perfectly still
are being carried along
      because no one
      or nothing
      really sits still
the tide would die
      had it nowhere to roll

      TITLE:  After 2 bottles
      DATE:  2022 Jul 22
      NOTES:  Empty stomach. Unedited. A writing experiment to determine whether my tipsy self makes any more or less sense than its sober side. Results are inconclusive — I think we're both a little crazy.

green & light shimmering
dancing in the sunlight
little red fuzzy flames
burn quietly in the breeze
mottled blue patches
of serene springtime sky
blaze beautifully behind
a lively bejeweled scene
medallions of shade and color
twinkle in the afternoon
a mama hummingbird hovers
with wings so fast, silence
is no longer golden — she is
the sounds of the winds
overtake my soul and
carry it far off into the skies

      TITLE:  Watching the April bottlebrush without spectacles
      DATE:  2022 Apr 12
      LOCATION:  PҺoenᎥᶍ ArᎥɀønα

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Terri Guillemets
Archives — 2022

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