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Grandma’s Favorite Poem

11 Mar

I’ve just returned from Ohio where we laid my grandma to rest. She’s leaving quite a hole in our family, but it was so good to be together. The next few posts will probably be about her, as she left a lasting impression.

As part of her funeral, my cousins read from a poem that my grandma recited when she was young, winning an oratory contest for her performance. The poem is called “The House By The Side Of The Road” and perfectly encapsulates what my Grandma believed in. She grew up in a house by the side of the road, just like this one. She was a friend to man, just as the person in the poem is. It’s strange how much this poem that she read when she was young ended up emulating what her life’s experience was.

This is my Grandma's house. It's on 80 acres of farm land.

This is my Grandma’s house. It’s on 80 acres of farm land.

The House by the Side of the Road

There are hermit souls that live withdrawn
In the place of their self-content;
There are souls like stars, that dwell apart,
In a fellowless firmament;
There are pioneer souls that blaze the paths
Where highways never ran-
But let me live by the side of the road
And be a friend to man. 
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and the men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I.
I would not sit in the scorner’s seat
Nor hurl the cynic’s ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man. 
I see from my house by the side of the road
By the side of the highway of life,
The men who press with the ardor of hope,
The men who are faint with the strife,
But I turn not away from their smiles and tears,
Both parts of an infinite plan-
Let me live in a house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man. 
I know there are brook-gladdened meadows ahead,
And mountains of wearisome height;
That the road passes on through the long afternoon
And stretches away to the night.
And still I rejoice when the travelers rejoice
And weep with the strangers that moan,
Nor live in my house by the side of the road
Like a man who dwells alone. 
Let me live in my house by the side of the road,
Where the race of men go by-
They are good, they are bad, they are weak, they are strong,
Wise, foolish – so am I.
Then why should I sit in the scorner’s seat,
Or hurl the cynic’s ban?
Let me live in my house by the side of the road
And be a friend to man. 
Sam Walter Foss

An “I Miss You” Poem

17 Apr

Fade Fast, Sparks

I’m feeling awfully and pathetically poetic tonight.

I knew it’d come, though a few months too late.

You talked of destiny, feelings, and fate,

But forgot to fade fast enough to be out of sight.


While not shallow by nature, but deep, in fact,

I like silly things and waste too much time.

Is it naive for me to think of us as sublime?

Is it strange how easily I neglect what we lacked?


You slip away too slowly, Snow on a cold spring day.

A sticky group of memories, bursting all over the place.

Chasms of quick color in the midst of white space,

Leave me at peace or come back for a permanent stay.


My world waits up for you only to be calmly neglected,

You never promised me much but a moment.

Rather than grasp the loss of you, I refused to own it.

It seems for extinguished sparks, I was particularly selected.


Waiting for this familiar war in me to finish,

I keep faith in the possibility that I wasn’t wrong.

I trusted deeply, broke completely, and finally sang an authentic song,

Left with a sweet hope that will never fully diminish.

What I Noticed On A Saturday in Santa Monica in February

25 Feb

Flying, flying

The seagulls call to one another silently and in a swift, fluid motion, they join together one after the other gliding over the Santa Monica horizon.

Where ocean meets sky, where sand meets water, the seagulls fly.

Over the crowd of Road Runner LA marathoners clad in orange shirts, each with their neon green water bottles tucked neatly into the back of their equipment belts.

They fly over the band of surfers in wetsuits, waiting patiently in the easy waves for their next jolt of life.

Over the kids in helmets learning to ride bikes and their exhausted but excited parents in pursuit.

Over the guy on his cell phone half running after his giggling baby playing gleefully in the sand.

Over the shirtless lifeguard removing the locks from his tower’s windows, opening up for his daily shift.

Over the paparazzi yelling out names of celebrities exiting limos as they arrive for the Independent Spirit Awards.

Over fans, also yelling names of their favorite stars, while stuffing the morning’s left over bagel into their mouths and wiping away the crumbs.

They fly over the two women jogging on the beach catching each other up on the happenings of their week.

Over the carnival rides at the Santa Monica Pier where distant screams of glee fill the air.

Over memories. New ones being made, old ones being forgotten.

Over volleyball games just beginning. Sons learning from fathers how to spike a ball.

Over unruly dogs trying to steal the leash from their owners.

Over problems and the people who cause them.  Over fights. Over parking mishaps. Over police directing traffic. Over smiling kids. Over tourists. Over empty beach in this February off season.

Over me, laying here observing it all, watching their flight and wondering if anyone else has taken the time to see how magnificent it all is.

A poem written at 4AM about waiting

3 Dec

December 3, 2011

Wait: A poem

I’m stalled in line at the DMV.

I’m stuck in traffic on some side street.

I’m staring at a clock, counting down the minutes until 5,

Dreaming up escape plans only I can contrive.


Frustrated I can’t pass,

Cutting people off, not wanting to be last.

My breath is caught in my throat, I wish I smoked but I don’t.

Is this really where I start? Being that I’m afraid of the dark?


I’m always counting down,

Barely stopping to refresh or rest,

Caffeine is my worst enemy/best friend,



Pumping, going, never slowing…

Striving, driving, thinking it’s arriving.

I feel anticipation bursting inside, it can’t get out,

My only option is to sedate…

To wait. To wait. TO WAIT.


Patience: Just wait.

Peace: Create.

A promise…We anticipate.


Breathe: No fear.


A whisper…. He is here…He is near.


By waiting, I heard.

By breathing, I stirred.

By being, I’m freeing.


The word dwelled. And I was held.

In a special place I’ve never been because I was too busy before.

To wait. To wait. TO WAIT.

Facing My Desert Place

20 Jul

A reminder to myself that this too is also a desert. I took this in Arizona in Nov 2005

We all have seasons when we’re in the desert and little makes sense. Even Robert Frost, who I just found out wrote a poem funnily enough that he entitled “Desert Places.” (I wrote mine below before knowing about his). We ask questions. Why is this taking so long? Why do I keep hitting a wall? What’s wrong with me? These are common thoughts I usually face when I’m in a desert season. This last time, I decided to write a poem about it so that I could clear my head. As I wrote, I prayed that God would give me peace and help me to sort out all of the emotions that were coming at me at once. What I wrote is below. Writing is like therapy or a good long run after a bad day. And here it is:

Desert Place

The desert place is dry and cracked,

Caked like wet cornmeal clumped.


The desert place is lonely and wide,

The end of a sad movie that makes no sense,

But percolates in my mind for days.


The desert place is deep and real,

Echoing toward the conclusion of a stretching season.


It’s vast and hot, brown and red.

Every step is trudging,

My mind is ever judging who I am, who I will be, how I will live through.


The desert place has questions unanswered, fears unfaced, stones unturned.

I stay awake there, wondering if my parched mouth will taste water soon.


The desert place is angry.

It’s long like war, frustraiting like traffic, and painful like an unhealed heart.


I wait there. In that desert place. My feelings fail, for they are too intense and the tears come quickly, shooting down my cheeks, carving hot paths before dropping off the cliff of my chin toward oblivion and for what?

My eyes close so that I can remember what it’s supposed to feel like to trust. I go back to those altars that I once made so that I wouldn’t forget. For times like this where I must sit and wait and bear it. Tomorrow may be more blazing heat. But I can hope for rain.

Stream of Consciousness: Blurting out random thoughts

17 Mar

Respond. Respond to the different stories. To where people are at. I can’t help but think how unique, how beautiful all of the women I’ve encountered lately are. We’re so quirky and wonderful. Everyone has a story. A place they’ve been. A place they want to go. Everyone has pressures, thoughts to work through. Poetry in motion. People are blunt and true and struggle to be themselves. They might be embarrassed. True vulnerability, I’m learning, is beauty.

Loving people’s moments of epiphany. Their movements toward self-realization. To a deeper sense of themselves and more. Like a dance. Loving to take part in the process of realizing we’re all human together. It’s a foreign situation– connecting the dots of life. Of story. Comedienne. Poet. Musician. Photographer. Writer. Person. So much more than that.

Words express me. I express words. Words strung together make an amazing piece of art. Fated to always use words. Cerebral, yet unapologetic words. I break through. This breaks through the boring doldrums of our days. How do we really express ourselves? Love ourselves better? Believe we are true to who we are and are meant to be? Revealing my passions, my struggles, my hopes and dreams. Almost there. Here is not so bad though. What if I were content with now? What if I were okay with who I am in THIS moment? I take a second to inhale. To breathe as I was taught this past weekend.

I worry about being judged by people. I’m so sick of always being on guard. My eggshells I walk on are breaking and I’m starting to feel the yolks stick to my feet. It’s gross. I don’t want to care. I want to be free there. Stop holding my tongue, being quote unquote perfect.

It feels like the parts of my childhood I’d rather forget…

I go in this direction.

Unexpected expectation. Where in tarnation

Do I endeavor to discover,

Uncover this belief?  I feel like a thief, brief but stealthy,

I’m working toward healthy.

Break free from my Yolks and yolks. Maybe tell some jokes. Laugh with joy,

Begin to employ– a new sense of self, protected. Unrejected. Free to be. Free to laugh.

Free to find that joy all around me.

I’m uncovering the truth. No excuse.

Juxtaposed Grief

21 Nov

Juxtaposed Grief

By: Melissa Mills

The glimpses have become moments,

The moments linger longer.

The flower opens gently,

Suddenly I’m stronger.

I ache in quiet places,

That stir aloud to my soul,

My tears have reaped their grief,

Lonely strife taking its toll.

I wait here in this juxtaposition,

Until I cannot sleep.

Battered dreams and untold schemes,

Toward peace I slowly creep.

Abundant  chasms of time,

When nothing makes much sense.

I drip and drop and freely flop,

Waiting for recompense.

An Opposition of Such Emotions,

Simultaneous and true,

Has never sentenced itself upon me,

Until I wrested with you.

Yet here I am inside and out,

A project half complete.

I’ll let you break me, strike me down,

Until you’re obsolete.

And somehow, I keep moving.

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