Judy Dykstra-Brown moved to San Juan Cosala in 2001. The Tennessee Writers Alliance National Poetry Award’s first place winner in 2002, for the past nine years, she has published a minimum of one poem a day on her blog at https://judydykstrabrown.com/
Her books include three memoirs, three children’s books and an adult coloring book with humorous poems on the subject of aging, all available on Amazon and at Diane Pearl’s Colleciones. Recent anthologies include Veils, Halos & Shackles, International Poetry on the Oppression and Empowerment of Women, The Poeming Pigeon: Pop Culture, The Poeming Pigeon: Cosmos, Chicken Soup for the Soul and Romancing the Muse.
Happiness like sadness
takes up too much room
like a greedy houseguest
usurping our closets
with their excess.
notices the homeless
on her bridal route?
What new mother thinks first
of the starving
hidden half a world away?
Sadness, like happiness
eats up our world.
yearn first for bread.
The ill for surcease
Who feels the thorn
may overlook the rose.
Life is balanced,
not within each
but within the all.
What seems unfair
to the single eye
is perfect harmony
for the all-seeing.
What a miracle
that something has implanted within the fortunate
the feeling that we, in isolation,
are important. That In spite of everthing we see and do,
all of this is here for only us.
Mexico has tickled my orange bone–
every sedate instinct concerning décor and dress
out the window–flown with the hummingbird trapped for an hour
before finding his way out.
A bright gold house with fuchsia trim.
Orange living room with blue and green and red arches.
Denim blue entryway and chartreuse hall.
A turquoise beam in the pumpkin kitchen.
If you have a bone to pick with me over my choice of colors,
it will tickle my funny bone to tell you
that I am bone tired
of beige and cream and rust.
Any bonehead can paint a house eggshell or vanilla.
Use marrow of bone
to flavor the soup,
but give me colors that will stir my crazy bone.
Give me cinnamon, yellow, fuchsia, persimmon.
Those are colors to make a meal of.
These colors excite and wear me out–
make me bone lazy.
with paint under my fingernails.
Vivid. Flashing. Vibrant.
Colors to satisfy
my orange bone.
It is a graveyard for lost toys
abandoned by their girls and boys—
objects of fun once ordinary,
spurned by children who are wary
of things on which to soar and slide,
of toys that draw a kid outside.
Once solely meant for entertainment,
they’re now fenced in for their containment
away from children set aside,
away from things to climb or ride
with other kids bare-faced, unmasked.
Now all are differently tasked.
Now housebound children stare at screens
or sit leafing through magazines.
Monkey bars, it is official,
turned into things more beneficial:
fences, barricades or bars
marking parking spots for cars
But teeter-totters, slides and swings—
a community of cast-off things—
lie here abandoned in a place
that’s never seen a child’s face.
It is a junkyard overgrown
of pleasures that now go unknown.
The raucous crew for which they’re cast
has become a memory of the past.
Hordes of kids on jungle gyms
pursuing their communal whims
are things that they barely remember.
Leaf piles jumped on in September
neatly raked up in their heaps
are safe from children’s messy leaps.
Every child kept in their room,
the world outside would seal their doom.
So, junkyards filled with these diversions
are museums for today’s aversions.
One by one, the kids grow older
never getting one bit bolder.
Contained inside their separate lives,
Single cells replace their hives.
While hidden from this lonely crew
are all the things we used to do.
Remember when the school bell rang?
Kit and caboodle, the whole gang
would rush to see who got the swings.
What nostalgia their memory brings.
I remember them so well,
but especially the carousel.
Wings held lightly without crushing
survive to join the world’s wild rushing,
while love held by a tight-clenched fist
quells half our reason to exist.
Some laud passions most rapacious—
grasping, volatile, tenacious;
but this is not the love I feel.
I do not seek to swoon or reel.
The tenacity of a skin tight glove
might stay my soaring to heights above.
I need your love like an open hand.
Not for me the wedding band.
The bond I seek from you, my dear,
is not the gauntlet that I fear
but rather, fingers whose sensations
are left free to life’s elations.
Butterflies kept in a jar
lose that beauty seen from afar.
That grace of movement caught on air
is what makes their beauty rare.
I love it when your arms enfold,
but if you love me, loose your hold.
The measure of my tenacity
is that I’ll come back to thee.
I fly on wings through morning dew
to try to get away from you.
I cry in vain, I kick and scream
to slip away—but still I seem
in spite of anything I do,
still to be caught up in you.
So I give up to float the stream
flowing from this morning’s dream.
Let all that it may generate
flow through me to create my fate
at first for minutes of my day
then hours and days that float away
to lose themselves in clouds of dreams
that leak out from the day’s stitched seams
conceived to keep reality
of other worlds inside of me.
I pull at threads and slip between
into the universe’s scene.
There thoughts float free in eddies of
creation that consist of love
and hate and light and dark and all
that generated our earthly ball.
We seek to have just part of it.
Impossible from the start of it.
We do not know the why of it,
but we are born and die of it––
that paradox of evil and good
made tragic by our parenthood.
That truth born out by earthly schemes
we seek to comprehend in dreams.
We are not meant to understand
by what regenerative hand
life flowed into the universe.
But still we’re fated to rehearse
the truth of light shadowing dark,
in novel, painting, play and quark.
Dramas in the world around us––
the sounds and sights that still astound us––
contain these opposites within––
light versus dark, yang joined with yin.
These ironies of life and art
are, in the end, what create heart.
It was at that age
of worrying about others,
of feeling not enough,
of looking for a pattern that was myself,
that I put words down.
or if not them, fearing those who read them.
At that age when I didn’t know what I thought,
I was astonished that the hand that wrote
knew more than I did
and taught that I must be brave,
fearless on the page in a way I had not yet learned to be in life
so that I became a writer to teach myself.
To have someone I trusted as a guide.
It was at that age when I wanted to be admired––
that age when I sought to be loved––
that age when I yearned to be thought a thinker,
important, listened to––
that I somehow was led to listening to myself. There are these times we are led to by life
that become turning points
so long as we continue.
That sentence. That first sentence stretching
into the future, into now.
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