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Poetry By Diana Johnson
from Minnetonka, MN



Stuck, or so it seems
and so not me.
I have followed myself here
Not by choice as much as
by heart.
My heart
and stuck with a fear
that holds me fast
binds my feet
in a dark and greedy

This swamp holds me
Wrapped like a cocoon it holds
Me to its floor
Cemented in the shadow
Of its trees.

Over and over I look around me
Searching for something more than a twig
To grab on to
To pull me out
Boots and all
To a shore
Where I can once again
Feel the edge
Of my heart
Solid without fear
White feather wings
Right and true.




Letting Go

The saffron colored leaf
Anchored by the twig that held it
Close all summer
Let loose
And fell

Ever so gently
Into a majestic dance with the autumn breeze
Tipping and swaying to the rhythm
Of the whispering wind
Until it landed in the brown grass

And I understood then
It is not always the hanging on
But sometimes
It is
The letting go.



 If My Life

If my life was a movie
Playing in a theater
Up on the big screen
And I was sitting there
In a chair with everyone else
I would get up and leave

Setting down the uneaten tub of buttered popcorn
On the chair
Or the floor
It wouldn't matter
I would stand before the burst of my life
shooting from the projector
And just walk out

Leaving behind the
Critics' comments about how the wrinkles in my face
Show my age
And how I used to be better

I would never entertain the idea of staying
and waiting while their two-faced jealousy
had seeped into the cushion of my chair
making me think I was comfortable
When in fact I was not
I was tired
Of watching
Them not see
Or hear

And before the credits rolled
And the weak applause had subsided
I would just get up and leave.




Standing in the middle of your silence
Like a naked child exposed to a blinding snow storm
Waiting to be rescued

My resonant mind refuses
To engage in the obvious
And instead imagines your cacophony of silence
Means you are knitting a solution for us
A creative shawl to warm the tiny bones of my soul

Or that you hold a shiny shovel
My white knight
Unburying me, franticly moving mountains
In order
To find the truth
And reason to our misery

And sometimes as I tiptoe around you
With the symphony of your silence loud in my ears
I imagine you picking me up
And carrying me off to somewhere
Warm and safe and real

But instead
I strain within the sound of your roaring silence
Until an unspoken sentence
A mile long
As you grasp the handle of your
Freshly packed suitcase
And leave me
And cold
And silent.




Here We Are

Here we are
at a place where we let go of each other's hand
and you begin your journey.
I've watched as you prepare
and sometimes I want to help you pack
to give you all the things I fear
I may have forgotten to give you
and then I realize
I have been helping you prepare for this journey
all your life.

For this journey
begins my own heart's dream
that one day
you will search for
and find
and love you.
It is all I have ever wanted for you
and while I know I will miss you
I also know
this journey is one you must take
if you are ever to really become

And somewhere it is written
in order for you to begin
you need to find me wrong.
You can do that.
Just remember this journey is one of many circles
and each time you leave the circle you are traveling on
you will find the next one larger than the last
but I will always be right here,
right where I am now
so you can always find me.
And one day when you are through with your journey
we will sit by the edges of our circles and begin.

And as I stand alone
beneath the shadow of your spreading wings
I shiver a bit,
until I see you are headed for the sun
handsome and warm and ready,
excellent and fair.



The Glowing Lesson

Christmas party over, guests had merried out the door
My daughter chomping peppermints
in the middle of the floor
And I was in the back room
changing gown for clean-up clothes
A scream of "Mom!" What was is it now,
oh goodness heavens knows.

This act she has of hollering
from a good three rooms away
Was not one I would tolerate,
I would snuff it out today.
I shouted back, "Come here at once!"
My fury was ablaze
Then checked the mirror a double
sure my angry face in place.

She stood beneath me,
eyes shied up to one who knows the best.
I shook my finger, gave my speech,
not stopping for a rest.
I told her she must learn that
such behavior was not right,
While burning deep the lesson
I was teaching her tonight.

Her eyes a flicker frightened
(I had really poured the fuel)
I asked what was so "pressing"
she had dared to break the rule.
Her hands were twisting back and forth
like little copper wire,
Her voice extinguished softly,
"Mom the living room's on fire."




Little Valentine

Tossed together after the great storm that shook your birth
Landing you in this room amidst the sea of other rooms
of passengers waiting to come ashore.
Your newly born eyes wrapped well in velvet lids
Fluttering motions of oceans from your pristine dreams
Captured by your smallness and your sweet beauty
Your mouth appears to be a small pink heart
And I wait for our tomorrow, our journey without the sea
My new little Valentine  





I watch as
Spring awakens
Blurry-eyed and eager
As a young child
Fresh from a morning nap

Yawning, it breaks open
Fresh with no mistakes
Each cherub cheeked blossom
Holding it's own secret promise
Of tomorrow

I feel the pregnant ground
Swell and push
Below my feet
A new found strength
The courage to become

And as winter's brittle gray coat
Slowly melts away beneath
Supple little grasses
I am reminded
There is still time
For me
To bloom.


Poems by Diana Johnson



My baby child soul has been
Facing the corner
Of a dark room

And afraid
Of the quiet

Her mouth feels clamped shut
By her own hand
For fear
Of being
Once again
Unheard and overlooked

And her hand is growing tired
Of holding back that which
Continues to scream and sing from
The hidden within

Until she feels the soft breath
On her shoulder
And realizes

If she turned around
Is someone
Standing right behind her

And ready
To listen.





The thought of leaving
Rests in
My mind
Like a young child asleep in a back room

I move around in whispers
So silent
On tiptoes
Afraid to awaken
That which sleeps

I can hear the rustles
And stirrings
Soft reminders
That sleep is not forever

And one day
I know
My soul
Will awaken
With a cry
That needs to be tended to.




Let It Be Known

Let it be known
That your clamoring
In my left ear
Cause my head to turn sideways
And stare

Let it be known
Darkened whisper
On the back of my neck
Sucks at my strength
At the very edges of my camouflaged soul

Let it be known
I can feel you
Squeezing my sun out of summer
Veiling my light
And from the
Corner of my mind's eye
I can see your shadow coming closer

Let it be known
That instead of your sweet vanilla
I smell the burning flesh
Of tomorrow

And as I watch you
Try and turn the page of my book
Let it be known
that I know.





She stands on the tender edge of tomorrow
Staring deep into the eyes of a mirror
After all these years
With a reflection that is not hers

The mirror has betrayed her
Taken that which was all her
And replaced it
With someone she doesn't recognize
As anyone she knows

She stares
At the grey-blue eyes
Searching beyond the lines
That frame them
For a sign
A clue

She hasn't a clue
She has




Once Upon A Time

Once upon a time
you stood in your sandbox
next to your sand castle
with a hole in your red tennis shoe
and declared
with a raised clenched fist
that you were "Queen of the World."

Once upon a time
you made mud pies
filled with pebble bits
and covered with dandelion frosting
and offered them for sale
to anyone
having a spare dime.

Once upon a time
you believed you could fly
and everyone
who could hear your true soul
it too.

You need to remember
Once Upon a Time.




Memories of You

Hiding deep in
The closet of my soul
Behind forgotten things that no longer fit
And discards waiting to be sold
At the next garage sale

Is a shoebox
Of memories
Of you
And me
And us

I seek it out when
the moon hides
The sun cools
And the fresh smell of summer
Is gone

I hold each piece
Caressing each memory
As it takes me back
To a place where I can
Once again see the moon
and feel the sun

And a fresh summer breeze
Gently flows through the window of my soul
Singing softly of you.



The Journey

Packing for the journey required
thought not yet born
Memories rolled up inside pain
and lodged somewhere
deep inside a pocket of the suitcase
carried by hands too small to hold
or drag along or carry
Causing the unfolding and the sorting
of unpacking to take forever.



Poetic Baker

Write me a cake I can understand.
One from scratch.
Sifting out contrived flavors.
Make the layers ones I recognize;
Like lonely lemon feelings peeled
and grated fine to pieces,
or rich, sweet, bitter chocolate drizzles
slipping from the edge,
a rhyme of berries red,
juicing still and staining through,
with marble swirls beginning
curls to splattered ends.

Garnish high with fresh, whipped dreams.
Steep my coffee strong and deep,
clinging to my bone china cup.
Write to me in layers I can understand,
and I will use my hands to carve my slice,
caressing crumbs I'll soon devour every layer,
licking clean my fingers with remorse.




In a Jam

How dare my feelings solidify;
Just when I need them most.
They lay bottomed in my heart, gelled,
an unforgiving cool preserve.
I'd like to pry the lid off with my stainless writing tool.
At them I'd jab and stab and wriggle free
the jelly glops and goos spreading words
upon the sliced white page waiting to absorb.

I think I'd find a currant jam or kind of marmalade
with chunks and bits and substance mixed with
sugar-sweetened stiffness colored rich,
but leaving seeds between my teeth.
I'd be careful not to push the spread to the edge
and soften hardened crusts.
But these jellied jam-packed feelings
are not ready to be smeared just yet.


And there it was
The sound of your feet
Up our stairs once again
Familiar as my own heart beating its way up
And up
And up
Climbing the steps in to my soul

 And your voice
From another room calls
And falls into my arms
And I cradle it
Wrapping it snug and close and near
Holding tight
So I can remember
When you are once again
A long gone
Little wing
A Silent word
A lonesome heart
In a hollow house of echoes


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