Sunday, January 29, 2017


in high school he was a dark
god, far off. somehow he broke
through my wall and i, being a reluctant
good girl, embraced his james-dean-ness.
i fell with him, off the straight-a

list on to the couch in the basement
of his parent's house. he kissed away
my nerves and in a haze of weed i gave
him my virginity; a small thing that he held
with care. we stood stronger together.

he died in a car crash in cleveland after
his parents took him there, after he'd asked
me to marry him and i'd accepted. i'm the
juliet that couldn't follow through
with the unspoken unwritten death contract.

and years later i'm terrified of falling
in love again. as life passes, i see it all
has to do with falling, succumbing to gravity.
your dreams fall, they fail. your breasts fall, your
womb falls. your heart falls, your expectations fall,

leaving nothing but the memory of how it used to be.

Monday, March 7, 2016

jagged beast

there is some jagged
thing inside of me, nesting
within. slumbering
now, but
at any moment
it could wake
rampaging through me,
a ravenous, broken beast.

this thing nestles within
my breast, my head, my very soul.
this blackened beast is me.

a broken-mirror image
of me, distorted into a grotesque
caricature. this Other Me
could destroy all
i've worked to create,
a paper house i've lovingly
built, lavished with beauty.

i could lose it all
in a breath.
in a change of the wind.

so i hold
my heart softly, a precious
treasure. and i
pray. i pray
the slumbering Other
never wakes.

Friday, January 8, 2016

featured painting!

i was so thrilled yesterday to hear one of my little bird paintings got featured in last night's 'brave girls club' daily newsletter of encouragement.


they call the series 'a little bird told me.'  sign up for their daily truths here! a perk of signing up for the truths is that you get to see the bird art. they always include a bird in the emails, but they aren't in the archives. you can still peek at past truths here, though.

go. check out their stuff: melody and kathy are utterly a-maz-ing!!!

love is the key by beth emery

i so love and respect the ladies over at brave girls club and am honored to be a small part of their encouraging work! thank you, ladies, ever so much.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

tell me something true

strip it down, make it hurt like
losing the one thing
that means everything.

hit me hard with
what you've got buried
inside that small, still
heart. god!

all i want
all i need is to

tell it straight.
speak hard.

break wide open,
love. please. or
watch me walk


Friday, May 15, 2015

the art of awareness

via pretty things

lori anderson is one of my favorite people that i've never met. i've so loved getting to participate a few times in her bead soup extravaganzas and i'm thrilled to be a part of this particularly special hop.

first of all, we've all been touched by someone close to us who struggles with some invisible wound. isn't that part of the human condition? we're all just struggling through this mess. but some of us seem to have been given a double, triple, or more of our share.

i struggle with depression, an eating disorder, an addictive personality. seriously, i am one hot mess, right? and this past year i was diagnosed with fibromyalgia, a disorder which means i'm in constant, overwhelming pain. i had spinal surgery, was almost paralyzed from the bone spurs in my neck.

but i'm getting better.

andoka desbois via deviant art

i'm beginning to see the light, even through the extraordinary pain i'm dealing with.

so i chose lavender, even though the color for fibro is purple (i like lavender better than purple!) and my word is --redeemed-- because God is redeeming me and i am working on redeeming myself.

so here's heather's gorgeous bead--

i've been doing a lot of embroidery in my work, lately. and i've been using reclaimed objects as much as possible. so i pulled out some of my reclaimed denim and a butterfly wing that i picked up at the recycle platform at our local transfer site. --just one wing, 'cause oh, my goodness, how broken i am!

then i added a key and a beaten heart. the key to it all is to go deep within and remember--i've already been redeemed.-- and the heart? beaten, broken, yet still beating.

i chose a vintage button from my stash for the closure.

the final touch are the four knots on the opposite side of the clasp. they represent the four decades of pain i've lived with fibromyalgia.

so, thanks go out to the marvelous lori anderson and the glorious heather millican. you both are utterly brilliant! thank you!

please visit these other fine blogs in our splendiforous blog hop of awareness!

Millican (hostess) (bead artist)
Laurie Vyselaar
Mallory Hoffman
Beth--you are here!Emery-------------->
Evie and BethMcCord

Saturday, March 7, 2015

The Shape of Violet, chapter two

here's chapter two. if you missed chapter one, it's right here.

Chapter Two

            On the tenth day the lady brought the foster family she'd told me about, the ones I'd been thrown to. The Grants. They had a son in college and two sets of twins; one set my age, fraternal, a boy and a girl. The identical boys were fifteen. One of the parents wrote science fiction and the other one taught philosophy at the university. I didn't catch which was which. Couldn't keep anything straight.
            They trooped into my room, a sea of khaki and tweed and wool. The state lady came over, placed her hand on my bed, like we knew each other or something. I frowned. She smiled at me. I wanted to sink into the floor, a puddle of indigo.
            "These are the Grants."
            The kids looked everywhere but at me. I studied them, around the state lady, felt like an exposed full body wound. I still couldn't lean back with the burns on my back. I knew I looked like shit, paler than normal, dark circles under my eyes. I wondered what they saw when they looked at me.
            Mrs. Grant came over first. "Hi, Violet. I'm Anna." Does she pity me? How could she feel anything but pity? "It's wonderful to meet you."
            "Yes, I'm sure," I said, chastised myself. I knew I had no choice but to live with these people. Be polite. "Nice brood." Wondered if I could maybe cut out my tongue.
            She half smiled, maybe as if she regretted the first choice that led her here. Was it marrying him? Giving birth? Being born? Saying yes to taking in some psycho bitch with burns on her back and arm? I fisted a hand under the thin blanket and sheet.
            Mr. Grant stepped forward, put his hand on the small of her back. She visibly relaxed, without even looking at him.
            I felt small and alien.
            "This is Clay Grant," the state lady said.
            He stuck out his hand. I blinked at it. His hand didn't waver. I looked into his eyes. Knew that he could see my fear, so I took it. And he just squeezed my hand, let it go. I could breathe again.
            "Hello, Violet," he said. "I'd like you to meet the other kids."
            Wondered how long he'd stayed awake the night before coming up with that one. He motioned them over. They shuffled in their spots. Were they reluctant? Horrified? Disgusted? I told my brain to shut up, tried to stop freaking myself out.
            He pointed to the fraternal set. "Adam and Leah."
            Adam stepped over, took my hand, squeezed. He was tall, rangy, good-looking in an Ezra Miller kind of way.
            "Hey," he said. "Nice bed." Turned bright red. Could he perhaps be a human being?
            "Huh," I said.
            Leah sort of smiled, let her focus slide to the floor. Long honey hair, smooth porcelain skin, symmetrical features, wide green eyes. Beautiful. One of the lucky few. God, I hated perfect girls.
            Mr. Grant frowned at Leah, which she totally ignored, then pointed at the other set. Adam nodded at me, stepped back. "And this is Dixon and Cohen. You can tell them apart by the color of their eyes, see? Dixon's are light blue and Cohen's are dark. Later you'll be able to without looking at their eyes."
            I could see no discernable difference between the two of them. They hung back, taller than the rest of the family, skinny as young birch trees.
            "Hey. What happened to your hair?" Cohen asked.
            “Cohen...” Mr. Grant said.
            I brushed the eighth-of-an-inch stubble on my head. “Nothing.”
            "You play soccer?" Dixon asked.
            "Dixon..." Mr. Grant said.
            "No." Curious fellows, these guys. I allowed myself to breathe. Not so bad, not so bad, not so bad. Shut up, brain.
            Could I do this?
            "Oh," they said together, nodded as if I'd just admitted to never hearing Mumford and Sons.
            "They call it football everywhere else, you know," Cohen said. "In South America and Europe and everywhere."
            "Isn't that great?" Dixon said.
            "Fab-o." I felt cut off, adrift as I looked at their tidy ensemble, their obvious unit.

*          *          *

            They took me to their house after two more weeks in the hospital, loaded down with pain medication and creams and stuff. My things had already been dropped off.
            The state lady sat in the living room with Mr. and Mrs. Grant and me. She talked about my weekly visit to see a therapist, monthly visits from her. At which point I faded out.
            The house seemed so still. Not quiet. Four kids do not a quiet house make. Music filtered down from upstairs, some indie band I couldn't quite place, and Dixon and Cohen argued in the kitchen over the last banana. On her cell down the hall, Leah laughed. No, not quiet, but still. Like somewhere deep within the foundation a stone maybe transmitted a beam that repeated over and over, "This is okay. You're okay." I sat up straighter, ready to be vigilant, ready to fight off its effects. I'm not okay. This was not okay.
            That night I stayed awake, waited for something awful to happen. I kept expecting one of them to maybe come down and do something horrible to me.
            The set-up should've been totally amazing. It took up most of the basement and I had my own toilet and shower down the hall three steps. I could turn my music way up and hang my paintings on the wall. A smooth deal, right? All I had to do was go to school, do my homework, clean up after myself. Just so long as I tried to be a good girl.
            A good girl. I didn’t know what that amounted to, or how to be that way. They said I could paint it however I liked. A challenge? A test? Because I could show them paint. Black with red and gray splashes. But I’d really rather do a scene from Santa Fe, an adobe church against an oyster-hard blue sky, maybe.
            I looked around the room, studied the boxes and furniture. I needed to fix it, right quick, and got to it. Mother gave me all of the plants. She always killed them. And the teapot and cups and my vast collection of  loose leaf tea. A lot of the dishes. My laptop. All my books, sketchbooks, art supplies. My scrolled iron bed and bookcases, my iron and oak desk and night table and special hammock chair Uncle Stephan had given me. Everything. I should've felt pleased but I just felt empty. It was as if she had purged me from her life, like I'd never existed at all. I never was.
            I ran down the hall and into the bathroom and threw up. I never was to her.
            Was I really so bad? Hadn’t done much drinking. No drugs. No sleeping around. I was a freaking virgin, for god's sake.
            I put Liszt on, lay on my back on the floor, until I couldn’t stand the pain from the burns. Stupid burns.
            Mother and me had been making dinner. I was doing the rice, she was doing the teriyaki chicken stir-fry. Mother's a professional chef so she rarely cooked for me, but it was my seventeenth birthday. It was supposed to be special. I always felt this stupid need to get her to see me, to get her to love me. There could never be a more idiotic word than 'love.' What does it mean, anyway? She'd never told me anything that was important to her.
            We'd both had a glass of wine; we were mellow. At least, I was. I let my guard down. I guess I'd maybe hoped she had too.
            What I'd been wanting to ask her about was why she and dad had split up. What I actually said was, "So why'd Dad leave? Greener pastures?"
            Which I had instantly regretted. Words can never be taken back. They stung like flayed skin, but unlike skin they refused to heal. Just got filed away.
            Mother smacked me across the mouth. Which I'd deserved. But I wasn't gonna let on that I thought that way.
            "Yeah," I said. "So's I got my answer." Which got me a harder smack and a shove.
            Which ended me up in the hospital on account of the stove I landed on. Doctors all said it could’ve been worse. Yeah. Well. I suppose it could’ve been them. Least wise, it wasn't my hands. I needed my hands for my painting.
            The third day in the hospital the cop and the lady from the state showed up, asking after my unusual circumstance. Nobody'd bought my fish story. Nobody'd listened to my protests, my promises.
            Now here I sat on the slate grey carpet in a room I was supposed to feel comfortable in, surrounded by familiar things in a house that was utterly foreign. And maybe in the morning I wouldn’t be afraid. Maybe I could find a new life here, settled amongst these strangers.

            Yeah, right.     

Sunday, February 22, 2015

excerpt from my ya novel

so i thought i'd do a little excerpt from my novel here. it's about a seventeen year old girl who has been abused her whole life by her mother. the story is her dealing with the fallout of being placed in a foster home and having to look at her life from a different angle.

hope you like it!

The Shape of Violet

Chapter One

            On the fifth day Mother came to see me while the lady from the state stood in the doorway and the cop stood by my bed, arms folded, feet apart. Glaring at everyone. Mother looked elegant and cool, her hair in a smooth bun, small diamonds in her ears, nails perfect. She was always perfect.
            Why was I shaking? Why did I feel frozen, inside and out?
            Shut up, traitor brain. Breathe. Just breathe. Pay attention, I told myself. Always wool-gathering, she would tell me. Too stupid to know my whole life was about to fall off a cliff.
            I teetered on the edge of the bed. Mother stopped two feet away when the cop held his hand out. She ignored him. I could smell her perfume, White Shoulders, an awful sickening smell. She wore it like armor. I stared at the scuffed linoleum beyond her left elbow.
            "So," she said.
            My shoulders hunched up. I knew I would say something I'd regret. "Don't you want me?"         My stomach clutched at my inanity.
            She crossed her arms. "Hmm. Tough question."
            I looked up. Her face, cold and hard, close but so distant. "Mother?"
            She shook her head. "No, my dear. No more. I'll leave you alone if you'll leave me alone."
            "You'll be fine."
            She turned, left. Her polished, confident walk took her away from me, like she wouldn't be leaving anything behind. I listened to her heels clicking against the floor until there was nothing but me. Alone. I heard a rushing, water-like sound in my ears.
            The state lady cleared her throat, shuffled her feet. She smelled of nicotine, hair a frizzled brass. She touched my arm but I pulled away. She hesitated, mumbled something I couldn't understand before leaving. The cop glanced at me. I didn't let him catch my gaze. Then he left, too.
            I sat there, homeless. I'd always been afraid, but now it felt like a full body burn, first degree. Even my skin wasn't safe.

that's all of chapter one. it's a really short chapter.

what do you think? 

hope you're all having a fabulous weekend!