Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Headline Poem 12/31/14 -- A tribute to you

I had no idea when I started my poem a day on January 1, 2014 if I'd actually be able to write 365. Initially, my poems were about other people's lives. These headlines captured and haunted me. As things in my own life changed, the news on some days became too much, and my poetry shifted, becoming more personal, more raw. That's how it works. There were moments I wanted to stop, but I didn't. It turns out I needed these poems. I had no idea that this daily practice of writing would become my saving grace. As so often is the case, beautiful things came my way, disguised, sometimes, as really shitty things. I have learned a lot this year, mostly about peace. It makes sense for my last poem of the year to be a tribute -- to nature, another saving grace. I will keep writing in 2015, and now, will have fun combining my words with beautiful art. Happy New Year! 

May your soul be sturdy, 
may your smile be bright, 
and may your heart 
swell with love. ❤️

A Tribute to You 

The day we 
packed up the kids 
and our lunches and our tie-dyed eggs
and drove through you, 
was the day small things started to change.

As we entered your sacred space,
you embraced us, and whispered that we were safe.
My heart raced, and then slowed, 
switching between fierce ebbs and
apprehensive flows. 

Your aroma is permanently
carved in my heart, and I can still smell
the shawl of acceptance you wrapped around
me, knowing how hard
I was trying to 
breathe while my children played among 
the Joshua Trees.

My bones thank you. 
It was there under the Cirrus clouds
that I lay down on you,
and became 
a woman in love 

with a man.

I don't know how, but you knew 
that I hadn't
really let him inside for at least
half a decade. 

I needed to be among the rocks,
and the curves of you to begin again
to speak
a language so long ignored
it was gathering cobwebs and dusted specks. 

We, in our own traps, were stuck. 
That day, we stopped spinning and 
to being tangled up in you
your soothing, mud-less breeze
of fault lines and ego dreams,
and we let go. 

We trusted that you'd bring us home

That was eight months ago, 
and to this day,
we are still closing our eyes, 
and pinching our skin
with appreciation,

ever so gently, 
always gently. 

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Headline Poem 12/30/14 -- his dream

One more poem and I will have written a poem a day for 2014. Tomorrow night is #365! 

his dream 

knowing his dream 
is to wake
beside her, 
she follows him 
where he goes

Monday, December 29, 2014

Headline Poem 12/29/14 -- Behind

Behind every tormented writer 
           there is a reader 
               the exact 
              same thing 

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Headline Poem 12/28/14 -- Fallbrook Lane

Fallbrook Lane 

There is only one house on Fallbrook Lane. 
In it lives a little man and his Great Dane. 
They have tea and biscuits every morning at six. 
And then cold cuts and soda pop 
while they watch Netflix. 
The man is not lonely, for he likes it this way. 
They have a routine each and every day. 
They drive to town on Wednesdays to get supplies. 
They drive to the beach on Saturday to let salt air touch their eyes. 
Everything is simple with the cottage and the man. 
Some think he's melancholy with no one to hold his hand. 
He doesn't think so until one day he agrees. 
He rises at eight instead six and fixes black eyed peas. 
His big dog is perplexed but happy at the change. 
He thinks perhaps they will walk to another lane. 
They do and that is where they meet Ms. Susie Frees. 
She never ever gardens on Thursdays before three. 
But today something told her to go out get things done. 
So out she ventured with her Poodle named Everyone. 
Everyone and Susie greeted the man and Dane. 
Then they left the gardening and visited Fallbrook Lane. 

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Headline Poem 12/27/14 -- dear mother earth

dear mother earth,

i like the circles 
that you make 
around the sun
each day. 

love, me 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Headline Poem 12/26/14 -- These clouds

These clouds 

These clouds 
open up 
places in
my soul
I didn't 
even know 
were closed. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Headline Poem 12/25/14 -- A Prayer for Sierra Leone

Merry Christmas, or Happy December 25th! Today's poem is a prayer for Sierra Leone. It was inspired by a woman named Lynn who is working every day to help the most vulnerable in West Africa, including those currently fighting for their lives in the face of the Ebola crisis. Here is a link to her website, Greatest Goal Ministries, that exists solely on donations. Please consider giving what you can here, or to Doctors Without Borders who provide medical aide all over the world to those in need, including those dealing with the Ebola virus. As you celebrate with your family and friends, please remember them, and if you pray, keep them in yours.
As we celebrate the birth of Christ and gather with friends and loved ones, please take a moment to remember those living in West Africa suffering through this Ebola crisis and those helping to fight it.  I have only been here about 3 weeks and I am tired.  The Nationals, Doctors without Borders and others have been fighting it for as long as 6 months. 
Progress is being made but no end is yet in sight.  Prayer and more people on the ground joining the fight is the only way this will end. Lynn Pelton, GGM 

A Prayer for Sierra Leone 

I write this tonight thousands of miles from where you are, but close enough to feel your gift of healing hands pressed gently on humanity's skin. I offer you my humble words of gratitude, and a prayer for Sierra Leone. I have no magic to spread, but instead, cover you in love.

I pray for your loved ones back home who miss you, but rejoice in the work you do.

I pray that those of us who have a coat for warmth and a soft place to fall, give what we can.

I pray for the baby girl who latches on to a bottle because her mama's dying, and from now on that's all she'll know.

I pray for the business owner with trembling hands who hopes that by being closed, death will skip his door.

I pray for Muslims and Christians who are imprisoned in their homes because Christmas has been cancelled by a virus that breaths deep, poisonous breaths.

I pray for the doctors and nurses who hunch over patients one by one without a break, ships not wrecked, but anchored with intention and drenched from love.

I pray for the bending woman on the verge of breaking down in the bed she made, and some days wants to stay, but won't.

I pray that at least once we all journey to a holy place where the only souvenirs to bring home are strings left on our hearts.

I pray we do not forget you and your tireless work.


Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Headline Poem 12/24/14 -- It's okay for just one day

It's okay for just one day

It's okay for just one day 
to believe in
the magic of your dreams,

to hear a melody of silver songs inside your mouth 
with cinnamon lyrics 
coming out,

to take a break from the 
of simple chores
and feel your wondrous pulse
       beat only with love,

to awaken with a
starry-eyed heart and
sweet peppermint toes

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Headline Poem 12/23/14 -- Winter


winter wanders in 
with intuition & grace 
she knows 
she only has 
a little while 
to linger in this 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Headline Poem 12/22/14 -- After work

Art by Sandra Moreano, words by Courtney Hanes 

After work 

After work, everything comes off:
the shoes, the tights, the 
moods, the rights 
(and wrongs),
      but most importantly, the bra. 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Headline Poem 12/21/14 -- A Song for the Winter Solstice

A Song for the Winter Solstice

You are the wild horse 
I ride carefree on Sundays

You are a canvas for the words
I decorate with green moss 
and blue savage moons

You are my secret sun 
hiding behind 
the shortest days 
and longest nights

You are not afraid 
to scatter your seeds
on the breast of a robin
to make memories 

You are my sanctuary 
of hungry wheat and 
longing warm 
underbellies of home

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Headline Poem 12/20/14 -- i want to tell you something

Art by Sandra Moreano 

i want to give you something 

i want to give you something 
that's white and red,
but if you take it, 
you have to promise 
you won't laugh 
or start to run, 
but instead,
you'll stick it in a little vase 
and show everyone.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Headline Poem 12/18/14 -- For Certain

For certain 

My beloved, I promised. 
My beloved, I vowed. 
My beloved, I weep. 

If you can hear me,
      please know 
for certain that you are
all I need. 

If you can see me, 
      please know 
for certain that you are 
my rock and key. 

If you can feel me, 
      please know 
for certain that you are 
what I believe. 

If you remember me,
      please know 
for certain that you were 
my everything. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Headline Poem 12/17/14 -- I grow

I grow 

I grow because 
smiles on me 
and my roots mix 
with rain 

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Headline Poem 12/16/14 -- I will never

Art by Mark Olmsted 

Tonight, I wrote a poem inspired by this art piece by Mark. I'm curious to see what he thinks, and how what I see merges with his truth. 

I will never 

I can stand on the cliffs of injustice and point my fingers 
ten or two. 

I can use your jaw that drops 
when I walk by 
to wipe up 
what's left of me and you. 

But there is   no   way, 
even at my lowest 
when I can hardly believe 
we ever tried to merge our souls,
that I will let you 
trick me with your 
condescending birds 
letters put together 
to make 
twisted lines of graffiti 
and hollowed out words. 
       I will never 
worship the ground you piss 
on as long as you

Monday, December 15, 2014

Headline Poem 12/15/14 -- another sunday evening

Another poem inspired by the art of Sandra Moreano. 

another sunday evening

you can wrap me 
in pearls
and make believe
i'm your girl 
but because 
i like you 
i'll save you some 
       you're not the 
       only man 
who cries when i leave 
and calls me honey 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Headline Poem 12/14/14 -- capsized

Art by Sandra "Sasha" Moreano 

Today's poem is inspired by another piece of art by Sandra Moreano. Here is a link to her website where I found this beautiful painting --


the storm came 
out of nowhere 
    to tip over 
      our boat
would have been     
       if we were prepared 
to do more 
than float 
       but we weren't

       and so 

we sank         
minute by minute 
        until eventually 
        our little vessel 
             with us 
                in it

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Headline Poem 12/13/14 -- Lay me down

Tonight, I met an amazing artist who asked me to write a few poems to combine with her art. I did, and we created our first collaboration with this poem. Here is the artwork. Cards will be available for sale soon!! 

Lay me down 

Lay me down on a 
Bed full of stars 
And listen to me wonder aloud 
About forgotten things and 
Hidden treasures
That live inside even 
When we do not see them 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Headline Poem 12/12/14 -- My mother's legs

Today at a writer's retreat, we were given the following prompt: My mother's legs. Since my own mother was right next to me, I decided to write from the perspective of one of my characters. 

My mother's legs 

My mother's legs wrapped 
themselves around his 
smooth, supple skin, 
her cave of salvation, 
he welcomed her in,
but  then     like   rusting  chains
    on a forgotten fence,
she was locked out, 
denied entrance and 
     (self diagnosed)
           a fool 
straight laced, 
head pinned to wall, 
with a lonely burden
and a throat full of dust. 

My mother's legs began to wilt,
temporarily, as she lie buried 
under the belly of youth
a valley of resentment
and untrusting truth. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Headline Poem 12/11/14 -- Golden lust

Golden lust 

When you 
have just an ounce
of golden lust left inside,
box it up like rain,
for it will get 
a little heavier 
each day. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Headline Poem 12/10/14 -- Another thing my best self will do

Another thing my best self will do 

There will come a day 
when I will wrap 
my arm around 
your heart 
with forgiving grace, 
and smother
the forgotten things with 
my best self. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Headline Poem 12/9/14 -- I believe in you like

I believe in you like 

I believe in you 
like I believe in dust devils 
and mountain lions,
       allowances lurking and 
       lingering for payment
and rumbling through 
outer wares and fair shares. 

I believe in you 
like I believe in 
used shoes, laces gently 
and twisted with     neon 
   plastic at the ends
so they don't 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Headline Poem 12/8/14 -- softly


I whisper 
what I want 
to say
if I didn't, 
never understand. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Headline Poem 12/7/14 -- On the days

On the days 

When capes 
and make believe 
don't work,
When having a tantrum 
and sending yourself 
to your room 
sounds good,
sit down on your porch 
with something hot 
and mope. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Headline Poem 12/6/14 -- I'm a gambling man

I'm a gambling man 

I see a winning hand 
from two yards down. 
I know tricks 
and how to trade 
     his for hers and
hers     for mine. 

I know the smell of sea 
and how her hair 
sparkles at midnight 
when shampoo bubbles 
mix with thick salt. 

I'm a gambling man. 
I spin alone, but 
prefer on any given night 
to be under her
I'll ask if she'll dance 
been denied more 
than my share of times. 

When the sun goes down, 
I turn to me to say
I'll get along without her 
or they
but never without me
I'm out of chips, 
and cash and all things green, 
but I'm a gambling man 
and on I play 
And on I play... 

Friday, December 5, 2014

Headline Poem 12/5/14 -- Some thoughts pass through

Some thoughts pass through 

There she was
perched on a wire, avoiding intimidation, 
but afraid to go higher. 
She was a given, 
waiting to sin, predictable 
orange peels dipped in 
seven-day-old turpentine skin,
ready for her own fire, 
dangerous and sweet, 
ripe and 
     sticky clean. 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Headline Poem 12/4/14 -- sleep


my beloved
       helps me 
translucent snow, 
a luxury 
splendidly splendid, 
when my eyes close 
and lingering until