Poems by Alexsondra Tomasulo 2018

Alexsondra TomasuloALEXSONDRA TOMASULO has been writing on her personal and intimate journeys for a few decades.  Her scope includes grief, depression, forgiveness, transformation and redemption. She loves poetry, short stories and essays. She is also an accomplished ceramic artist. Alexsondra now, after the loss of her beloved husband, has found a new rhythm in the art of play as it relates to each artistic endeavor. She resides on the coast of Maine.

Day # 30

farewell to all the
unnecessary distractions
that lure me away
from affirmative actions
like poetry, painting and pottery too,
or a walk on the beach and time spent with you
how wise can it be to work all day
without a moment of celebration along the way
so good bye to the insidious, the foolish and cruel,
things like anger, and fear and those that ridicule,
I will dance at 10:30, and paint in the moonlight,
have dinner for breakfast and try not to overwrite
I will wait for the poppies as their blooms are so brief
and pretend to tell fortunes in the curl of a tea leaf
no longer do I wish to be plagued with should do’s
I will take in the breath and the words of the muse
fare thee well you fickle emotions,
leave me to my creative potions
that will sparkle and tingle, entice and refine,
all that has worn cold from a world that has gone blind.

I had already more than amazed the doctors,
who had not expected me to live at all.
The burns had been serious, as well as the smoke inhalation.
But no where as serious as my will to live.
First last rites, then the possibility of losing the use of my hands.
Daily rituals of debridement, followed by the rewrapping with yards of gauze.
And my face was encrusted with blackened scabby flesh.
“you will require skin grafting” they said, which didn’t seem too terrible,
until I was informed of the details. How would I be able to walk around,
then, just sixteen, with relocated derriere flesh sitting atop my nose.
The humiliation would be unbearable, even if I was the only one knowing it.
I presented this most frightening dilemma to my wise and caring Papa, who would slowly twist the end of his mustache, whenever considering a matter of such sensitive nature. He had never failed me, and my trust in him was complete. “go and tell the doctors you won’t be needing any skin grafting”.
and when I asked him why I wouldn’t, he said, after clearing his throat, another wise ritual, followed by a grounding slap on my thigh, “Because you have fine blood.” So I did just that, with attitude and confidence. My attitude was as crusty as the scabs on my body, allowing no one to tell me much of anything
except for my Papa, who was always right. And this proved no exception.
That day I was given the gift and understanding of the power of belief. But it would take me years to realize it. Then, it was all about Papa.

ode to the Lump
of clay that waits to play,
sitting so silently.
Witness her divine patience as she reflects
the many hands
that have been blessed by her knowledge.
Gentle are her teachings.
And the potter
approaches with bowed head,
inhaling, now exhaling in the ritual
they have agreed upon.
Whilst the memories
of a thousand bowls once created
energizes the sacred space
they call their own.
Give praise to the professions
so humble, yet noble.
Sing in thanksgiving
to the poets and potters
music makers and caretakers of this grand earth.
Delight in the simple beauty
that feeds the soul.
Rejoice in all that challenges you,
heals you, and raises you above all else
to your full and holy potential!

memories shift over time
like rocks and coastlines
forming new images with different textures
and we awake one morning wondering what the truth of our past really is,
we, the narrator, having edited a thousand times or more, have come to know
the peaceful balance between the good and the bad,
life lived hard,

still moving forward, choosing our words more carefully, searching diligently
for the precise words to describe our moment in time, while all along
accepting the futility in such an endeavor,
as the days
slip by
and reflection
allows for objectivity,
or perhaps the other way around,
once again
challenge us

Day 26

Zig zags and spirals
just happens to be
the way of the world
yet your eyes are on the goal
in a straight line ahead
and you figure
if you take one step at a time
you’ll make it there
without too many scars
from the brambles on the sides
and you are unaware that the world
is spinning, and what you think is straight
is, in fact a divinely orchestrated
series of misdirections
just waiting for you to wake up and

Day # 25

Heavy grief
salted tears
and then the
light pours in
I am here
you are there
and yet we
remain still
the twin flames
burning bright
through the veils
of hazy

Day # 24

sundown, day is closing,
the expected and the unexpected
have been hurled toward me,
without invitation. I employ my best
tai chi maneuvers with prayers of trust
swirling about, not giving into panic,
nor dodging the obvious, and all the while
I remember my first breath of the morning,
expansive, grateful for the unknown opportunities
lying ahead, knowing all too well, life happens
on it’s own, and we can flow with it, or push against it.
but as the moon rises, and I prepare for the night’s promise
of rest and healing, I exhale, trusting
in a resolve beyond my wildest dreams.

Day # 23

why do some people see the silver lining
while others where the badge of bitterness,
Is it simply a choice to choose the positive?
I use to believe this, but do I now, no.
why do some of us push to find an absolute truth, while
others seem content to live without questioning at all?
Is it even rewarding having discovered a particular insight?
Perhaps for a spell, until the magic ball is spun around,
and then we, the we that cannot rest without questioning,
find a new perspective and begin again. Is it really peace we are looking for?
or is it order? and what difference does it make anyway?
Because, in the end, those of us who question unceasingly,
do so, for the same reason the mountain climber climbs,
and the musician plays, because we must.

Day # 22

Did I tell you of the day we had a fight? And we stood
facing one another , still, as in a stalemate. That is until
I began to cry, and his blue eyes, filled with sadness,
raising his hands in the air as if her were holding some
imaginary device, he began to making a curious sweeping
gesture, it was his fix all, the giant eraser in the sky… did I tell you
we fought a lot? but there was always humor and genuine forgiveness..
did I tell you that I still speak to him even after five years of his passing…?
more than that, I still argue with him, good thing he left his eraser behind.

Day # 21

tall pines glistening
in the early morning dew
as a mouse scrambles across the still brown lawn,
swiftly, as to not get caught by the cat,
raised garden beds, begging for attention
after the long cold and snowy winter,
one orange frisbee revealed by the newly melted snow,
and I listen to the feint sound of nature
in the throes of waking up,
trying to synchronize my heartbeat to hers.

Day # 19

A name should fit,
like a well tailored coat,
It might even change
over the course of one’s life.
There are people who wait till
well after the birth of the child,
observing it closely so as to
allow the name to mirror
the personality or soul.
There are people who bestow
a loved one’s name, to honor the soul that has passed.
And then there are people who create new names altogether.
Let’s not leave out the unconventional names,
like Sparrow, Destiny, or Zenith.
But in the end, the name has to fit,
lest it become itchy, or shrink,
speak too loudly, or worse yet,
that it leaves no reflection whatsoever,
and you become invisible.

on a crisp and clear winter’s night
when the stars dance brightly,
and the silence is pierced
by the hoot of an owl,
or the howls of the coyote,
claiming her territory,
on these special wondrous nights,
what becomes of me, beneath
the largess of blackness
that should, well enough, seem
like a blanket of wisdom,
surely the intoxication of the starlit sky
is beyond one hundred and fifty proof,
make no mistake, I do my best to drink her up,
neat, just like my bourbon, but I do believe
I can hear her laughing at me.

Day # 18

one bucket of warm water,
sponge, needle tool, wire cutter and metal rib,
6 lumps of freshly wedged clay, brown and moist,
like the April mud, perfect for puddle jumping,
sun streaming in the studio window,
shadowing my excitement of the day,
I sit at the wheel, my hands know this earth, and it knows me.
the spinning begins as does the love affair, once again.
the quiet hum of the wheel is unified with my heart beat,
as my hands deftly grip the clay in gratitude for her responsiveness.
we mirror each other in this poetic dance of pottery
and even after four decades and then some,
we still speak to each other through the magic of touch
and the spark of the Divine breathes her secrets.

drifting into sleep
I am called by the ones I trust
the body now tired,
and soul travel a must

not always remembering
that which was revealed
the soul reenters the body
with love letters that heal

the day awakens me once more
to things as they were
silken thread connecting me
to realities in a spinning blur

I sit, 
the stillness gently envelops
me, while a stream of  consciousness
bounces happily within my mind, 
I watch
 as each thought slows down,
floating upon a wave of dreams,
disappearing into nothingness, or all-ness
simply a breath, 
and then, and then, and then  
the anticipation of a new sunrise 
and to simply be human,
with wind rushing through my long silver streaked hair,
yes, and the anticipation of warm sand beneath my feet,
yes, and the anticipation of the first dive into the chilly Maine waters,
yes and the anticipation of living one more day of discovery

No Waiting Necessary

Why struggle with where I am
when I couldn’t be anywhere else
but in this here and now,
“to feel abandoned is to deny
the intimacy of your surroundings”
I can reflect on the past nows
consider the future nows
but never will I be able to
be fully present except
for in this moment in time,
so I surrender,
though I may appear to have lost my mind
but I have spent far too long trying
desperately to maintain the many well categorized
lifetimes lived, the well worn hats I have held,
and I have grown old and tired living a story
of a thousand people, only to find there is
the me of this here and now, empty and full
and what remains in my mind are ribbons of stories
connected and scattered, and I, the storyteller,
will recite them randomly. “All the creatures of the world are unutterably themselves.” and everything awaits me.

bird songs returning
resuscitating my heart
their flight is complete

Sublime Surrender

He languished upon the counter,
with such panache, no one dared
pass him by without, at least,
a perfunctory stroke of the hand.
But there were others, those who knew
the very language of cat and soulfulness.
And that was the hand reaching, now, deep into
the softness of this most agreeable Maine Coon.
That I was permitted to witness such a dance
of divine interply, both man and cat in perfect
union of the gift and the giver, was an honorable insight
to the magnitude and grandeur of unconditional love.

In The Flow Of The Center

when opposites collide
we must hold the center
quieting the spirit,
winter’s mighty storms
rage their last hurrah
as the bird’s first spring voices
chirp away confidently
they know there is no use in
pushing back, they hold their space.
and we should take notice,
neither recoil nor counter rage,
but like the t’ai chi masters,
yield lovingly, with feet planted
in the earth that knows your name.

I sit in the silence of solitude
thinking of you
so grateful for our time together
a day does not go by 
without thoughts of you
but today is the day 
my love was challenged ,
and my faith turned inside out 
I am the better for it. 
Yet the seams of my heart stretch
to be filled with one more breath of you. 

The Journey of a Thousand Days

the journey of a thousand days
wandering, not far, but purposefully,
on foot, examining the details of all that I encountered,
sharing a poem for a meal,
 with those who were generous or perhaps just curious,
was about to end.
I collapsed in a vacant field of purple clover, spilling the
contents of my threadbare pack, my body had grown slight,
I lay there, looking up at the clouds, now separating,
as if to reveal a secret made especially for me.
And the sun glared down, and I watched two ants crawl over my knee
with the same conviction that I had before I set on my quest.
what could I make of this, one moment in time.
What gift were the gods delivering to me in the scent of sweet grasses?
a not so recent memory, when the flames of love were still alive
in flesh form, and we two, lay beside one another  discovering
cloud shapes, discussing philosophies, and art,
 and music and dreams of our future.
rolling over, I buried my tears in the earth, and gave thanks to her.
Show Up
show up.
say yes.
the known is not truly known
until it is in the past,
and even then
time remolds memories.
show up to the unknown
the miracle, which might be a tragedy
never the less, show up
do you think I haven’t spent 
days wishing I were an ostrich?
and do not think it requires
copious amounts of courage.
how much courage does one 
elicit inhaling the next breath?
how many breaths have passed your lips
unnoticed while wallowing in the past
or worrying about the future?
countless, to be sure.
but then there are those magical
wondrous moments, when, without forceful effort,
you are centered, balanced and the veils have lifted.
there is nothing to hold on to nor let go of, 
there is only awareness, no judgement no possession
consider yourself an alien in the minute your are given.
show up! say yes to the surprises of the now.
Unlike the Days of My Youth
Unlike the days of my youth,
when on Easter morning
I would be first to find all the hidden eggs,
and first to eat all the chocolate in the basket,
before putting on my crinolined dress,
white anklets and black patent leather mary janes ,
I am now alone, with dusty love memories,
as I look with favor at the virgin white linen  towels,
each one, covering a well made loaf of Challah,
well made, as a result of G-d’s Grace and my willingness
to persevere through a second effort, as my first, gave way to 
a kitchen tornado as the mixer got the better of me,
splattering liquid bread batter everywhere but the ceiling,
leaving  me laughing as a child, remembering old episodes of Lucille Ball.

The New Day

grabbing the day
by her inspirational winds,
I meditate in a different room,
in a different chair,
facing a different direction,
and once again, her voice
swirls about like the veils of truth
where in the center, only love breathes.
I have wasted , yet not wasted,
a lifetime, pushing, with obstinance,
persevering through failure, upon failure,
and now, sitting in the quiet of the morn,
comes softly, a place called home,
a point of balance, a point of knowingness,
having little to do with the physical surrounds,
yet her impact ripples through the day
like a child skipping stones upon the lake
in the warmth of the summer, with a gentle breeze
filling her with magical possibilities.


Grappling Grief 
some  journeys we choose,
others are thrust upon us,
and though we may dig our heels in,
 pleading with the gods to allow us
dispensation from this 
a wisdom that  breathes from a garden unknown
rises, with a  fragrance reawakening our longing 
to know who we are and where is it that we call home,
 do not fear this  peregrination of mind and heart 
as it lays the white linen under the banquet 
of freedom, love, forgiveness, and compassion.

Day 14

I have long since abandoned
the notion of belonging,
not that I cling to the thought of being an outcast.
sometimes I think that life is like a long game of musical chairs
and we foolishly struggle to find a place within the group,
what a pathetically horrid game it is, I have no idea
who first called it into existence, certainly no one with
any sense of compassion, and it could hardly be blamed on the gods,
no, perhaps it was the invention of a cynical fallen angel, who wanted
nothing more than to watch us scurry about, in a frenzy of perpetual panic
never breathing an ounce of clear and fragrant air, as the anxiety of
being left out in the cold, chair-less, drove our every decision. I might consider that we eradicate the word belong altogether, but of course that would never do, because it is, after all, such a round and inclusive, warm and safe word.
why then do any of us bare the bitter winds of loneliness,
maybe some don’t, maybe some never lost at musical chairs, but then again, maybe losing is winning, because one reaps a wider sense of belonging
and can fly with the birds, swim with the fish or
walk gently with anyone who simply wants a friend.

Day # 15

sucked into mudflats
where the clams and oysters live
lotus beauty blooms

she washes dishes
he sings her songs from his heart
death did not divide

explosions in mind
clarity transforms shrapnel
a new day begins

Branch cracks under ice
crisp white silence is broken
children lead the way