Tag Archive: Family


Day 17: Swing poem




When I close my eyes I see her

Right in front of me

She’s moving fast forward

Legs aimed for the high clouds

Piercing them with the determination

That she brought with her at her birth

Every trip backward is gorged in purpose

As she gathers herself tighter

And prepares to hit the sun this time

I wonder now if she still sees

Every trip backward as another chance

I wonder if she ever takes the time

To just remember the back and forths

And feel the air on her face

Filling her with confidence and joy

Or has she forgotten that girl

Lost in the trappings of fifteen

And too busy now for clouds


~ Liesl Dineen 2015


Day 16: Write a science poem



She takes a breath, as deep as she can

And as her muscles contract she pushes

From places she only knows in dreams

Things are happening around her, noises, movement

But she is the push, only the push

And the sweat and the shaking

Somewhere inside her head she knows

The science of it all, the words

Somewhere there’s a plan that she wrote herself

But she no longer speaks that tongue

She is an island of becoming

And can only feel the waves

That push her faster and faster

Toward her making and her unmaking

And into the greatest mystery

That science and man will always

Fail to explain


~ Liesl Dineen 2015

Permanent ink

IMG_2409I just wrote this statement about parental alienation, and it snapped me awake more than I expected it to: “It’s not enough to win, they want to erase us entirely and brush us off the paper with their fingers.”

Being ignored has always been a trigger for me. Little sister blah blah blah. But seriously, it was how I was controlled in my first marriage, whenever what I said was disagreeable. Don’t like what I’m saying? Look away, walk away, never speak of it again. Really want to hurt me? Yawn while doing all of the above. Roll your eyes.

When I walked away, I walked into a world where I existed, unique and amazing. I came into being. I fell in love! And then the eraser came down and started scratching me out.

Parental alienation is the act of wiping a parent of the face of his or her child’s planet. Memories are rewritten in shadows, new rules created. Doubt and fear are tools. “Is she spying on you?” “Will she try to kidnap you?” “Are you safe with him?” “He’s trying to replace me with a new wife/mommy.” Never mind that the now-horrible parent has been there virtually forever for the child. Never mind that the child will never be balanced from the damage this causes. Never mind. Let’s pretend mom is invisible, crazy, not worthy of love and respect. Let’s ignore her and get on with life, just you and me kid. Let’s twist everything she says and does into threatening dark shapes on the wall. This isn’t about something a normal mind can grasp. It’s honestly incomprehensible. And yet it’s my reality.

But here’s the thing. I’m NOT invisible. I still exist, unique and amazing! I’m done hiding and pretending I have ANYTHING to be ashamed of. Of course I’ve screwed things up, of COURSE. But no, not that badly. Not anywhere near that badly. Children of abuse still don’t disconnect entirely from their parents, in fact they often push and fight for connection. Children who are alienated do disconnect, and also from their other relatives on that side. They switch into a mode of hate, not just distance. They wipe out half of their entire being for the satisfaction of someone needier. It’s heartbreaking, and more so for the children than the parents. There really is no winner here. Just pain and therapy bills and uncertainty.

I’m a step-mother now to two wonderful kids. I’ve annoyed them at times reminding them to call their mother. I’ll annoy them more I’m sure. We need to know our parents whenever possible, where we come from, where we fit. I’d never wish this lost feeling on any child or adult. Yes, of course in cases of abuse it’s different, but this is not about abuse. Please try to keep an open mind when someone tells you they haven’t seen their children in ages – there’s so much shame in this, it’s a huge act of courage to even speak the words. I want to change that, I’m working on how, but I don’t know yet.

What I do know is that I’m not written in pencil that can be erased. I’m not invisible, I’m not going anywhere, and I’ll never give up on my children.

To my lost child, and the one found again: I was not just there when you were born, I was your home. You will always be a part of me, and I am a part of you. I will be here until the day I die, ready to accept you, hug you, listen to you no matter what. Unconditional love is yours already, and will never ever run low. All of the hopes and wishes I had from before you were born are always with you. I wish so much happiness for you. I love you forever. In permanent ink.

Invisible girl trying

Day 14: Two prompts – Writer’s Digest asked for honesty/dishonesty, NaPoWriMo asked for dialog. This is one-sided, but dialog, I think.



 Invisible girl trying


Do you have anything to say?

Just a smirk, as usual
To make sure I know you find me amusing
Until you finish with me altogether.

Until you begin to stare pointedly
Out the window into the trees
Where something far more important
Is taking place right before your eyes.

Why won’t you look at me?

Did I raise my voice?
I hadn’t noticed through the tears.

No wait I can calm down
If you’d just please stop, come back
And listen to me, really listen.

I knew you’d slam the door!
I knew you’d walk out like always
Pretending you can’t hear me shouting at your back!
I hate your fucking guts.

And in a few hours when you come back without a word
I’ll join you in the lie of nothingness
Because telling the truth would change everything.


~ Liesl Dineen 2015

Will you?

Day 4. Write a love poem without lovie stuff, per napowrimo. http://www.napowrimo.net/day-four-3/
Will you?

Sometimes I think you’re kind of a jerk
Then you hand me fresh coffee when I’m headed to work
And I realize the jerk’s in beholder’s blue eye
Maybe we share our jerk habits, between you and I

You know I’m not one for professions or diamonds
I’d rather just hang on our own private island
But there’s no one I’d rather be annoyed with it’s true
Will you tolerate me if I tolerate you?

~Liesl Dineen 2015

If these walls could talk

If these walls could talk

If these walls could talk, would we choose to hear?
Would we give them a chance to tell us how it really was?
If these walls could talk, would they even dare try
To shake us from the fantasies that we still believe were real?

Would they tell me what you were thinking
When you scarred them with your anger in black sharpie curses?
When you hid your food to pretend you weren’t hoping to starve?
When you began to carve yourself into diamonds, or dust?

Would they tell you about my stupid stubborn confidence?
How I wobbly-walked the tightrope that connected us, always slipping up?
How I almost knocked so often and then ashes filled my mouth?
How when I finally saw you, really saw you breaking, I let go?

If we listened, would they tell us too about the love?
That it wasn’t only pain shaking in their plaster and our souls.
That we both tried with everything we had, oh we did try.
That there’s room left for us to heal together into something new.

~ Liesl Dineen 2015

November Poem-a-Day: Day 28

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “(blank) News,” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write the poem. Possible titles include: “Good News,” “Bad News,” “Daily News,” and “Old News.”

Bad news travels fast

What is it about people
Who share the destruction
Of lives and families
As if they’re passing along
A glass of champagne
And an exquisite truffle or two?

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 27

For today’s prompt, write an appreciative poem.


We feasted all day
On the company of family.
Family, loosely knitted
From divergent scraps of yarn,
Connected, connecting.
The meal itself only one more
Thread in a delicious day.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 24

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “I’ll Be (blank),” replace the blank with a new word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. Possible titles include: “I’ll Be Back,” “I’ll Be Late for Dinner,” and “I’ll Be a Monkey’s Uncle.”


I’ll be there

She came back to me in a dream
Crying as much as I was
Holding on so it was hard to breathe.
If dreams ever come true
I’ll be there.

He sets off for his future
Making his own designs
And then coloring outside them.
If his colors ever get too grey
I’ll be there.

You notice me fading back and forth
Tight-roping on the very thin line
Between humor and melancholy.
If you look right in the middle
I’ll be there.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 22

For today’s prompt, write a release poem. Maybe somebody’s being released from prison or a contract. Maybe a person is signing a release form. There’s emotional and physical release. Animals capturing and releasing other animals. Trees releasing leaves in autumn. And so on.

Catch and release

Come dancing, they said
But I was feeling sick
Worn out on a cellular level
And in need of time to heal

I built a fire and sat in stillness
Until my son came to share
And we talked about absurd things
As we took turns stoking the flames

And I felt better as he made me see
That every alien abduction story on Earth
Is just another fish explaining catch and release
To its disbelieving neighbors

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

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