Tag Archive: Memories

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

Lover’s leap

Day 7. Two prompts, love/anti-love from Writer’s Digest, and money from NaPoWriMo.

Lover’s leap


We were poor when we met, and starving for love

And I thought that our need would sustain us

I felt certain, you know, with my hand in your glove

That we’d blossom because of our plainness


The decades rolled past and my throat was still dry

But you swore to me I wasn’t needy

So I drank up the dust, making try after try

And assumed I was just being greedy


Until I discovered when I thought to look back

You’d been gorging while I was asleep

While I dressed all in red you were fat in the black

So I told you to take one last leap


~ Liesl Dineen 2015

Cosmic soup

#NaPoWriMo, Day 2
“Today, I challenge you to take your gaze upward, and write a poem about the stars.” http://www.napowrimo.net/
Cosmic soup

Sometimes I gaze at the midnight haze
And see the Big Dipper just sitting
Ready to scoop its cosmic soup
Into my bowl, space permitting

Then I can taste old nights retraced
When the dipper dished out our dreams
And we, all wild and starry-eyed child,
Counted stars as they leapt to extremes

~Liesl Dineen 2015

Missing pieces

NaPoWriMo Day 1: poem of negation (http://www.napowrimo.net/)
Missing pieces

Gradually you’ll realize
That you can never know
What anyone is thinking
Or if any decision you make
Will work out for the best

Later you won’t understand
How you missed the clues
And didn’t see the bumps
That made you stumble blindly
Once you see them clearly in the light

~Liesl Dineen 2015

The utter delight of neighborhood bookstores

bookstoreThere’s a smell when you first walk into a small bookstore that reminds me of the homemade cookies my grandmother never actually used to bake. Ah, but I’ve read about those cookies in so many books. I’ve tasted them, wrapping myself in the loving embrace of sugar and unconditional love that has always existed for me in fiction. Walking into the bookstore is coming home.

All of my crazy relatives are here. My ancestors, the classics: Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Twain, standing straight and reliable and in-charge after all this time. The crazy uncles: Stephen King, Douglas Adams, Neil Gaiman, always ready for a laugh or good scare. My mysterious aunts: Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Patricia Cornwell, leading me with wicked smiles wherever it pleases them. My sisters: Alice Walker, Barbara Kingsolver, Maya Angelou, helping me see into the souls of others, and into my own. Hundreds of family members waiting for my visit.

And there are always new friends to meet. I never know where to start and I sometimes wonder why it should matter, because honestly, my reading pile is already longer than I can expect to get through in my lifetime. But it matters, and I want to read them all. I always find something to sneak to the top of my pile. I hope that never stops.

Small bookstores are usually arranged like a home too. No giant sections with perfectly flushed covers and neon lights here. Instead, rooms to visit, with carefully arranged books organized to catch the eye and imagination. Thoughtful sections containing books that have been read and loved, set aside in careful groups with notes telling me why I will love them too.

As an aspiring writer, I also experience this amazing sense of my own smallness. It’s okay, I like that feeling. It’s like visiting the Grand Canyon. It gives you permission to just get on with being who you are. I am a speck of dust in the canyon, and I am so happy to be here. In many ways this is my church.

There is never enough time to spend here. Or money if I’m being honest. I wander around and back again, touching, reading, smelling. Some of these books I have on my Kindle. Yes, I have a Kindle, and yes, I use it. A lot. But I still enjoy visiting those same books on paper, touching them, taking in the covers and contents all at once in a lovely package. There is nothing like a bookstore, and nothing like the smell and feel of real pages in my hands. Cookies and milk. And I don’t ever want to leave.


The truth in drafts

darkenoughSo after the huge move to WordPress, there was a little bit more I needed to move into this blog so that I could call just one place home. It was mostly old poems, things from BEFORE. Before the divorce, before I met John, before my daughter left and my son came back, so many befores. I know my own words, I remember where I was, what I was thinking. So reading these older things doesn’t surprise me. Some of the oldest poems reflect those not-yet-divorced times. I was angry a lot, trying to get out from under some things I’d been stuck in for decades. Trying to find out who the hell I was, really, after all that time. Trying to breathe on my own. I chose to put the poems here; they belong in my story.

Then I found a draft post, my first actual blog post. Of course I remember writing that too. Sarah smiles. It describes the struggle of trying to help a child who was being torn apart in ways I simply didn’t understand at the time. And it describes the thrill of knowing her joy was still somewhere deep inside her. It describes hope. I still, always, rely on that hope.

Here I am, over four years later, and not much wiser. I realized I’ve tried hard to keep names out of things, and to keep any real details out of my story, because it’s not where the focus belongs for me. I see so many parents who are alienated from their children so filled with bitterness there is no room for anything else. I never want to be in that place. The choice I made not to fight was a fight itself, and still is every day.

So I chose to publish the draft, finally, after all this time. I did it because it’s both an ending and a beginning – part of a story years in the making, a lifetime really. And it’s important, because when I wrote it I didn’t believe what I’d been told was going on. I didn’t believe that I’d lose so much, that my daughter would make a choice that she should never have had to make and walk out of my life altogether. So no, I’m not much wiser now, just older. I have learned to shift the focus of my life to myself, being the best person I can be, living the life I want and need to live, giving back whenever I can. I’ve shifted the focus from blame to acceptance, of myself and others. I’ve learned to practice, every single day, gratitude, love, patience. It’s practice, never perfection. But it’s the direction I chose years ago, and while yes, I do look back, cry, sink and rise again, my feet haven’t changed direction in all this time.

My life is so amazingly full now. I’m grateful each and every day, even on the really bad ones. And there are bad ones of course. Practice, never perfection. I believe in my self, and in my heart, and my intentions. I’ve forgiven myself and all the other players. Well, I practice that too. Someday, I hope, and there’s always always hope, that I will see another of Sarah’s smiles.

High Times

Writer’s Digest Wednesday prompt:
For today’s prompt, write a high poem. Now, I know the word “high” is a loaded one–so take it where you may. There are high temperatures, high heights, and other meanings related to high. You can even transform high into the greeting “hi,” which then leads down a whole new rabbit hole.

We used to sit on the bare wood floors

(Well, he would sit in the lone green chair)

And pass the bong and pass the bong

His sentences sounded like lessons

And his replies began with Actually

There were no cracked eggs for brains

We were deep thinkers after all

(Well, he was the one with the chair)

And I called this the high times

Never dreaming that this would be my life

Long after the passing stopped

Long after the friends disappeared

Long after I learned that Actually

Simply meant Please help me to exist

~ Liesl Dineen

November Poem-a-Day: Day 29

For today’s prompt, write a do it again poem. This could be a poem about taking a mulligan or re-doing a mistake. Or maybe re-doing a magical moment. Or a poem for all those folks who like to ride roller coasters and get right back in line.

Change everything

If I had to do it over I think I’d change everything
Because these jeans are a little too snug in the waist
And this shirt is a tad low-cut for my comfort

If I had to do it over I think I’d change everything
Because I never wanted to live in Texas
And everything pretty much went to crap after that

If I had to do it over I think I’d change everything
Because every decision made so much sense at the time
And I’ll never be forgiven for being the one who chose

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

November Poem-a-Day: Day 15

For today’s prompt, take the phrase “Holy (blank),” replace the blank with a word or phrase, make the new phrase the title of your poem, and then, write your poem. I like to think of this as the “Robin prompt” from the old Adam West Batman shows, because Robin would always make exclamations that began with “Holy,” including “Holy Barracuda,” “Holy Happenstance,” “Holy Rats in a Trap,” “Holy Homicide.”

Holy smokes

The mourners stood

Behind the church

Swapping Camels

And Marlboro 100s

And stories of a good man

Gone too soon.

~ Liesl Dineen 2014

I remember in September

I remember in September
All the endings and beginnings
When hate turned into love
And sorrow into strength
When we were family together
And the world lit up in candles.

I remember in September
Now that wounds are turned to scars
And we’ve given up pretending
That we will ever be the same
Because life goes on in circles
And here we are, again.

~ 9/11/14

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