old blue painted woman at nautilus teachings part 3

old blue painted woman at nautilus teachings part 3


there is a woman
with long gray hair
big, twinkling brown eyes
covered in speckles
of blue paint
who lives in darkness
on the far side of the cliff…
every morning
she rises with the knowing
she has work to do
stories to write
images to paint
dogs to love
stars to wish upon
waves to gaze upon
and wind,
she loves the wind
and how
when she was young
it would fill her sails
of her tiny orion boat
each day she would wake
pack up her boat
grab her dogs
hoist her sail
and wander
from cove to cove
looking for shells,
lost buoys
any treasure, really…
on rare days
her love would come along.
she loved when he
stepped outside
his world of voices
noise, surfing, yard work
and just allowed himself
to see the quiet world
she loved so much
to watch the birds
dolphins and manatees
to just sit back
letting the wind
guide them both to
places unplanned…
on these days
they would pack
a picnic lunch of fruit
lettuce roll ups
and plenty of water
the boys would pout
when they left them at home
but on these gifted
days with her love
she wanted
but him,
the water and the wind…

it’s been 5 years since
he has gone home
to their heavenly father.
she closes her eyes
points her face toward heaven
and smiles
thinking to herself,
‘some day soon,
my love,
i will join you
in the middle…’
she hears the mailman
driving up the gravel road
turns to him
waves and smiles
she grasps her hands together
and praises God
in silent thank you…
at first glance
she knows
they are letters
from her grandchildren…
pictures adorn
the outside
of each envelop
and she smiles
in this technological world
her kids
still teach their children
the importance
of writing,
and letting
their grandma
they love her…
she exchanges a few
polite words
with the mailman
and holds her letters
close to her heart…
one by one
she will slowly
awaken the hidden messages
mostly they are filled
with drawings
and a few words
they will pop in
their class photo
so she can see how they’ve grown
her oldest grandson
always sends her pictures
of the fish he caught
and every now and then
one of her kids
tucks a small note inside
to let her know
what’s up
in their crazy
busy world of life…

she is glad
this part of her life is over
now she gets to be settled
lazy when she wants,
which is rare
sleep and eat
whenever she feels the need
and spend hours
as she wanders room to room
looking through old photos
love letters
and all the pieces of her life
her love died…
she kept only one of
his surfboards
his cross and wedding ring
which she wears every day
around her neck
and at night
she sleeps in his
soft sweatshirt
wearing his crazy socks
to keep her toes warm…
since he died
she is no longer hot
at night and only
turns the air down to 74-
‘boy would he love that’
she thinks, giggling to herself…
she wanders
around the yard
of her tiny shell
of a home
her eyes catching
all the barnacles
needing repair
and smiles
her feet
slowly ascend the
front porch steps
she turns the
glass knob
upon her front door
and is greeted
by her two boys
tails wagging
always glad to see her…
she is the woman
with long gray hair
skin sagging
who has
big, twinkling brown eyes
is covered in speckles
of blue paint and
who lives in darkness
on the far side of the cliff…
and you know what?
she likes it that way…


the woman, part 2 at nautilus teachings

the woman, part 2 at nautilus teachings


the woman
with long gray hair
big, twinkling brown eyes
who is covered in speckles
of blue paint and
who lives in darkness
on the far side of the cliff
gazes outside at her
just delivered yesterday
birthday gift…
her son bought her
a three wheeled bike
put on a roof for shade
and two big baskets
for groceries
for her to ride
the short distance
into town for supplies…
living alone, is what she always
dreamed and yearned of
what her soul screamed out for
since she was small…
her entire life
she fought demons
their words
their punches
their stench
and now
she sits
in her home
where all the interior doors
have been removed
where every wall
tells a story of her life
as she lives alone
on a high cliff
with weather encircling her
this is home…
she wears the same clothes
day after day
falls into slumber easily
after her hot showers
and counts the cracks
in her skin…
she writes words upon them
as a memory of each abuse
she survived
this makes her feel strong
never alone…
two or three times a year
she packs her small bag
with clean clothes
puts on makeup
and travels to see her kids
and grandkids…

she loves them all so much
but life
causes her too much pain
noise infiltrates her every pore
and overloads her sensory system
small doses
a few times a year
is like a warm healing balm…
she stockpiles the feeling
of every hug and kiss
memorizes every song
they sing together
can recite books they read
at night time
and fills up her heartstrings
with imaginary film reels
full of small hands and feet
grown happy children
and the knowing
she was part of something
so big
it scared her…
her true love
was taken from her
so many years ago.
he always knew
she would
he also knew
she would be
she misses his silly dances
his standing poolside
talking through the glass,
‘what this…you want this?’
this memory makes her giggle
and feel young again
missing his soft touch
his quiet kiss
the touch of his hand…
these memories
give her comfort
God gave her true love
and for that she is
forever grateful
which is why she retreats
to live by herself
in silence
letting the
grace, light and love of God
heal her through the cracks
during the day
and why at night
she lay weeping
under millions of stars
retelling over and over
her life story
night after night
not believing
she really survived…

she misses her love
his silly voices
making her laugh
but she was overflowing
with happiness and love
when he left her
to go home to God…
she closed her heart
locked it up tight
and vowed
from here on in
faith would be her companion…
she has boxes full of drawings
from her grandchildren
letters of love and kindness
from her grown children
so many photos
she could wallpaper
her home in them
art journals of
her love for her husband
paintings from life…
every day she waits
for the mail
to be delivered
to open up
oh the warm rush
of love
when she cracks the seam
of paper
revealing so much
color and words
she can hardly contain
her joy…
yet she chose
to leave it all behind
upon the last breath
of her love…
she could bare
no more pain
and loss
no man would ever
touch her again
sing to her
make her laugh
or say the words
i love you, blonde…
her connection
and love
for her family
was enough
to keep her breathing,
it buoyed her
along with her faith…
as she sits in the darkness
light barely
the stillness
she closes
her watered eyes
tears stream down
her aging cheeks
as her fingers catch them
she brings them to her lips
kissing the beauty
of her life
and the knowing
one day soon
she will join her love


the woman at nautilus teachings

the woman at nautilus teachings


there is a woman
with long gray hair
skin sagging
she has
big, twinkling brown eyes
is covered in speckles
of blue paint and
who lives in darkness
on the far side of the cliff…
her home is small
paint peeling
roof missing shingles
in need of some repair
in so many tiny ways,
her knees are weakening
her back always aches
her hair thinning
her shield
has been dropped
and every day she rises
to two wet noses
which always keep
her company
she loves their sweet faces
their knotty long hair
and the fact
that no matter what
they love her…
on a rare day
the wind whips through
her windows
when open
nearly shredding her curtains
but for the most part
she keeps the ac
and the interior
of her space cold
heat is not her friend…
she wants nothing
to penetrate
her world
or ever wants to be told
what to do
think, say, feel…
the sea
crashes against
the rocks
and each time it does
her body vibrates
with the memory
of abuse…
below the ledge
upon which her home rests
the sea churns
just as her stomach
did for so many years
when she lived
side by side with the devil…

at night, she walks
barefoot and looks down
upon the moonlit waters
making wishes
to wash her of her sins
to be forgiven
to protect her children
to just
she is tired.
she is old.
her hands
her body strong
and lean…
from self discipline
and commitment
to die only
of old age…
she lives mostly
in the back room
or her tiny home
because this is where
the light radiates in
through the cracks
where she feels
the most healing
from God’s light
because of this
she struggles to leave
this sacred room…
her two dogs
sleep upon the floor
while she writes
and paints.
they follow her around
lay next to her
while she sleeps
and when she goes out
at night
they watch from the window
noses pushed up against
the glass
they wait for her
when she comes home
she will hug them
scratch them
and sometimes
she even sings
and dances with them…
but she always
gives them a cookie!

when not walking
she sits
in the tall soft grasses
which are surrounded
by wild flowers,
gazes at the
millions of tiny stars
and talks to God
telling him stories
He already knows
over and over
but each time
she feels His love
as she rocks
cradled in His hands
swaying back and forth
tethered to His love…

she is covered in scars
she wants no one to see
for they reveal
the wounded child
she always knew she was
until one day
she just fell to the ground
and gave it all to Him
her unspoken truths
her incomplete self…
the only light
inside her home
touching her,
feeding her thirsty
parched soul
is the tiny rays
which somehow make
it through the cracks
in the middle
where the curtains touch…
here in these small moments
in the passages of time
in her aging life
she allows the warmth
of His healing balm
remembering how
she has waited
for this time
her entire life
begged God to just
with her paints
and words…
they were all she knew
she always knew
one day
she would be alone
living a life
in conversation with God
answering to no one person
having no cable
cell phone
or computer
she went back
to the basics
trusted old typewriter
with ribbons to print
stacks of empty paper
to type on
old sheets stapled to walls
to paint upon
and da boys
for her company…
she chose alone
this house
on the cliff
by the sea
she loves that now
she is the
crazy old art lady
in the creepy house
who rarely is seen….


old rose at nautilus teachings

old rose at nautilus teachings


who doesn’t remember
the movie,
“the titanic,”
Old Rose, saying
“it’s been 84 years, and I can still smell the fresh paint. The china had never been used. The sheets had never been slept in. Titanic was called the Ship of Dreams, and it was. It really was.”
i loved that movie,
but more important
i loved old rose
and her memories
because this is me
thinking about my mom,
“it’s been 29 years, and i can still see her smile. her hands
which were always giving, were now still. her breathing labored
as she fought death. she was my best friend
and i had to say goodbye to her
it was the toughest thing i ever did,
it really was…”
so many friends i know
have lost their moms
and when we are together
we talk about how tough it is
to live a life separated
from our moms…
every year i think to myself
this year it won’t hurt
i won’t cry
or miss her more
and then i look in the mirror
at my aging self and think
just like Old Rose,
“the reflection has changed a bit…”
the older i get
the more i look like my mom
and i love it.
i see her hands
painting on my canvas
her tiny wrinkles
gathering at my eyes edge
and i know,
i just somehow know
she is always with me
i feel her around me
i know she sees me
sometimes she meets
me in my dreams
other days
her scent will float in
making me look up
and around
hoping to catch
a tiny glimpse of her…

on the 19th of july
29 years ago
she last opened her eyes
raised her arms
and gently held me
as i bid her
to let go
telling her
“it was ok to die…
God is waiting…”
and on
July 20th 1987
she took her last breath…
those are words
i hope you never have to say
to anyone
but if someone you love
is hanging on
it is so important you release
them to God,
that you whisper in their ears
“i love you
thank you for loving me
i will see you in heaven
go home to God,
please let go…”
it’s been
29 years and
i miss her
it still seems like
it was yesterday
she died
but i know
in my heart
she is home
waiting for me
to one day
hear my own child
“mom, it’s ok to die,
God is waiting
and so is grandma…”


she returned home at nautilus teachings

she returned home at nautilus teachings


she waited
for the police
but they never saved her
or helped her
they did what every other man
did in her life
they pointed a finger at her
they blamed her
told her she could be arrested
for allowing an abusive
drug addicted alcoholic
to live in her house with minors
then they called DCFS
and shit hit the fan…
they arrived
talked with her
separately from HIM
they left
saying they would return
after school hours
to talk with the kids…
all day long HE paced
yelled, screamed
and then he left…
DCFS came
talked to the kids
assigned a police officer
to help them at school
and said they’d be in touch…
she changed all the locks
on the doors
changed the passcode
to the security system
and began vigilant sleep…
she slept with her arms
clenched tight
her hands in fists
her knees curled up
for HIM to return…

she was not surprised
when HE
bam, bam, bammed
on her sliding door
in the middle of the night
after jumping the fence
HE screamed so loud
she thought HE
would wake the kids
but the next thing she knew
HE was on the ground crying
like a baby…
this time her heart
did not melt
she actually, felt nothing
so she left her room
went to the kitchen
lit a candle and prayed
15 minutes later she saw HIM
running down the street…
she could have
and should have
called the police
but she did not
she needed to sleep
to think
to pray
and to plan…
4 months passed
she was in her yard
watering plants-
her two girls were by her side
when a blue pickup pulled up…
out HE stepped
and into their squealing, happy arms
“daddy, daddy, we missed you…”
once more HE was clean and sober
and wanted back in…
the girls pleaded
and her son
called her an idiot
in the house
but not in
her bed or heart…
HE lasted 3 weeks
then HE broke the girls hearts
by leaving again…
she allowed this cycle
to repeat 2 more times
she wanted the girls
to understand
HE was sick…
by the time she filed for divorce
they cheered,
“yeah! it’s about time, Mommy…”

this is the very moment
i began to surface
in her life once more…
i was the voice she heard
i was the hands that cradled her
the arms that held her
i listened to all of
her stories
dried her tears
and i
her backbone…
she trusted me
knew i would never leave
and little by little
moment by moment
she breathed me in
and exhaled the poison
of not just HIM
but of all the men
in her life…
i remember the day
so well,
she ran to waters edge
sat down
and cried
for the longest time
then she walked
into the ocean
maybe hoping
she would drown
in the waves
but i easily guided her
to flat waters
where she floated,
was buoyant
bobbing up and down
like a cork…
soon she stilled
and started breathing in
fresh, clean air
this was the moment,
my sign to step in…
i splashed a tiny wave upon her
and she giggled
then i gently rolled her
over and over
making sure she stayed afloat
until at last she landed
upon the sandy shore
and right before her
i placed
a nautilus shell…
she picked me up
rubbed the softness
of my curves
began to cry
and said,
“God, i love you
lead my life
take me
i am yours…”
and from that day on
she and i
became one-
for she was
washed of sin
loved unconditionally…
and me,
i was just
happy to have my
little girl finally home….


waiting to change at nautilus teachings

waiting to change at nautilus teachings


sometimes for a while
a broken life
has good moments,
or should i say
more tolerable ones?!
she had felt like
she had not chosen
every step of her life
and woke up
one day and realized
she did choose,
but she knew no other life.
she had come from abuse
from a house filled
with harsh ugly words
her brothers
were demons
who drank, drugged, stole, ran away
and verbally assaulted her mom
her dad was mostly silent
and never home
she learned
love was mean
that women took it
and shut up,
that they stayed…
she knew
her mother was strong
but she never knew
why she stayed…
after her mother died
so many years ago
her friends told her
wonderful things
about her mom
but there was one common
negative thread,
‘she always wanted to leave
your father…’
she was very close to her mom,
but she was young when
her mom died…
so she lived her life
within the walls
she knew,

i have known her
her entire life…
what i also know
is the pain she endured
the insecurity she felt
she had no self esteem
and no one
to lift her up…
oh, sure
she had a few close
that knew her story
and that she wanted
to run away all the time
but they never encouraged
her to leave
they just listened,
‘ah, it’s not so bad…he’s gone
most of the time…
lock yourself in the bedroom
with your kids at night…’
‘what is wrong with you?
you take it. you lie for family
you die for family
you just take it and shut up…’
this girl/mom/wife/woman
was drowning
every day
and she could not
save herself…
i tried to help her
but it would take
middle age
the last straw
pure hunger
for the unknown
and dropping all fear…
it would mean
relying solely upon
God and her faith
to sustain her…

she had deep faith,
that i knew
but like so many people
she did not give it all
to God,
she held back
thinking God was too busy
or would not respond…
that day began like
so many others…
she rose
got the kids off to school
and in one quick moment
she was on the floor
and HE was over her
“you fucking bitch, slut, whore, cunt…
i fucking hate you.
i will take the kids
and all my money and leave you
with nothing accept
your sick sorry self.
i will tie you down
tape open your eyelids
and make you watch me dress
and be who i really am…”
then the doorbell….
it rang and rang and rang
and HE left…
as she rose up
she inhaled strength
she never knew
called the police
and waited
for her life to change…


HIS hold on her -part 3- at nautilus teachings

HIS hold on her -part 3- at nautilus teachings


after winning lottery,
she could never leave
she would look
like a gold-digger
so she packed up her family
and she moved
them all
far far away
to a new start
new friends
new church
new life…
at first life was ok.
but a month into
their new life
HE began staying
on the sofa
smoking every day
not bathing
drinking too much
and she even caught him
with drugs…
this time
she told her story to
another man
and this man
decided to make her laugh
and touch her softly
and make love to her
this man promised
they would take her children
and sail away from HIM…
and then HE found out
He began hitting her
on the steps
which led to their upstairs
and she took it
because she knew she deserved it…
and the HE left.
and she felt free.

by now her handsome son
was himself rebelling a bit
having sex
but she still
his softness as a child
and how much she loved him
she still believed
he was safe
had a good life…
her girls
seemed ok
they were happy
had friends
laughed a lot
involved in sports
and school activities
all three had good grades…
so she stayed.
HE returned.
they went to counseling.
HE forgave her
and they celebrated
10 years together
by restating their vows…
18 months after
their move
and 3 months after
their vow renewal
HE told her…
the girls were outside
running with friends
her son was on the
football field
warming up for his game
and HE
with just a few words
lifted a weight off her shoulders…
“i like to dress up
in women’s clothes…”

he said so much more
but that’s all she heard
and for the first time
in a long time
she laughed…
she laughed so hard
she began crying.
then she looked at HIM
and said,
“thank you.
i always thought
it was me…”
then they held hands
and sat with the girls
as a happy family
watching her son
play football…
all the while thinking
to herself
‘i am nothing.
i am worthless.
i cannot protect
my son
or my daughters
because i cannot
even protect myself.’
she accepted this life
as her punishment
for never having the strength
to stand up
and find a way
to be
the woman
she was born to be,
so she settled
this time
and decided
staying was better
than leaving,
would it be?


jumping from he to HIM part 2 at nautilus teachings

jumping from he to HIM part 2 at nautilus teachings


trying to build a life
as a single mom
was tough for her
she did have a college degree
but she had no support
no family
or friends to lean upon
because the people she did know
turned their backs on her
did not believe her
when she told them
of what she endured
their only response was,
“i don’t believe that.
you always looked so happy
so perfect
so in love…”
he turned everyone against her
tried to prove she was
an unfit mother
tried even
to steal her son away…
at one point
he had actually almost convinced her
giving her son up
was for the best
because she was penniless
and had nothing to give…
when she was thinking
about signing the papers
another HE appeared-
spoke to her softly
dried her tears
held her hand
listened and believed
in her stories she shared…

HE seemed broken
just like her.
they fell into each other
despite everyone
warning her to stay away
from the beach bum bartender
she decided this time
she would marry
someone she chose…
HE seemed to love her tiny son
they all were a family,
going to church
starting a life
adding another baby
all the while the first he
made promise
after promise to
their son,
“i will take you on a train ride,
i will take you on the big red boat,
i will…i will… i will…”
every other weekend
she would pack his overnight bag
with all his favorite clothes
and it would come back unopened
“he doesn’t need this crap.
i will dress him in proper attire.”
then for two weeks they would
fall into being as normal
a family as possible
only now HE
began to resent the first he
and HIS words
echoed the first he
and her tiny son and daughter
watched and listened
as he yelled,
“you are a whore.
you are no good.
you are worthless.
i am going to take your kids
and you will never see them again…”
HE would threaten to leave
and she found herself
once more begging HIM
to stay,
“please, please…”
she would cry on bended knee
holding on for dear life
to HIS leg…
please, don’t leave us,
we love you…”
night after night.

HE stayed out frequently
not returning for dinner
yet always seemed kind
to family and neighbors
and HE had moments
when HE was just like
the man she met
years ago on the shoreline…
soon another daughter
was added to their family
and she thought,
“well, this is not so bad…
i can keep them away from HIM
when HE is home and in bad moods…”
she decided
were ok…
her little boy was now
a teenager
and her girls
were growing fast…
she thought about the promise
she made to her son
when he was tiny
that she would always protect him
from harm
and then for the first time
she thought about herself
about what she was teaching
her children about love
and decided she must leave.
she started squirreling away money
to pay a lawyer
and on that day
the day she had counted up
$3,200 and knew
she could now begin
HE called her
and said,
“hey baby, we just won the lottery…”


her son at nautilus teachings

her son at nautilus teachings


there is nothing
i believe more in
that a mother’s love
for her child…
a long time ago
one of my friends
gave birth to her first child-
a son…
her marriage was rocky
and she hoped
this tiny soul
would save
not long after
the baby was born
he stopped coming home
for dinner
there was never a call
to say,
“hey babe, i will be late…”
he would just
enter loudly
after midnight
after having too many drinks
and yell at her…
when he did this
she would drop
to her knees
kiss his hand
and say,
“what can i do for you, love?”
sometimes he would hit her.
he always shoved her aside
leaving bruises
and he would YELL
so loud
she would shhhhhush him
so as to not wake the baby…
this angered him more
and soon she would be
crying, begging him
to stay, to not leave them…
he would always pass out somewhere
while laughing at her
and calling her
horrible names…
this went on for almost two years
until one night
when they were in
the new house they built
he called her
“listen, make sure he is not
waiting for me
i don’t like it when i come home
and he runs up to greet me.
when i get home,
i want to be alone…”
at that very moment,
they were over…

she loved her little boy so much.
he was adorable
with curly blonde hair
and contagious smile
he was kind, gentle, smart
and easy to love…
so on that day,
on the 20th of july in 1987
she told him
“we are leaving you…”
as she turned
grasping her son’s hand
he spoke-
“we can go to counseling,
what do i have to do
to make this better?”
she knew he was worried
with how it would look
because he felt he was this
all important banker
but she knew
he was weak
and unloveable
so when his words
purred out of his mouth
in the hopes
she would turn around
and run into his arms,
she picked up her son
feeling him snuggle into her…
she breathed in deep
and spoke these words,
i will never
let you back
into my life-
i hate you.
gave us
this tiny soul to
mold, teach and love
and all you did
was laugh
shake your head
and treat us both
like a burden…
you know what?
fuck you!”
with that
she walked
into the nursery
placed her son
within his soft blankets
in his crib
closed the door
looked at her husband
and said,
you get out of
our house…”
he picked up his briefcase
and keys
and left….
as soon as he was gone
she opened up his closet doors-
her eyes took in
all he valued…
designer labels
hand made shoes
and one of a kind suits.
she picked up
her very sharp
sewing scissors
and began shredding
every last piece…

when she was finished
she stood back
and looked upon her work-
from a distance
you could not even tell
they were cut…
she thought,
this is the beginning
from here on out
before she went to bed
she looked in
upon her beautiful son,
sound asleep
tiny smile upon his face
was her life
and as she stood
next to him
she vowed
to never let him
be hurt by his father…
how was she to know,
that this was a promise
was one
she could never keep…


sanctuary at nautilus teachings

sanctuary at nautilus teachings


at 16 i began
to find sanctuary
in churches…
i would drive
to see anything
having no fear…
my car was rusted
and old
it had no radio
but with me
behind the wheel
and God in my soul
i was safe
and most important
i drove
to escape noise
to not hear
ugly words
to not see and feel
my mothers pain
i drove
while singing to myself
never afraid
of the unknown…
even snow storms
did not keep me home…
i found tiny churches
big churches
broken down ones
with stained glass windows
still in tact
but whenever i entered
this sacred place
i knew
beyond a shadow of a doubt

i can remember
skidding on ice
into one parking lot
looking up
and there
was God-
a church all
just waiting
for me…
i entered
on bended knee
eyes closed
tears streaming down
but always the same prayer,
please make me a fish
so i can swim far, far away…”
i always knew
with Him,
i was home
and loved…
no matter where i drove
i found His beauty
on unending roads
dirt highways
and upon every corner
in most towns…
the feeling of walking
into safety
calmed my heart
and soothed my soul…
life today is not like this
sanctuary doors
are locked at night…

i can remember
being in my 30’s
driving alone
finding a church at midnight
because i was scared
pulling upon the door
only to be greeted by
steel stillness…
i knew God was there
that one step
inside the lit
would calm me
assure me
i would be ok…
but i felt abandoned
and very scared.
life today
is not
that of my youth.
i don’t drive
any where i do not
know the directions too…
i have now,
a fear of night
of the unknowing
what is hiding
behind a tree,
or even a door…
the world changes
every year
and honestly
i am continually grateful
that i am aging,
i don’t want to be alive
in 100 years…seeing
how corrupt our government is
how entitled youth can be
how unimportant
some see education
how split up families are…
i want the 60’s back
apple pie,
walking everywhere
and the freedom of
i am

i want to get in my car
and drive away-
anywhere, really
and know
when i see
the lights of a church
of God’s earthy home
i can not just
knock on the door
and He will answer,
but i can turn the knob
and feel
His grace, light and love
encompass me
inviting me to take refuge
within the walls
of what i know
to be home…