Poetry from The Well

Good Day

Good Morning

Coffee lifts eyelids

Traffic stirs rested breath to

Choke inside warm lungs


Good Afternoon

Ears clogged full of talk

Wet windows share portraits of

Dazed trees losing leaves


Good Night

Moon above steel clouds

Ghoulish breath drifting sideways

I haunt night’s kingdom


Poetry from The Well

Don’t Speak (To Me About My Poetry)

“Everything becomes a little different as soon as it is spoken out loud.”

-Hermann Hesse

I don’t like to talk about my writing, and I imagine I’m not alone with this sentiment.

There’s something unbearably grating about hearing the words or phrases I tediously chose and listened to as a trickling creek in my head, over and over, uttered aloud unexpectedly. Curious eyes watching me, waiting for me to explain myself. Hearing a line of my writing repeated in speech is not music to my ears. It’s a sack of potatoes on my chest.

If I could easily explain what a poem means, I wouldn’t have had to write the poem in the first place.

If you don’t understand my poem, perhaps I didn’t write it well, or you couldn’t connect with it or construe your own meaning. (Maybe you didn’t try hard enough (*devious smile*)).

I’m not sure why I react so strongly when someone wants to discuss my writing, particularly the poetry. I like to believe, perhaps fancifully, that writing something and sharing it is enough. Then it’s up to the reader to do what they will with it.

At the heart of the matter is probably tension over feeling a loss of intimacy or privacy that I’ve entrusted my poem to deliver to my reader. It’s a little bit of myself that I’ve shyly wrangled into words to share. It’s a release, a rain shower to cool things off — it’s the thing that lies behind that one shadow in my mind.

Sometimes I wish I could suck a poem back inside,  Dementor-style.

Poetry from The Well


Between two flaps I’ll live

In the spaces beneath

Thirsty ink


Eyes sweep over

Pages, some looking,

And some seeing


Meanwhile, planets tumble

Farther into black space,

Away from one another


As my static world matures

To crisp sepia, oily fingertips

Blurring the scenes


To your child’s bedside

Table I’ll migrate, when she

Needs a friend


As badly you did, when you

Dripped snot and tears

All over the words that


Crystallized atop

My own snot and tears

And oily fingertips


Poetry from The Well


The words were at the bottom of the well until you coaxed them up and out.

Before, they preferred just to swim, to lurk, to lap at the bucket and the rope.

a few fundamental

phrases – an

exclamation or two and

some questions,


solemn excuses,

and cool comforts


for the rest

   I have learned to let                the well

keep      its      nourishment

        to allow           the masks           of  silence

         to               serve

           where     up there        wetter words         aren’t heard      well



Don’t Break Your Smartphone — Do Break These 5 Annoying Habits


The guy on the right broke his annoying smartphone habits.


5. Calling multiple times in a row without leaving a voicemail or text.

Within reason, of course — I’m not talking about emergencies. Calling your friend every twelve minutes until you get a hold of them is a waste of time, and it adds a degree of urgency that is not necessary. Plus, I am 78% more likely to respond to a text than a series of missed calls. (If you are calling from a number I don’t recognize, forget it. I am guaranteed not to call back.)

4. Sending one word texts.

At least send two words. “Hey girl!” is better than “Hi”. Do not send “Hi”. I will not respond.

Okay, I will respond, because I would feel too guilty ignoring you. However, I’ll be responding with a deep grimace, unbeknownst to you.

3. Looking over someone’s shoulder at their phone.

Kindly keep your distance, and keep your eyes out of my inbox. And if you catch me texting about you, that’s your problem! Should’ve minded your business! Hmph!

Personal space: the most underrated value of modern time.

2. Sending a series of texts to convey one simple thought.

Yes, I understand most of us have phones that put our texts into message bubbles. Still, it’s the principle of the thing.  I don’t want to feel my phone vibrate ten times waiting for you to make your point. I’m impatient. Life is short.

Sometimes it’s perfectly appropriate to send several texts. I enjoy text convos now and then. All I’m saying is don’t do this:

Text 1: H

Text 2: Hi*

*two minute pause*

Text 3: Sup?

Text 4: Omg

Text 5: Have u checked FB yet?

Text 6: lol

1. Using your phone the entire time you’re hanging out with friends or family.

I’m not innocent here. I find myself at restaurants, laughing and talking, one hand stuffing fries into my mouth, as the other hand stealthily begins to slip unnoticed into my purse, rummaging for my phone, opening the notifications, and next thing I know I am staring blurry eyed at the glowing screen, thinking of an answer to someone who’s texted me something non-urgent (“Hi”), ketchup smeared across my face, completely absent from whatever real conversation I was having moments before.

These days, getting coffee with a friend who gives you their full attention is a rare treat. We need each other’s quality time and attention.


This coffee tastes terrible but at least I can add an enviable filtered picture of it to my Instagram.




Blurry Boundaries

I often find myself blurting out too much information in conversations – not the inappropriate/creepy/bathroom humor kind of TMI but rather, this is an intimate, complex thought of mine that this person (or these people) probably won’t understand or appreciate kind of TMI. Sometimes I answer questions with seemingly odd or random details that make perfect sense to me but elicit confused looks. This goes beyond being “bad” at small talk, I think; I’m bad at casual talk.

It’s not that I’m a snob. In fact, I am normally up on celebrity gossip, the weather forecast, and whatever trashy headlines are littering the news. But still, it’s difficult to talk for very long with people about these sorts of things.

At the root of sharing too much may be a desire to keep the conversation going, to say the “right” thing, or to prove myself in some way. It’s a tendency to over explain, and frequently the tone is apologetic. Saying things I’d rather keep private makes me feel as if I’ve lost a little bit of myself.

There are only a handful of people with whom I enjoy talking for a long time. The conversation can burn on and on because, well, they are similar to me. They are kind of weird, analytical, curious, and creative in drawing connections. Plus, they know me well. We can unearth the awkward memories, go off on familiar or new tirades, or simply orbit in circles around the same idea until we’re both utterly sick of it.

This is how my mind wants to think and talk. Therefore, I am sometimes left biting my tongue, trying not to respond to innocuous, routine questions such as –

How was your night?


Well, it was okay, actually, it was a little strange – I was obsessing over whether or not to read the rest of my novel before starting a new one, and I went to bed with that terrible song ___________ stuck in my head, which was my favorite song in fourth grade and again in tenth grade, and I had another dream about broken elevators that I think Freud would explain as . . .

Yes, sometimes I DO utter bizarre answers or thoughts, and I feel embarrassed and disappointed afterward. I tell myself that I should “say less” next time or keep more things private. Ideas that tread so beautifully in my head come splashing out of my mouth, flailing like suffocating fish. It’s hard to help it though.

People Pleasers

Besides oversharing things, I suffer from Yes Person syndrome. This is not a good thing. I think the two problems are related to having fragile boundaries.


A classic people pleaser brings all of his coworkers customized lattes because HE FEELS BAD for drinking Starbucks in front of them!

I’ve been reading Anxious to Please: 7 Revolutionary Practices for the Chronically Nice by Craig English and James Rapson. This book hit home with me. The writing is pretty blunt and uncolorful, and it’s mostly focused on people-pleasing in romantic relationships rather than with friends, family, or work relationships. Still, they make their point well.  They explain that people pleasers are too “nice,” always saying yes, always anxious to put everyone else first; but what lies beneath the compulsion to be too nice is anxious attachment. (Topic for a future post?)

Nice people are probably lugging around a lot of resentment and anger with nowhere to dump it but on themselves. Said emotions may rage out eventually when they get too overwhelming to stifle anymore.

Saying yes too much means saying no to what is actually good for you. Feeling guilty for not appeasing someone leads to a weaker sense of self. You can be introspective, deep, intelligent, but still have a weak self – a self that is too porous, too extended beyond its skin, letting in unwelcome toxic energy, or maybe just giving away too much precious energy.

Those of us who are not naturally assertive know that 1) We sometimes get taken advantage of for being too nice; 2) People like us because we listen, we help, we make people feel special – we see others as more deserving than us; 3) But, we admire assertiveness. People who are assertive command respect. Being assertive just doesn’t come easy.

Stronger Boundaries

So how can a person strengthen their boundaries, learn to say no sometimes, reserve information for those who are worthy of hearing it, and keep the emotional vampires at a distance?

~Pause to reflect on time and . . . death. Yes indeed, didn’t I recently read (maybe in some Psychology Today article?) that meditating on death helps people relieve anxiety or depression? Stop and wonder, will saying no and possibly hurting this person’s feelings really matter a year from now? This is a classic strategy. It never fails to help me put things into perspective, when I remember to do it. I have a few momento mori (“remember that you will die”) pictures hanging around my living spaces, too.

Life is short. Don’t spend it pleasing everyone besides yourself.



~Keep a running list of times you stood up for yourself, spoke up, or were generally an admirable badass. Look back at the list when needed. Celebrate everything, especially small moments that may seem silly. Reclaiming your power is a big deal.

~Seek out people who make you feel good. React naturally to everyone in your life, and listen to your gut. Accept how you feel when you see that person’s name when they text you. Become more aware of who makes you feel good, and why. Cherish your real friends, however many or few. Healthy relationships will, most of the time, not leave you drained, confused, or insecure. They should feel nourishing and safe.

~Be more proactive in scheduling your time. I still find myself missing the target with this one. The more you fill your days with things, and people, that matter to you, the better you will feel. You don’t owe anyone your time or energy. You’ll naturally gravitate toward people who deserve your friendship, and making time for the right people will not feel obligatory or burdensome.

~Forgive yourself when you find that you’ve given away too much time or energy (again). If you feel overextended, overexposed, anxious to please, go somewhere quiet, be alone, and meditate. If you feel indecisive about making a decision, choose an option that will make you happy. Sometimes life CAN be easy, if we choose to let it be so.