cancer, hope, letting go, living



by Carmen H Gray 

the waves lapped at the shore

industrial waste in a place

where freshwater meets saltwater

the bright sky viewing a town that feels like a story I’ve written

like time stopped here, somewhere in the 1970’s of my childhood

and it may as well be a repeat of those chaotic times these days

except here I am, a woman now

with a daughter who can celebrate

a date that has past

and here we are

souls brined

hearts preserved

bodies intact

and this is better than any man made holy day to me







Fire and Roses

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*Art by Pierce Gray

Fire and Roses

by Carmen Gray

God is a Woman


Because women give birth to life

-Goodnight, my child

I love you

-I love you more

Why is it taking so long to get there?

-I made a wrong turn

It’s okay, even mommies make mistakes

-It doesn’t matter if you win the competition

I don’t want to beat him. He’s my friend

-I love you

I love you more

-Is everything okay?

Time goes so fast, I want it to slow down

-Everything will be alright. We’ll get through it

It hurts. Fuck this life

-It does. I’m sorry

Sometimes I don’t want to wake up

-Sometimes I don’t, either

I’m so mad at you. I hate you

-I’m so mad at you, too.

I’m not going to finish school for anyone else

-Don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself

I will

-Is that a tattoo?

I want to be a tattoo artist

-Put one on me

I want to head West

-I bought you a ticket

I’m scared

-Keep going. I believe in you

I love you

-I love you more

I got a job here!

-I knew you would

I’m sorry if I said mean things to you before

-I’m sorry if I didn’t do everything right

Mom? You’re the gardener, tell me which is best?

-So glad you called me! I like the Ladybug fertilizer

Did you know the female plant is the one with the power? Makes sense, right?

-Yeah, it does

I love you

-I love you more




hope, living

Incarnations of You

Incarnations of You

by Carmen H Gray

The other night

I sat beside you

Laboring away on mundane paperwork

We seemed to be in a loop of absurdity

Waiting for Godot

Were you Vladimir or were you Estragon?

In the perpetual spiral of suffering

We are constantly climbing out of

You made me laugh

In our exhausted states

The secret you already know

Is to make the Great Escape

Of choosing not to wait

Bursting forth you go

Supernova from the start

Your little soul chose

“I am here and it is now!”

As I behold your unfolding

There is magic in the air

Luminous almond eyes I see into

All of the incarnations of you








letting go, living, nature



by Carmen H Gray

Spots of blood that were a scare

I was full of milk and longing

For sustaining little lives belonging

In all of those early sunshine days

Of playfulness

Of exhaustion, too

And the middle years

Became filled with tears and cuts

The broken hearts

The diagnoses of the starts of illnesses

That had always lingered quietly inside

Like a spring that hadn’t yet been let to fly

And when it did

It was as if I was woke

To the world anew

The hardships grew

The steps I tripped

The moments slipped

Was I fit? For Motherhood?

How dare she be

So flawed and free

Doesn’t she know better?

Why can’t she stay as she was forever?

Contained and clipped

All neat and zipped

I heard some asked

The false smiles masked

The bullshit stationary yearning of others

I am not monochromatic in the realm of mothers

I am wider than one frequency of light

To pass on more

Than what was before

That is what those breasts knew

And that womb that held them, too

It was what my soul understood

Before the future layers of motherhood







letting go, nature



by Carmen H Gray

What’s left?

In the hemispheres of life

Where everything has been divided

The kid glove of yesterday

And rosemary scented concoctions

The sticky spices of today

Stewing in tomorrow’s brew

What’s left?

When the pitty pats and tippy toes

Have left their well worn socks

In the corners of your heart

For mending, when it’s far too late

For such frivolities

Oh, time, you are a clever trickster!

What’s left

Are the comet’s tail,

Solar winds pushing

Particles away from the mother source

Brightening, as they sail closer to the sun

A gasp and a sigh at such a sight

Of what is left in the darkest night



The Art of Mothering

“When you are a mother, you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.”-Sophia Loren

The Art of Mothering

by Carmen H Gray

Mothering is a messy creation

From the first sighs of elation

To the scars borne from formation

During nine months of gestation

And many long years of cultivation

Mothering is a messy creation

Mothering is yourself cracked wide open

Nurturing and allowing all the hope in

Even when everything feels all broken

You hold fast, it is a rule unspoken

Among all hearts whose love was awoken

Mothering is yourself cracked wide open

Mothering is an art of refraining

From the onslaught of the clamorous complaining

It matters not that your strength is waning

It matters only that you keep sustaining

Before you break from all the feigning

Mothering is an art of refraining