Poem: Being My Mom NaPoWriMo #27

I never thought I’d say

I am my mom

Especially when my job

Up until now

Was not being my mom

What a surprise to find

That being half my mom

From the beginning of this round

There’s no getting around

Being my mom

As I search for more

As I explore

Can I choose to be my mom some

And my dad some

And not be my mom some

And not be my dad some

Ah who am I trying to kid

I am both of their kid

I’m their ego and id

This first Mother’s Day without the guilt

No card this year mom

I’ll scoop up the good

And let the other slip away

Drip through my fingers

It’s Mother’s Day

This year I’m okay

Being my mom

But after that

I’ll probably go back

To trying not being my mom

It may not work

But it’s a habit

Maybe I learned it

From my mom


About the poem:

Damn, this is a hard one for us Westerners, with our whole ‘individual identity’ thing going on. In Ghana, my friend taught me, “I am because we are.” In Korea, I think you are if your elders say so. 🙂

I was very moved by Thich Nhat Hahn’s story of a young man who said he would have nothing to do with his father. Thay laughed and said, Ha, you are your father. And your mother.

Accepting a closer connection, a reincarnation of sorts right here, makes it easier to stop the fighting. My finger cannot separate from my hand. I cannot separate from my parents.

Poem: Love Goes On …my 400th poem in 365 days

I was afraid
That my broken heart would never heal
That when he left me
I was destined to limp through the rest of my life, wounded
But it didn’t happen that way
Love goes on
His love taught me about being lovable
The love I’d felt helped me grow strong

I was afraid
That when I left him
That he would never forgive me
That he would hate me
That he would just want to forget me
But it didn’t happen that way
Love goes on
The love we felt did not die
The love we knew helped us through
It allowed us to be kind
We made it through weakness
We made it through the unimaginable
We made it apart
And by doing so, love held us together
We came out strong
Love goes on

When I had no friend
When I was alone in a country
Where I could not speak the language
With no one to talk to
Exhausted and
Struggling at work
With no money
I was lower than low
But at some point
There’s no lower that you can go
And even there
Even alone
There is a love there

What love is this?
Whose love is this?
Is this the love of my great great grandmother
That imagined that one day I would exist
Is this the love that lingers on my forehead
From my father’s blessing kiss?
Even alone
At the lowest low
Some love will seep in
Look will seek you out
Love will find you
Love won’t give up on you
Love goes on

When a child moves out
Or becomes wiser than the parent
Or thinks that is so
When there is no understanding
Of how you could possibly be related
When the parent is frustrated and sad
When the kid is indignant and mad
Beneath it all
There is love
No matter what has been said
No matter what has been done
Though shoulders have been cold
And arrows have been slung
Love won’t get wounded
Love won’t die
You think you can kill it
Just try but
Love goes on

When brothers fall out
Threats are made
Promises are sealed
Upon your grave
But nothing can outlive love
Love can’t end
Love goes on

A passionate crush
And steamy sex
Becomes cold silence
Your mistress
Your affair
Becomes another ex
You assume that indifference or hate comes next
But hate is not real
Indifference is not strong
Try as you might
You can’t hate for long
When you are no longer lovers
You will continue to love
Love won’t fizzle out
Love goes on

And when someone double-crosses you
You want to cross them off too
But you can’t
Someone has wronged you
But you can’t hate for long
Any moment you let down your guard
Love will open the gate
Love will slip in
It will seep in
It will sneak in
Whether you want it or not
Love has more endurance than hate
Love goes on

Move away from your best friend
Ignore his call
Don’t send a letter
Try to forget it all
But you never will
The simple love you shared
Can’t be extinguished
Can’t be put out
Love does not need you to want it
Love can just hang out
Love goes on

Murder and war
Corruption and rape
Who has done this?
Who can I hate?

Hate is an impulse
But it can’t be sustained
Hate is a thunder cloud
That grows quickly, menacing
But in an instant of rage
It loses all its power
And becomes nothing again

Skinny as a toothpick
Big as a bull
Love is in love with you

A baby’s first breath
Love welcomes you
Your last dying gasp
Love escorts you

You can try to stop love
But you never will
Life or death
Wrong or right
Try as you might
Stop trying to fight
Love will win

What is there to lose
What is there to fear
You can’t stop love
The love that you felt is here
Love will always be near
Love goes on

About the poem:
The one thing I know for sure is that love is bigger and stronger than most of us give credit. We think people will not be able to handle the truth, our opinions or changes. But generally, they can and they do.

I chose the photo of a crocus from today’s walk, as the symbol of cheeriness that pops up when it seems completely unwelcomed and out of place. But year after year, the crocuses too are unstoppable. With little care or attention, they appear.

This is my final poem of my self-generated 365 poetry writing challenge. Thank you for reading this and any of my 400 poems written since April 1 2013. Please think of me if you need a poet, a speaker or a fearless cheerleader for your online or in-person event! You can buy my books on Amazon and Kindle, with more to come!

Thank you, Joan




Poem: The Teacher Will Appear

2013-10-12 7th Annual Neighborhood Peace Walk (46)


I’ll learn from what you do
Not from what you preach
What you’re yet to learn
I might be able to teach

If it’s true what they say
That’s why I’m here
When the student is ready
The teacher will appear

Thanks for inviting me
I did RSVP

About the poem:
I found this cute baby lingering in my October 2013 photos! Such clear eyes! I want a teacher like that!

I have learned so much from my kids …just exactly what I hadn’t learned earlier in life. Thanks to whomever or whatever for delivering the teachers, just when I needed them.

To be open about what’s not working, and looking to our kids as a source of wisdom is an easy, but often overlooked strategy for improving our lives.


Poem: The Lucky Ones

We are the lucky ones

We see our parents
As wise, but frail
We chuckle about their
Seeming imperfections

We see our kids
As frail, but wise
We chuckle about their
Seeming imperfections

They see us
However the heck they see us
And we don’t care

We know that we
Are frail and wise
And sometimes not even wise
We chuckle about our
Seeming imperfections

We can laugh
We love
We are the lucky ones

About the poem:
I was talking with a friend of mine last night. He and I were just sighing in relief to be at a place where we truly love our parents and have moved beyond fighting about what they did that was right or wrong.  Usually. Sure, sometimes we are frail and not wise, but more often we see them as they are and are able to smile with love.

Poem: What We Need to Know


Young woman
Young man

From the day you were born
You saw things
That we didn’t see
You knew things
That we didn’t know

We taught you
Everything we knew
What our parents knew
What our grandparents knew
We taught you
What we learned

But still we face problems
We can not solve

Now you are at a crossroads
What will you do?

Accept what we say
Keep us, your elders, happy
Proud that you follow our lead

Or will you stand your ground
Will you teach us
What you came to teach us

Teach us
What we need to know

I wonder
When we were your age
Maybe we knew the truth you now know
But we were too weak
We let it go

Be brave
Be strong enough to disappoint us for awhile

Be more stubborn than we are
Be wise

You know
What we need to know

Will you teach us
Or will you let it go?

About the poem:

It is within families that evolution takes place or doesn’t. Thus, family beliefs and problems are handed down one generation to the next. If parents and grandparents would willingly admit that we don’t know what is best, we could allow the wisdom of someone with fresh eyes. We could open our minds to work together to solve the problems we have been unable to solve when we followed the advice we give so freely!

This poem is another take on the theme also explored in the “Start From Scratch” poem in my book “With Open Arms”.

In my experience, wisdom is not based on age alone. Wisdom can enrich our lives greatly, if we are open to receiving it. For example, I have been blown away by a baby’s ability to live in the present, and kids’ insights about the meaning of life, and young people’s passion for the environment and love. Wisdom flows in all directions.

The photo was taken at the Ross Cherry Creek Library today, one of my favorite hangout spots in Denver.


Poem: Teeny Tiny Teacher

Baby Teacher


What the parents need to know
They can often learn
From a teeny tiny teacher


About the poem:

Parents generally are making up rules and ideas left and right. Much of it is wrong, learned from their parents. What they need to know, they can often learn from their kids…if they open their minds! Well, at least, this is how it worked for me.

Poem: Start from Scratch (…please disregard our advice!)

2010-09-24 Outing with Student Family UN Memorial Cemetery 031

If you arrive in a world

That is perfect and nice

Then yes please

Follow our advice

Use our systems

Pass down our things

Climb our ladders

Wear our rings

Ask your father

What he recommends

Learn our mottos

The means justifies the ends

But if you arrive in a world

Where poverty and war are commonplace

Where people hurt the ones closest to them

And those they’ve never met

Where people destroy the very environment that sustains them

Where people are disappointed in their lives and themselves

Where people hate in the name of love

If you arrive in such a world

Please disregard

Our advice

Please throw out

The books we wrote

The books we read

The books we quote

It will be better

We might argue a bit

But be firm

We’ll get over it

If we’ve made a mess

If we’ve met our match

Just say, “Game over!”

And start from scratch