Poems and Phantasms

First True Leaf

green leafy plant starting to grow on beige racks

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It is not a steep edge so much as

it is sharp. The place here

and there must decide.


In one hand, the old leaf brittle and

precious, its purpose outgrown yet clinging

to a seed. The other hand opens wide.


It is time to let go. The leaf

body disintegrates as the

wind carries it away.


With it perish thoughts of

faults and limitations.

With it crumble excuses.


Full of intentions, the seed of a

magnificent future with

courage will take root.


Now, both hands are free

to climb, to plant, to hold on to

something new.


You will find it one day, that seed

sprouting, so green one weeps for joy as

the first true leaf is announced.


Life chooses again.

Counting Victory


How many days have you been successful with a personal goal? Do you only count consecutive perfection? If you back-slide for one day, does it mean you’re starting over? In a recent conversation with my daughter about her new healthy habit efforts, I brought up my dark nail-biting past. (It was more appropriate to share than my disordered eating history, but trust me…I am no stranger to trauma and recovery.)

“If you mess up, it doesn’t mean you are at zero again. Just skip that day and keep counting on the next successful day.” I’m pretty sure my advice goes against the sobriety-tracking culture of the 12-Step Anonymous programs, but I believe it’s healthier to honor every day, hour, and even minute of progress. All-or-nothing pressure is a mental health bully. Better to be gentle with ourselves as we heal, yes?

I’m a musician, so I believe in practice. Practice cannot be erased; the skills you build are there in your muscle memory. Long lapses may make them fade, but they can come back with more practice. Persistence is the key. 

If you miss a day and bite your nails, they might be at zero level again…but YOU aren’t. You became stronger with every moment of resistance. Nothing can take that away.

If you go against your better judgement and do the thing or fail to do the thing, it’s just a momentary slip. You’re still on the path, you just fell down in that spot. Look behind you—you’ve come a long way already. So pick yourself up, brush yourself off, and keep going.

Author Interview


Image result for hopehousesworkshop

Unlocking imaginations with dollhouse storybooks at Hope Houses Workshop, Inc.: Author Lurana Brown


Enduring the River

the soul bleeds against stony edges of

injustice, churning up

memories better left to settle


except bubbling up also

from fathomless depths, hope

irrepressible, clearing the way

to the surface and sun


see now, carp of joy

bounding upstream

red and golden


back to the source



Sometimes we want to

lock pain in, close

the door fast, take leave

where it cannot




or heal





we feel

it, still


Time comes to find

the door ajar

inside, the familiar

older, condensed

upon itself, pain


Fitting into the hollow

like a stone from your

pocket, leaping into your palm

you remember its




worn smooth

from long carrying


You could hide it

away again


bring it into the

light, discovering

streaks and sparkles

you could not see

until you opened your hand

to let go

Little Returns

Putting in moments of

parenting,  gains and losses

add up


The hours of chauffeuring

picking up and dropping off, rush

and wait, items left behind


Teaching them to help, playing

a long game, banking

against efficiency


Measuring days by

teeth lost, shoe size

and how quickly

they grow


This is it, childhood’s prime time

the real estate of life


Success, luxury, vanity, none

compare to the blessing

of kissing good night

my child, safe


For the richest memories, sweet

and surprising, the confidences told

between stories, you

had to invest

the time




entirely upon the breeze

there is a certain fragrant ease

a vernal arrogance, a tease


each shell

each nest

each hole unfurled

each bud

each blossom:

sovereign worlds


and when, at last, the thaw seeps in

unleashed, a thousand thoughts that sing

of spring and wings and newborn things


emerges fierce from dreams of frost

the victor clings and counts no cost

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