The Day After

The Day After

The rubble smolders

We may have to wait

Before we can start cleaning up

There is healing after surgery

Stop. Heal

I keep thinking 

It’s just a matter of time

Every year that passes

I better pick up more pills

Pick up a pen

I have a Frankenstein monster heart

Pieces of many, stitched together by 

A surgeon with limited resources 

The day after. A voice, a rose, a cat, anything for relief. There’s fear after the loss. Feel like a wasteland, it’s okay. Natural. Is it sand? Is it snow? The ocean? Darkness? In loss, we seem to see only the best and worse parts of ourselves; the white and black. There is no gray. We hold fast to the center ball of the pendulum swinging between the two sides every minute. At least we can keep still. Stillness in the sudden silence.

Loss will sterilize the air and leave a mess. Let the mess reflect you. The air will keep you breathing.

Loss is a long walk. You won’t know you were transforming until you are transformed. But that’s a long walk away. For now, remain under a tree, on a horse, in bed.

There is a ripple effect to loss. I’ve experienced one that wasn’t mine, but I surfed a wake. And out and out it goes. You’re never alone. When the tide comes back through the undertow it returns love, sand, nutrients, darkness, clarity, sharp shells, and the unknown.

You’re molecules hold you together in an erratic world. They clash, then stabilize, clash, stabilize, but hold you in one piece, more or less. One step at a time, tomorrow. Hold on, the day after.

©2017, Valerie Marie Leslie



Black Feathered Mystery



I’m awake now

Gray blue melted morning

Close enough to the window

You seem to follow me

From pine tree to palm tree

A tangible shadow

Occupying each other’s space

I can’t take cover

Spirit animals are supposed to find you. However, people have expressed encountering their animal in a dream like state, or a strong affinity to what they believe to be their “it” animal.  I never even heard of a “spirit animal” until, I think, mid last decade. And not because I was told something or became intrigued – I fell under attack.

The crow is the only animal I’ve had repeatedly weird experiences with. Usually a single crow is the culprit; only one out of my many encounters has been with multiple. The small murder occurrence was my day of awakening.

Trees lined my power walk along a park trail. Sunny, so I wore my black baseball cap, warm, slight breeze, several people there but nowhere near crowded. On a mission to sweat and clear my head, a few crows in one of the trees started making a fuss while I walked passed. Caw Caw. The trail was short so I would go back and forth a few times. I came back from the other direction, same thing, Caw Caw! I came back around, and what was a fuss was now a commotion. CAW CAW CAW! Passer-byres were noticing the noise, too; they would look up and around, but nothing to stir them because the crows would quiet down at some point. Still arrogant enough to think the crows’ hysteria had nothing to do with me, the next time I passed by the crows started circling above me, then swooped down over me. The other park patrons are now staring at me, and the scene I’m in. CAW CAW CAW! About the third time the crows (I believe three crows, probably two, but it seemed like three) swooped near my head, I finally took pause to realize, I’m their threat! As I watched them circling, CAW CAW, swooping, CAW CAW, I understood. I took off my cap. They circled and cawed, but did not swoop. I started walking away, turning back to watch what happens, they started landing in the trees. Caw Caw. The scene diminished.

I’m still skeptical of this spirit animal belief. Do I really have one? Do I have to have one? Through the years a crow will disturb my sleep, stand right next to me without flinching, and arrive everywhere I go, even out of the country. Do I feel a bond? No! When I finally looked into spirit animals I was pissed that my animal was possibly the crow. “That fucker?! What the hell does that say about me?!” I have felt a connection with other animals, but they remain docile in their influence on me. I decided to accept this ‘of course my animal would be an asshole’ fate, and pay attention like I’m supposed to. Is it real? I don’t know. Could the crow actually be the wrong animal? Possibly.

The first real thing I learned about crows is that they are in fact extremely intelligent creatures. Then come to find out they harness the power and insight I lack. Do I have respect? Yes.  So, technically speaking without any intention on my part, the crow picked me… rudely because it’s rude, but none the less, I can’t escape it.

©2017 Valerie Marie Leslie

Domino Number One

The window stands between me and the violence of rain

I watch it come after me

But I am safe

So, here we are. Blog post number one. A place for expression, thoughts, ideas, and observations. I gravitate towards the dark, sad side of life. Not to wallow, but to deepen my understanding of human suffering, ego, wisdom, and elevation. One of our biggest human mistakes is to deny the abysmal parts of ourselves, as if we are better than our own complexity. To be the fullest, most whole individuals we can be, shouldn’t we look in the eye of every part of ourselves? Or is that a monster of too many eyes?

Private journaling and creative writing sometimes feels like merely an echo chamber. As long as art, and self expression breathes freedom, I want them to be alive and well here. Not comfortable, but purposeful.